When I arrived at the Ghost Tour in St. Paul Minnesota, my expectations were about as low as they could be. My hopes were for a somewhat quiet, kid-free experience and perhaps some light conversation with interesting people, who like me, decided to pay money to walk around Saint Paul and hunt for ghosts on a Friday night.
Right away my expectations were exceeded as the host was very confident about her ghost locating abilities and walked at a brisk pace. I hurried to walk next to her as she told me what various ghosts looked like and how they died. She talked casually as if she was talking about the weather. Every ten minutes or so, she’s stop and gather the group together to talk in-depth about where to look for said ghosts and tell stories of their demise.
About an hour into the tour, my imagination was full of all the magnificent lives and terrible deaths our host talked about in detail. I didn’t care about ghosts and didn’t expect to see one, nor had I given it much thought if they really existed or not. That’s not why I was there. I came with a mindset like what a small child might have while attending story hour at the local library. I was there to be entertained and be with other people.
While people gasped and shrieked at various terrors that they thought they saw in the shadows, I happily admired architecture and landscaping of the various historic buildings we were visiting. Then the host said something to me that gave me pause. She was talking about how ghosts come to her because they know they can; that she has something in her energy, in her being, that attracted them and so it was. Then she looked casually over to me and said that I too had that energy and that I should be able to see ghosts or at least they would be attracted to me.
While I was happy to play along, I didn’t much appreciate being singled out as the owner of mystical ghost energy. So, I asked what seemed to me the only question to ask in this situation; “What can I do to not attract ghosts?” Without missing a beat, our ghost seeing host told me to imagine purple surrounding me and that would ward off ghosts, and any unwanted energy. I liked her answer. We were talking in the realm of subjective beliefs, but her answer was as unwavering as the sky is blue.
The next stop on our ghost hunting adventure included a story full of revenge from a heartbroken woman ghost who was not friendly to anyone. I don’t recall the specifics of the story, but I do recall the feeling that came over me as I listened. It was gross. I did not like to think thoughts about anyone, alive or dead, that justified hatred. So, I tried to imagine a purple bubble over me and then I expanded the bubble and imagined including everyone in the group. My negative thoughts vanished. Maybe there was something to the ghost host’s advice after all.
My ghost hunting days feel far away as a lot of life has happened between then and now. However, I still regularly imagine a purple cloud or bubble to turn off thoughts that are intrusive or simply unwelcomed. The visualization of a purple cloud of energy surrounding me and those I love has become a powerful tool in my collection of meditative practices.
While little has changed in my opinion of ghosts and their existence, a lot has changed in how I view the energy that flows through us, opposed to the energy that can get stuck within us. By energy I am directly referring to thoughts although we may not always be consciously aware of the depth of our thoughts and may only experience them as physical anxiety.
People who have had trauma have pockets of pain stored throughout their bodies and minds. Decades can pass without much notice when unexpectedly trauma is released, and the pain can be incapacitating. Pain however can be good thing as it can be used for motivation for change. But it needs to be let out so the healing can begin.
The repeating record of a past trauma plays a narrative of pain, that needs to be stopped. In a story with no immediate ending in sight, as the pain is old and unfamiliar; why not imagine a purple cloud as protection and figure out the rest within the safety of people who understand?
This morning a casual instant message chat with a friend became a fear filled exchange that included worries about mass shootings and human trafficking. Trauma, fear, and justified worry can all look the same when it comes to a parent trying to protect their children. Perhaps even the idea that a person is completely responsible for the wellbeing and safety of another little person is a bit traumatic on its own.
Worry, vigilance, preparation, are all natural functions based out of instinct. Humanity has thrived by questioning if we should be eating that, living there, or trusting that large animal or not? But, like all instincts, they can become warped when there is too much focus in any one area. Food becomes a problem when we can’t stop eating. Sleep becomes a problem when we deny ourselves the proper amount. Etc.
So, when our chat had become too much for my imagination, I turned my thoughts to a huge purple cloud around my house and around the house of the friend I was chatting with. I sat in the purple energy and let go of my negative perspective of the world. Then I sent one last message focusing on the fact that we are good parents and that we do a good job keeping our children safe.
The purple energy lingered long enough to see a red heart emoji in response to my last message and then it was gone. Leaving behind nothing more than two moms’ just doing their best to love and protect their children in a world that doesn’t always make sense.
Today, I will use the power of visualizing a protective purple cloud when I want to stop my thoughts in their tracks. It is not a solution if there is a real problem, but it sufficient to stop the mind from growing pain into something else or creating a new worry. After all, if a purple energy cloud powerful enough to repel ghosts; my worries don’t stand a chance.