The Sifter

the sifter

It appeared to me at the end of a dream last week. I held the large metal sifter in my hand as I surveyed the boxes of artifacts from my past on the floor of my childhood basement. The sorting and discarding was finished, or so I thought. But, left in my hand was a sifter. What do I do with this? I wondered.

When I dug out my kitchen sifter to take a photo for this post, I noticed how similar it was to the one in my dream. As I studied the metal holes and edges, I realized this sifter, although cleaned after last use, was holding onto debris stuck stubbornly to its meshwork. Instinctively, I started to scrape away at the stuck residue with my nails, then stopped. There’s always something left behind, lingering, isn’t there? Whether it is an actual artifact we can feel through the caress of our fingers, or a memory tucked into the folds of our brain. When we clear the clutter, it never really disappears.

It can only transform. Before my dream of the sifter, I had spent weeks sorting through past fears. Have you ever noticed how the Universal Spirit has a way of kindly dumping a load of our fears at our feet, not one-by-one in a gentle fashion so that we might lightly skip over them, but in a pile so large we have no choice but to notice it? We have no choice, but to make a choice.

We can try to climb the pile to get over the top, then down the other side, but chances are if we do this, its jumbled contents will cause us to trip or fall. We’re likely to get hurt and bruised with the effort, and the pile is still there, slightly less neat, waiting behind us.

Another option is to bury ourselves inside of it and hide. The task of sorting being too over-whelming to accomplish, we simply let it enclose and crush us. How many people do you know who look like they’re carrying the weight of an invisible world on their shoulders?

Years ago, before I started healing my past, I realized it was no fun to carry my fears with me all of the time. It not only weighed me down, the effort made me physically ill. So, I started sorting and shedding. I’m still doing it today. That’s what I was doing in the weeks before I saw the sifter in my dream.

It started with the uncomfortable weight of fears presenting themselves in various daily circumstances. Not fun, it never really is. But, thankfully, I’m learning to take a different perspective on these periods of learning that Spirit sends to me. Ah, ha! I say after I get over my state of grievance (lengths may vary ;-), It’s time to shift! Lets do this!

Yep, that call for sifting is a cue to us that we are ready for a spiritual shift. Our soul is calling us to release a particular burden of fear and transform it into light. So, after I grudgingly accept this (again, the length to time it takes me to do this often varies :-), I now say, Bring on the joy! I’m ready to receive!

The end result of first sifting through our pile of fear, then shifting it into light, is joy! We have now opened ourselves to receive more of the Universal Source of Abundance, that I call the Light of Love, Joy and Truth. Let me give you my most recent example:

For weeks I played with my little demons called fears. In my daily life challenges, and in my dreams, I worked with shifting the energy that clutched my heart and throat, going to the source of the pain, and bringing it out to light. It wasn’t fun, playing with this last patch of fears.  As I sifted through them, they brought me back to my childhood in this lifetime, they brought me way back to distant past lives. They danced in my dreams and I woke up to a heart thumping with exertion.

I even shifted the energy in my home, with the help of a gifted friend. I burned clutter that was weighing me down, asking the fire spirits to transmute its energy. I rearranged and sorted, nothing too drastic, but all with the intention of bringing in more “light” and abundance.

As the shift started taking effect, the metaphorical pile, with its bulky weight, lightened, transforming into a path of abundance. 4 crows and a hawk appeared in the sky while I walked, followed days later by an unexpected surprise in my email box. WordPress had Freshly Pressed one of my erasure poems. I was pleased, but didn’t hold on too tightly to the tether of hope, instead I released it and a few days later my inbox was flooded. 400 pages views in one day on a single poem (I was lucky to get 10 before), over a hundred likes, numerous comments and reblog notices appeared, and the flow has continued with each day. My audience has grown by hundreds, without any direct effort on my part. I simply cleared the clutter abstracting the path.  I brought in more light.

Animal Messengers: The Cardinal

cardinalI am sitting here on my porch, listening to and watching birds. It’s what I would call a perfect May day, although we could use some rain. The sky is robin egg blue, the temperature hovering around 70 degrees, and a gentle breeze is keeping the black flies at bay. The air is infused with the song of birds.

Lately I have been marveling at the capacity of the songbird to produce such a full-bodied, melodious sound. Did you know that the voice of the songbird enables plants to achieve more optimum growth and produce more food? One only has to sit outside on a spring day to believe that this can only be true. There is something truly magical and peaceful about the song of birds.

The purpose of this post, though, is not to laude the lyrical gifts of the class of birds we call “songbirds,” but to explore their gifts as messengers from the spirit world. As I have written in previous posts, when we pay attention, spirit often speaks to us through nature.

Today, while I took the dogs for their early morning walk, a male cardinal flew across my path and stopped in a hemlock on the side of the road, waiting to be noticed. Yesterday, while I drove my daughter to a sporting event, first a male, and then a female cardinal flew in front of the windshield, bisecting my path in a dangerously close encounter that I could not fail to notice.

When we encounter animals and birds in such a manner, it behooves us pay attention, as it is likely that spirit is trying hard to get a message across to us. Cardinal certainly seemed to be trying to tell me something, so I took careful note. First, I took inventory of my thoughts – the ones that were passing through my head at the moment the male cardinal decided to fly across my path.

I had, I quickly realized, been thinking, or rather, fretting over my desire to manifest more clients and grow my healing business – a subject that has been consuming me of late. As my daughter told me the other day, “Well, you told the universe you didn’t want a lot of clients before you have the space for them.” Yes, she was right, and I have been trying to “correct” that intent over the past several weeks, as I realize I am ready and able to handle more clients while I wait for my new healing space to be created.

Those were my thoughts when the cardinal passed over, which led me to my dreams. Last night, while I slept, I was telling a woman who was in emotional distress that I could help her, but as I searched through my wallet for my business cards I realized they were missing. The previous night, I dreamt of sitting on the top of a very tall and long slide. It was red, rimmed in orange (symbolic of the first and second chakras, where we house our grounding energies, basic needs, and also our creative energies). The slide was steep, and had at least one “bump.” In the dream I was holding onto the hand rails at the side, very reluctant and fearful of descending. A woman at the bottom was urging me to let go and slide to my destination. The first chakra, I might also note, houses a lot of our most primal, deeply rooted fears. The second chakra is also our sexual chakra. The slide, I realized the next morning, was like a birth canal, and I was being asked to let go and “rebirth” a new, fearless self.

Back to the cardinals I’ve encountered of late. Today, when the male cardinal flew into the hemlock, I stopped briefly to ask its message for me. Do try this for yourself, if you don’t already. You’ll likely get a response inside your mind. The words that entered my own mind spoke of insecurities and self-confidence. They spoke of the symbolism of the colors red and orange, and of that beautiful, fearless, full-bodied song housed inside that small bird.

Being a natural “doubter,” I like to check my sources. So, I went home and read though the section on cardinals in Ted Andrew’s book Animal Speak, my personal, go-to-guide for animal symbolism. And there it was, right at the top of the page, “Renewed Vitality though Recognizing Self-Importance.” In other-words, don’t give up on your dreams and keep walking your path, leaving fear behind. As Andrews also notes, cardinals with their loud, clear song, urge us to listen and heed the messages around us. Their colors remind us to breath new life into our ambitions, and assert our creative selves.

Pay attention to the birds who cross your path, drink in the healing energy of their songs, and ask them what messages they hold for you.

The House as a Metaphor in Dreams

I often dream of houses, I always have. Sometimes I wake in awe of the beauty of the architecture of my dream-world homes, wishing at these moments that I was painter. Wondering, at other times, which homes I am remembering from a past life.

Metaphorically, though, there is always something to take away from a dream house or building. When I find myself in a home rich with architecture and vivd colors, I am reminded of the rich tapestry of the soul’s truth. I am bounded only by imagination. We are all bounded only by our inner truths.

And, sometimes, we are inhibited only by our own fears. My fears manifest in houses that become mazes of rooms without exits, bathrooms without walls, and crumbled architecture. Last night, I found myself in a farmhouse with ample room, yet I yearned for one more room where I could entertain. I walked out of the kitchen (the heart of the home/soul) and found myself in the perfect room. It was large. It was empty. There were four walls joined into a rectangle.

As I contemplated my room I realized what was missing. The floor was not a floor, but rather the bare ground covered in grass. The ceiling, an open sky. The door and windows, merely frames. How, I wondered, was I going to fix my room? What would be the cost? Was it something I could afford?

I agonized in my dream-state, grabbling with this obstacle, not letting myself see how simple the solution was. With little effort though, the walls could come down. A “gentle” reminder that sometimes I/we get caught up in the superficial aspects of life, neglecting the true essence of our beings. Sometimes it is hard to let go. Even in my dream, I wanted both. I imagined large skylights in the ceiling, once I found a way to put one in.