Present Tense

Cocooning to cope…

 

It’s a turn off the news, ask Alexa to shuffle Norah Jones morning.

Very cold this here; one of those hard to catch your breath, the dogs are walking on 3 legs, super clear at 8500 feet, mornings.

The condo feels like a little cocoon with Christmas lights, warm slippers, fireplace, counting small blessings (like clean sheets) happening.

The world is so absolutely chaotic right now. I was talking to a friend yesterday about various current events and happenings, when we both came to the same conclusion: “We’re screwed!”. HAHA!

But, I/we need to put ourselves into our cocoon now and then; to inhabit the eye of the storm where there is peace, calmness and often, clarity.

Yesterday I was standing in the valley where I currently live and gazing at the huge, beautiful, ancient mountains that surround us like a giant hug.

This, too, shall pass my loves. The timeline of humanity is sooooo long and so varied and yes, ALWAYS chaotic.

We look at various other eras in history and are lulled into the idea that it was a calmer, simpler time. That everything was as it should be and that everything ‘made sense’. It never has. Ever.

There has always been suffering and violence and hunger and oppression and all of the bad, icky things that we think are at an all-time high right now.

The difference is that we are in an era where we MUST ‘see’ them. We are awakening at a fairly rapid rate, thanks in part to technology, which is both a boon and a curse.

So, as always, my loves, it is two steps forward, one step back in our evolution. As we approach the Solstice a week from today, we are called to rest; to go inward.

To retreat to our cocoons, to gather strength as the light begins to return, oh so slowly as it ALWAYS does. Respect the cycles or more accurately, the spiral that is life as we move higher and higher in our awakening.

It’s a hard job, this whole being human deal.

December 14, 2018 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

On ceremony

Last night, there was a drum circle at my house.  A gifted friend suggested that it was needed for me and for our land. Since she is usually right about these matters, I was all in.

We gathered around a substantial fire with our drums and no real plan other than to drum into a nice, meditative state.  For ourselves, for the land, for the ancestors.

Drumming is healing; it’s a primal and sacred beat and if you really allow it to take you over, it’s like feeling the heartbeat of God/The Divine/Source/Gaia.  It is ceremony.  It is what we are meant to do.

Another gifted and wise friend of mine recently said “Life is ceremony.” Meaning that we have to pay attention to the small rituals of our daily walk on earth.  Why do we do certain things; why do we NOT do certain things?  Are we treating our time here with the necessary gratitude and honor that is our birthright?

There is a lot written about mindfulness anymore.  It’s a tired buzzword that has mostly lost its meaning.  We equate it with doing things slowly and gently or piously and that’s not always the point.

The mindfulness of ceremony is realizing that everything we do emits energy.  Everything we do has an effect on everything.  We don’t live in a vacuum or a bubble.  We affect and are affected by every other human and non-human, not only on this planet, but in the entire cosmic plane, both past and future.

So, if you ponder and absorb that concept, you see that pop culture mindfulness isn’t enough.  It’s good, don’t get me wrong.  But, we need to gather and meld our minds and energies.

Decades ago, most folks attended church in the US.  Okay, here’s the obligatory eye roll from some of you who reject and mock organized religion.  I get it.  I haven’t regularly attended church since I was 6.  What I’m saying is that the weekly (or more) visits to a church service were a time to gather in ceremony.  And even if you squirmed or fidgeted or counted the seconds until the service was over, it had an effect.

We need these gatherings.  We need ceremony.  We need a time to lose ourselves in spirit and the energy of that spirit or consciousness that animates us.  A time to allow our analytical, western minds to shut the hell up.  A time to go inward and quiet the fears, monkey mind, anxiety, cravings and grasping that comes with modern life.

About a week ago, my family gathered to bury the ashes of our parents.  They had requested a very simple graveside gathering.  In my mom’s words, “no preaching”.  And so we did exactly that.

We gathered; kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and a few other friends and relatives.  My brother spoke, I read a short eulogy, my uncle said a short prayer and then we talked.  Anyone who wanted to share a fond memory of my parents spoke.  We laughed a lot and that felt good.  We were able to honor our parents’ lives in an informal, loving way, just the way they envisioned.  Ceremony.  A gathering of love and closure.  It was cleansing and necessary.

To me, ceremony is about healing; it’s a way to nurture ourselves and all of humanity.  Heck, all of everything.  So, if we begin to live our lives as ceremony, it would force us to look at what we do.  Is this activity/thought/belief nurturing or is it harmful or an escape?  Does this make me feel good and full and nurtured or is it merely a habitual way of masking my pain or unworthiness or fear?

Get a drum, grab a rattle.  Hell, grab a couple of sticks and walk around your yard banging them together.  Go inside, find that trance-like state of feeling safe and connected to all that is.  Gather some friends and sit around a fire.  Try to catch yourself within your daily habits and routine and see if you can make it into something sacred and nourishing.  Let’s all look for meaning in our actions; then let the toxic stuff go.

That is ceremony.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Talking to myself

universe-1044106_960_720I was reading something about my natal astrological chart and the placement of a particular planet or asteroid.  Thanks to this placement, it said I was very good at giving advice…to other people.  The article suggested that I sit down and give myself the same advice that I would to a give a friend in my situation.  That’s not so easy, eh?

But, here goes:

Jane:

First off, you need to lighten up. You just don’t laugh like you used to.  In fact, you walk around with creases in your face, looking as if you’re deep in worry or concern or even agony.  Not a good look for you.

You can’t solve all of the world’s problems.  I know you feel called to speak up and call out what you perceive as ignorance, injustice, foggy thinking, hypocrisy, blah, blah, blah, but sometimes people enjoy the confusion.  Or maybe the people that you think are confused, are actually wiser than you.

We all look around us and see ‘other people’ screwing up.  It’s their fault that there isn’t more love and peace in the world.  If only ‘other people’ would seek enlightenment; if only they would awaken.  Well, some will and some won’t.

Jane, you can only fulfill your own destiny.  You can only walk your own path and your overwhelming need to control your own path bleeds out into needing to control everyone’s.  That, my dear, is not enlightenment.  That is suffering and confusion and pure futility.

You’re also way too hard on yourself.  The striving for perfection in your diet, your intellect, your pet guardianship, your finances, your….well, your life, is paralyzing you.  You are on a constant and exhausting search for the holy grail that will transform you into this being of glowing health and light.  This striving is what is actually KEEPING you from attaining this.  STOP striving!  Stop grasping and controlling and gnashing your teeth.

Jane, the dogs and cats will be fine.  Allow them to just ‘be’ without the constant worry over their diets, well-being and activities.  The same goes for your darling husband.  Let him be who he is.  Don’t micro manage his diet, his clothing, his TV/media consumption.  Let that shit go.

You have to trust more.  Life will flow as it flows, just like the water that embodies your astrological sign of Scorpio.  You have a lot of water in your chart, along with a fair amount of fire, but you need to give the water freer rein to tamp down that fire that compels you to be constantly ‘workin’ it’.  Flow, Jane.  It’s all any of us can do.

The bottom line is that you know all of these things.  You’ve studied and read and ruminated and immersed yourself in the metaphysical and the spiritual.  You meditate, do energy work, call upon your guides, spend time in nature and attempt to give it all up to The Divine/Source/Spirit/The Universe and yet, you still suffer.

So, finally, here is my advice to you/me:  Listen.  To you, to me, to Source, to nature, to your gut.  All of the guidance, help and comfort that you seek is in you.  It’s already here for you.  Listen and don’t question EVERYTHING.  Listen.  Allow.  Then, be.

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The answer is spirit

Minolta DSCI have this theory and I share it every chance that I get. My theory is this: we as humans, are not evolved enough to function effectively in the modern world. Technology and the pace of life has outstripped our ability to process and adapt.

Look around and you will see stress, chaos, anger, frustration, violence, fear, road rage, supermarket rage, Facebook rage. We are chronically offended, scared, angry, busy, fat, sick, unloved, confused, over-medicated. This is primarily in our wealthy and powerful 1st world country. The problems in the 3rd world are even more dire.

The world is exploding and we are paralyzed to react, other than with anger, fear, closing borders, blaming the ‘others’. It’s damned painful, isn’t it?

We don’t understand ourselves right now. We feel as if we’re trapped between two worlds or planes of existence. We were told that technology and progress would save the world; would lessen our burdens and infinitely enhance our ‘quality of life’. But, not so much, eh?

We aren’t ready for all of this. We aren’t ready to live in the big, wide world. It’s too much. Too much information, too much chaos, too much to do and to buy and to hoard. For many of us, too much pain.

Too much.

So, what do do? How the hell do we begin to cope and to see a way forward?

Spirit.

There are many who claim to be religious, but are you in touch with spirit? Do you embrace the sacred and the divine, meaning that you believe and realize that we are all connected. All of us and every single thing on earth and in the cosmos. We share energy and when the energy becomes so negative that we can barely stand to be in our own skin, we have to actively attempt to change it.

Here is what I and millions and millions of others, throughout time, have used to try and tap into this energy: meditation. You can call it prayer, if you’re more comfortable with that, but I believe that prayer and meditation are subtly different. However, the main objective is to quiet the mind, tap into this infinite energy that animates and surrounds and connects us to all that is.

This is a practice. Think of it as part of your personal hygiene regimen. It’s emotional, mental and spiritual hygiene. We need this as humans. The ancient wisdom all speaks of various forms of leaving our bodies, to commune with other spirits and the spirits of the universe.

You can do it alone or you can join with others. We need group energy. We need to get back to ceremony and ritual. We need that as we need food and water and air and fire.

Some of you may have watched Oprah Winfrey’s recent 7 part series called “Belief”. Although it didn’t dig very deeply into religious or spiritual tradition, the one thing that I took away from it was this: we need ceremony and ritual and actual physical gatherings to sustain us. We crave a ‘tribe’ to celebrate and reflect on rights of passage, growth, death, birth, love, belonging. We are too scattered and too divided and fragmented.

In order to begin to make sense out of this global chaos, we need to make sense of us. Make sense of our lives, our purpose, what animates us; we need to find a way to listen to our souls and then to begin to share that with others.

Be honest. You feel this, too. Maybe you can’t quite articulate it because of the unease, fear and anxiety you’re feeling. You may feel foolish, as you’ve rejected religion and spirituality for some reason. It’s not scientific or factual or concrete or ‘modern’. You might have to take a leap of faith that is airy-fairy and some of those close to you may mock your interest in something so lacking in ‘proof’.

That of course, is the beauty of faith and spirit and belief. Once you commit, you begin to see and feel proof. You begin to trust your feelings and intuition and you start to KNOW something that you dared not think about, in these times of technology and progress.

It’s ancient and it’s in your DNA, both physical and spiritual. Give in. Embrace. Know yourself and you will begin to know and love others. You will begin to see what we’re doing to each other, to the earth, to all that is around us.

I promise.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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