When going for an MRI scan, it's best to have a fabulous visualisation to hand. Or to head.
For the panic of claustrophobia and monkey-minded fears.
It was the pre-historic kind of fear that gripped me. The kind that keeps babies away from snakes or false cliff edges.
But still, I wondered what the hell my mind was afraid of exactly. The machine collapsing around me? Getting stuck in it?
It was later that it dawned on me. The coffin shape of it. It's too close for comfort. When you are sent for an MRI, something is wrong. You're not there for the good of your health. You ain't healthy already. You're not doing it in the interests of science. Mortality is waving at you, grim reaper breathing down your neck whispering,
'You didn't think you'd be here forever did you?'
That's what the panic is.
The coffin shape of it.
This miracle of radio and magnetic waves.
Plus that you might get stuck in it. Obviously.
The first ever MRI scanner was built in the 70s. They said it couldn't be done, so they called it Indomitable.
There are lots of words I think I know the meaning of, but when I actually think what is it, I find I don't. I use them and hope that everyone else is skim-using too. I make myself understood, or perhaps I don't.
I have an overwhelming urge to look up 'indomitable'.
Indomitable: Incapable of being overcome, subdued, or vanquished; unconquerable.
Peggy Mount was indomitable.
So was Ena Sharples.
But surely it's a misnomer. The machine is the opposite of indomitable. Domitable would be more correct. No?
MRI scans. Amazing. The machine generates a magnetic field 30,000 times stronger than the magnetic pull of the earth. You are in the centre of it. If you stayed there for long enough, I'm sure amethysts would form in your core and moons would start to orbit. This magnetic field pulls all the protons in your cells into the same north-south polarity. They all stand up to attention. Like very tidy cellular structures, from IKEA. The magnetic fields gets switched off and radio waves somehow record the laying down of the cells as they fall back into their usual hanging around in any old compass direction they feel like.
Different tissue relaxes at different speeds, so cancerous tissue and normal tissue are recorded differently.
Human beings thought this up.
God was dancing that day.
I like to think that the moon did a wee dip closer in my direction and that the tides zigzagged in and out dancing with the magnetic field, 30,000 times stronger than that of the earth.
I didn't get to see the pictures. Was v. disappointed.
You can't have anything metal in or about you when you're in there. I thought I was going in a giant microwave so I asked, how does it work? Stopped me being quite so scared when I knew. Nobel prize for physics went to the man who invented the theory in the twenties. Took until the seventies for technology to catch up and three other men to build one.
Amazed as I am, when she put me in it, it's so in your face, I freaked. I hate that, having my face close to something like that. I'm sure it's from being gassed at the dentist when I was a child. Whatever, I was very upset and she pulled me out again. Then I breathed a bit and went back in, my visualisation in my mind and I was fine. And managed to stay very still, apart from my polar protons, which were very busy indeed.
The visualisation wasn't a visualisation at all, but a memory. Of an amazing morning at Findhorn. When I met a mad Irishman, who was a healer. It was the week of first seeing the gardener with her. The Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning we were to go to Cullerne. Cosmic jokes, when you refuse to learn a lesson, you have no idea how persistent they can be.
I was fine on the Tuesday, we can actually speak to each other now. He's gentle and talks to me, stands close to me, takes my hand. Then he starts flirting with me and it's too much. The bell goes and I leave. I feel good until I get out the gate of the garden and then I just crash and burn. I'm so low. The weather is glorious and I want rain. I don't want all this beauty around me.
I go for dinner, they aren't there. That's worse. They shag so much they don't eat.
So I sit outside and mad Irishman sits beside me. Mad in the best way. We talk and he tells me he's a healer and the story of his vision and his life. Vision from God. He's plugged right in to the holy spirit he says. I've never met anyone so full of trust in my life.
I pass a fascinating hour with him then go and tune into a geranium, as you do, with the group.
Tuning into plants. I was so sceptical and did not believe it whatsoever. But I was also sad and looking for something to keep my mind off shagging images of gardener and her. So I threw my mind into the ring and this is what happened.
We tuned in to a large amethyst at first. It was easy, pretty soon my head became full of words, I couldn't write them all down they came so fast. Like music you can't quite keep the tune of. I got heaps. I was incredulous at the effects the meditation had on my imagination. It was beautiful, just tune in and ask, "What is your essence?
Then we did the two geraniums. I got
"We are healers.
"We are often overlooked.
Then I lost it. Nothing. I was asking myself, I wonder why it's harder more tenuous to do this, is it plant matter compared to mineral?
"You are not fond of geraniums.
I was laughing, coz it's true. I'm not.
So I asked, in my thoughts, 'Why am I not found of geraniums?'
"You were bored.
I lost the meditation, altered state, whatever the hell was going on and immediately got an image of me at about 9 years old. Sitting bored rigid at my nana's window, waiting on my mum.
There were three geraniums pulsing scent over me on the dark Winter window sill.
I have no explanation for what that was about. Accessing that ancient memory. And the big part of me doesn't want an explanation. It was delightful. Nuts, I realise, but in a good way. And where's the harm? Findhorn is like that. Sometimes.
Next morning, I woke up in a panic. I was throwing up, crying, upset, no way I wanted to go to the gardener's garden. The moment I said I'm not going, I was fine. Wobbly, but fine.
I went to work in the kitchen, but only lasted an hour, there was a big animal cry coming and I wanted to process it out of me, so I did.
That lasted another hour and I had to get out the chalet.
My tree, I'll go to my tree.
So I took a flask of water and some tea bags, and packed my car. I saw mad Irishman and waved but he didn't see me. Fucking invisible to every man in the world.
I went back for a jacket then got in the car and he was there again. I put down the window and waved.
He stopped me, both arms waving like there's a train crash ahead, STOP!
So I did.
"Can you take me to Forres station?
He said "I have literally minutes to get the train and I just asked, Father, send me a car, and you appeared and your car says Magic happens.
He's smiling from ear to ear.
"Well I hope you asked him to delay the train for you as well.
"Nah, it'll be fine. It'll all be fine.
Trust. He amazes me.
I tell him I've been crying and am going to my ancient tree.
"You're going on a vision quest, you know that don't you?
Vision quest. The night I met sweet gardener, he was doing the nature talk. He made a joke about Vision Quests. I had stopped and listened to him because I'd just read it in a book the week before and didn't know what it was. The co-incidence of hearing it again caught my attention. I thought he was going to tell us what it was, that he'd done one But it was a joke. The joke that made me laugh with him, our eye lock moment, the falling.
So I missed the message.
A month later, the shaman told me, when we're not listening to our spirit guides, they make us fall in love or fall in hate until we ask, tell me, help me.
At the time I thought he was cuckoo. Now, I'm not so sure.
Gardener has been my carrot. To get me back to Findhorn. To get the message I was supposed to get. I just wasn't listening and had other lessons to get first.
Mad Irishman says, "Pray to be held.
I start to cry and tell him I've just been praying that, hold me, get me through this day.
"Ah, he says, "then pray for cleansing and purification. That's where you are now.
We get to the station and sure enough he platform is still full, the train has not arrived yet.
He leans into the car before closing the door, grinning for ear to ear, and says "I'll be thinkin' aboutcha.
He closes the door and I turn the car and hear a thought.
'You're going to need a towel.'
It's not surprising to me, it's not weird, it's not my usual monkey chatter thought, but it's in my head and calm and clear, and I think, okay, lets do this. Lets see what happens.
So I follow it all for the next two hours. I get guidance on all areas of my life, including why I met sweet gardener. In short, I have one of the most sublime mornings in my life, ever.
I end up floating naked in the Findhorn river, completely relaxed and calm with the thought, 'trust that you are always held' filling my head.
I'm not sure what happened, I have no explanation. Altered state from grief and despair, my higher self taking me to a happier state. I don't know. I do know that I will never forget floating in the Findhorn river that hot morning. So unlike the push and pull of the sea. A constant washing clean like a million tiny finger tips running over my body.
Trust that you are always held.
It was beautiful.
And it's where I go back to while my protons are in the MRI.
Later that evening I meet up with my 'friend.' We're going to see Blazing Fiddles at the Lemon Tree. She knows how upset I've been over green eyes and how lonely I've been feeling. She calls me an hour before we've to meet and says, "Are you sure that you'll be alright coming tonight?
"What do you mean.
"Well I mean being with a couple. You don't want to feel like a gooseberry do you?
I'm sure that people don't mean to be insensitive, and that they are not really insecure that you'd even think of pinching the gormless adult child codependent man they've broken up with a total of three times in the last six months alone, who you've processed her weeping and wailing that it's all off with no less than two months before. But it's difficult to feel compassion really.
Should I stay home alone? Not I.
"Don't be daft, it'll be a room full of people, I'm fine.
So I meet them in the pub she's already a few sheets to the wind. He's like a mummy's boy and she just loves being the mummy.
"So hysterectomy, that'll floor you. My sister-in-law had it done, my God.
Is it wrong to want to slap people? Saying it in front of him, and it's not even that I'm going in for.
"That isn't helping me thanks, let's change the subject.
"Oh sorry, sorry, but it's major surgery, it's a major thing, you'll be on your knees.
"I said this isn't helping me.
"Let's go the doors will be open now.
She goes to pee, and comes back sorrying again. Just as well I didn't have any blunt implements on me.
She sits beside me, her breath is fowl from smoking. Really fucking fowl and she tells me she's hurt that I've found another support partner. So I tell her the truth. That the last time I was with her she gave me the process back to verify myself, I could have done that at home. That I spent hours late into the night verifying her, hand holding her through the process last time they broke up, and she didn't do the same for me and I was upset and hurt at that.
She takes half an hour before she comes back with,
"I was trying to make you see that you're not helpless.
"I've never felt helpless in my life. Lonely yes, but helpless wasn't ever my issue.
"And now you've a new support partner, I've let you down.
"You haven't, you're just not in a processing space, that's all. I want to shut her up and there are too many witnesses to do it the way that's running through my mind.
Fortunately the music starts and this amazing American band come on. They have a blind fiddler, and he does all the talking. He says, in the cutest accent ever, 'We'd love to come out here and just pick for you folks'. And they play. They are sublime.
'Pick.' That's the word he used. For playing their instruments.
Like a sacrament, the sound of them. God was dancing.
Blind. I've never heard a fiddle player like him.
One composer whistled a tune over the phone to him. He said he 'added some chords and stuff'. Beautiful. I can't remember what it was called exactly (4 whisky macs and a post MRI high), but 'Hopelessly in Love' rings a bell.
Playing my song.
Blazing Fiddles came on later, Scottish mad music, it was fabulous.
At the end of the night, waiting on my chum fannying about, her 40-year-old adult child boyfriend hovering silently beside me like a an old felt curtain, I looked around and saw the fiddle player, near the table where they were selling CDs.
I had the thought to tell him.
Tell him God was dancing.
I had the thought, no I can't do that.
But I remember what gardener has taught me, and I've had 4 whisky macs, so fuck it, yes I can.
I went over and very conscious that this blind man will remember me as smelling of whisky mac and Dolce & Gabana perfume, poor soul, I told him.
He held my hand, he has tiny hands, and such a sweet face with his sweet nature.
"God was dancing.
"Wow he said.