She asked, “What does that card say? I can’t read it.”
She waved it off, and then, ignoring the facilitator’s instructions, launched into a description of how she would run a workshop like this.
I broke in. “Mine says ‘suppression.’ When I read it, I remembered a conversation with a man that told me it was time to ‘unleash the dragon.'”
She smiled slyly. “Dragons are powerful creatures.”
“Yes, but my power comes from a different source. That’s why what he said didn’t work. I’ve spent a long time dealing with hostility to my aims, as a means of understanding the reasons people pose for resistance. I guess that it’s time for that to end.”
Our shadow cards put aside, one of our late-arriving “tricksters” found the “maturity” card as the lodestone for our journey. To aid in activation of our shadow side, we were instructed in “shaman breathing”: two sharp inhales through the nose, and then a vocal exhale. My partner escaped to the far side of the room before we donned our blindfolds.
I knew what I needed to do, but I have always tried to keep others out of my struggle. I filled my lungs with short snorts and breathed out with a low moan. Focusing on my brain stem, I allowed it to fill with energy, placing fingers on my neck to guide it more deeply. Distracted by the moaning and grunting around me, I concluded that trying to control the process wasn’t going to work. I inhaled harshly and deeply twice, raised my face, and roared at the sky for ten seconds.
When I finished, a man’s voice exclaimed “Whoa!” But we were no longer just in the room. I was in a jungle, 140 million years ago. The air around me was filled with frightened chirps and the thumps and grunts of herbivores. The echoes of the day filled the room.
Thus began the long dance forward through time. I gloried in all the tools of the predator: teeth, thumb-claws, powerful legs and tails. We swept through the sky and water, and bestrode the land. For a time the dance became arhythmic: music did not move us – it was the twisting of the land and the rolling of rocks that punctuated our steps.
I rolled myself into an egg and listened for danger before cracking the shell. My snout dug into the belly of my prey. But the pressure of disaster dragged at me. I became the last saurian, dragging my limbs through the smoke-laden air into death.
Settling on the floor, I listened disdainfully to the shuffling around me. I had lost my body, but I still had fear. I pounded hard on the floor. I am present! The room shifted nervously. Again! I sat as a king and surveyed the herd, turning my will first this way and then that. I ruled as Emperor from the pyramids in Tenochtitlan. When Europe arose, I sent cannons into the field. After war was tamed, I rose heavenward on skyscrapers, driving my claws into the flow of money to suck energy from human industry.
And then, with a sudden startle, I realized that the game was wearisome, tawdry, boring. There was no evolution, no innovation, no change. I was sinking into abstraction, losing myself.
And then a higher understanding came to me.
“I was told this by a woman that I loved very deeply:”
It’s just a process, Brian.
“Don’t feel guilty. Destruction clears the field. It prevents us from repeating the mistakes of the past.
“Work with us.”
The back of my skull twitches. It’s trying to get back in, but we don’t need the personality any longer. Just the principle, as one among many, in service to love.