I met Jean Kowalski on Twitter, of all places. Funny how I’ve moved to a place where my tribe seems to live, and yet, I’m discovering via Twitter that my tribe is everywhere. Kick-ass women who share my vision of healing women in creative, juicy, community-building, authentic self ways abound, like rose petals from some cosmic Pink bouquet floating on my lavender-scented river via Twitter (but I’m getting ahead of myself here).
Back to Jean. Jean is an intuitive, and her life’s work revolves around soul healing and angel therapy, something I wasn’t familiar with, at least not until today. Jean tweeted me a while back because she saw images of The Woman Inside Project, my art project for which I’ve been casting the torsos of breast cancer survivors and writing their stories about the beauty within. When Jean saw my art, images from her spirit guides started “downloading,” and she felt called to share her visions with me. We chatted back and forth about how we could better demonstrate the woman inside each of the women I cast. Trying to discuss something three dimensional in less than 140 characters on Twitter got tough, so for reasons I can’t explain, I found myself inviting this stranger to travel up from Laguna Beach and stay in my quiet little guest house in Marin County. When she arrived, she admitted that she wasn’t exactly sure why she had just driven 8 1/2 hours north but that the spirits would make the answer known. And so they have.
Today, Jean offered to guide me in a soul healing journey, and given that my new motto is Just Say Yes, I agreed, without having any clue what I was signing up for. With me lying down with my eyes closed, Jean invoked her healing spirit guides and invited me to do the same. I invited Willow, my inner guide who appeared to me during an interactive imagery session with Pink Posse Malaya Quinn, and who is a dead ringer for my Aunt Trudy Rankin (who I now call Willow). I also invited Jesus, because he’s my favorite, and Kwan Yin, because she appears to me in dreams.
Because my eyes were closed, I couldn’t see what Jean was doing, but I could feel waves of air and smell beautiful fragrance, so I assumed she was doing some healing energy work. Finally, after many deep breaths, she led me on a journey into my heart. We opened one big gate, leading us into a corridor demonstrating four doors. In the corridor, I visualized Willow, there to greet me and accompany me on my journey. Jean invited me to open the first door and describe what I saw.
Now, first a word about guided imagery. I discovered I was REALLY good at this, long before I was living such a floofy, woo woo life and working at an integrative medicine center. Back on my wedding day at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, I signed up for a shamanic journey, just so I could say I did something crazy on my wedding day. But it turned out to be one of the most profound experiences of my life. Now I know some of you Pinkies have probably done guided imagery- and some have not. But I highly recommend it. We use it all the time in Owning Pink workshops. But I digress.
Upon opening the first door, I saw a worn teddy bear that looked similar to my dog Grendel’s ratty toy bear. Jean asked me if Teddy had a message for me, and I answered, “Snuggle me.” I snuggled the bear, and with Willow standing beside me, we walked around the room, where I discovered a Victrola. Jean asked me to lift the needle, put on a record, and tell her what song was playing. I heard Amazing Grace, and listened. When Jean asked if the song had a message for me, I heard a voice loud and clear that said, “You’re supposed to meet a songwriter named Grace. She’s going to help you write the Owning Pink anthem.” Wow. Grace, are you out there? I’m crazy about music, and I’ve always wanted to write a song- just one fabulous song before I die. It’s written on my wall on my bucket list. Funny what shows up in the center of your heart.
Next. Jean lead me around the room, where the image of a red velvet ottoman appeared, like something a queen would rest her feet on. She asked if I wanted to sit on it, and I said I wanted to kneel beside it. I rested Teddy on top of it, and it morphed into an altar. What message did the altar have for me? That maybe I should plan this sacred altar-building workshop with Carmela Carlyle, my Laughter Yoga instructor. But Jean wanted me to go deeper. What was the bigger message? That I want Owning Pink to help women get in touch with spirit. Own Spirituality? Ah, yes. Easy ‘nuff!
Was there anything else in the room? Yes. There were rose petals on the floor. Pink, of course. What was their message? That we are more beautiful in community that by ourselves. That I am not alone. That I have this whole, friggin’ Pink Posse to support me. That I am enough- just the way I am- flaws, scars, jagged edges, and all. (Tears starting to flow at this point…) And then Jean invoked a white light that shone into my heart and then back out of my heart, spreading into the hearts of every single on of you in the Pink Posse. White healing light, reminding us that we are not alone. That we are here for each other. All the while, I felt Jean’s hand pressing on my arm, reminding me. Here she is- a Pinkie stranger turned healer. We are SO not alone.
Finally, it was time to leave the first room, go back to the corridor, and enter the next door. Inside, a wrench awaited me, and I began to laugh. (Mind you, all these objects are appearing from my psyche. Jean is not telling me there’s a wrench. She’s asking, “What’s in the room?” And yet each object surprises me. What the hell is a wrench doing in heart?) I giggled, because I remember a time when I had just left a toxic marriage- leaving behind my house, my boat, and my wrench. Dad, who was desperately looking for tools so he could help set up my new house yelled, “What kind of woman doesn’t have a wrench?” in this very out-of-character rage. Uh, duh, Dad. The kind of woman who just left her abusive husband- gimme a break.
Then for years after that, we joked about that wrench, my Dad and I. Eyes closed, heart open- I laughed. Until my laughing turned into tears, because suddenly in the second room, Dad was there, leading me towards a white shining light where a white marble bench sat. Dad sat down, and like a little girl, I climbed onto his lap and snuggled, just like I had with Teddy. And then Teddy reminded me of my dog Ariel, who loved her stuffed animals and who died days before Dad died, two weeks after Siena was born. And then the flood came.
Jean asked what message Dad had for me, and I clearly heard, “It’s okay if you don’t practice medicine the way I did.” Dad always made fun of alternative health, so I grew up with a cynical attitude and Dad’s characteristic sensible side. Not until Dad died did I allow my authentic self to come out of hiding and discover that I believe in all this woo woo healing. My authentic self thinks alternative health providers are doing what we traditional docs don’t do-listen, hold space, be present. Which is why I joined an integrative medicine center. Why can’t we all collaborate our tools so we have more tools in our toolbox? But deep down, I have this nagging sense that my beloved Dad would laugh at me. Yet, here he was in the center of my heart, telling me how proud he is. How it’s okay if someday I want to leave medicine altogether. That I don’t have to be a doctor for him to love me. More tears from little wounded Lissa, sitting on Daddy’s lap.
Then, without another word, he was gone, and I felt so alone, until Willow showed up. Jean asked if anything else was in the room, and I saw a lasso, and walked over to inspect it further. Only then did I discover that it wasn’t a lasso- it was a noose. More tears. My cousin Corry, Willow’s son, hung himself. This room was torturing me. I was heaving through sobs by this point, as Jean asked me whether anyone else was in the room with me. And sure enough, Corry was there, light and bright as an angel, holding his beloved cello. He had a message for Willow. He said, “I’m sorry, Mom. I wish I hadn’t done it. And it’s time for you to let go.” After more tears and the sound of his cello song, Jean invoked the white healing light that enveloped us, spreading its essence and reminding me that I am not alone. Daddy is with me always, and he and Corry are my angels. I have Mom, Matt, Siena, and all the rest of my Pink Posse- you. But damn, this soul healing is hard work!
She must have sensed I’d had about enough journeying into my broken heart, because Jean then invited me to step into a beautiful place, and I visualized a meadow surrounded by mountains, similar to a scene I once saw near Aspen with my cousin and Pink Posse member Rebecca Bass. In the middle of this meadow was a natural hot spring, and Willow and I slipped into the spring together. Jean asked what message the water had for me, and an image of Tricia Barrett’s green juice and its healing waters came into my mind. The message came through loud and clear- I’m supposed to help Tricia spread her message- serve green juice at all Owning Pink functions, allow the juice to be the nectar that unites us- and heals.
In the next room, I saw Tricia’s kitchen, the one she’s trying to find for Green Resurrection and has been trying to manifest. It had a big, old, dusty industrial stove and oven sitting in the corner. Jean asked me what I was supposed to do with the stove, and I said, “Not turn it on,” which made me laugh, since Tricia makes mostly raw foods. She invited me to open the oven door and see what was inside, and I saw a glass egg, similar to the one that sits in my Anything Box as I write. She asked what message the egg had for me, and I said, “Potential.” I’m still giving birth- and I’m not quite a chicken yet. Give me time. She then asked me to crack the egg open, and inside, I saw a diamond- a gift for me. What did it have to tell me? Well, it was an uncut diamond, but it reminded me that all it needed was a few cuts and a good polish- then it would radiate. Just like the heart of every woman in this collective Pink Posse. Aren’t we all uncut diamonds? And yet it is our cuts- our wounds- that make us glow- and connect. It is in this place of woundedness that we bring out the healer in each other. And isn’t that what the Pink Posse is all about? Gathering wounded beauties together with the intention of healing? And isn’t that what The Woman Inside Project is all about?
Next, Jean asked me to look inside the diamond and tell her what I saw. I saw a glowing bright Red light. Which made me laugh because just this morning, @daisybones on Twitter wrote a comment on Owning Pink about how she hates the color Pink but might learn to love it because Pink is Red’s daughter, and she loves Red. Which made me think of Mom. If I’m Pink, is she Red? Yes, she’s my Red-Hot Pink Mama. And what was Red’s message for me? That maybe Mom and I are meant to do more collaborating together, as we did in the Owning Joy After Loss workshop last week. That if Red is Pink’s Mama, maybe she needs to find her own Pink (and Red) path in this life without Dad. And maybe Owning Pink will lead the way.
She asked me if I saw anything else in the room, and I saw a crystal vase- a tall, beautiful vase by itself. What message did it have for me? That it is the vessel that can contain all of the Pink rose petals, the whole bouquet. I paint the vessel shape all the time in my art. Is art the vessel that contains all the rest of the fragments of my life? Maybe. Then, in came the white healing light, uniting all all together, white glue, white shimmering, radiating light coming out of Pink and Red flower petals, inside the diamond in the rough.
In the next room, I visualized a hiking path, and Jean invited me to walk it. I smiled because I knew the way. It was the path leading to my favorite rock in Big Sur, the one at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park that I can no longer access because of the Big Sur fires. But on my heart journey, I could go there. And sit. And just be. What message did my rock have for me? That you don’t have to go anywhere to find your answers, the way I once thought. That all of your answers are right here, in your heart. And all you have to do is listen. And that I’ll be back to Big Sur- and to my rock- someday.
And then my journey was done. We left my heart, but left the door cracked on, so I can go back anytime- and leave room for more white healing light to come in.
Damn! Who knew all that was buried in my little Pink heart? If you live near Laguna Beach, I highly recommend you seek out Jean Kowalski, this incredible healer. I’m still too fresh to process everything that happened this morning. But I can tell you it was deep- and sacred. I’m still reeling. What does it all mean? The way will be made clear.
Bullet points from my experience this morning:
1. You don't have to go anywhere to find your own answers. They're all inside of you.
2. We carry much more deep inside our hearts than we think. And the pathway to joy is to heal what we carry inside. Who knew healing could come in something as simple as a vision of white light?
3. Listen to your intuition. It's very wise.
4. If you're feeling stuck, failing to live the joyful life you want, or have lost your mojo, consider taking a soul healing journey into your heart.
What’s in your heart, Pinkies?
With Pink, Red, diamond-in-the-rough love from the very center of my heart,
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