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.

 

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

 

Trading the high price of hedonism for hope

Since my recent visit to Italy, I have been thinking about the trap of hedonism. From a yogic perspective, hedonism is a concentration of energy in the sacral and solar plexus chakras, or areas of the body. Here is where individual lust, when it is allowed to, takes over the bloom of ever-lasting life. The mind-body forgets that life is not individual, but a collective and infinite rebirthing.

IMG_5823
Ercolano sits unearthed in the middle of a crowded Naples

I keep thinking about Vesuvius covering civilizations at their peak of hedonism in layers of ashes and dirt. Over and over again. We unearth the remains. Stare at the walls still painted in lust, and forget.

IMG_5835
Hedonism on the walls of Pompeii

We forget that we are still here. Captured in our lust. We are not doomed to repeat history, we simply choose to do so.

IMG_5993
This photo was taken in Rome, near the Vatican. If you look closely you will see a bride being photographed in her white gown near underpass where the tents of the homeless are huddled. 

Today, Naples sits piled in apartments filled with crowded life whose waste litters the streets. Plastic discarded after a single use blows amongst piles of dog poop and cigarette butts. In the cracks of pavement, green life stretches to find air and water before it is snuffed out by passersby who are thinking of yesterdays and tomorrows filled with want.

IMG_5746
Live blooming in the cracks of Pompeii 

Three hours away by car, Rome’s streets pave over more lost civilizations. What is left reminds us of the individual ego’s striving for power. Huge monuments raised to its mighty hand stand erect, guarded by machine guns slung over shoulders. Reminders of wars waged, battles for life lost and “won,” and the many, many spoils of victory.

IMG_6025
What was once Egypt’s is now Rome’s

A vast city inside a city houses the spoils of wealth stolen in the name of God.

IMG_5997.jpeg
Vatican City crowded with visitors

Gold halls lined with painted angels watch over a vast fortune robbed from distant and not so distant lands. Lesser gods trapped in a fortress that has room for only one ruler. Yet, we walk the halls in awe. We  cannot help it. The splendor overwhelms and consumes us.

IMG_6012
A feast for the eyes, even the ceilings of the Vatican are lined in gold opulence.

Below, the echo of the goddess can only be heard when the feet are still and the many voices clamoring to be heard, mute. The want for air is nearly unbearable. Yet we hold onto our crowds, striving, always striving, to get ahead.

IMG_5942.jpeg
Crowds outside the Colosseum 

I keep thinking we are one fiery breath away from annihilation. Again. We have thinned the air with our crowds and choked it with the pollution of our breath. We have chosen to guard the pillars of our mighty past and erect more as we overlook the goddess who sustains us.

250D40EF-B010-4F32-A56E-A0A304F2C811.jpg
Mother Earth birthing and supporting life

Instead of honoring the Mother who brings forth new life, feeds, and provides for all our many wants, we trample her to near death in our quest to strive ever higher in dominion.

IMG_6059
A memorial to war in Rome is carefully guarded by men with guns.

It is difficult not to be cynical in this world so focused on the outer it has largely forgotten what sustains it. A world that fears so much what unites it, it would rather destroy itself, over and over again, for want of division. For want of lust to feed the false self. A temporary pleasure of the body that has forgotten the soul housed in light who choose not to see.

IMG_5952.jpeg
The imposing remains of the Roman Colosseum 

And so I find myself sitting in my comfortable home in America, looking around at all that I have and all that I am in danger of losing. I find myself thinking about my individual choices and if they serve only me, or something greater than my individual self. I live in a town that has recently decided that recycling is not worth the monetary expense, and has chosen to override the planetary expense of not doing so. I live in a nation ruled by a man whose lust for power strives to over-ride all that is of the common good. It is easy to be consumed by the ugliness and despair of what feels like an impending doom. I would not blame our Mother if she  decided it was time, again, to swallow us up.

IMG_5854
Vesuvius in stasis 

But, there is little good to come of wallowing in despair, and much to be gained when one reaches beyond the darkness to grow the light. There is an empowerment of the inner that can be awakened when one looks beyond the myopic lens of the individual wants and sees that choices can be made to grow this light that we all share and that feeds all life.

IMG_0106.jpeg
A male hummingbird in my garden drinking nectar from peach blossoms

I know that the old ways are not enough. That for me living in my small town in New Hampshire, it is not enough to simply rinse cans and separate paper and food waste anymore. That I must search for ways that are more sustainable, such as growing vegetables and joining a local CSA. I know that I can move beyond not just buying nontoxic and organic products, to making more of my own as I search for those that I must buy in biodegradable and reduced packaging. And, I know that I can search for more innovative ways to reduce and reuse and share ideas that I find with others. There is that realization that “more” can always be done to nurture the good of all, and not just the one. And, that in doing so, one can find not only hope, but joy.

 

The Balance of Sun & Moon #SpringEquinox2019

Today we tumble out of the deep bed of winter and stretch our limbs toward spring in the northern hemisphere. It is a day filled with promise.

IMG_5850.jpeg
Hope is the bud quickening to the pulse of life ready to bloom into its fullest expression

It is a time of balance. Nearly equal parts dark and light, yet the two are not in opposition.

IMG_4738.jpeg
The length of day nearly equals the length of night on the equinox

On this spring equinox, we are graced with the glory of the full sun, and also the full moon.

IMG_0423
The moon shines her full face towards Earth, allowing the sun to illuminate her glory at night

It is a time when the yin and yang energies — the divine feminine and masculine — are offered in balance. Equally holding space and supporting one another. Offering a mirror to the potential that resides within each one of us.

IMG_4593.jpeg
A butterfly, symbol of transformation and rebirth, offering the dark and the light rimed with the blue of truth

 

At this era of time, when Earth and its children struggle for balance and harmony, we are offered this still point. A pause to reflect and then open to the perfection of balance. An offering to seek the sun, but also the moon and find what each has to offer us.

Strength, tempered by peace…

Darkness balanced by light…

Fear balanced by promise…

The singular life supported by all life…

The inhale of breath matching the exhale…

As the moon begins to wane, and the light of the sun lingers longer each day, may we be reminded of this balance. Using the sun’s energy to bring light to our greatest darkness. Darkness that holds fear in all its many forms, but also the seeds of promise. May we be reminded that each fear that we hold onto can transform into new life with the touch of the sun. It can bloom past the darkness from where we hold it tight as we breathe into its lips hope, promise, and love.  In the seeds of fear reside our fullest potential waiting to find the light. It is that place where the limited can become the limitless.

DSCF2990.jpg

May we today breathe in the balance of the energies that support us, allowing them to find balance within. Seeding the life that lingers in the darkness as we find the limitless love that unites us all.

 

 

 

What are we doing to our girls?

*Warning this post contains graphic content that may be disturbing to some readers.

IMG_1169

The first life I was ever regressed to was lived several hundred years ago. I never received an exact date, only the scene of my last breath. I was in China, living in a house with paper screens. The roof of my home was thatched, and I was waiting inside. I wore a red kimono-like dress with a hat. My face was painted white. I knew the men were coming for me…

I didn’t have to relive the rape, or the dismemberment of my body. That was a knowing, and the lingering of the sensations of violation that had reincarnated into the cells of my current body. The feeling of being choked…of being torn apart… I saw only the pieces of self left behind as my spirit rose from my broken body.

I was a forbidden woman.  A keeper of secrets. I was murdered when my value to the men who violated me had passed its keep. But that was hundreds of years ago, so why remember, why write this post?

It’s the year 2017, and yesterday I received a video in my Facebook feed. The title, “Human Trafficker Admits to Killing Over 400 Children in Video Confession.” Watch at your own discretion. It is highly disturbing. Why am I sharing it? Because it is the year 2017, and we are still allowing our girls, our children, the women in our world, to be abused. To be objectified. To be killed for sexual gratification.

What are we doing to our  girls? What are we doing to our women? Ourselves?

We are still, in the collective sea of our existence, in which we all dip our consciousness (or unconsciousness depending upon how you choose to view it), allowing ourselves to ignore, to deny, to look away, and to allow. Even to condone, this abuse or our girls, our women, ourselves.

Thousands of years ago, it was not thought absurd to revere the divine feminine. Instead, the goddess was worshiped in the form of multiple names. Names that are still, somewhat present, in our culture: Gaia, Tara, Quan Yin, Sarasvati, Kali, Durga, Isis…to name a few. Goddess names that are mostly associated with “New Age” groups, or misused by terrorists groups who desire to oppress the divine feminine.

It is the year 2017 and we have elected a president of the United States who openly disparages women. Who has sexually exploited women, and aims to oppress their rights in his position of “power.” Women voted for him, along with men. Women support him, along with men. Women and men with daughters of their own.

What are we doing to our girls? What are we doing to our women? What are we doing to ourselves?

I recently read the book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales, because my thirteen-year-old daughter was being harassed by a boy on social media. How did I find out? Two young women told the school administration. The book is as disturbing as the video I shared above. Yet, it takes place in present time. In the year 2017, girls are being raped and reduced to mere objects of sexual pleasure by their peers. Young women are being slut-shamed and denigrated by young men who sing songs about rape at Ivy League fraternities. It is the year 2017, where young men can gang rape our daughters and get a pat on the back. It is the year 2017, where beautiful girls as young as nine-years-of-age are being kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder so that they can be tortured and raped by horny men. If they try to escape, they are killed.

This is what we are doing to our girls. To our young women. To our daughters. To our sisters. To ourselves.

Over the course of hundreds of years, we have allowed the sacred woman to be replaced by an objectified body, in the name of sexual gratification and power, which still, very much pervades our culture. We cannot look away. Today, in the year 2017, a young woman cannot walk in the beauty of the sacred vessel of her body without being reduced to an object of sex. Her body, once revered, is considered a toy by boys too young to be called men. We can blame the pervasive culture of porn, or we can look within and see what is broken?

What are we doing to ourselves? What are we doing to each other? What are we doing collectively? 

We can also look without. We can broaden our gaze and see the horizon that stretches beyond our sight. We can look to the vessel of life that we call home, a planet once honored and revered as a sacred giver of life, and realize how we have, collectively, raped and exploited her as an object. A commodity. A giver of life that is worthy of little more than our greed.

IMG_2675

And we can look within, and ask, where do I harbor darkness? What do I choose to hide and ignore? In 2009, The Dalai Lama said the “world will be saved by the western woman,” during a peace summit in Vancouver. Perhaps this is true. Certainly, I believe, she will help lead the way. What about the western man? What about all men? What about the divine masculine merged with the divine feminine, that is as much within a man, as it is within a woman. We must, I believe, get to the point where we realize how much we are alike, than we are different. That the light that exists within “you,” also exists within “me,” just as the darkness that exists within one person, also resides in you, and me. And, we must walk together, as one.

IMG_0363

 

 

The Question of Restraint & Creating a New “Home”

I woke from a strange dream this morning, just at the point where I could have let go of the notion that I needed to go “back” home, and surrender into the vast unknowing. I woke with a feeling of constriction. I felt it in the chest tight with held breath. I felt it in my throat clogged with mucus. And, I felt it in my lower abdomen waiting to release the waters processed during the night.

In the dream I had been driving a cat. Of course this might actually have been possible if it had been a wild cat such as a tiger or a lion, and I allowed myself to imagine that glorious possibility for awhile after I woke. In the dream, though, my domesticated cat looked a lot like the one that lives in my physical house, only I had a ridiculous reign around its shoulders, as though I actually believed it would be capable of taking me where I thought I needed to go, which was back to my childhood home. When I woke, my wildcat, a tiger, had no yoke of any form, instead I rode her back and surrendered to where she wanted to go.

The cat, in both instances, represents the energy of the 2nd chakra, where our creative life-force energy is birthed into being through our intuition. In the dream, I thought I was letting the cat lead the way, but of course she was too small and too domesticated to carry my weight. It was a rather pitiful scene of restraint. Before I woke, I was digging futility in a backpack with many pockets, stuffed with everything, it seemed, but the GPS I was looking for. I was convinced I needed it to find my way back home. “Back” home, that is, instead of home. I was going backwards into the past, instead of forwards into the unknown filled with that fiery energy of possibility.

img_1491
The cat that wants to be a tiger

I shouldn’t have been surprised by this, and really, I wasn’t. Frustrated, yes, as we all are when we don’t allow that full expression of the 2nd chakra to channel into life. You see I had also been tempted by this possibility, in the form of a mysterious lover, who held me close and kissed me, before I made the choice to look for my “car. Yet there was the hint of promise in his words,”You will come back. Next time…”

Why, you might ask, am I telling you about this dream? Why should you care? Because, I realized, upon waking that my struggle against restraint is a universal struggle, which is so poignantly at the surface right now it cannot be denied. You need only to look around you, and within you, to see it. As the inner always mirrors the outer and vice-versa. It is also timeless, but I believe at this point in our collective evolution, the letting go of restraint is poignantly calling for our attention.

How many of us grew up with restraints and constraints? Most of us, I think it’s safe to say. I know that in the rare moments when I dared utter my will, which went against my parents’, a verbal or physical restraint would quickly reach out to hold me back. Of course it’s no wonder I am still struggling with the ties that bind, but oh is it frustrating.

Yesterday, I read a post of Facebook shared by a friend about a young man in Boston who had faced the darkness of uncontrolled restraint in the form of fear surfacing from the energy around this turbulent election process. I believe we all want to be free. Yet,  when we act out from the place of fear, we cause harm. When we choose to disempower another, instead of empowering ourselves, we cause oppression and hurt. We are seeing examples of this all around us right now as we are being called to walk with a faith that calls for a surrendering to the light which is love, which is grace, and which is also the vast unknown, and as yet undecided. This, then, requires a breaking down of fear and all its restraints.

The young man from Boston was not caucasian, and this threatened the foundation of “home” of the man who raged at him, as he was holding fast to old fears. Fears perpetuated by the rhetoric of Trump and his supporters, and hence fear that were not wholly his own (as all fears are really, in essence, everyones’). To hold onto his crumbing foundation, this older, white man, raged against the young non-caucasian, telling him to get off the bus he was riding, telling him to go “back home.” In essence, though, he was trying to find his own way home. His lack of restraint, in this case, had become a constraint. He was holding himself back from evolving, while also trying to hold the young man back who trigged this fear within him.

It’s curious how much we fear the unknown, but it’s also deeply troubling when you see all the damage it has, and continues to cause, in our world. A world that is trying, constantly, to evolve and grow, yet we try, in turn, to hold it back by holding ourselves back, and by trying to hold each other back. We cling to the past. We cling to what we are used to, because we think it is the safest way to live. But is it? Look around you and within you. What has this created besides  war and suffering?

Constrained energy causes disease. It causes illness. It causes dis-ease. Ultimately it causes death, because the vital life force energy that wants to flow through us is shut of or diminished by restraint.

Last night, before I went to bed, I watched the move “Miracles from Heaven.” In the movie, if you have not seen it, a 10 year-old-girl is diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease of the digestive system. She is literally unable to digest and process the nutrients her body requires for life. The relevance of that, in light of what this post is about, does not escape your observation, I am sure, but there is more.

In the movie, which is based on a true story, the girl comes back home to live out, it is thought, her last remaining days. Instead, her older sister, following what I believe to be a spark of intuitive guidance, urges her to let go of the restraints that bind her and climb a large, old tree in their yard. When the two girls are on a branch together, it starts to crack from their weight, and they scramble toward the trunk so they will not fall. But, the dying girl falls (through a hole inside of the trunk), and in that fall, she finds new life.

A miracle occurs in that moment. In the pit of darkness at the base of the old tree, in which she has fallen, the young girl loses consciousness, freeing her spirit from her body. She meets “God,” and is given a new chance at life. When she wakes, she is cured of her disease and all of its restraints.

As her mother later says during a church service, “miracles are all around us, we just need to open our eyes to them.” And, let go of restraint in the form of fear. The young man on the subway is an example of this. In the face of hatred, he surrendered his own fear to grace instead of caving into fear in the form of hate. In the story of the event, he admits to being filled with an impulse to react by punching the man. To return hatred with hatred. To fight the battle he is being called to fight, but instead, he surrenders to grace. Letting go of his own fears, he opens the gate to life. To a new reality. In doing so, the man entrenched in fear responds in kind, to this new, stronger, energy he is presented with. The anger in his face gradually melts as the fortress dissolves. Tears of release fill his eyes, and he extends his hand to the young man he has just assaulted verbally. And in that moment, a new world is born, at least for him.

We all share these fears, just perhaps in slightly different forms. We all fear, to different degrees, the new. We fear what we do not know, and what we could become. But should we? Restraint, held in the reign of fear, only stops us from birthing the new world within and without. Now, more than ever, we cannot afford to stop the light that is life from flowing into the infinite possibilities of who we are and are desiring to become. A genius, whether in the form of a painting, a poem, a symphony or a breakthrough in science, causes us to look at the world in a new way. We are filled with awe as we gaze upon the manifestation of greatness, but we forget that it lies, waiting to be birthed, in all of us.

img_1390
All else is an illusion