Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
Woman with a brilliant mind

Friday, November 30, 2012

Travel into your own life can be the strangest trip

When I can't sleep and my heart is pounding and my thoughts are racing, sometimes I get up from my bed and put on my beat up shearling slippers and my fleecy bathrobe, and I'll get in my car and drive past Gertrude's townhouse to see if her light is on. When it is, I go and knock softly on her front door. And if she's awake, she'll hear me and let me in and talk to me.

Except, last night I don't remember getting dressed and driving. I just remember being aware I was at her house and we were sitting on the couch, each with our own comforter keeping our feet warm. Cars swished past. I leaned my head back and fell asleep on the worn out burgundy couch where I usually have some tea.

I asked her, "Gert, what am I doing here on earth, now that my children are almost grown and independent, when I spent twenty years focusing on them? I just don't know."

Suddenly part of me came unlaminated and it rose up into the air. It felt the way you feel when you're a passenger in a jet that is taking off and it accelerates very fast, except I wasn't moving forward. My consciousness drifted upward and left my sleeping body and my brain down there on the couch.

Gertrude was there with me, only now she looked young, like about thirty years old. Her huge, dark eyes lost some of their dark circles but she had those hooded lids, like a gypsy. Her hair was long and curly and held back by something invisible. And it looked as if she wasn't 3D. She was all front and the sides of her head disappeared into the darkness around us. She was looking at me and speaking but not moving her mouth.

I started to want to get back into my body but Gertrude's mind suggested to my mind, a very strong phrase: Look at your life from above and outside.

I didn't want to--I wanted to get back to seeing things through my own eyes and my own filters. But she had a way of not permitting me to do it.

I started fearing her. "You're a demon!" I shouted in my mind.

"Demons try to get you away from light, goodness and happiness. I am trying to help you find it! Listen to me!"

She reached out her hands from the darkness and grasped the sides of my head and turned it to what lay below.

"Open your eyes," she demanded.

I fought her.


"Why won't you look at yourself? If you won't look at yourself, who will?"

I shook myself loose from her grasp.

"I'll do it later, when my mind feels more settled and clear."

"No you won't. So do it now. Look--at--your--life. What you see is what your life is. What you're doing is what you're making your life be about."

"You're being mean!"

She slapped me. I didn't hurt because we weren't in physical states. Only her mean lashing out made contact with my cowardice.

I looked at my life and took a moral inventory, looking at everything from how I treat people to things I've done in the past--painful memories, and good ones as well. I had a hard time determining which things hadn't been necessary or what other choices I had.

I looked at Gertrude's spirit form and I said I was afraid. She said, "Now you're on your way to becoming whole. You were never meant to always feel comfortable and happy."

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