Hope through Change

disease-in-the-middle-agesAs a child I remember having this recurring dream.  In it, all the old structures around us had crumbled to the ground and there were these bird people looking after us.

I must have been about 5 years old when I first started having these dreams because it was before I was going to school full time.  Just before I entered first grade.

The dream always started in the same way.  I’d ‘wake up’ in the dream and the buildings and structures that were all around me were either abandoned or had been reduced to rubble.  Most of the sky, rocks and debris were all a pale gray hue.  The air felt stale and unhealthy.  The feeling of the dream was one of discomfort, desolation and a permeating sense of isolation as I walked through the empty streets of the dream.

Then, from among the heaps of rubble, several large ‘bird people’,  beings three times my size with large eyes and beaks, colored in colors of pale green and blue, came towards me.  The colors of their feather capes were a contrast to the monochrome background around us.  I remember feeling uncertain but not afraid.  One of the bird people put their feather cape over me.  I immediately felt protected, safe.  The others were in a semi-circle and holding some kind of class or training.

These bird people didn’t speak but communicated to me ‘through space’ to my mind.  They told me something like ‘the old has ended and the new is beginning’.  ‘We are here to help you move through this new world’.

What they said to me made me feel more at ease.

In the dream, the world had obviously changed.  The only direction was moving forward.  These bird protectors were showing me new tools and ways to live.  I would spend time with them in different parts of the city and they would show me how to look/approach thoughts/people differently.  It felt as if they were teaching me a new language.  The dream ended there, in the learning sessions being conducted by the bird people.

I usually would wake with a feeling of being welcomed into a new sense of community and a way of being in the world.  At the time, being 5, that dream felt to me like I was living in some kind of future movie and when I would awake, I’d be back to my everyday life.

Over the years I have reflected on that dream, and because it had been recurring, it was sealed in my memory in detail, so it was rather easy to recall.

Yesterday, when the sky was a bit more gray, that recall came back when I was alone in my quiet meditations. I again remembered this dream.  Now, 45 years later after first having those visions, the similarities to my experience and images I see on the news gave me chills.  Was this dream prophetic?  What meaning does it have for me now?

I do feel many structures are coming down or being re-created in new ways.  Community is happening virtually ‘through space’.   Are the bird people representative of the health care workers wearing personal protective equipment?  I’m not sure.

I’m still processing the dream and how it relates to our current circumstances.  It feels to me  that despite the dystopian qualities we experience and the radical changes in behavior we all have begun to implement, a new potential is emerging.  For now, I am embracing this new way of being.  I feel the dream offered hope through accepting change.

Open to your interpretations.

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Happiness for Hope

images2D3KCWJHEverything that is done in the world is done by hope, said Martin Luther.  It’s a powerful statement, and one to reflect on.  What is hope?  For me, it’s holding space for the highest and best outcome of  a difficult or even seemingly impossible situation.  It’s believing that possibilities can occur, that a path can open up, that a new form can be born.

I’m happy that such a phenomena as hope exists.  It reminds me of Reiki, in a way, in that it is always there, but we have to be willing to be open to asking for it.  If we aren’t open, then, all can seem hopeless.  So I always do try to be open, to hope for the possibilities, to what can happen for the highest good.

Some more inspiring thoughts on hope:

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

Vaclav Havel

Concentration Camp Reiki

When I was 14 years old, I traveled through Germany with my parents.  My father, a historian in his own right, felt it important for me to see the museum and grounds at Dachau, the first concentration camp built by the Nazis.

I had read the Diary of Anne Frank in school, but visiting the former place where such atrocities took place, was quite another level of coming to learn about the Holocaust.  The memory of that visit was unquestionably one of the most significant experiences of my youth.  My perspective on the world, on history, on what people are capable of, on what it means to be a survivor, all of this was shaped by that visit.  I remember viscerally feeling sick to my stomach in some of the old barracks, and that the whole area felt like a vacuum, a dead zone.  I wrote a poem (at end of blog) to help me process my own feelings and emotions of the experience.

Fast forward thirty years later.  I had the opportunity to go back to Germany, although this time, the northern part of the country, and visit the former site of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg.

Since learning to work with Reiki 18 years ago, I have brought healing to many of the places I have visited in the world.  I intended to do the same for this site.  Unlike Dachau, almost all of the buildings at Neuengamme had been torn down and replaced by 2 foot high ‘shadows’ of where the buildings had been.neuengamme-concentration

It was a powerful statement to have those buildings torn down and just rubble remain.

There was one pile of stones in the ground that represented a solitary confinement cell block where many acts of terror had been committed.  I sat down next to it and held out my hands, sending Reiki into the past, present and future.   At this cell block, I also saw  flowers and prayer offerings.  I thought about how many other prayer services around the world have been conducted here and sent from a distance.  Thirty years ago I did not see this.   My Reiki session was but one of many, many more acts of healing that has been offered before and will continue to come over the years ahead from all the people that have been committed to making positive change in the world.

This space of change and hope is what I felt this time at the ruins of the concentration camp.  There is more space than there was thirty years ago.  And in thirty years to come, as long as the memorial remains, more healing will have taken place.

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Untitled by Eileen Wurst (written at 14 and published 6 years later in 1990 in Whispers in the Wind:  A Collection of Poetry, Quill Books)

I looked among their dying eyes

Full of the bitter tears of their bitter lives

Whipped, beaten, scorned and scared,

Shot, hung, slaughtered and starved;

…they had survived through it all.

 

Mocked against their religion,

Taken away their belief,

This is how they lived in their

many years of grief.

Freedom was just a word,

A laugh, a stale joke.

Opportunities never came,

Always absent was the hope;

…but still they stood tall.

 

The day they fell, the dark sky cried.

The generals smiled, full of pride.

Naked, they marched into the pits of hell,

Filled with wire, and of pungent smell.

Their hearts cried out,

Their souls were blest,

For finally they had come to eternal rest;

…and they had survived through it all.

 

Copyright 2013 Eileen Dey

Mobile Experts Said it Wouldn’t Work, But Rescue Dog and Dying 4-yr-old Boy Proved Them Wrong

As nearly anyone who has adopted a pet from a shelter can attest, there’s something special about a rescued animal; it’s as if they can sense they’ve been given a second chance at life. That’s certainly the case with Juno, a Belgian Malinois who was adopted just days before she was to be euthanized. But since coming to live with her family in Alcoa, Tenn., she, herself, has taken on the role of rescuer to a dying boy whom experts believed was not suited for any service dog.

Four-year-old Lucas Hembree suffers from Sanfilippo syndrome, an inherited, metabolic disease that causes children to lose the ability to speak, walk and eat. The disease also causes severe neurological damage that leads to aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and seizures.

With no cure or treatment currently available, Lucas isn’t expected to live past the age of 15 and may be in a vegetative state by the time he is eight. Realizing that every moment is extra precious, Chester and his wife, Jennifer, wanted their son to experience as much as he could while still having the capacity to enjoy life.

A Faith-filled Shelter Visit

When the disease started to take a toll on Lucas’ joints, Chester looked into getting a service dog to keep Lucas steady when he walked.

 “I was told that a service dog would cost at least $15,000, and that Lucas wasn’t a good candidate because of his deteriorating abilities and his behavior,” Chester says. “I refused to accept this answer.”

A combination of prayer and persistence led Chester to Juno. “I came across a posting about her on a rescue group’s website,” he says. “I had the feeling in my gut that I had to go see this dog.”

The whole family made the two-hour trip to meet Juno, who was being held at an east Tennessee shelter. “She was emaciated, and was days away from being euthanized,” Chester says. “She had been surrendered to the shelter because her previous owners didn’t understand the breed.”

Fortunately, Chester did. He’d gotten to know and love the Belgian Malinois while working as a law enforcement officer years earlier.

“I used to help with the training of police K-9s, and our dogs were Belgian Malinoises,” he says. “I loved their desire to work and their ‘never quit’ attitude.”  In addition to being a popular choice for police dogs, the breed is often used in combat. In fact, it’s believed that the dog which helped Navy SEALs take down Osama bin Laden was a Belgian Malinois.

Juno Proved a Winner

But while the breed has proven its prowess on patrol and in combat, Chester needed to be sure Juno would be a suitable service dog for his little boy. “I put her on a loose leash and she walked with me and never pulled,” Chester says. “Next came the Lucas test. They took to each other immediately, like kindred spirits.”

The Hembrees brought Juno home and showered her with love and affection.

“I wanted to make sure she had plenty of time to adjust to the family before I started the formal training,” Chester says. Yet, from the beginning there seemed to be something instinctive about their relationship. One day, Chester noticed Juno circling Lucas while he was in his wheelchair. “She was whining and nudging him with her nose,” Chester says. “I checked his oxygen levels and they were very low.” After giving him oxygen, Lucas returned to normal and Juno greeted him with licks and affection.

“That’s when I knew she had the ability to pick up on his neurological changes,” Chester says. “Now she alerts us when Lucas is about to have a seizure or if his oxygen levels drop really low. She has saved him several times.”

Juno has become a literal shoulder for Lucas to lean on when walking, and a calming influence when he became agitated. And while Chester makes sure that Juno gets time off, he says that it’s hard to get Juno to leave Lucas’ side. “You don’t see one without the other close by,” he says. “It really feels like it was meant to be.”

To learn more about Lucas you can go to the Facebook page his dad writes about Lucas.

By Michelle Leifer, Vetstreet.com Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Photo credit.

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