Friday, April 29, 2011

Coming Undone - "Washing the Rice"...

During the time span of being sick for over two weeks, and really sitting with the emotional (and psychological) aspects that came up from a diagnosis with Bell's Palsy that had me feeling far different than the image being reflected to me in the mirror, I knew the overall message was to rest, and why I chose not to listen before it came to the rollercoaster that was delivered isn't entirely revealed to me, yet.

The (acknowledgement) of the cold came first.  A minor but stubborn, foggy head and germs invaded my system, leaving me feeling strange and emotional, as my colds tend to leave me, but the numbness and partial facial paralysis was something I couldn't prepare myself for.  To feel yourself change while everyone around you sees nothing different reminds me of my days out of high school, following the call of the Goddess more deeply and sensing that my overall being was entirely different, yet I remained looking the same to others who knew me well -- or so it would seem.

I felt different, I felt numb... and I panicked.  I have spent about half of my life dancing the shadow dance, mostly leading on the dance floor, other times allowing my dance partner to rule, stomping on my toes, belittling my efforts, and convincing me that my efforts were worthless -- the dance of depression that is often felt and very seldom seen -- granted this is one of those dysfunctional aspects of the shadow when not partnered in love, and I have been revisiting those memories for a couple of months now.

Last month I did some healing work with a dear friend, leading me to the center of pain that had been buried, left behind and waiting to be discovered, and what has transpired since that healing has been nothing short of amazing and fucking ridiculous... I can't help but laugh at how the Universe presents these gifts, and how we either rip off the wrapping paper with eager desire or we carefully (frightfully) peel away the tape, ever so slowly, unsure of what comes next, perhaps wondering if the package itself is going to be the best part of all.

My gift came in the form of a cold shared by a stranger I met for a few short minutes, though her spirit must have sensed that my spirit self was asking for a retreat -- a time to simply let my guard down and go within, but not too far, no, not too far, but just enough to examine myself from this newly healed persona.

The gift was wrapped in the form of a Bell... and I felt distorted.  Mutant even.  I didn't want to be seen nor touched.  Dramatic when the reality is that my condition was extremely mild and hardly noticeable at all, but then again, what we feel is far different than what we appear to be.  I felt different, and I didn't like how it felt.  I didn't like how it controlled me, and I loathed how much control I gave it.

In my dance with depression I have always come out victorious.  My friend had said how impressed he was with me, how far I have come, how I am the definition of what magick can really do for someone.  Perhaps.  There was this ping in my body of discomfort in having heard this out loud.  He had even said that he felt that I needed to hear it, that I needed to be told how much I have accomplished, and I realized that "ping" was there to remind me that I am still working on that layer of compliments that my inner child so rarely received.

In a moment of panic, before the diagnosis, before going to the ER to find out what, exactly, was wrong, I looked at Drac with pained eyes, complete vulnerability permeating the room, and I was able to say, for the first time out loud, "I'm scared that now that I have made the conscious choice to live that that choice will be taken away from me..."

Even relaying it in my mind is painful... it's sad... sad for that little girl 16 years ago who felt the only option was trying to end her life... sad that she hid, so buried, so frightened, so abandoned and so alone, in her own darkness, housed by two beings separated, and it took 16 more years to come to a place where she could be peacefully integrated... and upon her integration she became frightened all over again, that her life would be changed in ways she couldn't control.

Our minds can be rather dramatic, but the drama unfolds into action, hopefully, that inspires change... transformation.  I gave power back to a voice that was silent for too long.  I can't say that it doesn't still scare me to some degree, but I'm not as squeamish as I was before.

And so, in that time of Bell's and sickness, I sat... I sat under my favorite blanket and just... sat.  I pulled out my journal and wrote, not much, my thoughts felt they needed to be more internal than stretching themselves onto paper, which journaling tends to be my normal approach to almost anything.

I needed quiet.  I needed to keep my hands busy, distracted, so my mind could just focus on one thread to the next.  Somehow my mind convinced me it would be a good idea to go through my stash of yarn and unravel all the skeins to form into solid balls... and so I began, one skein at a time, taking small ones at first, then larger ones, unraveling each and just rolling them up.  It went by faster than I anticipated, and it was calming.  My hands were busy, my mind was relaxed, there was nothing to do but simply ravel this yarn up.  That's it.  How permissive!

I saved one particular skein for last.  I purposely saved it for last.  I bought this amazing sock yarn last year while vacationing in the mountains.  The womyn at the yarn store happily spun all the yarn into tidy balls for me, except this particular one in which the machine she was using was having problems.  I told her not to worry, and she switched out the yarn for a newer one to make the process easier for me.  I came home, put it away and told myself I would get to it later.

This was later.  I had done them all, I wasn't feeling well, I needed a distraction, I didn't want to do anything but just complete this (which, for a Capricorn, is a big deal, since we are masters of beginnings but fall prey to the art of completion at times)... and so I began unraveling this orange and green yarn.  I felt excited to think when it would be done I could eventually start up a new project, asking myself why I put it off for so long... then, in a moment (because everything really is but a simple moment), the yarn tangled.

And I mean t-a-n-g-l-e-d.  And it tangled some more.  And some more.  I had somehow managed to make such a mess of this yarn that it was nothing but knots and tangles and a complete and utter disaster of fiber.  Those little people that sit on your shoulders began to guide me on what I should and shouldn't do... "Trash it... it's not worth your time" the rebel said... "Stick with it, you'll feel so proud once it's done and you've completed it" the idealistic one said...

I came back to this documentary I had watched a couple of months ago, "How To Cook Your Life", and this one line the Zen Master had said about washing rice -- how when you're washing the rice "wash the rice" -- and it has become a mantra of mine since then, to remind me to be in the moment of everything, in full awareness, whatever I am doing I am "washing the rice".  It has since become an inside joke with my spiritual mother who will often hear me recite this line when I know I need to really be with something.

Wash the rice.

So, I told myself, while all of this was going on, that I wasn't going to be distracted, that I wasn't going to be angry about this mess that was in front of me, but that I was going to take a spiritual approach to this unraveling and just "wash the rice".

I began to look at it as a metaphor of my life -- in looking at this mess, how will I handle it -- how do I handle messes that occur in my life now?  Do I accept the anger and become fueled by it (which has its benefit when the anger isn't destructive), or do I embrace compassion, for myself and the situation, and work to heal?  So I began to unravel, ever so slowly, and the first day saw little results.  I wasn't discouraged.  I told myself that tomorrow it would be complete.  Hours into the second day the anger started to bubble.  Drac had come up to me and asked how it was going and I just muttered through gritted teeth, "I'm washing the fucking RICE!!!"... and he laughed.  We laughed.  How insane I must have looked!

By the third day, with two balls forming on either end -- one neatly rolled together, the other done messily, knowing it wouldn't be permanent because I consciously wanted it to be neat -- something shifted.  This no longer became a tangled mess of yarn... it shifted into a healing session.  This was a healing of the moment, a past life regression, a glimpse into the future, all rolled (no pun intended) into one.  Life was mirrored by the knots.  Sometimes tight, sometimes loosely formed, other times tangled into other threads, with an uncertainty as to where it began, where it would end, if it would ever end -- much like depression: when you are in it, you can't see beyond the scope of the pain.  You are in the moment with it to a degree, but you are also wrapped up into the pain of before, and in looking at the overall picture all you can see is the pain that will continue.  You can't see it ending, because it looks too tangled to ever end.

Each roll of the ball, going over and under, untying, pulling and tangling some of it up even further... it all had this synchronicity to it.  It was entirely synchronous.

I can't relay everything that happened as a result of this one skein of yarn, how the threads unraveled easily when I stopped looking at the overall skein but instead looked at what was in my hand in front of my eyes at that very moment... I was washing the rice.  I can't begin to explain how life, my life, human life, spiritual life, became clear to me as a result of unraveling yarn.  I can't explain how the one side of "perfection" that was neatly rolled ended up being the much smaller ball, and how the "imperfect" one became the one twice its size... or how I consciously chose to unravel that larger one to morph it newly fixed into the new one; thoughtfully, slowly, expressively... I can't explain how when it was over there was both an excitement of completion with having done it in mindful pleasure, or the sadness that enveloped my moist eyes because it was complete... life lessons were learned and immense healing was birthed from these simple fibers that became a metaphor for life.

What will become of this fiber?  My spiritual mother suggested a creation that could be passed down with the stories and lessons learned and gained from this experience... something to share with my daughter, full of the mysteries of life and of wombynhood... and upon this suggestion I heard Spirit whisper that it should be an altar cloth... and so it will eventually be.

Two weeks later my cold has left my system, my Bell's is nearly released, and the yarn awaits new creation.  I have been reminded to celebrate the artist in each of us, including that which painted this place and time for me to embrace illness and heal through/with it.  New dance steps were learned, with vital messages of Being without justification.

In the end, "washing the rice" became the best medicine.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pausing through March

"Letting go means
letting come and go, letting be.
Letting go means
opening to the wisdom of allowing.
This is nonattachment." -- Lama Surya Das

That one quote, aside from making me catch my breath just a little bit in truth and awareness, pretty much sums up the month of March for me: letting go. 

It was letting go in both its small and large forms, some of which meant simply letting go of time -- I didn't open my datebook once during that month, didn't look at my calendar on the wall once (actually forgot it even existed!), I didn't plan for anything.  Unusual, yes, and completely out of character.  I hardly live in the calendar montage, but I am quite cognizant of linear time when I am fully here, and yet even in Spirit there is that awareness, because I'm here, my contract is here, and so Here maintains a level of responsibility that I must facilitate and abide by, per "contract" rules, after all.

March has, in the past, been a month of tremendous transition and pain.  Generally coming off of frequent visits in the land of desperation ("depression") in February, March begins a purge -- suitable for Ostara and birthing and rebirthing of the Earth -- in year's past I have found myself on the surface of a volcanic eruption.  It's the one time of year where my inner bitch roars, though not harming those around me, but letting an implosion stir before an eruption around my environment begins, and I'm feisty.  Not pleasant, not sassy, just miserable, feeling my skin crawl, feeling the inside needing to purge -- I have spent 3-4 years in March in the emergency room with the most random virus that can only be manifested by my Higher Self to sit down and shut the fuck up.  After these years of painful hospital visits I made the conscious choice that I could purge without needing to be poked and prodded with needles or the violent bile that burns through my stomach... and so it just stopped.  Imagine that: conscious decisions manifesting change... insert universal giggle here!

From there I decided to rewind a bit.  What was going on in March that had me so ill every year?  What happened in February that would make me go so within my cave and my depression that I would need to, for lack of a better word, lash out?  When it was figured out, it was just gone -- it was as though it merely needed to be understood, like a complicated math equation, and once it was discovered it didn't have the same meaning, certainly not of the same intensity as it once had, and so it could be what it needed to be: part of the process.

This year I decided everything could be put on hold.  It's not to say that I didn't keep up with important meetings or classes or whatever else was actually in the datebook that was never opened, because I did, but most everything else was just put on a shelf, left to be viewed peripherally, but not actually touched.  It was freeing.  It was necessary.  I had more pressing, internal matters to tend to.  A healing and purging were rising to the surface, and I gave myself permission to process through it with ease.

I went back to the quote, my theme for March, and I just allowed.  Old wounds resurfaced and I didn't panic.  I didn't tear, I didn't hide, I wasn't afraid.  It was there, it came, it went, it was very much like the waves of the ocean, and in the end those waves became a catalyst for my healing.

It's not to say that I'm not still clinging.  I am.  I'm clinging to one major piece, one piece that isn't necessary to carry anymore.  However, it's not something I'm stripping away in a moment.  It's a mindful process of conscious release... release and letting go, not "getting rid of".  This healing gave me more clarity on this clinging piece.

I had a soul healing from a trusted friend and teacher recently, one who knows as much about my past traumas as less than a handful of other trusted individuals, even the deepest shame I sometimes am unable to share with others, yet it becomes more pressing as time continues, and as my own work develops and redevelops, that this one piece of "shame" must be shared (though not today). 

The session was great.  Powerful.  Healing.  Scary.  I vocalized on more than on occasion that the drive over was met with fear.  It wasn't paralyzing fear, just heart-racing "what will happen next" kind of fear.  It wouldn't stop me, and I refused to allow it to (and told my friend as such -- that even if I say "I'm scared" that I just needed a good arse-kicking, and this friend was willing to do so!). 

My world has been different since then.  Clearer.  My sense of awareness is so much more crisper than it had been.  Even the way I receive messages now has shifted.  Everything is... my inner voice says "easy", and yet I feel the need to clarify that "easy" is not how we interpret "easy" to be... it's just easy.  It's simple, it's profound, it's gentle but powerful.  Why?  Because it is -- because I've let it... in this format I have opened to the wisdom of allowing and attuned with nonattachment. 

I have been looking within and processing, but I have been also looking at the scope around my perimeter.  What do others need?  What can I offer?  What is ego's role (from its functionality) and when does it stand back (away from its dysfunction) and become pure?  My layers of understanding my role In Service feels like it has shifted.  In visually looking at it, it was once even, like standing on a skateboard (which is a terribly analogy for me since I can barely walk and chew gum without my clumsy nature running amok!), just even, perhaps gliding from side to side, but the foundation being even.  Now the foundation has shifted... it has tilted, which in our society would make one think that it's "off-balance", however this isn't the case at all.  The image, in my case, of that balanced skateboard was true in form for that moment, for that time I built the foundation -- it was balance then because I believed it to be in balance, just like now I believe this appearance of the tilted foundation is balance, because I label it as true, but it's just an image, something for the brain to wrap its mind around, to somehow give meaning and to make sense of what it is that I'm trying to do, or aim for.  In the end the image doesn't matter.  It's just an image.  It's no-thing.

In the mix of not being online for most of March and stepping back from most cyber connections, I let myself be in that place of doing no-thing and enjoying it.  Things got done, yes, but time wasn't wasted.  I admit I spent most of the month submerged in reruns of "21 Jump Street" (I'm currently near the end of season three!)... a program I used to watch as a kid, it was more entertaining than reading about what others were (or weren't) doing on FB... plus it was fun to remember the monster crush I had on Johnny Depp then as a kid!  Tiger Beat photos of him on my wall?  That's right!

I needed something fun as I processed through what my power animals were sharing, what Purpose was driving into me, and because, frankly, watching Johnny Depp was sometimes more fun than swimming in the ocean.  We tell ourselves we can't do this because of that, and we shouldn't do that because of this... I maintained the structure of responsibility and stripped away the "shoulds" and the "have-tos" and allowed myself to do, literally, whatever I wanted to, without any notion of guilt or feeling like I was "supposed" to be doing something... in that moment I was supposed to be adoring Tom Hanson, that's it ;)

In that time I had also been thinking of another one of Lama Surya's quotes: "Killing time is deadening ourselves."  It made me shift my mentality that every thing I do, from chores to work to parenting to pure silliness, was done with conscious choice and with a release of external (and internal) judgment of how it was supposed to be.  I'm not killing time.  I'm consciously choosing this aspect in this moment. 

I have been told that it's time to gear up for busy Service, to reformulate a plan that was, essentially, already in the works, but not so far into it that it can't be restructured.  In the meantime, this weekend begins a stir of BUSY for some time to come.  There is so much necessity in the air, I'm not sure where my foot will land first, but I know it's ultimately at the base of the labyrinth...