Something happened recently that I didn’t understand at the time. I was driving in the far-left lane of the three lanes going east on Fletcher to a friend’s home for a celebration dinner. It was around 3:30 in the afternoon as I was headed toward Bruce B. Downs, major North/South road. Fletcher is a 6-lane thoroughfare. I was traveling with the traffic at the speed limit, between 45 – 50 MPH, when I noticed that not too far ahead on my left there was a woman with three children standing in the median between the east and west lanes. There were no cars ahead of me in my lane or in the other two for that matter, but there was a whole regiment of automobiles right behind me in all three lanes.
All of a sudden the little girl bolted out into the empty space between where she was standing and those of us in the cars speeding toward her, attempting to make it across the three lanes ahead of the oncoming traffic. I slammed on my brakes, leaned on my horn, and flipped the flasher, while holding tightly to the wheel to keep my car going very straight.
Without knowing how I knew I just knew that I needed to stop without swerving in either direction. To swerve to the left to avoid the child would have meant that I would have likely killed the woman and the other two children, or I would have had a head on accident with the westbound traffic. If I swerved to the right and if she had managed to outrun my car, I would have hit her in the middle lane, and likely would have crashed into the cars that were behind me in the middle and right lanes.
The sound of my horn and the flashing lights caught the attention of all the drivers behind me who most likely had not seen the child, and the cars in all three lanes responded in time to bring all of the traffic to a screeching stop. The child continued to run into the next lane and on to the other side missing death by a microsecond. I was shaken to the core. If I had not seen the woman and children out of the corner of my eye and been fully alert I would have hit the child and at that speed would have killed her. After regaining my composure, I continued to the next light and turned around and then drove back to see if I could find woman and children.
I spotted the three children coming out of the gas station store with candy in their hands. I got out of my car and approached the child. I kneeled down in front of the little girl who looked to be about 5 years old and told her I was the lady in the car that had almost hit her. I told her how scared I was and that I wanted for her to never do that again. I looked directly into her eyes and told her that I wanted her to grow up into a fine young lady who could do wonderful things with her life, but I needed her to promise me she would never run out in traffic like that ever. She shook her head yes.
I told the little boys that I guess were about 7 and 9, that I hoped they would be careful too and not take such dangerous risks. While hugging the boys, I told them that they needed to grow up to do the things in the world that only they could do and that they had to live to do that. The older boy had tears in his eyes. The mother came out of the gas station while I was talking with the children and didn’t say anything to me.
As I returned to my car, a man approached me to ask if I was OK. He said that he had seen it all and that if I had hit the little kid it wouldn’t have been my fault. I began to cry and through my tears, told him that wasn’t the point. He offered me water and put his hand on my shoulder for reassurance.
All the way to my friend’s home, on and off, I cried and I offered thanks to God for brakes that worked, for no rain on the road, for letting me be able to act without thinking. I kept asking what value that event could have in my life.
For several days after that split-second event, I was feeling despondently sad, a feeling that I could not escape. It was so interesting in that I could not divert my attention from the sadness except for the hours I worked with clients. I presumed it was my child-self experiencing something that I had not looked at in the Fletcher Street event…so my response was to let myself feel the sadness that my inner-child was feeling and then to connect with her when I could to discover what was needed. But nothing worked to lift the pervasive heavy sadness. Finally, I decided that I had to do something to lift what was feeling too “dense” to carry any more. I put in a call to another friend and advisor, Anne.
I told Anne of the sadness, and when I finally spoke the words, I was able to trace the feeling to my decision to “jump off the curb, and run desperately for my freedom” fifteen years before when I left my husband. When I made the decision to take the leap, I felt pain instead of joy from being set free.
Anne began talking about the fact that part of me realized that sadness was OK, understandable, and really not a big deal. But under the sadness was the energy that needed to be healed, and that was the fear of the irrevocability of a wrong choice…a belief that if I make a wrong choice, that is it! There is only one choice so making a mistake is too terrifying. Anne sensed that I had great fear of retribution for wrong choices.
As Anne and I talked, I kept seeing a replay of the 5-year-old child running for her life, but instead of seeing pavement and current traffic on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa, I was seeing a grassy field and men chasing another black child. I told Anne about what I was seeing.
I told Anne what I saw in the mother’s face as she watched her child bolt into the traffic. The look in her eyes was something I could not shake. What I saw was a mother who wanted something horrible to happen. I can’t explain how I knew that, but it was as if some knowing flooded into me when I saw her face. I felt horrible for even thinking such an awful thought.
I had been familiar with the drama, for many lifetimes…of suffering, of sacrifice, of repeating patterns and I know that I have been on a journey to free myself from the drama. This event was my “graduation” from having to join the drama to help people fulfill their need to repeat the suffering and sacrifice drama. My response was totally automatic, non-thinking, yet fully conscious.
Anne suggested that what I had chosen was to demonstrate that I am no longer operating on the level of drama that I saw in the mother’s eyes and felt in the child’s energy. The look in her eyes was chilling to me–I saw a woman who chose to do nothing to prevent her child from running. The child bolted in self-sacrifice to provide mother with what her eyes told me she believed she needed to experience…that she was helpless to protect her children from the all powerful “others” who would kill her child and leave her to mourn.
The mother had put herself and her children in harms way. She was crossing a very fast and busy 6 lane thoroughfare with three small children without going a few hundred feet to the light and cross-walk. She had not provided some kind of restraining leash for her little 5-year-old. When the child bolted, the mother stood frozen, she did nothing to protect or prevent something horrible from happening.
I saw a look of wanting the bad thing to happen to justify her anger at rich people who live in a world where they have cars that are powerful while she has to live in a world where she has to walk in the path of danger. How better to make us suffer by showing us how our world has killed her child and I was the one she picked…on a metaphysical level.
Anne told me that I demonstrated that I have learned that I do not have to join the drama. But as she spoke, I knew that a tiny part of me, perhaps .01% in my legs and feet wanted to join the drama, to cry in agony. Somewhere inside, I wanted to blame myself for making a “bad decision” in another lifetime hundreds of years ago that caused my child to die, while I was attempting a freedom run from slavery. Part of me also wanted to punish myself for making a decision 15 years ago that caused my former husband such agony while on another freedom run. That part of me wanted to help this family in their drama as I saw it in the mother’s face. It was a very small part-but big enough to draw the potential drama into my experience.
Anne reminded me that for lifetimes I have picked up on what people wanted and I have sacrificed what I want for what they want by joining their drama of suffering/sacrificing in order to remain in harmony with them, to be included, accepted, wanted. And then their drama became mine as I flipped back and forth between suffering and sacrificing in lifetime after lifetime. In this life, I sacrificed myself for my parents’ drama, and I sacrificed myself for my former husband’s drama in this lifetime and then I suffered when I left…but I created my own drama for feeling sad that I “made him sad.”
I realized that this little group of people on Fletcher Ave. the four of them and I chose the scene in synchronicity. They were also choosing to not participate in the belief in “horror” and sacrifice this time just I had chosen to not participate, and as did all the other drivers that were close behind me that afternoon. And perhaps they can discover other choices as I am doing now. I demonstrated to them and to me that there is always another chance, and in a strange and wonderful way, so did they demonstrate that same choice to me.
What I have felt all my life, and likely for many lifetimes is that it is dangerous to leave…so my feet are frozen, they are heavy and in pain. I took the leap 15 years ago for something better…and in some way, the little 5- year-old child on Fletcher demonstrated that it was possible to take a leap and make it.
The energy of the family was asking for the hit…I demonstrated to myself and to them that I could hear the request and choose what was best for me…which was not to hit the child. I have lived my life believing that the demonstration of being a good person was to give people what they want…but now I know that I have the right, and duty to consider what I want and give only what is good for me. I have relinquished what had for so long been a core of my being, to give people what they want.
My old belief was that if I cause others to feel pain, I must carry their pain forever. If I hit the child how could I ever be joyous again; if I leave a husband and he is in agony, how could I ever find pleasure in my accomplishments that might grow from my leap to freedom.
The problem was that I thought I caused the pain…so I believed I had to make myself suffer. The truth is that all of the participants in a drama participate in order to fulfill their own beliefs about what life is. As I began to reflect on my life with my former husband, I could see that he was living his life with me in a way that would lead to me leaving and that would fulfill what I believe his belief was, that what he wants he cannot have. It also fit with the belief that who he wants will hurt him because he was to first blame for hurting them. He needed to blame himself for not being good enough…so he became not good enough and then punished himself with deep unending sadness. If he remains sad today, he is simply living his drama, which says that he has to be sad. This has nothing to do with me and has everything to do with his belief that he must be sad. There are other options but they require releasing old beliefs about how things have to be.
Anne mentioned that when someone decides to find another way, it provides a way to free everybody.
I felt huge relief from this processing, but was aware of pain in my lower legs and feet. When I allowed my awareness to go into the pain in my lower extremities, I found that when I escaped with my child in that lifetime as a slave, I lost my child in the flight for freedom and blamed myself for his death. When I was recaptured, I was beaten on the bottoms of my feet and legs-a beating I accepted as punishment for leading my child into death because of my decision to seek freedom. Just bringing it into my conscious awareness resulted in a great relief in my legs and feet.
I told Anne that I have been reluctant to consider seeking employment with graduate schools or other institutions where I would work for somebody else. Without knowing it I had feared that I would be inviting myself into another institution that would “own” me.
So I did a visualization of being in a place where I have chosen and they have chosen me, and it is a perfect match and sent an invitation to the universe to help me find the place where I can be free. I invited a place to come to me where I can feel peace-filled, relaxed, accepted, included, loved, and respected. I chose to release being in any place where I feel afraid or not wanted.
Perhaps we can all decide to not participate in anything that causes suffering, and choose to participate only in what brings peace, relaxation, acceptance, inclusion, love, and respect. And we can embrace the idea that we do have choice-and that choice does not have to be dangerous or terrifying.