The Lives of Pausha
My first life began when I was born.
A little being that jumped out of my mother’s womb into a cold, dark night. Winters come early to Poland, the evenings of October are long and gloomy, wet with freezing rains, slippery with sleet that will soon turn into snow. The white snow will cover dusty streets and sooty, dirty buildings, smoothing the edges, sparkling brilliantly in the lamplight. For a few days, for a few weeks, the city will turn into fairyland. But it was not a fairy land that I saw when I first opened my eyes. The world was cold and dark, and I was scared.
My second life began when I sat on a train.
It was a summer evening, golden and brilliant, heavy with the scents of flowers and weeds and sharp smell of hot iron train trucks and railroad ties covered with soft tar. As the train made it’s stately progress through the countryside I read my way through a book. It was a book about soothsayers, about the world of those who can see beyond time, beyond space, about the world where the truth is known. The book said: “all is one”, and my head snapped up, like that of a dog on a scent.
“I knew that!” I realized, “I always knew that! I must have forgotten!”
On that day I remembered that there is more in the world than my life, than my college friends, my boyfriend, my clothes and my troubles. On that day I have decided to look.
My third life began when I rode on a bus.
The bus was crowded, strangers were pressing into me on all sides, but I could look through the window over their heads, above their shoulders. It was a spring, and there was some light in the city. Some newness and freshness not covered yet by the dust and the smog. Buildings devoid of their snowy mantle stood stark and dirty, yet cheerful in the early morning sun. I was sad, homesick. After a week in the woods, in a little wooden house, a week spent in meditation, I was going back to work. I was coming back to my everyday life and as I did, while riding on the bus, I made a decision, I made a choice, I made a vow: from now on I will devote my life to my practice. In every choice, in every decision, from this day forward, I will always choose my practice, my spirit, my being.
My fourth life began on a cold, misty morning.
I drove into a canyon, hidden in mountains flanking a small, Californian town. The town was called Ojai. I’ve lived there for a year or so, but only few days earlier I have discovered that there was a wizard in residence. That morning I drove to see the wizard. When we met he looked at me, and he spoke, and as he did my body responded even while my mind was laid to rest, forgotten, swept aside. The wizard spoke words that had no meaning, but they reached into my body, they opened it, released it. They made it alive. On that day, twenty six years after my first life begun, my body was truly born.
My fifth life began when my husband chose a divorce.
In a little house, surrounded by roses and shaded by an oak tree, we have lived and fought for years. We fought anew every battle of my childhood, every struggle and every fear. We endured the pain and the trauma, again and again, until it was enough and my husband stopped. It made me stop too. On that day, a bright summer day, we walked down the main street of the little town of Ojai, to have some ice cream and to celebrate our freedom. On that day I celebrated my freedom. My freedom from pain.
“Do not worry” people would say to me, “in a year you will see that this was the best thing that could have happened to you”.
“I will not wait a year!” I vowed to myself, “I will not be in pain for a year, I will not be in pain for a minute longer! I will not be a sad, sorrowful ex-wife – I will be strong, powerful and happy woman!”
On this day I have vowed to become myself.
My sixth life began during a French class.
I was born step by hesitant step, so slowly and quietly that no one has noticed. Ideas would come, wishes long forgotten, yearnings from my childhood, plans of being a painter, of being a writer, of being an artist. And slowly, hesitantly, I followed and agreed. I filled a studio with easels and type writers, I drew drawings, painted paintings and wrote stories. I labored through doubts and fears, through shoulds and expectations, through common sense and the need for comfort and safety. This birth was different from all the other births. This time I birthed myself. There was no one to push me, no one to leave me, no one to teach me, to remind me, to show me the way. This birth was the hardest by far.