By Glenn A Smith
I finally took a trip to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho after many years thinking about it. It was about time to take a winter retreat and the chance to take advantage of pre-season discounts had presented itself. Plus, what better way to shake off the winter doldrums than to soak the bones in a deep, hot, mineral bath?
My girlfriend and I booked a "February is for Lovers" package and wound up in a decent hotel complete with massage specialists, hot mineral baths and a vegetarian friendly restaurant. Actually, it was her idea to take off for a "romantic" weekend. Little did we know our "romantic" weekend would profoundly shift our realities. What was planned as a weekend "get-away" turned out to be a deeply spiritual moment in both of our lives.
I can't speak for my girlfriend but I can speak on my behalf. When I soaked in the natural hot springs, I began to feel a deep connection to Mother Earth. It was if she was speaking to me through these waters. The language wasn't the kind I could audibly decipher; it was a different language that I could feel, then see in my minds eye as metaphor. At the time I didn't know what exactly I was experiencing until other phenomena began to happen.
My girlfriend comes from a long line of pioneers who settled the west during the great migration. She often epitomizes the tough, rugged westerner with the softness of a desert rose. In other words, she has a big heart but rarely wears it on her sleeve, as I do. I love her strength and her softness but I often wonder what she is holding onto. When I look into her I see the mirror of my hidden pain in her eyes from time to time but I never ask her about what I think I'm seeing. I trust and believe that I must take care of my own backyard before I "intuit" others around me. Besides, it is not my place to analyze my lover; however it is my desire to love her and as I do, I pay attention to her and notice subtle changes, as curious lovers often do. This is the "other phenomena" I'm referring to. Watching her closely, I witnessed something out of the "norm."
After soaking in the mineral baths, my girlfriend began to share very intimate details about her past and seemed to be struggling with her feelings. She became saddened rather quickly and this overwhelmed her to the point of placing her head in her lap while practicing some breathing exercises. Like the bubbles rising from the mineral bath, her emotions continued to swell. I had never seen her so vulnerable and witnessing her going through the thralls of whatever she was feeling had me needing to breath deeply, as well. She began to talk about a very traumatic event in her life that ended in her older brother's suicide. She wept as she described how helpless she felt because she knew and felt something bad was going to happen to her brother. She told me she wanted to say something to her family about her brother but was scared of being judged.
Tears rolled down her face as she rocked her body in a self-nurturing fashion. I motioned for her to come to my arms and I held her gently as she felt the rawness of her past in the present moment. She was having a vivid flashback depicting a painful moment in her life and I believe she was also releasing an old way of being while feeling her way through her emotions. I thought about what I was witnessing and then it hit me!
I recall a teaching offered by a Guatemalan day keeper, shaman I had attended back in 1999. The first half of the morning, the shaman directed most of his speech towards the women attending the gathering. I listened deeply as he talked about the "in-between time" which he explained, marked the falling away of an old age and the gestation period towards the birth of a new one. "Many women will feel what Mother Earth feels during this time," the shaman said. "You men who are attuned to your feminine side will also feel what the earth is feeling," he explained. You could hear a pin drop when the shaman was explaining this relationship. Many women spoke up and said they were already feeling more emotional than usual. "Cry with the Earth," said the shaman. "We all must release the density we are carrying and it is through our hearts this will occur."
I wouldn't have connected the shaman's teaching with last weekend's trip to lava had it not been for my own experience coupled by profound realizations. My girlfriend's release reminded me of the teaching of Mother Earth as a connected being to all that inhabits her. The language of Mother Earth that spoke through me translated into something very sacred to me.
The mineral water holds past memories of Gaia and as these memories percolate to the surface; those who soak in her memories are healed and in turn are healing the planet. We are all one in the same, and consciousnesses in the form of mineral-trace-memories are being replayed through the experience of now. This realization can be likened to the drowning victim who survives her ordeal and explains how her life "flashed before her eyes." As we and the Earth die to an old way of being, we relive past traumas together, for the very last moment in this age. We flash the movie of our entire lives in order to come to terms with its completion and lessons. Earth flashes back to her traumas in the form of billions of years of radical geological changes. Earth reels in the form of earth quakes and hot flashes. She may even flip her lid upside down in the form of a polar change. In comparison, we humans seem to be experiencing more frequent sickness, radical shifts in life events, powerful emotional episodes and sometimes, sudden unexpected death. Even old rashes surface to the skin, flashing back the childhood chicken pox that occurred; all of it a lesson in completion!
It's as if, one last time, the 3rd dimensional reality and all its density are flashing before us. All we can do is release and complete with it and step into what is next. Mother Earth is and so are all her inhabitants!