Two years ago I dreamed of a paper with two paths drawn— one labeled ‘wounded healer’ and the other I could not decipher but knew it said the same thing. I lie in the French Broad River of North Carolina in early July and expose my palms announcing, pleading really, ‘Open my wounds to grace and reveal God’s glory!’. I really need a God with open wounds like mine.
The Wild Goose justice/art/music/spirituality festival is immediately a home away from home and I begin making fast friends and am embraced for just being simply me. I’ve come with my unique gifts: a Christian yoga teacher, one who embodies the Christ during my body prayer.
I still feel special nearly 3 weeks post-Goose as I realize the universe is expanding and reconciling and I am a very important player in this great drama. As are you!!
Not only had the veil thinned at Wild Goose, there was no evidence of a veil. I was loving on strangers in a way that felt both new and natural. I listened to stories of heartache and embraced hearts while long-held tears fell. Based on past experience at the prison where I taught meditation, when this depth of love is flowing it is just a matter of time before the enemy stakes a claim.
The river plays an integral role in my journey as I am baptized again and again over the four days. The most significant story involves young Gabriel.⊗
I’ve just arrived to the festival campground alone and excited to share my gifts of yoga, cacao natural plant medicine and friendship. I am invited by a few friendly faces to partake in a blessing and my immediate response is YES who wouldn’t want a blessing?
Young Gabriel leads me to the river and prepares a place. I am very impressed by his willingness and readiness to serve. He begins to wash my feet with gentleness and nurturing, betraying his 18 years. He speaks of the dirt and silt arising and how I too, will experience confusion and fear, losing focus and clarity.
Gabriel confidently prophesies how I am here to heal and serve over the weekend but I must remain STEADFAST like the river which knows it is traveling home. He reiterates that I must be patient during the trials until my vision is restored and trust the journey, trust the flow and follow my Father.
I weep at the use of the word STEADFAST. You see, I was abandoned by my birth father nearly 50 years ago. I have never met this man and this fact has often left me ungrounded and searching for male attention and confirmation of my goodness from the outside world. I know that Gabriel’s word choice is divinely-inspired in his blessing me.
I could not have known that the test would come just 24 hours later when my peace would be stolen by the slanderer and I would begin to walk my Damascus Road (part 2 to follow soon).
Soon after my time with God by the river embracing all of nature’s elements, I learn that my new friend Gabriel and I have something uncanny in common— he too has never met his birth father.
Fast forward to the final day, Sunday. The wounds of my past of excessive drinking, stubbornness and deception are raw and bloody and I contemplate my Jesus renaming me anita Grace (emphasis on Grace always) while He places a crown on my head in meditation in my little tent by the riverbed.
My tears/His tears are washing away my sins and he is rocking me in the holy water of the womb telling me I am rooted in innocence. He says I was there in your heart when your father left and I am here now, alive in you as you.
Once in a great while, God tells me these sweet things— usually they happen by bodies of water. Two years ago by the Cooper River near my home He said I was like Saul who became Paul. I didn’t know what that meant (I was raised Catholic and am not very familiar with biblical characters) but I trusted it was good.
He also said I would wash the feet of the inmates where I teach yoga and meditation. The jury is still out on this one!!
Rain, sweat, tears, the sea: these are all organic baptisms. Water is how we start over, because it’s what we’re made of. Whatever the question is today–the first answer is water.∇
The harvest was abundant at my first Goose…rivers of living water were spilling out of me and spirit was infusing my waking life.
Keep an eye out for part 2 of my Wild Goose story.
⊗Name changed to protect the innocent