As you know, April hath 30 days, and that means, since it's day 30, tonight is May Day Eve. In Celtic cross-quarter holidays, that means it's Beltane Eve. This is a good thing! Multiculturally, folks celebrated and still celebrate these seasonal cues wherever they live, because HEY! We're still alive! And if the communities are alive, the kids are growing and playing, and there's party food & grog about—despite the feudal overlords and their greedy demands—then thank the flora and fauna, the wind, rain, and bountiful soil, thank the gods and goddesses who play with our little fates, for another return of beautiful, warm, flowering life!
And to celebrate, honor and also not take this bounty for granted, maidens and children often danced around a festooned May Pole in a dance signifying the interconnectedness and flow of life. Back in the day (60s) my boarding school (then partly boarding, and all girls) in Providence, Rhode Island had a tradition of us wearing summery dresses and dancing around the May Pole over in the lacrosse field on Hope Street, before a strawberry and waffles breakfast. They probably don't do that anymore, but it looked kinda like the photo at left.
In April of 1970—in what I'd recognize later as my first shamanic initiation—I heard the clairaudient call from the helpers to head west to wilder things, live in the woods to help save the planet, and my Beltane celebrations looked more like this beloved illustration from a children's story.
One of my favorites, besides all the Pooh stories and poems, and the other animal ones like The Wind in the Willows, was Heidi. As a child, I identified with her wanting to leave the uptight aunt, strict city studies, and just live in the cabin in the mountains and roam around with animals. Then I did.
This morning, awaking after a long lucid flying dream, I realized that it was indeed Beltane Eve, and tomorrow May 1st! And as luck and the helpers would have it, I have no appointments, or scheduled tasks. AND it's beautiful out, after a long spring of cold cloudy rainy days. I have no ritualized enactments to perform, no social ceremonies or communal celebrations, so this one's on the natch, as we so quaintly said back then, when winging it in nature and going with the flow.
I think I'll do a little journey and ask if there's anything particular I'm to do, or any particular place I'm to go, today or tomorrow, to thank and honor the spirits of this wonderful island, who are def involved with shaping and guiding my life here. I've already noticed the stones and crystals in the workroom want a cleaning and shelf dusting, so I'll do that. Noticing, following, dreaming up, I'll flow into it all with the intent to observe this powerful connect time with all the spirits of place, and the wild beings living all around me, which kinda includes me, free ranging.
As a very little kid living on a little dead end street in Kenilworth, Illinois, I'd make the paper cones with paper handles with my sister, gather violets and lilies of the valley to fill them, hang them on neighbors' doorknobs, ring the doorbell, and run away. That's another traditional May Day thing, as kids pretend they are flower fairies and spread the joy of making it through winter. That's when it wasn't snowing on May Day, which, being Chicagoland, it sometimes did.
I'm grateful for where I live now, and have off and on since that fateful spring in 1970. I love the Pacific Northwest and its temperate wildness, its mountains and rivers and seas. They never fail to inspire, to encourage, to heal, and to enchant. So here I go, to see what's up. Happy May Day celebrations, however you do them. Let the headline-grabbing, and other-grabbing machinations of dastardly throne-grabbing families go, and turn your attention, and intention, to the life of the planet on which we ride. May your May Day be magical and spirit-filled.
The Spring Equinox is imminent—this Wednesday the 20th with the full moon—and after this whacky winter and late Spring here on Vashon Island, it is most welcome. This year was a winter to get through, and we did—huzzah! I wanted to write a blog post to wish you a Happy Return of Spring, and also to say a few words about balance.
The equinoxes are, of course, all about balance, being the equal day/night points in our dance around the sun. The seasons balance themselves, from the winter and summer extremes, and these days we do have extreme events in them, making the milder times even more enjoyable. Blue sky, flowers, birds, warmer but not hot temps, longer days...ahhhh. No more heavy coats and cabin fever.
I like to think about the fact that, if it weren't for a fateful collision of some giant rock from space with our little blue planet, causing an extinction event and giving us our tilt—and henceforth our seasons—the balance here would be very very different, and possibly we couldn't live where we live. Or even be alive.
I like to think about the random, cataclysmic events that made life for our species—and millions of other species—possible. An excellent series to view to consider this and many other very cool things about our blue living planet is One Strange Rock (now streaming on Netflix), and I recommend it if you haven't checked it out.
Knowing and not knowing is another balance point for us to be aware of in our day-to-day perspectives. Knowing and not knowing simultaneously is a measure of the wisewoman and the warrior-not worrier, and of course philosophers such as my man Socrates. Practicing being comfortable with uncertainty and not-knowing while contemplating the space it allows for revelation, discovery, insight, and serendipity, keeps us fluid and flowing, open to wonder and wondrous things happening out of nowhere, and always ready to grow and learn.
In Zen, there's the saying mind like water—a fluid state of knowing/not-knowing that keeps one fresh, open, aware, and in flow. Children are always wondering about stuff. My fairy godson, who is 2, is in a "where does x come from?" stage. It's a very good question to ask, and wonder about. Where does Spring come from? From the tilt! See the diagram, because we take for granted our helical tilt-a-whirl movements that lean our hemisphere closer to and farther from the sun in our annual rotation.
Another aspect of this is how much we are connected to the child we still are, simultaneously with our 'adulting' ups and downs. As adults, we love to be right, to know what's what, and what everyone should do about it—and knowledge does indeed come in handy. But we don't always know the exact right thing to say, think or do, or need to be right; we can't always persuade others to think or do as we do, and trying to force stuff doesn't really work.
Children know a lot too, in a different way, and are connected to the planet and all the beings around them in a way that keeps them very present. We grown-ups may know how to drive the car, but perhaps the child knows what to think about or play or sing or listen to while they ride in one. Like this little girl, singing Bohemian Rhapsody in her car seat. Balance for us is letting our child self play and speak and be heard, and keep wonder and curiosity alive in us.
Here's a Brain Pickings page on genius and the fluidity of the inner child.
These are the days that try men's souls, someone once said. Balancing the busy mental load, and the burdens of a troubled world we're carrying, with asking our child self what they see, hear, need, want, think, and wonder about is good medicine for our souls, and good balance.
I'm creating a women's afternoon retreat in May, here on the island, for exactly that. The idea came to me a little while back, while a lot of child stuff seemed to be surfacing, and I happened to view some child stories and such that touched that part of me and made me realize she wanted some time to come out and play, be listened to, and enjoy support.
Children are saying some very wise and important things these days, needing to be heard and not just placated, and that goes for the ones inside of us. Listen to Greta Thunberg's TED talk here.
What does any of this have to do with shamanic practice? EVERYTHING! Everything is alive, time and space are elastic, we spiral through an immense universe, defying any notions our little 3-D brains can contain, and your wholeness and well-being depend on you keeping the child in you alive and playing.
We need to more fully realize—make real—we are one human race on this one little blue planet, full of beauty and wonder, and balance ourselves to rise above fear, to better love and care for it and the children, who already know they are facing a very rough adulthood, because adults didn't/don't quite care enough to keep it safe and healthy for them and for their children.
Equality, equanimity, and equity work miracles in balancing and alignment, and this week is the perfect fulcrum point to recalibrate yourself. May you dance your power dance, sing your power song, walk in beauty and balance, and know the truth.
Yes! It's a new year, a new day, a new helical dance with our playmates, the planets, spiraling around our sun, as it spirals around a galaxy spiraling around other galaxies in the never-ending dance of the universe.
Already it's quite obvious this year has a lot of new good stuff, challenging the old stuck stuff, and looks a teensy-weensy bit to me like women are an equal-or-at-least-more-equal part of that.
As my flying pig fetish gazes at the photographic reason for her existence, in the photograph of the two of them, I want to wish each and every one of you a year filled with when-pigs-fly leaps: leaps of faith, of courage, empty-handed leaps into the void, all the kinds of leaps that are required of us when we reach for something better. Year of the Pig, no less!
I'm not doing a January retreat this year, for the first time in 3 years, simply because I wasn't called to do one. All my retreats and other shamanic creations are told to me by my helpers, and I simply follow the energy. Other aspects of my work are calling, tho, big time, through dreams, through following and noticing, and through the needs of clients and others reaching out to me.
I feel no need to make any lists, do any summing up of my accomplishments from last year, no special rituals of intent—although I do feel a little nudge to do a personal divination today, maybe after a walk. I definitely DO feel the strong intent to lighten up this year, which includes my BMI.
Just looked out the window as a hummingbird zoomed in and out of view—an apt power animal showing up in ordinary reality to agree with the Lighten Up zing of energy!
What is happening now more than ever is what last year's retreats and blog posts were about: raising our vibration above fear. All of last year's intent and practice cultivated practical and spiritual ways to do this, even while pinged, stressed, and nearly overwhelmed. This year, rising above fear and aligning to just the good stuff amplifies to another level, with grace and ease. And that includes doing something we're reminded and encouraged to do all the time, but which can actually activate all our fears instead.
Yes, I'm talking about letting go.
I remember way back in my early retreat-facilitating days, I did a Letting Go retreat, and a staunch friend and client groaned, Oh I've gone to Soooooooo many letting go workshops, not another one! Yes, and that was 17 years ago, and yet the letting go work continues. But as a recent meme on my facebook page mentions—go easy on yourself. You are clearing thousands of years of outdated conditioning.
Yep, we really truly do have the opportunity, the call, and the capability now, multi-dimensionally, to move our identification of self and our consciousness/perceptive reality up a notch or two. We can come more from our true self, our soul self, than from our small self, our fear-driven, ego-protecting, dog-eat-dog, eye-for-an-eye self, that limbic brain part of us that is pushed and pulled by fear reactions, fight-or-flight instincts and old conditioned responses.
Paul Selig, who I've mentioned in previous blogs, is bringing in new teachings from his guides about this a lot, because it's time. I'm happy to see so many thousands of people worldwide, reading and listening and workshopping these words to the wise, and the accompanying vibrational energy transmissions. Many who ask questions of the guides, at his workshops or on the webinars, are concerned with what they have to give up in order to shift from the small self to identifying as their true selves.
People are concerned that it's going to be all different if they do, that everything they've thought of as real is going to change, and that all they've worked to create will shift. And that, basically, they won't know who they are or what they're doing anymore.
Like that's a bad thing, instead of exactly what they have always known at the soul level and wanted from the heart level, and dreamt up from the level of being able to interact from a place above fear.
Basically, you mean I have to let go of all I've never wanted to get what I always wanted? And that's scary?!? It would be ridiculous if we weren't so poignantly human.
Hence, the being gentle with ourselves part. We are human beings, and that's confusing AF a lot of the time, because we have several iterations of ourselves going on simultaneously. We are a conglomeration of paradoxical identities, conditioned by fear, control, violence, shame and blame to go low, to fret and strut our hour upon the stage.
It takes courage to let go of known identities and responses. It also really helps to have practices that allow you to, and mindsets that encourage a loosening and a lightening in a discerning state of being, with deep connection to truth, cultivated relationships with guides and helpers, and your inner wisdom voice. That's what my work is all about, and why I bang on about stillness and helpers and all. Stillness allows access, and opens you up to be present for the helpers and inner guidance within and without.
One little quote on—as our present day modes of intercommunication would have it—an Insta of a Tweet of a quote from a webinar of Paul Selig's guides asks three pertinent questions about our personal willingness to let go:
Am I willing to be what I am, in expression, for the benefit of the world?
Am I willing to know myself, in a new way, beyond the tenets or structures that have limited me?
Am I willing to let go of any idea I may have ever held that will serve as an obstacle?
Good questions! Ones to ponder and contemplate as we take a walk, or sit in traffic, or fret about the falling-apartness of our old systems of control, or try to get to sleep.
Matt Kahn, who also brings wisdom and guidance through for our vibrational upliftment ease, offers this affirming response that I, for one, use as a practice, to help pry my grasping, conditioned fingers off my small self identification and sometimes-present Miss-Know-it-All persona:
I am willing to see beyond my beliefs, ideas, and conclusions.
Which I'll take as a yes to the 3 questions above. What do we have to lose? That's a trick question! Start from the top of the blog if you're unsure.
An empowered life as a spiritual warrior with a deep connection to nature, guides and helpers, living in harmony with the helical dance of the universe, free to be, free to forgive, free to save the world, free of fear, and free of the idea that to be thusly free means others must do as I will, allows me to be free of the old stuff, and align to the good stuff, and see what happens.
Do you feel the magic in the air? When I watch the light go and feel the season turn at end of summer, I get happy every time. The magic of the light, the scents, the dreams, and changing colors just beginning in the tops of the trees, the geese starting to fly, the earlier twilights and later dawns, the crispness and slight chill of mornings... I could go on and on, but you get it.
I feel more than just physical, palpable things—I feel spirit. I feel the trees knowing it's time to turn toward their yearly transformation. The clouds about to come in, the rains in them. This year, in the new normal-not-normal, we had a lot of smoke for a bit, so these clear blue skies and bright sun are appreciated even more.
This week, there's another element to the feeling of magic in the air, courtesy of our solar system's dance steps. Of course we feel them, and dance along, like the tides and all of nature. This week, astrologer Pam Younghans cites aspects that foster release, healing, and completion, after a long eclipse cycle. Always written with clarity and depth, her weekly journal report (click on that to read) is news you can use.
This week's release allowance feels really powerful in a gentle, natural way. So I wanted to mention it to you. It's like the serendipity that happens when you want to buy something particular, and you happen to run into exactly what you want, at an unbelievably great price, without even looking for it. It shows up on your path, and you say Hey! Here it is! Perfect!
In fact, I'm seeing memes and blogs from trusted folk affirming and reinforcing this release thing all over the place right now. How am I working on release for real ease, personally? In a word, easily. Each day, each night, practicing various ways to unhook my old burdens, beliefs, ideas, and conclusion, held stuff, narratives, associative feelings and stuck emotions to wards self and other, and letting everything go.
Yes, I did just use a bunch of ease & easy words on purpose. Each easy ease of release...
It's getting more and more easy, and more and more fun, and less and less difficult to recognize the stuck energy and apply the antidote—which often is simply this: more self-love and acceptance, more forgiveness of self and other, more compassion for self and others, less holding of hurt, judgment, comparison, blame, guilt, and that stuff. More choosing to align with love+light, period. I align with the light! That's all I gotta do.
Matt Kahn supplies a handy affirmation for this, which you can use any old time you want: I allow myself to see beyond my beliefs, ideas, and conclusions. He uses the word see because this is a practice to open the third eye. Give it a test drive, and repeat it a bunch in your head, and feel your third eye start to pulse, and, if you look in the mirror, you will notice it looks different!
Pam Grout blogs about her practices with A Course in Miracles, her own books, her life and work and experiences people have applying her thinking redos to their lives. She is very accessible and mainstream while totally rad, and continually emphasizes the don't-believe-your-limiting-thoughts practices, dream into what you want instead, and watch what happens. It's fun, it's documented, it's upheld by lots of real folk, and it works. But you actually have to do it, and do it and do it, and that means—yes, you know what I'm going to say next—actually releasing your old way of thinking about how things go, what's possible in your own life and why, who you are, how it all happens, etc.
When you jettison your thinking, you get to your knowing. Eckhart Tolle continually broadcasts the message of stopping thinking, giving up listening to that channel for true guidance, and learning stillness as the portal to the real stuff coming through. I get his lovely memes of positive nowness thoughts in my inbox, as I do both Pam's weekly wisdom. I find they cut through the crap and feed my spirit, my practices and my soul with wisdom to prevail through giving up most of what would push me through my own life through fear. Nah. I align to the good stuff, I mean the really good, magic, claim it and name it stuff.
So many good reminders and cues to simplicity and grace, without loading up on dogma. It's a fine line that experiential knowledge helps define, and magic makes absolutely clear—getting those skin feelings when we hear truth or feel something our soul recognizes as helpful.
When it comes to rising above fear, into the way of knowing, claiming, and being, Paul Selig and his guides continue to dish out true wisdom direct from the Source. Sooooo glad spirit directed me to the MFA program he was then Director of, just as his channeled texts were first being written and published. No accident there. I continue to be chuffed at the magic twists of fate that continue to direct my soul path, and I'm opening wide for what's singing to me as I sing to it, to intend and create the future I desire, being a warrior, not a worrier, releasing old training, aka beliefs, ideas, and conclusions.
Paul's guides are now supplying information about going Beyond the Known, another complete alignment with the wisdom coming from all over. Remember Matt's I am willing to see beyond... affirmation. It's time to go beyond, and rise above, fear and the thoughts and feelings and actions governed by fear.
These include not loving and accepting ourselves as we are, knowing our knowing and not fearing our not-knowing, without getting confused my our little brains—or sucked in by those who are stuck in the fear-based frequencies at this time, as has been around for eons—and opening to a higher dimension of being we can roll with, just as we are (sans fear) that is healing and whole, loved and cared for, loving and caring, and damn joyful! Also sassy, because the future is female and that's a good thing for the whole planet.
It doesn't mean we turn into some holier-than-thou caricature, or turn into a narcissistic fool like... oh you know. It doesn't mean suddenly we have no challenges to face. But we face them differently, aligned with Source, in flow, coming from wide open ok show me how this goes and what my part is, because I don't know but I do know I can receive all kinds of seeming-miracles through this alignment.
It means we substitute self-love, self-care, self-compassion, clear presence, alignment with the higher vibe, fearlessness, and apply massive doses of forgiveness (the secret sauce) to all that surfaces for release, changing the old stories we carry about what happened to us and why. Or, in shamanic terms: intent, intent, intent.
As Paul's guides said, and I quoted last Valentine's Day:
In my shamanic work, personally and client-based, the helpers say the same message, the same gentle insistence that it is time for this, that we can each individually choose this, claim it as who we are, and let the rest, our old identity, fall off like a cheap suit. I love that metonym, around for donkey's years (another metonym), and appropriate to this new identity shedding and shapeshifting. It's like we get to get a new look, new clothes, new body, new carefree head, new station in life, new alignment, light bodywork, new perspective, and new peace of mind. That's the release, healing and completion this week is all about. Get it!
It's there for you to claim, to choose, and to embody wholeheartedly. As ACIM suggests, you can say to yourself (I do a lot, when I wake up, when I'm close to fretting activity, etc) Spirit am I, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world! Actually, I add my signature twist of free to save the fucking world because that's just how I roll and I don't mind it a bit.
Shamanic work can be very helpful in the releasing process; as an energy wrangler, I am shown energy to remove and release, and easily do that with my helpers. But it is necessary for each soul, each person, to consciously intend to release energy that does not belong to them, and to be willing to go beyond beliefs, ideas and conclusions that are simply not cricket in the above-fear seats. Your little brain and old fear rhetoric may fight against this, but your love and acceptance, compassion and guiding intent can act as a wash of grace and ease, which becomes more and more natural and preferable with practice.
Grace and real ease, with secret forgiveness sauce (use ho'oponopono as a handy practice) and lashings of light, makes letting go a breeze as welcome as the cooling whispers of fall.
Well, that was a rough weekend.
Suddenly, Friday morning, the forecast changed, with the shocking news of Anthony Bourdain's death. It rained here on and off, dramatically, with dark clouds and sudden winds and downpours alternating with mist rising off the grass in sunshine. Moody AF.
The photo, of HHDL warmly connecting with a smiling Tibetan girl in the traditional dress, also happened this weekend. His Holiness continues, for decades now, to walk in grace and simplicity, beaming love and joy, while unflaggingly doing tremendous work on multiple levels and platforms to alleviate the horrific suffering, persecution and imprisonment of his people, and all people. He both smiles and prays, acts and advises, holds space and moves forward, works for Tibet and reaches out to everyone everywhere, and does not give in to fear or anger. He is alive on this planet at this time, showing us how we can be also, and that's very fortunate for humanity. He also openly cries at atrocities and massacres and so on. He is human and feels what he feels.
Here on the island, there were lovely things to do: free concerts, the annual sheepdog classic, a cozy dinner at friends up the lane. While I did manage to stroll up the lane Saturday night to the neighbors' invitation, I found myself unable to pretend to be present and happy enough to go out Friday night. By then, my suicide PTSD had been fully triggered and I was too sad to pretend to be happy.
I have close personal experience with it, let's just leave it at that. The after effects linger in the soma, in the psyche (the body and the mind), part of the shadow self, part of the unknowable. As Anderson Cooper said, in reference to his own personal experience, it never goes away. Only when something happens that vibrates that certain frequency does an unstoppable triggering occur, and Anthony Bourdain's strong presence and steadying voice of humanity extinguished by the unknowable anguish was that something. Being a wounded healer is useful, a timeless archetype.
I realized this wasn't the time for me to put on the happy face and mingle, and cheer on the fine local musicians giving a free show at an awesome venue, even though I'd really wanted to go. As my feelings surfaced, I realized this was an opportunity to feel what I felt as a being of deep sentient awareness and empathic responses, who clearly had more grieving and releasing of still-held emotions to undergo on a personal level. I could feel my shadow side relaxing, grateful that I was going to give it room, sacred space, privacy, and support, to express and come into the light, instead of sending it back down to the basement, on the logic of needing to keep it together, cheer up, carry on, and be there for what others were doing.
I am fortunate to be able to simultaneously feel strong palpable shifts and surfacing emotional body memories and responses while also observing the phenomena—as all inherent phenomena—as empty, like the clouds and rain and mist and sun passing through. I remind myself to be nowhere (now+here). The weather metaphor was a gift for me to observe, and made it less sad to be pretty much glued to the couch while it went through its changes.
As I felt what I felt, I wasn't angsting over why, or how could he, or oh how it must have been... My shamanic teacher taught me, in the advanced trainings for working with other people and the souls of the dead, that we never know, or presume to know, what someone's soul path is, or why they may be suddenly called away from this reality, for any reason. It is not part of the work, of our jobs as practitioners. And it is a mystery we do not have sufficient information from this perspective to fully understand. Even in deathwalking a departed soul, the shaman does not ask for explanation.
To project speculations onto a soul journeying on, a journey of some duration, peril, and multiple variables that requires as much clear light support and protection as has been accumulated through merit, is—like paroxysms of fear or grasping for the situation—unhelpful to the soul's well-being and journey onward. To put it simply, they have enough to deal with, and particularly in the case of suicide. The departed needs as much peace as possible. We all do. Peace, love, and understanding, as always. Understanding we can't understand but we can amp up the love is also called compassion. As Dr. Seuss might say, my compassion grew three sizes bigger this weekend, for everyone, including Mr. Bourdain, my dearly departed, and myself.
So, I let the weather move through, aware that some deeper levels of grief had been allowed to surface, and some deeper levels of timeless love expressed through the united outpouring of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual subtle bodies. I was gifted with the lightening of my body-held trauma, and felt another layer of equanimity arise, which helps quiet the bewilderment.
I also created a pop-up altar in the workroom, as seen on my Instagram, let the smoke rise and the candle burn, and said the Hero Releasing from Fright invocation that is helpful to those journeying on, and those remaining. The ancient prayer, written by the 1st Panchem Lama of Tibet, who lived 1385-1438, contains the title of my poetry collection, Into the All Empty, itself a treatise and artifact of loss through the shattering act. I can practice for the souls involved, while also feeling what I feel. And knowing the emptiness in the Oneness.
As we steer our little boats—our little dish of sticks and skin, as I wrote in one of the poems—through the murderous churn, it is miraculous that we exist at all. The beauty of the butterflies, gliding through the brief sunny patches of the weekend, the birdsong, the two bucks grazing their way around this place were they too exist, all the beauty of nature I live for, continues, while elsewhere children are being taken away in trains to lie in cages, and their parents are being told they will never see them again. A rough weekend to have to hear about it, and rougher—much rougher, inconceivably rougher—for them to endure. A big fat no to suffering and cruelty, for anyone, anywhere, anytime. I created a strong intent that each one, parent and child, be surrounded by their guides and helpers, calling all angels, and to those seriously messing up their future lives by being a participant in the severing and incarceration and ill-treatment, that their hearts and minds might open. All this of course while we stop this through law, through congress, through the courts, through activism, through editorial outcry, through everything we've got.
Stanza 13 of Hero Releasing from Fright:
May we be set in one-pointed profound meditation
In the exalted wisdom of joined innate bliss and emptiness
During the four empties upon the melting of the moon-like white constituent
By the fire of the lightning-like Powerful Female.
Rising above fear is the gig, kindness is the path, freedom is the goal. To balance, the lojong slogan advises: abandon all hope of fruition. But not out of desperation. Out of the wisdom that, as stanza 15 says:
If, due to karma, an intermediate state is established,
May erroneous appearances be purified
Through immediately analyzing and realizing the
absence of inherent existence
Of the sufferings of birth, death, and intermediate state.
All through the weekend, there was beauty, and goodness, and light, alongside the sorrow and shock of this beautiful human being's death and just plain awful news of inhuman treatment and shattering policies by madmen set on global destruction. There was a horse who ran so fluidly and gracefully it simply galloped around three race tracks with thousands of humans screaming at him, and a 52-year-old jockey crouched over him, because it feels good to run flat out.
There was the Dalai Lama reaching out to a beautiful Tibetan girl in traditional dress, both alive and smiling and openhearted despite more than half a century of both being punishable by death. Photos on the feed of friends enjoying this beautiful world, traveling around, and friends living here and there posting about their lives, their work, their kids, their blooming flowers, their cats and dogs. The Parkland graduates singing Season of Love at the Tony's, and Robert DeNiro posing in real tough guy stance, fists raised, giving a hearty Fuck You to You-Know-Who, and getting an unanimous standing ovation, seen around the world.
Stay strong my friends.
Today is a new day. The sun is out, and I'm going on a little ramble over to Maury, to pet a friend's cat while they're away, to pick peonies no doubt drooping from the rains, to gaze at the mountain and send the prayers and wishes, to breathe in and out and move my limbs and be alive.
I welcome, intend, and invite health, wealth, truth and grace to surround me, so I can do my work, walk my talk, and be of service to anyone wishing to rise and fly, to have support for shadow work, to help the departed across the river, to discharge the binding links of past hurt, to receive guidance on present and future matters, and to release from fright, like a real hero.
Gloriosity is a word I made up—a neologism if you like—as a collective noun for when there's a bazillion robins on the lawn. A gloriosity of robins. I use it today because today is a gloriosity: just sitting here listening to the birds, looking at the blue sky, feeling the perfect breezes on my skin, enjoying all the plants flowering, the first butterfly drifting over the garden, trees leafed out again, it is all glorious. Tigs and I just lounging, being still, enjoying the quiet life feels glorious.
Practicing stillness for awhile now has really shifted my ability to be in the gloriosity with little provocation—and on a Monday no less! Tuning in to the oneness is easy when it's all around, singing its song of beauty, truth and wonder. Good old John Keats famously wrote the lines Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. He had an exceptional ability to tune into the oneness, which he called negative capability. He'd just hang out by a tree, a bird, an urn, and let his edges blur until he became the tree, bird, urn. It's a merging thing.
Thing is, when you allow yourself to do that, you can rest in the nature of alaya. That's a lojong slogan I invoke more and more these days. Alaya means the essence. These trees, these leaves moving in the light breeze, these birds singing in the forest, all are resting in their true nature, their essence. They do it 24/7. No one told them not to. Hanging out with them makes it so easy to let go of ordinary consciousness and let my edges blur into oneness.
What does that do, you wonder? It looks like nothing, like doing nothing, which in some circles is thought of as wasting time. Like sitting zazen, it's not a spectator sport, but it is spectacular in what it does. I'd go so far as to say being is the new doing. Although it isn't new at all.
Shamans and wise women and sages and all sorts have been quietly being, focusing intent, connected to the oneness, rapt in the jiva—a line from an old poem I'm gonna re-use, starting now—as long as humans have walked this little blue planet. What it does in utilitarian terms is invisible but palpable, both within the individual and in the fields surrounding them. Like these two dogwoods, blooming before me. They are beaming out their essence and it is glorious. I'm sitting here resting in their essence and we are resonating together. If I did have any concerns, I don't now.
A week ago, ten women practiced this at our afternoon retreat, and were so naturally calm and connected that two horses who lived in the pasture we were in felt enough at ease to both lie down together—something their owner brought to our attention as rare indeed.
If you are in a cycle of hurrying and worrying, it can be tough to drop all that even for a few minutes, being out of practice. These beautiful warm spring days offer a super boost because they're just so damn fine.
Leave the litany of sorrows and outrages on the feed that ping your pain body, and wander outside for a playdate with truth and beauty. That is all ye need to know on earth.
The sun is shining, the trees are flowering, the birds are singing, and the field of infinite possibilities is, as always, ready for anything we imagine. Happy Friday!
Every day is play day for me, because I love my work and where I live. Looking at clouds, like the cloud augury I did yesterday by just walking out my door and looking up, to see this awesomeness (and it was the only cloud in the sky), tells me what I need to know. (So does leaf gazing, water watching, raptor time...)
In this case, I read this augury as Rise and Fly! A magical reminder that each second I am the director of my energy, my thoughts, my vibration resonance, my sentient awareness, and what I'm radiating out in exchange with the Oneness. On beautiful Spring days, it's so natural to be happy, enthused, inspired by the beauty all around, and lighthearted about life.
On another frequency altogether, things are falling apart, the news is dire, and everybody's pissed at each other. In these times of duality on steroids, it's up to us individually to notice what frequency we're humming in resonance with, and tune ourselves into the vibe we truly want. It's easy to get pinged by other frequencies, and tractor beamed into the negs. Resist in a frictionless fashion by rising and flying above the fray.
In the higher octave range, all that sturm and drang cannot exist. Fear, anger, frustration, blame, anxiety, and the way the little brain becomes fixated on problems it cannot solve and turns against itself and/or others: left behind to evaporate, as deep connection with the Oneness is activated instead, by simply being and claiming and choosing it in the now. Be nowhere! now+here, simply be. Fearlessness achieved.
Like that cloud, that of course continued moving and changing shape, and transforming into nothingness, here we go. Moving out into the sunshine, into the day, moving through the universe as myriad worlds arise and shapeshift. Be the light, and will that there be light, and you lighten everything up. You, we, I can and do create the world as we dream it. Loving this beautiful world, and the Oneness, as things come and go, dream up a beautiful day in which you rise and fly.
Hey, it's the last weekend in January already! It's blustery and gray here on the island, and I have the whole weekend to do nothing and see what arises. Awesome! I unplugged the router early last night and slept and dreamt for a long time.
Sleeping more is important when you're practicing multidimensional being. You may have been raised to think sleeping late was lazy or lethargic or avoiding 'reality' — but neuroscience disagrees. It's restorative to body, mind, and spirit, and literally repair time for your cells and even for clearing what's stored in your brain. There's a little video on all that here.
So, as I watch the cedars sway in the wind, I came across an article (click that if you don't want to read all my blather) that pinged my attention for this blog post.
Now that my retreat on 5D thinking and practices has happened, and I'm doing those practices for my own vibrational transformation, I know once more that What you teach you learn. 5D thinking (simply saying, thinking and doing what you want to be) gets easier and easier, simply because you are noticing what you're thinking, and how you're feeling. Noticing where our brains go is, of course, the foundation of meditation, but you can do it anytime, anywhere. And gently bring your mind back to right here, right now, there is nothing to do but simply be. Rest in the nature of alaya, as the Lojong slogans advise.
At night, in bed, I find, practice is particularly helpful, because the personal mind loves to keep on its little self-appointed tasks of thinking about the past, pondering answers to trivia, updating the to-do list, fretting about future unknowns, and keeping busy with all sorts of stuff. Like, just because I watched an episode of Grace & Frankie recently with references to The Music Man (and every single musical from my childhood stuck in my head), my 'little brain' nightly brings up the trivia question, Who played Harold Hill in the film version? (while singing 76 Trombones and trying to remember all the lyrics) when I am actually wanting to stop thinking and shift into lucid dreaming consciousness. Busy little brain. Does yours do this stuff?
I noticed I'd habitually take the bait and start trying to recall the actor, even wanting to get up and plug in the router and actually google it, to get the answer so I could go to sleep. Talk about a hook! Along with a million other 'little brain' prompts and queries and reruns. But now that I'm noticing whenever I slide off just being now+here, I catch my little brain in its tricks. Nice hook, little brain. But I'm not playing. Now it is time to rest. Rest now. Be nowhere. Be now+here.
I notice also the little beefs and grudges and sleights or pseudo-sleights and outrages it loves to revive as hooks to my attention. Little brain knows that usually gets my energy going. I've been noticing when I go negative—about myself or anything else—as another practice. It's habitual, whether in conversation, in what we respond to while scrolling the Book of Faces, looking in the mirror, reviewing our past and its ubiquitous faux pas, explaining why things are the way they are, or all of the above.
I noticed I went negative more than I wanted to as a sort of habitual brain chatter mechanism. These days of the daily nightmare, you can go negative 24/7 and feel it's necessary for the salvation of the planet, but, um, actually that is not so. I'd venture to say that is part of the nefarious agenda, to get us to go negative more.
We perceive energy, and as we perceive and believe, so it seems. As one shaman said, the world is as we dream it. To transform our habitual negative perceptions of ourselves, others, and the [fate of the] planet we ride, we simply need to notice what's happening now, and use intent to choose where we direct our energy in the moment. This includes practicing self-awareness and noticing where our beliefs disempower us. We have trouble believing in our own power! We're much more indentured in why we can't have power, why mean people can take it, why someone may have put some whammy on us long ago that's still holding us back, etc. etc.
And, as a shamanic practitioner, I do work with retrieving lost and stolen power as a major service to clients. But, restoring wholeness—the overarching intent of the work—means also assisting the client to transform the energy locked in their beliefs and perceptions of how things are not ok and why that is so. And how can I do that for them if I don't do it for myself?
What you teach you learn is evermore true as I practice intent intent intent, and actually shift the burden of negative thinking off my weary, come-from-a-long-line-of-critical-worriers shoulders. Shamanic work definitely assists with this, as do my retreats and stuff. But personal intent and practice, and noticing your own thoughts and beliefs, with a little helpful info, must be part of anyone's path to freedom, reclaiming your power, your mind, your energy, your dreams.
So, the article that popped up today might be news you can use for this practice. It's from Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop site, and even from what appears to be a relative of her fiancé, not that it matters. It's the information and how clearly it is stated that grabbed my attention. After a very successful night of personal negative-thinking re-patterning, I wanted to offer something to you, for your weekend reflection and daily practices.
What happens in your mind when you read this: Negativity and negative intentions are distorted energy and consciousness. They originate in part as a reaction to pain. Negativity is our blame and judgment, our selfishness, pessimism, self-righteousness, cruelty, and apathy. Negative intentions are the parts of us that want to punish or humiliate, that don’t want to give, that give to get, that won’t receive, that won’t see the other person beyond our own needs, that won’t reveal our vulnerability, that won’t surrender. Subtle or obvious, our negativity and negative intentions create suffering because they are distortions—and our distortions keep us separate from ourselves and others.
That is a quote from Aimee Falchuck, from this interview. You may find the discussion helpful in your personal energy wrangling.
Since I'm an energy wrangler—and it's all about energy, and intent, which is the directing of energy—her clarity in that first sentence got my attention. Our childhood/adolescent reactions to pain create negative patterns and perceptions that we find ourselves using over and over, from looking in the mirror to responding to situations or certain people or events. But the negativity slant is like responding to a distorted mirror or garbled recording of something happening. We're perceiving something that is not as we perceive it, and hurting ourselves again in the process, trying to avoid pain. We are suffering and creating suffering.
Transforming our own negativity before going ballistic at the negativity and negative intentions of others (yes, I used a weapons-based word there on purpose) has more peacekeeping capability than a comment thread smackdown ever could. That we have the power—not the person or event or circumstance—to alter that distortion, is key to not suffering. And maybe to peace in our hearts and in the world. Feeling good about yourself, less provoked by what you perceive as bad stuff from others, sleeping more, and creating world peace as the bonus. All free and available for you 24/7.
Happy Saturday! Take the day off, in your mind at least. Rest. Oh, and, Robert Preston played Harold Hill. I knew it was Robert somebody!
Greetings of the season of light returning! Here we are in the final dark days, just before the turning back toward the light in our planetary dance around the sun. As we all know, the darkest hour is just before the dawn, and since tonight is the New Moon (10:30pm PST) today is the lunar turning, as Thursday 12/21 is the solar turning Winter Solstice.
I am always relieved when the days begin to get longer, just like the ancestors were. They celebrated the return of the light and also marked the beginning of deep winter on the Solstice, because it's good to get some light and warmth and comfort food and cheer going, happy memories and fellowship to see us through.
This year is darker than usual, making keeping spirits bright challenging. One thing this particular week—down to Solstice on Thursday, then through the Christmas weekend—has going for it is the natural energy of deep stillness. If you're rushing around to get stuff and go to things you'll need to be mindful of your energy and others', as many rushing around you are not actually present, and there are lots more fender benders and the like. Being present helps your spatial awareness and sensitive radar detect things before they happen. Also to see angels in disguise, helpful elves, magical beasts, crystals that are calling out to you and so on.
People also come down with colds and things. Our bodies implore us to take it slow and easy, drop and ground, rest and relax. Staying present and mindful with your energy, cultivating stillness and giving yourself many moments of silent wonder, and not overloading your schedule will keep you centered, grounded, and aware, which is really the best present you can give yourself and everyone around you. My blog post from December 2014 (wow 3 years ago already!) has more on that.
You know how to do it, and you don't need to make it a to-do list. It's relaxing, inspiring, and magical in fact, to breathe slowly and deeply, enjoying the crisp air. To take a walk to gather some wild holly, visit the ducks, hug trees or look at the sky. It's lovely to play with your fairy lights and decorations, make delicious things appear in your kitchen, even just a fragrant cup of tea. It's uplifting to dream of what you love, create something to give to another, write your secret wishes and tuck them in your stocking or into a tree.
Leaving little natural offerings to spirits is jolly good fun, and the spirits appreciate your good wishes and intent. We're accustomed to making lists of what we want, both to give and receive, at this time. The balance of leaving offerings to the spirits—not to ask for anything—but to say hello I love you I'm so glad you are here in this world with me is part of developing relationships with the helpers, core shamanic practice. Practical magic.
Once I asked live oaks on my land in Malibu what they wanted, and they said cornbread! So I made some corn bread, and went around the acreage, leaving a little square at each tree. They loved it! The grove turned magical and then some! So feel free to ask; you may be surprised at the response. It also develops your ability to be present, tune in, and connect with the beings around you.
The week following is that betwixt and between time that this liminal girl loves, when time slows down and there's free space for whatever your soul wants... quiet time, sleep, reading, reflection, shedding, just stopping and tuning in to the subtle return of the light.
And I will shamelessly mention here that although my January 13th women's day retreat is mostly full, we'll be doing this intent thing, this being present stuff, this powerful vibration raising magic, and it's not too late to join us, by going here. Solstice blessings to one and all!
I do divinations, which, technically, is any form of divining. I mostly use runes, various decks of cards, and ogham sticks, and intuitively do bird, cloud, and water auguries for what's what.
I still have my yarrow stalks and I Ching from 1970, with stains of cred on its hand-stitched cloth covering. I was just a girl in the woods then, and I don't do the long process of the yarrow stalks for hexagrams these days.
It's an ancient gig, being an oracle, augurer, or reader of signs. It goes with the territory of being a seer. Traditionally, it's been summoned for foretelling the future. Myths of old are full of it. Usually, the oracle is obscure AF and the king or whoever misinterprets it, and goes to great lengths to keep it from coming true; all of whose efforts, in fact, bring it about. I love that irony.
As a shamanic practitioner, I often get asked what will happen? or what should I do? types of queries, and that's what this blog post circles: I'm not a fortune teller. And you don't want to think about your destiny or your future in those terms anyway. It doesn't really work that way.
Outcome—any outcome—depends on a lot of interconnected actions in a lot of interconnected worlds in a lot of interconnected dimensions in a lot of interconnected multiverses. Quantum physicists will back me up on this. The field of possibilities is endless, and the person who asks for guidance receives, from a divination done truly, information that can be helpful in navigating the energies of the time. As we move in the direction of our chosen wish, goal, or outcome, many things come into play, and our decisions and actions ping off them, creating more possible outcomes.
Often, what we thought was our desired outcome turns out to have been something to steer towards, attracting our energy, that instead brought us into play with other factors and forces that move us forward in what we might call destiny. Being aware of the energies present and available to us at any given time is really the salient feature of divination, from my energy wrangler job description.
I did a divination this week for my birthday: I like to check in and see what energy patterns are affecting my life, and birthday energy zings up the silica in us and activates more DNA stuff. These days, my go-to long divination method is the 15 card Thoth deck spread. It's comprehensive, to say the least. The cards are beautiful and highly symbolic, packed with meaning.
What I really like about the spread are the patterns of energy that can be seen in the quincunx. A quincunx—one of my favorite words—is a pattern or alignment of four points of a square with a point in the center of the square, making five points. Three-card groups are drawn in a quincunx pattern. I won't go into each card's significance here. The energy patterns of each card, and the patterns in relation to the cards in its triad, and its positioning in the quincunx, are powerful, palpable, and memorable.
The art of divination is exactly that—an art. While you can get a deck and a book and use them, reading the complex patterns of energy that interconnect, and being able to synthesize that energy into an oracle that will be useful to the client, relating to their query, or concern, takes a bit of mastery, and the intuitive powers of the practitioner.
In my case, the patterns start lighting up and moving and singing and showing me in many different channels what is available, what is transforming or can transform, what can come and what can go; what is being asked of you—the client, and what you might not be aware of. Interpreting and articulating that to you well is part of the art.
It's all energy, as noted on my welcome page. What you do with the energy and the information and your capabilities and desires at any given moment is up to you and free will and intent, belief and courage. What outcomes are possible are myriad. What is possible is, well, open. Knowing you have energies and forces of the Universe within you and without you supporting your quest is empowering. Being aware of energies that you're susceptible to, and fears/beliefs you hold that block or entice your actions, is empowering. Knowledge is power!
Scientia potentia est