The Box That Is Not You

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Photo Credit: Pixabay 

You are not the box, you are what’s inside of it.

At 46 years old I am feeling more limitless than I ever have before. Even as a young child. You see, I never had the freedom of a child unbounded by constraints. And, that is okay. One cannot change the past, and nor does one have to. The freedom to allow the self to break through the barriers of restrictions is not conditional to time, place, or age.  It is, simply, you allowing yourself to be you. To really get to know the you that resides inside the outer representation of the self, and come home to that realization with joy.

“Whatever you’re doing. Keep doing it. You look good. I can tell you feel good,” were the words of a friend of mine as she left my morning yoga class. She also heard my words filled with fear one month ago.

“Do you fly a lot in your dreams?” another friend asked me a few days ago after she heard about my latest flying dream.  There was a wistful note to her words, and I could see the look of longing in her eyes when I told her, “Yes.”

Many adults can remember flying in their dreams at night when they were  children. I don’t. My flying dreams came later, in a steady regularity, after my own children were born. Their births, you could say, birthed my own inner child. But, it’s a been a slow birthing. It has not been smooth and effortless, and it certainly has not happened over night.

I chose the picture I did to introduce this post because to me it is symbolic of the myriad boxes we can choose to carry around in our lives and try to fit ourselves into. There’s not just one, but for most of us there are many. The box of the perfect child. The perfect spouse. The perfect mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent, student, athlete, coworker, employer…you get the picture. So many boxes to contain the essence that is you. Shaped not by your own will, but the will you have given away to another.

Yet, we are not meant to live inside the confines of a box, nor are we meant to jump from one box into another depending upon circumstances. Although we reside in a physical body for a limited amount of time, we are limitless beings here to experience the essence of our truths. We are here to grow and evolve into being. To love and to move, ever more freely into the breath of joy.

The boxed self might conform to a specific ideal, but it is never your truth. When we close in the sides and seal the edges, the light inside is trapped. In an effort to constantly please and conform to a false ideal that is not our own, you not only suffer, the world suffers. Herein lies the irony of the “perfect” self. Although we may believe otherwise, no one is served by the confines of limitations. The free soul living in truth shines with a brightness that ripples through time, space, and age. It is never too late to become it. It is never too late to step out of the box and fly.

Go ahead, give it a try. Imagine your self as a limitless being. Feel it, see it, know it. Joy is yours to find. Reach inside and grab ahold of it. Then, let it go. Feel the expansion that is you. Wholly and completely. Let self limiting believes slip away with the breath. Let old restrictions free their tangle until only you remain. Breathe into that light that is you and know it as truth. Take a good look at you and remember who you are, so when you forget, you can bring it back.

I dream again of flying, this time to free joy #Dreams

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

On the night of Halloween, I went to sleep, once again, to fly. The dream began in a fairytale landscape inside a forest of haunting beauty. Light glowed golden upon trees dancing with vines as my footsteps led me further into the heart of the wood. There was no fear, only wonder inside of me until I reached my destination. An old victorian house turned into an inn stood in the middle of the fairy woods. I went inside and felt the golden light of the forest disappear with the closing of the door.

“Come with me,” the inner keeper urged, “I will show you to your room.” I followed with reluctance. Each room, when I peered inside, looked old and drab. The bedroom I was offered was not only filled with old things, but it was in need of a good washing. I turned down the bedclothes to show the inn keeper how dirty they were. “I cannot stay here,” I said.

So we moved on. Each room we entered was little better than the one before. “Could you stay here?” he asked of a room that was neat and tidy, but still filled with old things. “I suppose it would do,” I offered in concession.

When he left, the room still felt occupied. I noticed a man and a woman in the corner. Ghosts of the past? I could not say for sure. Except I knew they had to go. And the room, well, I was not going to allow it to contain me. Left alone, I began to fly, clearing the darkness into light with great gulps of air expelled from my lungs and out of my mouth.

And as I flew and expelled the darkness, the house began to expand and grow into an endless maze of rooms. Skipping the lower levels, I zipped up the stairway until I reached the top floor. Here I found a scene of exquisite beauty painted in a mural upon a ceiling the color of a cloudless sky. I flew with joy, following the arch of the sky-like ceiling through an ever-expanding house.

On and on I flew, until I realized they were coming for me. Fear began to creep its darkness over joy. I could hear them approaching. Their angry words filtered up the stairway ever closer in their need to capture the woman who flew when she should be walking. I had no choice but to go down. And so down I went, floor by floor.  But as I flew each level through endless rooms, I exorcised the darkness with my breath.

As my feet touched the ground floor, I realized gravity once again. Although I had evaded capture, surrounding me were the familiar markings of the mundane. All was brown and drab. Ordinary and old. My eyes searched until they found my feet upon the floor and I smiled. “Ha,” I laughed in realization. “Even here I can fly.” And so I lifted my feet and flew, once again, into joy.

Hour later, I walked into my friend Deb’s house and sat at her kitchen island with our friends, Sophia, Adrianne, and Jane. Dressed as a dragon in a purple and green onesie borrowed from my daughter, with silver fairies dangling from my ears, I was filled with a childlike giddiness. “What’s going on, Alethea?” Deb kept turning to look at me with a smile. “Why are you so happy?”

“I don’t know,” I returned her smile. “Maybe it has to do with my dream last night.”

Sometimes we heal in the day time, sometimes we heal at night. Thousands of years ago, we built temples for dreaming and inside we slept to heal our bodies, give clarity to our minds, and find a deeper understanding of the truths of our beings.

For as long as time has been recorded, poets, sages, and inventors have dreamt masterpieces while their bodies slumbered. I wonder how many people really believe that dreams are simply random, nonsensical ramblings of a mind left to wander with abandon?

Even as a young child I was fascinated with dreams. For awhile, I kept a dream journal. Sometimes I would dream an event before it would happen, and wonder how that could possibly be. There is so much more going on while we sleep than many of us realize. Although I cannot say with certainty what every dream means, nor can I recall them all in vivid detail. But, I am certain we dream with purpose. In the landscape of night we live out our fears and our joys, and sometimes we transform through them.

A month ago I felt as though I might be consumed by a fear I could not wholly define. It felt old and deeply rooted, its origins extending beyond this lifetime. The dreams of this past week have felt healing and transformative. There now exists inside of me a core of strength in the place that held that irrational fear. A sense that despite the demons that might howl around me, I will be okay.

 

 

A Dream of the Free Soul #Dreams

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

I had one of those dreams I love, again. The ones where I lift, without effort, my feet off the ground and fly unburdened through the landscape. This one, though, was different. Normally, I wake from my flying dreams feeling frustrated. Lingering inside of me is an almost desperate desire to turn the dream into reality. To somehow master the actual art of levitation and fly around during my waking hours. It sounds somewhat absurd when one considers it in a literal sense. Why fly when you have feet?

Yet we all have inside of us the memory of wings. Our soul, condensed into a physical form to live out a life, knows the freedom of boundless existence and pure, unfettered joy. This is why we dream of flight. To return to this truth. Before this morning, I would wake from my flying dreams feeling weighted by reality as soon as my feet moved off the bed and found landing on the ground. Back to a reality that could not compete with the marvelous freedom of my dream, I would consider it a teasing escape from the here-and- now of existence.

This morning, my dream woke me before it felt complete. I was still flying when it nudged me to wake up at the precise moment I needed to. I don’t use an alarm, and it was 6:10am, time to start the morning and call the teenagers out of their beds. Yet, although I was rather in love with the scene I was living in my dream, the feeling it had instilled in me lingered in a different way than previous nights’. Clarity developed as the vivid display of the dream landscape slowly faded. The gift was inside of me. Not illusive and intangible. It was, simply, me.

I have been grabbling with some of the larger issues of life these days. I will not go into them, as they are private matters, but suffice it to say, they have weighed upon me. Most nights I go to bed and dream of the struggle. Last night, though, I found the release.

It was one of those rare dreams (at least for me) where the seemingly tangled complexity vanishes into the pure truth of life. As I flew from scene to scene, facing the inner demons that I had externalized into my life, I exorcised them. Sometimes literally. I filled my lungs and blew light into the darkness of a haunted basement filled with festering “life.” I flew back to childhood and laughed energy into absurdity. The worry of words not being read turned trivial inside a bookstore that could not contain my flying body. I was vast and limitless. Without weight, I flew into the open air and breathed light to the children surrounding me. I knew they saw the wonder of it, and that was enough. I didn’t linger to prove it, instead, I realized, it was their choice to join me. They had their lives. I had mine. To live. Individually, first and foremost.

You see, as I flew, it became clear that I was flying for no reason other than for myself. What may seem as a selfish revelation, became a selfless truth. The tangle of need to please another, or gain another’s approval disappeared with each scene I flew through. Let them live their lives, so you can live yours.

About a year or so ago, while holding my hands above another person in the transmission of energy that is Reiki, I saw inside the lens of the inner eye, the birth of her soul. It was so profoundly beautiful, I kept it to myself. Until now.  Imagine a star coming into being in the cosmos. A billion particles of light exploding into being. Together, their size dwarfs the planet we call home.

Her soul was all souls. No different than mine, or yours. The magnitude of this weightless revelation coalesced into the truth of my dream upon waking. The vehicle of this human body in which I reside no longer felt like a burden — limited and weighed down — as I realized that the light of my being was a truth that superseded any false notions of reality I chose to cling to. I could hold onto the burden of worry and doubt; of fear and disbelief, and that long held need to live through another’s approval, or I could let it all go and be me. Wholly and completely. Just me. Living this life uniquely designed for my growing and learning back to pure limitless existence.

Finding the Beloved as the Wheel Turns, with Some Resistance, into Fall #LettingGo #healing

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The air is thick with the dying breath of summer. It is holding on before its final surrender. For several weeks, it seemed as though fall had arrived early. Heralding its victory over the fiery season by banishing the heat in mid August. Today, though, it has made a retreat. Or has it asked summer for one final chance to play the game, knowing that it will soon be declared the victor, once again?

This inevitable dance of the elements cycles with the ever-turning wheel of life. Our bodies spin with the seasons, and we can resist or we can give way to the spiral journey. I am not sure I could live comfortably without the outer world mirroring the inner. My body is used to the seasons. I was birthed in the element of earth, but water is where I find home. Winter always calls me back to the inner, but before it does, I must heed the gifts of the seasons that come before it.

Summer’s abundance can overwhelm those that are comfortable in stillness, yet it can also spur us into action. The embers of stagnation are stirred back to life as new growth moves its tendrils into the light. The kinetic energy is fired up and things get done. This summer, I passed the days carting teenagers around, teaching a couple of yoga classes, and working on our home and gardens. I made eleven photo albums. Memories of every family trip we’ve taken outside of New Hampshire are now nestled into the shelves in our living room. I also painted. And sanded. Ten doorframes and six doors that were once stained a deep brown are now brightly donning one layer of primer and two of paint. There is a palpable shift in the energy of our home. And in me. Darkness has moved out of the comfort of shadows.

My birthday arrives in the final weeks of summer, at the time when school starts up again and there is the return of routine. I don’t actually like my birthday. It’s not the getting older that draws reluctance and melancholy, but rather the memory of rejection. Each year, at this time, I am reminded of my yearning to be beloved.

I felt the pull of fall early this year, around the same time its breath of victory filled the air outside. Before my birthday, I dreamt of levitation. The weightless freedom of no gravity. I lifted my body with ease off the ground, and brought others up with me. One by one, I felt their weight before I urged its release. “See,” I told them, “how easy it is to let go.” Earths, by nature, care for others more than their selves.

When my birthday came and went, I realized I had not let go fully of the weight that would be free.  I recalled the frog from the same dream, and how it had clung to my skirt like a parasite. Transformation is often sticky. We must remove the glue from the habits that hold us down before we can lift those wings into a new realm of living. We must understand that only we can choose the release. That we must die to the old to give way to freedom.

The pictures I have from my birthday don’t reflect the day after. The mourning that came after the heavy weight had settled back in. They don’t reflect the struggle with rage and grief as the old pattern tore free in a messy release.

We like to see the beauty of fall, forgetting it is also ugly. Summer’s flames burn the leaves into brilliance before they curl into brittle shades of brown. The last of the ripened fruit that is not consumed for nourishment and more growth, turns mottled and moldy as it slowly decays back into the ground.

The return to Earth to be re-birthed requires a decay. The transformation of what once was must give way to what will be. The seed that comes forth from the decayed body of the fruit does not see the light that it reaches for. It simply trusts that it is there. It knows that one day, as it is feeding and growing, it will break through the darkness to feel it.

Yesterday, I had a woman I barely know over for tea. During our conversation, she told me that when she looked at me she could see the beauty of the work I have done to heal. So I told her about my birthday. Not to refute her, but to show her that I am not done yet. That perhaps I never will be, at least in this life. This is, after all, why each of us are here. To walk the wheel in the spiral inward, back to the light that we are. We might walk it in spurts. We might linger long in the shadows, but the wheel, like the seasons, will keep urging us to turn into the return.

My new friend also told me she could tell that I loved myself, a reflection of this inner work.  It is not easy, always, to be our own beloved. To truly love the dark and the light. It is, though, necessary. We can search endlessly for our ideal of the beloved outside of us, and to hope to be beloved by another, but the one true, complete beloved, must always come from within.

Despair #Poetry

 

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Despair

Last night I watched a ship disappear

one life, followed by another, until the last

was swallowed by water lidded with ice

nothing left behind but despair

They say pay attention to colors

in dreams, the screen before me looming

in shades of gray and white while I stood

a part of the spectrum of rainbow light with my son

in the shadows. This lesson on despair

sinking before us and I feeling only

hope

 

Chocorua Part 3: The Feathered Seer Returns

I had brought one more thing for my journey, which was not mentioned in Part 2. In the pocket of my shorts was a small bag stuffed with tobacco, the procuring of which is a small story by itself. When I asked my friend Darlene what I should bring for an offering, her definitive answer was “tobacco.” There was no budging her, but I tried. The thought of buying a tin of tobacco, or a packet of cigarettes, filled me with mild terror. Irrational perhaps, but a childhood that involved the illegal growing and smoking of “pot” by my parental figures turned me against all manner of smoking. The only cigarette I’ve smoked was in one very vivid dream. That was enough for me.

So, here I was faced with one of many tests during this journey, before it even started. How to procure some tobacco. And, as I was thinking about how best to find some, a little voice inside my head came to the rescue with one word, “Etsy.” You can find just about anything on Etsy and sure enough a quick search led me to a source of natural tobacco. Perfect. I could handle buying tobacco safely through the internet with the happy knowing that it would be packaged as pure, unadulterated leaves. My little bag of tobacco arrived within a couple days of ordering, accompanied by a lovely handmade floral magnet. I had my offering.

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Although all of the trees were “young,” no doubt from the logging of the settles, there were those that held the presence of the past, and I left my offering with them. 

Which, as I walked along the wooded trail filled with mosquitos, kept creeping out of my shallow pocket until it finally dropped somewhere not too far away from the white feather. Like the crow, the feather seemed perfectly placed before me, another sign often found during my journeys. And, although I had yet to feel the familiar nudging of spirit through my left hand, which may be because it was too busy grasping a walking pole, I took it as another positive omen that I was on the “right path.”

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The white feather on my path, which appeared freshly fallen. When I passed it hours later on the way down it looked worn and tired. Its fibers matted together.

It is sometimes said that true signs come in sets of three, and number three that day came in the form of a song. Sharp and sudden the voice of the pileated woodpecker pierced the silence surrounding us. Once again I found my breath stop inside my throat. My “feathered seer had appeared. I should not have been surprised, but somehow I had forgotten the dream of this sacred messenger seven months before when it flew before me atop a “Native American hill.” Looking into my eyes with the message, “Don’t be afraid to see.” Weeks later, I had met Chocorua capped in snow. And now, here I was upon its oldest trail.

Funny how the mind works, only now I am recalling the dream through my old blog post. Putting the pieces together as I write. “Do not be afraid to see.” I had been thinking, as I walked, how much I was trying to see with my outer sight. The bent trees to give me clues to the sacred places. The faces in stone. “Are the bugs flying into your eyes?” I eventually asked my husband through frustration as I every time I brought my sunglass to rest atop my head, my eyes became magnets to the swarming insects.

No doubt another messenger, but not a wholly welcome one. Sometimes we try too hard to “see” outside of us. I am thinking of the “ghosts” I glimpsed while walking beside stream that felt sacred at the base of the mountain. I had felt the impulse to pause. To look back as the outer eyes blurred to the inner. And there they were, a small group of people from the time before white men, gathered at the waters, their heads turned slightly sideways towards me. “We see you,” they seemed to be offering in a welcome without judgement.

I did not linger, but took the gift of their presence and tucked it inside. It would be a mostly quiet walk. The other hikers not making their presence known until 2/3 of our way to our destination. Instead, we had one more messenger waiting to greet us as we worked our way uphill through the heat and bugs.

To be continued…

Finding Home in the Body #Yoga #PastLives #Healing

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I am finding my way home through the body. Again, perhaps, but the path always changes as we circle into untouched avenues of the labyrinth of self. There has been the lingering question of home as a physical landscape calling me back. I have labeled it Albion, or what once was Albion, but I have been lying to myself. It is not a mere physical place that draws the deep longing out of me, it is the pure, boundless joy of being.

It is true I find home in the stones that hold the memories of long ago. They speak to me of a time when the stars touched Earth without dimension. I have called it magic, because that is what it feels like inside of cells that have learned to forget. Yet, it is simply the true state of the boundless self that knows that the one self is home only when there is no self defined by matter, space, or time.

We can live attached to concepts of structure as we walk a linear path to a false destination that can never be reached, and I have found this path to be lonely. I have struggled to free the desire to gather the lives around me into my arms and dance us all awake before Earth destroys us in her need to heal the wounds we have inflicted upon her.

The ancient stones remember what we have forgotten and that is why they draw me home to where the hearth fire inside is kindled in a landscape that does not judge or reject. There is only the embrace, welcoming the return.

It is not enough to return, temporarily, to sites that hold the memories of truth. These places are not outside my physical doorstep where I find myself tethered to a life that feels artificial in more ways than I can count. There are thousands of footsteps between me and the stones that call me home. I go to them to return, then turn back again to this physical place I must call home as I search to define it in a language long lost to our tongues. Too often I feel the structure of  nailed together wood painted on the outside to keep the self contained behind walls as though the boundless needs protection.

At night I find the freedom I seek in the daylight, flying through the glass that looks inward and outward. I soar easily to the ceiling and will myself back to the knowing that this too is false until the molecules of division give way and rejoin in the opening. Why, I ask, am I allowed to fly boundless only in the dimension of dreams? Why do a live in a time that has chosen to forget?

Days stretch false minutes and I find myself speaking the rote words of the mundane least others think me insane. Sometimes, I ask out loud, “When will this nightmare end?” Because, I must admit, there are days that feel like nightmares. The computer screen pulls me into the vacuum of humanity’s created chaos and I become entrenched in the darkness until I pull myself back to present surrounding me. The living, breathing pulse of the now where chaos becomes a complicated dance of cause and effect; of shadow and light; of the endless cycle of life. Each moment passing into the next, asking only to be let go.

Yet, sometimes we must circle backwards to go forwards. I have found myself once again traveling through lives passed to feel the chain around the black man’s neck before it can release the body’s constricted voice. My womb aches with the rape of the priestess, and so many more that I am surprised that it bore life. I breathe in love to release constriction as I look at the fence of bodies stretching back further than the eyes can see. How long will it take, I wonder, to free them all? Until I remember this pain that becomes a memory for cells constantly renewing themselves need not find a home in my body that wants to remember only joy.

Outside the structured walls of my physical home, I am drawn each day to the weeds beneath the blooms. Digging these hands of mine into the body of Earth to release the tangles of life that suffocate growth. I am not immune to the knowing that life must be taken to feed new life. It is equally cruel and beautiful. This surrender of death to birth.

I find a harmony in the cycle I help to create. Sometimes active participation is required to free the ties that bind, and so I move this body I also call home. I listen to its urgings, feel the lick of its flames as they rise through the belly. Summer allows the shedding of shoes, and I walk barefoot on the body of Earth to feel her heartbeat and the knowing that I am her child too. My cells are made from her elements. Pieces broken to be reformed. I cannot neglect this vital part of me.

Chaos lures the mind to disorder and the body to dance free. Yoga has become a necessity for balance. If a day passes without the body stretching the mind free as it heeds the call of release, I feel the fires inside smolder for lack of air. It is not easy for light to creep through dense layers. Cracks must open. Air must be let in. Prana follows the breath into the labyrinth as the body becomes the dragon raising its wings.  And that is when the soul soars home to itself.