Once in awhile, even as a teen, Isadora Duncan Lovett remembered her birth on May 30, 1941, though she called such memories day dreams, flights of fancy. A few hours after her birth she was squalling and irritable at finding herself inarticulate, helpless, and dependent. In the glare of a delivery room in Hartford Hospital, she looked—squinted--at the woman she had chosen to be her mother and wondered if she could change her mind. Too late. Anne held her stiffly. “Here. You hold her,” she said to the man with the stubble on his face and bloodshot eyes. Edward, her father, held her up close to his face. She could see huge red rivers swimming in his eyes. She also could hear what he was thinking.
If we must have another, I’m glad its a girl. I wonder if they’ll let me work
overtime. That would be easier than looking for a second job.
She could hear her mother, too. He can afford to think they’re cute. He doesn’t have to take care of them. His body isn’t ruined. Nothing changes for him. He comes and goes. Has his roses, his fun on Saturday nights and whoopdeedo, welcome baby.
Dora had had babies often enough herself to know that women sometimes hated there husbands after delivery. Why not? Men, at least physically, went unscathed. Women were pummeled while everyone--including women who knew better--acted as though such pummeling was natural and quite lovely. She remembered what that was like. She’d hated a few husbands herself in her times.
Being born is always exhausting. She tried to remember why she’d chosen these particular people: Anne and Edward Lovett. They already had two children--boys. She would be their last.

She could still communicate with Ivan, her Master. He would be available to her until she developed language to talk with Anne, Edward, Tom, Stephen, and the Satellites-- those outside the immediate family. She knew that soon she would start forgetting the other lifetimes and the spaces in between. She would forget Marcus and Peter and Juan--all the same when they were in the space in between lives, so different in their separate lifetimes. Ivan had said they were not yet through. They would meet again in this lifetime. He’d said it was her life with Marcus that she should try to remember.
“Where will we meet?” she’d asked. “When?”
“You don’t need that information,” Ivan had said.
“How will it end this time? Will we get to live happily ever after.”
She knew it irritated Ivan when she spoke in earth-clichés.
“It never ends, as you perfectly well know,” he said with exaggerated patience. “Happiness is irrelevant from Our perspective. Joy is of modest concern. The development of your souls is primary.”

“Then I’m not sure earth is the best place for that. There are too many distractions. Bodies are too distracting. Happiness seems overwhelmingly important there.”
“Earth is it. You can’t change venues in mid-development.”
“Why not?”
“You always ask that, and I always give you the same answer. Physics and tradition. You know how to transition-in and -out. You’re familiar with the limits and pleasures of bodies, of air, water, and the other elements. You could choose something else, of course, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It would be like starting over.”
“Being born is like starting over. You’re the only one I can communicate with for years.”
“Just a couple.”
“That’s a long time not to talk.”
“Not considering that you’ve elected to become familiar with silence in this next lifetime, so that you can become aware other things.”
“I paid attention to other things last time, and they locked me up. Am I going to spend years in a nuthouse again?”
“They were called asylums. It wasn’t so bad, was it? You learned a great deal.”
“What I learned was that if you see and hear things that other people don’t see and hear, they lock you up.”
“You found others there who saw and heard the same things you did, didn’t you?”
“Yes. And they were locked up, too, and there were a lot more of those who didn’t than those who did. I did not like being incarcerated. Besides, some of those people were crazy.”
“By that, of course, you mean that their perceptions were different from your own and from those of The Common. If you think that makes them crazy, perhaps you didn’t learn as much as we’ve thought. I would have thought your experience would have taught you that belonging and acceptability cannot be achieved by judging others less acceptable. Basic stuff. Really basic stuff.”
“I repeat: I do not want to see and hear things that others don’t see this time.”
“That is one of the few things about which there is no choice, though certainly you can choose to forget for a time or not speak about what you perceive. I wouldn’t advise either for the long term.”
“Why not?”
“Because it’s denial of truth and there are always severe consequences for omitting or distorting truth.”
“I don’t lie.”
“Omissions, if realized or intended to deceive, are lies no less than contradictions of truth.”
“I will end up in a loony bin again, won’t I?”
Ivan scowled.
“Pardon me. Asylum.”
“Actually, by the time it’s an issue for you, they’ll be called hospitals and institutes. Things will be much different.” Ivan smiled. “Some will call them cracker factories.”
“Is that supposed to be reassuring?”
“This is the most difficult part of my job,” said Ivan quite cheerfully. “Preparing to live another lifetime, you people get so preoccupied with inconsequentials.”
“You people?You don’t have to go back. You don’t have to deal with a body. You get to appear youthful and thin and muscular without ever having to deal with an actual body. Would you want to go back?”
“Were the lives and times you’ve already lived so awful?”
She hesitated. “Not in retrospect.”
“In the flash of another eighty-five or ninety years, this next one will be a retrospective, too. Try not to lose your grip on The Big Picture. You’ve chosen interesting circumstances and worthy tasks, and I think you’ve chosen original methods for dealing with your karmic material.”
“I’m still not sure why memory of here and the other lives is karmic material.”
“It’s not the memory itself that’s karmic. It’s your relationship to Truth that demands attention. You’ve known the Truth before--memory has given it to you--and you’ve pretended not to know.”
“With good reason, don’t you think? Look what happened when I did. Burned or locked up or banished...or all three.”
“Reason has nothing to do with it--good or faulty.”
“You don’t seriously expect me to go about proclaiming my version of the truth, do you? That’s all it is, you know, once you get to earth--one person’s version. And if it’s too far from the common version, it’s a locked ward in an asylum. Besides, I don’t care what anyone else believes. It’s none of my business. What I believe is no one else’s business. I’ll just keep my mouth shut.”
“The biggest mistake you people make...”
“I wish you’d stop calling me you people.; you’re already thinking of me as a person.”
“You’re talking like a person. You’re worrying like a person. I’d be delighted--no, make that enlighted--to continue communicating with you as a soul, but you’re already mobilizing your human energy.”
“You were saying, Master?” she said, irony heavy.
“You think the world is as you left it. You think nothing has changed.”
“What changes besides clothing and so-called advances in living arrangements. People stay the same “
“I think not. You will find others who remember what you remember. See what you see. Hear what you hear.”
“Will they be free to move about?”
“Some certainly will.”
“If they don’t open their mouths!?”
“No. If they are more concerned with truth than with silence and safety. There are many ways to speak the truth.”
“Preferably in a language no one around you understands.”
Ivan laughs. “You must keep your sense of humor. Sometimes the best way to tell the truth is indirectly.”
“And that isn’t deceit?”
“Not when it is poetry. Or fiction.”
“You think I should make up stories?”
“You won’t make them up. You can tell what you know, what you remember. If that is what you choose to do.”
“What about him? Will he remember this time? Or be able to perceive the truth if I do tell it?”
“He must not determine your conduct.”
“He always determines my conduct.”
“He has always determined your conduct. That is the choice you have made.”
“We’re primary soul kin. Of course he influences me.”
“Influence and determination are quite different. You travel together. You influence each other. But you are independent entities. And, quite frankly, you are stuck. It’s as severe a case of soul-stasis as I’ve ever seen. It’s frustrating to observe.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be infinitely patient? Isn’t that one of the prerequisites of Master-status?”
“Believe me, watching you two is an exercise in infinite patience. The task you’ve chosen--to broaden the scope of your loving--may help. He’s not the only soul in Magna-Creation to deserve your attention. It might be nice, for instance, if you paid more attention to your children. They could teach you something. The souls of children almost always have knowledge of truth superior to that of their parents. It’s one of the great cosmic ironies.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you choose parents on the basis of the challenges and opportunities for growth they can provide. You’ve chosen a task of speaking the truth. So the parents you have chosen will challenge you to speak. Silence will be the way they communicate--refusal to speak. You will have to work very hard, very early when such work is easiest, to find a voice at all. But the voice you develop, in the face of silence, will be articulate and strong. It will have to be.”
“Sounds like a lot of fun.”
Ivan grimaces. “Fun? It must be time for you to go. Fun is not a subject for serious discussion here. Play, yes. Fun--strictly earth stuff--and pretty sophomoric at that.”
“Do you ever have opportunities for professional development?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Because I still think you need to work on patience.”
“It’s definitely time. “

And though she’d been in and out of her new body for months, suddenly she found herself confined to the small body in her mother’s womb. Comfortable enough for the moment, though she knew comfort wouldn’t last long. She’d done this many times before, too. When the contractions began, she’d be all body. She wouldn’t even be able to make contact with Ivan or the others. It wasn’t painful, exactly, simply disorienting. And then she’d be in her mother’s stiff arms, and eye-to-bloodshot-eye with her father--Anne and Edward--Edward and Anne. And another lifetime would begin.

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