A Modern Fairy Tale


Once upon a time in a land far and gone, there was a story teller. Oh, not just any story teller. No, this story teller could weave an emotional net with her words, capturing any and all who heard her thus causing them to fall under her spell. She could make people laugh; she could make people cry; she could evoke sighs; and she could appear wise.

Yes, her stories were wondrous things to behold, and all within the land would gather around to hear her tales of daring, romance, and comedy sublime. But then one day, the story teller saw that no longer was everyone enthralled by her stories. Alas, instead of heeding her marvelous stories, they walked by, ignoring her and her magical words.

“It must be a trick of the web wizards,” she thought. How else could such an occurrence be explained? Always, were her stories binding to those who heard; always, were her words bewitching enough to entangle even the most reluctant listener. But now…now, did no one stop; in fact, no one even slowed down as she let her words weave their magic stories.

Instead, with heads down, faces blank, and fingers twitching over strange glowing screens, her audiences scurried past without even noticing her. The story teller, bewildered by this, vowed to venture away from her cottage at the edge of the village, and strike out toward the village square. She had to see for herself whether this affliction was a random thing or some horrible epidemic. So, as the sun arose the next morning, she cast her feet upon the path toward town. She followed the road as it wandered through farms and neighborhoods, around the shops, until it came to the village square.

With each step she took, her heart sank lower and lower. While one or two travelers were drawn to her, and greeted her with requests for stories, most continued past without noticing her at all. Instead, they traveled with their eyes focused downward while their fingers danced across the glowing screen they held in their hands.

“This cannot be,” she exclaimed. “How is it that these glowing screens have entranced them all?”

Sick of heart, she cast her web of words once more. But this time she sought only to ensnare one of those with the magic screens. Once captured, she compelled the boy to speak; to explain to her what sorcery held him so enslaved. With barely a glance her way, his voice explained, yet his fingers never stilled. They twitched and fumbled across the screen, flicking here and tapping there. The story teller’s eyes grew hard, and her mouth did frown as she learned the secrets of the magic devices.

She released the boy and watched while he continued his flicking, twitching, and tapping, while he scurried down the street. That’s when the idea came to her. Her lips slid upward and a scheming glint lit up her eyes. She nodded to herself as she brewed her spell. Yes, she knew what to do now.

Returning to her home, she worked far into the night. Come the dawning of the day, her spell complete, she smiled. Now, they would hear her words, she thought. Now, they would once again be enmeshed in her web of words. Once more, would she be the supreme story teller.

She cast her spell and it crept through the crevices and back corners of every web site ever devised by the clever web wizards. And soon her stories were everywhere on the Internet. The siren song of her magic words would no longer be ignored, but instead would they appear on the glowing screens that each person held. And for those few who shied away from the web wizards’ tool, she magicked her stories into books of paper. These, too, were easily procured and she made sure they were available to any and all. And soon, she saw the changes she had wrought appear across the lands.

While still the people scurried past her, their eyes glued to their magic screens; no longer were their fingers twitching and their faces dull like death. Instead, they were smiling, laughing, crying, and frowning as her words flashed from the screen into their minds, and then into their hearts. No longer were they immune to her magic, but rather had her magic net of stories captured them all by traveling via the Internet and into their own shiny devices where her words once more bewitched and bespelled them.

And the story teller, using her own magic glowing screen, watched her rankings climb and climb as each of her stories ensnared another reader. And she thought herself clever and wise to have used the web wizards’ own tools to once again show the people how wonderful were her stories.



The Power of “Too”


Have you ever noticed that the more you struggle against becoming like someone else, the more like that person you become, anyway?

For me, it’s my mother. She was (especially in her later years) a great believer in the power of “too”— “it’s too hot…”, “it’s too cold…”, “it’s too loud…”, “it’s too…”. Like Goldilocks with the home of the 3 bears, my mother never could find anything just right.

Every visit was filled with the barbs from the power of “too”. If you suggested going out to lunch, even if you let her choose the restaurant, there was still no shortage of “toos” whose shiny points were aimed at you and anyone else who crossed her path. The soup was too cold; the salad greens too limp; the meat too tough; and the veggies too overcooked. As I said, nothing was ever just right.

Now, while I can do little about the fact that I look a lot like her (she was, after all, my mother), I struggle against becoming a follower of that deity “too”. So far, I have succeeded managing to maintain a more equitable viewpoint, a less sour outlook on life. At least I thought so, until last night.

Last night we were out with friends, and as we finished placing our orders with the wait person—does anyone else find that term awkward?—we were commenting on the amenities and the show we had just been to, and there out of my mouth I heard it…those dreaded words, in that dreaded tone that my mother always used, and I stopped speaking mid-whine.

Everyone at the table stared at me puzzled, and I gave them a sickly smile and waved them on to continue the conversation. As their words filled the spaces around me, my mind whirled. I had almost done it. I had almost said, “Yes, but it’s too noisy…”, when in fact, the place wasn’t really any noisier than any other time we’d been there. Also, the evening wasn’t worth destroying by becoming a copy of my mother.

I eventually joined back in to the conversations, but I never lost my guardedness. I don’t think anyone else noticed, but I know that I kept monitoring every word out of my mouth as I made sure there were no more “toos” waiting to escape.

It’s a learned behavior, I understand that. It’s a behavior that you grow up observing and hearing so repetitively that before you know it, it’s part of you, too. But I thought I had purged all of that long ago, all of those “learned behaviors”. So, it frightened me when I found out that some part of me had still held on to at least one of those learned patterns.

It makes me wonder just how many more of those learned behavior patterns are still lurking around waiting to pop out. So, now I have to be more diligent in monitoring myself when I speak. And once again, I need to inventory my behaviors and see if I can’t rid myself of those I don’t want. I especially want to rid myself of the power of “too”, because I do not want to be a worshipper at the altar of Never Satisfied.

Karma and the Essence Twin

Imagine jumping out of a plane with no parachute; or riding on a runaway roller coaster; or swimming in the ocean in the middle of a hurricane, and you’re still not even close to what it’s like to do a karmic debt with your essence twin. (An essence twin is someone who is a mirror image of yourself at the soul level. Physically and personality-wise, you can be as different as night and day, but at the energy level, the soul level, you’re yin and yang.)

As I got drawn into my essence twin’s life, the objectivity with which I usually approached most of my life, faded away. I became inextricably drawn into his dramas until the web of his life encased me like a cocoon.

Like a swimmer caught in an undertow, I lost all sense of direction—I couldn’t tell if I were swimming up or down, right or left. The few times I managed to get to the surface, I was almost immediately sucked right back into the maelstrom.

The task itself was rather simplistic—stop him from committing suicide—something I had failed to do in two previous encounters. Oh, how simple it seemed; yet oh how complicated it became.

As my essence twin and I grew closer, his love for drama began to overtake me, until I became completely lost. First there was the growing neediness for attention, then the demands that I prove myself to him—prove my loyalty, my friendship, my “devotion”. These continued to increase until eventually I could no longer meet his demands and his expectations—no one would be able to.

Throughout this entire ordeal, my husband stood firm and tireless, always ready with a shoulder for me to cry on, or advice on how to cope with my wayward and frustrating twin. Never did he chide me for getting involved in this whole crazy dance, because he knew the importance of this encounter, and he understood that we all just had to see it through—to whatever the conclusion turned out to be.

The drama intensified, pushed by the same person who had egged my essence twin on in both previous lives. This time he was again manipulating the circumstances toward disaster, while I struggled to maintain a semblance of balance.

As my essence twin’s “best buddy”, this young man delighted in twisting the cords of friendship and watching my essence twin spin out of control. He was an expert in the subtle art of misdirection, and excelled in planting the seeds of doubt, mistrust and fear.

I knew that nothing I said would convince my essence twin of this man’s duplicity and scheming. The best I could do was try to disrupt this man’s efforts. For a while this worked, but then my twin and his buddy went away for a “guy’s weekend” and I found myself the object of my twin’s suspicions.

Having lost that edge, I began to work with my essence twin’s girlfriend. She had also expressed her distrust and dislike of his “friend”, so it became a strong alliance. My essence twin’s buddy, sensing the danger, decided to break up the romance. By using his smooth tongue and lying ways, he convinced my essence twin that his girlfriend was untrue.

I thought my essence twin would see right through this, but I underestimated his “buddy”. Manipulating people was his specialty, and his glib tongue proved more damaging than I thought.

All of this was brought home to me when, in the middle of the night, my internal alarms went off. Unable to sleep, I got up and followed my instincts to the computer and my email. There in my In Box was a suicide note from my essence twin. Thoroughly lost in the drama of the play now, I freaked. Hysterical, I woke up my husband. When I finally managed to explain to him what was happening he helped me to calm down, then decide what to do.

The decision was to call the police. After reading them the note, they rushed to my essence twin’s apartment, but he wasn’t there. Having kept me on the phone, they then asked if I knew where he worked. I did, so I told them. They hurried over there and finding my essence twin there, they hustled him into the squad car.

Embarrassed—oh, yes. Furious—you bet. He said he would hate me forever for doing what I did, and I thought my heart was breaking with every epithet he spewed at me while I filled out the police report which would commit him to the psyche ward of the local hospital for at least 5 days.

Several days after my essence twin was released from the hospital where he had been held for observation, I made myself go to his apartment and face him.

I knocked on the door not sure what to expect—no response, a slammed door in my face, more screaming? When he first answered, I thought he would simply close the door and leave me standing there in the hallway. His face was a mixture of storm clouds and resignation. Finally, the anger slid away, leaving just the resignation.

I told him I was sorry, but I had been so worried after reading that note, that I had to do something. He stared at the floor and the silence stretched like taffy. Finally, when he spoke it was in a hushed and quiet voice. He admitted that he had come close that night to killing himself—closer than he really meant to. Close enough that he had frightened himself, too. He raised his eyes to meet mine, and again the silence lingered between us. Then he simply said, Thank you.

Suddenly a small tug pulled at my soul and at the same time I heard a small, clear chime-like sound resound within me, and I knew—it was done. We had found balance between us. I had succeeded in stopping him, and he had acknowledged what I had done. Now we could both move on with our lives.

We talked a few more times after that, and he recognized what a negative influence his “buddy” had always been. So to make a fresh start, he headed out to California where he started his own dot com, got married, and is doing quite well for himself.

That whole episode took nearly 3 years. Three years of the most intense emotional rollercoaster that I have ever been on. It was 3 years of overwhelming, emotional turmoil that sucked me in, tumbled me around and spit me back out. I was drained and glad; bewildered and sad (at his leaving); lost and in need of a nice calm life.

I had repaid one other karmic debt earlier in my life, and I had experienced none of the emotional turmoil that I had just gone through with my essence twin. Then I remembered what Michael had said regarding the difficulty of completing monads and karma with an essence twin: “Karma is very compelling, and karma between essence twins even more so…” and I thought to myself, “What an understatement.”

It is the most intensely emotional experience you can imagine. You lose all sense of self. Nothing is as important as the “play”. The drama becomes all-consuming. There is no world outside or beyond you and your essence twin and those “bit players” who are part of your drama. Rational thought and objectivity become impossible and when it’s all over, you wonder who that crazy person was. Because you would never act that way or say those thing—and yet you did.

It’s as if you became someone else for a while, but now you’re back. Shell-shocked and little worse for wear, but you are back.

So, if you feel your threads are leading you to a karmic reunion with your essence twin, put on a parachute, fasten your seatbelt, and grab a life vest, ‘cause you’re in for a hell of a ride.

Memories and Fairy Tales…

When I was 2, I wrote my name, or a form of my name, for the first time. Proud of myself, I carried the paper into the living room to show my parents. Because I had never printed anything before, let alone written something with connected letters, they believed that one of my older brothers must have done it. Determined to show them, I placed the paper on the floor. I then positioned myself on the floor by the paper, and with pencil in hand, I scrunched my eyes, stuck my tongue between my teeth and proceeded to write my name. Not print, but actually write my name.

This little gambit earned me the right to start accompanying my mother to the local library. At first, my mother and the librarian selected the most juvenile of books for me (you know the type—all about Dick, Jane and a dog named Spot). By the age of 3, I had grown beyond these basic word books and eagerly began seeking out every fairy tale book that I could find. I read Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, Golden Books, Tales from Sweden, and a compilation of English and Irish fairy tales. However, none of them was exactly “right”. I wasn’t articulate enough to be able to explain why they were unsatisfactory; I just knew that somehow, in some way, they weren’t the fairy tales I was looking for.

I became “obsessed” with finding the correct version of fairy tales. All of these that I had read so far were close, but somehow they had always lacked that familiarity, that feeling of completeness or rightness. The settings were always close, but not quite right, just as the characters were there but the names were wrong. Many times, it was simply that the cadence of the words in the story were wrong, and I would become frustrated and angry because I lacked the capacity to explain to anyone just why I was so frustrated.

The day before my 4th birthday, my mother and aunt took me to the BIG city. We were going to eat lunch in a fancy restaurant (my aunt worked there, which was why we could afford to go there), and then we were going to see a stage version of Cinderella. As we walked from the train station toward the restaurant, we passed a huge bookstore. I had never seen so many books—not even in our local library. You see, we lived in a small town and, consequently, our library was small, therefore the space allotted to the children’s section was tiny. But this building was several stories tall and at least a block square, and each window was just overflowing with books.

After fussing and whining about it being my birthday, my mother and aunt finally gave in and we went inside. It took several moments for my eyes to adjust to the low light inside, but when they did, I continued to stand in the middle of the doorway, too stunned to move. The store was even larger than I thought, and there were books everywhere. Just ahead of us was a row of very large tables on which were stacked piles of books. Beyond that were rows and rows of floor to ceiling bookcases whose shelves were loaded with colorful books.

I was overwhelmed. My mother tugged at my hand and we stepped into this wonderland of books. We wandered through the maze of shelves until we found a place where the bookcases were shorter and the furniture not so majestic. Here I gazed at the myriad of titles spread before me until my eyes found one very thick volume. Something about that book called to me—my mother always insisted it was simply the colorful cover, but I think it was more than that.

When my eyes found that book, they never left it. I walked as if in a trance, heading straight for the bookcase with that thick tome. Standing on tip-toe, I reached up to the top shelf where the book stood and, using both hands, I pulled that book to me. Carefully I placed that book on one of the small tables and, hands trembling and breath held, I opened it to the first story. I scanned that story, then the next, and the next. Then eyes bright, I clutched the book to my chest and refused to give it up. This was the book I had been looking for. Each story was just as I “remembered” it—where the princes had names like Ivan and Igor, and the princesses were named Nadia and Natasha; the castles all had onion-shaped domes on their towers, and the winter scenes were described as mystical and magical with ice-draped trees and beautiful flowing fields of white.

What I had been missing with all those other books of fairy tales was the familiarity, and I had finally found it. These were the fairy tales of my past—a past spent in the Ukraine. What I had finally found in this huge book store wasn’t just a compilation of every Russian fable and fairy tale, but more, it was a link to a past life memory.

As a child of 3 and 4, I didn’t fully understand the need, the compulsion to find the “right” fairy tales. However, as I grew older and looked at or leafed through my Russian book of fables, I came to understand that I had been looking for something based on a past life memory; a memory that surfaces and seeks validation. However, unlike most children who are not allowed to believe in past lives or other non-Western beliefs, I was able to validate my memories by finding that book and getting my aunt to buy it for me. Most Western children learn to repress these memories because they are told that what they think is a memory is nothing more than an over-active imagination. It’s too bad that so many in our society are so frightened by what they don’t understand, or don’t want to understand.

I know (at least intellectually, if not emotionally) that it’s part of the cycle of life, that people need to forget about their pasts or they can’t live the life they’re in currently (or at least not as fully as they chose to). However, I still empathize with those children who are only seeking to validate something that they feel or sense about themselves, because it’s hard enough to be a child. But being a child unable to validate something inside of yourself, is doubly tough.