A few mornings later I waited impatiently to see Papi at the door of my enclosure. A strong urge to revisit my dreamland filled my whole body. I needed Papi's presence there to help me stay grounded and feel safe. Waves of intensity and nervousness coursed through my entire body. Hurry up Papi!
After an eternity, he appeared at last to unlatch the gate. Whew! Papi, Papi! I rushed in and sat down in our usual spot without a thought of food or cuddling. "Papi, come here, come here. I need you now!"
Papi was calm and smiling as usual. He sat down slowly and said "Knuti, this is so unusual for you. What is going on? What do you need from me?"
"I just need you to sit next to me. I need to revisit the dreamland, it is calling me. Papi, I feel so much fear and intensity this morning. I don't know why. I need your help so I can go back there."
"Ok Knuti, that is fine with me. I can do that! Let's go."
I relaxed a bit even though there seemed to be a tornado gathering in and around me. At least Papi was here. I closed my eyes, took some slow breaths.
Photo: Christina M
There I was, back in the white, cold, snowy place with Flocke sitting to my left in her meditative state. She never said a word and never looked at me. She just radiated peace and stillness. I adored her presence and valued her steadiness.
I began to feel the chilled air, hear the whistling wind and the indescribable hush. It all had the effect of helping me sink down and touch the ground of my being. Slowly, the other white animals appeared, moving about the landscape at ease. I recognized them as my Arctic brothers and sisters. Everything seemed normal yet the intensity of my feelings remained. Something was about to happen......but what?
Just then, more images appeared. They were not so easy to watch. Terrifying events played out before me. People and animals with whom I shared my daily life underwent painful life experiences: sickness, death, loss, fighting, neglect, hurtful circumstances, one after another. Then I saw things happening in lands far away: destructive wars, environmental abuse, mass disagreements over belief systems, killing, crime, stealing, hatred....unending despair. It went on and on. I wanted to close my eyes. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to go to sleep. I wanted to die. I just wanted to get away! Yet, I was held there, eyes open, mouth open, heart clenched, jaw tight, belly contracted. This was more than a bear could bear!
"Papi!" I screamed out.
"I am here Knuti." He stroked the back of my neck very gently and kissed the top of my head. "I am right here Knuti." His hand lay still on the middle of my back as I continued my dream.
"Someone help me! I cannot bear these visions! I want everything to be well. I want peace. I want to go home. Please help me, help me!"
The Presence I had felt before made itself known to me again. I relaxed and breathed a little better. At the same time I felt a surge of anger and hatred.
"Why are you showing me this? This is no fun! I don't like it! Make it go away, it hurts. I want everyone to be happy. Please, make it go away!"
Again, the Presence impressed upon me a message I will translate here:
"Knuti, I see you are having a very hard time with all this apparent horror. Even for you, a bear, it seems unbearable. Before the images disappear, I'd like to invite you to try something with me."
What choice did I have? Grudgingly, I submitted.
"Knuti, I invite you to call in all your ancestors to help you."
What did that mean? I did not appreciate the vague instructions. At the same time, a glimmer of hope grew inside me and my breathing relaxed a little more. I closed my eyes and began to ask, with hesitation, for help from my ancestors.
Suddenly, behind my back, a swarm coalesced. When I turned around, I could not believe my eyes. A sea of polar bears! There, gathered in huge numbers were so many polar bears I could not count them. Mind you, I was once a student of inventory management but I could not count all these polar bears! They filled the scene so far beyond the horizon that I did not even think it worth trying to count.
Joy filled my being. Joy. Strength. Gratitude. Glee. Excitement. Happiness. A smile grew so big inside me I could barely contain myself. I wanted to go and touch and kiss and hug and thank every one of those polar bears. It seemed as if my heart was going to burst!
Again, the Presence impressed a message upon me:
"Knut, this is your Polar Bear family. They are here to give you strength and courage. They have always been here with you and for you. You are a very important part of this line. They are here to serve you. Everything that any one of these bears ever experienced is imprinted upon you and your carry it with you into the world. You need them and they need you.
At present, I could hardly breath. This was very exciting and wonderful!
Then I saw them: my parents. Mama Tosca and Papa Lars. I cried out and nearly lost my footing. I felt so small and humble before them. Tears streamed down my face. They looked upon me so kindly and with such love. I saw how all they wanted for me was well-being. I wanted to offer them something, but what?
Before my eyes, I saw both my parents growing stronger, bigger and more relaxed in the presence of the other ancestors. Any pain they had in their lives seemed to diminish. Relief washed over me. I knew my mother had a difficult beginning as a circus bear and I ached for her happiness. Being a zoo bear isn't all that easy either and I knew the unnatural environment could take it's toll for any unprepared bear. These things weighed upon me but now came some relief. I bowed down before my parents, low and deep. I lay flat on my belly, eyes half closed with respect and held out my paws in homage to them.
"Mama and Papa, I honor you for giving me life."
They beamed powerful love toward me and I could see pride, joy and peace filling their entire aura. They looked so strong and loving! I could now rest.
I noticed that Flocke had just gone through a similar process. Her Mama and Papa were there, beaming at her too. All the ancestors stood behind us quietly and respectively, full of pride and peace. They appeared to me as rows and rows of kings and queens!
Eyes brimming with delight, Flocke looked at me and held my gaze for a short, wonderful moment. How beautiful she was. I appreciated her even more in the presence of our ancestral family.
Slowly, we turned to face the horrifying visions. They continued on, horror after horror, but with Flocke to my left and my parents and ancestors behind me, the action before me did not draw my attention so much. I was pulled more and more into my heart and I retained my composure much better. Somehow, it didn't matter all that much to me. One day, I imagined, I will be able to walk amidst all that pain and remain in total peace.
The Presence seemed to "speak" again: "Knuti, you have been through so much here today. Please make sure you rest up and take care of yourself. You may undergo some changes over the next few weeks and months. Please remember that all is well and when you are ready for the next adventure, you will know just what to do. As your Papi Thomas says: "You have everything you will ever need right inside of you."
(This chapter is written with acknowledgment to Burt Hellinger, a German citizen, and those who have carried his work into my life)