I recently went upstairs to the little closet sized room with the sweet window that hides at the back of my 1912 house. I stretched out on the shaggy white rug in there and decided I’d try to meditate. I had a tension headache and sometimes moving it through meditation can help.

The cat came to lie in the crook of my arm. There were water sounds outside from the neighbor’s pond, and I congratulated myself on all the right conditions. I closed my eyes, thoughts racing and then idling around a lot of the same things I usually think about.

I wonder what I’ll eat after this.

Maybe I’ll make cookies.

I need to water the houseplants.

I think my breath is bad.

How long since I dusted?

How long since I thought about dusting…?

A D    N A S E U M

Hey, I never claimed to be an accomplished meditator.

I cracked an eye and rolled it around the little room. There was a spider on the ceiling not far away. He seemed to me to be a kind of Zen Charlotte of the Web. I got up to get a glass and a piece of heavy paper downstairs, my preferred spider relocation tools. I ducked back under the low doorframe to find Zen Charlotte just where I’d left him, waiting. Peaceful. I put the glass over him and as obedient as you please he scuttled to the bottom of it so I could take him outside.

I made for the door, congratulating myself on my compassion. My head was still achy but I held the spider carefully, so carefully. Focused. Then wham! I forgot to duck and ran right smack into the doorframe.

I sank to the floor, sobbing like a child. I sobbed and sobbed for about an hour. Rivers of anguish poured out of my head, my eyes, my hands. The twitch twitch of my feet.

Everything seemed to run out of me…

Anguish over the current state of the world.

Frustration that I still hadn’t found, as the song goes, what I’m looking for.

Desolation that I may never find it. That elusive something I seek and seek and cannot name.

I’m trying, I said inside myself as a sobbed. Can’t you see how hard I’m trying.

And as I emptied what was in there out of me, I became aware that I was cracking. The image was of a dark brittle shell cracking over a golden egg-like form beneath. I was the shell and also the golden egg, which might have made me feel a touch disassociated if the egg-me hadn’t suddenly begun to speak.

Let me through, she said through the cracking.

She wasn’t pushing so much as bursting now that the shell-me had started to fissure. I could feel her power, her constant never-going-anywhere presence. She felt deeply reassuring and also exciting as hell.

I suddenly thought of the Yogic tradition known as Shaktipat. Shakti is the feminine aspect of divine energy, and Shaktipat happens when the guru awakens the student’s Kundalini, or the spiritual energy said to be lying coiled at the base of the spine. Shaktipat is given many ways. One of the ways it is given is through touching the head.

I’m not sure if my old house gave me Shaktipat, if I gave it to myself, or if maybe I was just mildly concussed. I do know that the golden egg-me is still hanging out. Still here. There’s more shell-me coming off, and egg-me is still calmly—intensely—glowing. She’s a soft thing, and she is also mighty.

It feels like she’s got some more things to say.


(And Zen Charlotte, who waited in the glass for me to take him outside, did make it safely to his new home.)