Friday, November 26, 2010

Just Who I Am

have a seat
Originally uploaded by lee.stephens

This was part of the daily reflection I received today:

You start preparing when you're thirty for the person you'll be at eighty.
--Janice Clark

We can't get away from ourselves, at least not entirely. Who we were at ten and twenty and forty and fifty remain as threads in our tapestries. Many of us shudder because some details of our personal panorama weren't so very pretty. But that's the way life is. We are what we are. And yet, we have examples of favorable changes, too. How we were never kept us from becoming who we wanted to be. This truth continues to reign in our lives.

The words of this passage could not ring truer. Particularly in connection with doing a non-dual healing practice today with a classmate and the discussion that ensued after.

This practice has 3 components:
- moving physical symptoms in curvilinear space
- sounding tones as thoughts arise
- rapidly breathing in and out in an unrhythmic way when arriving to "just the truth" -- a statement of fact, not tied to emotion

My classmate and I had an in-depth discussion of the part of our practice that found us with a "seed" statement -- one that no longer had a story or emotion bound to it. This led to further identification and disclosing of the truths we are learning about ourselves.

There is tremendous freedom in acknowledging "just who I am".

As the daily reflection passage notes -- there is a continuous thread in our tapestry of who we are that is present throughout many life stages. I have come to some places of acceptance in my healing journey about this very thing. To date, here is what I have learned about just who I am :

I am sensitive.

I get anxious over what is unknown or out of my control.

I am naturally funny.

I am rigid.

I am sensual and passionate.

I am an alcoholic.

I have to work daily to be honest;  I am wired to not be.

I have a constant thirst for knowledge.

I am a teacher.

I am hypervigilant.

I have a tendency toward isolation. 

I am often the last to see what is apparent and clearly seen by others.

I have built strong internal defense mechanisms for self-protection.

I am a big presence.

I trust too quickly and, conversely,  I don't trust easily. 

I am committed to healing myself.

This is just who I am.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Spiral Staircase ...

staircase safari
Originally uploaded by spanier

My interior continues to undergo construction. In addition to being re-wired, I have also had some significant gutting and walls knocked down.

In the home that is me, there were rooms cut off from  each other. To occupy one space meant evacuating another. Some rooms remained locked or unfit to live in.

A small child occupied the attic, while an anxious adult hung out in the basement.

A house divided cannot stand on its own for very long.

Today, I added a spiral staircase. It runs from the ground up to the tippy top of my structure. The attic is being aired out and the basement is for storing treasured things. The child and the adult can actually live together on the main floor, with sleeping quarters and private spaces on separate floors because there's now a staircase that connects them ! No more territorial battles or being banished to far away parts of the house for bad behavior or because you can't handle certain visitors.

My spiral staircase gives way to an open view from bottom to top. Everything can be seen, heard, and is welcome.

Oh, the freedom I will have to slide down that banister !!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Job To Do ...

Autumn Carpet of Maple Leaves - Fall Colours, Germany
Originally uploaded by Batikart

Shuffling feet through leaf-filled sidewalk.

Inhaling crisp Sunday morning air.

Smiling, then not smiling.

Moving in the gap and the not-gap.

Walking, breathing, living God's love into the world.

No job to do ...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Preciously Formless

Sky's Secrets
Originally uploaded by Ben Heine

In the past week, my internal nervous system has been re-wired. No, I am not delusional and have not gone mad. In fact, I am saner and clearer than I have ever been.

My healer has named what had been frustratingly unknown to me for the entirety of my life thus far, yet felt on a deep kinesthetic, cellular level for which I had no language.

I suspect a reader of this would still be shaking their head and saying "What the fuck?"

There's an explanation. Indulge me for a moment ...

Close your eyes and imagine that you have been comfortably hanging out for 9 months or so, give or take a day, in your mother's womb. It was incredibly cozy in this little cave that was inside this being who carried you around -- an entity that you didn't really understand the concept of yet you did on some level. It's time for you to go and you're suddenly pushed out into the light and propelled from that comfy sack of warmth and you land into the hands of a doctor and probably several nurses and are permanently removed from that loving landlord who offered her amazing cervical condo free of charge, never to meet again ... For another 9 months, the same length of time you hung out in the womb cave, you have no friggin idea where you are. The mother who housed you felt so good and you don't know why she's gone and you don't have that feeling any more and you don't know whose hands are picking you up or feeding you and there is no breast to suck on and these people feel strange and totally unknown. And you take this lost, scared, uncertainty into your tiny little capillaries at that time but you don't have any real memories of any of this -- just a "knowing without knowing". And then, at the end of this 9 month period, a woman and a man pick you up and hold you closer than the strangers do (at least that is what you are told later) and you are put on the woman's lap and get into a moving machine that takes you to a house and you don't leave there for 18 years. BUT ... when you are 9 years old you are told about that time when you were with the nice landlord and you didn't remember that you had another mother because the one who is talking to you is supposed to be your mother cause that's what you call her and now you are completely and utterly confused and undone and you don't know what to do with this at such a young age.

I believe I understand from my healer about how I first got programmed internally because of this incredible void -- a gap she labels "formlessness" -- when I didn't have the kind of bonding or attachment that little ones with their biological mothers get PLUS the experience of having people around me make major life decisions that impacted me significantly yet were made without consulting or involving me. THIS is what she named for me that I had no language for. THIS is what allowed me to provide the above scenario and allow myself to freely explore what this may have been like from a sensing I have in the tiniest fibers of cellular memory.
THIS is also the catalyst for my internal re-wiring.

I have been frought all of my life with terror of what is unknown. Unbearable anxiety in any situation for which I have had no say, no control, no sense of power. It is at the root of my alcoholism and my dishonesty and my manipulation and my co-dependency and my selfishness and my care-taking and my over-committing and my fear of abandonment and subsequent holding others hostage.

My present circumstances that I have been writing about have actually replicated this pre-language time period of my life. And here's the really cool part: these circumstances are here because my Future Self has called them forward at this precise moment so I can heal this deep, old, gaping wound. So that I can tolerate others changing forms without being re-traumatized. So that there is no longer a split in me between an adult who gears up for the unknown in a hypervigilant way and a little girl who believes she will surely die from the exposure.

To face the unknown head on, without being debilitated by fear, is allowing me to experience what it is like to truly be free.    This is what it means to be a whole,  integrated adult.

I'd like to call it: Preciously Formless.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hawk-ness ...

Originally uploaded by Nikographer [Jon]

HAWK ... is the messenger. IT is also about visionary power and guardianship; the hawk is very protective of the young in its nest. It teaches us about providing for family and self. Hawk teaches us to be observant and to pay attention to what we may overlook. This could mean a talent we don't use, a blessing for which we haven't expressed gratitude, or a message from Spirit. The hawk has keen eyesight, it is about opening our eyes and seeing that which is there to guide us.
~ Power Animals website

This past weekend, I began to explore the animals I relate to based on an astrological forecast for November by Elizabeth Hermon. It is about seeing our strengths and weaknesses through the animals that we are. She suggested thinking about those animals whose characteristics we identify with.  I had previously done a lot of work with my Fox energy, but this go-round, thanks to the inquisitiveness of a fellow non-dual healing classmate, something very different arose.

The Hawk.

One of my strengths is about seeing the big picture view. I can take in a large territory and have a grasp of everything that is going on, which is usually played out in my role as the teacher in a college classroom. The "pulse" of the room comes to me very quickly, including individual students who are struggling, not paying attention, or otherwise "standing" out as targets on my hawk-eye radar.

The weakness of mine that I see in the Hawk is my reliance on hypervigilance for the purposes of self-protection. The "predator" in me comes alive when a sudden movement or change in form appears on my visual screen. The internal alarm system is set off, with "Danger, Danger" warning sirens blaring.

One of the qualities cited about the meaning of the Hawk that really resonated with me is "very protective about the young in its nest". This is a time for me of great uncertainty in a couple significant areas of my life. The "little hawk" , my small self, that sits in my interior nest has been squawking loudly. She's unsettled. She is the one most startled by the danger warning bells. It is an old, historic terror of what is unknown. On my adult healing journey, I have worked diligently to heal this wound. My little hawk is the keeper of many stored memories. So, as I sit in this uncertain territory, I understand that my little hawk can't help but be triggered. My work, as I see it, is to have the Big Hawk that I am be able to find the balance of watching over the nest, but not so guarded. To give room for the little one to fidget, to feel herself AND to also reassure her that she's safe in the nest.

My classmate this weekend was a witness to some of this process I just described. The way in which she held a space, allowed me to feel the trembling and fearfulness of the little hawk, while finding my own steady perch, talons grasping and all.

This is my hawk-ness...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Make Me a Channel for Your Peace ...

Woman practicing yoga at sunrise
Originally uploaded by dwanearmbruster

Tonight, I attended for the first time an 11th Step Meditation Meeting.

A friend from the rooms whose dream it has been to bring this kind of meeting to our area (she is a transplant from down South) took the leap of faith and will now host them at her home.

12 beautiful, sober women sat on pillows in her livingroom, aglow with candles as she led us in a guided meditation following the 11th Step as it is suggested in the Big Book.

We were invited to be with our breath, the in-breath meditating on "God", while the outbreath meditating on "Love". The Prayer of St. Francis was read and we were asked to focus on a line that we were drawn to. Mine was: make me a channel for your peace.

We were asked to think about our day and about any resentments or regrets that we had and then guided to surrender and to not hold onto the energy of these things, keeping in mind if there was someone we owed an apology to. We were asked to think about all that we were grateful for, envisioning the people and situations and bringing them into the space. We were reminded about the 2 choices we had each day: we could choose fear or we could choose love.

Then, to help us drop more deeply into meditation, we were guided down "12 steps", with an instruction at each step for going further into our breath, clearing our minds, opening our hearts.

For 15 minutes, we sat in silence. This part for me was very moving and powerful. The notion of being surrounded by this sober community and our collective breath ... I felt so safe and so held.

To bring us "back into presence", we were walked back up the 12 steps, again with an instruction for returning to the room, more refreshed, awake, alive, re-committed to our sobriety.

At the end, anyone who wanted to share about the experience was encouraged to do so. Many women had never had success meditating previously and were amazed at how easy it was when given instructions and being able to do so in such an intimate, safe space.

As I stepped out of the meeting and took in the brisk Fall night air, I was indeed renewed. Any dis-ease or worry had fallen away, dissolved in the ethers of the space.

I feel that I can do rightly by God in this moment. Make me a channel for your peace ...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Book of Me ...

Ladislav Dvořák: It Is Raining From The Blue Watering Can On The Isle Of Žofín
Originally uploaded by josefskrhola

After a very tender session with a non-dual healing classmate and dear friend, she pointed me in the direction of an author/blogger named Havi Brooks. One of the tools that Havi has created is titled quite simply: "The Book of Me". She recommends that people give themselves reminders about what works for them, particularly when they are in scared, anxious, or dark places. Because when we're in these kinds of places, we forget and get lost. I sure do.

The picture I chose for the cover of my Book of Me features the moon along with shimmery ethereal bodies and a castle. What has worked since I was a little girl to help me anchor when I felt very alone and terrified was looking at the moon. As a healing, evolving adult, I have come to accept and appreciate the moon just for what it is and not assigning it any special, magical qualities. However, in terms of what works and what I may forget, if I am spinning and can't find my seat or feet, it helps to look up into the night sky and zoom in on the moon. Just watch how steadfast it is, out there in the vast, expansive no-thing-ness. It is reliable and consistent.

After saying my prayers last night and talking to God about how scary it is to feel so powerless right now, before I got into my bed I went out to the kitchen window and looked at the moon. That's all I needed. Just a 2 minute glance. And what I got from that is this message: "You can count on me." After today's healing, I also know that I can count on God. And I can count on myself.

In my session today, thanks to the skillful listening and guidance of my healer-friend, I uncovered a layer of grief that I had been blocking out for quite some time. It was the layer beneath the layer. The top one, more riddled with fearfulness than anything else, had been easy to access. The one below it, a river of grief, is the one I had avoided. This is where the real healing takes place. My patient healer-friend waited with me in silence, as I only peeked at it with one eye open at first. Then, after a few minutes, I looked at it head on and what was the water being looked at was now the water of the looker in the form of heaving tears. My words were: "I can't fight this any more." This was in reference to the ways I don't let myself feel or see anything that feels too much. Today, I gave up. White flags out and waving.

My territory of grief is not new, just not fully explored. It's a very little place. It is about being left and not held and not embraced and not protected. It is about a little girl's longing for an adult to reassure her and to show up for her. It's a pretty simple desire, really, with a whole lotta crap that has twisted it and tainted it and made it into something bigger than it really is. My expression of grief today was letting the little voice have her place: "I want mommy to tell me I will be okay."

So, this comes full circle. Peering at the moon to remind me that I can count on myself. To know that a little one who resides in me needs to know that too. I can give that to her.