Friday, December 31, 2010

In a "year"... in a decade...

It's been a week of reflecting -- a week of peeling away the layers to reveal old memories.  This hasn't felt like a "year", it's been tremendously longer than that.  The days appear to go by faster the older you get, and yet, when you look at the end of the year and see the 12 months behind you, it doesn't feel so fast after all.  At least not to me, not this year, not in a year where I was cradling the pain and needing to step outside of the shadow to see the actual light.  It was brighter than I remembered, and while my eyes didn't burn from the impact, tears still fell... in a year of building so many relationships, and needing to say goodbye to others, how is it that at the end of the year I feel as though I am always meant to face the final dark alone? 

It's the Cave.  It calls to me, even now, even as the words flow (at a fragmented pace), that retreating to the Cave is what I would normally be doing this time of year.  I go within, retreat, and I emerge later, not necessarily anew, sometimes merely skeptical that anything has changed, but generally more aware, in some capacity, and then upon realizing that it isn't a retreat after all, I understand more that it has become an escape.  I consciously choose to escape come the winter months.  Hibernation is what my Totem embraces, but there's hibernating out of nature and there's hibernating out of fear/discomfort.  I recognize it clearly this year... again, how bright that light is...

I don't think that I have fully processed Joe's death.  It's eating at me... the sudden loss... my heart is pained, terribly pained... I'm thinking how tonight I won't get one of his texts to wish me a happy new year, to say he loves me... I won't hear from him in that way anymore, and it hurts, terribly.  He was the one who knew me, who accepted me as beautiful before I recognized my own beauty; he was protective of me, and he valued the light he felt I so easily shared with others, even when I thought it wasn't shining at all.  He's the person I'm thinking about this New Year's Eve...

The other side to that pain is awareness.  This year brought so much of that.  The child-like innocence felt stronger, unwilling to crumble from the pain, which I'm quite grateful for, but the realization that trust isn't something that is sacredly honored was a challenging lesson to be presented with.  I haven't quite finished learning it -- and I never want to be one of those jaded people who feels burned by relationships, nor do I want to ice the pain and become numb, but I just want to continue on with the teachings of compassion and loving-kindness, and hope that in my lifetime I can achieve that essence of enlightenment so many of us quest for.

It has, however, slipped my memory that not only are we putting a calendar year to bed, we are also saying farewell to a decade.  A decade, really?  Sometimes blinking fast forwards your vision, but a decade seems much longer than it actually sounds, and this decade could have been doubled with the many many changes that were afoot. 

It's hard to imagine that this decade saw the shift from Maiden to Mother... I went from questioning my purpose to embracing it... I went from an extremely shy and awkward womyn to one that feels able to fully breathe in her skin, without reservation... let us not forget the shift from student to teacher -- that was a journey of facing fears of inadequacies and having only one option stare you in the face to either move forward or stay back... the backwards road was met with bumps and bruises, though it doesn't help that I am extremely clumsy, but if not for those bruises I wouldn't have realized how much that pain and discomfort was both necessary and unnecessary... or maybe I would have... lessons come as they come, I've learned to let go of the need to decipher its every meaning and just be still and listen for a moment.

Next year is the year of the Teacher for me.  It's the time where I put forth that which has been planted... I feel ready for what's ahead.  This year has challenged me in those ways, to "prepare" me (as much as one can) in various areas of my life.  The student hat seems to always be there, and this coming year will be no different.  I'm embarking on another year of the Margha Program, having not completed it to my standards, I'm ready to begin anew with that.  The last two years of Buddhism training has been met with death -- it has challenged me deeply to remain centered in compassion, despite the flight syndrome that floats to the surface.  Jonathan's death occurred while I was away at retreat... Abuela died during the months where I was getting to the core of the practice, having just spoken with Lama Willa about her dying and the exercise in which she shared with me was more profound than I can say... Joe's death was a culmination of going within and being in complete denial.  It was hard to be "on the cushion" with anything then, and I didn't meet my own standards of practice, but I held the core of the training deep.  This coming year the focus will be Open Awareness.  Quite timely really.

For now, I remain quiet.  I yearn for the quiet.  It has been slightly noisy the past few days in my mind.  Cluttered, too many thoughts, I care not for the distractions, but just want to be still... like the breath, which are slow and shallow, the introspective breath.  Here's to a year of breathing deeply, mindfully, and heart-centered.  While aspects of me feel exposed, the raw edges feeling rather rough from close proximity to things that may not serve, but I wasn't aware until leaning up against them.  I don't want to retreat to the Cave for anything other than renewal.  In the end it's always choice.  Tonight, while everyone is out partying and drinking the night away, I crave solitude, to truly reflect.  Not because it's New Year's Eve, but because it just feels necessary.  The ground is frozen, though the Sun's warm rays have melted everything a bit today, but there's something quite serene about being still.  Just still.

"Reinvent" is playing over and over again in my mind.  My iPod shuffled through it four times in less than an hour the other day.  In fact, it's been shuffling through it a lot.  There are two lines that grab me tonight:

"And I know that time
Brings change to everything" ...

"And maybe this is wrong
And I should leave well enough alone
Or maybe it's right
And today starts
For the rest of my life..."

Tonight it doesn't feel "wrong" or "right", it doesn't even feel "wanted" or "unwanted".  It just feels... still.  It's like a frozen pond... I don't want to step out into it, but I just want to marvel at the beauty surrounding it and just watch and breathe.  There's something so beautiful about the stillness...


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The shadow dance

I am dancing the dance that isn't unfamiliar to me, but the steps are ones that are being taken so gracefully, it's as though I am, indeed, the ballerina to the Shaman's song... the darkness rises, but its an ally, one that has been hidden deep into the shadows, waiting for me to peel away those mucky layers, and now, as though the test (of this level) has been achieved, I am... swimming.  The bridge is up, the water is clear, and I am swimming in the ocean of mysteries... I laugh to think where the road takes you, where you, yourself, journey on that road, and how it returns home, in its multi-layers, it's home again... much like Chad's song, the lyrics that have been swimming in my own mind:

"The person I was could go by another name
He's a stranger to me now
Amazing the difference a few years will make
You don't realize you've lost yourself until you turn around
I keep coming back here to this place
Where it's lonely and cold here without you..."

It's funny -- hearing this song again is like a welcome home present.  I can remember how often I sat through a live performance, how it became too much, though deeper than that, it hit too close to home, and I wasn't ready to dive in that deeply.  It is amazing the difference a few years will make... I don't think that I've lost myself so much as I've reclaimed that which has been hidden.  It was never lost, my shadow self became an obsessive hoarder, keeping all parts nearby, just buried.  Don't throw away, for fear others will have access to hidden gems you, yourself, aren't ready to acknowledge or even recognize, but instead keep it cloistered away, breathlessly motionless, and come back again, dusting it off, ready to look at it with new eyes...

"I'm sorry for all these things I've passed to you
I remember thinking I was invincible to them all
But they say there are a lot of these things that everybody goes through
And I thought I was different
But I've learned that I'm not

This song, these lyrics, beyond some amazing nostalgia they bring for me, it takes me back to that darkness, to that time of deep pain, of deep confusion, of the shadow's battle with what I perceived as being control over, but instead was simply the battle of release, and I wouldn't let it go.

I've been flipping through the pages of the past decade.  Seems like a bit to go back on, but it's been necessary.  This emotion was closed off because of that... that happened then... then was brought on by this... this was a manifestation of when... when was discouraged and hopeless... that hopelessness was buried in fear... the fear became the controller... the controller willingly allowed itself to be controlled... this crazy, insane maze that goes back back back... back to a particular time?  No.  I thought it did.  I was damn near convinced that I could identify that *one* aspect, that one moment in time, that one turning point... and granted that one turning point held significance, but oddly, it's gone.  Well, maybe not gone... maybe it's simply healed, and it hasn't gone anywhere, because its existence was illusionary, and where does the illusionary energy go?  No where.  For it's no-thing. 

I spent this past October free.  I can't express it beyond that absolutely simple word, but it's where I was.  The shadow self came out, nodding its respectful nod at me for a job well done, and we prepared to dance the dance of the shadow.  No one leading, no particular steps to coordinate, just dance.  How strange to spend all these years, all this time in a perpetual state of fear, to keep diving into the (seemingly) bottomless ocean of it, and come back up again, shedding the layers, only to realize that, much like the Matrix's reference to there being "no spoon", there was no ocean... and I sit here smirking thinking of the line from "Birdcage" where Agador says, frustrated, "I made it up... I MADE IT UP!"

I made it up.

It doesn't make it any less real, the experience, the emotion, the pain -- no, that was very real.  I made it real.  But in the span of that busy October month, I wondered to myself daily: where does the story go?  When it ends, when you decide to either close the book or decide that the story really isn't worth anything anymore -- where does it go?  Does it continue to exist, because we gave it life once and could easily return to it if we chose?  Where does it go?

In a deep discussion with my spiritual mother we came to the conclusion that it transforms in the Ether.  Beyond that, beyond that discussion of how and where and why, I can't elaborate.  It was all spirit-channeled anyway...

The interesting piece... the thing that I haven't been able to say, pretty much ever, the thing that I'm completely in awe about is: I am not scared.  That paralyzing fear, the one that has been carried over, building in force because of the power I gave it... it's just... gone.  I can't seem to articulate it better than that.  I'm starting with a blank canvas, and yet, somehow, I don't, necessarily, have a desire to whip out my paintbrushes and get to work.  I like the rawness.  I like the reality that I am the storyteller, and the story doesn't need telling right now.  The storyteller is preferring the role of the bard and the tastes of the song than the story itself.

This year begins another dance with the shadow into the Shamanic realm.  The dance I did in that realm several years ago kicked my ass.  Completely.  I have such immense gratitude for that ass-kicking.  I do.  It put fear in my face and the call of the Dark Goddesses came, and I listened.  This year is no exception, as another Dark Goddess has come and asked me to do the Great Work with Her.  I'm not foolish to think that nothing will come up -- just because that layer of fear feels gone doesn't mean that I won't be addressing other deeply layered fear, or even that same one.  The difference is, I just don't feel scared about addressing it.  I feel quite ready, in fact.  A good friend had said to me "it's because you're not afraid to go there", which sounds like an oxi-moron; being afraid of the fear but being brave (or foolish?) enough to dive in head first.  Maybe a little of both.

And, like the song goes:

"Did we learn at all from what we were taught
And after all this time?
This is me now..."

I feel like the learning has intensified.  It has taken on a new dimension.  After all this time... sounds so funny coming from someone who hardly identifies with linear time.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Intimacy with fear

"Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth." - Pema Chodron

Sometime last year I was in a book store in need of a book.  Nothing in particular, but just in "need" of something, which usually leads me to the Buddhism section when I'm unsure of what I want but feeling as though I "need" something.  That day I picked up Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart", and it wasn't until a couple of days ago that I finally started reading it.  "Heart Advice For Difficult Times" it says on the front cover -- this purchase happened before any of the deaths that would come in the year -- and sat on my bookshelf, collecting dust, but patiently waiting until I recognized the need to pick it up and read it.  It has become, mostly, nighttime reading before falling asleep.  It goes against my general principle of reading anything too "heavy" before sleeping, yet I felt something significant about carrying these words into the dream state and internalizing the healing there.  The very first chapter is on "Intimacy with Fear", and the quote above is the first line shared... I caught my breathe when I read it, and held it... shit.

As someone who practices and teaches about breathwork I knew what it meant to hold the breath, to internalize this fear about fear, and it made me laugh, because it was like the cliched comparison to a game of Monopoly, heading back to "go" but not collecting anything.  I sat there, rereading that one line over and over again, and realized how true, this whole time, how true that revelation was, and how silly it was of me to not recognize it sooner.  Not a judgmental silly, just a matter of fact silly, as though somehow I was 'supposed' to know this. 

We have entered October 1st, and for those who know my "story", my background, the pain and trauma that led me to Now, well, you know this time of year is both beautiful and horrific for me, and that this month in particular holds the balance of both light and dark in its extremes in my life.  We're in October -- a month for the past 15 years that has held me hostage to replay the events that terrified me and sealed a layer of fear I thought I would carry with me for life.

15 years ago.  I almost can't fathom what that time was like anymore.  I haven't forgotten, no, darkness isn't forgotten, it's remembered, and the reality is as the seasons change, so, too, does the memory change.  It is a combination of being both better and worse over time, but still there, tender, painful, frightening, and tormenting, if you slip back into the rhythmic pattern it cycles through.  Every year is easier, every year more acceptance comes, though somehow last year I really believe I let it go.  This year... I realize that I completed a layer of becoming intimate with fear -- if fear is that "natural reaction to moving closer to the truth", then the truth unfolded itself without me needing to prod or pressure it.  Hm... who would have thought, simply "being" and "allowing" would actually bring the truth after all... note the sarcasm that pokes me, but it feels like a sense of relief.  I can breathe, and I am not that 16 year old girl who was traumatized and later tried killing herself.

I'm not her.

It's an interesting revelation.  The thing that has been playing over and over in my mind for over a week now, perhaps in mental preparation for what this month has brought to me in the past, is that I'm not the story. 

I am not the story.

It's liberating.  I carried this story, the pain, the incident, the characters, the result, the aftermath, the fear... I carried it all in this never-filling Mary Poppins-style backpack as a constant reminder of this pain.  It wasn't a story I shared with others, so it never became about "look at what I've been through, pity me"; instead it became a way that my dysfunctional self kept me in the dark.  Then it shifted to my inner child clutching onto the "devil you know", completely scared, afraid of, well, everything.  I realized that part of the story I told myself was that I wasn't afraid to die, but that I was afraid to live, when the truth wasn't that at all.  The truth was that I was afraid of being nothing, of not following my purpose and being a Being that could easily be nothing -- forgotten, unloved, or too loved... we're a species of storytellers...

When I look back I don't think much about that time anymore.  It's odd to realize that.  To actually see that I have let the story fade.  It's there, dusty on the bookshelf for me to read later if I so choose, but it's no longer my story, not in the same way.  That story was written by a broken 16 year old girl who never thought she'd live past that week, never mind a decade and a half later to be staring fear in the face, sometimes winning, sometimes scraping my knee and falling down, but never dying.

"The point is not to try to get rid of thoughts, but rather to see their true nature.  Thoughts will run us around in circles if we buy into them, but really they are like dream images.  They are like an illusion -- not really all that solid.  They are, as we say, just thinking." 

I spent 15 years "just thinking" instead of "just seeing".  It's the fear.  Fear says "do this", and like a child being scolded, I did.  Then the empowered womyn within says "just be", and so I am, until that undefinable scent pierces the senses, and it's the fear once more, returning, sometimes toxic, other times like a lost little child itself.  It presents itself as scary, but instead it just wants to be listened to.  Not believed, just understood.  I let myself live in the illusion, because the "truth" was that I was scared of what it meant to fulfill a contract I had here.  My spiritual mother once told me that my contract was *here*, it was then that I started dancing the dance with fear.  Not being controlled by it, not even understanding it fully (yet), but simply being, as I would with anyone, just be.

"Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.  We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It's just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."

I'm feeling the layer of this upcoming cycle as truly being healed.  I'm not interested in the story anymore.  I don't have time for it, I've got too much on my own agenda to be concerned with a pain that I don't hold anymore.  I suppose some of it comes with the perspective of death: what really matters? 

A friend of mine recently asked me why I haven't healed that part yet -- why I haven't gone back to that time and done soul retrieval for my loss parts?  I looked at him, ready with an answer, realizing I had no answer.  He stumped me, and I felt the breath collapse once more.  I have done healing work for aspects that followed, that were related to that time, the "domino effect" of that incident, but not for that time specifically.  Why?  I'm still uncovering much of it, though I realize it's partly because I subconsciously was punishing myself for my role -- the role the 'victim' plays in believing it is their fault and what they could have done differently... I never looked at myself like a 'victim' of the situation.  Instead I looked at it as a painful lesson.  Does that change the mentality?  I don't know, maybe.

So while I haven't finished reading the book yet, it's proving to be enlightening thus far, especially as my heart continues to heal from loss, I imagine it will be a similar journey of taking the advice I share with my students and clients when faced with their own pain: be gentle with yourself.

"Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior." 


Friday, August 20, 2010

The note.

Whether it can be described as a suicide note or letter or final words, the semantics don't much matter... another person in my life has crossed the veils, and somehow when I think that my heart has accepted too much of the tender moments of loss, it continues to reveal itself, as life's mysteries tend to do.  So the Wheel spins, as it always does, and we, those that are left behind, pick up the pieces and find a way to move on... or, we don't.

I don't know where to begin.  I don't know how one moment I could go from this pure joy and love in my heart to the next feeling as though it has stopped beating, feeling as though time didn't even bother to stand still, it just broke.  It broke in this solid moment where there was no going back or going forward, you were merely in this moment of pure, unfiltered pain... and yet, the pain was numbing.  I didn't feel the pain the way I thought I would, in such a similar circumstance being revisited.  Instead, I was just there, back on this familiar boat, back to the edge of the river, watching another loved one sail to the Summerland... my, it has been a long year of loss.

A friend of mine today commented that she thought it had been a couple of years.  No, just one.  Not even.  Joe marks the fifth person to leave this incarnation since November.  I'm not comparing my loss to anyone else, not comparing the hurt to what others may have experienced... I can recall Joe once telling me that in one year, in August specifically, he lost 8 people.  8 people in *one* month.  Still, he never used it as an excuse to shut down.  On the contrary, he loved even deeper.  As I said last night through trembling words, he was my teacher in love.

I don't think Joe ever quite got over Amy's death.  How could he?  Best friends who felt more like brother and sister, to watch someone go without the chance to say goodbye, without the chance to tell them how you feel about them, it's terrifying.  It brings to the surface how we shouldn't take things for granted, that we shouldn't take people for granted or waste opportunities to tell them just how much we care, just how much they actually mean to us.

I have gratitude that Joe and I never wasted a moment.  I have a secure warmth in my heart that he died knowing just how much I loved him, and that's the only solace I have right now in this tragedy.  That and knowing that now he's at peace, with Amy, exactly where he wanted to be, back in the loving arms of the Goddess.

I went from the spiritual buzz that came from the Feast of Hecate just hours before.  The Feast where I asked a question to Hecate's Maiden aspect that spoke to my purpose... I wasn't yet aware that that purpose was going to be put to the test in a few short hours.  I didn't know that the calling would direct me here, again, in a deeper place of service.  I just didn't know anything...

I got the text, the one about how he just wanted to say he loved me.  I smiled, thought to myself that I will call him in the morning, sitting there chatting with my brother and mother who had come to babysit.  10 seconds it would have taken to respond "I love you too, call me in the morning, I miss you."  That's all it would have taken, but I didn't take those 10 seconds, because I thought there would be a 'tomorrow', for the both of us.

I went to bed fairly late despite how blissfully tired I was, and I was woken up by my text going off on my phone, waking me from a beautiful deep sleep.  I saw Joe's name and thought "I'm going to kill him" because of the near 3-am text message that had woken me up.  He said "Going to visit Amy"... and my exhausted self wondered why he would be making the 4+ hour drive to Orono to visit her grave.  "I'll call him in the morning" I said as I fell back to sleep.  I just didn't know...

His boyfriend/fiance called me the next morning.  Joe had killed himself... precisely 19 minutes after he texted.  19 minutes.  That's a fucking lifetime.  I know, one can't go back and play the "what if" game, not without pure insanity running amok.  No, I can't go back and wonder what would have happened if I texted him back the first time, or if I had been awake just enough to really understand what the full verse of the text meant, if I had read the whole message in its entirety, if I had only called him instead of falling back to sleep... I can't play that "what if" game because I already did.  I already went over the questions in my mind, over and over and over again.  Replaying scenes, replaying moments, replaying everything.  My heart is broken.  I miss my friend terribly.

My shock lasted much of Saturday.  I didn't know how to feel anything but shocked.  It wasn't like when I received the call about Jonathan.  Perhaps death had still been fairly knew to me then, because I bawled.  I broke down and cried, unable to finish the retreat I was on, barely able to drive home through the downpour that the Earth shared.  This time, just numb.  I couldn't wrap my head around any of it.  He jumped... my mind couldn't understand.  Every natural instinct, every defense mechanism that "should" have stopped him didn't.  He jumped... and the police were just moments away from stopping him, just seconds.  Perhaps time is the biggest mystery of them all...

By Sunday the anger had finally kicked in.  I hadn't been angry about the first Joe that died; I wasn't angry over Jonathan's suicide; not angry over Amy's unfortunate death; not even really angry over my grandmother's death... Joe's?  I wasn't angry, I was pissed.  "How dare he do this to me after he saw what Jonathan's death did to me?  HOW DARE HE?!?!"... it felt good to be angry, because it meant I was feeling.  It meant that I wasn't completely numb to another loss in my life, in my heart.

I went to visit his mother on Tuesday... Joe had written a suicide letter, and in it he named me, asking that I be the one to handle the details.  I had always known this, Joe had always said that he and Amy would talk about how if anything happened to either of them that I was the one to be notified to do the service.  Amy's family didn't respect her last wishes, and sadly she didn't have a will made out.  She had a service in a church, the very last thing Amy ever wanted.

Still, hearing that your name was in a note and then getting to actually read it are two different mentalities that one can never fully comprehend.  It was a copy of the letter, as the original was still under investigation with the police, but still, it was right there, very clear, the second or third sentence in, how he chose me to "make the decisions of when I pass."  It was all on me.

I felt honored that he chose me... terrified... sick... angry... scared... it's amazing the variety of emotions one can feel when they're in a split second.

I spent the day going through his magickal supplies, as he was a Witch, too.  These sacred items that, in the note as well, was left with instructions that it was to go to his mother first, then me.  Me.  I don't think I quite comprehended exactly what I meant to him, or just how much he loved me.  I don't know if it's because I took it for granted or because there's still that old essence of me that doesn't want to always feel that sort of deep love, from anyone.  It's fear-based, as most of my bullshit tends to be, but it's honest.

I got to hold the item he died with... his pentacle.  He had 2 on him.  A larger one that was in his pocket, and a smaller one in his hand.  The one in his hand... that was hard to see, never mind hold.  It had bent, from impact of his fall.  This strong metal, bent.  I wanted to vomit.  I wanted to hold it and curl up in a ball and cry, but the well was completely dry.  My heart was aching, and despite feeling overwhelmed with thought, I was also, oddly, quite clear.

I could smell him.  I could feel him in that pentacle.  I wanted so desperately to hold it close to my heart and never let go, but I knew it wasn't mine to keep.

Yesterday was the service.  Yesterday I completed the last wish he asked, of both me and his mother, to be sure he got the ceremony he wanted, to be sure that what had happened to Amy didn't happen to him.  It was all left to me.  I was to Priestess his crossing over, and so I did.

I was composed, I was centered, I was grounded in strength I didn't know I would have in me yesterday.  To see all the people who had come, to be in the center of their pain, their tears, their sadness... I thought I would lose it when I saw his body, much like I had when I saw Jonathan's casket.  But I didn't.  I didn't.  I was so focused, I was there to be in service, to bridge the worlds, to guide him to the Summerland, with a room full of his family and friends (as well as a couple of other rooms that had me on video monitor with speakers from the microphone stand in front of me), I was to do ritual.

More than half of the people there didn't believe in Witchcraft.  It didn't matter.  This was Joe's last wish, and he knew he could count on me to do this for him, irregardless of what everyone else thought.  I could feel their pain, sure, but I could also feel many of them biting their tongues in anticipation for a ceremony that went against everything they believed in.  It was something they never really understood about Joe.

When it was all said and done, when I had opened the circle, my body began to move out the door while it beckoned my mind to follow.  Out to the waiting area we went, and it directed me to the couch, where I sat, and placed my face in my hands, and bawled.  My service was done, it was time for me to release, and my heart began to burn, and I realized that I had officiated my friend's goodbye.

I didn't expect the outpouring of love that followed.  People there said that they never understood what Joe had practiced, had been scared of Witchcraft, but didn't know it could be so beautiful.  They felt connected.  Connected to the ritual, connected to me, because I had been connected to Joe in a spiritual avenue that they couldn't understand, because it was in that realm of the unknown that scared them.

They just kept coming, tears in their eyes, hugging me, thanking me, crying in my arms.  They felt a sense of closure from what I officiated, and that was incredibly humbling.  "You made him proud", they said, and I could feel him full of excitement that he got his final wish.  If only I could have officiated something for him for everyone to witness and have the same outcome without the result of us having to let him go... if only, right?

The final aspect of the ritual was for family only, specifically for his mother and for his fiance, as I anointed his body to set his soul free to move to the Summerland... he directed me to this piece, his spirit channeling this final phase in the ritual.  And it was then, that I realized, this was my goodbye.  I placed my hand over his heart and simply cried.  It was an extremely long and emotional day, and today I have simply sat on the couch, journaled, watched tv and read.  That's it.  I need a couple of days to just come back to... here.

The thing that was just as hard was having all of these people come up to me and know me... people who knew who I was because "Joe talked about you all the time... he loved you dearly..." it was incredible to hear, but it was so difficult as well.  When I left I thought to myself how when my time comes I hope that I get at least a quarter of the people there coming to share their stories of how much they loved me... it was a tribute to who he was, someone who was the very best friend you could ask for, someone who hugged in a way that comforted you, not those one-armed bullshit hugs, but true soulful embraces... someone who loved, I mean, truly loved without borders.

As someone said to me last night, it must have been extremely hard to know that in that time he left this note, this note that described the reasons why he was about to do what he did, he took the time to make sure that someone knew to contact me.  That the only names he left on that note was his mother and myself... they said it was a tribute of who I was to him... that feels heavy to digest.

All I know is, in this season of harvest, in this season of sacrifice, I see the bigger picture of what his sacrifice meant, to me at least, and how he gifted me something that I won't ever be able to truly thank him for.  And, with no surprise, Hecate saw that and shared it as well.  Yesterday I saw a deeper layer and understanding to the words In Service, and another puzzle piece was laid down in completion.  I'm chanting in the back of my mind: Hecate, Hecate, HECATE!

For now, I am hopeful for a quiet couple of weeks before I retreat to the shores of Maine with the two most important people in my world.  I need this time with them, I need this time for me, and while I'm trying not to speed up time, I'm hopeful that its mysteries will be less painful in the weeks to come.


Friday, August 6, 2010

The familiar door

I haven't quite processed through the reality that DoveStar will be closing its doors... in precisely a week, actually.  A place that has been "home" to so many will cease to exist on this physical plane, ready to have its own death and rebirth, yet those, that are left behind (like any other death), to both celebrate and mourn, are cradling the memories, perhaps in excess, so as not to let go, fully, or to forget.  I know that's pretty much what I am doing as well.

I remember, clear as any other memory, of walking through the door in search of learning Reiki.  It was there that the infamous words "I only want to learn Reiki, that's it" that emerged from my mouth to be met with laughter by the director who said "yeah, you're going to be a lifer"... though deep down I had known, to some degree, that was true.  A lifer I would be, in its process of both good and happy memories to the challenging and deeply difficult ones.

I walked in ready for change, eager for a renewal beyond what I had been experiencing, and what led me there was spirit driven, just as what is closing its doors is, too, driven by spirit.

I went there last week, in hopes of saying my own goodbyes, but realizing I couldn't go into every room, for practical and sentimental reasons; that I couldn't walk the perimeter and watch in slow motion the movie that played in my mind of the many wonderful and difficult moments of my life.  It felt too soon, too soon to say goodbye, too soon to watch a place that was home, where I "grew up" become something else.

Yes, the adage that when one door closes, another opens rings true, sure, but for some, like myself, it isn't about what comes next.  I don't want to live in a world of "what's next", but rather be in the moment of "what's now"... the door is closing, I want to honor the closing, not brush it aside out of hurt feelings to see what awaits in eagerness to replace an open sore in my heart.  I need to feel the loss.  It is a loss, like any other loss that I have experienced this year, it is a loss, and it deserves the mourning, but more importantly I need to mourn it.

I was a student there, eager to learn, eager to bring in a different layer to the energetic perspective that my Pagan journey was already on.  Little did I know that I would, soon, become an instructor there.  Hearing the call of the teacher, yet terrified to actually teach... the fear of what to say to eager eyes and ears that awaited, despite knowing the material, the fear that sat centered in my throat.

My "throat chakra issues" were prominent there.  They were safe there to emerge and reveal themselves to be scared and frightened, for others to help hold that space of love and light, free of judgment, so I could purge.  And purge I did... on so many occasions, like many before and many after me, to just energetically vomit what no longer served, and yet still be loved for the demons that emerged.

Still be loved.

I was loved there.  I learned to love even deeper there.  I learned to truly embrace people as divine beings, and I let myself be embraced in return.

I found my voice there... upstairs... in a past life class... I can remember the exact placement of the bed I laid on, the people in the room, the temperature, the way the sun hit the side of the house, the way the tears came roaring out and the space I was given to release them.

I had a voice.  I brought it back.

The healings that occurred... physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually... it was continuous.  You almost couldn't walk onto the property and not feel it.  Even in the parking lot... oh the parking lot... a place that housed many memories as well.  The front steps... hours upon hours sitting there, talking, listening, loving, laughing, crying, hurting... these are all physical aspects of a place that we (collectively) immersed our energies into.  We branded it ours -- both individually and collectively -- and we shared that with others, to be witness to and to experience their own love and loss as well.

Every room has a memory... from funny moments of spilling tomato sauce on the library rug and the laughter that ensued (though the rug was later, thankfully, replaced, haha), to hard moments of secrets revealed... the Amber room...

Yes, each room has its memories... we all left something there... we all took something from there... it's strange to think that it won't be there, that there won't be this familiar representation of a place that contained our memories.  It willingly cradled them for generations, from students to instructors to clients -- it willingly gave of itself to be that container.

I remember tasting "cheese" for the first time -- not physically, and even still I simply can't explain it or due the memory justice in this simple blog.  Scraping my ankle and not mouthing a word as I sat with the silence the retreat called upon, though mouthing "ow" like a silent film star.  Or to tell the story of meeting a former past life daughter, or, the deeper story of a man who was once a former student/teacher/lover/destroyer from another lifetime... no, my personal journals cradle those memories privately.

Though it had, slowly, stopped being what it was, it was still a place to be, even when the quiet took over, it was still an entity of love.

Saying goodbye is another layer of the journey.  Yes, we hold the memories within, yes, it will live on in our hearts, but I'd rather not be so quick about getting to that place.  As I said, it's a loss, a loss to those of us who grew so much being there, who shared in the growing process of others -- the amount of heart-felt thanks for my participation in someone's healing process is one that I tenderly carry in my heart with much gratitude.  I remember those people who held my hand through my own process, who were there in the late hours to talk, to listen, to hug... being able to give back in that capacity there was a tribute to Kamala's vision.  The place simply isn't DoveStar without her.  No matter what the differences were, no matter how many times we may have stood on separate sides of the road of the same issue, she loved you unconditionally, and one can't deny what she created was a beautiful masterpiece of connection.

I don't maintain all of those connections in the same way anymore, though I hold them dearly, for they were once a major chapter in my life.  This chapter is closing.  I know what awaits on the other side, I've seen beyond the door, but I want to enjoy the momentum of beauty that this door held for so long, as well as tend to the sadness of its passing.

There is the common understanding that things "happen in three's"... for this story, this is the third ending.  It began with Gryph's death, which had shaken me a bit.  It took his death for me to understand what he offered me, and how I allowed myself to be clouded by the judgment of others and didn't fully appreciate it, or him.  He was there to create that safe space for my voice retrieval.  He did it without agenda... he did it because he recognized the cries of a scared little girl, and he knew that I was more than the fear I carried.  I never really got to thank him in this incarnation for that gift.

When Kamala passed... it was the beginning of the end.  Those who knew her, who really knew the school and the land, knew that it wouldn't survive.  It couldn't survive -- not in the way she had envisioned, because she no longer carried the torch.  There were other brilliant people to help carry it, but there was so much of her there that it was only natural that when she died, so, too the land would begin to wane.  It wasn't about upholding the vision, because, realizing the aftermath of the closing doors, the vision is being upheld by those who carry it on for her.  A great many people, myself included, who shared a common goal and lit our own torches from hers.

Now, as the announcement says, "an era has come to an end", it becomes real that it has.  It is the final phase of the dying process.  It has lived, it is dying, and soon, in some fashion, will be reborn again.  It doesn't make the process any easier, for each of us who loved it, who were loved by it and who were there, individually, exactly who we needed to be and who we were meant to be, without judgment, without agenda, without fear... we are saying goodbye to that physical piece, the physical land, the physical remembrance, the symbol of our container of memories... yet we each carry a piece of the Dove with us, forward, into our own journeys and adventures, to carry out the vision in other ways, unified by a womyn who believed in the sentiment that "healing the planet begins by healing the individual"...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Change is afoot

While in most areas of my life I feel like things are moving precisely where I want them to be, even more so, in other areas I am slightly amused at how things don't necessarily remain the same, but just stand still, like being frozen in time.  It's not circumstances around us that make it that way, but simply a choice, somewhere in the atmosphere, to remain still.  It's not a stillness of stagnation per se, though in one area I am labeling it as such, but rather a stillness of curiosity.  I'm curious where the road is, yet I'm not properly packed or prepared for it, but just waiting for it to come to me, like those walkway escalators, bizarre, but humorous.

I was emailing my spiritual mother tonight, thinking about art, thinking about painting the body once more with spiritual ink to mark the next passage in my life.  It had me look back for a moment, not deeply stuck in a time machine, but this smile of where time goes.  The days spent doing laundry and washing dishes have mindful gratitude (most of the time), then others I wonder why bother, because the larger picture beckons while the dishes and laundry can wait until later, or better, for someone else to take over.  The bigger picture comes forth in small fractions, like incomplete puzzle pieces because I've decided to shake the box up, pour out half, then put the rest away.  If a puzzle can't be made out of what's there then damn the whole thing, it wasn't meant to be put together.  I laugh at that side of myself, the eager and easily annoyed parts that want instant gratification instead of enjoying the process of true, absolute completion.  Blasted goats, we're not so great at patience, are we?

Time has been too fast lately.  It speeds when I need it to slow down, it stands still when I want it hurry up, though that's typical of our human psyches, I suppose. 

I've been taking some time this week for the more "mundane" activities while I figure out what the rest of my year is going to look like.  Some changes are afoot and while I've anticipated them for quite some time, it's in many ways, another death, though not of the human variety, but of the land, of the spirit, it's a spiritual death of release and letting go.  A theme the past year has brought to my feet.

It doesn't 'directly' affect me, but it affects the reality of my memories, of being able to access them as a physical trigger as I once was able to, or have easily taken for granted.  It's a ripping off of the bandaid, a sadness for the land, but a growth forward like all obstacles present.  Again, not 'directly' my obstacle, but I feel it, and that counts for something.

So, the hour glass moves, the sand either slow or fast, but the environment remains the same: contemplative and quiet.  I've been desperate for the quiet, but I've been enjoying the connections that keep me presently aware.  The once-Hermit status seems to be melting a bit.  It's choice, after all, and to find myself on the other side of the wall of being social is strange in this skin that hid from it easily. 

In this timeless/time-full moment(s), I am feeling the need to create.  Spider has come on more than one occasion to remind me of creation.  The weaving of the web is underway, it's birthing and spinning, I am the Web, the Web is me.  Old patterns present themselves, like teachers reminding you to do your homework, but the patterns aren't dysfunctional or stagnant, even beyond "lessons", they're just patterns.  Quilted, placed together intricately, it is its own web, it's own formation of continuity of life.  The web is flowing, the creation follows suit, the canvas beckons from miles away, sitting on a shelf, near restlessness if I don't obey, and I feel my fingers and hands getting dirty in anticipation.  When was the last time I painted?  I mean really painted?  It's not a creation of masterpiece that calls to me, but a creation of energy.  It's been painted in my mind for quite some time.  It's a project of channeling and being channeled.  I sense this is what Spider is trying to tell me...


Monday, July 12, 2010

On the table

"I throw my cards on your table" -- the inner committee is doing all of that, taking the collective cards of movement, of stagnation, of production, and throwing them, eagerly and tenderly, but mindfully, on the table... they tell me it's time to look at them, not even to put them in order, but to look at them and decide which 10 cards will I carry with me for the darker half of the year.  I'm not meant to carry the entire deck -- the deck has grown over the years, a spiritual pack rat unable to let go to sentimentality, it is looking at each of them, despite the mental exhaustion of how long it may take, and sorting. 

It's a mix of cards, varied in form and meaning from the deeply contemplative aspect to the fun, child-like innocence of purity.  This is the first time at this time of year that I'm not actually thinking of "balance".  How strange.  It's as though I came to the core of equal breath, and now, having breathed it and tasted (or rather, sampled), I don't need to swim in that ocean just yet, not this half of the year.

Tomorrow marks a month since my grandmother's crossing.  It's familiar in my heart and mind this past week, the ocean of tears opening and the permission gently granted to release has been honored, her smell familiar in my minds eye in a way that I didn't know you could have familiarity with scent without an actual, physical remembrance.  Such an interesting space to be in.

I'm feeling quite enamored with the work we're doing with the womyn's circles for the CM.  It's a purification in movement -- movement of all the subtle bodies as well as movement in the spiritual waters.  We have a great rapport, the three of us who work together in this ministry, as well as those who come and share of themselves and share with us.  It's a dream come true, this beautiful presence of being able to not only hold space for the deeper connection of self, but be part of that space, to be loving and loved, to be nurturer and nourished, to be the supporter and be supported.  Perhaps that's why I don't feel the need to consume myself with questions and endless discussions of inner balance -- I am experiencing it on this level which has profound effects. 

Last week, in an attempt to keep my insanely organized self happy, I decided to go through my old journals.  It consisted of pulling them all out of the bookshelf, dusting them off, looking at the covers, then putting them back in... I didn't know if I wanted to go "there".  One of the things I like to do as a journal is coming to an end is look at the prior journal, specifically a year later to see where I was at this time.  Somehow, it didn't seem important, not yet at least, to see where I was then, so much as where I was before then.  There was one journal in particular calling me, and I held it in my hand, wondering what treasures I filled inside, all the while being pulled in the direction of one particular entry towards the beginning... it's an entry I'm not comfortable sharing with the outside world -- not yet at least.  It's a verbal painting of my dark self, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't even know I was in that state at that time.  I hadn't realized how deep I went into that cavern of depression, because I wasn't fully immersed in it, I simply checked in for a short visit, but seeing, in retrospect, the actual pain I was in... I really don't know why it surprises me.

It is by far one of the best pieces of my writing to date.  It is completely raw, completely.  I didn't know I could get that honest with myself in that state of mind.  I could taste the pain, I could feel the fear, I could smell the shame... words are incredibly powerful, yes, but when you're not actually in that state of mind or that energy field, it's eye-opening.  That dark side, the "depression" (it's not a word I like much, and my choice to not use it often isn't fear-based, but rather out of the distaste it tends to, inaccurately, represent), is a constant juggling act.  I find that I am naturally in tune with my shadow side, sometimes too eager to jump in and allow myself to be consumed because I forgot basic safety measures like anchoring or utilizing the assistance of my guides because some parties in the inner committee wish to be absorbed in those waves.  Each day the layers make sense; the older I get the natural hue of innocence changes form and my ability to see things more clearly adapt as a result.  Sometimes they're clearer, other times masked by resistance. 

It's shocking, to some degree, to see that, then, who I was, that pain, the pain that is a familiar memory, but not the story of my Now.  I stare at a blank canvas, instead of the block that stands in fear, I sense the colors emerging onto the board before hands can touch... incredibly cool!


Monday, June 14, 2010

"I realize then, that the hardest part will always be leaving..."

I have been playing this song in my head for the past three weeks.  Unable to actually listen to it until today, it has both haunted and healed me, but today it breaks me, into tiny pieces, spread all over the floor, waiting (hoping) to be crumpled upon, so I don't really have to feel, so I don't have to actually think, so my breath doesn't have to be mine.  Every lyric, every word, every tremor of speech... it may not be about the same person, but it is of the same theme... "Goodnight, Goodbye"... all I can see now, burned into my brain and the back of my eyes, is my grandmother, laying on her bed, gone.  She crossed the veils yesterday morning... her pain is gone, her spirit free...

It has felt like months since the diagnosis... yet, it hasn't even been a month.  I knew it would be fast, but "knowing" and actually internalizing the true realization are two completely different emotions.  I was naive to think that I knew better, that I knew differently, but I was shut down, engrossed in a pain that I couldn't express, drowning in anger and fear when really, the truth was, I was scared.  And now... now she is no longer with us, no longer gasping for breaths that we take so easily for granted; no longer struggling to swallow food that we mindlessly ingest; no longer watching the pained faces of her loved ones staring back at her, having thoughts she never quite shared with us, her own internal process I may always find curious... the same questions plague me as before -- was she scared, was she aware these were her last breaths, did she have regrets, was she lonely... did she feel mindfully ready?  It is the last blood mystery, the last of the mysteries that I admit I don't know enough about, that I'm scared to learn more...

I can't breathe with this song playing... it tortures me, but it's hard to say that it tortures me in ways that makes me remember her in a way that I don't want to forget.  We gifted each other with a soulful experience that I took for granted in her waking hours.  It hit me towards the end of her days.  I bottled the anger, stored it for later, and when her diagnosis came, I cracked it open, spreading it around me, like poison, not realizing it was completely fear-based.  I didn't want to see it as fear.  I didn't care.  I needed to process through the hurt, for the less-than-love that I wanted, that I felt, and now, knowing she is gone, it's like the badly spoken "better late than never" that you realize what you had.

It may have not been what I "wanted", and it may have been compared to others unfairly, but she loved me tremendously... all the memories of how she treated me shifted in her finals weeks, I didn't carry the pain, but I was afraid to cradle the memories, it felt like too much responsibility, I didn't want to look at my role in this...

"I'm sorry for all the times
I was selfish and unkind
All these years that I've had with you and this is what I'm left with
With the closing of your eyes
All these things clog up my mind
But the only thing we said was that which mattered most"

I saw my selfishness, too little, too late.  I looked at her, laying on that bed, as though she were still sleeping, and I saw what I didn't do... the gift of my daughter, this precious Bodhisattva that brings joy to all she meets, and I didn't share her, not until the very end, because I was hurt, I was angry, and my grandmother didn't have that, she didn't have the final years of her life embraced in this precious beauty because of my unkindness.  My karma, my guilt, my fear, my pain.  I can't take it back, not here, and a piece of me is forever broken for it.

The last words we said to each other, I didn't even understand.  She said something to me, and I tried to translate it in my mind, but I didn't know.  I could have asked my mother to translate, to tell me what these last words between us would be, but I didn't, and I kicked myself inside the whole ride home, thinking I would have another chance to find out... but I didn't.  In some ways I imagine I didn't need to know so much as need to be there, to hold her hand, to actually tell her, sincerely, that I did love her, to energetically transmit to her that the pain was gone, between us, that I wasn't poisoning the room with it, that I put it on a shelf to examine later, but my own role, not hers, not a past that is no longer here... I think I did that.  I hope I did.

I had spoken with Lama Willa and she shared with me a practice the Tibetans do when someone is dying -- to imagine their benefactors above their head, sending the dying person a wish of love.  I did that when I was there, when she was still alive, and how it affected me was something I couldn't begin to imagine.  That love, given to her by her benefactors, became my love too, once again transmitted through the bloodline, and another layer of pain was healed.

I couldn't speak yesterday when I spoke with the hospice nurse.  The emotions hitting me faster than I could contain, I called my spiritual mother to vomit all the words I couldn't say to anyone else about this.  I stopped breathing, needing to be reminded to breathe, the breaths were painful...

The living days she had, before the diagnosis, were lonely.  She was alone.  We made sure of that.  We can't take all the blame... I don't want there to be blame... we chose the roles we played, each of us; each of us too stubborn to let go of what had been said, what had been done, content with our decisions, and when we knew she was dying, yes, we put it aside and came to her bedside, but as my father said so matter-of-factly, it was "too little, too late".

I was haunted by that statement of his, turning the mirror, realizing it was true, though.  Did it take her dying to bring us to her bedside?  Would we have really come otherwise?  Would we have held onto our own ego-clinging bullshit?  I haven't appreciated her life enough, I haven't appreciated the realization that she is the last living maternal bloodline... I didn't appreciate the stories of my ancestry she could share, the stories of life and love and, yes, even pain that traveled through the blood... I won't ever have those moments again, not in the way I want, beyond the scope of ancestral spirit work, yes, I understand that, but I'm talking about this physical realm, which naturally intermixes the spirit world ("if we allow it" I hear my spirit guides whisper)...

"With the lights still off
I study your frail body
And what all these living days has left you with
With your breath across the room
And my hand upon the door
I realize then, that the hardest part will always be leaving..."

I held her hand, waiting for her to wake up, knowing she was already pronounced hours before, knowing I couldn't get there in time, knowing the last breaths I heard was on the phone in the background, the last sounds I will ever hear her mutter, but awake she didn't...

As my mother held her hand, I cleared her aura, then holding her hand I prayed, prayed to White Tara, over and over.  Certainly not the number of mantras suggested, but it was with heart-felt intention that I held that space and simply prayed.  Then, she felt gone.

The funeral home came, and we each said our goodbyes.  It didn't feel like that would be the very last moment I would see her.  It doesn't feel like that was the last moment.  Her hands curled, her fingers cold, her body relaxed... I apologized to her, for the pain we both endured, for my selfishness, for not seeing, in my adult years, the actual love that existed.

We left shortly after the funeral home took her away.  We're planning to all be there tomorrow, in her home once more, this time without her, to go through her life.  Like a small child, I want to throw myself to the ground and say "I don't want to go", because it will be hard to be there, without her there, in her home.  But I know I need to go, for her, for my family, for me... to carefully tend to the antiques she lovingly adored all these years; to laugh at the way she used to hide things in little bags everywhere, or the many many tissues that lay crumpled around "just in case" -- a habit I have taken from her as well.  We'll share memories, such as the crystal bowl she used to make her famous celery salad, or the memorabilia from the Copley where she once worked...

I have withdrawn from everyone, attempting to hold onto some thread of connection, some thread that reminds me to not dwell in the darkened cavern that is my easy escape.  It's not easy, to remember life in the midst of mourning.  It's not easy, to have complete gratitude for breath when others have ceased breathing.  It's not easy, to cry when the well feels empty, and when your heart tells you you can't cry anymore. 

It's hard to imagine that I won't be seeing her face again, to hear her laugh, to hear her sigh or that sound she made when she was surprised by anything...  instead, now, it will have to be in my memory, where I cradle those who have crossed over less than a year ago, filling my heart with both joy and pain, the tenderness of my heart is fragile, and, much like my grandmother's collection of porcelain figurines, I feel delicate.

Now, now I look at my daughter and see my grandmother.  My grandmother left the legacy of our matriarchal bloodline of our past, my daughter the future who carries it forward... yesterday I was pleased to remember that I captured one more photo of my grandmother, with my daughter, the bridge between the past and future.  I am grateful that the last photo I have is one of her smiling, where just hours before she appeared to be on her way to the other side when I said that Nimue would be coming to visit the next day.  Her color slowly changed, her eyes slowly opened, and my brother looked relieved when he said that he believed seeing Nimue has given her something to live for.  It was a great moment to witness them together, so natural, despite the language barrier, they were there together in love.

Nimue had gone up to my grandmother during the visit, while the hospice nurse was talking to all of us about her meds, and she slipped between us all and went to my grandmother's bed, held her hand and said "I had to come and see you, to say goodbye, before you left to be with the Goddess."  I remember the tears filling my heart then, as it does now, and reminded of what my daughter told me yesterday after I told her that my Abuela was gone... "We love her very much, that's what we have to hold in our hearts." -- from the brilliant light of a 4-year-old Bodhisattva. 

I feel my first breaths starting to release...


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your blood, my blood.

My grandmother is in the hospital.  It's pancreatic cancer.  It seems silly to say that we don't know how "bad" it is, but we don't know, yet, how "bad" it is.  It appears to be "bad".  Bad.  A three-letter word we give so much immense power to.  A little fucking word that is so large, so dangerous, so scary. 

I'm not sure how I'm feeling about this.  I'm feeling disconnected, confused, out-of-body, out of the moment... my grandmother is the only grandparent I have ever known, the only living grandparent I have, but our relationship in my lifetime has been, well, "challenging" seems like a more polite way to put it, but suffice to say that I was never her favorite.  I reminded her too much of my father -- a compliment to me, an insult to her.  She adores my brother, the first-born and her godson, he was her everything.  When my mother became pregnant with me, there was some drama surrounding the family dynamic at that time between my grandmother and father, to the point where, I'm told, she cursed me in the womb, wishing me death.  Sounds so dramatic as I type it out, but isn't it interesting the power of words and intention, for my mother's pregnancy was a difficult with me, close to losing me, intermingling moments of the intended "curse" to coincide with past life karma, my umbilical cord was wrapped around my throat -- born into the world with throat chakra issues, sometimes I forget how long it traveled to attach to me.

By the time my sister was born my grandmother had more of a presence in our family, but still, in some ways I became a reminder of that time that she was separated from my mother in what she believes was entirely my father's fault.  It's characteristic of how we tend to hold onto hurt and continue to hurt others because of the pain we endure.

I have some good memories with her -- though as an adult I find them harder to bring to the surface of my mind.  Instead I remember days where she was rude to me, where she yelled at me, where she blatantly favored my brother and sister over me, where she tried to convince my mother to get rid of us... "ungrateful" is a word I recall her using in that situation.

Still... she's my grandmother.  The only one I have ever known.  I haven't 'forgiven' her those moments, I've just let them be.  Whether it's character building or just the understanding that it's a "generational" thing, it doesn't much matter when you choose to let it go.  I let it go and over the years didn't have much contact with her. 

She's the first one in my family to be sick.  To be this sick.  Last year I said goodbye to three people... it was the first time I really processed through death, or at least began the process of understanding death from this realm.  It's not to say that I haven't had relatives die, I have, but they have all been in Chile.  In some innocent, child-like way I see them as "not here" vs gone in the way we know people to be, physically, from this world.

I didn't know how to feel when I heard about my grandmother.  Sorry.  Sorry that anyone has to go through any kind of suffering.  Sorry that one day without notice you are handed a diagnosis that can rattle anyone to their core. 

She doesn't want treatment.  The fact is, she has lost her will to live a long time ago.  I'm not surprised to hear this.  I'm not.  I figured as much.  She is ready to die, anyone can see that, it's clear when you're in her presence. 

She went into the hospital on Wednesday night, got the call Thursday morning and by the afternoon I had gone in with my father to go visit her.  I didn't know what to expect, how she would look, how I would even feel, but I knew it was important to be there sooner rather than later, so I went.

I wasn't prepared for what I saw.  This womyn, this womyn laying on the bed, fragile, somewhat broken even, thin, scared, and yellow... incredibly yellow.  A yellow that I didn't know people could turn.  The whites of her eyes were gone, replaced by another shade of yellow, a shade that even lightened her brown eyes.  Her temperature hot, her blood pressure incredibly low... here was the womyn who loved me less, who cared for me less, who preferred others to me... yet, here was a womyn, in pain, in fear, in loss... that was the womyn I was visiting.  I didn't feel attached -- not in the way that seems cold, but in the way that I felt called to be there in service, not as a grandchild, but as someone who would hold the hand of anyone in this kind of pain, in this kind of terror, it was the way I knew how to be there in that moment.

I held her hand, asked of she wanted Reiki, and she did, so I sat and cleared the channels, opened myself up to allowing the healing, in whatever form she most needed, to flow, without ego, just love.  Just love.

I told her to close her eyes and just breathe, that's all she had to do, and she nodded and rested as best as she could.  The pain was there, so heavy, so torturous, and clearly very large.  She began to shake as I began to feel the pressure rise and rise.  Then, at one point, it simply stopped.  Her shaking stopped, the heat and the pain stopped.  I opened my eyes to look at her and saw tears.  "Bien", she had said.  Good.  The pain was gone.  For a moment, it was gone.  And I held her hand as she spoke to me in Spanish, a language I no longer translate in my mind, but let her speak, in hope that even if I didn't understand, maybe it was just important to let her speak, without understanding, just presence.  It was the only gift I knew how to give in that moment.

I held her hand, she squeezed mine tight, tears filling her eyes, fear felt all over the room, like old wallpaper that never quite leaves... and I looked at her, squeezed her hand tight in return, and said "Don't be afraid, Abuela... don't be afraid."  It wasn't me.  It wasn't even my guides.  This was all channeled for her.  It was her message, her guides, her key to this next phase, whatever this next phase was, to just hear it.  Despite the language barrier, she understood, tears rising once more, then a deep breath as she shook her head.  Yes, she understood.  Whatever it meant, whoever it came from, she understood, and in that moment I looked at her, this fragile womyn, and something became so very clear:

She's my mother's mother.  My daughter's great-grandmother... her blood is my blood.  No matter our differences, no matter how she treated me, no matter these memories of pain and sadness and the realization of her being one of the teachers in my life who I believed convinced me that I couldn't be loved... we shared the same blood. 

We share the same blood.

That was a profound moment for me.  I was there to be of service to the Realm of Ancestors.  It wasn't about me in that moment to wonder about old pains.  It's not to deny them or not validate them, no, that's a later piece for me to work on.  She can't help me with that, that much I am clear on.  Bringing that pain there, the anger, the hurt of how I believed I wasn't worthy of the same love, that's not something I plan to give her to take with her into the next life.  She has her own karma to carry, whether this piece is a natural part of it or not, that's not for me to decide or dissect. 

There's so much attached to this moment, to the "what comes next" phase that feels so cold, so calculated.  But, in this capacity, we must "plan" as best we can.  For her, for my mother, for each other.  What comes next, we all hold it in our minds with baited breath.  We know.  We taste it.  Not just of my grandmother's illness, the fact that she won't fight, or rather, won't fight to live in this realm with this pain, but instead fight to hold onto a choice that she can only hope will be honored, without battle.

No, what comes next is another level of pain that we haven't had to visit in some time.  It's a pain I understand, but I don't know how we are going to deal with it.  How does one prepare?  How does one prepare when most are already tired of fighting?  How does one prepare when the story you think you have finally put to a close has come back, reprinted for another generation, yet, it's not a new generation at all, but the same generation, just older, wiser (?), but tired.  Tired of fighting for someone who won't even fight for themselves.  What do you do with that?

Yes, it's rushing the gun.  It's thinking too far ahead, like being a cheap fortune teller who predicts an outcome that you're now convinced is true, while ignoring life all around -- the *now* of life.  This present moment. 

I'm in the present, and I'm not.  I'm in the pain, and I'm not.  I'm in the fear, and I'm not.  Not yet. 

How do I process through this?  With deep breaths.  That's all I can do, that's all I can handle for this moment.  I have so many questions in my mind, so many things that I am processing through, and yet, trying to make room for the rest as well.  It weighs heavy on my chest.

It feels like a wave...


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vibrant releases

I'm still riding the wave of Beltane, which is one of my two favorite Sabbats (the other being, what naturally seems to be most Witches favorite, Samhain).  I think, if I reflect for a moment on years past, that every week before Beltane I am in sort of a rush and haze of mental energy.  So much to do, feeling pulled in different directions, then it ceases and relaxes at Beltane, as it did this time.  Clarity, such clarity that birthed from the collective vibration of lovers energy... it's beginning, a different essence of beginnings than even Ostara brings, but a beginning that feels almost innocently open... it's delicious and new, flirty and seductive, raw, even... this time of year brings a connected dance... like a web...

My web has been cleared of too many threads and they have easily and simply fallen away.  No emotions attached to them, just time for their release, understanding that not all webs last forever, each web spins anew, as it should.  New, renewed, birth, construction, death, resurrection... the webs don't, currently, consist of many strands in the way they once had, with many obligations, some spiraling off into new forms without my acute awareness.  No, this time it's clear, so vibrantly silver, sturdy strands, spun with intention.  Formless yet beautifully crafted... it speaks volumes to what I am birthing and what no longer has space in my world.

Our second womyn's circle is coming up this weekend and the ritual was inspired and adapted from both a ritual I had done with another womyn's circle, but also the works of Shekhinah Mountainwater, whose work was inspirational and continues to inspire me from the veil.  I'm excited for it.  Not just as one who is assisting in the facilitation, but as one who will experience the dance from all perspectives; holding space within and on the perimeter while being able to share in the experience with all sorts of womyn... it's the building of community, something I have envisioned and wanted for this area for quite some time.

Vacation is less than a month away... a nice week in the mountains, connecting to Earth, to all things natural and peaceful, away from daily distractions, and just reconnecting, recharging and simply being.  I'm really looking forward to it.  It rained half the time we were there last time, that whole crazy month of rain we saw during the summer last year, but it was such a welcoming rain, such a peaceful rain, smelled so tranquil.  The whole place was tranquil.  I spent a short hour at the top of the mountain, looking at the mystery of the clouds, the century-old tales the many trees had to share... it was much too short, but when you're surrounded by people afraid of heights, being at the top of the mountain isn't necessarily a place you'll end up staying for long.

TempleFest will be happening the day after we leave, but I will be driving back for the day to offer a children's workshop and be one of the two representatives for the Cancer Ministry.  I struggled with the decision to be present or not, because I really wanted to take this time for myself and my family, but this is also an important area that I am working towards; a calling that I have heard loud and clear and am devoting much of my creative efforts to Priestess.  On the other hand, I really did/do want to be there, at the festival, and since it's been changed from a weekend to a one-day event, I feel content about my decision to be there.  It will be nice to gather with all the different ministries since I haven't seen most of them since the leadership retreat.

I've added a project for the home to be completed before we go.  It's the side of the Capricorn that tells me beginning a project will be a good thing, while the shady/rebellious side mocks with hideous laughter knowing that with the short time and the many things to complete before I go, that us dear Goats aren't prone to "finishing".  However, while I do recognize that it's simply a characteristic "trait" and not necessarily the foundation in which all Capricorns are judged... it's sometimes necessary to have an outsource to place (playful) "blame" on.

The releases, though, the ones that have shifted in vibration, they're clear, clear and somewhat (sometimes) off in the horizon, awaiting full purging.  I haven't "purged" this year.  Not like in years past.  I'm really taking this week to identify if it's simply unnecessary to have such a dramatic purge as years prior, or, if I'm still subconsciously holding on.

My gut says "yes"... it's holding on... I know what it is.  It's the "invisibility cloak" if you will (perhaps my subconscious is begging for another reread of Harry Potter, ha!)... I'm becoming so present... it's another shift... one that just happens... one that has happened... my consciousness is just catching up... somewhat willingly... somewhat met with resistance...


Thursday, April 15, 2010

One wild & precious life...

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -- Mary Oliver

I read this quote this morning that really captivated me.  In the sequence of emotional memory and energetic breakthroughs, today this quote wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket.  It's comforting, asked in a non-threatening or scary way.  I'm not scared by this, per se, but I am intrigued, and, if I am to admit honestly, a bit perplexed (with a hint of scared)... what will I do with this one wild and precious life?

My inner dialogue has been fast-paced and working overtime.  It's making up for the lack of disciplined journaling that I am used to, or even the sporadic touches of online blogging.  I think there has been a little fear in committing thought to paper, this essence of a semi-permanent nature to hold outside of myself.  But the journaling is a life-line.  I can't be without it.  It is the sacred vessel that holds my inner being.  There is some attachment there, as the vehicle for release, the vehicle which I don't allow others an opportunity to take the steering wheel and drive.  It's an aspect of my controlling nature I choose not to release... release, that word has particular resonance with me this week... this month.

Jonathan and Amy have crossed my mind a lot this week.  It's odd that after all these years of not caring about "American Idol" I find myself watching it week after week, thinking of Jonathan, how he loved his Tuesday nights making fun or loving the contestants.  I won't hear him rave/complain about them anymore.  His darkness... I will, perhaps, forever shake my head at what could have been.  Then again, if you're in that darkness, you can't see ahead, except the illusion (which becomes a near-fostered reality) of an even denser darkness.  It's suffocating.  I can't say that I don't understand why he did it, because I do, but it's our loss.  He's gone, from this physical realm, except for the memories that those of us who loved him carry with us... it's not visceral though.  Not the way I would want it to be.

When I think of Jonathan, it's only natural to think of Amy, who died less than a week later.  One life taken with awareness, the other without.  Chad's upcoming release of his new record brings to the forefront of my mind of just how much we'd be emailing each other right now in joyful anticipation.  Now I listen to his songs for the both of us in some ways.  Stepping foot into Tupelo, the last place we saw each other, the last time we hugged, it's painful.  It brings it all back.  It brings too much of it back.  Too much loss... is there ever an amount of loss that is acceptable?  Such silliness that flows out of our mouths...

So, naturally, this quote, this one wild and precious life... what is my plan?  The gut instinct simply says, matter of fact, "none".


I don't tend to make plans.  I grew up not making plans.  You don't make plans when you're not sure what you're future holds.  You feel defeated by the anguish of the inner world you're enveloped in, and while there are moments of light, moments of aspirations and desires, for some, like myself at that tender age, it wasn't enough to foster plans. 

I've been thinking a lot about that time, of the darkness, specifically when it began.  I was a happy child.  As a middle child I had any "Jan Brady" moments of sibling rivalry, but overall my childhood was happy, filled with memories of fun times. 

When did the darkness creep in?  Or, when did I stop choosing to embrace myself in light?  Those years... it feels like medieval times now, to think of when that was.  So long ago, yet still fresh in the mind in many ways.  I don't want to forget those times.  I also don't want to convince myself that it's a pattern of return.  Things emerge, like a spiral, but you're never in that same place twice as you might believe you are.  Turning the mirror: I am never in the same place twice...  ::breathe::

I was listening to a song yesterday that brought up the mixture of darkness and the impermanence of life.  It brings it back to this question of the one wild and precious life... I love how it rolls off the tongue, full of mystery and excitement, yet profound, simplistically, but powerfully, true.  One life.  One wild life.  One precious life.  Just one... just one.

Irregardless of our thoughts of reincarnation, it's present moment awareness of what this moment has to bring.  It's the rhythmic tales and myths of the perpetual to-do list that has no true meaning or reflection of life.  Dirty dishes, laundry, organization... is this what we're going to look back as the pivotal aspects of our lives when we're drawing in our last breath?  Will we, then, have actual regret of what wasn't "planned", or more importantly, what wasn't "lived"? 

It reminded me of the Japanese Wabi Sabi.  How I love that word!  But, I also love the idea behind it.  As a former artist (I feel content to say that even though I feel like I am a creative being and an artist of life, that the "former artist" in me speaks more to the chapter of my life that began the healing process of my dark days), I love imperfections.  I do.  Imperfections are beautifully perfect to.  They're unique and divine, in ways that aren't characteristically 'normal' of our vision of perfection. 

I'm intrigued by the three realities of wabi-sabi: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.  I may disagree with the last reality, because I have adapted a very different point of view of perfection, but the first two ring true for me in this moment.

I've been thinking about the various things on my plate.  I've been thinking about where I want to really, truly, lend my energies to, and there are areas in which I know it would be best if I pulled back, so that I can be connected to that passionate essence I feel has been missing in this particular area.  I've been given an opportunity to explore these thoughts and questions in the flesh, and it has helped in clarity (awareness), but now comes the choice.

Next week I plan to be offline to participate in the No Impact Project's carbon cleanse week.  While I know I probably won't be doing everything to the extreme, this is about having mindfulness of what my footprint really looks like as well as taking this time to create the shifts that I have been wanting to create, as well as strengthen any that have already taken place.  I can see areas in my life where I can serve to be less wasteful, and I'm looking forward to having the week to explore that further.

It's not mandatory to be offline, that is simply something I wanted to do to help create a bigger impact (or less of an impact!) as well as get in touch with the roots of what I have been missing -- natural connection.  The cyber realm offers much in connection that I actually do enjoy, because I feel like my stronger points are through the written word versus the spoken word, but I know I have this natural tendency to withdraw and get lost in work.  Great work, work of the spirits, but still, when you're 'using' it as a way to disconnect, there is no connection there in the way that I would want.

It will also be nice to not worry about what "has" to get done, but just disconnecting in a blissful way.  I'm looking forward to writing more, reading, spending time with my daughter and not having to play the balancing act. 

Somehow I feel this is all connected -- doing the carbon cleanse, looking at life, looking at waste, both as a physical aspect that harms the Mother, but also how the metaphysical symptoms of the same waste creates a discordance within myself.  It's a cleanse, yes, but it's also a good time for personal retreat. 

My altar has been shifted to reflect the season, and while there are some other minor shifts that I would like to create on the altar for my studies with the Temple, it has a happy vibe to it, so I'm flowing with it now and allowing it to shift as needed.  Funny how I can be less controlling and have a partnership with my altar and yet in other areas I sometimes forget the gifts of equality...


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the dark, in the rain

Staring at a blank page is equivalent to an artist staring at a blank canvas: it can be thrilling at times, but mostly, from my perspective, it can be terrifying.  The spinning wheels in your mind become blank, despite all of the inner dialogue that generally creeps in... you're having this conversation with yourself, inside of yourself, immune to the outer world around you, whether it's momentary or not, it ceases to exist for that moment in time (non time), and you're in it... you're in the dark.

Darkness has so many relative associations, I won't begin to bore anyone with where it comes from, the distinctions between "good" and "bad", functional and dysfunction, wanted or unwanted... it's just darkness.  If we start from there, from some sort of uniquely neutral void, it is nothing: no-thing.  Grasping that piece is rather strange in some ways.  I see it hanging in a gallery, almost self-indulgent at times, humorous mostly, like the outcast of the abstract world.

The world around me is complaining about rain.  I'm not sure if I can read one more statement of how "awful" it is or how someone is sick of it.  It's common thread to complain about rain, common thread to enjoy and embrace sunshiny days.

I love the rain.  I can recall last summer there was a good solid month of nothing but rain.  I believe it was otherwise known as June.  It rained.  Just rained.  All month.  I don't recall much about potential flooding in the way that we're experiencing it now in New England, but there was a ton of rain, and the complaints never stopped.  I found it beautiful -- the rain that is -- it was breathtakingly peaceful.  I can recall the one sunny day we had and the journey to the top of the mountain and breathing in Gaia's miraculous energy.  It was beautiful, and the rain the day after was just as lovely.

I'm at home in the rain.  It's like a shield of comfort.  The thing is, I'm too comfortable in it.  Retreating to my inner cave is of such ease, it's terrifying at times, to easily jump back into old comforts, away from the world, away from everything.

I've been continuing to work on the receiving love meditations... today... I wanted to free myself of the ego-clinging that came up and stand in the rain and wash it away... but I didn't.  The more I sat in the meditation, the harder I found it to actually breathe.  All of this stuff, rising to the surface.  My mitra said this would happen, that there would be times where things would come up and it would be difficult, and I was as prepared for that as anyone could be.  It's generally what happens when you begin to work with and heal shadow aspects of self.  Still, in the moment it arises preparation means nothing except to say that your naivety at times is faulty.

I listened to the rain, in sync and so oddly connected to my emotions: slow and drippy as I contemplated where this was coming from; faster, yet quiet as the connection of what it was became clearer; pounding against the window in furry as it came so fast, like my insides could drown in an instant.

That was scary.

I have to say that I haven't felt that way, that sort of deep, dark depressive moment in quite some time.  I'm trying not to think of the when so much as to remind myself to not run away from the moment out of deep discomfort and despair, but also not be in it in a way that I'm allowing it to live me.  It reminds me of what Lama John says about the breath: to not breathe the breath, but instead allow the breath to breathe you.  This feels the same in some ways.  It speaks to me more about allowance vs control.  I don't want to control the thoughts that arise, I want to understand them.

The rain helps with that.  It's like survival at times.  Today it's dark.  I'm dark.  I'm dark in a non-destructive way, but I'm dark.  In the darkness, in the rain, in the uneasy breath, not quite scared, but on edge.  Nervous.

It sounds so... intense when actual words are associated with feelings.  My level of being scared or nervous isn't quite the same as someone else, nor should it.  If we stop generalizing terms for everyone then the uniqueness of what we express would then fill a gallery with impressive art.  I like art.  I love how the story can change from one brushstroke to the next.  I want words to be the same.  Not this generic brand.

Maybe I'm just too picky.

I'm reflecting outside of myself.  I'm distracted.  I don't want to go to the darkness.  Even today, when I was knee-deep in it, I walked away.  I distracted myself.  Completely conscious of what I was doing, I elected to not be in it.  I elected to hold on instead of clear and transmute.  Why?

I was scared.  From an emotional standpoint, not at all intellectual, I was scared.  Intellectually I know stepping into that darkness doesn't mean I will immerse myself so deeply as to become depressed again.  It's been a couple of years since I have experienced that darkness to that deep of a degree.  But when you're feeling it, when your emotional body is screaming at you that it's in pain, intellect gets pushed aside, and you become a warrior, fighting for life... my inner dialogue reads that as "fighting for light".


That was a powerful recognition.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"You're calling to me, I can't hear what you've said"

I'm extremely captivated by that line tonight.  A wonderful Cyndi Lauper song, it brings back some of the best and worst times of my inner world.  Music has that amazing capability to not only be a time traveling device, but a present moment mechanism that makes you leave the world behind for the duration of that song and sit centered in whatever the memory brings.  I've been in a "shuffle" of time travel this week, bringing back mostly fun and intoxicating memories of a time that feels so alien, in wonderful ways, but the occasional reminder of old pains surfaces, telling new (remembered) tales of when, and the image on the other side of the mirror is brilliant -- she is neither past, present, nor future, she simply is.  What power to simply BE.

This has been an incredible month of doing and being.  Each month this year has been an amazing transformation through time.  It's like a fine tightrope of linear awareness -- extremely fine threads, right in the center, and either side is a vast world of non-linear gravity.  Go too fast or spend too much time contemplating, you fall off, and the world accelerates at a time you don't recognize because you're not in that time, which is all the same to you, completely fine, but in this physical realm we have those moments where linear awareness is so key.  I sometimes lose sight of that key.  I like to hide it under the rug, make childish faces at it and do things from the comfort of my non-linear world.  Though I do feel I have good 'balance' in general there, however as I am quite often known for stating simply that I don't feel that I have truly grasped a true understanding of what "balance" actually means (to me), then this statement seems contradictory.  Playfully though... my mind feels like a paradox of strangeness this evening.

Last year I removed a few projects on my plate because it was too much.  I didn't have the time to devote to them, so I released them without attachment thinking I was doing something "good".  The truth is, I didn't want to reveal to myself that those particular projects, though all quite functional endeavors, were things I really didn't have heart in.  I don't know why I didn't want to admit that to myself.  We dip our feet in many pools of life, the water isn't conducive all the time, and that's OK.  I guess I just wanted to be invested in those projects more.

Then again, that was a different year.  I was needing to let go in order to Be so that I could then be open.  This year?  Feels like nearly double of what I let go of... and I am pretty excited about each and every one of them.  They are interconnected, and I feel like the general challenge that has been presented is one that I feel, with this intense knowing in my body, that it will clear itself -- well, that I will help clear it. 

The subject line is quite fitting for what has been surfacing this month.  My hearing has changed -- the internal hearing aspect that is.  I've made myself deaf on occasion to what has surfaced, other times allowing small portions to filter through.  Surprisingly, this hasn't been at all associated with fear, but is a result from anger.

The anger has been functional.  Sounds strange to speak of "functional" anger, but it has been.  It's active, it's moving, moving out, moving through, but being in motion.  This is important.  It hadn't moved in a while.  It grew, it hibernated, it slithered, but it didn't leave.  I wouldn't let it.  It was my prisoner, much like fear (which is all connected), and I wanted to keep it here, where I convinced myself it was safe, but it was out of not wanting to let go.

The receiving love meditation that I have been working on has been bringing up this sort of fragmented piece of anger.  It's not true anger, but it's not to say it's illusion, it's just a piece, dusty, dirtied, no longer functional, but stagnant, like chipped paint on the walls. 

I can't begin to describe how amazing these meditations are.  They have been painful, making me want to crawl out of my skin, feeling the anger move around like an unpleasant serpent under my skin... but it has been amazing.  To give myself permission to release is such a gift.  I did a lot of releasing over the years, transforming and transmuting, then I slowed down my conscious efforts after becoming a mother.  I think like any new parent your focus becomes centered on your child, but the disservice to yourself becomes a disservice to your child as well, and I found myself back at the beginning in some ways.  Joyfully back at the beginning, perhaps using it as an excuse to continue my role as "perpetual student", but the beginner's mind is one I have always treasured.

Went to the Temple's Ostara ritual and really had a wonderful time.  It was so wonderful to see so many people there, both regular members and newcomers, who were there to not only celebrate, but build in community.  There is something so different about this process of what Christopher and the Temple are doing.  It feels different.  I'm honored to be part of the work.

He felt led to start a spiral dance during the ritual and it was powerful.  Doing that and the chanting combined was such a powerful raise in energy, makes me want to do spiral dances more often!  I've participated in a couple of other spiral dances, but this one was larger and it just felt so pure. 

We pulled eggs after our journey with runes on them.  I didn't look at mine until I got home.  I wanted to sit with the energy and tune myself to what I thought the rune might be.  I don't work with runes, have been drawn to them for many many years, having a beautiful experience with them when I was in Sweden after my high school graduation and a womyn was there selling some from a street cart amongst several doing the same on this busy street, and her energy just made me stop.  I came over and looked at the runes and we briefly chatted about nothing really, but I remember picking out one, looking at her, and she held my hand and it was the first time I can remember feeling energy to the degree that I did.

The rune?  Ansuz.

The rune I pulled at Ostara?  Ansuz.

I wanted to focus on heart-centered clearing and awareness for the ritual, but when the water came my way, I found myself charging and purifying my throat.  No surprise there as I have had throat chakra issues over the years, but I was surprised to see the throat come up again.  Ansuz is very throat centered: communication, wisdom, truth... I read somewhere that it is the balance (ha, there's that word again!) between spiritual and physical existence.  Interesting, and fitting.

It is associated with Air, and in the meditation I heard Air literally telling me to "get up".  "Get up" and go to the center to the altar and choose a rune.  The synchronicity of events is always treasured.  This rune comes at a perfect time as the utilization of my throat (in all its forms) is needing to come together for several, collective, endeavors.  I'm open.  It's flowing and connecting, and tonight had a moment to connect with the root chakra for some release and recognition of a piece I didn't realize I was still attached to.

In reflecting back at the subject... it's not that I "can't" hear what is being said, it's been a choice.  The throat, the voice, it is hearing as well as speaking.  The thing about vibrations is that while it may begin in one place, it doesn't mean it's centered in that area.  It travels, much like Ansuz is traveling through my core being.

Blessed Ostara... may we embrace balance and become more awakened with each spring day.