Why we stop

stop sign

I’m having one of those quiet days that come to me when my children and husband are back in school and work after a vacation. The house is quiet, aside from the occasional sigh and bark from the dogs, the whirr of the pellet stove, and the click of the keys on my computer. There is the scratch at the porch door that gets me up and moving to let in the smaller of my two dogs, and the ensuing smile that reminds me that love is about patience and the willingness to shift.

Today I am pondering the pause, the quiet space in our perception of time when stillness takes over the kinetic moments of life. Transitioning from one extreme to another can be uncomfortable, it’s a bit of a shock to the system of self. We can find ourselves a little lost in the place of quiet space where we wait for the next event to occur.

I love solitude, sometimes I crave it to the point of irritation. I need it, we all do, and yet I also crave the yell of bliss that ignites the spirit, forgetting that I can have both. I dwell on the wait, wondering when the next body of words will form to create a poem or a chapter, when someone will call for a healing session, or Spirit will bring me another gift of journey. I get caught up in the wait, forgetting that it is the very gift I need most.

Canada goose on pond

We feel the pulse of our divine light when we succumb to the deep breaths of silence. Here we remember who we are and where we come from. We recharge and realign so that we will be ready to move again.

The Great Blue Heron: Wader of Elements #herons #heronsymbolism #heronmessenger #greatblueheron

heron wading

Often, when I look to the sky these days I see the majestic form of a great blue heron flying a silent, solitary search for the next body of water. In flight, the great blue heron evokes the image of a prehistoric bird from a time when dinosaurs ruled the land and sky.

The great blue heron is often seen alone and there is a sense of awe instilled when we are lucky enough to glimpse this shy bird who walks and flies soundlessly through the elements of air, water, and earth. It is a bird of great grace and beauty with long appendages adorned in watercolor feathers.

The heron, when its presence graces our lives, reminds us of our inner strength and ability to adapt and survive on our own. That when we live a life of quiet grace, our inner beauty radiates and affects those around us.
flying great blue heron

Although it is not a water bird, the heron is a wader of shallow depths in the areas where land and water mingle. Here, the heron walks with stealth and grace on long legs, bending with ease to find sustenance in the form of fish, frogs, or other small animals living in or near the water.

The heron not only moves between the elements of land, water, and air with effortless ease, it is a master of balance, able to support its large, slender form on one long leg. Balance comes to the individual through wisdom and the ability to go within to find harmony. The heron evokes ancient wisdom. It is a sage for the soul who seeks balance and the harmony of inner truth, as well as a guide for the individual who finds peace in solitary endeavors.

The photographs in this post were taken by a good friend of mine who dances with heron. Much love and gratitude to you, Rachel, a woman who embodies the grace and beauty of inner strength. The journey of the heron can be lonely at times, but offers great rewards.

Stress

I’m been thinking about the idea of stress since my husband came home from work last night holding onto the stressors of his day. When we are in a state of stress, we attract and, often, magnetize ourselves to other triggers. For my husband, this trigger was the snowy driveway. It wasn’t the snow, but the footprints and tire-treads laced across it that bothered him. It didn’t matter that the sun would shine the following day and melt the stubborn tracks of snow the shovel could not easily remove, it mattered only that the tracks had been made.

Now, my husband is a kind man, and hopefully he will not mind that I am using him as my example for stress. The point, after-all, that I am trying to make, is that stress is often unnecessary and irrational, except to the person experiencing it. If you type “stress” into Wikipedia, this is what comes up http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(biology):

“Stress typically describes a negative condition that can have an impact on one’s Mental and physical, but it is unclear what exactly defines stress and whether or not stress is a cause, an effect, or the process connecting the two. With organisms as complex as humans, stress can take on entirely concrete or abstract meanings with highly subjective qualities, satisfying definitions of both cause and effect in ways that can be both tangible and intangible.”

I like the ambiguity in this definition, because, as it states, ambiguity seems to be inherent to the nature of stress. One of my biggest stressors is time. I loathe being late. Sometimes, if I don’t catch myself, the idea of being late sends my heart into a rapid beat, tightens my stress and causes me to be not so nice to the people in my path. These days though, I try to let stressors, like being late, act as lessons. I may not know the “cause” or root of the anxiety. I tend to believe our stressors, like our fears, are complex and deeply rooted, often compounded by lifetimes of unhappy circumstances. Yet, I know I can resist its pull.

Instead of letting the stress, which is very much like an elastic, stretch you to the point of breaking, you can step inside of its shape and examine density. Now, when I’m driving to a destination I know I am going to be late for, I ask myself these questions. What if I am late? What does that mean to me and others? How is the stress of not wanting to be late impacting me and others right now? How does it change the situation? What would happen if I wasn’t feeling this stress?

Of course there is that magnetic quality of stress, if we are in a state of stress, it’s inevitable, like in the example with my husband, that we will attract to ourselves more stressors until we make the conscious choice to let go of its hold on us. Then there is the question of rationality. Does our stress even make sense? If we can step way from the pull of the stress enough to examine its lure, we will often discover that our reaction is causing more harm to us and others than necessary. Even when we are faced with a fierce dog standing in our path, it behooves us to replace our panic with calm. The dog, like the universe of energy surrounding us, reacts and responds to our emotions.

When I replace the tendency to stress-out about being late with calm acceptance, I often find that the lights in my path change to green, the traffic eases, and I am, in the end, only a matter of minutes, if that, late. When I do the opposite, the lights stubbornly turn red at each intersection, I find there are no gaps in the traffic, my kids start fighting from the back seat, and I, well I, am miserable and stressed!

We can so easily grow accustomed to our stress and our stressors, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have them in our lives.  But stress takes a toll on us, both emotionally and physically. Too much stress in our lives, can cause our hair to turn gray (just look at a president who has been in office for 4 years) or fall out, our weight to decrease too much, or increase too much, and over time, dis-ease can start to set in, finding a vulnerable host in our unbalanced bodies.

Yet, stress, as I pointed out, is often, if not always, unnecessary. When we realize that the effects of stress do not serve us, we can start to reprogram our reactions to its triggers. Remember, the human body, like everything in nature, is constantly seeking a state of balance. In that state of balance, we find peace, health and happiness. So, next time you are in a state of stress, why not pause and ask How is this serving me? and What would happen if I let it go?

The Ego

IMG_1104When I think of the ego, the Rider Tarot image of The Chariot comes to mind. That embodiment of masculine energy. In the card, we find a man sitting solidly on a throne in front of a background of civilization. He is a master of the mind, and the yellow energy of power colors the empty space surrounding him. Where will the chariot take him?

The obvious destination appears to be power. But power over what? The self? Society? What is the goal of the ego?

In tarot, there is a progression towards the ultimate union of masculine and feminine energies to achieve a weightless balance. Boundaries are blurred into an untethered soul who knows only the dance of divine truth. Can we get there without ego? Can we get there without all the cards that proceed it?

Perhaps. But, ego does have purpose. He drives us forward through that 3rd chakra. He gives us a path to voice. Notice the curtains of blue folded beside the figure, and the blue wings of truth balancing that yellow orb, opening like a book.

Ego moves us forward. He drives us. But at what cost? At some point we need to let go of the reins and allow power to give way to balance. To connection. It is not coincidental that the figure depicted on the tarot card is alone, his back turned toward society. The ego drives us forward, but it is a solo journey. Eventually, the heart will seek connection.

The ego wears armor, the untethered soul dances in the air of truth inside a shere of heart energy.

Energy

I am remembering the energy of places. The dark corner where the walls met under the threshold of my bedroom door. A place where I had to force my eyes to look three times before I buried them under blankets, a fortress of stuffed animals around me. The pull of the wells. The first on the path between our home and our neighbors, down the slight slope of earth under the hemlocks and many steps past the circles of white flowers that hid my fairies. The second on the hill in Canterbury, beside the stone remains of a structure long abandoned. There was the skeleton of a child, I was sure, underneath that heavy gray slab of granite.

I am remembering the patches of light. The field of wildflowers and long grasses above the shop where my stepfather worked. The large rock in front of my neighbor’s home where I would sit and watch the dragonflies dance above the earth. The way the heavy brown seat of our home-made couch would pulse with the light energy of my body when my mother would brush my long brown hair into braids.

Yesterday I tried to explain the news I had received about my thyroid to a friend, and later my husband, listing each spiritually balancing activity that came to mind that I had engaged in over the past year or more. I realized, only later, that it is all a mater of energy. The only thing that really exists.

“You might fix that issue with your throat,” she had told me on the phone. Not the doctor who read the lab results, but the psychic I had spoken to six months before. Even though the energy around my throat had been spinning in a tight circle the size of an eraser, she knew it was already starting to heal.

“You have to want to heal,” I told someone else today, “so that your body and spirit understand your intention.” When you make that choice, the Universe will allow the energy to come back into balance. Inside of that desire you will find your truth and you will begin to sing it in whatever form it needs to manifest.