My life has changed radically in these past weeks, months. It felt very subtle and difficult to describe for quite some time as I would do work and need to process the work, then finding no words to describe what is going on. Spiritual work is such an uncanny process, the more I go along, the more is happening and yet, the less I can describe. All I know is, I am changed. I am being re-made. All the time, I’m being re-written. Old stuck patterns have released, I can see now more clearly where the work needs to find its way inside me, and miraculously, I have begun to disengage myself from the webs of old ways that have kept me small and not in my power and find the new threads to begin weaving new possibilities.
Most of what I’m working on, I cannot speak or write about on public media or with any others than those in my group. Nor do I desire to, as I feel like it diminishes the power and focus of the work, and in some cases, might even blaspheme it. I will share that embedded in the group work, I was blessed with a healing that held me in a soft glow for some time after, then I seemed to plummet into sadness for a time, and now I have begun to soar on higher winds. The emotions of such work are kind of a constant wave of deep gratitude, profound and limitless beauty and love, and deep wells of complex painful emotions that I am learning to navigate with grace and less resistance, as they are also part of this intense wonder and beauty.
I may choose to close down this blog at some point. Part of any spiritual work is learning how to cut away that which we cling to, that which is extraneous and/or burdensome. This is a big deal for me because I do hang onto stuff. Lots of stuff. Mostly physical stuff that is like a great weight on my shoulders. So, I’ve slowly been trying to assess what I am ready to let go of, what I could if needed but is rather handy (like old clothes that are too worn out to donate, but are still useful seasonally), and what things I would like to cultivate. I’m not trying to rush this process, and I definitely still fall into sloth quite a bit as I avoid these tasks, or come at them from a place of willfulness.
This journey, it is just beginning.
I just sat down to write. I logged in, clicked Blog Posts, then read a draft that I thought I would go ahead and post, posted it, and have promptly forgotten what I came to write. I forget a lot of things. It is starting to concern me, how much I forget things. Now it seems, I have an empty mind. When I sat down, it felt so full I needed to unload it. Unpack the burdening bits. Now they have flown away.
I have danced with the demons in the shadows. I have walked willingly with them. I have run in sheer terror from them. I have been stalked by them. I have pitied them. I have drunk Southern Comfort under bridges with them. I have been padlocked into dirty studio rooms with them. I have jumped from windows to escape them. I have rolled under a train, thrillingly, with them. I have toasted and boasted and become them. I have bedded down in sooty garage floors with them. I have huffed and eaten acid with them. I have smoked and jeered and been cruel with them. I have woken with only stutters for words with them. I have seen and done much with them, and they, with me. These demons are very close to the surface, and they can become our allies if we understand how to reveal their brilliance into our souls. But rarely do we. Usually, they take over, and are allowed to run roughshod over us, and then, we are but slaves to their will. One merely has to reach over and take the reigns. Trouble is, infrequently are we even aware there are reigns to be held and guided.
I started this some time ago…
I’ve been thinking about what I need to do in order to up my game in living shamanically. Number one, I know that I need to take better care of my container. The body is the temple, the only temple, that matters. I realize now the need for actual energy clearing, like QiGong, as I think this will help bring some of those pesky unseen issues into better balance. Eating and sleeping better are constant goals of mine, and strengthening my meditation practices. These I have been pretty good about, though I’ve noticed my weight went up as I took a break from eating my usual amount of meat. I sing and pray each morning at my altars, and at the swing where I sit before work which has become a sacred place to me where I feel I’m developing a relationship with the spirits of the land, the animals and birds of the area. I have also noticed how little my “inner critic” speaks with such harshness, if at all, these days. While I was plagued this past week or two with my familiar suicidal thoughts, they have grown into a different thing, and not stemming from my own self-belittlement, a practice that I have finally, blessédly, ceased. They seem to be at once the result of my aging hormones, but also aging, in general. The growing understanding of mortality. The realization that at the end of the bodily struggle is death. It is no more complicated than that. I feel that snake-ever-eating-its-tail of time, ready to consume me and set my consciousness free into some other thing, and taking me away from this gorgeous planet I have grown to adore so. I do not want to go.
I’ve been writing more poetry lately, after having sorted through loads of papers lying about and mining old journals to make some sense of them. I decided to put all of my poems in one book, that way I can always find them. I realized there is, indeed, almost a full book’s worth already, and I know there are loads of poems I’ve written that I have no idea where they are kept. Journaling has been harder and less poetic. I feel in this strange betwixt place that is curious, beautiful, annoying, frustrating, joyous and sad. My world seems to be bleeding into more of a web of thick nap that clings and becomes entangled with all things, making it harder to discern between things, ideas, feelings. They seem to all be facets of each other. It’s been difficult to work within certain parameters because now those parameters are not hard and fast but fluid and slippery. I always thought that when I came to this place, things would be more clear, but it has made life much more convoluted, like oil-marbled paper.
My altar practice has become quite strong, and I reconfigured my elemental altar and have been blessing that each day, in addition to my ancestral/spirit altar. At first, the reconfiguration felt very strange and wrong, but for some reason, it’s been easier for me to come speak to it now. I rearranged it to reflect the Celtic directional correspondences (saying what you will about the “rules” of such things, which in my perspective are merely guidelines and I view most rules as questionable at best). I’m starting to come to terms with my anarchistic view of spiritual paradigms, and though I respect the use of words, terminology, lore and images to try to pin down certain concepts, I know more and more that these are but passing snapshots of a picture that is constantly in creative motion. New things are born all the time, being woven quietly into the weave without our approval or knowledge, and for simple humans to claim to know anything, really, is in my eyes just extremely naive. We are but ants to the bigger picture, and yet even ants, even bacteria, help to make that picture. All pieces need to be present and part of the moving puzzle.
This all brings it home to me how much what I do, say and think matters to the whole. If I harbor villainous, hateful thoughts, it pollutes all waters. If I bring my open, loving and joyful, creative spirit and heart to bear, it helps make clean and nourishing waters. I am responsible only for my part of the waterway, for I can only nourish my own thoughts, my own self. Supporting others is different than thinking or doing for them. Nor do I have any desire to tell or direct others what to think, feel or say. That is up to them. Contrary to how this sounds, I do not think that one must “think clean thoughts”(in a moralistic sense) at all times. I actually think we are at once clean and dirty, holy and in pieces, reverent and irreverent, sacred and profane, and that it is precisely these juxtapositions that we can dance with and straddle to make up a wonderful balance, and that is IS the dance we dance with them that cleans the waters. I have been challenged by one of my teachers in this regard as they seem to have a different viewpoint than this, and I’ve been chewing on this disagreement for some days now to fully understand what it is that I believe about such things. And I still come back to the dance. I do not believe in putting such concepts into human-constructed boxes, because that is a world of limitation, of dogma, or saying with a certainty that we do not posses that things are “like this” and “not like that” and that stating such things is merely another way the mind creates a comfortable box of rules to live within. I just don’t see the world that way at all. And in exploring this, I feel the need to let go of the need to be in agreement with this idea. Detaching from outcomes and from the need for approval or agreement is part of my learning.
Labels have their use, yes, because we are in a body of limitation. The human experience is one of limitation, discomfort, constant shifting to adjust to different types of limits. We are born babies and continually need to grow and shift within the confines of our bodies and its abilities. But we are bigger than our human selves. We are more than our body, more than our psyches, more than our egos, more than minds. Our souls know this, and they swim in that dark, chaotic limitless abyss all the time, which is what our fears of death constantly whisper to us in the night. “One day, you will be annihilated” or “One day, your body that you believe is you but merely a temporary house for your consciousness, will cease to exist.” But it isn’t just “one day”, as we seem to understand instinctively that we are dying all the time. Always changing, always shedding old skins, ever making our way to the next death. Being part of that silent and invisible weave whispers that deep inside us: you are here, and you are not here. Time is a fluid and slippery beast.
I stood at my altar last night and poured out the ineloquent contents of my emotive soul to my ancestors and the Unseen guides that walk with me. I said plainly what I was feeling, thinking, hoping, regretting, mourning, loving, adoring. I sobbed and sobbed as I thought about this beautiful, gorgeous and tragic planet and my love for it. I could feel my heart split open even more, making more room for the love that overflows from this gracious mother if only we willingly open to her. I thought, My heart breaks open, and I let it. The pain rushes in, and I let it. As it opens and the pain swells into the willingness, into the surrender, the true grace and beauty and love is revealed. Like a mother’s body bursting open to birth her baby, filling her with pain and joy, this is how the heart expands-with pain and joy.
If you are searching for that missing joy, look into your own heart. Ask it to show you. Let it split open. Let it bleed through you. It will fill you with an incredible food. But you must let it. You must surrender to the pain, and to the joy. Drink it in, for it is the food of our souls.