Saturday, January 03, 2009

thoughts on thieves and light

I was summoned to my office yesterday b/c the historic house it's in had been broken into on the first evening of the new year, and every office but one ransacked.

When I got there the CSI had just left. It was eerie walking into my sandplay inner sanctum and finding his business card with contact info lying on the wooden table by my chair.

The break-in was very odd. There was almost no evidence of entry from the outside, but inside, most of the individual office doors had been violently kicked in. The doors were original to the house, solid wood, and seeing deadbolts intact but holes ripped in doorjambs, as well as the splintered oak of the doors was heartbreaking.

With the exception of one office, which had been trashed a bit, the rest were oddly intact, and the things stolen made very little sense. In my sandplay space, which had nothing of commercial value but did have my incredibly valuable-to-me sandplay collection, not a figure was out of place. The thieves opened the closet door and looked inside, and in the inner sanctum they took a lamp and dipped a hand into 2 out of 3 sand trays.

I have a large clean paint brush I use to smooth out the trays between every client, and I always do that right before leaving the office. It's common for clients who don't use the trays to put their hands in - the smooth contained sand seems almost like a blank page that calls out to be marked in some way. But the fact that a thief paused in the act to do so made me wonder about what was going through his/her mind in my little space.

The lamp was a personal favorite that has been in my therapy offices for many years now. It was unusual but absolutely not expensive. Still, it has been the lamp for most of my practice that sits between the client and me during sessions. The light was soft and perfect, and I couldn't help but think "they stole the light that connects me to my clients."

Instead of leaping to anger and wanting justice, which would normally be my next leap in such a scenario, I have been thinking of how the thief might use the lamp, and what will happen when that powerful light shines into *their* space.

I have worked with mostly trauma victims, including many children, and that lamp, and those sandtrays, hold potent energy indeed.

My hope is that the lamp shines some light, for whoever has it right now, on boundaries and violation of such. That all the brave and courageous words and emotions that have been shared in the soft circle of light that little lamp has cast over the years offer invisible but powerful support to someone choosing a different path, and a more honorable one, in this new year.


ponymaid said...

Oh Billie, we all send our heartfelt condolences. I expect it was a human version of TJ who broke into your office. I sometimes wonder about the way in which the universe unfolds. I suspect you will eventually find out who did this and why they felt the need to inflict such damage on doors that have had a longer life on the planet than most people.

mamie said...

Billie, I love how you have written about this violation of your space, ending with the hope that the good that has been done there will "shine" on those who stole the light.

Beautiful post.

billie said...

Sheaffer and all - thank you so much!

It would be interesting to see what such a person might do if confronted with the human equivalent of the "boss mare" of a strong herd upon breaking the rules in such a way.

I think of TJ who needed to encounter some strong herd energy from the "big boys" in order to hear the message, and then of course, experience the kind and consistent, yet firm, mini-mule whisperer who is teaching him about boundaries and limits.

In a way, I guess we humans try to recreate that, but it is never expressed as powerfully and as simply as it is in a herd setting.

billie said...

Thank you, Mamie - I love how you put it.

Grey Horse Matters said...

It's such a shame that the historic doors were damaged for something as unnecessary as a robbery. I love historic houses and the places that belonged to the past.

I'm sure they will catch the thieves eventually and some items may be returned,hopefully your lamp will be among them.
I find it strange too, that whoever it was stopped long enough at your sand play to test it out. The thieves were more than likely misguided teens, I hope whoever has your lamp will realize the circle of light can only shine on him if he returns it to its rightful owner.
Sorry this had to happen to you.

the7msn said...

Well that just stinks. But, Billie, you certainly have the right attitude to deal with this violation of your space and yourself. I'm a huge believer in karma. The thieves will get what's coming to them.

billie said...

For my office mates who had much bigger valued things stolen, I do hope they find who did it and can recover some items.

One person was considering moving out yesterday.

The house is on one of the busiest streets in town, and right next to a 24-hour restaurant, so it's not isolated at all. I suppose on New Year's Day evening, though, it was probably the quietest it gets all year around there.

billie said...

I agree, Linda. A bigger wave than my anger awaits them.

Janet Roper said...

I'm sorry your new year got off to such a start. I hope your lamp is found, and the other items that were stolen.

Sending healing Light your way,

billie said...

Thanks, Janet. I appreciate the good thoughts.

Kyle said...

Billie, reading your sad story, I can't help but think this was done by some person/s in great pain. They have no idea what it is they lack, or they wouldn't have looked where they did to find it. I commend you for the fact that they took your lamp but not your light.

Victoria Cummings said...

Billie - Your thoughts about the bravery of all that was shared by the light of that lamp are really touching. I hope that they find the people who broke in so that everyone whose space was violated has some sense of closure. It's sad how a place that was so safe becomes changed and uncertain after this kind of experience.

jme said...

you have an amazingly enlightened attitude considering the circumstances. how difficult it must be to have a sanctuary like that violated and yet not feel tainted by that ill-intent. that you are still able to carry that Light with you, even in the absence of its physical reminder is a testament to its strength - and yours. i'm glad this person hasn't spoiled the security and peace of your sanctuary, and hope things return to normal as quickly as possible. it is too bad about those doors, too. i never can stand the senseless destruction of history...

billie said...

Thanks, Kyle. There definitely was a sense in the house (imo) of some kind of inner conflict on the part of the thieves. The crime did not seem to be about anger and destruction, even with the doors ruined. Nor was it about monetary gain, b/c at least part of what they took wasn't of value. They also left behind things that were of far greater value than what they took.

It's entire possible some little figure or other was taken from my office. I tried to look for gaps on the shelves, but I'll only really know something is missing when a client needs it and we can't find it.

That would be a powerful clue into the mindset of the thief. The interesting thing about the lamp is that it was surrounded by little figures and things, and the plug was in an awkward place. Whoever took it could not possibly have jerked it or done it quickly b/c everything on the table was in place, undisturbed.

This may be going too far, but it felt in my office like the thief was actually careful. It's like a labyrinth in there, and in one area especially you can't even turn around too quickly or you'll bump into shelving and knock things down. Nothing was disturbed.

When I got the initial call, my first fear was not that anything had been taken, but that a thief had been pissed that there was nothing of real value in my space, and that the shelves had been raked clear in frustration.

I was shocked to find that in fact, the very opposite was true.

billie said...

Victoria, thank you. I'm relieved (so far) to discover that for me, the space doesn't feel unsafe or changed. Most of the other folks were in their offices working when I arrived, and with one exception, they all felt okay.

The energy hadn't really shifted, which is curious.

When I was growing up, my family had a cabin deep in the woods by a little pond. My father built and furnished it - it was his "baby."

It was so remote and isolated we had to have an electric line run down there, and depending on what time of the year it was, you had to drive along the edge of a corn field to get to it. The old road that was back there had ruts so deep you had to know exactly where they were so as not to get stuck.

The cabin was robbed at one point - it was clearly a financially driven, professional job. They took EVERYthing. Furniture, art, appliances, even the light fixtures in two rooms. Yet they were extremely courteous - they locked it back up, they put the water line from the fridge into the sink and taped it so no water damage to the floor would occur.

No one could figure out how they got a big truck down there to load up all the stuff.

My father spent months re-creating the original furnishings. Sometime a few years later, the cabin was broken into again, but by teenagers, and they didn't steal anything, but trashed the place. They broke out every window, cracked the bathroom mirrors, took all the food (mostly condiment type things) from the fridge and smeared them into the carpets and furniture.

The feeling of being violated was so much greater that second time. There was disrespect, anger, ignorance, and spite left behind. I guess the fact that there was no way to make sense of it was what made it so hard to take.

My father restored it, but eventually he decided to sell it. It wasn't an issue of not feeling safe there - but more that the meanness of spirit had ruined what we had all loved about it - nature, the sense of being away from the real world. It had been a haven for us.

I don't know why exactly this current situation is not more upsetting to me. There have been plenty of times in my career when this would have made me furious, and I know there are times past when something like this would have made me move.

I think my ideas about sacred space have drastically shifted. Instead of feeling like the space was damaged, it almost feels like the intruder was affected by the space, if that makes sense.

billie said...

Thanks, jme. The doors are just... sad.

One thing I haven't mentioned is that the entrance into my space was not original to the house. They are French double doors, and didn't present a big challenge. But they certainly would have crumbled had they been hit with the force used on the other doors.

I hadn't realized it until right now, but there is a sense of restraint in the aftermath of the robbery.

There are three other doors original to the house that are locked in my labyrinthine office - and if someone just wanted to vent some anger and kick some doors in they had every opportunity. But those weren't necessary to gain entrance, so they didn't.

I wish I knew what the initial motivation to break in was - and how that might have shifted as they went from office to office.

But other than that, my closure will come when I buy the new light and see the next client. The safety of the space and the work that goes on there hasn't been affected at all.

AnnL said...

Oh, Billie, I'm so sorry you had to deal with this at the start of the new year. It's a terrible violation to have your space invaded. But, it does seem that the healing energy in your office may have affected the thief. It appears the thief did not affect the sanctity of your space. That is a blessing and perhaps the energy the thief encountered in your space and will feel when s/he uses your lamp will start them on a path of healing.

May the rest of your year be better than this.

billie said...

Thank you, Ann.

Since this happened, there are more things than I can count that have charmed me, made me smile, and felt quite lovely, so I would say my new year is, overall, looking quite nice.

But as anyone who knows me knows well, I have never been one to get mired in negative thinking. I can fret hard, but when I do, I do it all at once, overdo it, really, and then let it go.

And I am far more likely to fret about little insignificant things than bigger things. I have no idea why that is.

Like right now - the thing on my mind more than anything? Getting the water tested for the horses, getting potable hoses, and considering what the water troughs are made of - in our case, the big Rubbermaid ones. I have recently read that porcelain bathtubs are the least likely to taint the water.

Plenty to keep the fret wheels turning, LOL.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh no. So sorry Billie.
Do you think it could have been done by the clients that you or others have treated?
It seems they were certainly drawn to specific items and knew there way around the rooms quite well.

I'm very awed and imprssed with your understanding, and patient generosity of those theieves though. You have such an accepting spirit.
I could learn alot from you about letting go and being more accepting of unfairness while not being so adversely affected by toxic people.

New Mexico

billie said...

I doubt that, Lisa. I'm the only therapist there; the other folks are for the most part artsy people who need office space to do their creative work.

I haven't taken a new client in over a year - my practice is mostly comprised of clients returning for "booster shots" of therapeutic work, and for the past 5 years at least I've only taken clients by recommendation of other therapists - people well known to them, usually because they've treated a family member, or because they're friends of the family.

The thieves didn't seem to know their way around - they kicked in every door but one, even in an office that is currently empty. The one left untouched is sort of hidden, so they missed that one.

Anyway, it's certainly possible that someone went in during the day when folks were working and looked around before breaking in, but no one has suggested the thief is knows anyone there.

Ethereal Highway said...

Happy New Year, Billie. I'm sorry you endured this intrusion. I wonder where the lamp is now. What has beome of the lamp would make a fascinating story line.


billie said...

Thanks, L. I hope you're doing well!