Copyright © 2010 by William R. Mistele.  All rights reserved. 


          My Physical Therapist—A Mermaid Woman



I fell down a cliff.  How stupid can you get? That was last October 10th.  Two weeks later, after consulting with a surgeon and getting an MRI, I finally began physical therapy.  In my mind, I was too banged up with other injuries to undergo surgery for a damaged and dislocated shoulder. 

    For the first three months I did not notice.  I was distracted--the therapy was excruciatingly painful.  The fractures were not yet mended.  And it is easy to take a woman such as this one for granted.  

   The thing about mermaid women, that is, women with deep water in their auras, is that they are adept at disguising themselves.  Due to circumstances and experience, they learn early in life that you can not be completely open with other people.  You can not be constantly and continuously giving, loving, nurturing, and healing anyone and everyone you meet. 

   Without even knowing what they are doing, other people tend to turn into vampires around mermaid women.  Others want more and more of whatever it is that she gives.  This is not something people do on a conscious level.  It is subconscious and subliminal.

   It is like walking down the sidewalk and finding a twenty dollar gold piece lying on the ground in mint condition dated 1821.  Most people will not lift that gold piece up and shout, “Did anyone lose this twenty dollar gold coin?”  And if you did hear someone say that it would almost certainly be some sort of scam going on. When you find something of great value, your first thought is not to give it away.  Mermaid women are always giving something of great value away.    

  We live our lives amid tradeoffs.  We, that is, human beings negotiate for affection and attention.  Respect is earned.  And love is rare enough that we do everything we can to protect what we have. 

   True love is perhaps the rarest thing on earth—a love that can not be bound, broken, diminished, or brought to an end; it is so alive it captures the essence of every moment while at the same time the wisdom of eternity shines from within it.  In true love, there is nothing to possess, to bind, or to try to confine.  In true love, the lover is inside of you one hundred per cent of the time.  

    My physical therapist is in disguise. She presents herself as a professional during a therapy session.  She is business like, focused on task, and very demanding.  She has great recall and attention to detail.  She knows very well that in regard to shoulder dislocations, you never want to depart from protocols or step by step treatment.  You have to do the hard work if you want to get results.  There are no free rides and there are no exceptions to this rule. 

   And so it would be very easy to think that this woman is a Virgo—she is analytical, mental, hard working, focused on details, and enjoys most of all when something is done right.  But this conclusion would be an absolute mistake.  Her personality is completely opposite.

  I began to notice my mistake very slowly.  It required an effort to put it all together.  It was in her intonation pattern as she spoke.  There was the sound of water dripping off of leaves and falling to the ground. 

  It was in her touch when she was massaging my shoulder.  She would ask as she stretched a muscle, “On a scale of one to ten, how painful is this?” I would reply, “When you are touching my arm, I can feel the intensity of the sensations, but my mind no longer labels it as pain.  I just let go.”

  And it was in her occasional smile.  When she smiled, the therapist was gone.  A different person was present.  It was the smile of a young woman who loves to be out of doors—canoeing between the islands, hiking in the mountains, or swimming in the surf.  I was no longer in a hospital.  Sunlight, moonlight, and wind were caressing my skin. 

   She is innocent, loves to play, is pure delight, and feels a part of nature.  She searches with endless curiosity for new experiences that allows life to express itself as an explosion of joy, with the joy she already feels inside. 

  I have never described or met anyone in my life who “searches for new experiences that allows life to express itself as an explosion of joy.”  Then again, in my sixty-three years of life, I have met at most only eight mermaid type women.  Two of the eight found me in response to my global casting call.  I would guess that only one in four thousand is a mermaid type woman.     

  So here is my dilemma.  I feel more alive when I am in her presence.  And I can tell you exactly, precisely, why this is:

   In this particular instance with this woman, her femininity, her way of being receptive, her way of giving energy takes the electricity in my nervous system and enhances it.  It is not just a matter of feeling assured and more self-confident.  It feels like having the power of lighting that occurs in a storm on a dark night.  It is the power to light up the darkest places within the heart.  That is the way she makes me feel.

  When human beings love, they have feelings for each other.  The mutual attraction is the foundation from which love is born.  The attraction is specific.  It is often unique and it acts as a force like gravity binding two people together.  The other has a hold on you like you are under a spell—like a magic mirror, the woman reflects something from deep within you that, at times, is so far away you may not have even known it was part of you.  She offers you something that makes you feel whole and the relationship makes her feel complete as well.          

    Mermaid women are not like that.  They do not love in that way.  Love is neither created by the feelings two individuals have for each other nor does it have anything to do with specific experiences that are shared in common.  Love is not generated through the act of giving.    

  Like nature that surrounds us with its sky, stars, sun, moon, mountains, seas, rivers, forests, plateaus, and plains, love is already there.  It is everywhere.  You only need to open to it and allow it to flow through you.                

   For a mermaid woman, you can not capture another’s attention by your charm, your beauty, your wealth, or your social status and skills.  And joy is never a matter of feeling really good because everything is going right or because you are so lucky that more than you could imagine is happening to benefit you.  The feeling of joy occurs when, like an artesian well, you are a channel through which a stream flows unimpeded and without restraint. 

  I use the image of water because for mermaid women love is like the waters that cover the earth.  It has vast depth and breadth. It has been here billions of years and more--it is like the sky that contains the stars at night.      

   And so, as I have previously described, mermaid women have a problem.  Offering attention, affection, acceptance, empathy, and energy to others makes some people feel so good, so right, that they immediately notice when that love is no longer flowing through them.  And then they feel uptight.  They naturally want to possess or restrain the mermaid woman in some way in order to acquire a steady supply of her love.  Like me, they notice they feel more alive in her presence. 

   The question, then, is can I reproduce that same feeling of being alive in myself when I am not in the presence of a mermaid woman’s aura?  All of these women mention that they feel connected to nature.  They often say they have a non-human identity. 

   Can I find that same sea of love inside of myself? Can I find peace that “flows like a stream from the dawn of time to the ends of eternity?”  Can I relax and be still and feel like an artesian well so that there is a welling up of joy overflowing from the depths of my soul and that searches for new experiences that allows life to express itself as an explosion of joy?  Or, as with my physical therapist, can I contain within myself the polarity of earth and sky that causes the light bolt to fly and that mends the broken heart?

   Someone might suggest, “Well, you already know the girl.  Simply make her your friend.  Then these feelings, like a friend, will be there when you want them.”  There is a difficulty with that suggestion.  A mermaid woman may know a great many people but becoming her friend is not so easy.  On average, it takes me one to two years to gain their trust before, for example, they will even do an interview with me. 

  To become close to a mermaid woman, to be her friend, you have to feel the way she feels inside.  They are empaths.  It is actually quite difficult to fool them.  To be a genuine friend, you have to feel what the other person feels inside, not just want what she has.  And you can not offer her something of value in exchange for her attention.   If she feels you flowing through her as she can so easily flow with her love and energy through you, then and only then will she feel close to you—that you are someone who understands who she is.

   To convert myself from a human being into an individual who feels joined to nature from within is a slow process.  This is not the nature studied by scientists and ecologists who mutter paternalistic slogans like “We need to protect and heal the earth.”  It is we and the not the earth that is endangered.  In the blink of her geological eyes, we are at risk of becoming a distant memory, as extinct as the dinosaurs.  The nature that mermaid women feel united with joins the inner and outer worlds.    

   If I relax and sit very still and use my clairsentient abilities, I can feel what mermaid women feel—a love that is everywhere, in every moment, and that embraces the universe.  This love is all around me.  I can feel it as clearly as any mermaid woman on earth. The difference is that it is not flowing through me.  I have created it with my mind and it requires my attention to remain active and present.  They feel this love naturally; it flows through them without effort.  There is no thought, meditation, magic, ethics, theology, or metaphysics attached to it.  It is already there and exists independent of the human race. 

   It took me five months of strenuous physical therapy to regain my range of motion in my arm.  Perhaps in five years, though exercises involving the water element, I will come to embody in myself the love that these women feel.   

   A mermaid woman, one adept in social interaction, recently challenged my self-image.  She said, “Just be your self. Be honest, in the moment; be direct. Just share who you are.”  I replied to her, “I write poems.  My poems tell me I have not yet met the person that I am.” 

   I am not being facetious.  I am embarrassed around these women.  They are more human than I am, even when some of them are actual mermaids who have chosen to appear in the form of women.  When I can love as they love, then I will have become the person I am meant to be. 


Today I was discharged from my physical therapy, having completed seventeen sessions.  I wrote this poem for my physical therapist as my way to say goodbye.          



For Kathryn, to thank you for all of your help 


I was not sure if I was dead or alive

And then you were by my side

A guide to the Other Side?

“Not so,” you coached,

“No pain, no gain,

The bones will fuse

The muscles strengthen

It’s just takes time,”

And then off you went camping


You are the soft singing in the light of dawn

A lost song again found

Before sunrise

I see it in your eyes

With a voice that says,

“Life is a gift

Like the light of dawn

Forever new as a touch, a caress, a kiss”


Your innocence flows like a stream

The sounds of a waterfall in a dream

Water splashing, the ripples dancing, laughing

Rainbows playing in the rising mist   

The cool, deep, refreshing depths

Such is morning as it stretches on

It is found in the silent song

You are constantly singing


And then the dazzling, brilliant sun ascends

I see it in your eyes

The will to make the best of life

To make things turn out right

You live on the edge of the moment

Ready for any surprise 


Now twilight descends

Too soon things come to an end

Work and play

All accomplishments fade away

It is a time to let go

To feel release and also peace

Your eyes tell me so

In every moment a new beginning unfolds


And then the dead of night

The darkest places I already know

Where those who hunger and thirst for love

Have lost their way

Have lost their hope

Here too your voice speaks

I can feel your breath on my neck

Whispering in my ear, 

“Love can not be found

Because it is all around

You only need to let go into the flow;

This I always know.”


Whether the soft song of dawn

Morning ascending  

The delight of sunlight

The release of twilight

Or the silent, silent dead of night

Your presence will always be by my side

With the wonder of what it is to be alive.


Your innocence flows like a stream

The sounds of a waterfall in a dream

Water splashing, the ripples dancing, laughing

Rainbows playing in the rising mist   

The cool, deep, refreshing depths

Such is morning as it stretches on

It is found in the silent song

You are constantly singing