“MY FIRST PAST LIFE REGRESSION”
The worn, stiff fabric of the old gray dress brushed against my ankles as I made my way across the sandy field. Occasionally, I stopped to lift the dress a bit whenever tall grasses tugged at the already frayed hems. I was cradling seaweed in the pouch of a faded apron. I paused just long enough to watch a brown pelican fly overhead, and a flock of black headed gulls land gracefully on the tips of a white fence. Then, I continued on to the path that led to my parents’ two story beach house.
The fresh, warm scent of my mother’s just baked pumpernickel bread greeted me as I opened the door. There would be stew tonight. He liked stew. His father had told this to my mother earlier that morning when she asked him what she should cook for dinner. We had been shopping at the country store gathering ingredients for a pie when we saw him walk in. As soon as my mother began talking to him, I shyly made my way to the far end of the store and stood by the sacks of potatoes and a large wooden barrel of pickles. Then I heard my mother say, “Well, my Emma cooks up the best beef stew you ever want to eat, and she’s even better with pies.” “Good, good, said his father as he walked out of the store. We’ll be by tonight then”. “You just do that”, said my mother.
I carefully took the sea weed out of the apron and dumped it into a large bowl. Then, I went over to the black iron wood stove and began to stir the already simmering stew. I added a few more herbs, and a pinch of salt. My mother lowered her head, frowned at me, and then said, “Your dress is soaked, go on upstairs and change. Fix your hair too. You want to look good tonight, don’t you?
My bed had simple, plain off-white sheets and one pillow. There was a small modest dresser and an old wooden rocking chair. As I looked out of the window, I saw sand dunes, clumps of sea oats, and a faint glimpse of clear blue ocean water. I sat on my bed and listened as the sound of waves rolling in and out made their way to my heart. It was nature’s symphony and I had loved it each day of my childhood, sitting at this very window.
As I took off my dress and placed it on the bed, I suddenly noticed that there were sand burs all over the bottom and along the hems. I had forgotten the season, and mistakenly walked through a part of the field I usually avoided this time of year. I sat on the bed and drew my dress over my knees. Then, one by one, I started to remove the burs. I could feel the sharp pain in my finger tips. I saw the threads rip and tear as I pulled the burs free. I had only two dresses and now this one would be utterly ruined. Tears flowed down my cheeks and I began to sob uncontrollably for about five minutes.
Desperately trying to hold back the tears, I got up and fumbled through the dresser to find my other dress. When I found it, I quickly slipped it on. Then I started to brush my hair and slowly mold it into a bun on the top of my head. He would be here soon and I had to be ready. I had to be presentable. I was a young lady of sixteen and he was the son of my mother’s closest childhood friend. He and his family had traveled by train all the way from New York City.
I felt my body suddenly tense, and my breath quicken, as I heard their voices at the front door. My mother was saying, “She’s just upstairs, I’ll go and get her”. When my mother came into my room she said, “Oh, come now, it’s not that bad, he’s a fine young man. You two played together when you were children. Remember he held your hand at the Christmas dance and everyone was saying how you both belonged together, like peas in a pod. You'll get along just fine, and maybe he's the one. You never know. Then she took my hand and led me down the hallway. I could feel my legs shaking as I slowly walked with my mother down the squeaky stairs. Then, I steadied myself on the railing as I turned the corner to the dining room. He stood there with his head lowered and only peeked up slightly as I entered. I could tell that he was just as terrified as I was. When we saw each other, we both just stared without saying a word. My mother laughed nervously, then ushered us all to the table for our meal.
All during dinner I kept looking over at him. I lowered my head and smiled whenever he glanced back. His name was John, but I only remembered him as Johnny. It was what everyone called him when he was a child. The anxiety I had been feeling earlier melted away like last winter’s snow and in my heart grew with the anticipation of a new love blooming like wildflowers in the soft golden light of spring. I was lost in his eyes. I had read about love in an old novel my Grandmother had given me. I read that book over and over again hoping that in some way the sweet essence of her would linger still in the leather bound cover and faded pages within. It was all that I had left of her. Now, as I sat looking into Johnny’s eyes I knew that we had both become a part of that story.
Two months later Johnny asked me to marry him. On the morning of my wedding my mother brought a beautiful cream colored dress and flowing veil into my room. She carefully spread them out on my bed, smoothing the wrinkles with her creased and weathered hands. She paused now and then only to release a heavy but contented sigh into the cool breeze that gingerly blew through the open spaces of my curtains. She had worn this very same dress on her wedding day.
During our wedding I found myself seeing and hearing only Johnny, blocking out the laugher, tears, and whispering of relatives and guests and the long drown out sermon of the minister. The only words I allowed myself to hear were “I now pronounce you man and wife.” All the while, I could not stop feeling as if we had done this before in some distant time.
After the wedding, life in our little town went back to its everyday routine. Johnny had rented a house close to the ocean and friends and neighbors were helping to move what little furniture he had brought from New York into the small living room, kitchen and bedroom. My father had given my new husband a job in the local mill. My father was the manager of the mill and most of the men in the town were under his employ.
During the ten years that we were married we grew closer and closer. We had five beautiful children and though we had our hardships as a family, we also had our good times. On our fifth anniversary, my parents died and we moved into their large two story house. It was the house I had grown up in. Our two daughters shared the very same room that I had slept in when I was their age.
On the tenth year that we were married, the mill that Johnny worked at went out of business, leaving him and fifty other men in the town hopelessly unemployed. Broken and lost, Johnny and some of the other men accepted jobs on a cargo ship headed for England.
Johnny held me on the docks as I pleaded one last time for him to reconsider and stay with me and the children. The city was just a half day’s ride inland, and I knew that if he looked hard enough he would be able to find some kind of work there. I would gladly move to the city if it meant staying together as a family. He smiled at me and said, “It’ll only be six short months, and I’ll be back with you and the children again. Then, he promised that he would bring me back a genuine English tea set with beautiful painted red roses. I had wanted such a tea set since I was a child, but the thought of Johnny bringing one back from England did nothing to comfort me. As I watched him and the other men get into the small wooden boat and slowly row out to the cargo ship, I felt a deep, ominous sinking feeling in my chest. Something was very wrong, and I knew it. But there was just nothing that I could do. I stayed on the dock looking out across the vast horizon, until I could no longer see the flowing white sails in the distance. I had watched Johnny disappear into the unpredictable and wild expanse of white capped waves that took him far away from me, his children, and everything else he had known for the last ten years.
Five months later I sat staring through the open window at the sea. I could see the same familiar breath of blue ocean water and hear the gulls flying overhead. The symphony of waves crashing steadily on the shore was still the same sound that I had cherished from my youth, and though it had always been a comfort to me in the past, it could not drown out my tears. I looked down at the letter resting on my lap and searched the words once again for some clue that it was not true, but the words were the same each time I read them. “Dear Mrs. Murphy, I regret to inform you that your husband John has been lost at sea due to unfortunate circumstances. Please accept our condolences. The year was 1841.
Then, suddenly, all I could hear was the regression counselor’s soft voice urging me to come back. As if I was coming out of a long and far away dream, I opened my eyes and looked around at the counselor’s office. My husband sat in the chair next to mine holding my hand, trying to comfort me.
When I felt his hand on mine I looked at him and cried, “You left me, you died. You went out to sea and never came back.” Then I cried nonstop for the next hour. When I was done crying I realized that the year was now 1996, and my husband was very much alive and well.
After I experienced that past life memory and felt the emotional release that followed, I was amazed at how much calmer my body was, and how much more secure I felt in my marriage. It also dawned on me that my husband and I live just four minutes away from the beach, his favorite meal is pumpernickel bread and beef stew, and he has always had a fear of being out at sea on a ship.
Later I found out that my husband and I have been together over and over again life after life.
Since that first past life experience, I have remembered and healed through countless other past lives. I am always stunned by how vivid and detailed the memories are, how painful the emotions can still feel, and how much freer I am when I have completed healing through a difficult past life.