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Dr. Janet Levalley
(Sri Lanka)

Dr. Janet Le Valley is Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology and Personal Development Counselor, at American National College, Sri Lanka.  She did her Ph. D on Tibetan Buddhist development perspective from CIIS, San Francisco, CA, USA in 1993. and M. A. Sociology from University of California, Riverside, CA, USA in 1978.
Notable Publications : The Naga's Child (2004), The Web of Life Imprative (2003), Naga Kanya (book in progress)
e-mail : janet@ancedu.com or nagadaughter@hotmail.com
visit her at : www.levalley.homestead.com


An  excerpt from
Kanya Dreaming by Dr. Janet Levalley


It is a movement meditation, her own form of t’ai qi, that she does, has done since shortly after the troubled times. There was no one to do it then, of course, no one to lay the stone circle, no one to accept the dreaming. Everyone had nightmares then. Everyone was felled by pain. No one survived the memories.
She heard the voice and was bitten. Taking in venom, she faced the dark angel, the open box of Pandora, the swinging sword of Damocles, the raging giant, the terror beneath the bridge, reptilian armies marching in feverish fury, the uncloaking of wrathful deities. She was disassembled and, with what was left to her, she fashioned tools in the flame. These she offered to Kali, whose hands clutch the severed heads of demons, and whose embrace is the salty ocean mother, the ancient flowing of rivers, the youthful exuberance of fresh springs. In the venom she is marked and she who has called her takes notice.
She walks slowly, bare feet stirring the dust gently, a corner of her sarong tracing a circle in the fine golden powder. She stoops to plant a stone, straightens to take rounded steps, stoops to plant a stone. In her rhythm, the tracing is complete. She lies down in the center of golden dust, the stones in protective witness circle about her. She hears the drumming of ancestors. She shivers with the rattle of elders.
She looks into the eyes of she who gave her birth, she who stands on coils upright, she beneath whose naked breasts a book is held. She reaches for it and accepts the reading. She sinks from this place to that one, floats and dreams.
Red eyes and jeweled daggers swirl in flames. A rider on a white horse watches from shadowed hood. Blood is seeping from a fair neck. A white stick leaps, then convulses in the throes of death.
A monkey is playing with poison, teasing his mate by carrying the deadly vial to the top of a coconut tree. Their crying baby scurries after him, but everyone falls, and in the falling is everyone’s end, except for the infant. But the Holy Virgin smiles her sorrow, and the coconuts become Vesak lanterns and the tropical forest is washed in white light.
A sofa is floating in dim yellow shadows. A man and his son are entangled there. On a hairy belly is a used needle and a bent aluminum spoon. They are covered in vomit and feces. A young girl is dutifully scrubbing them clean with one hand, while holding a book with the other. Math formulas and the faces of founding elders of social science swirl above her head. She is reciting the mantras that will one day open a door and invite her out of this place forever.
Two lovers are joined. Their ecstasy is challenged by his mother. She shakes a bloodless severed head until it nearly speaks. The teeth are rattling. Her father is rotating a gigantic wheel of fortune, on which every slot is labeled, “slut”. Their friend is leaping with the white stick, haunted by its cruel dying beauty.
Co-joined quadruplets are playing hop-scotch. They cannot coordinate strategies. One, a girl, is too shy to look at the others, and stares only at her gangly body. Another, a scholarly fellow, is ill and drawn up in fetal position, sucking his thumb. A cynical megalomaniac is performing hopscotch verse to a select audience from the starving masses, laughing maniacally while waving a sword. The other girl removes a barrette from her side of a head she shares with another. She tosses the multicolored plastic into the third square away and leaps. She is not confused when the body fails to launch, but merely tries again, over and over endlessly.

The dreamer is dancing slowly, bare feet stirring the dust gently, a corner of her sarong tracing a circle in the fine golden powder. She moves to the drumming of ancestors and the rattle of elders. She stoops to lift a stone, straightens to take rounded steps, stoops to lift a stone. In her rhythm, the tracing is complete. She rises from the center of golden dust.
The dancer looks into the eyes of she who gave her birth, she who stands on coils, upright, she beneath whose naked breasts a book is held. Having accepted the reading, she closes the book. She floats from that place to this one, sinks into herself and awakens in the great sleep, to join the others.
Checking her Swatch, the doctor gathers up manila files of counseling sessions with clients. She adds the date to each of today’s sessions. She locks them in a wooden drawer and hurriedly looks up a reference from the targeted book on her shelf.
She glances out the window, to a view of the cricket field below, where a dog chases a horse and then the horse chases the dog, along the edges of a shanty town where orange-robed Theravada monks are chanting and a thin, bent, sun-wrinkled man calls out to sell his remaining fish. A malnourished boy balances on a rusted tin roof, bony arms extended joyfully to the sky, where fly the white doves who sleep with him in the splintered cage beneath the tin.
She scribbles a note on a small yellow paper and sticks it to the board above her desk. She finishes off the half glass of mineral water left balancing on the far edge of a hand-crafted stool. The stool is from an exclusive boutique in town.
A security buzzer rings a civilized, though annoying, tune, indicating that her driver has arrived. Purse and bag are mounted and she disappears into the elevator, to emerge briefly into tropical humidity before gathering the folds of her sari into the air-conditioned military jeep she bought on a whim. Her eyes fall respectfully, if momentarily, on the visual feast of Hindu iconography that tops the nearby kovil.
She is carried back to childhood days on California beaches, wearing a sun suit with white shoulder ties contrasting starkly with pink blistered fair skin. She is crouched in damp sand, her bobbing long curls teasing tiny concerned crabs who scurry for shelter. She is building a sand castle where she hopes to live one day. She wonders who will live there with her, who she might allow. She uses a fluorescent pink plastic-coated cup to dribble maximally-wet mud on its spires. The water-mud falls in globs and creates sacred shapes in which she feels deep pleasure. She greets the driver, on another side of the world, in this other time realm, and they stop at McDonald’s before fighting urban congestion on their way to the foreign extension university, where she is a professor.
Swallowing the last of her artificially colored strawberry shake, she dodges trishaws and a wild dog to run up the steps of the school where students greet her with enthusiastic requests for appointments and pleas for extensions on assignments. It is only April and her schedule book looks like a partially-recovered trade artifact from an archaeological dig. Rubber bands reinforce questionable cohesiveness. She adds a scrawl of ink here and checks a notation there. She teases one and makes deep eye contact with another, all the while sustaining a rhythm through the halls and up several flights of stairs.
 

 

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