Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Wings of dream healing
Jeff Guidry is a rock guitarist who has volunteered for many years at the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Arlington, Washington. In 1998, he took care of a baby bald eagle who had broken both wings in a fall. The vet said she would never fly again; for two months the question was whether she’d be able to walk. She lay belly-down on shredded newspaper until one day she stood up, craning her head to look at Jeff when he entered the space. He named her Freedom and started taking her around schools, perched on his thick falconer’s glove.
When Freedom was three years old and still entirely brown (the bald spot on bald eagles comes later) Jeff was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer (stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma) and agree to chemotherapy. After multiple treatments, it wasn’t clear that the chemo was working, and Jeff was close despair every time he looked at his bald head in the mirror. Then, as he writes in a luminous new book, "a pair of merciful talons cut through my prison."
Jeff dreamed that Freedom was flying, on perfect wings. She first appeared as a speck in the distance, then seemed to grow as big as a thunderbird. She swooped down, banking hard, and set to work ripping out his cancer cells with her beak and talons. When he woke, Jeff reports, "I felt on top of the world and I knew I had a secret weapon - my winged friend, Freedom."
This dream intervention was repeated. He made it the focus for conscious visualizations, picturing the eagle tearing out the cancer cells. He felt much stronger, but was bitterly disappointed when told by his doctors that the cancer had not entirely gone away. In treatment of his type of cancer, a maximum of eight courses of chemotherapy are allowed. One the eve of undergoing the eighth series, perhaps his last shot, Jeff envsioned Freedom flying again, full-grown, with the white head, as she had appeared in his dreams. And he told himself, “I can’t die now because Freedom doesn’t yet have her white patch.” After the final chemo treatments, the doctors told him his cancer was gone. Now, when he walks the slopes with Freedom, he holds out his arm to give both of them the sense of flight.
Jeff Guidry’s book An Eagle Named Freedom , dedicated to "Dream Flyer", is now available from Morrow.