I've realized that for probably the first time in a while, if not ever, I don't know how to rewind. That's actually a good thing. I can reflect, but reflection isn't the same as rewinding. It doesn't hold the same essence of potential turmoil or self-doubt where the "what if" monster emerges her ugly head with tainted words creeping up the shoulder. It's not to say that the "what if" monster is gone, because she isn't. She's still there, but her role is taking on a more curious tone than she would have permitted before. She's been quiet during this seasonal time in the Bear Cave, as have I, and as Imbolc approaches, I feel the quickening steps of the light shining in the cave, and my eyes scrunch up from the deep sleep I've permitted myself.
This retreat time within the Bear Cave has been sensational. I have uncovered sooo much about myself in this secluded time, and my awareness is quite sharp, perhaps the sharpest it's been. In that sensationalism there were many observations as to how I respond to things --- how do I respond to support, for example? Apparently not well. Two dear people close to me had said that I don't know how to be supported, that I won't allow others to hold that space for me, that I can do it for anyone but won't accept it in return. My belly retracted from the unintended blow, and judgment peaked its head, wondering if I needed its presence. I didn't. They were right. I am honored to hold space for another, to be in that sacred source with them, but allowing another to do it for me? Even typing it out I'm both smirking and cringing. Smirking because I recognize my controlling nature in that if I'm not supported by the invisible manual I wrote then I won't accept it at all, and cringing because the controlling nature has such a nasty streak at times. The awareness is incredibly potent, and knowing what are the areas that need healing and tending to is powerful.
Last year I opted to simply journal by hand only, not sharing parts of the stories on this blog. Part of that was fear --- the exposure of becoming more recognized within various communities can be challenging to hold your own authenticity when the stories you're cast in can be enticing. Someone dear to me had cautioned me to not be so available and so vulnerable. I may have misread that in a fearful and frightened tone, or even in a disciplinary mentality, but I listened, probably because I wanted to. When we're scared we use excuses to hide... I use excuses to hide... used excuses. I hide less now from fear and simply give myself permission for personal retreating, there is a difference, and more than seeing it, I can taste the difference now. So I listened, but what I know for me is that sharing my vulnerability has purpose. The spirit and human nature are intertwined and they hold themselves in acts of sacredness and profanity. If I fall and you see it, I'm not going to pretend that fall didn't happen, I'm going to say whether it hurt or not, then either get back up and continue what I was intended, or stay put and pout a bit more. Both viable options, but I don't think showcasing one, or both, of these emotions makes me any less of a teacher/facilitator/healer/etc etc. It doesn't. If I don't give myself permission to be seen, how can I ask you to give yourself permission to do the very same thing?
Last year I spent much of my time training to distill my Light. Aside from the joking components of my brain feeling like a tangled mess, I just let myself do and be. In that doing and being my vision cleared up. In the vision clearing I saw where I sabotaged my dreams, where I ignored my truths, and where I thought I knew nothing, when in reality I knew so much more than I was giving myself credit for. Why do we do that? Why do we lessen ourselves? I turned the mirror and asked myself these same questions, and a thousand more that made me see who I was. I was reflecting...
A year of studying the Qabala and being knee deep in ceremonial practices took me on various journeys --- I traveled through the Tree of Life, purging from Malkuth until I entered Hod, where I found my inspiration, to Geburah where my senses relaxed and comfort emerged, to Da'ath where a long drive home (with pretend dementors, ha!) made me understand my "reality" in "illusion", to Kether, where the spirit download I received can never be expressed in words. Never. The climb up the Tree was... tedious... and sometimes fun... and sometimes boring... but always intriguing.
The Tree of Life also took me back to Buddhism, even deeper than I was before. I had a mild practice still working, though I put everything on the back burner to be fully immersed in the Qabala. I could feel the other parts of my spirituality tug at me to say "don't forget about me", and Buddhism was one of them.
It also took me back to my primal roots in Shamanism. My year in the Qabala taught me me a lot, but the biggest gift I received was the pure recognition of what my practice actually was. It wasn't ceremonial, but I appreciated our dance together.
Once the training was complete I began my journey into the Bear Cave. I took with me several items of comfort, like my Reality Map shawl that would continue to provide me the wisdom and teachings of many generations; my journal for all the introspective work I would be doing between the resting period; and my knitting, to keep that creative flow going. After all, the web wasn't going to weave itself.
Last year I went on a writer's retreat... probably one of the top 5 retreats I've ever been on. I am a writer. I bet you didn't know that. You didn't know it because I rarely say it. I rarely say a lot of things about myself and my practice. I let myself be me, stripped of titles, but also afraid of sitting centered in ego if I say things like "I am a writer". I'm not as concerned about that frivolous ego as I was before. It wasn't the go speaking, it was the fear. It's always the fear, the not-so-silent entity that I have recently discovered has a contract to push and control and disarm me. Even better, I wrote up the contract... no one sabotages us better than ourselves.
I am writing. I am praying. I am healing. I am knitting. I am creating. I am mothering. I am singing. I am chanting. I am resting... and many many more permissive acts of being and doing.
This month I retook my Refuge Vows which felt good. I needed to rededicate myself to my path and bring myself back into an aligned state of being. It's amazing what a year of changing your practice -- all by choice mind you -- to something you're uncertain will fit your needs can do to you. I know that I felt blank, like a blank canvas, just new and beginning, without sentiment of what would happen next. I appreciated and even looked forward to the newness that I hadn't been experiencing in so long. But I also longed for my practice; the one where I felt at home and attuned.
Now in this emergence out of the Bear Cave what have I learned? What am I taking with me? I've learned that trust is a beautiful thing... and I still have some work on letting myself be immersed in it. I've learned that much of what I have received through the dreamtime is that I must surrender and trust, two things that challenge me and inspire me.
I'm taking me with me, and all the potent spirit medicine that was offered to me in that cave. And I'm taking the dialogue... the one that writes you. I'm writing and letting myself be written. That is magick.