Selfheal

IMG-1543
Common selfheal and the grass that is my natural lawn

Life begins with a spark of light entering a darkened womb. The self dividing itself over and over again until it finds cohesion inside a physical form. Quite often birth involves a struggle of forces. The body contracts as it gathers energy to release this new life through a narrow canal of darkness back into the light. We see this pattern in various lifeforms. The seed of a plant, requiring darkness, the compaction of soil, and a protective womb-like shell in order to grow a new self back to the light.

I tend toward the belief that there are few true accidents in life. Things generally happen for reasons, even when they are unwelcome or difficult to decipher. It’s the simple law of cause and effect. These “things” that happen to us can lead us in many directions, and it is in the path that we choose to follow where we gleam insight into ourselves.

When I made the decision to enroll in a mystery school, a part of me was hoping to learn some magic. You know, the sort that you find in the Harry Potter stories. Although I understood this was not the path of study I was to embark upon, there was a longing to uncover something magical to, let’s say for example, defy the gravity of the mundane existence. Like, you know, learning how to fly.

I flew in my dreams, so why not learn to fly the physical body, like Icarus, but with invisible, magical wings, towards the sun? During my last year of study with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, I embarked upon the path of yoga. The two paths, I soon discovered, were not so separate. In the yoga sutras, which have been widely translated, the mysteries of yoga are revealed as a path back to the true self. In the final chapters of the sutras, the yogi, if s/he so desires to, and with great disciple and practice, can learn how to fly.  Literally. Or at lease levitate. It is revealed that outer manifestations of magic are indeed possible if the yogi learns to how to become a master of energy.

But to what true purpose does one gain this sort of mastery? The whim of the ego, or something else? If we don’t first fly through the dark land of yin energy where the self is formed and molded, exploring every curve and fold — every shadow, until it is revealed as a truth to be learned — to what end will flying serve us? The wings burn when the self fails to understand the form of being.

There are so many things we are being asked to give up right now, and rules that we may resist abiding by. Minds are plunging headfirst into conspiracies of darkness, screaming blame in the voice of ignorance as they spiral deeper and deeper into the abyss. How easy it is to deflect and refuse to examine the interior. How easy it is to erupt in anger instead of pausing to breath into the inner discovery.

If restrictions were lifted, perhaps I would be walking the ancient landscapes of England right now and finding that delicious stirring of cellular memory that fills me with the call of home. But I am here, in my physical home, and somehow that is just right. I find I am relishing, albeit not always with joy, this prolonged pause we are all being asked to take. Welcoming it, for the most part, as a gift of the self that I can unwrap into discoveries inside the inner land I have thus far left unfound.

When I ask, I receive this response, The pause will take as long as you need.

I am okay with that. Most days. Even when the computer broke, again, and left me feeling strangely weightless. If I lost it all, what would really happen

Perhaps the load of life would feel a little lighter.

Here I was trying to hold onto temporary things until I discovered the gift of the break and sank my belly to the ground to breathe in crumbled grass and prunella vulgaris, also known by the name “common selfheal.”

Self heal.

I peer through the green blades to study the tiny purple pitchers, imaging the nectar of bees. Through the skin of my belly I can feel the tendrils of life pulsing into the matrix hidden from sight. This is magic enough for me in this moment. I need nothing more. The pulse is strong and reassuring. Comfort dances with gratitude in the moment of connection and the outer hold dissipates in the surrender. This is the magic of life.

 

 

Why is it so Difficult to “Let it Go?”

blizzard-1245929_1920
Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Oh my god,” I thought. “She’s singing it again. Why does she need to keep practicing that song?!”

I was dreaming I was back at school, which is no surprise. This time I was inside a dorm room with some of my high school classmates. They, and my adolescent angst, had followed me to college. I’ve had these dreams before, and just in case I didn’t know why, that famous song from the movie “Frozen” was being belted through the hallways by one of my dorm-mates. “Let it go! Let it go!”

“Oh my god,” I thought. “When will it be over? When will she be done singing that annoying son?!”

When the message sinks in, I realized once I woke beside the satisfied dog who had snuck her way upstairs and onto my bed after my husband had disappeared into the shower.

Least we think it is easy to let go of our stories, we need only look into the mirror to be reminded. If a mirror is not available, or we cannot read the lines our stories imprint for us, we can settle into the weight of our bodies and listen to their moans and groans. Although our cells divide continuously, the new cells are encoded with the memories of the old ones. Sometimes this encoding is a choice.

Before I want to sleep last night, I found myself thinking about how I can hardly remember the two years I struggled with severe IBS more than a decade ago. Those restless nights when I woke to the body’s attempts to expel its painful memories. My digestive system had felt like literal bowels of hell. Bloated with sulfuric gas and knotted in pain. Yet, I can hardly remember those years. I marvel now at the will to hold onto what I no longer wanted. It’s illogical on so many levels, but our cells carry our truths even when we don’t want to hear, see, or feel them. They are the story of us until we rewrite the narrative.

I marveled, also, last night, at how in one night the unconscious aligned with the conscious on a quantum level in its decision to heal and release, finally, what I had struggled to keep. Yet, although my IBS may have vanished in one night, I was reminded once again by my dreams that there are still stories trapped and waiting to be “let go.”

Particularly in my throat. The seat of the voice and our expression of our truths.

I have been struggling these last several days since I watched the choking out of George’s Flyod’s life filmed by helpless bystanders. I have been struggling with irony and injustice, as well as a pervasive feeling of helplessness. I have been struggling with the collective unwillingness to see, hear, and feel truth as I try to come to terms with this unwillingness to “let go” the individual and collective stories to explore beauty and truth beyond the surface.

When I drive to the lake, a place where peace usually washes over me with ease, I find myself troubled by the signs. Passing through rural towns filled with residents struggling to hold onto the middle class sense of security, my eye is drawn too many times to the symbol of irony. Moving through the discomfort of despair, I will my mind to imagine the life inside those doors and why the individuals who reside there are holding onto the notion that the POTUS is their savior.

It took me days, instead of minutes, to remember why my own body struggled for breath when I watched George Flyod’s being extinguished. To remember the white man who used to squeeze the words back into my throat with his hand at the dinner table. It took me nearly two weeks to realize that we all hold the stories of oppression. Even if we are a rare and lucky few to never have experienced the suppression of our own truths, and our voices, our ancestors have. Oppression is so deeply embedded into our collective history that there is no way any of us have escaped its encoding in our cells.

No wonder we are struggling to let go. No wonder we struggle to hold onto what we are used to. The bully reigns upon his mighty throne because we have placed him there. And the bully reigns within because we let him hold the history of our narratives.  We have all heard the term “healing begins within,” yet how many of us refuse to look inside and examine the narratives of the self? We may not like what we read inside. We may have the impulse to bring our hand to our ears and shout, “No more! Stop singing that awful song over and over again,” but the narrative repeats until we change it.

The power is not in the holding on, but the letting go. Freedom is the opposite of repression, and ultimately the letting go must begin within.

In my dreams last night, I replayed the narrative of acceptance in the form of my friendships. I was reminded of how much I still struggle, at times, to honor my own boundaries and truths when friends approach me with their own needs. I was reminded that I still carry the narrative of rejection and the fear of being left “friendless,” rejected, and alone.

I find it interesting, or perhaps perfectly fitting, that this dream came to me after a day spent mostly in a state of peace. My body must have remembered lying prone on the ground and feeling the ever-present security of Mother Earth below me. The smell of dirt and crumpled grasses mixing the interconnectedness of all life for me to both witness and be a part of. Yet disbelief must still linger inside the narratives of my cells.

How can it not? We’ve held it so tight for so long. We weave the narrative of oppression and rejection over and over again on large screens that form plays for our eyes, and inside the type-faced print of pages of books, magazines, and newspapers. We’ve read it and watched it so many times and in so many ways inside a world that holds the narrative as truth. Who are we to release it?

Who are we not to?

We must, at some point, let it go and right a new narrative.

Can we weave our broken web of humanity whole?

hand-1917895_1920
Photo Credit: Pixabay

My heart hurts. There are tears forming ponds in my lower eye lids. The air feels heavy despite the lack of moisture in the sky. Since the pandemic made its way to NH, I have found myself turning to the garden for peace and comfort. Digging through spring dirt warming with life brings me home inside a world that feels electrifyingly out of control. Most days. Some days everything seems to make sense as the Wheel of Life turns in its continuous cycle of renewal.

In March, I planted seeds on my windowsill. I marveled at the impeding miracle of life as I pressed future broccoli, summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers into tiny mounds of potting soil, then covered them in a plastic roof to mimic a greenhouse inside my home. What a marvel it was to witness those first green shoots pushing past darkness to drink in the light from the window! Life is a continuous wonder. So much potential held inside a speck tinier than sand.

I find myself wondering, too often these days, why there is a turning back to darkness after the touch of light. We don’t see it in the same form in plants, as we do in ourselves, but even nature holds a mirror for us. In my tiny pots, one seed will flourish, while another struggles for space beside it. Outside, in the woods beside my home, burning bushes and bittersweet vines do their best to dominate native species. The vines of bittersweet slowly wrapping the trunks of trees, like snakes, to suffocate the lungs of our forests.

I can’t stop thinking of George Floyd, and how he is just one of the few in too many to want to count, of lives choked into stillness by those that wish to dominate. My heart hurts. Tears collect once again to ensure the ponds of my eyes do not grow arid. It’s the first of June, and the stretch of land that divides the road from the tiny forest in front of my home showcases the efforts of my labor of these last few weeks. On Saturday, I dug out the last clumps of weedy grass and spread mulch over my newly extended garden, nestling new plants into a protective quilt of tree fibers. Death nurturing life. The cycle playing out around me. Yesterday the last of the zinnias and calendula seedlings I grew in my outdoor greenhouse found extended space beside the road. Soon enough they will mature into glorious blooms the colors of autumn.

Some days I can immerse myself so deeply into the land I think of nothing but the joy it brings. I could not do this as I finished my new garden this past weekend. It was my beautiful, privileged, white-enough daughter who spurred me to watch the video.

“Why,” she implored me, “Why did this happen?”

Nearly ten excruciating minutes filmed of a life ended for no reason than dominance.

“His life doesn’t matter because he his black,” I am paraphrasing one of the bystanders.

For eight minutes and 46 seconds white knees press the privilege of birth inside a suit of power, pressing, pressing down on life until it is extinguished. You can feel the lust through the screen as the trail of urine trickles closer to the edge that separates you from what you are witnessing. There is a nervous man, who is at least of partial Asian ancestry, in the foreground, posturing at control. You can read his nerves loosely veiled behind his exposed skin while he grabs at weapons designed to control. Staring, witless, at the imploring crowd of bystanders. He too is drugged by a darkness. Afraid of the power of the white man choking the life out of a black man. He knows it could have been him. In a different moment of time. At least this is what I see.

I don’t want to see a video like this again, but it is more likely I will than I won’t. It’s difficult to reconcile that five years ago a half black/ half white man held the position of POTUS beside his equally educated, equally brilliant, black wife. Impeccable morals exhibited every day for eight years, held to an impossible standard because of skin color. It’s difficult to comprehend how much we, as Americans, have resisted giving up the chokehold of enslavement.

Inside the oval office, a white man now lords over his throne. Every fiber of morality that makes us human, broken. By him, unchecked, as the world watches. Excused by his minions and followers, cowered either into admission, or fueled by their own darkness and fear. Somehow the standards are not the same if you are a white man who feeds on power and shouts hatred in the language of ignorance.

When I think too much, I find myself spiraling inside the chaos that is our reality. I am baffled by the love of a weapon designed to kill, over the love of life. I am baffled by the hatred of skin pigmentation and sexuality that are perceived as other, and somehow lesser to the point of the desire to extinguish life. I am baffled that this is the world we live in. Still.

And, so, I find myself turning to what makes sense. The sometimes quiet and sometimes raucously loud symphony of nature, untamed and yet harmonious, outside the doors of my home. I shut the screen of my laptop and open the front door to escape into it. I am pulled into the refuge of birdsong and the silent beauty of the unfolding petal. I am renewed by the hope held inside Mother Earth and her ability to yield to the cycle of rebirth over and over again. I am forever her humble student, trying to find patience and acceptance, as we humans battle our individual and collective darkness.

But it is not enough. To escape is to allow. As helpless as I may feel as a privileged, white, middle-class woman living in country that is being ruled by a bigot; a misogynistic, power-mongering white man, I have a moral obligation to thread light through the darkness. I have moral obligation not just to bear witness to all that is morally corrupt in our nation, but to bring it to the light of awareness in whatever way I can. We all do.

What can we do? We can write letters. We can sign petitions. We can make phone calls. We can find local causes that support justice, and support them. We can vow to do whatever we can to elect moral leaders. And we can also do the inner work. We can dig inside our own darkness and examine our fears and their hold upon us. We can go outside and reconnect with the living land. And we can love instead of hate. The broken web of our humanity depends on it in order to heal. We must try and keep trying to thread the pieces whole, because if we don’t there will be more and more videos showing us the horrors of our brokenness.

 

The Victim V. the Hero of Our Story and Who Really is the Villain?

drama-312318_1280
Photo Credit: Pixabay

We all know the definitions and the way stories portray them. Often there is a villain who spurs the hero into action, saving the victim from an evil fate. The hero becomes the embodiment of the light, the villain of darkness, while the victim hangs somewhere in between, like fulcrum, deciding how the scales will be tipped.  Who, then, has the true power?

I have been thinking a lot these days about how and why we choose to be either the victim or the hero in our individual stories and how this reflects upon our collective story of human existence. I have also been thinking about how we define and cast the role of villain in our stories. For some, a villain who fulfills the classic definition of villain-hood is actually lauded as a hero. This casted role depends upon our subjective nature, including how we cast ourselves in our play that is life.

And, must the hero be always wounded first? Would there be a hero without first enduring the wounds? I’m not sure it is possible. We must feel the pain to know it. And would there be a victim without the hero, and a villain without the victim? And, can they all be, in essence, one and the same?

When I think of my own story, I see all the times I tried to become the hero of my own story only to fall back into the role of victimhood. I realize how much my cells have programed the codes of my ancestors. I see how often I have cast people into roles and how these roles have defined them for me. The victim for me was a hero for another. The villain, the victim, and so the cycles goes in an endless round.

So who am I? Last night I found myself inside two vivid dreams. Although they were different scenes, with different players, I found myself embodying a similar role. In one dream, I found myself trapped on an electrified strip of metal while trains raced beside me. One going in each direction, while I scrambled in the middle for a hold. Trying not to get zapped.

In the other dream, I was outside, gazing up into endless blue as I followed the skyline of the buildings beside me. I lay on my back in the middle of a highway, unfazed until I realized where I was. Unfazed until I allowed the program of fear to grip my heart into the belief that I might become a victim if I made a wrong move.

Are we all, in fact playing a game of chess in our lives? Or do we just think we are? One wrong move and we will be obliterated. By what? Fear of the unknown paralyzes our actions as does fear of repeating something from our past. It is hard to reprogram the cells. It is even harder to step into the belief that we can.

Fear is an uncomfortable bedfellow, and yet if we are willing to examine it, to hold it in front of us and look it in the face, it becomes comedic. Its hideous face squishes easy into new forms if we poke and prod it. It’s malleable, because it isn’t really real. It’s simply a shadow of the true self.

Yet how we hold it aloft, knighting it with the mark of hero! So often, we do this, it is impossible to keep track. We need only look at how we hold aloft our leaders. Few are true heroes. Many are villains, and most, if not all, are victims of their own stories, and our collective one. The true hero may be there, but it is deeply cloaked under fear.

Sadly, we are living in a time when true heroism is often overlooked, or even worse, slayed by the villain we like to think is a hero because if we don’t, we worry we too will be slayed. It seems insane, when you examine the play in all its facades, and yet here we are, collectively. Even the darkness resides in those we may think are filled only with light. Should we then be ignoring this complicated, yet simple truth that each role resides in each of us? Should we not acknowledge this truth and work towards compassion for the self and the “other” as we examine how we play each role and how the roles become us?

I think we have no choice but to do so, or the cycle will repeat endlessly in different forms. Otherwise, the victim will never be released from its shackles, forever forced to decide how to tip the scales. The cycle continuing until the victim realizes it is up to her, or him, to remove the chains and realized the hold was self-imposed all along.

At some point we must come to the realization that we are each the villain, the victim, and the hero of our own story. Perhaps we cannot have one without the others, but we can choose which one we will embrace. We  can choose what story to write into our cells. And, that story can have a different narrative than the one we wrote yesterday. It’s our story to write. It’s our story to live. It’s our story of life.

 

A Forest Walk and a Dream about Beauty

raindrop-1913347_1280
Photo Credit: Pixabay

I have been thinking about ephemeral beauty and how we cling to form like raindrops to branches. Our lives, individual only for a millisecond in the great cosmos of time. One shimmering spark holding onto a momentary existence, and yet the soul sings an eternal symphony. We are born through the woven membrane of light. Released into density for a moment, we cling to existence to become defined by matter.

At night, my dreams show me the clutter of the brain and how it folds memories of lack and doubt until darkness lets them loose to run amok. Our minds form impossible fantasies and horrors we think could never be real until we open our eyes and see the world we have created.

As I released to slumber last night, Badger threw open the veil to stare me in the face. Fearless digger, unearthing what I may try to hide, Badger gave way to Owl before I was flung into the shadowland. It’s almost funny how we tumble restless to the surrender. Revisiting old haunts we thought we had exorcised in the landscape of dreams. Least we think we are watching reruns, familiar specters morph into new forms and find another curtain to tug open.

How exhausting it can be to tumble backwards when life holds you for a mere millisecond, urging you only to let go.

Yesterday, I walked into the woods nearby our home with my family and our two dogs. Zelda led the way, choosing a trail we had never taken together. Only Rosy, myself and Daisy, who passed more than five years ago, had ventured down it before.

IMG-1166
Rosy trailing the pack just ahead of me. Zelda, somewhere up ahead with Alex.

The day was over-cast and windy. The clouds, eager to rain, darkened the trail littered with last year’s leaves. While we walked, I took in what the forest reveals before growth unfurls. There were more fallen trees than I cared to count, their bare trunks leaning on their neighbors. Others were already splintering into decay in their final resting places on their forest bed. Beach leaves lightened the ground, bleached  by winter to the color of sand. They lent a light to the forest that was absent from above.

IMG-1167
You can just make out Zelda here, between Ava and Alex. 

As we walked, I found myself wondering about the hand that guides unseen. Perhaps Daisy had urged Zelda’s feet to take us off the beaten path we were used to traveling together. Perhaps not. It doesn’t really matter. What matters was that we were there now, individually and together. Each of us mindful of our own moments.

IMG-0117
Me and Daisy 12/25/14. Less than two months before she passed back into light.

“There goes the camera,” my daughter, ahead of me, caught the sign at the same moment I did. She knew I would linger to take a photo. While I did, I found myself wondering how long the sign had been there. If somehow I had missed it walking the path years ago with Daisy and Rosy.  Who had placed the sign, and when?

E5B37CE3-D8AA-41ED-8121-450FF72B2E44
The Namaste Tree that caught my eye.

I don’t remember too much from my jumbled dreams last night. Perhaps it’s because I choose not to. There were travels with familiar people, and those who were not so familiar. There was lots of clutter and the feeling of being pulled into too many directions, through no will but my own. There was the feeling of tending more for other’s wants and need, while neglecting the self. Perhaps it is not so surprising that there is one scene, in particular, that lingers with me.

I am sitting on a bus filled with people, traveling to some forgotten destination. A woman sits beside me. My guide for the night. She looks with intention into my face, then presses her hand to my heart. “I see the beauty of the light that is you,” she tells me. Even though her words are genuine and almost urgent, I’m not sure I believe them. Yet, it’s enough. Enough to weave the darkness back to dawn.

The word “Namaste,” is Sanskrit in origin. It is a greeting of one being to another. A bowing to honor, often with hands joined at the palms above the heart, of the light that resides in the other, that is also in the self.  It is a gesture of reverence and of unity, and through Namaste we are reminded of the tapestry of light that threads through all life.

I like to think we are being reminded of this thread right now as we reside individually, yet together, in our shared millisecond of life. Reminded that within each form resides the beauty of the light that finds a temporary home inside each heart. A beauty that perhaps radiates more readily in some than in others, but only because of the block of fear.

yoga-4849683_1280
Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

Who Are We Underneath the Covers?

19
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

classroom-2093744_1280
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.”

th-1

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.

th

 

 

This Time of Gratitude

flower-2372997_1280
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?

 

 

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.

money-1934036_1280
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.

library-869061_1920
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?

town-2430571_1920
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.

vienna-1822138_1920
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.

car-784887_1920
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…

leaf-3369412_1920
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.

1
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.

5
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.

10
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.

24
The last page of Joy’s Room

 

But is this a choice?

 

IMG_0992
Certainly the dogs are making the most of this time

Yesterday, I wrote, “Through no choice of our own, we are all being called to pull inward, to the comfort of the hearth fire.” Later, I began to think, Is this really an absolute? Aren’t we, in fact, co-creators of our destinies? Do our thoughts, along with our actions, not weave, eventually, into being? Invisible threads coalescing into paths that we will inevitably walk, whether we want to or not?

Few (I hope) would now deny that climate change is something that has been greatly affected by our collective actions (and thoughts).  In the hours after I wrote yesterday’s post, I found myself thinking about the thoughts that I have held inside incubation and then, at some moment, unbeknownst to my conscious mind, let go.

IMG_0974
During one of my recent walks, my husband and I followed a glacial rift and found the head of a dragon. How many times have I longed to walk the dragon lines here?

Some of these thoughts of yearnings and wishes have now become my reality. I cannot deny the gifts of their existence.

Held inside the rules of quarantine, is the gift of family time slowed down. Distilled into poignant moments. They are not always easy moments. Often, there are they are bursts of heightened emotions. The tumbling of fears erratic struggle for air. Letting go can also be a gift.

CENQ1428
A beautiful day offered a social distancing hike with the cousins. Off devices (mostly) and in nature.

We are walking more, together, hiking trails through the forest nearby our home. The four of us, plus our two dogs, who could not be more pleased with this enforced family time. How often have I wished for more of these walks in the woods?

And the excuse and time to grow our own food, despite our lack of sun? Or begin the daunting task of sorting through fifteen years of photos and keepsakes to create albums for my children before they leave the hearth fire?  And, what of the pull to break free of the comforts of the known and venture into the unknown with my own work?

IMG_0988
Cherry tomato seedlings sprouting in the kitchen window

How many of us have longed for something similar? To slow the rat race into a meaningful walk? Could this disease that threatens the lungs also be an opportunity for us to breathe together, with shared purpose? Joined, as we are, in isolation from the oftentimes maddening cacophony of our “normal” lives?

 

Distilled time. Seconds treasured for their ability to span into minutes, then hours, and days held in the embrace of the beloved. Gratitude for the simple gifts often overlooked. Certainly Earth is breathing a bit easier without her usual congestion from our created actions.

IMG_0995
The family together for a walk yesterday