How many of you immediately recognized that the word nowhere is a simple joining of the words now and here?
Being a nothingness freak and a serious word freak, this sort of thing rides around with me like a clue to the secret of life.
Be here now. Where, exactly? Now. Here. The present we are seeking, the moment, the oneness, that feeling of connection with all that is, the aha moment that happens when we let it all go and see what emerges, is where we want to be. And it is nowhere.
Nowhere man got a bad rap for being like nowhere, man. We were primed to be where it's at. Well guess where that is? Yep, something very much like the void. Which isn't a problem, because, when we examine the nature of matter and the nature of mind, there, um, isn't a lot there. The universe is a hologram, you may have heard. There's a black hole in the center of our galaxy.
The more scientific data confirms the illusion of separateness mystics, sages and shamans have explored for eons, the more we humans, right here, right now, can connect the dots and do the thing we can now do, more than ever. Break free from old programs and limiting, fear-based patterns and come from a place within ourselves that is in the oneness zone, the gap, the field. From here, or there, or the now here that allows this state, amazing things are possible, and preferable, to keep the orbs spinning in harmony and resonance.
Now is the time for this heightened, transformative shift. Some made the jump eons ago, and throughout our rough history. But now's good for a big swing of many humans discovering, claiming and enacting their own way out of fear, pain and misery. In my own work and in the work I do for others, this is the thing that keeps coming up. And doing the thing is often precipitated by things falling apart, no longer working, whether it's health, wealth, relationships, or the world around us. How the world appears around us and what we have to do with the perception. It's tricky but again, that's the illusion talking. For those free from all that, it's not tricky at all.
As we navigate our personal struggles and plot lines to the tricky-free zone of joyful creation, we get to play with our now here dials, and how they dial things up. That's what they're for. How near–or if you're into anagrams, how neer–is the tricky-free zone of joyful creation, for you, at any given moment? Is it dependent on externals? For the sages the trick was not to be swayed by externals, including when it's happening directly to you, as in ouch. Remembering the aha during the ouch takes presence.
Reading how positive thoughts and projections create positive results can, on a bad day, incite a rogue wave of incredulity, cynicism, or even anger when things go wrong, on the news or closer to home. But what if it didn't? What if you held firm, here, now, in nowhere where all is, and continue the altruistic, openhearted vibe? I'm pretty sure this is not a new idea. Like that story of the Buddha getting fired at by arrows while he sat there meditating in the zone, and the arrows turning into flowers. Nowhere is a place in which the 3D rules and regulations don't apply.
What's up with the photo? It seems to have orbs floating in the sky, a tilting old building, and some kind of swan cloudshow. I took this photo at Hawkwood in December of 2008, looking out the window of the big room where The Company of Hawkwood had just finished a meditation as part of the weekend mystery school with Caitlin Matthews, John Matthews, and professor-author Ari Berk. Just today, Caitlin Matthews posted about this longstanding annual event on her blog, Soundings, where you can be guided to everything you need to know, and even still make reservations to attend this year's weekend, if you so desire.
I bring it up because she brought it up because it's coming up for me big time as I create my own mystery school musings. Today I mention it not only because of the Company of Hawkwood energy, but because of world events, as a way of thinking about what my particular mystery school concept encompasses. As I synthesize How Things Happen into areas of potential inquiry, as I develop the scope and discuss it with colleagues, questions arise, and it's helpful for me to articulate answers to those questions. People ask, what sort of stuff will you do there? The scope is wide but small, far reaching but quiet.
Mystery schools, like all other institutions, come in all shapes, sizes, and persuasions. Today's post touches on one of the ways I envision the work could potentially positively benefit the world. Which has to do with the super Typhoon Haiyan which just struck the Philippines. What could we potentially do about such things at the mystery school? Ring bells and wail at the sky?
I'm going to keep this simple. One glimpse at the news headlines and the words devastation, horror, shock, death, lethal force, etc. run riot on the brain, doing little to positively affect a sense of helplessness, victimhood, fear and dread at nature and the world that sells papers in an old school format. Superstorms increase at a rate relative to our action movies about superstorms. Worldwide, we argue about cause and effect, global warming, climate change, the data that shows how superstorms increase from the warming of the seawater and the manufacturing pollution that exacerbates this phenomena. Much is being done from many approaches to both help and hinder our understanding of and our role in the delicate balance that allows us and other life forms to safely inhabit the pretty blue planet. It's major. So what does this all have to do with the mystery school thing? It's such a touchy topic, people strap on their mindsets in an either-or mentality, sparking friction at the table, or the comments section. But what about another possible approach? Not in place of, but in addition to, all the other approaches.
Picture this. Take the knowledge of atmospheric scientists, climatologists, oceanologists, and study it. Take the research of scientists such as Dr. Emoto, who studies the change in water crystals as a result of resonance and positive or negative articulation, and add it to the data. Take the wisdom and experience of practitioners such as Sandra Ingerman in shamanic environmental transformation and radical ecology, mentioned in an earlier blog post, and add it to the mix. Don't get bogged down in superstition, balderdashedly indignant refutation of invisible power, the negation of the energetic component, or any religious dogma about comeuppance or somesuch. Basically, steer clear of old school paradigms which separate wisdom and compassion in favor of some authority being all hopped up.
Rather, combine the power of information, intention, group effort, co-creation in the quantum field, a high degree of skill and words in working with the elements. Not in a last ditch, oh please don't whomp on us fear-based appeal to a judgmental punisher. Neither a 'just think good thoughts' halfheartedness nor a system of experimentation that disregards the power of human thought and heart energy in interacting with physical outcomes, such as evidenced in the transformation of water crystals. Bring the information together into a synthesis of directed thought, speech and action that eliminates lack of harmony with the elements from the source that is creating them.
You gotta be practiced up in this stuff so you can do the thing when it's time, which in the case of the typhoon, would have been when it began to form, in effect stating its intention. Taking it as an extreme example, a natural weather event that was being monitored scientifically, the data was available and could be addressed in many ways. The intention for the work would not be to make it stop, but to see what was going on, to listen to it, discover what was possible and what was needed and how to honor that, perhaps in a way that could then create less volatile, destructive force; a way it could 'live' that could be distributed differently, transmuted, redirected. A middle world journey straight into the eye comes to mind as a possible shamanic approach, and who knows there may have been many shamans doing precisely that.
Naturally, like in all schools, the thing is to start small, perhaps with a glass of water, a puddle, a harbor, a shower, or interacting with a sudden spiral that spins the leaves in the driveway. Providing instruction and space, developing individual skills alongside group intentionality, knowledge sets and levels of practice builds capabilities. What initially sounds impossible later proves to be the new discovery.
In all choices, support systems and materials that don't pollute; mitigate, reverse and transmute past damage, and use the power of words, sound, intention, and resonance in the now to communicate with the world, the universe, directly, energetically. Put it all together. I'm getting at a way of living powerfully and harmoniously with the elements of this world and the energies of the universe which utilizes an informed synthesis of abilities and knowledge to interact with nature in a positive, transformative way.
It's not a new idea, nor an original one. It's simply a multi-pronged approach to living in this (and other) world(s) that connects on a lot of levels for the well-being of all. Working with the elements from wisdom rather than fear, from a sense of empowered co-creative communication rather than victimhood or attack-defend strategies, addresses the manmade causes of imbalance on the planet even as it sends immediate energies that could potentially affect more than the minds of the participants. It utilizes the best experiential wisdom we have from shamanic and other practices and from scientific data with a quantum dash and heart.
Shamans have worked with weather conditions for the good of the people multiculturally for millennia. An integrated awareness of ways to live without disturbing the delicate balance of nature, lessening such cataclysmic events and restoring harmony on the planet includes what we create on the material as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. Put them all together and see what is possible. And hey, collect the data, compile evidence where possible, to add to the field of knowledge. Thank the spirits, honor the wind, the water, the ocean, the earth. Help each other not create conditions that harm each other as well as send help after such cataclysmic events. Learn how to do all of this at a mystery school by developing your powers and increasing your awareness of a lot of stuff. That's the idea.
We in the Pacific Northwest are enjoying stellar fall weather! Day after day of blue sky, bright sun, golden leaves drifting down through green sylvan glades, woodsy ridges awash in color, Japanese maples of such brilliant vermillion they seem made out of stained glass or garnets. Through this panorama the full moon flies past the night stars, Flickers call their agreements, deer wander the lawn, and I take it all in as I cultivate the spiritual warrior within, and conjure the new hoop of the next chapter of my storied life, seemingly out of nowhere.
As you know, intrepid reader and fellow soul traveler, I receive a lot of guidance from all sorts of channels. This morning's comes in from 1) the congruence of a book I found in the back of a shelf I haven't seen since I moved here three years ago, 2) a medicine card I pulled without ado from a deck from a drawer, and 3) a quote that tied them both together. As I grok the wisdom and feel the assimilation energetically inside my body, 4) Flicker chimes in–yep, right on cue right here and now–flashes her pink underwings and affirms, as Flicker always does for me, that Spirit is here and knows I'm paying attention. During that entire sentence, Flicker has been voicing from the red cedar she flew to a sentence before. These synchronicities are vital to How Things Happen in my world, and fire my imagination. The photo shows my faux bird nest of stone eggs and feathers I've found here from Flicker and other species.
The card I pulled spoke of the Spiritual Fire within, the Luminosity we carry–scratch that–the Luminosity we, and all things, actually are. We are Light. Everything's frequency, moving light. Mathematicians and Quantum Physicists have cool ways of notating that, and lots of fun words like quantum foam. These gorgeous fall leaves are shifting their frequency and we are onboard for the ride. Wow! What a light show. The card advised letting go of all drama and simply letting the truth of being Light inform my cells, my consciousness, my world. Flicker agreed.
I took the book, Sandra Ingerman's Medicine for the Earth, out to the sunny porch and opened to a random page. The beginning page of the chapter on Imagination. In Sandra's transmutation work, imagination is a key component. Within the chapter is a quote from Caroline Casey, Imagination lays the tracks for the reality train to follow. Ingerman advises letting that one soak in for a bit.
Dreaming your reality into being is using the creativity, the luminosity within you and your sentient connection to the light all around you to imagine, to 'cast forth enchantments' as 20th century mystic Neville put it (and Ingerman mentions). The power of the imagination directs light and frequency–Flicker agrees! Imagination sees the scene so completely it is shimmering in the light. The sounds, the smells, the tastes, the colors, the clothes... actually this is starting to remind me of the theme song to Green Acres a little. For imagination to lay the tracks for the reality train, you gotta get into it. Really dream it up big time, exactly as you want to see it. Do it, live it, be it, for real. Then when you bump into it you recognize it. Oh. Yes. There it is.
It's interesting to note what comes up in resistance to this creative work, this creative playbook, of imagination. All the authority figures who pooh-poohed the power of daydreams, who put down your abilities in the dreaming up department, or dissuaded you from the worth of imagination, the imaginary helpers and magical happenings we love to create from an early age, so naturally. These self-styled reality experts pop up from our wearied neural pathways to wag a finger or roll their eyes, give a withering lecture, certain of knowing better about what's what. That's not how things happen, they say. But you know what? These too are imaginings, reality-shaping ones as any other. If for such a mind, that's not the way things happen, well, for them it is not. Period. The reality train coming in on those tracks will look a bit different. And yes, Flicker is discoursing all through my final edit of this paragraph, in the little bubbly chirpy vocal patterns they do so well. You tell 'em, Flicker. Word.
It could be said that, frequency-wise, now more than at any previous time, we are able to use the power of Imagination, free and clear from old conditioning, to transmute trauma and toxicity within and without, and create something much more pleasant for us all. It does require getting some clarity, feeling our feelings and examining our fears, learning how to feel the luminosity within, open to influxes of light and circulate it through us. It takes a little practice to state our personal choice and empower our decision making abilities, choose love not fear, no matter what. It's only ourselves who can turn off old programs, give the old voices a cookie and a hug, rose-colored glasses, and maybe a security blankie for a lengthy naptime. As I just corrected a proofreading error in that sentence, hours after the initial posting, a quote box on the edit page delivered, from Walt Disney himself, this golden nugget: If you can dream it, you can do it.
Do you have an initial excited response to such a statement, followed by a negating 'well it's nice but it's not really true' type thought, or a 'that may be true for some people, but not for me'' thought? Sometimes it helps me to imagine a delete button, a mute button, or a lovely hamper in which I toss the old conditioning fears that pop up to block the Imagination in full swing. Sometimes I crumple up the curmudgeonly 'scratch pad imagination-stupifying thought' and toss it over my head into the imaginary metal wastebasket of some old classroom. A little movement, some sound effects, are fun sometimes. Whoosh! Zap! Or the vintage sound of the phonograph, or tape, winding down as the plug is pulled. The sudden clarity of a gong. Flicker calls also work, really really well. They cut right through.
My accountant says he tells his negative self-talk, Thank you for your opinion. Now shut up. Whatever your transmutation method, dare to dream, and ditch the downer dialogue with diligence. Enjoy your railroad building. Your reality train's looking beautiful already.
I'm not sure I just saw an albino dragonfly float directly past me, but I did. I just don't remember ever seeing one before, and I've seen many dragonflies of various colors, shapes, sizes, and wing patterns. Dragonflies are big with me. They've embossed letterhead and business cards for my practice. My house is full of them, in cloth, metal, china, stained glass, beadwork, you name it. People see I have dragonflies and give me more dragonflies.
Clients and friends call me up and say I visited them as a dragonfly, riding around crowded fairs on their baseball caps, or appearing in the desert where there aren't dragonflies because there's no water. As a shapeshifter, it's one of the things I guess I do.
So when dragonfly appears, such as on this beautiful fall afternoon after days of cold hard rain, I take it as a sign. When this white dragonfly appeared and disappeared just now... well, that's some big medicine. Dragonfly medicine. White Dragonfly Medicine. Whew. Let me explain.
Dragonflies are being studied scientifically because of their brains, their eyes, their wings, their having been on the earth for so long. They have powers that astound, and endurance that prevails. And yet they live most of their life under water, without wings, as larvae. Imagine being able to see all around you at the same time, and to instantaneously fly in any direction. They seem to dart in and out of visible reality because they don't have to travel in one direction or turn around. They don't think, 'Oh, wait, what was that over there? Am I going the wrong way?' They simply go, as their inner guidance system directs. I don't imagine they do much second guessing. I bet they don't keep mental lists of what they didn't do, where they didn't go, mistakes, and the like.
As a totem, they remind us that we create our own reality. Repeat after me, 'I create my own reality.' And we might as well get really good at it, and create lives that are fabulously us. This requires some alterations to the stuff that created our neural pathways and early adaptive strategies before we knew that much about what was going down. It's a people thing. Largely subconscious, pretty unavoidable, fairly resistant to change. But, with attention, intention, and practice, possible.
And boy howdy, that's exactly what I'm doing. And, if you're like me (and I know I am), sometimes during the process of creating a new chapter from scratch there are moments of such uncertainty it can seem impossible. And then dragonfly pops up, nonchalant, easygoing, just cruisin' on by, saying hey. You got this. I'm impossible, friend, but here I am.
Dragonfly has been a special power animal teacher since an orange and blue one came up to me by a wild river and gave me one of my early songs, when I was seventeen. But I've never seen an all white one until just now. In this present moment, I am doing some personal work akin to surgery, removing old blocks, burdens, and bindings that are acting like sea anchors. It's time to rise out of the water, grow wings and fly in any direction, and act natural. Okay! Let's do this.
Are you in transformation mode? Are you re-inventing yourself, changing old mental patterns, releasing entanglements, searching for what's next, your purpose, your lost energy, your creative zazzle? In journeys we fly through time and space without the encumbrance of time or space, effortlessly shifting direction with the energy. Sometimes this happens in dreams. And sometimes, with dragonfly's help, in ordinary reality.
This is the second in a How Things Happen series of blog posts.
As a kid, I constantly asked How come? I've pondered and studied the subject enough to know that once you understand, you can make things happen very effortlessly. Lao Tzu's statement that by doing nothing everything gets done is a clue to the value of examining How Things Happen. So, like how do they?
How Things Happen is an area of inquiry at the heart of the examined life. Socrates famously said the unexamined life is not worth living, but it takes a certain je ne sais quoi to examine the invisible. Which is precisely what you're looking at when you examine How Things Happen at the root level. Like when you're cooking up something new.
Creating new forms, re-inventing yourself, coming up with an idea for a story, a song, a poem, a work of art, a new project ... the list includes discoveries, inventions... has several stages, like a recipe. Much of the stuff of the finished product happens in the abstract, in the invisible realm of thought, emotion, imagination, sentient awareness, spiritual connection. In the quantum field. As if it's out there somewhere. Or in here somewhere.
Sometimes you see it before you know what it is; sometimes other senses ping first with a feeling of knowing. The saying, it's on the tip of my tongue is an apt metaphor: while we are not quite ready to actually say the thing we're thinking of, the tongue already feels its presence as the mind works on the information it is organizing, retrieving, bringing forward. Our desire, intention, need to know initiates the activity; our attention to the tip of the tongue helps pull the remembering into the physical, to re-member or make it appear in the now in the form of spoken representation.
Another, less abstract analogy for How Things Happen is cooking. We say we're cooking up ideas because it's a metaphor we can access easily. Cooking's part of everyday life, keeps body and soul together, and is a sentient pleasure as well. It can be easy or complicated, intuitive or totally mapped out in instructions and procedures. Either way, the results can be unpredictable. Ingredients, procedures, tools, heat sources, and timing are involved: materials and conditions. But what comes before those things? The recipe. And the inspiration for the recipe.
Genius is an interesting word: a person with exceptional abilities of creativity, imagination, intellectual ability. Many have thought processes that are quite extraordinary, tapping into the unknown in an uncanny way. Many think about How Things Happen big time, or not at all, and simply let it happen. Wikipedia says research into what causes genius or mastery is still in the early stages. Imagine that.
But the word itself is ancient and has not changed a bit from the Latin genius: the guiding spirit (of a person, family, place). These spirits and the word are connected to the verb to create, or to bring into being. So, since ancient times, How Things Happen has involved guiding spirits to help bring things into being, from non-being. Sorta like magic.
Maybe you're cooking up new forms from the invisible, with guiding spirits helping the realization of the intention and the desire – the genius recipe – the first stage in creation. Energy follows thought; they are both invisible forces. This abstract stage is one of winnowing, focusing, identifying, envisioning, dreaming, and choosing. Did I mention huge amounts of uncertainty? Part of the recipe. Along with childish curiosity, trust, abandon, fearlessness, courage, support, and ways of following your knowing, of connecting with the genii and powwowing.
It's okay if you don't know every detail, don't have all the ingredients, don't have the recipe all worked out before you begin. What are you cooking up? Take the thing that's on the tip of your tongue and let it tantalize your senses until you can taste it, use all that vast space of uncertainty as a playground. Throw your ideas out there to the genii and ask that they play ball with you, toss a few ideas around, pitch some possibilities. Mix up metaphors and ingredients, free associate. Creative directors do it all the time. Then, someone gets a genius idea.
Oh, and creating from scratch can make you hungry. For that, there's Amanda Hesser's Genius Recipes. Yum. Leave a bowl out for the genii. And set a place at the table for the unknown.