The rain must have started in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t say for sure because I was asleep. It must have been magnificent. The entire heavens above our house letting loose in great balls of moisture to pound the rooftop and release the icy skins of snow that still lingered. It must have been magnificent because the small-to-medium-sized dog called Zelda who is not very brave broke through three barriers to wake me up.
It was not quite 4am. Despite ears plugged with foam, I heard the ruckus downstairs and in my half-awake state knew what was coming. First the door to the crate was pried loose. Next, the wooden gate at the end of the stairs, followed by a mad stampede of feet rushing to the second floor to shove open the bedroom door and catapult the said dog onto the bed.
Just in case I had somehow slept through her breakout, the not-very-brave-dog then promptly proceeded to nudge her nose in my face a dozen times before she settled down beside me. Safe at last. Within fifteen seconds she was snoring. Full-tilt. Out like a light. Naturally, I was not.
I checked the earplugs, only to find they were still snugly in place. There was no escaping the snoring of the dog unless I got up. So, I decided to relieve my bladder, checking the clock on the way to the bathroom to ensure I was not remiss about the time. Sure enough, it was just past 4am.
My bladder now empty, I reclaimed the tiny corner of the bed that remained, giving the snoring dog the slightest of nudges 😉 as I did so. Within seconds the snoring had resumed to its most robust tempo. My mind wandered over the day and the dreams I had already dreamt before my rude awaking, which didn’t help me drift into sleep, as keeping the mind busy never does. It sailed over the snoring dog to contemplate the husband on the other side, still as a monk in meditation, presumably asleep. Lucky bloke.
That’s about the time the cat-named-Millie decided to join the slumber party. Never one to miss an event, Millie also made a (more graceful) leap onto the bed and somehow landed, like the dog, nearest me. After checking out the dog, she began trotting around my side of the bed to find the most optimal place to spend the remainder of her night. Apparently the crook in my bent legs was not good enough, and she was soon on my pillow.
“Oh good,” I thought, “At least she’s settling in.”
Mille, like many felines do, has an uncanny ability to read minds and this evening was no exception. As soon as my thought had been released, she captured it like she would a mouse. I can only be grateful my eyes were closed.
The paw stretched past my hairline to tap my face, claws extended. Then retracted.
I took a breath and willed myself to focus on sleep.
There it was again, the paw, ever-so-slightly tapping the tender skin of my check bones.
Sighing, I reached my own arm out of the covers to stroke the feline’s head.
It wasn’t enough. Our little charade continued about five more times until Mille won the battle. Up went the covers and in went Millie.
There are dreams that you wish you never woke from and those that leave you grateful for the exit from a nightmarish realm. I’m not sure one is more valuable than the other if you seek to learn from their teachings.
Our hidden, or not so hidden, terrors often take the form of nightmares. They can adopt fantastical and gruesome visages, leaving us breathless for want of air when we wake. Sometimes our voices scream us out of their grasp, and sometimes our words strangle our voice into silence. The voice, then, becomes our key to opening their mysteries.
Although it can be equally terrifying to journey through the dream realm, as it is to unravel its symbolism, it’s well-worth the effort. Even the seemingly nonsensical dreams can make sense if we are willing to look into why our minds chose to play their forms.
If you don’t tend to remember your dreams, there are techniques you can use to train your brain to recover them. One of which is simply telling yourself before you wander into sleep to remember what you have dreamt. When you do this, you may find you start to wake up after each dream. I tend to do that a lot, which can be both an inconvenience and a blessing.
Instead of transcribing my dreams after I wake from them, I’ll often spend some time mulling over a dream I have woken from before my mind succumbs to a new one. Although perhaps not has valuable in some ways as having a written log of the dream, this allows me to observe patterns, themes and symbols, as well as gage my emotional response.
Symbols in our dreams often reoccur over and over again. For example I quite often dream about water and stones, both of which hold a lot of interest for me in the literal sense, but also quite often teach me about where I am residing on an emotional level. I also dream quite often about bathrooms, and going to the bathroom, which inevitably leads me down the exploration of what I am holding onto or seeking to release, as well as personal struggles with exposure and privacy.
Themes, patterns, and symbols in dreams are important to notice if you want to learn from them. Equally important, I believe, is how you feel during and after you wake from your dreams. As well as how you felt before you fell into the dream. For example, I can go to bed feeling pretty good about the day I have experienced, only to find myself falling into a fitful dream world. When I wake, I feel significantly more unsettled than when I fell asleep. Unpleasant, yet revealing. When I examine the dream I find the clues to why. Although I had thought I was feeling emotionally balanced, there was a hidden aspect of my self that was calling to be revealed. What our dreams unearth for us are often opportunities for self-examination that can lead to both healing and release of the emotion tucked away inside of us.
Some people believe we can dream other people’s dreams and travel to other dimensions and realms. I tend to agree with these theories based upon my own experiences. If this is the case, and we feel we have dreamt a dream that is a bit “outside” of us, what does it mean? Perhaps we have traveled into a past of future life memory to retrieve valuable insight. Perhaps we have dreamt another person’s dream because our energies are too intimately intertwined. Or, perhaps we have traveled to another realm to learn something about “Life” on a larger scale.
Entire books, poems, inventions, and scientific discoveries have been gleamed from the realm of dreams. I find it nothing short of remarkable how our minds can form such complex and vivid scenes in the dream world which always, I believe, point to a deeper truth that begs to be explored.
Each dream, when examined, becomes a puzzle of the hidden, or not so hidden, self. Some, I admit, are so crazy at first glance that I cast them aside for later, hoping that their cryptic nature will reveal themselves overtime. For those of us who enjoy a good mystery, there’s no better place to explore than the world of our dreams.
At the moment, I’m still mulling over last night’s dreams, and dreams that I dreamt many nights ago. Through them I thread the lines that join symbols and take note of the patterns that are formed from them. Sometimes I chuckle at themes captured from TV shows or lines I have recently read, wondering why until the emotional symbolism is revealed. I marvel at fantastic forms and how far the mind can stretch reality until I realize that the limits are always self-imposed. Anything, absolutely anything, is possible in our dreams.
Today I met her guardian. The falcon stood in wait over her sleeping form, holding the liminal space. Waiting. Watching. Guarding. When I asked to see more, I was brought to the sands of time. Golden specks slipping through the hours, reminding me that I can get stuck inside the glass. Made up of the same elemental substrate that holds that ephemeral symbol of life, it is also an illusion of the mind. “You have seen the expanse,” he reminded me as the sand became that golden light forming a bridge to the stars, expanding out of the false container to spiral into infinity. Yes, I have seen it, but still I resist.
I am not good at Death. It is not a subject I have come close to mastering. I’ve got a history of stumbling through its lessons. When experienced the loss of my first grandparent to death (aside from the one that died before I was old enough to remember), I didn’t cry. Instead I felt the torment of our troubled past. Rocked into my armor, I listened to my mother announce the news through the corded phone like it was an annoying aside she had to pass on before she could talk about better things. Beside me, my college roommate looked worried, and later shocked when I told her it wasn’t a big deal. I would be fine.
Well I wasn’t.
A year before, my husband’s (at that time boyfriend’s) own grandmother had passed away and when I told my mother the news, she gave me a funny look. “You really cared about her, didn’t you?” Surprised by the tears stealing into my eyes. I couldn’t explain it if I had wanted to. We experienced only a handful of brief encounters together before her passing, yet in that brief time my husband’s grandmother had seen a truth inside of me that some who knew me since birth would never see.
Years later, death found me sitting in my office chair at work. Once again, the news was passed on by my mother, who was sitting beside death at her father’s bedside. Weeks before I let her convinced me I didn’t need to go with her. I wouldn’t recommend saying good-bye to a beloved grandfather from an office chair at work inside a cubicle that offers no escape into sorrow. That day there was no avoiding tears or pain. Or regret.
Years later, my grandfather tried to show me the impermanence of death’s form. Coming to me in spectral form, just once, to part the veil of dreams. It was enough, but it wasn’t.
When my beloved Daisy died on the 11th of February six years ago, I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier. Six months before, while walking together in the woods she told me she would soon be moving on. Wrapped in aura of violet light, my canine guide’s spirit shined strong and true. It still does. Two days ago, during a tough night, I saw her curled at the end of my son’s bed. Rarely now do I feel into her presence, yet she is still there for us when we need her. I have gradually loosened my hold over the years since her passing, but I resisted her leaving the corporeal world with a hold so tight I knew she lingered longer than she should have.
No, I am not good at the subject of death. I have fought with its teachings. I have failed its tests, and I have struggled to embrace its release. Now I find myself counting, once again, those false hours. Wondering if time will allow me a real goodbye. Horus turns his head to stare at me with eyes the color of night. His wings ruffle annoyance. “Why,” he asks, “after all we have shown you?”
For a moment time slips away and we fly back to that sacred chamber that holds a bridge to Earth. Wrapped in a copse of guardian trees, the light filters from the beyond. Once again, I see the white horse, waiting. Memory weaves light into my cells. “Was this not enough?” he asks me.
It should be. But I’m having a hard to accepting it. There are things I’d still like to say. Arms that still want to hold a temporary form. So many adventures that won’t be shared.
“Ridiculous human sentiment,” he scoffs at me and turns back to his guard. “Your perception is clouded by those human eyes.”
So I allow the salted waters to bathe them in their warmth. Cleanse, I urge. Clear my clouded sight.
We wear two faces: the “light” and the “dark.” As well as everything in between. What face we choose to show to the world matters, as well as what face we show to ourselves. What we refuse to show, or repress also matters.
I’ve been thinking about the Jekyll and Hyde inside of myself, and inside of others, a lot these days. We are living in triggering times, and both the “light” and the “dark” side of ourselves, and humanity as a whole, are being exposed. Our extremes are rising to the surface to show their faces, whether we label them as “good” or “bad.” Sometimes the terms “good” and “bad” are subjective, or filled with layers that deserve to be unpacked.
The other day I found myself remembering the first moment the Hyde inside reared its ugly face and shocked me into a deeper knowing of my shadow-side. I must have been around thirteen-years-old. I was babysitting two little girls that day, and we were playing a game of hide-and-seek. It was my turn to seek, and as I approached the youngest child, I decided I’d scare her a bit. Now here’s the thing. I’d never done anything like that before. People in town often sought me out for babysitting services, and I was known as a responsible and kind sitter. In that moment, though, as I approached that little girl, an unfamiliar, and dare I say, evil delight filled me.
“Boo!” I yelled, watching as her little body shook with a genuine fear.
Tears steamed down her face.
And in the seconds before regret took over, a feeling of grotesque power took hold of me.
It is one of those moments one never forgets, even tough it was mere seconds in length. The light inside took over that monster of darkness soon after I realized the ramifications of what I had done and I consoled my fearful charge, but the shock of the appearance of my shadow-self temporarily taking hold of me left its imprint.
I’m not sure I knew at the time what it meant, except that I had the capacity to do harm, as well as good, and there was a feeling of euphoric power in that moment of knowing. It scared the heck out of me.
It’s hard to admit that we all have the extremes inside of us, and it is also easy, sometimes to shun or condemn those extremes in others. Anger is often frowned upon or feared. Aggression seen as unkind. And, directed in harmful ways to the self or others, there’s few who would argue the truth in these judgements. Yet, what is the essence of these displays of self?
When I think of that thirteen-year-old babysitter now I feel empathy for her shadow-self’s reaction. She had inside of her a team of repressed “demons” waiting to be heard. Her voice, used to being silenced, felt in that moment its power.
Today, on her blog Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore, Sally Cronin featured her post “#NewAuthor Marketing Tips – Making the most of Twitter,” and I found myself thinking once again about the Jekyll and Hyde inside of us. I will confess I don’t care for Twitter, just as I don’t care all that much for GoodReads, even though as an author I should be using them both as a marketing tool. There is kindness and light to be found on each platform, but also a full exploration of the shadow-self.
It takes nearly no time at all to Tweet kindness, just as it does to Tweet hate, and inevitably when I, on the rare occasion, scroll through my Twitter feed, I find a both. But somehow, my eye tends to linger on the various faces of hate, anger, and fear. Any political post is rife with responses that make me recoil and reaffirm my unhappiness with social media’s darker side.
Herein lies the dilemma for me. It is okay to feel. In fact, it is a healthy aspect of knowing the self — this feeling into our emotional responses— but is it healthy to stream vitriol, unchecked? When we react with anger and hostility on a regular basis, we are feeding the shadow-self without actually listening to what it has to say to us.
So what does my reaction to these forms of social media say about me? It’s probably quite obvious to the reader. I tend to crave harmony and have conflict aversion. Although I can be a tough critic, I don’t like to be judged, especially when it feels “unfair.” This tells me if I want to explore the benefits of these writer’s resources, I also need to explore and unravel that shadowed self inside of me. Although these aspects of self, in essence, can be traced back to the wounded inner child. I think the same can safely be said for most of our “inner demons.”
In this time of pandemic challenges combined with political strife the likes of which many of us have never experienced before these last four years, it is not surprising that we are facing a battle with our inner Jekyll and Hydes. I know I often find myself lying in bed on restless nights examining the subconscious mind through my dreams and analyzing the wounded self instead of sleeping peacefully through the dark night.
Who am I, really? I ask myself. What do I want? What do I need? What can I give to others? What can I not give right now? How can I heal the wounds that shout to be heard?
The Hyde inside does not, by nature, turn us into criminals. Instead, it offers us perspectives of self to examine, hopefully inwardly, before we cast that “darker” side of our face out to the world. It is as much of a gift, albeit usually an uncomfortable one, as much as it can be a curse.
The choice is always ours as to what we repress, what we “face,” and what we choose to express outwardly.
Just one week prior to the big day, we received two feet of snow here in New Hampshire. Even the dogs weren’t sure what to do with such a sudden dumping, and naturally the cat-called-Mille chose to stay indoors in protest.
By Christmas Eve, the weather warmed to near balmy temps and rain started to drizzle down. Overnight, it turned into torrents of “hooves,” prancing on the rooftop like, well, reindeer, but without the magical fanfare of the holiday. We did our best to ignore it, until we couldn’t, by watching “The Polar Express” and gorging on popcorn and homemade cookies. It was, due to the nature of the times, just the four of us humans, plus our four furred companions.
It should have been a restful night for sleep considering there are no longer wee ones in the house but two full-fledged teenagers who cherish their sleep like they do their devices. Instead, Zelda-the-not-very-brave-canine, insisted on nestling into bed with her “parents” because nothing is more scary than hourly avalanches of snow crashing off the roof-made-slippery-from-the-pouring-rain. Surely, the sky was falling…
Despite a fitful night for the shaking dog and her “parents,” morning dawned bright gray and, well, rainy. Fog cast the false shadow of white on the land until it lifted and all that remained was an increasingly soggy and brown earth.
It couldn’t be more fitting. After all, it was Christmas 2020, and we had nowhere to go, and no one to come to visit. Presents (at least those that had arrived in the mail in time for the big day) and stockings were opened without much fanfare after a breakfast of french toast casserole and tiny bowls of pomegranate seeds (the fifteen-year-old left his bowl untouched). Then the day loomed before us. What to do?
In “normal” times, we’d have made a rather quick show of the morning at home before we hastened back upstairs to shower and dress for part 2 of the day. Another pile of wrapped gifts would be loaded into the car and off we would go to celebrate with an extension of relatives. Not this year.
So while the teenagers talked to their friends on their devices, the husband and I broke out the scrabble board and settled in for a “friendly” game. At noon, I retrieved the Christmas Eve lasagna from the fridge, fed the dog, and got ready for our after-lunch-walkie when the seventeen-year-old made a sudden appearance from her room to request Chinese food for lunch. Why not?
“Get me an egg roll,” I hollered up the stairs before we set out with the dogs, my stomach still quite full with lasagna.
The afternoon rolled by to the tunes of carols piped through the Bluetooth speaker as my daughter and I assembled the fixings for a dinner that could easily feed double our party, but you never can have too many leftover, right?
After a quiet, but delicious meal accompanied by more Christmas carols, we settled down to Zoom with a few extended members of our family. It was not ideal, a bit awkward at times, but it was the best we could all do to celebrate the day together. Although we had just lost a beloved member of the family (from the natural decline of age), I think we were all counting our blessings that day.
Here’s hoping and fervently praying that 2021 brings a year filled with an abundance of joy and health for all.
During the quiet moments of yesterday, my mind played back childhood memories of Christmas. In particular, I thought of the holiday spend with my grandmothers when I was eight. I had three grandmothers during most of my childhood, as my birth parents divorced when I was quite little.
The first scenes of Christmas past to slip into my conscious mind were wrapped in favorite gifts from “Grammie.” Grammie loved to shop and she had a wonderful knack for gifting the perfect presents, even though she hardly knew me. The one Christmas I can remember spending at Grammie’s house, when I was eight-years-old, she made me a ruffled skirt of shiny green-and-white plaid, bought me the Sugar Plum Fairy Effenabee doll, and a pale pink satin nightgown with a matching robe. I could not have been more delighted with the contents of her beautifully wrapped gifts nestled under Grammie’s tree and labeled for me.
I never saw Grammie again on Christmas, but for several years she sent her perfect gifts perfectly wrapped inside an oversized box addressed to me and my sister. Inside the brown packing container, a handmade wreath adorned with ornaments welcomed us to the holiday’s delights. Tiny rocking horses, french horns, and silver bells hung from the evergreen boughs until they were untangled and nestled into boxes of ornaments to be hung in later years on our own trees.
I don’t remember the gifts of my other grandmother gave me that Christmas. Instead, I remember sitting in her green velvet chair in the living room admiring her crystal bowl of ribbon candy almost-too-pretty-to-eat. Yet, it’s enough. A simple memory that contains more feeling than images, but evokes the joy of the holiday in my child self.
These brief, simple memories are from a cherished, yet troubled Christmas now long past. I have many more, filled with vivid scenes of laughter, food, and gifts shared with my stepfamily. Yet not one stands out for me in particular. I think perhaps it’s easier to take for granted what we become used to, even if it only occurs once a year.
I wonder what my own children will choose to cherish from past holidays as they grow older. No doubt they will be different, shaped by their individual perspectives of joy and love.
It was pure euphoria. I can only liken it to the ideal of heaven. In the dream I was in England, running in a field of white flowers. They were puffed out like dandelions gone to seed, each step lifted their tufted wishes into the wind. It felt like freedom, unbounded. The wild, untethered soul roaming in the landscape of home.
There were other dreams nestled around it. Equally vivd, and all weaving together in the complex mysterious way that dreams do. The crowded bus with black seats and no bathroom. “Wilder’s Barn” beside an earthen mound filled with rubble. The black bride in the white wedding dress who wove in and out of each scene. A perfect marriage of yin and yang without a groom. And there was me, again, now flying over Earth’s power lines. The return of euphoria as I followed the dragon of stones in my helicopter. Strange vivid dreams that seem in many ways impossible to decipher, but their imprint strikingly clear.
I imagine there are as many definitions of “heaven” as there are people, and I have no doubt I found mine in this network of dreams. When I left the field and the dragon lines, I lost it. The mundane and all its clutter surrounded me with its burden of worry and obligation. Other’s needs to be met and mine left not quite filled or released.
But, this is life, isn’t it? One can hardly escape the realm of “needs and obligations.” “Wilder’s Barn” is never quite open to the magic of the wild soul. It may open briefly, but the doors eventually close around us and we must, inevitably, return to the mundane.
It is said that true freedom in an inside job, but how many of us can say we really live inside of it? To be unaffected by life is not the norm. We may feel love and experience, in moments, euphoric joy, but we also feel fear, pain, suffering, angst and the entire spectrum of human emotions. That’s part of being human.
Yet what a gift it was to run in that simple field of flowers, alone and unencumbered by life. How exhilerating it was to fly above the land and trace the pattern of Earth’s power lines through the body of rocks. To be reminded that magic is always there, waiting to be felt, waiting to be freed. Waiting to be born. Even if just in the land of dreams.
I found her under the waterfall curled into rebirth. Above, the sun wove a rainbow of colors into the droplets, creating an alchemy of water and fire. Charged with each wavelength of light, the waterfall caressed her skin, opening the pathways to cells where life is born. And I a mere witness to wonder…
These days I don’t spend a lot of time in wonder. Instead, I find myself staring at the here-and-now, trying to live each moment as it arrives to the best of my abilities. Attempting to learning, in the never-ending process of discovery, what I can from this unfolding life. Each day brings a new challenge and sometimes I resist stepping into magic beyond the mundane.
I am always glad when I shed the coat of the everyday. Even though I don’t do much energy healing these days, I participate in a weekly distant healing circle. In the last session, the scene above unfolded as soon as I closed my eyelids to the energies of light. In the place of stillness, when my body opens to a consciousness beyond everyday thought, I step into the realm of wonderment. Often the inner sight fills with images and scenes and I find myself transported, for those minutes, into another realm of existence that goes beyond the mundane.
Yesterday, as the energy of healing love broke open my cells into their dance, I gazed upon a waterfall that caught the sun’s rays as it fell upon the receiving form. I have long been fascinated by water. It’s my primary element, followed closely by Earth, so perhaps it is not surprising. Simple in structure, with hydrogen bonded to oxygen, water’s properties and “magical” abilities defy logic. As water enters a vessel it adapts to the structure enfolding it, taking on its form. When something is placed into water, it is either repelled by water or its properties are adopted by it, whether they be color, odor, shape, taste, or structure. When water freezes, it grows in size instead of shrinks. When it’s heated, it turns into vapor. We can’t live without it. We are, in essence, mostly water.
It becomes us and we become it. As Dr. Emoto, and others who have worked with water have demonstrated, water also responds on an emotional level to its containers. Life, in turn, thrives when water is clean and structured by nature. When you stand near, or beneath a waterfall, you cannot help but feel energized by its presence. Some legends speak of disembodied souls gathering at waterfalls to be cleansed and purified of the imprints of life.
I doubt there are many who would argue that water has the potential to balance and cleanse the physical and emotional body. Adding salts, oils, herbs and other healing aides, enhances the healing effect of water, which is why detox baths are so popular and leave one feeling oh-so-much better after the bathing than before. Entering a body of salt water is like coming home. It’s, in many ways, a return to the state of the womb.
Waterfalls offer a different type of cleansing. Their energy drums the cells to life. Add sunlight to the falling water and alchemy occurs. It is the yang to water’s yin. The spark that ignites the potential of life. The result of this alchemy in the form of the visible rainbow never fails to inspire hope and awe in those who bear witness to it. Although I was not expecting to meet the above scene in my inner vision, I cannot think of a more fitting place for healing. If I could have brought her there in person, I would have, instead the place was brought to the circle that held her in healing. And it felt like both water and sun had come to offer their gifts of life to a beloved form.
When mid-September arrives I feel the anxious pull of letting go. As autumn calls forth the fire of summer in one last quick burst of color, I can’t help but feel a tug of melancholy watching life give way to the elements of the season. Then winter plunges life into a deep freeze and somehow I relax into the slow pace of darkness. It is is the season of the writer and the poet. A time to give way completely to the magic of night and let the imagination travel where it will.
The inner fire kindles alongside the hearth fire, both ignited to keep the “home” warm. Outer distractions lesson their draw as the cold calls the body inside to keep warm. These days my daily walks with the dogs are brisk and quick, unless I give into their appetite for gnawing at “stick-sicles.”
A pause allows the sight to expand and sometimes eyes meet in acknowledgement.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a place without clearly defined seasons. Perhaps I would get used to the extremes of a nearly endless summer or winter, but it is more likely I would feel restless with waiting for change. The body and mind get used to cycling and the ebb and flow it offers. Growth wants to circle back to decay before new growth occurs. As a writer, I rely upon the seasons. Summer gives me permission to turn outward and enjoy life unconfined. To take a reprieve from the page waiting for words and give way to the sun’s joy. Fall, in turn, prepares the nest for the enveloped life.
Digging into the folds of darkness is much easier in winter. One must welcome the night or perhaps go mad trying to ward it off. Then spring arrives just in time to awaken the sluggish body back to life. Winter is long here, but not quite too long.
It begins for us with my daughter’s birthday, which falls in early December. Soon after, we set up the Dicken’s village and fairy lights are lit inside and outside the house. Even though my children are no longer tiny, the season still feels magical.
Although I do miss traveling, the colder weather offers an excuse to hunker down and stay put. Most days I’m content to sit beside the fire and create even when it’s not always in the form intended. I seem to be at another impasse with the WIP, not quite sure how the protagonists are going to cross their paths again and when. As I wait for them to tell me, I turn to other endeavors.
I have friend, a fellow Indie author, who is encouraging me to grow my Instagram presence. She tells me I can’t simply post pretty photos without relevance and so I am urging the muse to try new directions. In the process, I’m finding short poems through erasure to post. The eye searches for words that pull while the hand blackens newsprint. It offers a strangely satisfying means to create something new out of what already exists. Rebirthing text in new form, I often find myself inside the process.
I haven’t been pulled by the blogging muse for quite some time. We are living in challenging times, it’s so obvious it feels redundant to write it. Times that affect each of us in slightly, or vastly, different ways. Every day I am aware of the white, middle-class privilege I am living in. My home is in a first world country, albeit one that is for a short while longer (thank God!) being ruled by a crazed while man (I’ll have more to say about white male privilege later). I have a nice warm home, ample food, my health, loving companions, and the family finances are sound. I have, in essence, all of my needs met and more. There are so many who do not.
This is, in essence, why I have not mustered the creative impulse to wax poetic as of late. To me quite honest, I am wrangling, instead, with a sometimes over-whelming sense of dismay and, at times, a healthy dose of anger by those who would rather live in, and try to pull the rest of us, into the world of “What ifs.” I know I have written about this before, and I can’t promise this will be my last post about it.
I have two dear friends with whom I have weekly discussions about our current perceptions of spirituality. One is older, one is younger than me, which doesn’t really matter, but for ease of distinguishing them in this post. I met my older friend during the very early stages of my exploration into my spiritual self. As she recently reminded me, she introduced me to the world of Tarot, past-lives, and more. A Virgo like me, she has always had a strong grounding in reality, a fierce lean towards justice, and a heart big enough to hug the world. I don’t, quite honestly, know where I’d be without her.
I met my younger friend much later. She came to my house one summer day when I was hosting a gathering of “light-workers.” And, although she practices shamanism and sometimes speaks to animals, she too is grounded in the here-and-now. For me, she is a reminder that one can live in both worlds and still keep your head above the watery world of, well, let’s just say it, conspiracy. Neither one of us belong to the “light-workers” group any more because the core ethics do not resonate with us, but we both still consider ourselves spiritual beings.
When I talk to my older friend, who has just completed a certification course in Qigong, I empathize with her struggle to figure out how to be authentic. We are both in the category of privileged white western women. She was not born into the teachings of Qigong, just as I was not with yoga, yet we are both drawn to the practice and philosophy. My younger friend was drawn to learn shamanism even though she did not come to it through the traditional path of lineage. She too is a white, middle-class woman living in this first world nation we each call home.
The subject of authenticity comes up often when I talk to my friend who is trained in Qigong. We are both concerned with the rifts that are occurring in the world and what it means to live authentically in a world that is rife with struggle to define, or redefine, itself. We are both trying to figure out where we fit into it all. “I know I pretty much introduced you to spirituality,” she tells me with some guilt. Yet, I will forever be grateful that she did. My soul was craving belonging. It yearned for voice. These days, my friend finds grounding in debunking popular conspiracies propagated by the “spiritual” world. I feel her struggle.
I still believe we can, and should, exist as spiritual beings. This is our essence, this is who we are. Should we, though, cling to the false holds of “New Age” spirituality? The thinking that “I know something that few others do,” the belief that “I have a power that others will never have,” etc. All that ego-driven nonsense that gets us, frankly, nowhere but divided from ourselves and each other?
We, as humans, are endowed with brains that are designed to process information through logic and deduction. We are also born of the same essence that exists in all life. Yet this is over-looked through our ego-centric need to feel “special.” I use that term in the broadest sense of the word, because “special” can also mean the need to be “right,” or the need to be “dominant.”
Our human brains cannot know everything. Nor should they, perhaps. Mystery is what drives us. It’s what motivates us and sparks the desire to keep living. Seeking knowledge is part of the human condition, but I wonder these days how much this seeking has led us to go astray from our true, authentic nature.
The questioning brain is not inherently dangerous, but when the questioning is unfounded, or premised upon ego-centric fears and insecurities, should the questioning be propagated?
I grew up with in a household ruled by a for the most part, loving and intelligent, albeit very insecure, white man. He had some college education, but was not educated, as no one can be, in every area of knowledge. Yet his ego was driven by a desire to feel like he “knew it all” and “knew best.” I have met a lot of white men of a similar nature. They are often quick to call others wrong in their need to be better, or know better. Frankly, I have lost my tolerance for this.
I fully realize that this is not solely a white-male-privilege issue, but it can be particularly dangerous when it is. One need to simply look at the pattern of “his-tory” to see it. One need only look at the dangerous state the POTUS has incited to see it. Ruling by the ego-centric need to feel dominant and special, and propagating lies and “what-ifs” that are not grounded in logic, creates a world filled with division and mistrust.
It serves no good to insist you are “all-knowing” when your all-knowing beliefs cause harm to others. One must rule by the heart, as well as the mind. There is a dance that occurs when peace is the objective, rather than division. It’s called harmony. It’s driven by love. Not fear. These days I find myself doing more unsubscribing and practicing non-engagement rather than trying to argue with fear. I realize we are all struggling in our own way to find our authentic selves and to create a more authentic world. I still hold the belief that we are more good than evil and that no dark force, but our own individual shadows, has taken over the world. I cling to this, because it feels both true and essential. We will always make mistakes, we will always be imperfect, but it we can choose to live seeking the good that is inherent in each other and in ourselves. It we seek what is True, what is of love, and what is uniting, then we all come out “on top.”