Clearing

I found the envelope I thought I’d misplaced. While searching, I wondered about the importance of the contents of that envelope and about why I should be the keeper of those contents: family birth and death certificates, armed forces records, and my SAT scores. In triplicate.

Am re-filing all kinds of items I believe I have to archive, even if no one ever looks at them again. Maybe I should burn the lot of it, to remind me of the perpetual potential for rebirth. Let go of what does not serve.

Then at the same time, I can’t. Am trying to learn that just because I once lived something, that experience doesn’t need to be carried for a lifetime. Not just the barbed lessons and the most enchanting sprees, stuck in amber, but endless catalogs of sparks in various forms. Do I need to carry the clutter of so much history? Isn’t remembering it enough, without the need for verification?

The memorabilia? Paper weights. Illusions. Life does not depend on preserving the past. Life cares about balance. Life chooses to nourish itself. I let go. Breathe. Make space for the release.

Rain stopped. Feels almost balmy outside. Soft.

Hopping back into the flow, with no attachment to outcome. 

Standing up to Autumn

The chill. It approaches, and I have no more strength to fight it. 

Until I remember. 

Surrender.

Stop fighting everyone and everything 

not lining up with interpretations and expectations. 

This is a free for all, and I think I understand.

Again. 

Surrender.

Stand in the center.

Listen, without taking sides. 

Jump in when instincts and reason work together.

It’s a dance. Connections inspire movement.

Movement generates warmth.

Yes.

Of course.

Honoring Ruth

Countless challenges have shown up in this year of horrors. Difficult as it’s been, I say the horrors have pushed us to our limit, compelling us all to stand in our power. The downright meanness has to be stopped. Because I want to stay balanced and tuned in to my allies, the distractions that have kept us from moving forward cannot daunt me. They were put in place to frighten me or to throw me out of alignment, but instead I am consciously standing up for justice. 

To be fearless, I need to be both centered and in touch with a community of life affirmers. Each of us has areas of expertise, and our collective skills can work together to abolish tyranny. We need each other’s strengths. This is what I can do. I can get in touch with the elements, like those benders in the kids’ show Avatar, because warriors must stay awake and balanced. I can also call on our ancestors; I can clarify my objectives with them as well as with with various divinities and other guides.

This is me, working to discover how the four elements can support my intentions.

EARTH: The physical work I do reminds me that I live in a body, on a much larger body, our planet. Matter is undeniable. As a kind of practice, maintaining my physical space by cleaning it requires me to move my body, which keeps it healthy. I try to stay absorbed in my work too, and as loving as I can be with everything I touch, with all my actions, and with the words I speak.While I like to feel the joy of a job well done, serving the Mother also quiets my inner princess. A bonus!

AIR: Work that requires sharp focus and organizational skills stimulates my brain into a pretty balanced place – at least when I’m truly applying myself to the tasks in front of me. The psychic Miss Daisy told me I’m meant to do “ordering” jobs in this lifetime. I think of them as a way to tether my mind, since clearly I lack the strength to meditate regularly. My brat self might think no control is necessary, but honestly – my practice is all over the place. I like lots of approaches to personal evolution, but all this flitting? A different kind of concentration snaps my brain into balance. (Thank goodness for my Virgo moon and ascendant.)

FIRE: Am trying to cultivate a relationship with fire, but I only seem to get so far. I can look at flames and pay attention to them more intimately than ever before, but energy and creativity have often alluded me. I try to remind myself that some extraneous BS can only be burned away. Ignition required. So friction, spark, space, fuel, a touch of air, and fwoom. Voila. No big deal. “Hey!” I say to that trauma that’s cock-blocking my courage: “Yes, fire can destroy, but the other elements can too. Enough with the worrying. Lighten up. Have some fun.” And then I call on Kali Ma for help.

WATER: Flowing water soothes, and I aspire to embody some movement of this material that is not quite matter, which makes me slippery and hard to grasp as well as healing. Here, I want to nurture the breadth of my love everywhere I go and with everyone I meet, and I think that’s from water. Am getting there. Like fire, water needs a touch of air to get it moving. It also needs gravity to help it flow. Water is my native element, so really just a pinch of support helps. Showers are nice, and so is swimming. And then I’m back.

Think about your own skill sets and pitch in. Even if you’re unsure how to contribute, we can all build our physical resilience and each others’ confidence. We can communicate with our neighbors. We can speak up and speak out. We can join phone banks. We can pay attention.We can make art. We can watch out for each other.

I don’t think it’s enough to just vote. We need to act now and displace those who have no respect for humankind or for the planet. They’ve had their time, and now it’s ours.

Moving On

The cooling, September ocean played rough, pulling all swimmers northward. She invigorated me though. 

Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, RI, has an interesting topography: the waves break unusually near to shore, and at about where they break, the sand drops down close to a foot. One minute you’re up to your thighs and the next you’re going to capsize, meaning you need to leap in or retreat. I jump off the sandy ledge and shriek, exhilarated, every time. Returning to land isn’t so easy though. You need to time your exit so that the incoming waves impel you forward fast enough that the undertow doesn’t drag you back or down, into a salty, sandy wipeout.

Relationships feel like this to me. 

Yesterday I swam two times. First, I stood in the shallows, allowing the moment’s rhythms to fuse with mine. Once situated, I drifted far from where I entered. Heading back, as a friend noted, felt like swimming in one of those fancy lap pools. I only made it halfway to my starting point before giving up, but then I got out with smooth grace. I asked Grandmother Ocean to help me, and she did! My presence, initiated by my early merge with the water, helped.

The second time I went in, a dark swirl distracted me. Checking it out, I discovered one of several traveling schools of herring, with occasional flips of silvery brilliance. Distracted, I lost my presence. So this time when I tried to leave for shore, the waves knocked me over. Twice. The only injury, fortunately, was a bathing suit full of sand.

Lesson learned. Relationships work best in the present moment.

Step by Step into Power

Many years ago, the first time I tried to find my teacher in animal form, I balked. I got scared. I heard and then saw an animal – the same one – but told myself I was wrong, that it couldn’t be. The very idea of that beautiful creature taking time to be with me? Utterly unlikely. I spaced out.  My thoughts humbled me, but also highlighted my shame.

I heard: I came here to help, and all I’ve been doing is fucking up.  In truth I haven’t always lived up to my highest potential, to my true nature, but since I’m a human living in a confusing society, I’m as of today giving myself a pass. I need to tap into that nature and trust her judgment, with no letting sticky thorns pull me down. I rip them out and laugh! Yes, I have made mistakes. I dream up untruths. I have many excuses for not delving into my soul shadows. But dwelling in memories associated with shame’s destructive influences tends to suck me into a twirling cyclone of mental chatter which generally results in my needed to sooth/medicate my dizzy head. So I’m giving that up. I’ve decided to step into my power instead, which is a pretty AND fun place to be. 

I discovered that the animal I vaguely heard and saw in my first shamanic journey had in fact been looking for me. He didn’t mind so much that I’d gotten lost last time. We clicked and have been close ever since. Some connections can’t be explained. 

The other night, guidance told me to serve now, rather than wondering what’s in it for me, rather than taking cover in my “shameful” vulnerabilities. I heard:  Be fully alive, without doubts. Do not let yourself be silenced. Step up. Clean all the way into the corners. Clean without emotion, then admire the shine , grateful that such heartbreaking beauty exists. 

This is when I like to snap photos. In the zone. 

This is how I bring myself back from the edge.

IMG_1331For a warrior, falling into despair feels like quitting. The Dalai Lama says, “Never give up.” I firmly believe that staying positive during these dark days has the potential to bring us all back from the edge.

We stay positive with humor, we support the people dear to us, we zone out sometimes because we need rest, we open our minds and keep learning, and we open our hearts as well as we can. Activities like these, working together, can keep us afloat.

Teachings are everywhere when you set your attitude in a positive direction. Tune in to your surroundings. Listen. Watch. Pay attention.

But what about the ugly as well as the appealing?

Here’s where I can get stuck. When I observe everything, some harshness trickles in. Some stuff doesn’t seem amusing, lovable, tolerable. All the littered places: inevitable garbage piling up in gutters of neglect. These places – in nature, in our nation, and in myself – draw my attention and stimulate frustration and disappointment; they morph into seeds of unhappiness.

I leave these in the soil to compost. That’s my project, my methodology: notice everything, but find ways to recognize and then release the negative.

Because focusing on opening my heart fully, instead of getting sucked into fear of the darkness, is me not giving up.

Hanging onto my morals, knowing my limitations, and clarifying my boundaries all keep me safe. A small dog keeps me safe. The support of people who love me keeps me safe. And I trust that the universe has my back. Has all our backs. Remembering this aligns me and maintains my peace.

Be love. No strings. No transactions. No fear. Cultivate a heart that intends no harm. Be sacred love.

Taking Care

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I believe I can heal my scabbed over places without needing to know every detail of their origins, of my mistakes, my crimes, my humanness. What if the scabs work as helpers, protecting me from infection? In that case, I should handle them more gently.

Sometimes I look at my hunched, bitter self. She complains. She shrivels up. I don’t want to feel damaged any more. I believe I can vanquish her by repeating a specially constructed mantra every day.

The smart thing would be to leave the scabs alone, but feeling their roughness, I flinch, and I lose sight of my path. Monkey Mind grabs the wheel and steps on the gas. Sometimes she runs me into a ditch. The wheels spin, stop, spin, stop rhythmically, hypnotically.

Setting targeted intentions as a mantra can remind me that I have experienced the bliss of Oneness and have sensed evidence that the universe does not wish to smite me in some whimsical game. I am safe. I am whole.

The mantra reminds me:

  1. Just come back to the body. Breathe a bit. Stretch.
  2. Remember the vibrance of your whole being, of all of being.
  3. Let the sore spots go for now. Let them go until you’re ready to go there.
  4. Preventing wounds from overtaking my whole self is enough for now.

My theory is that the scabs will dry up if I stop picking at them. Once they’ve shrunk a bit, I can easily peel them off.

This is not a spiritual bypass. I’m aware of shadows, but they cannot drag me from the light.

Feet So Cold I Have to Wear Slippers

The last leap into self actualization, fortified by a chicken dog for breakfast, requires me to state my intentions one more time:

I am balanced.

I recognize and honor abundance.

I am unattached to outcomes.

Might take more than one recitation, but IMG_0683am moving along at a steady enough pace.

I complement my yang with yin

and my yin with yang.

Balance within,

ease without.

His Zombie White Boy Army

My job is to carry the light.

Don’t think I haven’t noticed the mal-intentions of our orange-splat in-chief. People are dying in the streets at the hands of vigilantes he empowered! I’m past fuming and onto plotting.

Sometimes I wonder if staying neutral would help. And then because I honor a universal mystery over any kind of property, I try to serve life as much as I can. I try to observe. From where I’m looking – pretty objectively actually – those zombies don’t seem happy. If they were happy, it would show in their glows. But their faces are all made up and closed off. They don’t know who they are as individuals, and they are terrified of the unfamiliar. They think they can protect themselves by subjugating others, and by ritual sacrifices. (Funny? Too much? It’s the QAnon battle cry, no?) They are un-evolved beings, ruled by their reptilian brains. I don’t want to hear their reasoning. There are no excuses for the tragic state of this nation. None.

So I’m not seeing a love of life in them, and definitely not humor, and therefore I can’t trust them. Neutrality is off the table. Of course I wouldn’t expect them to produce satire, because that would require an awareness of reality, but not even slapstick (a personal favorite)?  Pointing out the general silliness of cwazy coincidences? Nope. No humor at all. They have been infected with fear. It’s a thing people can catch. Kinda like rolls of paper towels after a hurricane.

I’m pissed at the audacity of all those mothercussers, but they cannot terrorize me into despair. A contest with zombies isn’t on my playlist. Why? Because unlike a zombie, I am not only concerned about the safety of my Klan; I am seeing a much bigger picture – more of a socialist utopia, you know?

I’m done with selfish pricks. When men had the great idea to use Jesus’s teachings to grab power, they purged their lands of free thinkers. They dug in real good, proclaiming their authority, proceeding to dominate and spread their misery seed everywhere like rutting dogs – like zombies who can only feed themselves. They’re both alive and dead, but neither, really. Am taking a breath. Remembering grace. Am taking another breath.

I try every day to speak this adapted spell from Starhawk:

What serves life will stand,

What does not will fall.

The power is in our hands.

Justice for all.

I love today with its gray breezes carrying cool, but not punishing, air. Warm aromas coming from the kitchen remind me about my mission. I am to hold steady and set intentions to benefit the greater good. I envision nourishment for all. I see cages sprung open. I see people taking care of each other. The power is in our hands. Remember.

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                      image by Jess X. Chen

 

 

Learning to Trust

Consuming too many glugs of delicious gefilte fish gel brought to mind the time my gay boyfriend so hungrily gorged himself at my parents’ dinner that we had to stop on the way home by a cemetery so he could stand outside the gate and puke it all up. Now, I hope that gel stays down.

Examining my desire for the delicious after watching a “gender bender” version of Twelfth Night, I have to bring myself to look in a really dark place inside me.

I haven’t been able to fully share myself intimately with another I because although I could love nearly anyone, I didn’t love myself and love life. Too flawed and ashamed of it. Made so many mistakes by forgetting who I am. What have I been looking for in the eyes of others? Approval? Appreciation? And there’s a rub. I couldn’t love myself because I felt unworthy or beyond wanting love, or I perceived myself as more or less than equal to everyone else, somehow. Either too mind bogglingly superior or too fearful. Am I bully or victim?

Both! So simple.

A coming to peace. Both yes and no, master and slave speaking to one another as equals.

Being alive is hard. We have to live in these bodies that we generally don’t appreciate when we’re carefree, until they’re no longer functioning well, like they did back when. Starts with a little creak. A gray hair. We almost remember what it was like to not smell our own corporeal frailty.

Some of us develop hard shells in which to stay safe, so we don’t notice our bodies much and don’t feel enough joy in having a body built for pleasure. Others of us depend on our senses to stay sharp and alert but aren’t strengthened by the ability to feel so much. Staying on point is more of a game than an avoidance of focus. A diversion to avoid feeling too much because our experiences told us that pleasure leads to pain.

What it would take for me recognize myself as a worthy person? Do I need to turn lesbian with myself to recognize my potential for appeal? I’ve seen her. Funny. Original. Little-self-centered. Prone to feats of magic when in the groove. Sloppy as all fuck, but oh well.

Speaking of fucks, on one of the witchy Facebook groups I enjoy reading, a woman posted something about the Well-Fucked Woman – and I don’t think she meant “fucked over” either. I liked it. It was raw and life affirming – about how well-appreciated feminine qualities can really turn living into heaven. But if the woman is not worshipped as an equal or even superior partner who co-creates balance in life – in the universe – let them fuck themselves. Sorry. Just haven’t been lucky with Match.com. and am turning bitter.

I said that to Kate the other day, that someone recognizing and appreciating me is the best aphrodisiac.

So I need to learn to appreciate myself. And then others. Gratitude. Humility. Once I crack the shell completely I will be safe to interact honestly – without envy or mistrust – because if I say I believe in the abundance of the universe I have to mean it. Trust, with every step and every interaction, that unity. Shell. Broken. This is how to flow with love 24/7: remembering that both personal duality and social duality oozing out of that fragmenting carnival attraction in DC. are only frames of mind. That’s all. Frame, shell, whatever you call it. The thing that divides us. So much more liberating to shake it off. Hear the music. Stay in the groove.

Boom! Puff. Ssss… I want to keep reminding myself. Again and again: one love. And mean it. Be it.