The Grey Ghost

How many lives does one live? I think for bodyworkers it is about nine, like a cat. I have been through at least six or seven…but I am not certain as I have lost count. My body, however, is forever aware of the score and is not the least bit fooled by my diversions.

Fooling yourself and others is easy, but to fool your own body? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

Our body/mind in all its complexities has a way of revealing to us the compartmentalized pain we have been carrying for decades.

I always tell my clients, “Learn to release your pain in the moment it bubbles to the surface for air.”

Hanging on to pain is exhausting! Life can be heavy enough without all that roll-away luggage. If we could just focus more on holding our joy instead of our pain, we just might make it through this journey with a carry-on bag.

A distant memory crackles across the airwaves of my mind. “Breaker 1-9, has anyone seen the Grey Ghost? He knows where all the fish are at!” Yes, those hardcore anglers really do talk like that;-) I love those guys!

The ‘Grey Ghost’ was my dad’s CB handle. All the guys on the lake would spend their days in search of the ‘Shirley Ann.’ That was the name of his boat. He always told my mother she was his first and only love. But she always knew, his first love was fishing!

When I was a kid, I loved going fishing with him. One time, dad caught me at the back of the boat trying to release his catch. “You cannot come with me anymore if you are going to do that!” He scolded.

Damned fish…Stop looking at me like that! Why do I have to be such a girl?

“No time for being lady-like out here.” He scoffed. “Bait your own hook, free your own catch, and pee in this.”

A coffee can…Really? Okay, he is trying to toughen me up a little. I had to get with the program. Up at four, lines over the side of the boat by five, and no whining…We were not going in until he had enough fish for everybody.

I had many moments of clarity sitting at my dad’s bedside while he lay dying. I would hold his hand and drift in and out of sleep, sometimes meeting him in my dreams. One such story I wrote for a book series entitled the Four-Fold Formula for All Things Wellness, due to launch in mid-August. Watch for it!

These moments were precious opportunities to face my own pain, always under the watchful eye of highly trained spirit guides. They always show up for you, even if you never show up for yourself. 

Watch out for those baited hooks Miss Cyndi; I do not want to see you back here too soon.

I doze momentarily while living images flash before me. I see how this all works now. These “moments” are all lived simultaneously in the libraries of our minds. Time itself is all “ONE” moment.

My left-hand hovers over a gentle flame. It does not burn me; however, I feel its heat licking at my fingers. There is a soft rhythmical percussion permeating my upper back.

Pierced deeply with a hook straight through my heart, I arch straight upward and hear the giggles of delight at the release of my pain.

A gentle voice whispers, “Now that, Miss Cyndi, is the anger pin.”

That is for sure. I had been holding onto my pain for decades. It was time now, to let it all go.

The ‘Grey Ghost’ turns me over and thoroughly examines me from head to toe before releasing me back into a gently flowing current.

“Watch out for those baited hooks Miss Cyndi,” I hear a voice say. “I do not want to see you back here too soon.”

Just as I recognize my dad as the voice in my dream, I awaken to the squeeze of his hand. Even as he lay there dying, I am still impressed by his amazing strength. I always knew he was the man of steel…and Superman does not go down without a fight. Damn, those are big shoes to fill.

I am reminded of a quote I heard recently, “Grow into yourself and stop chasing your father’s shadow.”

Phew, that takes the pressure off! Thank you to whoever said that.

As I listened to him breathe, I never thought I would be so happy to hear him snore like that! It meant he was still here with me, for whatever precious time he had left.

I reminisce about the stories his closest friends shared with me. I am so glad we could all be in the same room together one last time before he passed…playing his guitar and singing to him. He so delighted in music, even if we were all a little off-key. That is an incredibly special bond we all now share in our memory of him.

I always knew my dad as someone playing the role of the ultimate caregiver, and protector of all he held dear to his heart. He lived by humble means, working hard to support his family amid what some may consider insurmountable challenges.

He had four young children when his wife had fallen ill incredibly early in her life. Supporting a family of six on a policemen’s salary was tough enough, but now he was both a father and mother of four, as well as his wife’s caregiver.

His steadfast resolve provided me with a unique perspective on the obstacles that occur in my own life that I may have otherwise found impossible to overcome. Learning by his example, all things are possible, even under dire circumstances.

Rather than seeing life as a series of events that happen TO me, I look upon them as opportunities happening FOR me in terms of growing into and recognizing my true self.

It is all a learning process meant to keep us moving forward with the flow of life. Everything else is water under the bridge. We are all a well-spring of experiences with knowledge to be gained and shared with others.

Much like the promise of the “Cracker Jack Box,” there is a hidden treasure at the bottom of every well;-) We can choose to let it drag us under, or we can choose to let it set us free.


Cyndi Wilkins
Cyndi Wilkins
I am a licensed/ certified massage and bodywork professional and the sole proprietor of The Healing Element, located in downtown Marblehead Ma. I have been practicing the art and science of therapeutic massage and energetic bodywork for nearly 20 years. Through my training as a manual therapist, coupled with my understanding of body-centered psychotherapy, I am an empathetic partner helping my clients heal from physical pain due to illness or injury and emotional pain/trauma. My approach to healing is in recognizing the mind and body work together in creating the health of all of its systems. I welcome the opportunity to work with anyone with a desire to reconnect with their mind, body, and spirit to explore the root causes of discomfort and disease. Together we work to initiate the body's own natural response to the physical and emotional triggers caused by everyday life stresses. The goal is to address the complete body/mind complex in a truly integrative, holistic way. I also love writing and sharing dialogue with those who encourage 'positivity' as the directional flow of conversation, especially when confronting conflicting attitudes. Reinforcing positive dialogue with a calm inner presence and open-mindedness activates the inner wisdom embodied within each conversation. I believe this allows us to move more freely through life's difficulties and navigate our way to healthier solutions. Health does not come from medicine...Most of the time, it comes from peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of the soul. It comes from laughter and love. For more information about my work, please visit my website/blog as well as my profiles on the links provided above.

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