There is a period of time in my childhood that I refer to frequently in which my memories dispersed. Prior to that time I had a distinct timeline of flowing memories in color that I see floating along as though they are accompanied by a specific tune. After that time the memories became dark and came out colorless with a more dissonant accompaniment. I told my sister once that I clearly recall coming out of the void of dark space between the two types of memories. I remember it feeling like I was suddenly thrust into my body and aware that I was standing near a fence waiting for a bus. The incident was jarring because it occurred to me that I didn't know where I had been prior to that moment or how I had arrived by that fence. I felt like I had just woken up, but then how long had I been asleep? and where was I while I dreamed? I was eleven when I recalled being thrown back into my body and it scared me to realize that at age eleven I could not remember being ten or nine or more than a week past eight.
I have gone through periods of time in which I have desperately tried to fill that void by asking people who knew me then what happened. I recalled some things but it was very confused and the memories hung over a black gap and didn't flow to any tune melodic or discordant. They just sat, scattered over the black space. But... In the past year as I've re-framed my perspective of reality new kinds of memories have returned and I realized that these new memories came from the memory-less time. I also found drawings and writing that remind me of things I knew from a time I can't remember.
These memories do not take place in the reality that most people consider real. They aren't in the physical plane, they take place in that other space where I see and talk to things that aren't there, the place I enter during meditation or dreams or sometimes when I am walking and the world changes form. The memories of that time are wavy and not located in time they are fragmented and one conversation could have taken place over months or years, but I think that is where this journey began.
I remember things combining between the physical and non-physical realities. I remember being around seven and watching the ravens fly across the sky from the car window and thinking I could fly with them above the clouds and feeling a sensation like wind beneath wings. I remember going away to the mountains while I sat on top of my school's playground and seeing the sky split open and entities of all shapes and sizes spill out. No one else could see these things, but I could and I stayed with them. I felt more comfortable with them than with people but when I tried to explain the things they taught me people didn't know what I was saying. It was hard to speak and I wasn't present in my body much anyway. Some of the things I saw were terrifying, but I don't remember being all the scared of them until after I came back to myself when I was eleven. I only remember feeling slightly guilty and like I needed to keep a secret because I wasn't supposed to see the things I saw or think the things I thought.
I have this vague memory of playing outside, acting out a myth or story I had read about a young man preparing for a journey. The journey was a part of a vision quest and would make him into a man. He would receive his purpose and become whole. His life would take on a new meaning if he could complete the tasks before him. I didn't actually understand the story or what the big thing he was supposed to learn was, only that it felt like an important thing to do.
"When do I get to go on my quest?" I asked as I looked into the blue sky, now that I look back I see the entity that refer to as "mentor" or "time keeper" looking back at me, but I don't know if I saw him then or only felt a presence.
"What quest do you want to go on?" I feel like he replied.
"One that matters" I said (or something like that).
He smiled at me with gentleness, but also pain.
"To have a quest that matters you will have to go through a long journey and overcome many hard obstacles. You will have to face your fears and the darkest things within yourself and keep going even when you are alone, afraid, and in pain. It will be harder than you can imagine. Can you do that?"
"I don't know, but you know. Can I do it?"
"You'll only be able to after you complete your quest."
"So in order to be strong enough to complete my quest, I'll have to go on the quest?" I asked.
"The quest makes you into the kind of person who can complete a quest." He answered.
"So does that mean that if I go on the quest I'll pass?"
"If you choose to complete it you will complete it, but there will be times when you will not think you can. There will be many times when you will want to quit."
"Will I quit?"
"That's up to you."
"Can you make it so I don't quit-- even if I really, really want to?"
"You want me to take away your option of quitting?"
"That would interfere with your free will."
"But if I use my free will to ask you to not let me quit then isn't that still free will?"
"You want to give up your freedom to go on this quest."
"Will it make me a good person?"
"It will make you the person you are meant to be."
"Is that person good?"
"All people are meant to be good."
"Will I be able to help other people?"
"As long as you don't close off your heart."
"Can you make sure I don't do that then?"
"You want me to send you on a painful, shadow quest, and take away your ability to quit the quest or close off your heart?"
"Will that make me into the kind of person who can help other people?"
"You'll be able to help others."
"More than I can now?"
"You'll be stronger and braver and understand things differently."
"If it will make me good and make me able to help then I want to go--Even if it hurts. Just promise that no matter how bad it hurts you won't let me quit and you won't let me do that other thing that is bad."
"Close off your heart?" He asked.
"Yes." I said.
"You don't understand what you are asking for."
I thought about this, "If it is more than I can imagine then I have to live it so that I can imagine it. If I go through it then I'll understand."
"Going through it is the only way that you'll understand."
"Then I have to go."
"But you don't know what you are asking for."
"But I will know if I go."
"You will suffer for a long time. It will be longer than you have lived so far and it will hurt worse than anything you have ever felt before and you will want to quit but not be able to. The pain will feel like it will never end and you won't believe that you will be able to stand it but you will have no choice but to keep feeling it and keep going." He warned me.
"But then I'll know." I said.
"What will you know?"
"What that feels like."
"I don't know. I'll know what you are supposed to know after you go on a quest?"
"Is it worth knowing?" I asked.
"Yes" He said.
"Then I want to go."
"No one will go with you," He warned me, "You'll have to go alone."
"Of course you have to go on a quest alone," I agreed, "That is what makes the fear scary and makes facing it important. But the hero isn't ever really alone. You will be there."
"You won't recognize me."
"No, I can't be allowed to recognize you because then it wouldn't count" I recalled from other stories I had read, "But if you are there then you will make sure that I won't die or quit or do the bad thing-- and even though it will feel bad I will pass and then I will be good."
He didn't say anything.
"I have to go" I decided, "It's the only way."
"You don't even know what the quest is meant for" He said.
"What is it meant for?"
"Something that can't be described in words."
"I have to go on it to know?"
"But it is something worth knowing?" I asked again.
"Yes" he said.
"Then I'll go, but don't let me quit and don't let me turn bad."
"You aren't ready yet" He said.
"Then teach me how to be ready."
"Nothing can prepare you for it."
"Except going on it?"
He didn't speak.
"Then why don't I just start and you'll teach me to get ready as I go, okay?"