The Dragon’s Gate

Koi fish have always made me laugh.  They remind me of babies with their toothless smiles.  Mouths so wide-open, they could swallow the world.

Not long ago my friend, Kai, and I visited the Japanese Gardens in Long Beach.  We fed and pet the Koi as if they were four-legged.  They tickled our fingers.  I laughed so hard, I almost cried.  I felt like a fairy child, free of heavy weighted thoughts.  I became buoyant, lifting up like a balloon as the mystical Koi swam up to me and into my heart.  

The koi fish made me laugh so hard, I almost cried.

Yes, there ARE rivers of tears that flow within me, seeking their expression.  It’s so sweet when they find release in laughter, transforming the ache of heartbreak into gratitude for the miracle of now.  I sat for a long time staring, mesmerized by their colorful patterns and fluid movements.  The more I gazed, the more I felt pulled into their hypnotic world.  Even weeks later, they stayed bright in my mind’s eye, lulled back to the laughter with my friend and their mystical movements. 

As I hadn’t been able to get them out of my head I decided to look up their spiritual medicine meaning. I found a Japanese folk story of Koi and the Dragon’s Gate.  I discovered why I had been so drawn to these beautiful creatures.  The story describes the Koi’s spirit, and their amazing capacity to overcome obstacles.

The Koi instinctively swim upstream. In this story, the bravest and most surrendering of the Koi, seeing a waterfall, continue up the wall of water till they reach the top of the threshold called the Dragon’s Gate, and upon crossing this finish line, transform into their true form—the fearless Dragon.  

This story speaks to me consciously and I also feel it speaking to the unconscious waters of my soul. Stirring a remembering within me, I am the Koi.  I have been swimming upstream since 2006 when I began to follow the magnetism of my soul more fully.  My need to please my own heart began to outweigh my need to keep up with the expectations of those around me.  

I began to follow the magnetism of my soul more fully

On the surface, it appeared that I had lost my mind, and this was absolutely, deliciously true.  I had lost the mind that values safety and the familiar above all else, the mind that others had identified as me and replaced it with the wisdom of my wild open heart.  

Every action has its consequence, and I saw the impending destruction of seemingly stable structures and relationships. Taking a deep breath, knowing what lay before me, I still said yes to the wall of water up ahead.  I knew it would take everything I had, and not all of my fellow beloved Koi tribe would continue to swim by side.  But something told me others, more in alignment with my energy, would show up and even inspire me beyond my own imaginings. 

I used to believe that the more I opened my heart to love and life and followed my soul-song, the less I would be affected by energies around me, but I have experienced quite the opposite.  I find that I am more sensitive than ever to others thoughts and energy fields, especially if I feel deep love for that person.  The more I open to love in all it’s forms, the more my heart is broken, leaving me more raw, more vulnerable, and walking a fine line between this realm and other dimensional frequencies. And yet, there is a mesmerizing beauty that radiates from a broken heart that has found a gift in those gaping cracks. Those vulnerable spaces serve to let more light in, and the more the light is able to penetrate the heart, the more the heart will become that brilliant effulgent light.   

That final stretch at the face of the waterfall is where the heart is so wide-open; we can feel the whole of existence within us.  It is there we are at our most vulnerable, feeling everything, every emotion, every dream that has ever been imagined.   We feel one with the persecuted and the persecutors.  For those of us that actively surrender, and choose to remember we are everything, including that which scarred us.  This is the moment where the great light fills in those scars, making us vessels of unconditional love made real in our physical form.  

In this moment the light becomes so strong, it takes the form of a mighty wind that lifts us up and across the dragons gate, where our gills become expansive wings, guiding us through all levels of consciousness and realms of existence.  We give ourselves the gift of our true form when we accept the fullness of who we are.  

Some traditions say the dragon is an evil manifestation needing to be slayed.  But for those who have climbed the waterfall, and integrated their shadow, instead of fearing the power of existence, passionately embrace their inner dragon, holding themselves and life in utter awe, seeing beauty and blinding love in all.

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Larisa Stow

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