I think part of the reason it came to me in an antique store out in the country is because of the fact that this setting has a deep connection to my psyche.
In fact, I think if my subconscious was a building, it would be an antique store in the middle of nowhere. Chock full of fragments of lives I’ve lived, many of them forgotten to conscious thought but not lost forever; in the nooks and display cases I can still find them, if I explore long enough.
I often have dreams of taking long drives down narrow country roads and stopping at antique stores. It’s an archetype that is ever-present in my mind. In a way, what happened yesterday was like descending into a dreamscape where I could freely explore the subconscious.
There was also a disinhibiting stimulus- I had attended mass that morning, and was still feeling that sense of timelessness in the road with its old bridges and roadside fixtures and in the little town and its antique stores. I had opened myself up to that timelessness and was in a liminal state when I drove into Aurora. I still felt that time had stood still for me after the third or fourth store.
Also, I had to really sleep on it to gather this, but that one moment in Jack’s life and the place it came from is significant to so many of the things I angst over here and now. This is relevant to my lingering questions about gender (after all, I still have that impression of stoic Victorian masculinity lodged in my being some place where it won’t be removed easily). It’s relevant to my tendency to see myself not having much of a future, seeing myself being killed in prison for something I’ve done or said as if it’s an inevitability. It’s relevant to my courageous and idealistic but ultimately self-serving tendency to rush headlong into causes where I know full well that I’m putting myself in danger. It’s relevant to so much of my angst about the upcoming presidential elections.
This probably isn’t the only significant thing I can learn from past lives, but it’s the most significant thing that I’ve come across in a very long time and it’s a pretty big deal.
One more thing: I tried to find a piece of music that carried the same emotional charge for me as the feeling I’ve tried to describe. I tried the usual British flag-wavers like “I Vow to Thee My Country,” “Land of Hope and Glory,” and “Nimrod,” but they just don’t do it.
The only piece of music I could really think of that does it for me was the Adagietto movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, especially the first few bars of it. Imagine that playing over the story I posted, during the part when Jim is telling Evelyn not to cry.