To Float in Opinion-less Grace
I was describing to someone today how I feel socially as of late. I specifically said, “I’m in a place of sometimes startling introversion.” I find it fascinating that I used the word startling to describe my deepening lack of interest in interacting with the outside world. It’s not that I don’t hold others in cherished esteem, or that I don’t treasure who they are, but more often than not, I really don’t want to interact with these beings I love so much. It’s a strange phenomenon. And ultimately, it is a bit startling.
I am deep into the menopausal journey. Modern medicine would say I’m not menopausal yet because I haven’t gone a whole year without a period. But for me, this is menopause. I have only had one period in the last 5 months, and I have finally stopped spotting for the most part. That was a relief. I feel like my body stopped ovulating quite a while before all of that. It seems to have taken it a little time to release the habit of bleeding. Like most habits, it is a bit challenging to let it go. For my physiology that is. Maybe for my spirit as well.
My mother likes to call it “mental pause.” Because of the mental sluggishness that she, and many others, experienced during menopause. That's not exactly how I am experiencing it. Yes, my mental processes have shifted. And yes, they do seem more labored. However, that doesn’t seem to be the essence of how I am navigating this fork in the river. My mind longs to work differently. (A good friend of mine described it as her mind relaxing.) Nowadays, my mind doesn’t feel stimulated by a large amount of external input. In fact, it feels overwhelmed by the typical encounters with different personalities and communication styles. My body too. It feels overstimulated, almost attacked, by the usual physical, visual and auditory stimuli in life.
Because of this, I have turned fully inward. My whole being yearns for silence and solitude. I often feel I struggle in my interactions. It can be exhausting to talk to people. Partly because I feel I won't make sense to them. My perspective has shifted so much that my words seem to land on uncomprehending ears, framing concerned eyes. As if to say, I don’t speak that language. You don’t make sense anymore. And maybe it’s true. Maybe I no longer appear to have reason or logic. Maybe I don't take the shape that I once did, when I would first put myself through translation and interpretation service before I exposed myself to others. This new, uninterpreted, unfiltered me doesn’t want to have to work that hard. She doesn’t actually care if she makes sense. She is simply enjoying getting to know herself. She is all the company she feels she needs. Startling.
I have been collecting opinions since before I was born. My parent’s opinions, my friend’s opinions, my romantic partner’s opinions, my children’s opinions, society’s opinions. Worst of all my own opinions. Essentially, I have been drowning in opinions my whole life. I would really like to float in opinion-less grace for a while. I suppose another way of saying it would be that I’d really like to spend some time with Spirit. With the part of me that is able to release her need to judge and have an opinion.
She is quiet. Startlingly quiet. She even scares me a bit. And yet, the idea of spending good quality time with her, in this state of opinion-less grace, is calling to me. I am being called home to myself. And as much as I love my parents, my children, my friends, my partner and you; I find I don’t really want to know any of your opinions. Not even the ones that substantiate my life and my choices. I don’t just long to be rid of my own opinions. I want to be free from all opinions.
It’s tricky. As humans, the exchange of opinions is one of our main currencies. We believe that when we share opinions, or even better, show deference to someone else’s opinion, we are confirming to that person that we value them. We are ‘paying’ them a compliment. We interpret that as love and respect. Imagine how much love we need to have for someone when we respect them even if we don’t hold the same opinions. What does that look like? If validating other people’s beliefs is a deeply imbedded love language in our society (maybe our species), how do we love while at the same time withholding our own opinions and allowing others to theirs? No common ground required. Sounds radical.
Even more radical, is the ability to value myself without having to agree with my own, or anyone else’s opinions. That is the grace I want to float in. The liminal space in which opinions don’t exist. At the moment, I’m finding it difficult to inhabit that space with others. It’s challenging enough to find the opinion free nectar within myself. Hence, the strong desire to be alone. To close myself off from all input. All opinions. I’ll apologize in advance. In case it offends you when I do not choose to use that form of currency in our interactions. As an early warning, I am, more than usual, likely to actively reject any opinions you share with me. Just out of principal. Simply for the practice of not collecting opinions. As a precursor and entryway into that opinionless state of grace I so long to visit.
Do you think you might be willing to meet me there? On the outskirts of ‘opinionland.’ I know it looks a bit dark and uninhabited, a bit startling, but I really think we might like it there. The shadowy parts of the landscape might finally lose their somber tone if we move in and commune with them. Acknowledge their importance, not at the margins of the inhabited ‘real world,’ but central to us. Our intuition, gut instinct and subconscious engines already drive our every move. Once we become familiar with these uninvited aspects of ourselves, you might find you want to live in this liminal, opinionless grace land as well. Do you think you would be willing to meet me in that place? Interact with each other in a state of grace? I think that’s what is called infinite unconditional love. The menopausal me longs to be infinitely unconditionally in love with me. And with you too.
With all my silent love,
Seeking Sovereignty in 2023
I seek sovereignty. I am engaged in the pursuit of my own life. I long for absolute authority over my actions and my being. At least my head and my heart. And hopefully my hips.
I do get it, I realize that the fact that I can have sovereignty as a central concern in my life, leaks and oozes, and maybe screams, privilege. I am aware that I don’t have to be concerned about my next meal, that I don’t have to fear that I will be egregiously violated, or worse, murdered, for the color of my skin or the shape of my eyes. I am acutely aware that I don’t have to risk a dangerous border crossing to feed my children and that I’m not in peril of perishing in one of the many genocidal currents of modern ‘society.’
I get it that the mere fact that I sit here contemplating sovereignty, implies that I have a roof over my head, my belly is full, and my toes are warm. It implies that I am educated, that I have time to read, and that no one will be busting down my door in the middle of the night to drag me away, never be heard from again; simply because I have opposing beliefs to my government, my family or my society. Or because I have more melanin in my skin.
So, from this place of privilege, I conjure, and I incite. I yell and I scream. I push as hard as I can against the misogyny, racism and bigotry in the world. In hopes that by doing this I somehow create just a little more space. That I start to weaken some of the barriers. I punch holes in the glass ceiling. I plant seeds for our children. Maybe even help our privileged, and sometimes rigid, elders to learn to cultivate new crops. So that we might share some of the risks, so that you may be able to find more safe places in which you might contemplate your sovereignty.
I do it for the young Mexican woman who recently lost her life at the hands of her boyfriend (American unfortunately). I do it for my daughter and her new wife who must work so hard to make a life for themselves. I do it for my son and my brother and everyone else who is plagued with the modern affliction of anxiety. I do it for my partner so that he might be able to let go of any feelings of regret and inadequacy he holds. I do it for myself. So that I might permanently disavow the ogre of perfection in my head that still sometimes finds her way in to badger me. Thankfully, I’m no longer inclined to listen, but it would be lovely if I simply no longer heard that voice.
I want to live a sovereign existence. I finally believe in my ability to live in alignment with my higher self. I trust myself to make human decisions that feel appropriate, healthy and true for me. I know myself to have strong ethics regarding the wellbeing of other humans, the non-human inhabitants of this world and the Earth herself. I have become more adept at disallowing any dictatorial tendencies and corrupting influences that want to worm their way into my person-dom. Afterall, this is my one precious life. Only I can live it.
Thank you all for sharing your one precious life with me. And here’s to your sovereignty in 2023!
All my love,
Going Against the Grain Shame
About six months ago I moved in with my partner in a new city. In many ways it has been an easy transition. I feel at peace with the direction life is taking me. Yet, it hasn’t been particularly comfortable. My life is very still, and I often feel disoriented. I went through a similar transition when I moved to Pueblo six years ago, and although I remember feeling the stillness and disorientation, I don’t recall feeling so unsettled by them.
The quieter collective pace of Pueblo likely made for a more easeful transition; however, I think the critical piece is that there were no witnesses. I was in a new town, I didn’t yet have friends or clients there, and I lived alone. I engaged with people and the process of establishing myself in the community when I felt capable of it. If I didn’t feel capable of it, I didn’t require myself to do so. I was the only one observing the details of my transition to that community, so I was much more able to calm my critical mind and simply surrender to the process.
In my interactions with the people in my new community, it feels prickly when I am faced with opinions and beliefs that may not align with how I’m choosing to live my life. I notice I feel ashamed when my behavior in some way goes against the grain of those observing me. Now, I assume people will think I am intentionally misbehaving when I am still or disoriented. Is it because this move challenges my resolve to live a quiet life? Possibly. Or maybe it’s simply because we are socially encouraged to feel shame when we go against the grain.
Because I have been nurturing a very quiet lifestyle for the past decade or so, I feel rather out of place here. This community is accustomed to moving fast and living at a high level of intensity. That fast pace makes me acutely aware that I am not moving at the agreed upon tempo. With many of my daily choices I feel the rub of that friction. Since my partner is well established in this community, I seem to associate him with the local norms. As unfair and inaccurate as that may be, it’s hard to feel safe allowing him to witness my struggles. I suppose I worry that I am going against ‘his’ grain as well. That concern makes me want to ‘get with it’ and embrace the local flow. But ultimately, I just don’t want anyone to witness my ‘going against the grain’ behavior so that I don’t have to navigate the potential judgement that comes with it.
Thankfully, in living alongside a collective whose values differ, the Divine Universe has given me occasion to finally uncover the shaming mechanism that I have bummed up against many times since I chose to live this quiet existence; and have been awkwardly rubbing up against since my move. It is an ancient, deeply internalized social tool that targets transgressive behavior. Its sole purpose is to keep me, and you, in line. It diligently and forcefully tells me that I am misbehaving in some way. As a result, I have created a belief that my cherished ones will see me as unlovable when I do anything that violates a socially agreed upon norm. It was created to encourage me to choose to conform in order to avoid those feelings of alienation.
I believe that releasing my own judgments about my choices will allow me to consciously withdraw my participation in the workings of that oppressive mechanism. It will also help me to repattern my beliefs around the intention and the consequences of going against the grain in the first place. Going against the grain has been essential in creating a sustainable existence that honors my truth and allows me to live a well-balanced life. I value the life that I have fought to create, and I will continue to protect it. Even if it means that I must go against the grain.
P.S. It was remarkably difficult to write this brief little blog. As I was struggling with the process a lovely poem of appreciation, for my dear friend and benefactor, Mother Earth, flowed out of me quite effortlessly. It's a nice example of how the Divine Universe tends to work in my life.
Hello Dear Ones,
I don’t tend to be political in my blogs, or my life, because it can be so divisive. For me, politics too often emphasize difference and nurture conflict. For some, that contentiousness builds energy and passion, but for me it only creates an oppressive weight on my heart. I choose to approach others in ways that feel connective. I try to build relationship, understanding, and compassion. At least that is my intention. I know there are myriad beliefs in the world. I don’t need a political conversation to build that awareness. What interests me, is how we can be in loving and kind relations with one another even when we hold divergent beliefs.
Having said that, I want to talk about oppression. I will start by saying that I believe oppression to be an ideological, systemic, interpersonal and internal phenomenon. This can be expressed as the four Is of oppression: Ideological, Institutional, Interpersonal and Internalized. We experience oppression when we are governed in an unfair and cruel way and prevented from having opportunity and freedom (online Cambridge Dictionary). Being “governed” is something that doesn’t solely happens through our official governments. For me, it includes how we are governed within our families, relationships, workplaces and institutions. It includes how we govern ourselves. Our inner tyrant can often be the worst of them all.
Oppression is a tricky and complex topic. It can appear to be subjective because it is so closely tied to how we individually live and perceive life. On the other hand, it is totally objective. If an individual or group don’t have the freedom and opportunities that they desire; that is oppression. It’s not for the outside observer (or the oppressor) to decide if it’s truly oppression. Only the oppressed can claim it as such.
I have been curious about oppression my whole life. It probably has a lot to do with a rebellious streak that I have. My rebelliousness can be exaggerated in the face of imposed authority. When I don’t feel the person or institution has earned my respect, or I simply don’t believe they should have authority over me. As you can imagine, it’s quite the conundrum when that imposed authority is my own inner critic.
My interest in the mechanisms of oppression began to be a more conscious inquiry when I got divorced and I was trying to unearth the control mechanisms (internal and external) within that relationship. Up to that point, how I reacted and responded to oppression in my own life had been an instinctual thing. I didn’t yet know what I was rebelling against. My curiosity intensified when Donald Trump was elected president.
When it was revealed that so many white women voted for Trump, I was at a complete loss for understanding how that could have happened. From my perspective (as a white woman), Trump has a misogynistic and predatory relationship to women. Regardless of political leanings, I believe that no self-respecting woman could ever vote for Donald Trump to be our president. Simply because his actions and policies are oppressive to women. I don’t want someone like that to make decisions on my behalf, and I have a hard time understanding why any woman would. That is my bias, I won’t intentionally support people and systems that I know to be oppressive.
The topic comes up again with the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe Vs Wade, thereby threatening a woman’s right to be the sole decision maker over her body. I will point out that for me, this doesn’t have anything to do with being for abortion or not. It has to do with being anti-oppression. I don’t see how we can claim to be a free country for women if we do not uphold that ultimate freedom. Overturning a law that specifically protects women’s rights is a misogynistic and oppressive act. And many women are in support of this legislation. For me, this clearly points to the internalize aspect of oppression, and its perpetuation.
It is important to note that although I am specifically speaking to the oppression of women, I am fully aware of how deep and broad the oppressive tendencies of western patriarchy run, and that women are only part of a millennia old and tremendously diverse heap of oppressed humans. And, that women of color suffer more direct and severe oppression than do white women. I could get carried away talking about how we oppress non-humans and Mother Earth herself, but we can easily extrapolate these same ideas to understand other forms of oppression. Those based on race, gender fluidity, sexuality, class, neurological and physical diversity. The list goes on.
Having worked a lot with trauma and trauma recovery, that is the lens through which I will attempt to better understand how and why oppression continues to be so prevalent in our societies, and why we sometimes perpetuate it ourselves, as the oppressed. To better understand this dynamic, I will use a victim/ aggressor analogy. Admittedly, it fits, the oppressed/ oppressor paradigm is a sufferer/ assailant relationship.
An important part of an aggressor’s strategy, in perpetrating their violation, is to convince their victims that they in some way had it coming to them. This creates a complex psychological situation in which the victim feels responsible for the violation. That sense of responsibility is further reinforced by the victim’s own mind, which would much rather believe that they are somehow at fault, than believe that there is absolutely nothing they can do/ could have done to prevent the violation or protect themselves. The human psyche will not opt for helplessness. We will do almost anything to avoid feeling powerless.
I believe it is this frame of mind, or psychological state (helplessness avoidance), that is the set point for a victim to eventually identify with the perpetrator; by aligning themselves with that person/ institution and their interpretation of reality. When we align ourselves with our abusers. We continue to be a victim and believe that we are somehow responsible for what has happened/ is happening to us.
Of course, with the above option, healing is not part of the equation. It can’t be. The moment we start to heal from our trauma, we start to see the violation for what it is. And our toxic perception of the experience and ourselves, as the responsible party, start to break down. It is deeply painful to hold the incongruity within us. As we more clearly see how we were violated/ abused/ oppressed the harder it is for us to align with those who have violated/ abused/ oppressed us. If we are to maintain our allegiance and alignment with the aggressor, we must be careful not to poke holes into the distorted version of reality they have created for us. Hence, no healing occurs when we remain in the victim role. This is our way of maintaining the agreed upon perception.
When we have been oppressed, we feel helpless, and disenfranchised from the system, institution or individual that oppresses us. If we have not had the opportunity to heal from that oppression, we will likely subconsciously align ourselves with the oppressive mechanism, and then internally perpetuate that oppressive belief. It is a beautiful self-perpetuating design. Quite brilliant, really. That is how an oppressive system is built; the original oppressive act is perpetrated on the individual (with the manipulation of placing culpability onto the victim), the victim internalizes that sense of responsibility (to avoid feeling helpless), and the next time the individual reaches for an act of freedom they will automatically self-censure and oppress the desired action. Now the oppressor must only gently reinforce the systems and beliefs that reaffirm the self-oppressive act as appropriate and beneficial to the individual and society.
Finally, if we somehow created enough space within ourselves to recognize something as oppressive, if we have healed enough to know that our alignment with the oppressor is false and contrived, we are able to break free of the oppressive belief. Unfortunately, breaking free of a believe is not the same as breaking free of a behavior. Partly because of the difficulty of re-patterning within ourselves and partly because the system will inevitably resort to more overt mechanisms of oppression, if we overthrow the internalized mechanisms, and start to challenge the belief in the supremacy of white men.
When we do finally overthrow our inner tyrant, successfully re-pattern our behavior based on a new, liberated sense of our place in society, and throw off the bonds of the systemic oppressive apparatuses, we are a little closer to true freedom. Once the oppression is finally lifted, because we have resisted and challenged it adequately, we must grab hold of and embrace the freedom that takes its place. It takes a lot of courage to claim our freedom. Freedom can be very scary. We may very well be more comfortable allowing others to control us and run the show. It feels less risky. What if we don’t do any better than the patriarchy has?
P.S. I do believe highly evolved (or aware) individuals are able to recognize the act of oppression as it is moving through us toward ourselves or toward another person or group. This is an important concept that will be necessary to fully unravel the internalized practice of oppression that is so present for many of us. And it will be helpful for exploring how we, as individuals and as a society, can move toward being less oppressive in our daily lives. This topic is for another day.
P.P.S. There is support for the shared believe in civilized society that some behaviors should be oppressed. I don’t have time to go into that topic in this exploration of oppression, however it is acknowledged.
P.P.P.S. If any of you have a different understanding of Trump and why you chose (as a woman) to vote for him, I would love to hear about it.
Hello Dear Ones,
I don’t know about you, but I use the expressions “finding my center” or “staying in my center” all the time. Lately I’ve started to wonder what exactly I mean when I’m saying those things. In essence, I think I’m saying that I am trying to live my truth, and not let life derail me from my truth. Or, that I’m looking for my essence, and once found, trying to honor my essence. So why do we call it our center? I know it has something to do with our hearts. But what else? And why is it so important?
In the energy medicine tradition in which I was trained, there is a theory about the importance of what we call midline injuries. The midline roughly follows the spinal column, and it is because of its energetic importance that chiropractors traditionally focus on the spine. Although the spine ends with the sacrum and the sacrum with the coccyx, and even the Shushumna nadi ends just beyond that, the energetic midline flows down to the heels and a bit beyond. Just as it continues to the top of the head and beyond. Therefore, we can feel grounded or ungrounded depending on whether we are truly inhabiting our midline or not.
What I have found in my practice as a healer, is that any energetic disruption or injury along the midline has an exponentially adverse effect on our wellbeing. This disproportionate relationship between midline blocks/ injuries and the severity of symptoms is because of the disruption of the pranic flow (life-force energy) in the main energy channel of the body. Called the Shushumna nadi in the yogic tradition, it is the largest energy channel and the biggest source of light within us. It is where we find balance between the right and the left sides of the body. It is where light meets dark and inner meets outer. It is where the feminine and masculine come into equilibrium and see themselves as one. You could call it the ‘androgynous’ zone ;-). It will light you up physically and spiritually (just like an erogenous zone), and it will turn your lights out when there are blocks or injuries within this main energy channel.
There is another energetic midway point in the body that has a similar role. And injury and imbalance in this part of our body will impact our wellbeing just as dramatically as a midline injury. The physical structure that might delineate it, is the upper ribcage, and it continues out into the arms. You could call it the human horizon. It is the horizontal midline of the human body, the heart of the matter. Our lower and higher selves coalesce here, and from this space we move out into the world through the shoulders, arms and hands, in order to honor our dharma. To live out our life purpose.
The Anahata chakra (energetic heart center) is the meeting place of Divine Masculine Will and Divine Feminine Will. This is the space in which we find alignment and balance between the material and spiritual worlds. We commune with the Divine through this threshold chakra, and we commune with our human nature, with our humanity. If energy is not able to move up into the spiritual realm from our heart, we feel cut off from divine support. If energy is not able to move down from this horizontal midline, we feel paralyzed and disempowered in our lived experiences. Because it makes apparent whether our heart is opened or blocked, we will always feel this alienation more profoundly.
You could say that the energetic spine (the midline) and the energetic heart (the human horizon) form a grand cross within us. This point of intersection is a crossroads, a threshold, the meeting place of who we truly are. It is where we “find our center,” and our essence. And it must be sound, grounded and accessible to enable us to face the ultimate adventure of the human experience: Unconditional Love. Also known as awakening. Unlike traditional crossroads, from this grand cross it is necessary to move out in all directions if we are to truly understand our place as a spiritual being in a human body. We must not only move up toward the Divine, out toward other humans, in toward higher Self or down toward lower self. We must become adept at living in all these realms. We learn to embrace all at once: Divine wisdom, humanity, Self-discovery and material expression.
Being able to find and maintain our center, that place at the crossroads between the midline and the human horizon, is of critical importance. It is the place/ energy from which we tap into our true power. It is from here that we engage with the world in a humane fashion, and we heal ourselves and others. Being in our center is an indication we have become at home in that interstitial space and are ready to move out into the world with sound, grounded humanity. Keeping our essence with us wherever we go. Or stay.
Living from our center is a powerful pathway to our truth, to our health and to our dharma. Living from our center will show us whether we feel whole and valued (loved), or whether we feel inadequate and disregarded. It will ultimately show us our humanity, or our cruelty. A deeply wounded, or vacant center, has difficulty accessing its spirituality and humanity. And it may very well be at the heart of everything that ever causes us to struggle in life.
Staying in our center will be helpful as we talk about freedom and the mechanisms of oppression in the next blog.
Until then, sending lots of centered love,
P.S. Read an article HSE was recently featured in. I am placed with Cyndi Dale, a well-known healer. Pretty cool.
The Manifesting Magic of Dreams
I’ll try not to make you dizzy, as I zigzag between intuitive insight and intellectual musing. The analytical part of me is excited about this blog. She is brilliant at dissecting things and shining a light on their inner workings, but she doesn’t always get the intuitive stuff. I have had to do some unlearning from my intellectual training, to reclaim it from the patriarchy, however, my inner analyst is a true ally. I feel whole when I let her into the conversation. (This topic probably merits its own discussion at some point.)
Dreams: When they manifest in our lives, are we able to recognize them? In the last few years, many of my lifelong dreams have come true. With that, a strange phenomenon has occurred. As they are coming true, I have questioned whether these are still my dreams. That experience has me wondering whether we can recognize our dreams when they finally arrive in our lives? Or maybe, whether I have that capacity?
I woke up this morning dreaming of sitting at my kitchen table writing, as I am doing right now, but at my house in Mexico. It was a sweet and vivid vision. Even as I was loving how the fantasy made me feel, it occurred to me that I didn’t fully trust that this was my dream. Is living part-time in Mexico what I truly desire?
Blessedly, I’m having this contemplation because I am in a stage of life in which many of my dreams are coming true. Still, there exists within me a deep hesitancy to call what is happening, the manifestation of my dreams. I’m starting to think these divergent perceptions have to do with my belief that I had given up many of my dreams, deciding they weren’t accessible to me, and moving on. It seems we do this to ourselves a lot, talk ourselves out of our dreams. And society certainly encourages us to give them up; in favor of more ‘realistic’ goals.
My other suspicion is that it has to do with my tendency to be overly achievement oriented. For much of my life, I have noticed that I tend to feel some dissatisfaction once I have finally accomplished something I had been working toward. Or I move on to the next goal without much acknowledgment of the current achievement. Is not stopping long enough to appreciate my own accomplishments the same as not being able to recognize and trust my dreams as they manifest in my life?
When I met my partner, something similar occurred. I was so excited that they were in love with some of the same things I am in love with, yet it was so unexpected that I thought ¨uh-oh, this is a problem, I don’t have those dreams anymore.” And I was truly convinced that I didn’t have those dreams anymore. For the first time, I was with a person who had similar dreams, who was looking for similar things in life, and my response was to suspect that I no longer had those dreams.
I’ve always thought of myself as realistic, but never cynical. It’s curious to me that I would have such a cynical perspective; that my dreams would only arrive once I no longer dreamed them. And, energetically speaking, it is counterintuitive (and completely contrary to the laws of the universe), that I would have arrived at a moment when many of my dreams could come true, only to discover that they no longer appealed to me.
In the dream, I am in awe of the fact that I am actually there. Living in Mexico, breathing the ocean air, and loving life. Because it feels so comfortable, homey and full, it makes me realize how strange it is that I think this is no longer my dream. My visceral understanding of intuition and the energies of the universe tell me clearly, that if it feels that good, it is absolutely in alignment with me.
I thought I had given up on my dreams. Maybe because they weren’t really my dreams, or maybe because I didn’t think they were attainable, or maybe because others devalued and discouraged me from them. Now I’m discovering that I didn’t give them up at all, that I probably just set them aside for a while (to satisfy a person or situation in my life). Upon further investigation, I believe what I truly did, since I couldn’t see a way forward with those dreams at the time, was surrender them to the Divine Universe. (Read our blog about surrender here.)
And now they have come back around to me, in their mature form, after making their way through the cosmic sieve of desires. Oh, the manifesting magic of dreams! So much more powerful than my personal will. I really should know by now, that how a dream makes me feel, is all I really need to know to confirm it is actually my dream. When we experience the energy of the Universe, taking our wishes and sprinkling them into the void, there is no denying the light fuzzy feeling it places in our energy field. The magic is palpable.
By this time next year, I will likely be living part-time in Mexico. Hence, I woke up dreaming this dream today. I dream of sitting at my kitchen table, at my house in Mexico, writing a blog to share with you all. This really is my dream, and I’m so thrilled to watch it come to life. And to remember that I have had this dream for a very long time. Maybe I am even finally learning to acknowledge and enjoy my dreams and achievements as they come to fruition.
Surrender versus letting go or giving up...
A dear friend, and sister light seeker, recently spoke about surrender with me. Then she gently said, maybe you could write about that some. I would like to know what you think about it, because surrender is not the same as letting go. It turns out that was just the seed that wanted to be planted in my mind. Once placed there it immediately started to grow.
In my experience, we all struggle to understand and recognize the subtle and sublime energies of surrender. It is an elusive idea that we don’t often experience, or that we don’t recognize when we do experience it in our lives. I believe that is because we equate surrender with non-action, and therefore miss it, when we instinctively sense the spiritual/ energetic activity that is always present in surrender.
There is tremendous trust in the act of surrender, in fact that might be what makes it surrender. Letting go is more like giving up. It doesn’t hold a powerful vibration because it contains the energy of resignation. There is a feeling of: I don’t know what to do with this so I’m letting it go. I give up.
Surrender, on the other hand, is a powerful statement to self and the universe that we are handing it over to divine will, with the understanding that the universe always acts in our best interest, and that we can completely trust the outcome. As unconscious as we may be about making this statement, it is as active in intention as it is inactive in doing. It is always ushered in with at least a subconscious knowing that it is the appropriate step and that it will produce a divinely driven outcome. Even though that outcome is unknown to us, and likely not the be the one we would have tried to orchestrate on our own behalf.
With surrender, our desires and intentions don’t go away. Surrender isn’t the act of putting something in a non-place. It isn’t like putting the thoughts you wrote down on a piece of paper into the trash bin, to never be seen again. It is however, like placing that paper and those thoughts into the creative void, into the hands of God/ Goddess, into the higher intelligence of the Universe. When we place thoughts into that realm, they are not forever vanquished from our lived experience. Instead, they are put into the creative mill of the Universe, to be transformed into the exactly appropriate form, before being reintroduced into our lives.
If looked at in this way, what we are surrendering is not a desire, hope or dream. What we are surrendering is our own will, ego, and our belief in what is right and ‘should’ be. It is saying (again, maybe unconsciously), I recognize that I don’t understand and perceive this situation accurately and I surrender it to the higher intelligence that is available to me. If this is the case, then surrender is both the giving up of individual ego/ will and the handing over of our hopes and dreams to the divine. With a trust that everything is always as it should be.
In that same conversation, my friend spoke of conversing with the Universe and stating exactly what she wanted and needed for a specific situation in her life. She mentioned she had never done that before, so specifically. She also recognized that the Universe had, in turn, given her everything she had asked for. I forgot to ask her if she recognized that as the moment in which she embraced surrender.
I surrender my heart to you all,
P.S. I would love to hear about your thoughts on and experiences with surrender. Comment here.
Speaking the Silences
Happy New Year 2022, dearest ones!
I have had the sense, as of late, that we are in a semi-dark time. Not because there is an absence of light, but because we are in a time of awareness about the shadow aspects of our human experiences. Personally, and as a collective, we are now in the cellars and attics of our archived ancestral knowledge. We are sweeping out from under the rug, all of our hidden ancestral data. We have already uncovered the knowledge available to us in the well-organized library shelves of our family history/ her-story. Now it’s time to expose to the light the unofficial stories, the denials, and the hermetically sealed archives.
We’ve been doing this research for a long time. We’ve probably made several prior trips to look through things in the attic and in the cellar. It is likely that most of what we are uncovering at this point is just crumbs. Small remnants of all the stuff we have already learned, along our journey, about our individual family and culture.
Just as we know it’s time to sweep when it becomes painful to walk barefoot on the kitchen floor, interacting with our families will often expose all the dusty old ancestral crumbs that are still in our energy field. The holidays are particularly good at making us aware of anything that is still there. As we spend time with the important people in our lives, and our interactions become uncomfortable, we notice the crumbs that we have been sitting on for years. The ones we can only feel when our spouse does that thing they always do, or our sibling says that thing they always say. These are beautiful Goddess blessings. We feel them, so that we can resolve, evolve and dissolve them. And shift our relationship to our loved ones. Make sure you don’t sweep away the crumbs before you receive the wisdom they hold.
I recently had a dusty old ancestral crumb stick in my throat. It really grabbed my attention because it gave me a sore throat, that then became a head cold before it finally found its way out of my system. This is significant because I hadn’t had a sore throat or cold in over a decade. And maybe only one other the decade before that. I am blessed with the fact that I don’t tend to get that stuff.
I kept looking for “why” I had been vulnerable to getting sick. Was it because I had my period? Or because I had just done some airplane travel? Yet, I had done all of those things many times, and never gotten sick. So, I looked a little deeper. I had had a strained interaction with my mom. We had spent a few stressful hours on the computer together (me being her eyes and reading a bunch of stuff to her), and when we were done, she started to wonder (out-loud) why she and I had such a hard time communicating. I left the conversation feeling like: “Jeez, I must be really difficult to communicate with. I might be better off just not talking at all.”
I very often had a sore throat as a child and teenager. If I ever got sick, it was always in my throat. This recent experience made me wonder if those sore throats also coincided with moments of difficult communication with my mother (or others). Moments that made me feel like I should be silent. That my words caused difficulty for others.
I have been blessed with a lot of beautiful information from my throat chakra in the last year. Seems to be where most of my ancestral crumbs are. The deep dark cellar of my 5th chakra. Prior to the sore throat, it came in the form of major dental issues. The long-term consequence of having broken my jaw when I was 7. An injury that, as it came up this time around, felt very much like my way of trying to “shut myself up.” At the time, we had finally escaped a very violent domestic situation, and apparently the agreement was that we would never talk about it. I, being wired the way I’m wired, couldn’t honor the agreement. Not even by smashing my teeth into the ground.
My mom has a lifelong habit of not liking to hear what I have to say. Not because she is a terrible person and wants to cause me harm, in fact, she probably thinks she is helping me by trying to stop me from saying certain things. None the less, I inevitably feel harmed. More specifically, I feel silenced. I feel like I am being forcefully told to “shut up, already.” On the other hand, I have a habit of wanting to know all the details of my lived experiences. I have a habit of wanting to talk and write about them; dig them up, wade through the muck, and uncover what really happened. Then, I want to find out how it affected me. It is a habit that bumps up against my mother’s truth; that it is better to leave things unsaid, and simply forget about all that bad stuff.
I guess this is my understanding of “why” my mom and I have a hard time communicating, and “why” I got sick after some difficult communication with her. Do I honor her truth or my own? Is it possible to honor and respect both of our habits? As a consequence of this internal and interpersonal dynamic being activated, my throat chakra gets congested, and the energetic disruption makes me vulnerable to getting sick in that part of my body. This delightful little crumb showed itself to me, so that I could gain some final wisdom from it, before I permanently remove it from my energy field.
As we move into the new year, it will be helpful to stay very conscious of the fact that we are actively bumping up against a lot of family and cultural debris. And that it will sometimes feel like we are being swallowed up by the shadows. Take heart, the reason we are able to feel and see these ancestral crumbs, is because our soul knows we carry enough internal light to actually brave those far reaches. We are shining enough light, personally and collectively, to be able to make the dark attics and dark cellars of our lives visible. In other words, if we are spending time with the shadows of our ancestral data and feeling the discomfort involved, it indicates we carry a tremendous amount of light inside of us. And we are getting much closer to being able to tangibly feel that light, in our hearts, in our throats, and in our lives.
Keep walking through the semi-darkness. Keep noticing the internal light. Keep gaining wisdom from the crumbs. Faster than we may believe possible, that internal light will build, until it finally spills out from within us and shines onto those around us. And, oh my, will that feel good.
Wishing you many informative, light-building, 'crumby' adventures in 2022.
P.S. I never have been able to honor the agreement of silence. I feel like as a child I truly wanted to and was unable. I could somehow feel how toxic the silence was for me. Even more harmful than being reprimanded for speaking. I haven’t done it out spite or unkindness toward others. I have always done it to heal myself, to find my light, and to spread that light. Unfortunately, sometimes others would prefer the crumb-free version.
The Fear Web
Hello Dearest Ones,
Here I am, stuck in the fear web. You know when you clear a cob web or spider web, how it sticks to your fingers or the broom? Webs are specifically designed to stick to things. That’s why fear uses a web as its favorite tool. Fear is happiest when we are stuck in its web.
I generally have a healthy layer of spiritual/ emotional web repellent on me, but my defenses seem to have been down when this wave of fear swept over me. I take it on faith, and experience, that I won’t be stuck for too long, but I must say, I’m not really enjoying the bound up feeling. I’m not enjoying the lack of wiggle room and the doomsday tunnel vision that accompany fear when it has you in its web.
The tricky thing about fear is how all encompassing it is. It doesn’t really allow for some fear, in that scary part of life, and light, trust and excitement in all the other aspects of life. Fear wants our undivided attention. And it is really good at convincing us that it should have it. Fear is a master at skewing our perceptions and experiences, so that they, in turn, seem to support and justify our fear. Before we know it, everything we look at, everything we experience, is coming to us through the lens of fear. Yep, that’s how stuck I am.
So, how did I get here? An exaggerated nervous system response to prior traumas being activated by a current experience. An experience that isn’t really traumatic in and of itself, but one that bears a resemblance to a traumatic experience. One that shares a very old, cellular, somatic, emotional and energetic tie to a trauma.
I had an initial freeze/ shock response to it that I couldn’t shake off for a couple of days. It created a lot of space inside of me, at a time when I was unable to rally my defenses, where the fear could build its web. Have you ever seen how fast a spider can build its web? It is amazingly swift. The web of fear was built inside of me before I even noticed it was there.
Then life happened: I had a mildly strained interaction with someone I love, a family friend who had been ill passed away, there had been a lot of free flowing collective fear, I overextended myself and became exhausted. These are all events that would likely create some strain on me, but with the presence of the fear web inside of me, my emotional response has been disproportionate. My rational mind and my heart can look at things and remind me of a more accurate perspective and interpretation of my experiences, but my body and my nervous system feel like we are stuck in a Chinese finger cuff. When I try to wiggle loose, the web gets tighter and more restrictive.
The fact that I’m writing about it is a good indication that I’m getting closer to discovering an exit route. I am doing a relatively good job of relaxing and surrendering into what is. I have learned the hard way that you really can’t fight what is. That is a bloody, losing battle. Of course, what wants to surface, as I surrender and become still, is a lot of self-judgment: “If you had just made a better decision in the first place this wouldn’t be happening. Sheesh, haven’t you dealt with this karma yet? You’d think you’d be over that by now. You’re just being lazy.” You get the picture.
Of course, shame and guilt are fears favorite allies. If it can’t overwhelm you with pure unadulterated fear, it can surely take you out with some well placed shame and guilt. Lucky for me, I have thoroughly dug through most of my shame and guilt, so they don’t hold as much sway with me. Those webs are not as sticky.
And there, finally, I find it. The exit. I keep digging below the fear, find what is really there (trauma, shame and guilt), acknowledge it, deconstruct it, heal what needs to be healed, and let the rest of it go. I stay hydrated, eat good food and get good sleep. I allow myself time and space to eventually wake up with a different, more accurate perspective. I notice my perspective has changed, and only a few strands of the web remain.
Admittedly, a couple of weeks later, I am still picking off random threads of the fear web. Certain situations still trigger a tightening of those leftover pieces of web. The tightening feels like a weight on my heart, but now my hands are free. I’m able to reach over and pluck the fear off, thank it for the educational opportunity, and throw that strand of it into the trash bin. So, I keep digging, keep walking, keep acknowledging and keep throwing away the bits of fear that I find. Eventually, maybe in a couple more weeks, I will (gratefully) begin to notice that I’m no longer carrying any fear.
Best wishes for a fear free fall,
lots of love,
Dancing on Flow
Hello Dearest Ones,
I was talking to my daughter recently about how we are both trying to manage our "planner tendencies," as we attempt to flow with the things that are currently happening in our lives. I am starting a renovation project on my property and she and her partner are buying a house. Both of those things have a lot of moving parts. So naturally, I want to jump into planning mode and figure out all of the details, from start to finish. Right now. I have always felt safer taking big steps in my life when I can see (or at least have the illusion I can) the whole path laid out in front of me. I am often susceptible to fear when I feel like I’m taking a blind leap into the unknown.
That is pretty human of me. The interesting thing is that if I take a quick inventory of my life, and the experiences that have been most beneficial to me, the most additive experiences, they are always the leaps of faith. Or, when I’m too chicken shit to leap, and the Universe pushes me off the cliff. It’s never the actions that I am able to plan in advance down to the finest minutia that reap the sweetest harvest. So why do I still cling so tightly to my planning tendencies?
It can be hard for me to imagine the whole when I can’t see many of the details. Especially if the details are financial or rely heavily on others. (Just so you know my particular hang ups.) To be able to hold an image of what I want, what I am striving for, in the midst of the unknown, is exactly how manifesting works. To unhesitatingly take the next step, without knowing if the ground will be there when my foot falls, is a deeply spiritual practice. A practice that requires me to behave a little less humanly, and far more trustingly.
I have become pretty adept at approaching things spiritually. Just as I have good planning skills. Where I get caught up, is when I have to move fluidly back and forth between the spiritual approach to something (flowing), and the parts of the process that require some planning and action on my (or another person's) part. Dancing back and forth between those two realms is hard for me. Putting the action onto someone else, is hard for me. If I can tap into and sense the flow, when the project is in a different dimension or in the hands of another, I can more easily trust the workings of the Universe. I can release my impulse to start planning.
I have had many opportunities through the years to learn about flow and all of its iterations. It seems like I get caught up on things when the flowing doesn’t look like flowing. Or, in this case, when the flow is intermingled with little eddy pools. When I hit the eddies, sometimes I am asked to take massive action, and other times I’m asked to be completely still. I have to relax my system and flow, then seamlessly jump into action, then to be completely still for a bit, before I find it’s time to flow again. It’s a sweet dance between stamina, agility and stillness. I wish it was that easy. For me it’s always the pauses. Why do I get so hung up on the pauses?
I suppose it’s because pauses create the illusion that the flow has stopped. When we can’t see or feel the movement, we make the assumption that things are no longer flowing. However, that is the magical thing about flow; it includes suspension. When things appear suspended in time and space, is exactly when the deeper level flow is happening. It’s when the creative energy of the void is active (think manifesting). And because it's a different dimension, we can’t see it. Or at least we aren’t practiced at seeing it. We just have to trust that it is in fact happening. And maybe develop deeper sight. Either way gets you there. The trusting is just faster. So here I go, trusting the process, trusting the Universe, trusting my own capacities, and trusting the flow.
Sending you so much love,
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.