Sensei’s Journal: Entry # 20 – The Picture

18 Apr

I’ve had some, oh shall we say, unusual experiences as a result of my exploration of Katannabis (the entheogenic combination of my Kata-Rx and medical cannabis). Some I have shared. One I recently shared is “The Umbrella” story.

Recently I had another experience. Unlike previous experiences that were unique in and of themselves, this one had a message. It hinted at the way forward for me to navigate an unbalanced situation. Since my brother’s untimely death in December 2020, I was estranged from my mother. It was a weight. It seemed there was no end in sight. Reconciliation goes both ways. We both needed first to be open to the idea then bold enough to see it through. When and how was a mystery that loomed large. 

That changed early one morning in February at a garbage transfer station in Fairview, New Jersey. 

It was a normal work day, except for the cold, grey, dreariness that is. The first order of business is to dump the prior days construction waste and “tear-down.” Now, the dump is my least favorite place to be. It starkly contains all the refuse of humanity. All the nasty-bits that we like to believe just mysteriously disappears by little waste management elves after we put it neatly curbside. 

I finished at the weigh station and turned the truck so that I could back into one of the five bays to dump. I began to back into position causing the ever present flock of seagulls to raise their voices in protest and begrudgingly scatter. The closer I got, the large piles of ripe, festering, oozing piles of garbage came into view. The crew and I exited the truck. They climbed onto the bed to begin throwing the debris of the truck. I carefully negotiated a path around the strewn debris and started to roll up the tie down straps. Something caught my eye. It was a small, maybe 6 x 8 picture frame. I finished lashing the last strap and went over to investigate. 

Why? I have no idea. But, it did strike me that here was this relatively new, undamaged picture frame laying face up, nice and neatly “displayed” on an open black bag of garbage. The bag itself lay a top a festering, stinking pile. It looked as if it was carefully placed on top of this mess. I picked it up and put on the reading glasses hanging around my neck. Looking at it, the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up. It wasn’t the bone chilling cold that did that, it was the image I saw. I decided I needed to take it home. It was prophetic. It provided a path forward. It was a guide. I made my way back to the cab and place it safely in my backpack. So what was in the frame?

Wow, talk about weird timing. On this cold day with wind chills in the teens, in the throes of wondering if my path could be balanced with my mother, I found this. Maybe not tea, but I sure could have used a hot cup of coffee and a time to think about what I just found – what were the odds? 

Was it coincidence? A sign “from Above?” Am answer to my prayers? A message? Dumb luck? I mean, “What the hell did I just stumble on?” “Was now the time to reconcile?”

Little did I know, this strange event was just the tip of the iceberg – – until recently – – – well, that is a profound and disturbing experience and frankly, I’m not ready to tell that tale (yet). At least I’m out of the hospital, oops I said too much.

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I remain,

walking my path,

Sensei John Szmitkowski

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