Painting: Christine Peloquin
Late one evening during a winter storm when the icy streets were impassible and we were resigned to the cozy sofa of my grandmother’s modest home, she told us a tale from her childhood gypsy heritage in Romania years before she crossed the Atlantic for America.
“Outside a Romanian country village there lived an impassioned gypsy sister who rejoiced in her life. Although she had lived in the caravan for years, she was not a wealthy woman. She owned no land, she held no gold; all that she possessed was her covered wagon and the knowledge of her trade, which was the telling of fortunes through tealeaves. Her wisdom, as was mine, was passed down from her mother and her grandmother. But, she did have one hidden treasure and that was an heirloom jewel. It wasn’t of great financial value, but it had deep meaning to her since it had been passed down from our ancestors. The gemstone held the memories of our elders, and through the treasure she touched their hearts in eternity. One day the old gypsy woman was frantic for she had lost her jewel.
“Sisters and brothers of the clan asked, ‘wasn’t it sewn into your skirt? Did you lose it in town?’ But, this only made her appear sullen and she retreated inside the refuge of her covered wagon. She fell into a state of quiet as they journeyed on. She rarely spoke during those days, until suddenly as they neared the outskirts of the village my gypsy sister halted our caravan and leapt to the ground.
A frenzied search
“She began a frantic search. She poured through the fibers of grasses and scratched at the leaves covering the gnarly roots of the acacia trees. The brothers and sisters all joined her since they knew of her loss and felt as if it were their own. The hillside hummed with feverish gestures as they scoured the grounds to find her lost gem.
“And, then our sagacious elder, the wise man of our clan who chose to walk, strode to the top of the hillside. They honored his presence and became still as he approached. After understanding why they searched the grounds so passionately, in his calm voice he asked the vital question, ‘Is this where the jewel was lost?’
“My sister, the gypsy woman ripened by age, stood up slowly and answered, ‘No, but this is where the light is.’”
Your shimmering jewels
This gypsy tale begs me to ask: Have I placed the light on where my jewel was lost? Where was my treasure lost? It was lost when I experienced a repetitive emotional trauma that began when I was eleven and continued until I was thirteen years old. Those traumas lead me into the swamp of destructive thinking, and of course, skewed behavior. But, through grace I put the light there, and after years of practice, have uncovered most of the hidden layers of negative beliefs. I’ve used a toolbox filled with chisels, saws and sculpting instruments to remove the unwanted beliefs and heal those wounds. And, this is ongoing, although the healing process becomes softer and a bit easier with practice.
Have you found where your jewel was lost? Have you acted as the elder and asked yourself the crucial question? Then, have you put the light there?
- Christine Peloquin. For Which I Am Thankful. Authorized use of copyrighted artwork, 2005. Web.