Monday, January 27, 2014

With regrets or without.

I've always considered myself a person without regret. I think many of us want to be that person -- the present-tense living, not looking back, swimming to a shore of possibilities instead of nearly drowning in the deep end of "what ifs". I'm not that person. Or maybe I am. Sometimes. I'm a contemplative person. I like the notion of "what if", though sometimes I can let myself replay it over and over, not quite like a broken record, but nearly undesirable wallpaper I surround myself with, in constant debate if I actually like the patterns or not.

I was thinking tonight about regrets. I've said I never had them. I said that everything happens for a reason. I said that everything led me to now, and I appreciate and love now... except... I tasted some of that regret tonight in a meditation. Huh... so that's what's been lingering in the back of my throat all these years?

It may or may not be a regret... maybe just a wonder. That "what if" dance where it borders between reality and imagination. My regret? Not painting. Or writing. Or both.

Yeah, both.

As a kid I loved being creative. I can recall having this one Muppet Babies coloring book that I colored in with such meticulous care, the level of concentration was astounding. The smell of Crayola wax being traced darkly and deliberately over Kermit the Frog while the rest began to smear in sheer delight. My favorite color then was red... red crayons were the only things I needed. I would sneak behind the sofa and draw in red crayons on the wall... underneath our coffee table I had drawn our entire family (and pets) with that red crayon. Never to be noticed by my mother who simply thought I was an odd child who liked to lay under the coffee table, until one stormy day when there was no school and an impromptu puppet show my stepfather put on revealed what I had been doing under the table... ah... crayons...

I put the crayons aside for a while to write. At first really badly written, rhyming poetry (the incredible dreadful kind that honestly took me forever to write); then journaling began, and from there the stories emerged. Writing became my lifeline. It was as easy and as necessary as breath.

Then... well, I gave it up. I don't know if it was "just like that", or if I began to feel disconnected or even disillusioned by life's circumstances that I shut down the inner artist and let her lay dormant for several years.

As trauma began to creep up, my inner artist began to wake. I ignored her, because she seemed a stranger to me, and I didn't feel like opening myself up or revealing anything... I didn't want to tap into the presumed demons or touch upon the dismembered parts. When trauma nips at you, it may appear that parts of you shut down, yet I can see now that instead what happens is other parts of you start to awaken (or reemerge from their banished slumber).

I returned to art. It beckoned me. It saved me. Paint to canvas was like filling my lungs with precious oxygen that it had been deprived of. The breathing was still strained at that time, don't get me wrong, but blood began to pump in a warming way. The feel of brushes, the primal act of throwing them on the table to dip your fingers into the vibrant colors to kiss the canvas with. I didn't have as much reservation of the "artist block" then as I seem to now. I needed it. It was my drug of choice, and I almost couldn't bear the thought of life without it.

I spent the next four years of high school living in the art department. I took my minimum requirements in everything else and managed to fill my days with art, pottery, photography and time in the studio for whatever my inner artist desired.

When it would appear that my legs were sturdy again, and that the ground might not swallow me whole, I began to unknowingly invite critics to the table. Oh the critics... you have the ones that say everything you do is marvelous. Fantastic. Brilliant. Then you have the ones who say they don't get it, but it seems pretty awesome. Then you have the ones who still don't get it, but also don't like it. And then you have the ones with the critical eye that transforms itself into a flaming iris, burning away all potentiality that it sees and melting away the imagery that was painstakingly and lovingly formed.

Those were the critics I listened to. They weren't many. In fact, they were honestly quite minimal in numbers... less than a handful I would dare to say... which kind of makes me sardonically laugh because I gave them so much of my power... what was left of it anyway. I hid some of that away when trauma came.

I abandoned art. I thought for a long time it had left me, realizing that I wasn't the proper caretaker for its vision. It was simply blame for a long-lost companion. It shape-shifted itself into my first love of writing, and I spent the next few years staring at blank computer screens or pieces of paper with the sheer panic of having no inner voice wanting to transmit creative pearls through me. Nope, there was nothing. And I judged myself fiercely for it. When the judgment was over (it was a long enough visit), I abandoned the writing, too.

Last year had so much chaos and self-doubt and rebirthing and surrendering and crying and laughing and and and... it was such a huge year of transformation and loss and empowering oneself to emerge no matter what. It was great, and difficult, and ugly, and my oh my was I supremely judged for it. I judged myself in different ways, but I actually let my judgment only have minimal access to my psyche, long enough to give it a two minute spotlight before shifting the attention and giving it something more functional to do, or simply a swift kick in the arse instead.

Others judgments were surprising and painful and, well, stupid. However, in the end (and just maybe even in the beginning) I learned to not accept it, even if it tried pinching my skin. This is the thing about vulnerability: it takes courage to show up and be seen and share who you are against all odds. It's not easy, and it can be downright raw and ugly, but in the end it somehow becomes this amazing beauty, and there's so much gratitude in that. Despite that, when you're in vulnerability, it makes others nervous. It threatens them somehow. It can make them feel uncomfortable. I know this because I can recognize the symptoms as I have had my own allergic reactions to other's process of courage. So when you open yourself up, you not only open yourself up to those who will support you or be encouraged (or even inspired) by you, but you open the way for the critics.

It might surprise people that in the healing arts we all have our share of battling courage and vulnerability and regrets and shame... I actually think that's a good thing. Beneficial. For me, it allows me to connect to a thread of understanding with those who I am facilitating healing to. Also, I don't want someone's pedestal. My human nature has guilt, it has shame, it has beauty, it has wisdom, it has ugly, it has power... but don't we all?

This year my intention is to be more creative. Tonight as I thought about regrets, I wondered (and still do to some degree) if I had/have regrets around not pursuing my art. I wanted to go to Europe and paint my way through the countryside. I wanted to travel back in time to meet Monet and ask him about waterlilies. I wanted to go to art school and become an art therapist. I had a lot of wants. The 'regret' (if this is what we're calling it) isn't about what was left behind in the dreamscape of possibilities... it's about not carrying my art forward and tending to it like a precious gem.

This month, I have been tapping into that precious gem, and it's been brilliant and exciting and messy. Playfully and joyfully messy. I signed up for Brene Brown's "The Gifts of Imperfection" ecourse and it's been *exactly* what I've needed. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am so in love with Brene's work, and have been following it and digesting it for years. This was my gift to myself (after passing it up last fall when it was offered the first time and regretting it). What has emerged since then? Since this process began three weeks ago? I'm remembering the feeling of art, of creation, of letting myself be seen and showing up and getting the privilege to deepen both my personal and professional work. It's been amazing.

The artist is playing, the writer is spinning words into form, and I'm happy. I'm imperfect, and I'm enough... and I'm happy with that. Regrets? Maybe. It could be too strong of a word, but it's an energy that has motivated me to find the roots of what I love and do it because doing what we love shouldn't be a privilege, but just an everyday gift we receive and accept.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In Summary...


I've been such a fan of "Super Soul Sunday", watching it with my trusty journal as I let myself learn and re-learn wisdom from some amazing speakers. Recently I watched an episode where Anne Lamott was featured, talking about her new book (which I have not read), but I was so inspired by her comment about the "three essential prayers": Help, Thanks, and Wow, realizing that much of 2013 can be summarized in those three prayers.

I need help.


Help me.

That's where the beginning of 2013 took me. I took this year to be quiet, to break away from virtually everything that took me away from my family or deep healing from old stories. As 2012 was coming to an end, I was given a message that it was time for me to take a break. I didn't know what it was going to look like per se, but I knew that I needed this time to just process with my training, my healing, coming back to roots of dreams that were waiting for the cobwebs to be wiped away... what I got instead was something bigger, tastier, bitter, fearful and beautiful... it's funny how we can dance with various vibrations that both lift us and purge us.

My husband had been laid off back in the spring of 2012, though finding some seasonal work with a family friend, that ended in November, and as we approached the colder months, I believed he would find something sooner than later. That didn't happen. And it was heavy, as only those who have been through this can understand, it's painful, and the judgments that you inadvertently wear from others is so thick and messy, you begin to wonder which is yours and which is another.

I officially began my break at Imbolc (February), and I let myself just dive into my practice. Despite the uncertainty of no finances coming in, my practice strengthened, though it felt like other components were weakening, later to be discovered so I could learn something big: how to ask for help.

I didn't share why I was taking a break, except for a couple of close friends, mainly because these particularly people became my rocks while I silenced everything else. They were my support when words began to trickle down about where I "really" was... stories of my impending death (oh yes, physically withering away... *sigh*), or how my husband and I were in a bitter divorce battle... or how my daughter was in the middle of a vicious custody battle... the stories went on and on. I laughed at first, because I often equate my presence as being so quiet that I have this belief that if I disappear no one would notice. I was proven otherwise, both in beautiful and ugly ways. Then I was upset, or angry... or pissed off. Maybe all three. I was shocked at the stories people can come up with, when there's no evidence to support it. I was angry that these ridiculous things were being spread, but I was guided to still not speak about it. These close friends did their best to correct them, but sometimes the stories are more important and entertaining than the truth. In that case, any amount of correction is meaningless, and you still have to plug on.

I then reached the hurt phase. Didn't people know me at all? And if things were really that bad, then why wouldn't someone reach out? Why wouldn't someone call me, asking if I was okay? Asking if we needed anything? People who I thought understood didn't. This surprised me. People in my community, those I considered confidantes, they held onto the stories instead. Believe it or not, I understood. I did. It's easier to hold onto a story than to confront, or be witness to someone's journey, be it painful or not. If you ask someone how they are doing then you are taking responsibility to bear witness to their process, and sometimes we're not ready to bear witness, but culturally we've been brought up to be respectful and ask, even when the answer isn't one we're prepared to receive, or hold space for.

So, in that context, I understood. Still, it hurt. I hurt. Those things weren't true. Farthest thing from the truth. The interesting component was that despite the uncertainty and extreme discomfort due to my husband being out of work, we didn't pull away from each other, instead we did the opposite: we got closer. In some ways we had to -- the support around us was minimal. There were heavy judgments, accusations, and insults laid before our feet. Some of it I ate up, believing I deserved it in some way, some I viciously threw away, but it told me the truth that when times are tough, you begin to understand who will be there for you, and who won't. Of course this isn't to say that it would forever be this way. Some can't be there for you because they are in their own course of life that they need to be with their own needs. Some are too afraid to be there, and some don't want to. I was amazed that I could hold all those parts without malice, well, without much malice. I admit there was a couple individuals that I felt "should" be there for us, and they were, just not in the way I wanted, though inevitably it was in ways I needed, in a roundabout kind of way...

Earlier this year when I emerged from the Bear Cave, my dreamtime revealed that I needed to surrender and trust... so I did. As I did, I was reminded how important it is to ask for help, so I asked, in small ways, in big ways, when it was uncomfortable, when it threatened my pride, when it made me feel weak...

A funny thing happens when you lean into the things that make you uncomfortable: you become stronger.


Part of my daily practice is gratitude work. I have, or had, a particular gratitude stone that I had worked deeply in my practice. It started off with me holding it, rubbing it (it was nearly soft and smooth from so much use) and saying "thank you". It always started off with thank you. Then I would start to thank various things throughout my day: good sleep, bad sleep, family, my daughter's cranky pants, my husband not doing dishes when he said he would, my bad attitude, my compassion, our health, his unemployment, my fear, our financial lack, our abundance, bills that began to pile up, working vehicles... the list went on and on. It wasn't about changing the bad into good, or making the good even greater, it was simply about pure awareness of what I had in my life, and could I be grateful for the things that felt horrible, or uncomfortable, or like they didn't serve at all, without changing it into some powerful lesson to convince me or to justify my gratitude for it? Could I actually do that?

I could, and I did. The result? It was powerful. I would laugh through some, "Thank you for a shitty night's sleep... Thank you for my neighbor sharing her cherry tomatoes (which were crazy good!)..." and I would cry over some, "Thank you for mortgage debt... Thank you for the uncertainty of financial security..." and I would feel the depth of my heart with others, "Thank you for a marriage that still works... Thank you for my ability to be honest with my daughter about our situation..." It may seem crazy to some, but there was beauty there, and healing.

I've never had a problem thanking others for a job well done, for their contribution, for their gifts, for their presence... but I realized that I hadn't quite learned to thank all circumstances, or even myself.

My gratitude stone has now lovingly been gifted to a sacred sister. I led a Gratitude Ritual where I obtained my new gratitude stone, one that has raggedy edges, and it is now teaching and initiating me into new layers of gratitude medicine.


I had many "wow" moments this year... wow to connection... wow to my ability to say both "yes" and "no" when necessary... wow to surviving... wow to inspiring and being inspired... wow to love... wow to trust... wow to receiving and ALLOWING myself to receive... wow to being scared, and doing it anyway... wow to my husband receiving a job when we truly needed it to come... wow to my daughter being happy and healthy while receiving (and giving) love over material things any day...

Wow, wow, and wow.

No, I haven't read Anne Lamott's book, yet, but I get the essence of her concept of the three essential prayers, because this year that was my medicine, to put it mildly.

In summary, I have asked for help, and I have received it... I have offered thanks, and I have been thanked... I have been wow'ed, and I have wow'ed.

My medicine for the new calendar year? Freedom...

Faithfully Rising, Evolving, Experiencing Dharma, Oneness and Magick.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Emerging through the Bear Cave

I've realized that for probably the first time in a while, if not ever, I don't know how to rewind. That's actually a good thing. I can reflect, but reflection isn't the same as rewinding. It doesn't hold the same essence of potential turmoil or self-doubt where the "what if" monster emerges her ugly head with tainted words creeping up the shoulder. It's not to say that the "what if" monster is gone, because she isn't. She's still there, but her role is taking on a more curious tone than she would have permitted before. She's been quiet during this seasonal time in the Bear Cave, as have I, and as Imbolc approaches, I feel the quickening steps of the light shining in the cave, and my eyes scrunch up from the deep sleep I've permitted myself.

This retreat time within the Bear Cave has been sensational. I have uncovered sooo much about myself in this secluded time, and my awareness is quite sharp, perhaps the sharpest it's been. In that sensationalism there were many observations as to how I respond to things --- how do I respond to support, for example? Apparently not well. Two dear people close to me had said that I don't know how to be supported, that I won't allow others to hold that space for me, that I can do it for anyone but won't accept it in return. My belly retracted from the unintended blow, and judgment peaked its head, wondering if I needed its presence. I didn't. They were right. I am honored to hold space for another, to be in that sacred source with them, but allowing another to do it for me? Even typing it out I'm both smirking and cringing. Smirking because I recognize my controlling nature in that if I'm not supported by the invisible manual I wrote then I won't accept it at all, and cringing because the controlling nature has such a nasty streak at times. The awareness is incredibly potent, and knowing what are the areas that need healing and tending to is powerful.

Last year I opted to simply journal by hand only, not sharing parts of the stories on this blog. Part of that was fear --- the exposure of becoming more recognized within various communities can be challenging to hold your own authenticity when the stories you're cast in can be enticing. Someone dear to me had cautioned me to not be so available and so vulnerable. I may have misread that in a fearful and frightened tone, or even in a disciplinary mentality, but I listened, probably because I wanted to. When we're scared we use excuses to hide... I use excuses to hide... used excuses. I hide less now from fear and simply give myself permission for personal retreating, there is a difference, and more than seeing it, I can taste the difference now. So I listened, but what I know for me is that sharing my vulnerability has purpose. The spirit and human nature are intertwined and they hold themselves in acts of sacredness and profanity. If I fall and you see it, I'm not going to pretend that fall didn't happen, I'm going to say whether it hurt or not, then either get back up and continue what I was intended, or stay put and pout a bit more. Both viable options, but I don't think showcasing one, or both, of these emotions makes me any less of a teacher/facilitator/healer/etc etc. It doesn't. If I don't give myself permission to be seen, how can I ask you to give yourself permission to do the very same thing?

Last year I spent much of my time training to distill my Light. Aside from the joking components of my brain feeling like a tangled mess, I just let myself do and be. In that doing and being my vision cleared up. In the vision clearing I saw where I sabotaged my dreams, where I ignored my truths, and where I thought I knew nothing, when in reality I knew so much more than I was giving myself credit for. Why do we do that? Why do we lessen ourselves? I turned the mirror and asked myself these same questions, and a thousand more that made me see who I was. I was reflecting...

A year of studying the Qabala and being knee deep in ceremonial practices took me on various journeys --- I traveled through the Tree of Life, purging from Malkuth until I entered Hod, where I found my inspiration, to Geburah where my senses relaxed and comfort emerged, to Da'ath where a long drive home (with pretend dementors, ha!) made me understand my "reality" in "illusion", to Kether, where the spirit download I received can never be expressed in words. Never. The climb up the Tree was... tedious... and sometimes fun... and sometimes boring... but always intriguing.

The Tree of Life also took me back to Buddhism, even deeper than I was before. I had a mild practice still working, though I put everything on the back burner to be fully immersed in the Qabala. I could feel the other parts of my spirituality tug at me to say "don't forget about me", and Buddhism was one of them.

It also took me back to my primal roots in Shamanism. My year in the Qabala taught me me a lot, but the biggest gift I received was the pure recognition of what my practice actually was. It wasn't ceremonial, but I appreciated our dance together.

Once the training was complete I began my journey into the Bear Cave. I took with me several items of comfort, like my Reality Map shawl that would continue to provide me the wisdom and teachings of many generations; my journal for all the introspective work I would be doing between the resting period; and my knitting, to keep that creative flow going. After all, the web wasn't going to weave itself.

Last year I went on a writer's retreat... probably one of the top 5 retreats I've ever been on. I am a writer. I bet you didn't know that. You didn't know it because I rarely say it. I rarely say a lot of things about myself and my practice. I let myself be me, stripped of titles, but also afraid of sitting centered in ego if I say things like "I am a writer". I'm not as concerned about that frivolous ego as I was before. It wasn't the go speaking, it was the fear. It's always the fear, the not-so-silent entity that I have recently discovered has a contract to push and control and disarm me. Even better, I wrote up the contract... no one sabotages us better than ourselves.

I am writing. I am praying. I am healing. I am knitting. I am creating. I am mothering. I am singing. I am chanting. I am resting... and many many more permissive acts of being and doing.

This month I retook my Refuge Vows which felt good. I needed to rededicate myself to my path and bring myself back into an aligned state of being. It's amazing what a year of changing your practice -- all by choice mind you -- to something you're uncertain will fit your needs can do to you. I know that I felt blank, like a blank canvas, just new and beginning, without sentiment of what would  happen next. I appreciated and even looked forward to the newness that I hadn't been experiencing in so long. But I also longed for my practice; the one where I felt at home and attuned.

Now in this emergence out of the Bear Cave what have I learned? What am I taking with me? I've learned that trust is a beautiful thing... and I still have some work on letting myself be immersed in it. I've learned that much of what I have received through the dreamtime is that I must surrender and trust, two things that challenge me and inspire me.

I'm taking me with me, and all the potent spirit medicine that was offered to me in that cave. And I'm taking the dialogue... the one that writes you. I'm writing and letting myself be written. That is magick.


Friday, June 8, 2012

The silent art of practice, then being.

It's been several months since I've blogged... last year's distillation of the shadow had me in deep vulnerability, listening to the urgings of my guides telling me to share and be open, but more importantly to remain open in the process of spiritual rawness. And, so I did. I remained open. I divulged. I cried. I emerged despite the urge to hide. I screamed. I distilled. The process was extraordinarily powerful, one that I don't know how to replay in words now that the moment has passed, but one that I can acutely remember as being both awesome and awful. That journey ritualistically ended in October, though I continued to feel the effects of the shadow's shadow (much like a planetary retrograde experience) well into the new year.

I hibernated in theory, but had so much exposure of self that I knew my hibernation was more this blanket statement of wondering what to do next. I didn't go backwards, but I didn't move forward either. And stillness would have been beneficial if the stillness was entirely met with present moment awareness. I can't say that I really did that, despite my efforts, I couldn't shake off the vulnerability of last year. In a strange truth, I don't think I wanted to.

That story, much to my surprise, stayed with me longer than I had intended. It was easier to blame the non movement of life on the ugliness of the shadow than on my own personal decision to simply remain stagnant because of how shook up I became. I pictured it like a fierce dragon, drowning in a shallow pool of water. Its wings soiled in moisture that it's convinced it can't move anywhere, so it thrashes about in place, meanwhile all it has to do is take a breath, place its feet onto the ground, and get up. Just get up. That simple. Yet this powerful being is immobilized by its perception of its own self-induced trauma. Not that I can relate, or anything.

That simplicity for me, my feet touching the ground and standing up despite this silly, shallow pool of water, happened for me in March. I can actually remember the exact date, the way the air felt, the way the room stilled and yet buzzed with continued conversations that appeared to be distant from where I was. Though the simplistic nature, I admit, wasn't out of my own awareness that the water was shallow, but instead came from the wisdom of someone who stood by the water, watching and waiting for me to figure it out. When I didn't? He didn't drag me out of the water, instead he loved me through the direct mis-takes I was taking, and without holding back, he pointed out that I wasn't drowning at all, and how it was painful (and no doubt annoying) for him to observe, and that he's been waiting for me to get out.

My feet touched the ground then.

I wasn't even ankle deep in this silly puddle of water that I acted as though were a tsunami, pulling me in. Embarrassment flooded me, but also gratitude. Only someone who really loves you will hold up the ugly mirror of Truth for you to look at. If you can't see it, they'll clean it for you. If you still can't see it, they'll point directly at it. If you still can't see it then, they'll sternly tell you it's not because you can't, but because you won't. And then you'll get it. Or you won't. But I did.

That night in March marked a significant change that created this spiral of events to fall into place, like the floodgates opening, waiting for me to see the Truth. The story, in my mind, unfolds in a rather dramatic way, but I was incredibly and horribly embarrassed by this simple observation from my dear friend. Humiliated seems too powerful of a word for something so small, but I think I needed to make the story, or the experience of the moment the storytelling began, as something more dramatic, more emotional, so I could really stay tuned in. I didn't leave, I didn't brush it aside, I listened. Sure, I cringed. I fought back tears -- tears of seeing the truth despite how much I piled on top of it. And tears of gratitude, deep gratitude that I really can't express enough. So much gratitude when someone holds your hand, not through the pain per se, but to transmit this energy of love that they have for you, and how beautiful that is. I don't know that we necessarily share that love so openly, especially within our connection of friendships with others. We've become so careful in what we say, to not rock the boat, to not have those rippled effects of a mere pebble thrown, but how honest are we in simply looking at another person and saying "hey, I know you're more capable than this, and you're just not doing it, and you have to know that." How honest are we in holding that deep heart space of love and admitting our love for one another.

Sensuality is such a funny thing sometimes, isn't it?

That was both a great day and a horrible day. There's nothing fun about your illusions being shattered -- even when you've asked the Gods to help you in seeing your Divine Truth, knowing that how it is received isn't in your control. The shattering was honestly not a surprise, but it was vulnerable. It was a beautifully painful moment that initiated its own earthquake. My earthquake. My foundation shifted. This isn't to give power over to someone else because they stated something. No, don't misunderstand me, this is the recognition of an internal truth that was purposefully buried (as well as fearfully buried) awaiting someone trusting to shine a light that I clearly was too afraid, too stubborn and too immobilized to shine myself. I honor their participation in that unspoken agreement, but I also honor my own recognition in being able, and (more importantly) willing to see that light.

In those short 9 days so much happened. Omens were everywhere. Messages channeled from some pretty talented mediums all said the same thing. My mouth dropped in humor at each message. Now, channeled messages mean nothing, they're a useless gift, if you don't apply it or learn from it. I didn't make this a useless message.

Then the spiral started to slowly spin some more.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to clear an extremely busy weekend to be able to attend a retreat with a local Sangha I had recently found. I had only been to one sitting, so going with them, with people I didn't know, was a treat. I find it more comfortable, in some ways, to retreat alone than with people I know. Partly because I don't want to have to explain my silence, or my process of observation. I didn't know anyone, and there was comfort in that.

Noble Silence began after dinner the first night. I had a lot on my mind from the beautiful 2-hr drive north. An incredible amount of omens that reflected a memory of a similar weekend retreat (though this one further south) where I took refuge vows... 8 years ago this month in fact.

Noble Silence was lifted for a short while the following evening, yet I opted to remain silent. There is some benefit in not knowing anyone in that realm, because one can continue the silence without direct question. Conversation was had around me, laughter could be heard in adjoining rooms, but my world was quiet, blissfully quiet. I journaled, a great amount, that weekend. In fact, it was rare that I was found without my journal, scribbling down my thoughts and observations, the internal dialogue, the external dialogue... the non dialogue... all of these thoughts were penetrating the pages quicker than I thought I would be able to keep up.

It wasn't incessant chatter due to the silence. No. It was a reflection of what could be seen and heard because of the opportunity to be fully silent. Nobly silent.

By the third day someone asked me what I had been writing. When I wasn't in the shrine room in meditation, or in self practice, I was in the dining room, or anywhere I could find space, and writing. The question threw me off... what was I writing? Some of it was stream of consciousness, others were channeled messages, and even further some were conversations between me and my shadow self, me and my higher self.

Things have changed for me in those three days. My sense of clarity is sharper. I'm looking at priorities and life a little bit differently than I had in more recent months. It was time away for self that was much needed. And despite the busyness of my current schedule, especially in these next few months, I'm doing my best to maintain moments of Noble Silence, and take my practice deeper during my general summer hibernation.

The re-awakening feels refreshing. Especially during this turbulent energy force of Venus Retrograde. For now I am handling those turbulent moments with deep breathwork and gratitude for what is working, then shifting the mindset to be grateful for what isn't. Not any easy practice, but it's helping.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Summary: B.L.A.M.E, Truth, Fear & Purging

Guarded -- Chad Perrone

My teeth they hurt from grinding
And my head will explode from holding it in
I pictured myself standing over you
One foot on your chest

Well I'll hate this place forever more
Because the world looks half of what it was
And I know that everyone won't be like you
But I'll still keep my hands up next to my face

And I blame you
For my headaches
And I blame you
For my mistakes
And my bad ways

I wake up tired from dreaming
Because I fight you best when I'm sleeping
Because I dreamt that I stood right over you
I had both feet on your chest
And I stood victorious

Now I blame you
For my headaches
And I blame you
For my mistakes
And my bad ways

There are days I thought I'd give up
I'm just trying to get back from you what I brought
I said there are days I swore I'd give up
But that's not today
That's not today

Because I blame you
For my headaches
And I blame you
For my mistakes
And my bad way
For my heartache
And this fucking bad name
For my mistakes
And my bad way

Well I don't need you to wish me well
I don't need you to wish me well.

I haven't been able to get this song out of my head, repeatedly playing it over and over again since September, when my Distilling the Shadows had begun.  It was an interesting moment of hearing various songs play in my mind as it all began to unfold, all of them suitable to what I was going through, but this one in particular struck me as interesting in the beginning.  I couldn't stop hearing the first few lines in my head at random moments of the day.  Normally I can find the distinction fairly quickly to the deeper message a song is sharing with me, this time I just knew I had to play it over and over and over again... I can recall a 30 minute drive one evening where I listened to nothing but this song on repeat for the duration of the drive.  Even then, it wasn't enough.

It occurred to me that whenever I wrote in my distillation journal I was grinding my teeth.  Hard.  I would take a breath, release the tension, and go back to writing, only to find myself grinding my teeth again, particularly in parts where I was addressing anger or shame.

This song is pretty much my theme for that time -- in battle with the dysfunctional Shadow Self, I would be extremely tired from restless nights of dreaming, and I still get choked up when he proclaims putting one foot (or both) on their chest, victorious... many migraines pounded my brainwaves during those seven weeks.  I honestly couldn't remember a time without a migraine, it was that intense. 

I didn't have much expectation of what would happen when the journal was burned.  I was ready, but I didn't want to let it go in some ways.  It contained pain that I didn't know if I could let go, because I somehow wanted to hold onto the proof that I could be that honest with myself, to reveal those pieces that we hide away from others, because I didn't want anyone else to see what I could barely stand to see myself, and yet the familiarity of this being, this side of myself that I gave life, I didn't know that I was ready to embrace its letting go.

Burning them... it was more symbolic in its pain than I realized it would be.  I wasn't emotional about it, I was almost indifferent, almost defiant, yet reminding myself that this was all choice.  I chose to distill, I chose to journal, just as I was choosing to throw it into the bonfire to let it go.  It never caught fire.  It kissed the flames, then nothing.  Nothing.  It just sat there, with everything burning around it, in front of it, even behind it!  Yet, my journal remained flame-less.  I stood there and realized that I hadn't let it go yet.  I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and heard nothing... the loudest "nothing" of all...  

It spoke, not whispering, not even yelling, just this tone that quite familiar, telling me "you have to let it go to see it burn".  Then panic struck.  Not panic for releasing, panic at the notion that it might stay there, surrounded by ash and yet never rising from the ashes itself.  I needed to see it burn.  I told the journal just that, that I needed to see it burn... I needed it.  Then another deep breath came as the wind spiraled around me, and I said "I am ready to let you go"... and it caught fire instantly.

Kali-Ma joined me in initiation just as She had several years ago when I did my first Shamanic apprenticeship... just as fierce, I welcomed Her back in this form.  She asked of my flesh as an offering, and what was surprising in that moment was what specific part she was taking -- my left arm.  Flesh from where my sacred tattoo sits, a healing art to remind me just how One I am with the Goddess...

Kali-Ma returned again in the coming days, as we were honoring Her at our Womyn's Circle, and the download of the ritual She shared with me came instantly.  Dancing Fear with Her was something I was truly looking forward to... I didn't know then that She had one last initiation for me.  

Earlier in the year I had spoken about my guides telling me that this year would be all about spiritual vulnerability and rawness.  I was meant to share and shed -- share the stories of my past, divulge more of my depression since youth, of my attempted suicide, even portions of the assault that led to it all, as well as the voice of the Goddess so prominent in rescuing my Light from trying to kill myself one November evening.

I obliged, out of curiosity for how this would enfold, out of fear (as contradictory as that may sound, because I am quite like a moth to the flame when it comes to fear: can't resist), and out of understanding that while fearful in the moment, I knew it would bring deep healing; and it has.  I became more honest about my past, and that journey into embracing my vocation as Priestess/Healer/Teacher... however, I knew that I was willfully holding onto one piece, the biggest Shame I was carrying that made it into virtually every distillation journal entry I had written...  Saturday night Kali-Ma asked me to share it... no... She doesn't ask... She TOLD me to share it.  She said "It's time now", and I found myself terrified.

What would people think?  Would this reveal change how everyone sees me?  Would any source of Light others see be tainted by the dark shame of a "secret" I was carrying?  Would these sacred systers in the group look at me and only see that story?  

In the end, I knew it was time.  My guides had been saying over and over to let go, so it was fitting that the final piece would be urged from Kali-Ma.  She demanded, and I watched Her stand over me, waiting.

Up to this point I had shared deep fears I was carrying, of being forgotten if I disappeared; of not ever embracing my Truth because I stand so centered at times in dysfunctional Illusion; of never fully appreciating or loving my Willendorf image because of bullshit perceptions from people who loathe the image of the Willendorf, and who try to shame me for that; to fear of success, and my own Inner Light... to the deepest secret of others finding out that I was once a cutter, and that it's a constant battle with Self to not return to old ways of shame.

I was a cutter.  It started at 16 when the biggest portion of my pain began.  When my first attempted suicide began.  I don't know how well I kept it secret; I know that I had bullshit excuses from the family pet's to walking into something to being clumsy... all easily embraced excuses, I was/am a klutz at times, however, no one really questioned me further.  It was the dark secret I carried that was only shared with my husband, as we began dating 6 months after all of this had begun.  Since then, it had only been shared with less than a handful of people.  

I carried the shame, and I knew from the onset of this raw task that I would need to reveal this piece, to let it go, to truly have no secrets in my life, to be free of denial and say that while I was in pain, I was also in healing.

The last time I cut?  February, 2005.  The last time I tried to kill myself.  I was laying on the bathroom floor, bleeding, so engrossed in pain that I couldn't see or taste anything else.  I won't ever forget the look on Drac's face when he walked in and saw me.  I interpreted it as shame then, because I needed to be stuck in that dance, but it was only until years later that I could just see his own pain, to see the womyn he loved, someone he sees in ultimate bright Light, laying there, thinking she's nothing but a worthless piece of shit, loved by no one, and convinced this world wasn't for her.

Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant... I vowed then it would stop.  I wouldn't transfer this energy to my child, and I would work on even deeper release than I had.  How fitting that during that time I was doing deep Shamanic training, deep in distillation then, so sucked into pain, but not really having the support I do now.  Yes... I know I have the support, even when I deny that truth to myself.

In 2009 a healing artist helped me to bring healing to that piece, to the cutting.  The tattoo that everyone loves on my arm so much, it's symbolic of a reality that isn't my path.  A Goddess standing on my arm where much of the pain was inflicted, an image-less face staring back at me, a mirror that I, too, am Goddess, surrounded by the chant: She changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes.  If I cut me, I cut her, I cut my daughter, I cut wombynhood... 

So as I listened (and continue to listen) to this song over and over again, I can't help but feel triggered by the word "blame".  I don't necessarily resonate with it, but it pushes me, so I had to look at what it meant... in a moment of journaling I heard: Believing Lies Abstractly Made Everywhere.

I was believing lies.  My lies, your lies, everyone's lies.  And I created pain out of that.  In that pain, I chose to stir up a cauldron of Anger, Fear, Jealousy and Shame.  Instead of dumping it out (for fear of contamination), I became the martyr, and took it all within myself, thinking I was helping the greater good, when instead denying my Truth and Light was the biggest disservice of all.

I've been going deep.  Deep into the last of the rotted roots that need destroying.  The final cycles of this distillation says it will start to complete itself this month, as I become rooted in rawness, ready to come back to the cycle of Light.

Just as "Guarded" kept me purging and digging deeper, "The Walking Dead" has helped me to balance, and cry, and heal, as most of Chad's music has done for me over the many years I have known him.

The Walking Dead -- Chad Perrone
I would have driven myself crazy
Had I tried to predict
That everything I had ever worked for
Would bring me to this
Nothing ever works out the way you want,
Despite your best plans
The final product seldom looks like
What you drew out by hand

So if I could trust in the things that you've said
If I could cherish what little is left
Just breathe new life into the walking dead
Would there still be this sentiment?

I might have told you
That I am not one to believe in much
Blame it on years of falling apart
On the absence of luck
But I am no different
Than anyone else with half a heart
But it feels like the wrong feet
Keep on leading me out from the start

So if I could trust in the things that you've said
If I could cherish what little is left
Just breathe new life into the walking dead
Would there still be this sentiment?

All of the wrong words keep rushing out
Exploding like fireworks when they leave my mouth.

So if I could trust in the things that you've said
If I could cherish what little is left
Just breathe new life into the walking dead
Would there still be this sentiment?

You can blame it all on my bad habits love
You can blame it on me
You can blame it all on my bad habits love
You can blame it on me

Someday I'll learn to let go of it
Someday I'll learn to leave
Someday I'll learn to let it go, let it go
Someday I'll learn to leave.
So if I could trust in the things that you've said
If I could cherish, cherish heaven.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Between.

My world has been on a constant stream of fast-forward this month.  It began in a flurry of emotions from the distillation, and then it evened out for a while, all while dipping my feet in various worlds of communication; I could very well be officially "talked out" for a while.  However, it has also been filled with some amazing busy moments of continual soulful scrying.

It's been rather interesting to observe my experience from afar: going through this distillation and facing those darkest aspects of myself that I haven't been willing/able/ready to look at.  Seemingly falling apart at the seams at times, in other moments embracing the return of my Spiritual Warrior.  The roller coaster ride has been intriguing, nauseating, and somewhat exhilarating.   I have both loved and hated this process, loved and hated myself, loved and hated others, and each time focusing merely on the one thing I knew I could control: my breath.

I've been able to see my role with a little more clarity, and how the facilitation looks when in the deepest waters of the well, not quite drowning, but not not drowning.  I see the jarred perception of being unable to swim and choosing to float.  Floating for the sake of wonder and viewing the spirals around, not floating because of discomfort.  I've been able to create a separation between my roles, with complete ease (much to my surprise), something my spiritual mother says is because we work from the place of deep integration and understanding of the dark that it doesn't hold us back or prevent us from our work, if anything it's an added component to the process of facilitation.

I have been sharing some of this process with friends... the space hasn't quite been held, to my standards (which I know sounds rather harsh and judgmental), and what's most intriguing is how painful this can be, and in the expression of that pain, instead of holding space what I have said creates a trigger, a reminder of their own shit, and now my shit is on hold, sitting on the side of the road, so old that the flies come to keep it company and guard it, while we inspect the newly formed shit coming from the other party... the other party not in the distillation process.

It's like sharing the story of the crazy dream you had with a friend only to have them take the moment over by shifting the attention to their own dream.  Not intentional, but done without thought, just action in the moment.  I have needed to journal those moments out, feeling resentful at times for taking the lid off my cauldron (which is [etherically] covered in marks and looks quite worn) only to have the other party take the lid off to their own, brand new, cauldron, without marks, without a story at all.  It reminds me to look at my own boundaries, which have been more solid and formed than I thought might happen during this time, and how sometimes the gift we offer others by way of listening and holding space becomes the gift we offer ourselves by sharing our Light, and being receptive of the Light that mirrors back and forth.

My guides have been clear this year that I needed to be open about my process, about my pain, about my healing (though I tend to write more about my pain and talk more about my healing than actually writing it out publicly), but how does one share when space isn't created?  How does one share when safe space isn't there... when it's empty space, waiting to be filled but never actually filled.  You can create it for Self, sure, but sometimes we need others to hold the wand and cast the perimeter so we can just release.

Last night I came home from an event and the long drive had me in and out of thought.  I thought about Shadow, but more intently I thought about Light.  More specifically, MY Light.  I feel in some ways I've become greedy with it.  Claiming territory and ownership from ego's mind, running in circles looking for the best hiding place to store it so it couldn't be shared with others, and yet I know I have been sharing, quite freely.  Late nights in the "Sacred Parking Lot" has me authentically one-on-one with other divine spirits in deep sharing.  Quite the contrary to hoarding it away.

What I'm seeing and noticing is that my "human" role is changing.  I don't know what She is going to do; I don't know if She is going to dance in unison with Spirit or if She's going to cast Illusions through everything.  And yet I see Her doing both -- Her dance is so much more coordinated than any steps my physical form could ever take.

Each subtle body is aligning in its own way, purging in their own order decided upon when my ego stepped out of the equation.  I'm not In Balance... but I'm not Out of Balance, either.  I'm in this critical place of the Between.  Not Light, not Dark.  I feel a bit like the Bear both preparing for hibernation and the subtle point just before hibernation ends... the Between.  It's organic, how Bears emerge, the internal clock ringing and knowing when to awaken.  I'm learning that more and more from Bear, my main guide, and I feel it being applied to now, this last week before the distillation ends. 

Last night in particular I had something arise, not necessarily within me, but not necessarily without me, however, it triggered something major that I needed to take the distilling journal out.  What met my surprise when I pulled it off the bookcase was what was sticking out of this journal.  I place this journal on a specific shelf, separate from my regular journal, in the same spot every time I use it.  There's never anything loose on that shelf, or really any shelf in this specific bookcase, and yet there was something sticking out. 

I was about to begin writing, ready to start labeling each page with what I needed to journal, when I actually noticed what was sticking out.  It was a bookmark I had received from a daylong retreat I attended with Lama Surya a few years ago.  On the back of the bookmark is a particular poem that I haven't read in about a couple of years.  It was stuck inside my distilling journal -- this journal that has nothing but my darkest shadows and demons and pain stored in there, along with a specific pen I am using for this process that is only for this journal, nothing else (and will be ritually released upon completion)... to find this piece, to reread this piece, to see where I was upon this triggered moment... I was blown away.  Tears flooded faster than they have all month in doing this work... it was this perfect gift in the moment to remind me of Light, of Love, of Compassion... all towards Self, towards the collective Whole... I felt freer and felt the stirrings of my Inner Bear begin, without fright, but in deep gratitude.  It's not so much that "this too shall pass", it was about "this too is passing", and the power of what can happen with breath and choice.

Free and Easy
A Spontaneous Vajra Song
by Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche

Happiness can not be found
through great effort and willpower,
but is already present,
in open relaxation and letting go.

Don't strain yourself,
there is nothing to do or undo.
Whatever momentarily arises
in the body-mind
has no real importance at all,
has little reality whatsoever.
Why identify with,
and become attached to it, 
passing judgment upon it and ourselves?

Far better to simply
let the entire game happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves
without changing or manipulating anything
and notice how everything
vanishes and reappears, magically,
again and again, time without end.

Only our searching for happiness
prevents us from seeing it.
It's like a vivid rainbow which you pursue
without ever catching,
or a dog chasing its own tail.

Although peace and happiness
do not exist as an actual thing or place,
it is always available
and accompanies you every instant.

Don't believe in the reality
of good and bad experiences;
they are like today's ephemeral weather, 
like rainbows in the sky.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable,
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax
this tight fist of grasping,
infinite space is there -
open, inviting and comfortable.

Make use of this spaciousness, this
freedom and natural ease.
Don't search any further
looking for the great awakened elephant,
who is already resting quietly at home
in front of your own hearth.

Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing -

Emaho!  Marvelous!
Everything happens by itself.

The thing that made me smile and cry and laugh all at the same time?  On my drive home I saw a rainbow... probably the first I have seen in several years... and I realized I was grasping too hard, not standing centered in the Between.

Spirit works in amazing ways, answering the call before the consciousness recognizes the need to make the call... I'm in gratitude for Divinity's blessing on a night when things felt overwhelming.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Distilling the Truth

I have spent, what feels like forever, the past two months in just pure processing.  Processing my daughter getting ready for a big milestone of starting kindergarten which was both exciting and painful for me... letting go... it forces one to look at fear in a way you sometimes deny, and I had been in denial for a few months leading up to this big shift in our lives.  Yes, in the end it's great for her, even for me, but it was painful, and I felt alone in the process. 

I know other mothers had gone through the same thing, letting their own children go in this manner, but when you've gone through it, the wisdom of the generations becomes less "yes, I hear your pain, cry if you need to, I am here" and more "eh, you will be fine, don't cry in front of her", because gods forbid I have an emotion, or worse, that my daughter sees my human side at all.  Let's deny Self in favor of programming the next generation to deny themselves as well... brilliant.

To say I felt annoyed is an understatement.  I haven't really spoken about those moments, nor do I intend to go in depth here.  It's personal.  Raw.  Painful and beautiful and awakening, rolled up with various sharp edges.  Still... the timing... letting go... a week before I was to begin distilling the shadow... it was divinely cosmic, I still can't stop shaking my head in awe...

Christopher describes the distillation as a "ritualistic and psychological method of inducing a crisis that can result in a form of shamanic awareness and potential initiation."

I opted to do seven weeks -- which is to say that I am still in the process of my distillation and have the rest of the month to go. 

The week leading up to the official start had begun the process.  I could feel it in my core, beginning to slowly rattle, and my body's response began to tighten up in fear, in dread, in hope, in excitement, in pain... it was this rollercoaster where up wasn't defined as "good" and down didn't have recognition as "bad"... up was up, down was down... it was just this ride, this indescribable ride where you are acutely aware that there is life going on around you while you can't help but move through this muck that is being rattled through the ride, and you paid for consecutive ride after ride... there is no getting off... even if you begged... and yet you're almost glad for this, to have "rules", to have structure, to have something that is YOU saying this is what you NEED to do, and when the shadow self faces the unease, it must abide, because the aligned you is the one in charge...

"Truth is a failure I cannot accept
Truth would derail you as you wistfully slept
I can't find the answers to the questions unasked
I can't find the strength to reply as you sit there so goddamned relaxed

But you won't be denied... cowardly implied."

I've been listening and singing this song in my head repeatedly since beginning the distillation process.  The very first time I heard this song several years ago... I can remember how many points of fear it hit, how many times I caught my breath; how I had to pull over on the side of the road so I could bawl, because this was how I was feeling, so lost in my own personal Truth being a failure I couldn't accept.  I still choke up when I hear this song, and I feel my bones begin to shatter slowly because my Truth isn't as aligned as I know it could be.

My friend Jon wrote this song -- I have no idea what his interpretation means, and I'd almost rather not know, my version is what I am battling with... against.  It's a battle between Self, between Light and Dark... one aspect of me not being denied, yet which aspect of that Self was in denial was so interchangeable, I couldn't decipher it in the open, and I sometimes denied myself [the truth] asking the questions that I knew would move it... would rattle it...

I saw Christopher the next day after starting the distillation.  Committed to teaching a workshop at the Southern New Hampshire Pagan Pride Day, I couldn't back out, despite how much I wanted to.  The drive over was excruciating.  I was in emotional and spiritual pain... I didn't want to be seen, let alone see anyone.  I didn't want to socialize, I didn't want to be anything but in this process, as raw as it was, as ugly as it began, without needing to fulfill commitments.  But I did.  I went, committed to my commitment, though I attempted to stay fairly hidden, hoping to not talk to anyone, yet Christopher saw me within 2 minutes of being there.  The one consolation I told myself to going was that I wouldn't be seeing Christopher, because he would be busy packing for an event.  I didn't want to see him because he knows me well -- he knows when I am in my shit, when I am deep in my cave, when it's oblivious to everyone else, he knows, and I didn't want anyone to know.

We had a lovely walk, time spent alone together just talking and being.  It was precisely what I needed, and even though we both know how well aware of this process I am, it doesn't make it easy when IN the process.  Nor is it supposed to be.  I didn't step into this with any notion of it being either difficult or easy... I was stepping into it with open awareness.  Was I concerned?  Yes.  Why?

Because the last time I did some deep distillation... that was the last time I tried to kill myself.  That image, that feeling, none of it was far from my mind.  It was there, not in front of me, but following me.  It wouldn't directly stare me in the face until the second week, where the memories came flooding back, where the air no longer tasted current, but tasted of that air, of that time, during that painful process where life was too much, where everything was too much.  I could taste it again, and it scared me... it scared me... it angered me... it shamed me... I was in the boxing ring with no gloves, no bell to tell me when it would be over, and getting my ass kicked, while the sub-personalities around me did nothing but watch, wondering who would emerge victorious, without alliance to either aspect of Self. 

"These columns once so sure and sturdy now are crumbling around me
My foundation can't survive unharmed this time
These faced I believed, I mean, the true belief, they always would surround me
Convenient absence of the truth the only crime..."

That particular verse in the song... it felt so prevalent to now, and yet to then as well.  In fact, I believe this song came out the month I tried to kill myself.  I can't help but associate the two together at times. 

My columns felt sure and sturdy, and as the distillation continued, it began to unravel and crumble around me.  I didn't want to see anyone, I wanted desperately to withdraw from everyone.  And I slowly started to.  A habit and pattern I'm not proud of, but when fear arises I run to my cave and hide, until completely forgotten about, and then I emerge, wondering where everyone is. 

I've had a lot of well-meaning advice during this process -- and each time I receive it, the angrier I become.  Why?  Even now I'm just shrugging my shoulders, not entirely sure why, but feeling like it's more for their benefit to say it, to make themselves feel better, than to actually be there, holding space for the dark and the raw and the ugly.  I have held that space for another... it's uneasy, it's painful to watch, it's scary at times, but I've been there, because I know what it's like on the other end.  You don't want well-meaning advice.  You don't want someone to say "just get through this and it will be better later"... fortune cookies have better advice than that!

Ah... but that's my anger emerging.  Part of the aspects we are to look at: Anger, Fear, Jealousy and Shame.  I had thought Anger and Shame would be most prevalent, and yet I was surprised to see how quick and easy it was to bring up issues of Jealousy.  Though it does shift as each day occurs, what floods is amazing, and what feels complete is equally astounding.

I have heard a lot of advice and guidance to look towards the completion of the process... look at how things will be "better" when it's "over"... am I the only person who sincerely thinks this is bullshit advice?  However, I don't deny that some people need that thread to hold onto.  I used to be one of those people.  I needed to believe that things would get better, even recite the Buddhist mantra of "This too shall pass"... but then I started to uncover my need to look at the "better" and when it's "over" threads instead of being in whatever I was in, in that moment, as fully present as I could be, without making it "better", but understanding what it was.

That's how I am approaching this distillation.  When it's ugly, it's ugly.  I'm not looking at when it will be beautiful, when I will feel Whole... I'm just looking at the ugly.  Equally so, when it's phenomenal, I am in that phenomenon.  I had an amazing soul retrieval a couple of weeks ago that blew my world open, my foundation really wouldn't survive unharmed this time, because it was built on illusion.  The truth absent?  That I lied to myself.  The bigger truth?  That I knew I was lying to myself... and I enjoyed it.  I wanted to lie, because I wanted to embrace the illusion, because it was what I told myself I needed at the time. 

"We've been rising to a simmer and the smoke can be so thick
We're ever closer to the peak, the altitude can make you sick
The fear of heights is something you must overcome
This elevator won't be stopping 'til the roof
And when it does, nobody leaves, nobody else gets on it...

You won't be denied..."

That one line, "the fear of heights is something you must overcome", gets me every time.  The floodgates open, and I see the ultimate Truth there...

Right now, if I had to classify what this distillation is, currently, I would say, comparative to the weeks prior, it's better.  Will it finish "better".  I don't know.  I almost don't care.  I don't want to look at the when, crossing off the dates in my calendar until I can say "good, it's done, let's burn the fucking book now"... no, I don't want to jump to that, because then I'm not here, I'm not present, I'm not honestly unveiling the pieces needing, and even asking, to be set free... to let go.  The dysfunctional shadow pieces are ready to go... I know this... I'm the one holding them captive, eluding to myself that it's the other way around, even convincing everyone around me that it's them, the dysfunction, when I know it's me, holding and grasping, because letting go means facing who I am... as Marianne Williamson said, we are more frightened by our light than our darkness...

I'm frightened by my Light.  I know others see it.  They've pointed it out to me, some telling me they wish they could emulate my "wisdom" and "brilliance"... I'm not fully there yet.  At least not today.  If you had asked me the week following my soul retrieval I felt in the center of Light... I'm in the grey-between.  Not good, not bad; not light, not dark; not wanted, not unwanted.  Just... here. 

Yet, despite, or perhaps in spite, of this distillation process, I am feeling much more attuned to the Mysteries.  It's this odd combination of being both within and without.  I'm walking a tightrope that doesn't actually exist, and so my perception is split, so I can filter the information slowly.  I feel the dynamic of my cellular memory shift, and I feel it traveling through my blood, beyond the streams of my veins, and it's touching more around me than I realize... like everything else does.

Yesterday, in deep contemplation of this process, of these Mysteries, I stepped outside of my place and a butterfly flew within inches of me... in front of me, to the side, stopping a moment as I recognized its deep message, then flew to the ground, where I thanked it for its message and asked if I could take a picture.  She fluttered her wings in response, and fluttered her wings when I left, flying closer to me as I left.  She had been around for days... yesterday I was more "awake" to recognize her.