For most of my life I had brown eyes. You can see what color they were, there at the center of the iris, near the pupil. A rich, medium brown with depth and beauty in equal measure. When I was a child I remember seeing flecks of gold in my mother’s dark hazel eyes. I spent many minutes staring at myself in the bathroom mirror trying hard to see spots of gold in mine.
For most of my recent memory I’ve had weird gold eyes. You can see what color they are, that splash of bleached iris that picks up green so easily I might as well have green eyes. But I don’t. In natural light, as in this picture, I have a flat, bright, unnatural gaze. I look at myself in the bathroom mirror each day as I wash and after nearly a decade I still don’t know what to think about what I see.
For those who don’t know, when I’m not writing I spend my days in an office moving around pictures of brains and eyeballs for a medical research collection. I have access to the entire body of English language medical literature on eyes and eye health. My experience is undocumented. It does not exist. It is unscientific. It is, all told, literally impossible.
But I hold up old photos of myself and oh, there they are. There are my brown eyes. Bright brown in sunlight but clearly a rich, medium brown.
There are still people in my life who knew me Back Then. Some are friends and say oh yes, I have grown myself a different pair of eyes. Some are family and they say nothing at all.
Scientifically speaking, observable and measurable data does not necessarily yield meaning or explanation. You can know a thing and not actually know what you know about it.
In my Advancing Devotional Practice session I talk about a few of the obstacles and problems that one might encounter when engaging in this work in the long term. One of the most interesting obstacles I’ve encountered is the rejection of the outcomes of practice. I have a grand analogy that I call “boxes from Cosmic Amazon.com” where suddenly there are packages on your mental and spiritual doorstep that you didn’t actually order. But see, our account with Cosmic Amazon is not private; we share it with the Powers we have aligned ourselves with (or who have aligned themselves with us). They contribute to the relationship we experience. Devotional relationship is not a thing solely created by the human practitioner. It is a shared process, a dual creation, and outcome partaking of multiple causal personalities.
My personal theme for PantheaCon this year was telling the hard stories, the stories that I don’t like to think about, don’t like to analyze, don’t like to dwell on, don’t want to know about. In my session I even talked about waking up from my psychic death experience a different person with a different gender. I talked about one of the deepest losses I’d ever encountered; even though I didn’t want to, at the time it was the right thing to do. Regardless of how much I don’t want to think about these experiences, they are part of a continual process of emergence; they contribute to the unfolding I continually witness expressed through my living being. Though I occasionally talk privately about my psychic death experience I have rarely even mentioned it publicly; that’s because it’s actually quite a traumatic thing. Even though it happened, oh, probably ten years ago this summer, I’m still shaken at the memory and chilled by the still-obvious repercussions.
But you see, I can’t tell this story – not really. I can talk about the experience and the effect it had on my life and how difficult it was trying to reject an outcome that I never sought or asked for or desired or even knew was possible. What I can’t tell you is what it means; this is what I’m still seeking. I had an experience that was entirely inexplicable and yet entirely, fundamentally, unquestionably real. Even people who didn’t know me in person noticed. Data was observed and measured but no meaning exists. There is no context for these factoids, no repetition to frame this pattern. Results have not been replicated and so no working theory can be tested.
I have searched and searched to find a meaningful explanation for this collection of anomalous data. Even in the context of my ever-unfolding spiritual life’s course I don’t see how these things fit. I don’t see how they make me better – only different. And that’s not a good enough explanation for me.
It’s almost time to seek a few more answers, to dive a little deeper into the pools I won’t look at. I don’t exactly know what to look for and I’m fairly sure I won’t enjoy what I find but ignorance does not sit comfortably with me. It might be time to pick up the dropped threads and find out which plucked strings of my wyrd continue to vibrate and hum.