(Note to all skeptics, those who think reincarnation is heretical, and people who barf at the idea of crystals and energy fields: here there be dragons, read no further.) For my friends who’ve wondered if I slipped into a previous life, never to return, have no fear. I am back, safe and sound. Alas, I cannot report shimmying as Josephine Baker in the 1920s, nor can I claim enlightenment, but I spent an interesting few hours in Mimi’s murky past. Here’s the scoop:
I am not one of those people who is grandly convinced she perished on the Titanic or was Cleopatra. However, I have always had a very masculine sensibility, and am fairly convinced that I’ve been a man several times, that I was British in at least one of these masculine lives, and that I worked for the British East India Company. Why? I don’t know. I never bothered to imagine what one of these lives might have been like. Over the past few years, however, I’ve become eager to meet these incarnations, whether I was a Neanderthal or Lady Godiva, and possibly discover the source of some insecurities, fears, interests, and habits that characterize my life now.
After reading the vivid regression scenes from Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton, and Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss, I imagined I’d see a few of my past lives the way I’d see a movie in Technicolor. Perhaps because I’d never been hypnotized, I never felt truly “under,” i.e., I always heard my own voice and was very aware of my own thinking, and was annoyed by my stomach rumbling. I glimpsed scenes through a cloudy, dirty lens. At times I had to think about the hypnotist’s questions and struggle to look harder. Sometimes the answers to questions would just pop into my mind in the form of words, not images. It took nearly 30 minutes to reach a state of complete relaxation, if, in fact, I ever did. After moving back through my childhood, back through my mother’s womb, the hypnotist prompted me to look down at my feet.
I wore black leather shoes with buckles, and I stood on a wooden dock. I wore a dark navy blue coat, breeches, and white stockings. My hair was dark, and it was tied in a ponytail. My name was John Eakins, and I was 36 years old. I was a lieutenant in the British Navy. I was in a waterfront town, with closely packed buildings or homes, which I identified as Weymouth, England. (I’ve never been there and don’t remember reading about it.) My childhood was spent inland, among green rolling pastures, in an outbuilding on a large estate. My mother (my mother in this lifetime — this is common, our souls lives repeatedly with the same clusters of spirits) was cheerful, but my father was redheaded, impatient, and was the groundskeeper or huntsman for the property. He was resentful of his station in life, apparently feeling he was cheated out of land. He managed lots of horses. (In my current lifetime, everyone noted my obsession with horses as soon as I could speak and gallop astride a stick horse.) Suddenly, I started sobbing as I recall my father beating or otherwise being very rough with the horses. As I grew older, I trained in the import/export business and worked measuring and recording units of ships’ cargoes. I was always anxious I’d make a mistake (which could explain my math anxiety today).
At some point, I fell in love with a young woman on the estate named Becky, but I knew she was above my station so I never expected her to return my affection. During the time I was working import/export, I met a beautiful redheaded young woman (my current Aunt Maryhelen) who I wanted to marry. However, we couldn’t restrain ourselves from physical passion, and although I never verified this, she conceived a child, was taken away, and died in childbirth. “Nobody told me what happened to her,” I said under hypnosis, although John Eakins drew his own conclusions and blamed himself for her disappearance and death. Heartbroken, I joined the British Navy and went to sea, one of the legions of men who took this step to distance themselves from emotional or financial setback.
At the point of my initial vision on the dock, I was waiting for a ship to receive its cargo. For a time, around 1803-1805, I had charge of a ship and there was an accident that wasn’t clear. The ship took on water at sea, was rescued, and returned to port. Thinking it was out of danger, my crew and I left the vessel, only to find it underwater by the dock the next morning. In my hypnotic state, I cursed and railed and bemoaned the loss of the cargo and the loss of my reputation. For the rest of that life, I felt like a failure, cursed myself for making mistakes, and was seemingly unable to rise above setbacks. I drank hard to blunt the absence of family and my lack of achievement. At the age of 56, I died in lodgings, alone, from some unspecified fever. A fairly unremarkable life, but my heart goes out to the man I once apparently was. A sad peripheral life out of Dickens, and somewhat suspect since I’m a literature major, it nevertheless explains a few quirks in my Mimi lifetime. My complete aversion to having children, for instance, and my terror of childbirth. My nervous misery when sailing every weekend with my family, saying prayers I’d learned at Catholic school to stave off disaster, and my shuddering every time I saw a boat underwater at the marina. Oversensitive? Check. Drinking to relieve frustration? Check. I told my hypnotist that this particular life taught me “humility.” Okay, Universe. I am humbled. I get it! Now can we move on? I am ready to stop blaming myself for every mistake and misfortune, ready to stop hating myself when I walk through a restaurant with toilet paper on my shoe.
Regressing to this life took nearly the full three hours. Almost as long as it’s taking me to write this damn blog entry. I partially accessed another incarnation where I was the slave of a man I recognized as the difficult, talented partner who dominated over a decade of my life today. I was disappointed that I didn’t access an earlier 20th century life. The session did not completely answer lots of other questions, like why am I obsessed with clothes, why do I love fast cars, why do I feel such a kinship to jazz musicians? Apparently, I’ve been a writer before. My Aunt Mary Helen (a deceased lover of jazz who started a biography of Bix Beiderbecke in college, bore a professor’s child out of wedlock, and cracked in her early thirties into a shattered fugue of schizophrenia) appeared and told me to listen to Bix’s music, and I would know what to write about. My favorite mid-century jazz drummer, Dave Tough, is apparently “my brother,” according to my spirit, although I feel guilty about that since I haven’t spoken to my actual brother for over five years. Wait, I thought I was supposed to stop feeling guilty. Or is he my “brother” in the sense that he also was a frustrated writer who felt he never achieved his full potential?
All said, there were moments that felt very real, like crying about the mistreated horses. I am not a cryer, and I don’t break down in front of other people, usually. There were other moments during the regression where I felt too much in my conscious mind, for example, when my spirit talked about finding my voice and space as a writer. I could’ve made that up any day, any time, any minute. It’s the same old follow-your-bliss message that works until you have to eat Ramen Noodles every night and have to start waitressing again, or in my case, teaching English Comp. However, when I Googled Weymouth, it looked exactly like my regression scenes, and there was, in fact, a Lieutenant Eakins in the British Navy in the early 1800s, although his name was Charles instead of John.
So, maybe there’s something to it? Would I do it again? Yes. In the meantime, I will try to stop being so easily defeated, and to consistently silence inner and outer critics. Oh, another thing: my spirit name is “Linya,” to which I can’t find a historical reference, but in current slang it’s an acronym for “Like I Need Your Approval!” Put down the bottle, John Eakins, and tell them where they can shove that cargo.