#Inspiration #3.2.1 Me Challenge

Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo kindly nominated me for the 3.2.1 Me Challenge, giving me the word “Inspiration” for my topic. Thank you, Sue. Do check out her response to the challenge, “Time.”

 

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The seemingly inert forms of rocks inspire me, even those found in New England. In this photo, taken at Acadia National Park in Maine, I can see dozens of faces, each with a different story to tell.

 

Did you know “inspiration” not only means “that which spurs creativity and action,” but also the “intake of breath?”  I rather like the link between these two definitions. What inspires you to breathe life in? Fully and completely, capturing its essence as you do so? Connecting your life to its life…Your form to another’s…

I think, perhaps, the key is a connection. Finding that which sparks the synapses to fire across the bridge of singularity. That moment when we inspire the breath and say to ourselves, “ah ha, there is a certain something here I need to explore,” and in that exploration don’t we inevitably discover something about ourselves? A deep-seated longing, perhaps, that we now cannot ignore?

While looking up quotes on inspiration, I came across these words attributed to Bob Dylan,”Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” I find this rather sad and tend to disagree with it. Are we really that disconnected from life, and, one could extrapolate, the source of the air we breathe?

Mr. Dylan seems to be implying that inspiration is an elusive object, which is hard to obtain. I tend to think of it as just the opposite. Inspiration, I find, is everywhere, waiting for us to take notice. To take in the deep inhale of its life into our cells and allow them to spark fresh awareness. It’s a sad thought to think most of us spend our time breathing stale, shallow breaths without any sense of wonderment, but maybe Bob is onto something here…

While searching for actual quotes on inspiration (rather than “inspiration quotes,” which seem to occur in abundance), I came across this an interview with Ray Bradbury that appeared on Fresh Air, where he stated, “It’s lack that gives us inspiration,” he said. “It’s not fullness. Not ever having driven, I can write better about automobiles than the people who drive them. I have a distance here. … Space travel is another good example. I’m never going to go to Mars but I’ve helped inspire, thank goodness, the people who built the rockets and sent our photographic equipment off to Mars. So it’s always a lack that causes you to write that type of story.”

Again, I find myself in partial agreement. Lack of oxygen quite literally causes us to inspire, adding more air to our lungs. Bradbury, though, seems to be talking about what spurs creative inspiration. The lack of knowledge, causing us to seek. I suppose if we were full of all life, of all the answers to each and every question out there, there may, in fact, be nothing to inspire us. Why draw the breath in if the lungs are already full?

A full brain has nothing else to learn, but really, is that ever really possible? I may think I know the mechanics of driving, having driven for nearly 3 decades, multiple vehicles, with automatic and standard transmissions, yet I was still inspired to drive recently in England and found there was much to be discovered in this adventure of driving on the wrong left side of unfamiliar roads.

The ordinary became extraordinary, as I pushed past fears to find wonderment. Yet one need not, I believe, try driving on the opposite side of the road in a foreign land to find inspiration, one need only look with a little more depth at familiar surroundings, or breath in a little more air.

I often say I travel to England to find magic. In this ancient landscape, there is much that inspires me. It’s virtually effortless to find inspiration there, for me. Yet, here in New England, I find it is easy to fall victim to the mundane, or the Bob Dylan syndrome if you will. Yet, I realize, that is my fault, and not that of the landscape. There is magic in each blade of grass if you are willing to look at it more closely and marvel at the intricacy of its creation. Even the rocks here have much to offer, even those not aligned to the stars.

The key lies in the word itself. Allowing myself to inspire life, and breath deep its essence, even if that life is seemingly inert, there is always something new to take in and discover. Endless layers…endless molecules of air. The lungs always seeking more breath after exhaling that which has not been absorbed by the body.

While writing this post, a male cardinal appeared outside in my Rose of Sharon bush. It created quite a scene, as it flew in and out of the blooms and around the nearby foliage, as though it was trying to get my attention. Later, I thought about the cardinal feather I found years ago and had studied closely in a meditative state as part of a lesson with the Silent Eye School, discovering the feather was not merely red-orange, but filled with all the colors of the rainbow. “Now that’s something to write about,” Sue replied to my discovery.

One might say it was a joy to discover the rainbow in the red feather, and so I’ll leave the post with this word, “joy,” as the next challenge for three nominated bloggers if they choose to accept: Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate Julianne Victoria of Through the Peacock’s Eyes, and Colleen Briggs of Fragments of Light. Please write a post about “Joy,” including two quotes on the subject and nominate three other bloggers to blog about a word of your choosing.

Thank you again, Sue, for the “inspiration!”

 

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The (dead) crow, the red fox & the turkey (feather)

I used to keep a journal just for animal encounters. Not just animals, insects too, and birds, and all manner of non-human life forms I met up with each day. I was interested in their symbolism and what it might mean to me. Synchronicities and patterns. The universe talking in code. I used to do a lot of things I no longer do, and these days I am acutely aware of how much I am allowing myself to be wrapped up in the mundane, favoring it over the magic of life. Not because I want to, but because I have somehow convinced myself that I must. I must search not for encounters, but for artificial messages. Messages that I must send to get readers for my new book. It is a task I do not like, but that in itself is a lesson and, therefore, a gift. How do I make magic out of the mundane? Somedays it’s easier than others.

When the jobs we feel we must do become a chore, should we continue on in toil, or should we pause and breathe into the depth of being to find the magic contained within the moment that is always offered to us? The moment upon which we trail our breath and our thoughts, whether they be rapid, or peaceful? Today there were many encounters throughout my day which felt forced, labored, without fruit. Yet, there were also pauses when I stopped to be present.

I watched the squirrel, boldly wearing red fur as it masqueraded as an acrobat climbing up, then down my apple tree stealing apples in its mouth and leaping through limbs as though gravity was a ruse. I could almost believe anything was possible until I returned to the drudgery of musts. “You must do this to sell books.” “You must do that.”

The voice inside my heart forever whispering against the pull of musts, “just let it be.” “They’ll find the words you wrote for them, somehow.” I don’t always believe in somehows, but the voice inside me tells me I should.

The crow that stopped my feet today was dead. Its head pointed downhill. Black feathers tucked above the vibrant green of grass on this sunless day. I couldn’t help but think of magic extinguished. It had fallen beneath wires. Was it electrocuted by too much force? Energy coursing outside its bounds? The owl had been found in nearly the same place, also dead, one month before. I cannot help but think of the two bird messengers in my book. Grandmother Crow. The owl who haunts the last pages with a warning…

Yet death, I am reminded by yesterday’s snake, is not an end, but a beginning. Decayed life breeds new life in that ever-lasting cycle. How can I forget the wisdom of Shesha? Did I not write his story upon the pages too?

Briefly, today, I thought about fairies. Sue had reblogged a post about the fey and for some wonderful moments, I was transported into the realm of magic not often seen. Perhaps that was why I was lead by the turkey feather, which floated up from the blackened road as though wanting to be seen. To be caught, as I drove home. So I took the ever-willing dog for a walk, and there it was still. In the middle of the road. Large, curved and perfect. Banded in brown. A solitary turkey feather waiting for my hand to receive its gift.

So I twirled it in my fingers, feeling the life still present. Blessed life. A reminder of abundance. Down the road, a red fox wandered from the twilight woods and stopped to fix my gaze. We stared as though each daring movement, until a car passed by. Some say foxes hold the secrets of the fey. Cunning, bold, stealthy. Red, like the squirrel. Have I lost touch with the red blood of Earth? I wrote the words in this book, in part, to save her. Created six warriors with a mission to repair her broken veins, forgetting, after I had finished, that one must care for the inner body, always, while caring for the outer. And so I look back upon today. To the red squirrel taking with ease the fruit of the apple back to its nest. The dead crow charged with too much power. The lone turkey feather in the middle of the road. One perfect blessing waiting to be held. And the red fox, who had ventured, for a moment, out of the hidden realm to say hello.

 

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Grandmother Crow speaking her ancient wisdom from the pages of The Labyrinth

 

 

Turning Back Time: I visit the Hurlers

I am climbing the walls of an old church. There is only the outer fortification of stone, smoothed into mortared slabs. Each slab is chiseled with symbols, hieroglyphics of an ancient language my cells remember, but my mind has forgotten how to read. My hands grasp the hollowed frames of windows, climbing through the inside through levels until I know I have reached the 3rd floor. Here my hands let go of their grasp and I find I am hovering weightlessly. My body prone, I look down to the depths below. And then I begin to turn, like a clock. My body the hands of the hours going backward.

I had this dream about a week ago, and it has lingered with me since then. It has been more than a month since my return from England. My third trip there in as many years. I go to this land to turn back time.

After we descended from Brentor, and I paid my respects to the guardian stone, Sue graciously offered to take us along in her car to the next site, and Larissa and I accepted without negotiation. I was more than happy to take a break from driving on the wrong  left side of the road down the winding narrow lanes of rural England, and I knew Larissa shared my fear that there was a good chance we would get lost following Sue who drives with the skill and ease of a professional racecar driver.

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I drove down this lane and many like it.

So to The Hurlers we went, with Stuart navigating using a traditional paper map as Sue manipulated the stickshift gears on her race compact car. Larissa and I were impressed, to say the least, and kept breathing large sighs of relief that we were not in the front seats and could enjoy the views that flew passed by. And, we never got lost. Well, that is until we got there and I started to wander…

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A ewe leads the way to The Hurlers

To be honest, I rather wanted to get lost, but at that critical moment the brain won over the longings of the heart, and I turned around. But, I am getting ahead of myself…

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It’s difficult to describe just how vast and complex the landscape of Dartmoor is, which covers 368 square miles of moorland filled with the evidence of ancient civilizations. Pure heaven for someone like me.

The Hurlers is the remains of three large stone circles in the wild moorland landscape of Dartmoor, which just happens to be aligned with the star cluster Orion and sits on the Michael ley line. To say it is a place of magic is an understatement. I knew I was home before I stepped out of the car.

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The Hurlers are larger than they appear, and are perfectly aligned with the stars…

As tends to happen in these ancient lands, my feet began to move as though driven by some deep cellular memory, responding to the forces of the land. Find the seer’s stone, the command kept entering my conscious mind as it whirled with the energies of the land.

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The seer’s stone sits in the center of the Hurlers

The land was damp from rain, and a puddle had formed within the well around the central stone. I could not comfortably sit here, as I had at Bratha’s stone in the Peak last April, so my visit within the circle was brief. After paying my respects, I walked the perimeter stones in two of the circle, while my eye caught upon the portal stones, briefly. I will return after, I promised myself.

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Portal through time.

I could not ignore the intense pull to the land beyond. The hill with the balanced stones of giants felt like a magnet drawing me ever-closer to its energy. The land, as I have learned, beyond stone circles is filled with secrets of the past. Stones litter these ancient landscapes and each has a story to tell. There were too many to linger beside here, and my feet did not want to go slowly.

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One can imagine a gathering place here, where the stones do the talking.

The vegetation of the landscape of these sites is always worth noting. How it grows along the ancient tracts…when it is interrupted, swirled or corse…

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An uneven landscape that seems to have been modeled by deliberate hands.

There are many ditches around the Hurlers, as well as deep circular depressions. As Sue noted, it could be from mining the lands for ore, or for some other, perhaps ritualistic reason.  There is the sensation of falling inward to another realm near some of them, and the grass often swirls in imposing tufts which speak of disruption.

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Several depressions threaten to tumble the unsteady.

My feet, though, kept racing toward the hill beyond, where the Cheesewring sits like a giant stone bird. Was I following the Michael line to some sort of apex of energy? It felt like a force beyond logical reason. Yet, I stopped at the edge of the stone settlement, just where the land starts to dip before it climbs. I looked at the imposing hill just beyond with longing, before I turned around. I was far, quite far, from the other three I had come with and logic told me it would not be fair to follow my heart into the mist. And so the climb would have to wait for some other day, perhaps in the future.

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I got tantalizingly close before I turned away.

Something told me, though, that if I had stood long enough between those to standing stones, I would have gotten there sooner.

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#Crossings #writephoto prompt #SueVincent

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompts. Life has been busy and has included a trip to this land that feels like home.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

Crossings

I looked at the bridge framed in green

To that faraway place where I felt I belonged

Wanting to step through an image that looked like home

“But you are already home, my child”

The voice inside felt like comfort

Soundless to the ear, but not to the heart

I knew it to be mine,

 but not wholly mine

So, I went inward to walk beneath the bridge

I painted the water with my toe

and watched circles

spreading rings outward

like the voice inside

 I knew to be home

 

If you would like to participate in Sue’s weekly #writephoto prompt, please click here.

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Woodland #writephoto

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

The forest whispered, “follow me,” and laid down a path of gold.

“Oh, I dare not,” replied the voice of doubt, “for I fear what may be lurking in the shadows.”

“Oh, you are a silly lass,” the forest replied. “Can’t you see that I have given you the way through the darkness?”

“But I am alone. A mere child in an unknown wilderness where fierce beasts may lurk, waiting to attack,” doubt replied.

“Yes, yes, that is true. What you seek is also seeking you.”

“Oh, but you are wrong. I do not seek the beasts. They seek me.”

“Aw,” the forest replied with a clatter of branches. “Who do you think the beasts belong to?”

“You.”

“Oh no, they are not mine, they are yours.”

“I don’t want them, so how can they be mine?”

“Because you reject them. Come now, child, walk with me into the land of your heart. I have laid before you a golden path.”

“Oh, but I am scared.”

“It is good to be scared sometimes.”

“But how will I get through the dark places?”

“Oh, that is easy,” the forest replied. “Follow the path of light.”

My contribution to Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt challenge. To participate, please click here

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Aham Prema & the Inner Fugitive

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My journey with the mantra Aham Prema, “I Am Divine Love,” continues, pulling me deeper within to examine the origins of fears that hold back the full light of the divine self. Love’s opposite is not hate, but fear. Hate and all its friends are byproducts of fear.

In the first post I wrote about working with the mantra Aham Prema, I talked about the constriction I felt in my throat. The journey through this pathway to the voice of inner truth continues. Almost every night I note in my journal some point of evidence about my throat being worked like a muscle. I also make note of the sensations felt in my heart and third eye chakras. The heart feels as though it wants to be free of another barrier, while the brow seeks the expansion of the inner Light.

In my Silent Eye School of Consciousness studies, I am working with the energy of the inner fugitive, an aspect of the self that can reside in a habitual state of fear and hiding. The mantra Aham Prema adds to the intensity of the work, pulling me into depths I have, I realize, avoided exploring. I will call this place terror; that aspect of extreme fear that holds the tightest binds around the true-self. Irrational terror, if one considers only this lifetime, but I cannot.

The signs are too many. They appear everywhere. While I walk, I see the number 6, where the inner fugitive likes to reside on the Enneagram, in a murder of crows one day, in another, a bevy of doves. My dreams at night bring me deeper, pulling me to places of extremes to test the reins of fear binding the fugitive-self. One night, while I am on a ship of sorts being pulled underwater, I realize I am no longer afraid of “drowning.” Yet, in the same night, I find myself cowering away from an archway of the gods filling the sky with its awesome presence. One glance tells me I haven’t reached Faith without doubt of the Divine.

Aham Prema. “I Am Divine Love.” To open the light within, one must also surrender to the light without, knowing that when the reins of fear are broken there is no division.

When I go to sleep after day 7 of working with the mantra, I dream of artichokes in muffins presented by Sue Vincent, my mentor, and later my animal totem Eagle appears. Eagle has been a faithful guide for a while, and years ago brought me the vision of a past life that is significant to this journey.

By day 10 I start to succumb to a cold virus, which, it will be no surprise, begins with a sore throat before it works its way to the sinuses, causing pain from the pressure built up in my temples and forehead. From here it travels down the channel of the throat into the heart chakra where the lungs start to fill with fluid residue.

During the day I see 6 crows in the sky, circling and calling out.

Later in the evening I go into a meditation and find I am pulled into the forest nearby my house, to a place I have not walked in years. A forest path lined with evergreens. Years ago, when I first walked there with my dog Daisy, when she was still alive, my mind brought me to a reoccurring nightmare from childhood. The dream was of sheer terror, and each night it would wake me at the same moment when the voice of my fear tried to escape from my throat. It was a dream of fleeing through a forest of pines which, I later discovered through meditation and healing work, held the imprint of terror from a past life when I tried to flee from the Nazis through an evergreen woods. During my meditation, waves of healing pass through me as my body begins to release the binds of its terror.

When I fall into sleep later, Daisy visits me during dream time. My beloved companion who taught me that forests are places of magic and elemental love, and not to be feared.

On day 11 I cannot practice the 54 repetitions I have been chanting every night.  My throat is too sore, and my body is beyond fatigued. I need to rest.

And so I find myself at the edge of faith, and my soul asking me, Will you release the residue of fear that remains to open fully to the Light? Will you stand naked to Love in the arms of Faith?

 

Luna #writephoto prompt #suevincent

My contribution to Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt challenge.

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Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

 

Luna looked through the trees at the moon and thought about death. Death, she decided, was the unbroken space of silence. Where words disintegrated before they could form sound in the black expanse of no-time. Would it feel, cold, she wondered, as she shivered her body under the night sky, or would there be no feeling?

When she was a young child, she would lie in bed and think about death before she slept. She couldn’t help it. Her mind would pull her into that place of fear, and the thought of nonexistence would race her heart into panic until she pushed the terror back into the darkness. Now she found the idea of infinity equally terrifying. How exhausting, to be endlessly cycling through lifetimes, or to be forever hovering in the void of space.

Heaven, her grandfather once told her, was the dream of the hopeful. Hell, a threat to the guilty. “When you die, you die,” he said. “Your body goes back to Earth, and that’s it.” Yet, Luna had seen the ghosts of lives past. Even her grandfather had appeared years after his death, hovering above her bed in an aura of light.

The spirits never her told her what happens after the breath stills inside the body. They never talked about what infinity really means, or how many lifetimes you have to live to get there. In fact, they never said anything at all. They just watched her live.

 

If you would like to partcipate in Sue’s weekly challenge, please click here.

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