The roof is coming down as I write, and I can’t help thinking about how easily the creative mind can be pulled away from its work. At least for me. I am a bit restless by nature, and sitting for any length of time for the soul purpose of writing is a bit of a challenge. I hop up to let the dogs in and out, to steal a snack from the fridge, or make one if I’m unsatisfied with the contents. I grab at the pauses between inspiration to check my emails and Facebook and reply to messages. This is how the minutes slip by before I can reign them in again and use them for the purpose I set out to.
Now, the roof is coming down outside of the window where I usually sit to write. I could move, but I don’t. Instead, my eyes pull toward the sounds of shingles sliding on plastic tarps and the shadows they make in their reckless descent toward the ground. My mind pauses between my character’s thoughts to worry about the cloths hanging on the line precariously within reach of the avalanche of shingles that once adorned the peak of my home.
Suddenly, it’s nearly time for the school bus to groan around the corner of my street to deliver my son home and I realize the 70 page mark may not be met today, or at least not during me kid-free hours. Oh well, there’s alway another moment to grab.
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.
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.
When you look at the color orange, what do you see? Years ago, before I started working with the chakra centers in the body, I wrote a poem about an orange and compared it to love. Here is the poem, in revised format, with the essence still intact:
Love should be
like a ripe orange
before it is peeled. Thick,
When you turn
its bumpy surface
in your palm, there is
Love is the color of the sacred “womb” that resides inside all of us. It is the place where we grow our creative and sensual selves into being with the fire of our soul. The color of passion and love manifested in the form of our unique gifts, it is always present, yet sometimes hides.
I have been thinking and writing a lot about orange these days, as I rebirth dormant gifts held inside the second, or sacral chakra that vibrates in this hue. Rarely do I wear this bold color that tends to overwhelm my complexion, but there I was in a lovely boutique last Friday, buying a dress adorned with orange flowers.
On Saturday I peeled sweet potatoes, carrots and gingers and cooked them into an orange soup. We are drawn to the colors that want to bloom inside of us. There is a reason why our bodies and senses crave certain palettes. I cook with orange to kindle the fire that hides in my belly. Today, my eye is drawn to the flames that warms my house as I nibble the flesh of mango and write, my orange dog staring me down, waiting for her walk.
I’m one of those people who feels the need to mourn summer, but secretly relishes the turning of seasons. Summer, I often find, is too full of life. The kids are home, and everywhere energy is bursting in a competition of color and song. I am easily over-whelmed and distracted.
Give me, instead, the slow grace of autumn. Let me linger on the resilience of life refusing to succumb to an easy sleep. Now, the forest chatter is filled with squirrels and chipmunks rushing to store sustenance for the long months of winter. The palette is painted in hues of the setting sun, and Earth still hugs the warmth of her heat.
In autumn, one can’t help but notice the endurance of life. How it springs from decay: And burst forth from open wounds:
In autumn, the writer cannot help but be drawn to the lure of long nights, when the pull of the moon is stronger than the sun, and the magic of darkness stirs with creative potential. In the months when life is falling into “sleep,” I find the quickening of the soul, awakening the true self within.
Spider weaves and waits a silent spinner of tales eight hands shaping fate
Yesterday, while eating lunch with two of my healer friends, I glanced up to see a large spider tattooed on the forearm of a waiter. I had been talking about my book, and the appearance of the “writer’s totem” was apropos.
If you are a writer, it is likely the stories you create are aided by the eight hands of spider. When I picture my spider totem, I see the black widow. I have learned from this totem, and others, that words have the power to sting, and also to heal. They can carry us into the darkness within and pull our truths out into the light. They can teach us about our fears, and about healing through writing (the black widow wears a red hourglass on her back).
Spider, with its eight legs, and a body in the shape of a figure eight, links us to infinity, and, as Ted Andrews notes in Animal Speak, the wheel of life. One might wish to study the Wheel of Fortune card in tarot for more insight. The spider, from the earliest of times, has taught us to see the mystery of life and of the universe. In doing so, she teaches about balance. Spider shows us that how we shape our stories determines the texture of our destiny. She models for us how to find self within the span of life’s web.
Andrews points out how the delicate bodies of spiders embody the balance of gentleness and strength. The writer must remember the effect the energy of her words will have when they are spun into a story, yet she must endow them with strength.
In one of my former lives, I was a female scribe in Egypt. I carry this life and its gifts with me today. Spider is considered the creator of language, as well as a guardian of ancient alphabets. She guides the writer to bring beauty and light into the weavings of the imagination, which emerge from the place of dreams. The writer, like the spider, creates from the place of silence, working from the inside out to bring her work to life/light.
If you have a spider as a totem animal, it is beneficial to study the type. Not all spiders weave the same style of web (some don’t even weave webs), nor do they all eat the same prey, or wear the same colors on their skin. Most spiders have poison in their bites, but some leave a more lasting mark.
Last night, before bed, my son asked me, “Mom, do souls ever die?” Had he asked me this question six years ago, I may have given him a different answer. My own journey of spirit in this lifetime began with a childhood of doubt, and the silencing of my inner voice. Many of us begin our lives (in this incarnation) this way. Few, I suspect, have had the gifts of nurtured guidance from our caregivers, for our world has yet to fully embrace the untethered spirit.
I was born into an unhappy marriage between two young, hippie parents. The hippie lifestyle outlasted the marriage, but it was not a free, loving lifestyle. My “spiritual” edification was early and short-lived. When I was two, my mother fled with me and my sister to live on a series of Hare Krishna compounds for 6 months. Other than the comic books my mother kept, and a few other relics, nothing remains of this early life. It was a mode of escape and of hiding, a journey based on fear and not the quest to find spirit.
When I was growing up, my mother and step-father shunned organized religion, and I had almost no knowledge of biblical stories, or other religious texts. Mine was an agnostic household at best, tending toward atheism. Yet, I do recall my mother speaking about the possibility of reincarnation – a “concept” I secretly embraced, as it felt “true” to my soul.
When I prayed, I prayed silently to an unknown, untouchable God inside the muffled walls of my mind. My prayers were desperate and laced with my childhood fears of death and loss. When I thought of death, and my body and “mind” disappearing forever, my heart would leap into my throat.
This way of living went on for many years, well past the time I left my childhood home, despite the nudging of my spirit, which wanted to be heard. A spirit that struggled for the full-bodied voice of Truth. Despite fear’s best attempts to close my third eye, I was an empathic child with psychic gifts. Everywhere I went, I felt the imprint of energy. Unfortunately, I absorbed fear and and pain more than anything else.
My parents labeled me as a “moody,” “overly-sensitive” child, not realizing that I was an empath, and was absorbing and feeling their own fears, as well as the fear-energy that permeated my environment. This is not to say that I didn’t feel love and joy too, I did, and often I shared in the joy of others. Somedays, I would find my mind open to this energy. While sitting in my classroom, there were moments when I connected with a classmate’s inner joy. These were blissful, unexplainable moments for me, as my cells hummed with unexpected joy.
And, I had dreams. Prophetic visions that played out in the ensuing days that I learned to doubt. When I left home, the voice of spirit called louder, urging me to leave the path of ego I was following. In the summer before I began graduate school for a doctoral degree in the biochemical sciences, I was plagued with these visits, which I found terrifying at the time. As I drifted off to sleep, many a night (or day), I would wake suddenly to a loud voice, calling my name into the hollow of my ear. This desperate call to be heard went unheeded, I followed the path of ego for one more year.
It was a miserable year, of which I’ve written about to some degree in other posts. Had I not taken this path, though, I would not have learned its lessons. I would not, perhaps, have known how much it contrasted with my inner truth.
Yet, still I was lost. That 5-year-old girl who secretly knew she was born to write and help the world with her gifts, was still hidden in the cage of fear. It took, in fact, motherhood and IBS to bring her out into the light.
When we have our own children, we are given an opportunity to see a new perspective that extends beyond the limited view we may be used to. We also see the world through our children’s eyes. Again, the nudge of spirit came back to me with urgency.
Before my daughter was born, I knew she would be one of my big teachers in this life. About six months before her birth, she appeared to me while I slept. I saw her full round face, framed with the same brown hair as mine. My blue eyes were mirrored back at me, their shape larger and more pronounced.
My daughter learned verbal language early, and by the time she was two she was asking me some tough questions. While her father was at work, she would peer into my eyes, “If daddy is a doctor, what are you?” she would ask. “But, what are you?” she persisted when I told her I was her mommy.
Her words lingered and probed the recesses of my mind. What was I? Her questions dug under the detritus of fear.
By then, I had both of my children, who are less than a year-and-a-half apart in age. My life was consumed by the joys and stresses of motherhood, and it was laced with holes. I could not deny that I was, in many ways, miserably unfulfilled. Yes, I had always yearned for the time I would be a mother, but this was not a role that completed me. There were huge, undeniable gaps.
Still, I ignored them. After all, I had young children to raise, a busy, working husband, and the idea in my head that I would not let anyone else be the primary care-giver to my son and daughter.
Welcome in a new night-time messenger, this time in the form of IBS, which began suddenly and in painful earnest. Let me take a moment to talk about IBS and how it relates to fear and empathic tendencies. When we spend a great deal of our time feeling and absorbing energy from our surroundings, this energy often gets trapped inside of us, lingering and growing into a dark mass of fear that blocks our inner-light, and creates an energetic imbalance inside of us. The result is often a disease or dis-ease of some sort.
I was a child plagued by stomach ailments, so it should have been no surprise that I developed IBS (a common dis-ease of empaths). My mother (who is in the medical profession) was the first person to suggest this was what was causing my adult ailments – episodes of such intense intestinal discomfort, that I would be up for 3-5 hours during nights when it flared.
I shunned this diagnosis, which I found both embarrassing and unsatisfactory in its inability to be medically “cured.” Two years passed, during which I made trips to doctor’s offices, tried various antacids, had tubes shoved down my throat and blood tests, and passed many a day feeling completely depleted of energy, which made me unable to properly care for my children.
Then, on Mother’s Day of 2008, I had my last episode. You can read the story someday in my memoir (when it’s published), but for now, let’s just say, I had had enough. I was ready to heal. Healing from a dis-ease such as IBS, or any energetic imbalance, comes from a deep-soul-level desire for health. The mind, body and soul must sync in this desire and embrace the truth that we each, inside of us, hold the capacity to be healthy and balanced – that, in fact, this is our natural, steady-state. For more on this, you might want to read Deepak Chopra’s book Quantum Healing.
I may have not known, intellectually, why I was ready and able to heal then, but I knew I had made that determined choice. A change inside of me had occurred – I had decided to heal, and in the process, to finally, heed the desperate, loud calling of my inner voice.
Within a matter of weeks, I was looking at graduate schools with creative writing programs. And, painfully, for it was a struggle, I began to write – really write. That voice that was so deeply buried was starting to emerge. At the turn of the New Year, I packed my suitcase with a week’s worth of clothing, snacks and various other necessities, left my two young children in the primary care of their father, and headed two hours north to a small town in Vermont.
Goddard College, was, in so many ways, the doorway to my voice. Here, for the first time, I was in an environment that felt like home. I quickly found 5 soul-sisters, and a setting where my spiritual and creative voice could sing without fear. Those two years, filled with the challenges of balancing motherhood and being a full-time, low-residency student, were the happiest, to-date, years of my life. There was no turning back. I had embarked, finally, with eager and unwavering feet, along the path of my soul’s truth.
When we find the bliss of our soul’s truth, how can we turn back? I can’t say that after I left Goddard, and the structure of regular deadlines, which “forced” me to write, that I have maintained a steady forward trek. Everyday life has a way of taking over when we let it. Now, though, I stop to listen, take inventory, and find a way to get back on the path.
When I look back at what where I have been in the last five years, I can hardly say I’ve been sitting still, or going “back-wards.” I have not only written many lines, I have nurtured and grown my spiritual calling and path. To help heal others, I have learned, we must heal ourselves. This isn’t to say that we have to be completely “healed” of fears, for this takes most of us many lifetimes, but we need to have an understanding and acceptance of the fears that have a tendency to make a home inside us, and we need to work at healing and letting them go.
Along with Goddard, and the many individuals and gifts I encountered by being there, I have met, and continue to meet wonderful healers, teachers and fellow soul-travelers. This part of my journey began with conversations with a friend, whom I met while our daughters were in preschool together, and gradually grew to include various energy healers, gifted intuitives/psychics and teachers of spirit, and soul-travelers who have merged into my life. When we open ourselves up to our spirit’s truth, doors open to the teachers and companions we need and seek. The world, suddenly, becomes unbounded and filled with the magic of discovery and joy. There is no looking back, except for remembering how far we have come, and the lessons we learned to get here.
May you, if you have not, find your own way to travel your soul’s truth, for it is the only, “true” path, to bliss.