The silent art of practice, then being.

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

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

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

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

My feet touched the ground then.

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

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

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

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

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

Then the spiral started to slowly spin some more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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