Who Are We Underneath the Covers?

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The Sun Card in Tarot symbolizing the true, naked self

A few dreams ago I found myself floating down a sheer, jagged rock face when physics says I should have tumbled bruised and battered into the river below. The climb back up, though, required the help of other hands.

I’ve been thinking about who we will be when we emerge out of this period of isolation. In particular, I have been thinking about how we have lived clinging to the covers that we choose to wear, which separate us from our true selves, as well as from each other.

I am so ready for emergence, my body aches. Before I fell into that dream a few nights ago, I  crawled into my womb.  It’s something I’ve never done before, but suddenly that’s where I was. Sinking into the orange-red chalice of my being, surrendering to my inner creation.

Here inside the womb of self, I returned to a five-year-old-child. Emerging to be seen was the little girl who is still a part of me, naked in her truth before she donned the cloak of the false self. I felt her body sitting atop the first stone she fell in love. Not her own stone, but her neighbor’s. So huge she had to climb it. Here the sun fell around her, and through its golden beams danced the fairies she adored.

I felt joy before the collapse into fear and conformity as I watched my child self grow with rules and beliefs that offered her a false sense of security. A few nights before, my dream teacher had shown me a shelf filled with books he had chosen to leave behind while all the others were being cleared. The books were filled with fairies and magical beings.

We live in a time when magic has been  largely forgotten and often shunned as nonsense. If you talk about “magical” beings most people will look at you askance. It’s likely you will be labeled as not quite sane. Yet the lore of the magical landscape stretches far back into the past. Further than written memory. When did we forget who we were? How many children fall in love with fairies, dragons, and unicorns before they are taught they are fanciful?

After I made my way back up the cliff-face in my dream, with the aid of other’s hands, I returned to a classroom with my dream teacher. Together we surveyed long tables of  stones and crystals, all formed from the body of Earth. Out of the myriad I chose a citrine. Into my hands I took the crystal, feeling its weight and size, before I swallowed it and the impossible became possible. Too large for my body according to physics, the crystal dissolved into liquid upon my  tongue.  In an instant, I became pure light. I became the inner sun, set free.

I find the hiding of the true self wearisome. I wonder how many feel the same. This daily donning of false garments, which weigh upon us heavy and burdensome. Most of us walk cloaked, covering the light of the true self as we allow ourselves to follow rigid laws and codes designed to confine and conform. We peer outward, ever-searching, instead of inward to the magic of the inner light. We believe we are Earthbound and body-bound, yet even the Earth, for most of us, has become just a vessel to be mined.

Back inside the red-orange womb, I watched the four-year-old child grow into her world of separation as she learned to forget the magic of life. I watched her swallow her essence to guard her light as she moved robotically through her phases of physical growth. I watched as she checked off all the milestones she was expected to earn. Awards for academic achievements and races won. Marriage. Children. And then, finally, she arrived at schools of her choosing and the true self began to emerge. The child who once danced with magic in the sun was finding home inside the self, again.

I grow weary when I wear the cloak of society’s expectations, and I wonder who the cloak was really designed for. Pretenses feel more false than they perhaps ever have as the world struggles to rebirth us. Or rather, we struggle against the world to be rebirthed. It is becoming more and more apparent that this struggle is of human design. Nature is thriving while we try to figure out how to live. Truly live with the magic of our beings.

I realized, after my dream of swallowing citrine that it was the first flying dream I have had since the pandemic instilled fear in all of our minds. It was different from most of my flying dreams, though. The body had dissolved entirely. There was no need to defy the laws of physics, because I had become the light held inside the stone. The light of the sun. The light of the true self.

I long for the feeling of home while I struggle with the rules and conventions that still form our ideas of normalcy. Some days there’s a longing to fly across the pond and sit inside a circle of stones and never leave, because it is a place where I feel most “at home.” Why? Because the magic of the land, and of us, still lingers there. It has not wholly been erased.

There are other days when it is enough to sit outside on my deck and lift my naked face to the sun. To let the gaze soften to magic and watch the dance of the sylphs against the limitless blue horizon. Here, I know, is also home.  The free soul one breath away from release.

Yet the struggle persists. Inwardly and outwardly. I wonder what will prevail in this world seeking our rebirth? Will we erase more of the magic, erecting more false monuments of power, or will we rekindle, slowly and with love, the magic of the light held within?

 

 

 

 

 

A New World Of School

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

The governor of New Hampshire announced today that public schools in the state will be closed through the end of the school year. The rumor started a few days ago, but now that it is official, I find myself slipping into melancholy. Not for my personal loss, but for a collective loss that is made up of so many individual forms.

A few days ago I listened to a podcast of Brené Brown interviewing David Kessler called “On Grief and Finding Meaning,” called to my attention by  my dear friend Carol. During the interview, Kessler talks about the individuality of grief and loss, and how there is no way to compare one loss to another. He talks about how each loss holds meaning particular to the individual, whatever that loss might be. We are in the midst of so much loss, in this time of rebirthing, that sometimes the collective weight feels overwhelming.

This morning I woke from another dream about school. More nights than not, during the course of this pandemic, I am pulled into a classroom of some form. Ones that I have once attended, and ones I have never visited before. What seeks emergence struggles with a past I seem to be holding onto and can’t quite free.

Before this afternoon, when I read the message about the school closures, I had been thinking of my school dreams in terms of the “I.” What do they mean for me? I wondered. What is it that I need to learn that I have not learned? Perhaps, though, these dreams are not just about me, as most things, in essence, are not. Perhaps they are about all of us.

This morning I was telling a friend about a “Mr. B” that has now shown up at least twice in these series of dream, pondering what he might symbolize. Each time he’s appeared, I’ve thought of the character/archetype in the enneagram used in the Silent Eye School of Conscious sometimes referred to as “Plan Bee.”

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Plan Bee’s ego adores the material world and accumulating stuff. If he was a suit in Tarot, he would be the pentacles. At some point in life, though, the “stuff” we accumulate becomes a burden and even a curse through the mind’s obsession. Addiction can only be tempered by sobriety.

At this time in our shared history so much of what we once held dear is being pulled away from us. The material world we have created is crumbling. In so many ways, we are being called to go without as we go within.

The world, in essence, is one big classroom of which we are all students. The structure of our school is changing.  There is simply no denying it. Literally and symbolically. The facade has broken apart and we are being ushered into a new learning ground. Although the circumstances may be felt individually, we are all, young and old, being called to a chalkboard we have never quite seen before. The formula is only partially written, the solution, yet to be derived.

When I asked my daughter if she was upset that she will not be returning to the physical structure of her school until at least the fall, she told me “not really” because she knew it was coming. Some of her friends, though, are deeply upset. They are grieving the loss of the familiar. Of something they held dear that has been taken away. Even though my daughter says she’s okay, I know she is still grieving. She’s been feeling her losses, as all of us have, since the pandemic started shifting reality.

Tomorrow is my son’s fifteenth birthday and none of us are entirely sure how to celebrate it. Cards have been arriving all week, now strewn in quarantine along the dining room buffet, they will be opened tomorrow with just the four of us present. We’ll order some takeout for dinner, and my daughter and I will make a cake, but otherwise, it will be a quiet occasion.  So many celebrations are being condensed around the hearth fire now. Graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births, and yes, even deaths. Too many for us to want to count.

I think we owe it to ourselves to grieve and to feel each loss. To hold it in our hands, and cradle its essence, before we release it back to creation. We owe it to ourselves to feel its weight, before we let it go. To cry and scream if need be. To rage at fragility as we dig deeper into the core of our enduring strength. That is what makes us humans. We cling to the corporeal before we lose it. The beauty before it fades, the victory before it is over. We are temporary bodies who often forget we house eternal souls. Yet, even Plan Bee, Master of Pentacles, can realize the beauty of the free soul when he steps through the (always) open gate of the classroom. Wholly free of that which once held him back.

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This Time of Gratitude

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

As we spiral into another month (longer for some) inside the nest of our homes, many of us are turning to gratitude. Beneath the blanket of fear, we are finding a renewed, and perhaps even new, appreciation for life. All that we no longer have may feel like a loss, but what we do have is felt more poignantly.

How many of us now wake to greet each day with gratitude? “I am alive!” we think or may even say out loud as we feel the fortune of existence. Around us we see the blessings in our lives. The companionship and love of pets and family, the birdsong outside the windows that we can open to the wind, the budding of spring, and all the growth it offers…

We are being offered another chance at Life, and an opportunity to reflect upon what we hold essential and what we no longer need. Perhaps, after this time of turning inward, this hibernation in spring, we will emerge not quite the same as we were before isolation came upon us. Perhaps we will continue to see our world, as well as our individual and collective lives, differently. Perhaps what we deemed essential before may softly fall away to become the detritus for new growth.

There is an exquisite beauty to the heart song opening around the world. It sings love and empathy in the voice of unity, threading its notes through the darkness of fear, despair, and hatred.  We are turning over the ground we walk upon, discovering the roots that lay hidden. We are finding that life connects and weaves a grid of which we are all a part of, even though we may have walked in separation concerned only with our own path, or the paths of those we hold dear.

We are seeing how the farmer is essential to our lives, just as the rain that falls upon the fallow land. We are seeing how precious the seed is, pulled softly from its husk before it is nestled into the body of earth.  Upon our window sills, we are growing our own food and watching the wonder of creation in real time. Slow, unfolding, time.

Each time Earth turns towards the sun and the sky parts its clouds, we give thanks for the energy of life. It asks nothing of us, but continues to pour down its golden rays to keep life moving, growing, and hopefully evolving.

We find ourselves questioning the hold that we once felt and seeing that perhaps it was false. That perhaps the new house, car, vacation, shirt, or electronic device we yearned for and  thought we needed is really not so essential to our happiness anymore. Now, we are realizing, that wellbeing is the folding into the abundance of love in all its myriad forms. A love that surrounds us, but is also within us. Ever-flowing and sustaining real life.

This is not to say that we are all going through this time of renewal with ease. Although there are those of us with the privilege to still have the fundamentals to sustain life, there are even more who are going without. The polarity of life is becoming acutely apparent. And although we may shun labels like “socialism,” we are seeing how essential it is to care for the “other,” who is more like us than we once cared to see. The “other” it is now becoming unavoidable to see, is the “I” in another form.

In one, blinding moment, the wrap of security that once bound us tight may be pulled from us, as it has already for so many. Will we continue to allow ourselves to open our eyes to see the bare, unfettered truth as we become unraveled? Will we grow a new appreciation for the farmer who grows our nourishment, as well as the plants and animals that we consume? We will walk this Earth with steps of gratitude, realizing that we walk on life, itself? This ground that feeds us and sustains us?

Will we reach our roots down, deep into our Mother and rejoin not just with her life force, but allow our roots to reach out and nurture our neighbors, far and wide? Those we know, and don’t think we know…. Those we love, and those we thought we despised…Realizing that we are all interdependent upon each other down to the tiny microbes that we cannot see but swim through our cells?

 

 

Imagining A World Made New #poetry

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I’m trying to imagine a world made new

A riptide of dis(ease) softening into rebirth as seven

billion people grow golden filaments

around the darkness of our womb. At night

I claw dirt back into Her body

to know the heartbeat wrapped inside the winged

Release the tired shoulders, She whispers, you

who have learned to wear blades

 seeking to stretch beyond the chrysalis

To Breathe Whole

Arms, ready to release

the heavy weight of fight, trap

 the body collecting pain without permission

You wounded warriors of the light

stamp identity across the heart

pressing the false hold into a battle cry

lodged inside the forgotten throat

Open

the portal to the heart and allow the soul

to shout victory

Darkness is a demon

only if left unexplored. Let the cry loose

Let it soar through the shadowland inside

until it ignites the joy

that is life. Real life

Release those golden threads and weave

the memory

of unity

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Joy’s Room & a Journey with (Covid) 19 through Tarot & Dreams

I have been losing my identity in my dreams. In the span of multiple nights, I have lost my wallet, my car, and my home. I have also watched, as a bystander, horrific scenes of destruction of life and the human form breaking down. Most nights I feel as though I have barely slept. One vivid scene after another tumbles me awake, yet instead of feeling tired, I feel acutely alert as though there is no separation from day and night.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

It’s impossible to escape what is happening in the outer and inner worlds, and I know I am not the only one who is feeling the call to let go of what I once held close. Two nights ago, I found myself back at Bowdoin College, my alma mater. I’m here again? It’s not the first time I’ve returned, reluctantly, in the land of dreams. Once again, I felt the pull to reinvent myself.  To learn something I did not learn before.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

This time, I pulled on a pair of too-big jeans that did not belong to me, and made a messy attempt at hemming them. Still, I wore them as I swung my limbs into a dance in the full light of the sun, amongst my peers, before I dug a hole in the sand and hopped into it. A half-hearted attempt at rebirth before I emerged to find my way back home.  Strange, I thought as I tried to find my compartment apartment, I know how to get there. How could I be lost?

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Photo Credit:Pixabay

But sure enough, the landscape as I had known had changed. I could not find my way back to my apartment. The more I struggled with fear, the more the scene before me grew into one of congestion and confusion. Finally, I entered a doorway I was drawn to, and a vast museum unfolded before me. Each footstep brought new mysteries. I didn’t know where I was, but I didn’t want to leave. Well, not really. Despite the endless wonders before me, there was still the voice of fear nagging to find that place I was used to calling home.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Last night, I was back at college. It was not Bowdoin, though, but a new college by the seacoast. I drove there in my blue car and found myself pulled into the  confusion of where to park it. Vast lots loomed before me, and I finally chose one that was raised on higher ground. The alarms rang out while inside the new-to-me buildings. The waters are rising! I emerged to find the land being swallowed by a pale green sea. Half in awe of the power of its force, half desperate to find my blue car, where my wallet was locked inside, I ventured out into the chaos. Confusion and panic took hold as I searched for my blue car while green waters rose around me. Only to find that it had been lost, somehow, despite its elevation, to the sea. Mysteriously, the waters had swallowed my car and left the others beside it. Gone was my ride home, along with my identification cards trapped inside.

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Photo credit: Pixabay 

I wonder how many people are having similar dreams? Different scenes playing out the same calling for rebirth? Or perhaps the calling is more acute in the reality of daytime. This near-shouting, silent, incessant voice that urges the self as we know it to give way to something new. To something closer to the true self…

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Before the virus took hold of our world as we know it, a children’s story poured out of me. I am calling it Joy’s Room. I thought I was writing it for eventual publication. You know, the traditional kind, because I have already grown weary of self-publication. I wrote it and let it sit, until the virus took hold and Joy’s Room began to pester me with the call to reinvent a reality I wanted to cling to.

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The cover of Joy’s Room. I’m using Canva in an attempt to create a virtual storybook.

As Joy’s Room tugged at my shirt sleeves, yoga began jack-hammering the foundation of my home. The place where I had been physically holding my yoga classes. I felt, as many are feeling, that I had no choice but to embrace a new way if I wanted to continue to grow instead of wither. And so I began the stumbling dance into virtual yoga for my adult classes and creating videos for kids. Vanity has been forced to take a backseat as I step in front of the screen and bare myself. The impulse to redo, rejected. Flaws accepted, even embraced, as I give way to the unwrapping of Joy.

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Page 2 of Joy’s Room

Yes, Joy.  For I have discovered joy in the process. I cannot help but feel it as it takes hold of me, albeit with some guilt. It seems, in so many ways, “joy” is a word that should not be uttered at this time, but how can it be denied when it is calling for us to embrace it? Amid the struggle against death, life is offering us a chance for rebirth the likes of which many of us have never experienced before. An individual and global rebirth. It feels like a test as well as an opportunity. In part (perhaps mostly) of our own invention. It would be foolish to deny the cries of our planet any longer. More than half a century ago, we we knew the lifestyles we were rapidly creating were not globally sustainable.

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19 reduces to 1+9=10

Tragic, in many ways, but also beautiful, is this breaking down to begin anew. To recreate the self, and the whole, in a more sustainable way. To rewrite the script that is life on Earth. Already, we are changing. Hearts that were closed off, are opening as Fear struggles with Life. The Wheel of Fortune is in our hands. We can turn it forward, or in reverse. The cards are stacked before us for us to reshuffle and deal. The hands of fate, our own. We may feel helpless, but that is the old voice of fear speaking. The familiar tendency to be the victim and not the hero of our stories/story.

Now more than ever, perhaps, we are being asked to turn inward and listen to the wisdom of the inner Hermit. To heed the unspoken words that whisper truth beneath the shouts of fear. The Hermit is offering us rebirth. To bring the Fool’s Journey into the Land of Joy. To stand before our own future with the fortitude of the Magician that also resides inside each one of us. Alchemy transmuting fear into love. Death into rebirth.

 

This is not an easy journey, as we are witnessing. And there is the feeling that the more we resist rebirth, the more physical death and turmoil will occur. There is the feeling that this will persist as long as it takes. Yet, Joy’s threads weave a constant, unbreakable strand of gold through each of our hearts. Their tensile strength stronger than fear. While fear works towards separation, Joy dances to the song of unity. We are all in this together.

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The last page of Joy’s Room

 

One Endless Saturday

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Through no choice of our own, we are all being called to pull inward, to the comfort of the hearth fire. To our homes. At night I dream of old homes and new. Of fireplaces in rooms they have never been before. Reality is teased into new forms and one wonders what is real.

No doubt I am not the only one who is losing track of dates and even minutes. Each day feels like a Saturday, wrapped inside of itself like the planet in the distant sky. There is comfort to staying within. Avoidance, though, does not always equal protection.

The further we retreat inside, the more we are beckoned by what resides within the shadows. As we walk the familiar hallways of our “homes,” the eye is pulled to see what it has easily overlooked due to the hustle of distraction.

Never before, in my lifetime, have I felt the collective pull into the present moment. Each breath feels like a gift. Each inhale an opportunity to receive or let go. As I healer, I have come to know the feel of fear and how it likes to wrap the chest like armor. I will protect you, it whispers promise.

Fear lies. The promise of protection becomes a trap when it is held for too long. The breath shortens and becomes shallow. Instead of coursing on the wave of life throughout the body, it pounds for freedom off the walls of the chest.

I cannot help but think often of the breath during these days that feel like one endless cycle of rebirth. Within the endless minute I notice how long my body holds air before it lets go. How much life it is willing to take inside, and how much it is willing to let go.

We may cling to the belief that there is little we can now control, but this too is a false whisper belonging to fear. Never before, perhaps, have most of us been given a greater opportunity to take hold of the reins and ride into wild freedom, or pull tightly into restraint.

By freedom, I do not intend to imply a reckless abandonment of judgement. True freedom is a personal ride to find one’s own natural rhythm among the outer rhythm of life. When the outer slows down its hustle, the opportunity to find the cadence within is opened, its dance tantalizingly electric.

The outer eyes collapse into the inner and life is explored in new ways. Dormant seeds begin to find the light you bring to them, and new growth starts to take hold and even flourish. When the outer world as we knows it collapses into a new fold, so too must we.

Even though the dance may at first feel awkward, Joy’s hand is always there ready to be grasped. My own inner journey during this long stretch of Saturdays, has found me exploring virtual yoga. Instead of grasping the familiar of avoidance, I found it was time to let go resistance and find a new home teaching remotely, through a screen.

This new gift of collapsing space to find connection through a screen brought some frustration until I acknowledged the vice of Fear attempt to trap. And there was Joy on the other side. Waiting for to laugh we me at the missteps. Waiting to take my hand and waltz into this new land. Joy never promises the dance will be easy, but it always lead with the light of truth.

 

Wistful Hope #wistful #writphoto

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photo credit: Sue Vincent

Hope took a deep breath and inhaled the sky. Fear slid behind her into the recesses of Night as New Day slipped over the land. A land long-troubled by the burden of Misuse and Misunderstanding.

As she stood atop the hill, Hope thought about the green spreading over the barren patches of earth. A sense of wistful longing took hold of her heart and she smiled. It had been a long time since she had smiled. Even longer since she had laughed. Yet, beneath her feet, Hope now felt a tingling. The Earth was waking her children. It was subtle, but Hope knew it to be Life stirring through the Long Darkness.

Her veins began to hum a quiet song, and Hope new it to be Harmony.

Harmony had not been a part of Hope’s life before the breaking of New Day. She had lived a long time. A very long time. She had watched and waited. Her feet stumbling over Dissonance. Cracks in the landscape ever-widening, instead of rejoining. Before the New Day had dawned, Hope was starting to feel Despair in each footstep. Faith had become a long-lost friend and Hope knew only Loneliness.

And then the sky had changed its worn and tattered cloak of gray and dawned the New Day filled with the blush of pink and Hope felt that stirring to breathe deep and full its promise. If she had felt it. So would the others. Soon they would return. Coming out of their caves of Isolation to feel the stir of Harmony. And when they did Love would rekindle its fire and spark the Light of Unity in each heart.

Hope could hardly wait for the Dance of Life to begin.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt challenge, #wistful