Friday, August 23, 2019

You Just Can't Make This Sh*t Up

Prior to my recent blog post, I hadn't posted anything in a almost a full year.  That's a pretty long dry spell.

What I've been finding this summer though is that the more I get back to walking, meditating, and my yoga practice, the more I want to write.  Because things come together in unexpected ways and I want to keep track of these non-coincidences.




For example, I posted my most recent blog on Saturday, August 3.  This was  highly unlikely timing because we were leaving for a vacation on Monday the fifth.  I did not have time to be composing a blog post.  We have never been abroad; never been on a cruise; never flown out of JFK; never coordinated all this with three adult children.




So I published my post in the flurry of packing everything we would need for a two week cruise in a suitcase weighing less than fifty pounds.  I wrote about being vs. doing.  Since my upbringing taught me nothing about being and everything about doing, this idea of becoming more aware of the quality of being was a radical departure from my norm.

One of my errands that weekend before we left was to see if there was any chance I could get a book I had ordered from our local bookstore.  The release date was August 6, but by then we would be in Venice.  I was hoping to snatch it early to read on vacation.

But it wasn't in the store yet, according to the young man I spoke to at That Book Store.  I'd have to wait until we got back.




The funny thing is I mentioned this book in my August 3rd post, the one where I was exploring the notion of being vs. doing.  I've always been comfortable doing.  But just being?  What does that even mean?

So this question is floating in the background of my mind as we travel.  I notice Italians have a distinctly different way of being than Americans.  In Portofino you sit by the seaside under an awning and eat lunch for three hours.  You have to ask for the check.  They bring you tangy limoncello whether you ask for it or not. 




Everything is s-l-o-w-e-r and  full of old-world charm. 




Our first night back home I'm up in the middle of the night because it's morning in Italy.  I putter around, change the wash, and re-read my blog on being.

A few days later I open Beyond the Known:  Realization.  Right there on page one of the prologue I read:

The right to be was gifted to you at the inception of your soul.

A couple of pages later, the reader is invited to  Be as you are.  Be as you are.  Be as you are.  (Prologue, xvii)

I'm sitting at Heirloom Market sipping a peanut butter banana mocha espresso (without the espresso) gasping out loud at the seamless way the universe is apparently delivering Its advice on BEING!

I should clarify that Paul Selig, the author, is channeling a group of teachers who exist in the spirit world.  If this sounds a little nuts, I understand.  But this work is so profound that I went to Burlington, VT to hear him channel last summer. IMHO, he's the real deal.

These spirit teachers call themselves The Guides.  In this new book they say:

What lies beyond the known must be understood by you, not only as your potential, but as your true inheritance.  And as you say yes to what comes, the mission of your life becomes crystal clear.  It is not what you do, it is how you be....               (Prologue, xx)

WHAT?




In my recent post I also wondered how I would be called to serve in the unknown future.

No problem!  The answer is literally in my lap.

Your service, we have to suggest, which is  being (emphasis his) at this tone or level of vibration, calls the principle of the Christ to the manifest world for the purpose of reclaiming it in the higher octave.                                              (Beyond the Known:  Realization, p.6)

Your service... is being....

You just can't make this stuff up!

The principle of the Christ that they refer to is not the historical Jesus.  The Christ is another name for the divinity that resides withing each of us (often despite appearances to the contrary).  When we realize, or know, ourselves and all others as such, we are seeing each person's  True Self, their Eternal Self, or their Christed Self.  The divine in every man, woman and child.

Pretty wild, right?

I'm grateful that Life is conspiring to bring me back to the writing page.  My summer practices -- yoga on the cool patio pavers in the early morning shade, meditations with no time limits -- these bring me back to my self.

Or maybe they lead to a new way of being -- one less encumbered by what I have always thought I should be, should do, should have, should accomplish.

This morning on twitter?

Just be and enjoy being.  Eckhart Tolle.



You just can't make this sh*t up!












Saturday, August 3, 2019

Pluto's Curriculum

This evening I sit at my kitchen table with with the slider open.

A cool front has swept out the heavy humidity.  Light rain falls on the full foliage of high summer. The sound of rainfall is soothing, like a long sigh.

I've been out of synch with the rhythms of Nature; but then again, Mother Nature herself is out of synch.

Usually at this time of year I'm busy working on a new project or planning fall events.  But this year, even the momentum of the Spring Equinox didn't shift this feeling of being in limbo -- on some kind of inward sabbatical.

I had an astrological reading the week of the Equinox, expecting to take advantage of the energy of light increasing, crocuses sprouting and stars shifting.




But my reading made sense of what wasn't happening.  Certain things had culminated for me on the previous Winter Solstice.  Now  I'm in a period of change.  Inside the chrysalis.

I'm not good with sabbatical.  Time off is not my thing.  I like momentum and goals.  Getting stuff done.

My astrologer, Carol,* sees it differently.

I love her interpretation of what's happening out there in the cosmos.  In my experience, when there's an astrological event, like a Super Full Moon, ten astrologers will give you ten different interpretations.  Carol's take always registers an inner  yes.

About this sabbatical, she says, We are in preparation; we're being re-positioned. 

Our entire society -- from the personal to the national -- feels at the very edge of sustainability.  The status quo is giving way.  And while it's good in many ways, if/when it crumbles -- what's out there?  Beyond our familiar structures?

And how will I be called to serve then?

What's going on with you, Carol says, One of the things the universe is coaxing out of you,  is to look at your insecurities -- and not knowing is a big one.

But, she laughs, You know a lot!  You are a knower.  Your mind is brightly lit and very creative.  

Despite this, I find not knowing unsettling.  I like to look to the future with some sense of what's forthcoming.




She mentions the massive shifts we are living through and how becoming comfortable with the unknown -- in other words, trusting -- is something I'm being invited to master.

This is part of my run-in curriculum with Pluto.

Pluto's power is largely inexplicable and difficult to understand.  Wherever Pluto appears in your horoscope, that area of life will show a marked change.  

Named after the Roman God of the underworld, Pluto signifies death and rebirth.  It is the planet of regenerative forces, of destruction and annihilation, and then complete transformation.  The keyword is elimination; Pluto wipes the slate clean.*





This astro-curriculum is teaching  me the value of letting go of my habitual ways of (over) managing everything.

Pluto advises me to relax my defensive ego.

And most challenging -- getting around my need-to-know mind and dropping into the lesser-known chambers of my heart.


   This is actually Pluto!

So this summer  I'm letting myself be.  I'm practicing being as opposed feeling like I should be doing this, that or the other.   All. The. Time.

My non-doing curriculum consists of the following, in case you want to study along with me:

Early morning walks to the pond, cool air on bare arms.

Admiring markings on the outstretched wings of the low-gliding hawk.

Tracking the turtle making his way across the undulating water.

Spying two racoons under the dock, looking up from behind their bandit-like masks.

Practicing my vinyasa in the verdant morning shade.

Embracing the sky in a series of sun salutations.

Sitting on the planks of the back porch on my cushions and sinking into uncharted realms in meditation.

Removing my (literal) mask and being met with a field of light behind my closed eyelids. Streaming into my third eye.



I trust that the shifting quality of my being will continue to inform what I choose to do.  I'm already deciding differently.

Getting comfortable with simply being is my current project.  Attuning inward vs. being directed by old ideas of what I should be doing -- it's a practice!



But I've got this curriculum  I'm working with, so it feels promising.  Change -- anything beyond the known -- always involves some trepidation because we're human.  We like stability.




Yet to reach sustainability -- unity, cooperation, and the ability to make choices that benefit humanity and the planet for seven generations -- something's got to give.

Maybe it's an old way of being, a way we are (painfully) outgrowing.

Maybe this curriculum teaches a way of being that yields as-yet-unknown riches.

 





Acknowledgments:

*Astrologer Carol Ciocco can be found on Facebook.

*Pluto information: The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Jaonna Martine Woolfolk

*Neale Donald Walsh, author of the Conversations with God series, first introduced me to be, do,  have -- in that order.

Paul Selig's channeled text, Beyond the Known: Realization (shown above) is due out August 6.  Soon! Having read all of his earlier work, I highly recommend it.









Thursday, August 16, 2018

I VOTED TODAY

These people who think politics is beneath them?

The ones who, when you bring up anything political, recoil as if you've assaulted their sensibilities?

There are some things they just don't get.

Today was primary day in Connecticut.  I left the afternoon open on my calendar because I figured I would offer my help to one of our local candidates.  Sure enough by 9:00 am I got a call.  Can you help at District 2?

So I'm poll standing (in the shade) in Old Wethersfield, asking the few voters who typically come out for  primaries in August, to consider casting their ballots for Kerry, our new friend who's running for  State Rep.  Many of these folks I know; they stop by after work, doing their civic duty.  We talk about the candidates, the kids, who's going off to college, who's nest will soon be empty.

So I'm sporting my red, white and blue I VOTED TODAY sticker and run into a friend who glances at it and grimaces.  Ugh, I can't be bothered with politics, she says. With emphasis.

Really.

She's telling this to someone who led two referendum campaigns with the goal of relieving overcrowding in our elementary schools.  The second one passed and the local Democrats asked me to run for office.

No thanks, I say. With emphasis.

I prefer to have my life back.

One day back then, I was handing out flyers at my daughters' elementary school, and my friend Robin joked, Pretty soon you'll be running for office!  I put my index finger to my temple, like my hand is a gun, and pull the trigger.

No effing way.

I was not a fan of politics.

Until my daughter's safety depended on politicians.

She was in the first wave of  kids with deadly nut and peanut allergies.  In those days no one had ever heard of an Epi-pen, never mind been required to know how to use one in an emergency.  This was before there were nut-free tables in school cafeterias or any awareness around this lethal allergy.

Back then, we had school nurses from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm.  Suppose Meredith ingested something by accident at snack time outside these hours?  Teachers are not medical professionals; administering life-saving medication is not their job.

So our organization, the Wethersfield Schools Parent Council, a district-wide advocacy group, put this issue at the top of our agenda.  Our kids had special needs, asthma, type 1 diabetes. We needed full-time nurses.

Raised in catholic schools, I had no idea what a Board of Education was.  The other parents said we had to go to a public meeting and speak in favor of including full-time nurses in the school budget.

Yikes, speak in public?  Go to the podium and speak into a microphone so I could be heard on the local cable access channel?

It reminded me of Mrs. Buchas, Meredith's first grade teacher.  She looked me in the eye and said, Mrs. Montinieri, you've got to speak up.  I was willing to advocate for Meredith but concerned about rocking the boat.  If they banned peanut butter from the school, Meredith would be that kid.  I would be that mother.

I had to assure her safety without alienating everyone in sight.

That night, at the BOE meeting, I had no idea how powerful my voice was. All we did was speak clearly on the issue, and voila, full-time nurses in every school.

This Board I spoke to?  They were elected officials.

During this time I learned how policies that affect kids in classrooms are developed.  I learned who recommends what and to whom for approval.  I learned which political party adequately funds education and which one would just as soon slash it.

So guess what?  I did run for office.

I'm at all these damn meetings anyway, keeping tabs on these local officials.  Some I admired for their commitment and dedication, for the time they spent away from their families after working all day.  Others I breathtakingly disagreed with.  For them, the time was never right.  Or the idea was good but the process was a problem.  Maintain the classrooms?  Not this year.  A new furnace?  Let's patch it up.  Finally when parts are no longer manufactured for our antique boiler, they're forced to approve the expenditure.  Hello energy efficiency.

I served on the Town Council where I got to vote against reducing the BOE's requested budget  increase for two years.

After voting on drainage repairs, snow removal bids and blasting roads to improve sight lines, I ran for the BOE, where the issues were closer to my heart.  Meantime, I dragged my husband into the arena.  He started on the Ecomonic Development Commission and ended up Mayor.  He's far more skilled at it than I was.  He's a pragmatist; I'm an idealist.

Our marriage survived, smile.

My point is that this friend, who's visibly disgusted by my I VOTED TODAY sticker, she's proud of veering far away from politics.

But what's not political?

Politicians decide if there are psychologists, curriculum specialists, and after school athletics in our schools.  They decide to fund technology, institute before and after school programs, and whether to fund drama, art and music.

Politics are woven into the fabric of  our everyday lives.  Politics determine whether we can afford to see a doctor, whether gun violence proliferates, whether there's cancer-causing pesticide in our food supply, and whether we have the right to know that or not.

Politics pervade the right of women to be sovereign in our bodies, determine whether our LGBTQ friends have the same rights as the rest of us, whether our immigrant neighbors feel safe, whether our nation goes to war, whether our elected officials are above the law, abusing their power or corrupt due to  corporate influence.  International trade politics determine the price we pay for goods and services and whether American small businesses thrive or fail.

Decency would seem to demand these things but politics prevail almost everywhere.

Having the right people in politics assures our freedoms are protected, our planet is preserved and our grandchildren inherit  prosperity, not preposterous debt.

So when my friend scorns politics I wonder what narrow world she's living in.  Where is this world without politics?

Imagine my surprise  when I drove by her house before the last local election -- political signs on the lawn!  The guy her household apparently favored was, IMHO, exactly the wrong guy for the office he sought.

My friend who can't be bothered with politics was evidently not very well informed about her candidate.  He never has a creative solution; he's against every forward-looking initiative; he was in  the then-majority party who obviously didn't caucus on budget adoption night.  The most important vote of the year and no consensus?  They took turns throwing out random numbers, hundreds of thousands of dollars, to cut from the education budget.

That meeting goes down in my memory as such a fiasco of inept leadership that it would have been comical if it weren't about our kid's education.  But what does he care, the candidate?  His kids go to the local private school.

Saving grace?

One ray of hope is the Wethersfield Women For Progress. These are mothers who bring their babies to meetings, ask male candidates who will watch their kids while they work, throw sign-making parties and show up in Hartford to protest.

Do we agree on everything?  Far from it.  But we have respectful exchanges about who we like and don't like in the candidate pool.  On primary day many posted smiling selfies with  I VOTED TODAY stickers.


My selfie skills are sub-par but I got some good advice from the group:  Julie!  You're so close!  Throw on a quick, confident smile and THEN take the pic (sunglass emogi).  

See why I love this group?

Despite the tumult in politics, basic ideals underpin our nation.  They endure as long as they are energized -- by us.

Apathy?  Indifference?  Staying above the fray?  These put our freedoms in peril.

That's the story of why I VOTED TODAY.

What's yours?






Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Welcoming Spring

Today, on the first day of spring, I decided to clear the flower bed that runs along the back of the house.  I wanted be outside for the arrival of the new season -- that moment  when the sun crosses the celestial equator at precisely 12:15 pm.  I set the alarm on my phone so I don't miss it.

Everyone is familiar with earth's equator.  To imagine the celestial equator, project the equator out into space -- a great circle around the circumference of the earth, like the terrestrial equator but way out there around the planet.


The equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator from the southern hemisphere into the northern.  This passage marks the start of spring.

I bundle up, looking ridiculous, because really it's still too cold to be doing yard work here in Connecticut.  I pull on rubber boots, tucking in my bulky sweats.  I put a jacket over my hoodie and a headband over my ears.  I gather up rake and broom and step outside.

The bed is clotted with dry leaves banked against the house and chimney; I rake winter's debris out onto the patio.  Ragged, stalky growth that didn't get cleared last fall easily comes loose.  And some tender green sprouts -- what a pleasure to spot these, soon-to-be yellow lillies.



Next I rake the accumulated pile of leaves into the woods at the edge of the property.  This brings me to the iris bed along the south side of the house.  It's pretty clear but I comb through that as well.  Slender stalks are already pushing through the bleached husks of last year's growth.  


I'm warming up when the alarm goes off in my pocket.  On the patio I take off my jacket for a little more mobility and do seven sun salutations, welcoming the sun across the celestial equator.  

With these salutations, I mirror the trees. Raising my arms, I gather the energies of the sun and sky until my hands meet overhead.  Then I swan dive down (to quote my yoga teacher), fingertips skimming the edges of my energy field, to the ground, where I gather earth energies -- so potent right now! Next I pause with hands on shins and straight back, before reaching down to earth once again to begin the cycle anew.

In this moment we have a new season.  We leave the dormant energies of winter behind and enter into the sprouting energies of spring.  The earth quickens.  Light lasts longer.  Day by day, the sun rises higher in the sky.  Geese migrate north.  Stars shift overhead.  The sun moves into fiery Aries.  The great Wheel of the Year turns once again toward rebirth, renewal, resurrection.


Stepping into the flow of time in this way stirs my ancient soul. Aligning with the instant of the equinox puts me in the flow of larger creation cycles -- lunar, solar and galactic, cycles within cycles -- and activates my creative rhythms.


As the sun crosses the celestial equator, I cross a threshold too.







           






Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet Me in the Land of Hope and Dreams

In our quiet town an 18 year old recently shot and killed his 16 year old friend while fooling around with his first handgun.  Scarier (to me) than this senseless event is that I feel nothing.   I'm becoming inured to the daily assault of idiocy, chaos, lying, deliberate-divisiveness -- all cunningly designed to pit us one against the other and fuel the flames of polarity that could rend the very fabric of our way of life.  And now gun violence and the death of a young man in Wethersfield.  An anguished mother.  A shooter with a troubled history.

I know it sounds cowardly but I can't take it.  I just can't take it today.

After that last sentence I went out for a walk to escape my thoughts.  Because where was I going  with that line of thinking?  Right where they (the old energies) want me to go -- to doubt, confusion and fear.

I REFUSE TO GO THERE.


I'm not outside for five minutes before I come upon these back-lit leaves mirroring my inflamed thoughts.



I slow down, breathing in the November air.

Despite a recent storm, my usual route is vibrant ruby, amber and tarnished gold.  Maybe this is why walking at this time of year is so healing -- the colors resonate with my subtle energy body, the one that's flagging.

This vibrant red feeds my root chakra.  I draw the energies of the earth -- grounding, stabilizing, nurturing -- up through the soles of my feet.  My swirling thoughts palpably calm down.



Shades of orange soothe my second chakra cauldron of simmering emotions. They're meant to move; stasis is no good for our emotional center.  Walking always brings relief from feelings of stress/anger/exasperation/incredulity/pain/sadness/  grief.  Letting them move through is healing.




Here I know that I'm not numb.  I'm protecting myself from being overwhelmed.

Recently I attended the Kennedy Dinner, our traditional Saturday-night-before-the-election gathering.  The committee hung star-spangled banners and local candidates' signs from the ceiling, recruited  young dems from the high school to provide jazzy background music, and lit up the podium with a spotlight. There were many speeches; it seems there are as many candidates and elected officials who want the mic for a few words as there are people seated at linen-covered tables sipping wine.  Our ReSisters, new to the event, dubbed it the Democrats' prom.

Over the years I've grown very fond of the people in this room.  They are activists, behind-the scenes volunteers, elected officials in leadership positions, the ones who get out the vote, drive the elderly to the polls and gather on election night for better or worse.  So I don't mind the speeches and catching up with neighbors and friends.  But when the Chairperson asks for a moment of silence to mark the tragic shooting, my eyes fill with tears.

I'm not numb.  I'm in some kind of nether world out beyond rage. Outrage.

Yet it can be empowering.  When my beliefs and values are challenged every day, I have a choice.  I can let it plow me over like a tsunami or I can do what I can to remain in control of my consciousness.  This purposeful energy radiates in golden waves from my third chakra, my power center. It imbues the landscape.




With every step the pieces of my broken heart meld back together again.  With every breath, emerald green waves soothe and mend my heart chakra.  Contemplating this last blast of bright green, compassion wells up.



How to express it all?

I set an intention to nurture my creativity on the last new moon.  Since then, I've been faithfully writing three long-hand pages (almost) every morning.  At first, taking all that time to write made me anxious.  I thought it would take 10 minutes but it's more like thirty!  It's a practices that promises certain rewards but thirty minutes?  However.  Certain things I've been unwilling to admit have become apparent in those pages.  And when they rise into awareness they must be expressed.

So I lay down on the dock and let the blue sky bathe my throat chakra, center for communication, expression and creativity.


These clouds look like Hogwarts' sorting hat to me so I smile and trust that my thoughts will sort themselves out.

Resting on the dock, I let myself drift.  I let it all fall away -- the reality that a 29 year old terrorist mowed down countless people on Halloween in NYC; the reality that Hillary choked off Bernie's funding through the DNC; the reality that we have a narcissistic president who can't control his impulse to insult anyone who disagrees with him.

I let all that drop away as I rest on the cool planks of the dock.  The tension in my back eases. My breath slows down.  It's quiet. Most of the branches in my peripheral vision are bare.  I close my eyes and attune to a vibration that emanates from the depths of my being, up through my body and out across the pond. It pulses with the rhythm of my heart.  It feels vast, like the web of life itself.

Out beyond rage, I know this:

Lower level realities -- greed, selfishness, short-sightedness, violence -- these cannot survive in the rising frequencies that are available to us now.  These shadow energies are being exposed daily and will not survive in the new vibration surging in from beyond the stars, enveloping the earth and activating us.  Activating me.  I can only speak for myself but I offer it because you're being activated too.




Shading my eyes against the bright sunlight, I know I've journeyed into the realm of of intuitive wisdom, the sixth chakra -- Knowing beyond the mind. It glows midnight-blue and purple in the light body.  It restores perspective.

I've ascended the luminous energetic rainbow of inner light and now only white is left.  It hovers above the crown of the head like a halo. I recall these tiny blossoms from just a few days ago.



Their purity suggests innocence.  Somehow it seems that innocence encompasses both the 16 year old who lost his life and the 18 year old who took it.  Somewhere, inherent innocence was lost. When someone puts a gun to his friend's head and pull the trigger, bullets or no bullets, part of his humanity is greatly damaged.

Maryanne Williamson, in a talk after the Nazi march in Charlottesville, says that the answer to every problem is in the mind of God.  And where IS this mind of God?

Within each one of us, within you and me.

It's up to me to download, from the mind of God, what my task is in response to what happens.  It's up to you to discern your task, your remedy, your contribution.  And when all of us act on our inner knowing, a new collective consciousness arises to create a new paradigm.

This is how my thoughts composed themselves on my walk.





Beyond tragedy there is a miracle waiting.  

You bring your precious piece of it and I'll bring mine.  

Perhaps only when they are joined, 

When all the parts of the mind of God are joined in unity,

Will we have the alchemy needed

To forge the keys to the Kingdom,

The land of hope and dreams.


Borrowing from Bruuuuce

Meet me in the land of hope and dreams.






Friday, April 21, 2017

Twilight Enchantment

The other day I read about certain times of day -- sunrise and sunset -- when the veils are thin and we can sense other realms of consciousness more easily.

In The Great Human Potential, Tom Kenyon, channeling the Hathors -- a helpful group of  spirit beings -- says:

When the sun rises and sets, the elementals of your Earth become enchanted...by the change of light and energy.  They fall into a hypnotic spell, and in this quietude you can more easily sense the subtle worlds because they are not stirring things up....  It is a fleeting and temporary moment.

So last night, just after sunset, I sat on the front porch with this new information.

I'm familiar with the hush of dawn and dusk, but I was intrigued by this idea of elementals falling under a spell. The Hathors describe elementals as subtle conscious energies related to the elements themselves: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space....  These are archetypal forces not related to your periodic table. They are conscious beings.

Somehow, I've always known this. Earth, air, fire and water -- sentient beings with their own intelligence.

If you pause during sunrise or sunset and contemplate the shifts of light and energy through your senses you will find a sense of wellness arising within you. Eventually you can sense the flow of grace that moves through all the worlds.  And this sense of grace unifies all the worlds from the highest realms of light to the lowest vibratory worlds of matter.  

On the porch, with my  bare feet on the cool cement steps, I'm thinking, If ever there was a time humanity needs grace, it's now. Twilight falls, the stars peek out, and yes -- enchantment is the perfect way to describe the sense of calm that descends around me.

The energies have felt  tumultuous to me for a long while now, like we're on the deck of a ship making it's way across a roiling sea.

It reminds me of one of the most vivid dreams I ever had.  I was on the deck of a ship in full sail, tossed by looming, translucent, bottle-green waves on every side.  I was giving a healing, riding the wind-whipped waves (of energy) while trying to stay firmly-footed on the rolling deck.

This must have been before our class went to Anguilla in 2007 during our training in Energy Medicine because while we were there I collected some coins imprinted with sailing ships that reminded me of my dream.


When the Hathors mention the highest realms of light and the lowest levels of vibration it feels to me like they're talking about NOW.  History is a record of tension between opposites but now it feels like it's intensifying to the point where it can't be sustained much longer.

It's playing out globally and personally.  What's been simmering is coming to a boil.

I usually shake my head in disbelief at the escalating lunacy on the nightly news, but I do have some power around my inner landscape.  In the face of tension between the higher and lower realms, my strong sense is that I'm called to bring myself into harmony.

In a holographic universe, where a shift in one facet affects the whole diamond, this is no small thing.

But these have been difficult times to navigate. Recently the arena calling for change seems to be in my relationships with close women friends.  It's been a puzzling pattern, but some pieces fell into place last night as the day gave way to twilight and I let myself be enchanted.

In each instance with my girlfriends, a boundary was crossed that made me uncomfortable.  In the past I may have let it go or just lived with it.

But isn't doing so a mild form of self-betrayal?  And is there even such a thing as mild self betrayal? Sometimes a button got pushed and my response was to push back. I was no longer willing to indulge whatever it was I had been allowing.

I had to own my part in this -- to get clear on how I had been contributing to the dynamic. And to communicate, with as much mindfulness and heartfulness that I could muster in the middle of these tempests, that the status quo was no longer working for me.

In every instance, things shifted.  With every friend I have been through this with, there has been an up-leveling of sorts.  Moments of humility, yes, and lessons in forgiveness, but also a sense of each of us helping the other find her footing when the deck was rocking beneath our feet.

The Hathors say, Grace ... is a sense of harmony between divergent parts....  

Perhaps honoring the divergent parts of myself brings a kind of grace.  I want deep and lasting friendships, but not if it requires ignoring some other part of me that's waving a red flag. By honoring both -- the divergent parts -- tension resolves.

But this can be a tricky road for us women because we were taught to give in, taught to turn the other cheek, taught to acquiesce for the sake of peace.  We were taught not to rock the boat.

But the boat is rocking on a heaving, paradigm-shifting sea.  From international politics to interpersonal dynamics, I'm called to honor my inner compass.

And so there is something to be said for the elemental enchantment of nightfall.

When chatter falls silent, scattered thoughts constellate into meaning.

Under the spring stars, Grace bestows her magic.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Descent

I think there's something to be said for this Venus retrograde.

The astrologers I follow have been keeping track of her path as she disappears from the night sky. Ancient Greeks mythologized the descent of Venus with the story of Persephone, the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was abducted to the underworld by Hades.  While she was trapped there, winter lingered on the Earth.


These archetypes -- Venus and Persephone -- resonate in our bones.

Venus is the planet of love, associated with beauty, refinement, relationships and union.  She has the energies of art, balance and harmony. When these go underground, we feel bereft.  The kidnapping of Persephone, daughter of Olympian God and Goddess, leaves heartbreak and barrenness.


Even hardy New Endglanders are weary of winter, with her overcast skies, her chilly drizzle and her mantle of snow still blanketing the shady corners of our lawns.

Around mid-march Venus disappears from our night sky.  By the 25th she is in the underworld. During this time, several strong, talented, sensitive and optimistic women -- including me -- have hit the wall, so to speak.  Our store of inner resources has dwindled. Our muses are silent.  Low-grade anxiety that simmers over the winter months comes to a boil and screams like an untended teapot. Depression steals in like early-morning mist clinging to the forest floor. Our usual magic doesn't dispel it.


The descent of Venus below the horizon mirrors our descent into the shadow psyche, where we see all our hidden motivations and mechanisms -- the below-deck dynamics that often rule our actions and choices.

As we peer around in the dark, we see that the engines are cumbersome, outdated, grimy -- and fueled by our tiresome, outmoded beliefs.


It's a mess down here!

Slogging in these damp dungeons, I'm privy to the secret psycho-emotional-spiritual machinery that powers my very being -- ceaselessly operating below the level of my awareness and undermining my best intentions. Derailing dreams and visions.  Sabotaging plans.  Disrupting relationships.



So it is with reverence that I honor these days in the underworld.  I send out blessings to my friends near and far who have shared the shadowy state of their souls.  I  marvel at the sheer courage of the women in our JOURNEY TO SELF (anxiety and depression) group -- examining their automatic thoughts by inquiring, Is it true? 

They share stories of loss and anguish. At first they were reluctant; now they're candid.  Together, we're dismantling the below-deck machinery, the unconscious belief systems that have not always steered us toward happiness.  We're learning to formulate alternative thoughts in response to challenging circumstances.  We're becoming skilled at tracing our thoughts back to beliefs that no longer serve us and choosing new beliefs that relieve suffering and feel truer than what we grew up believing about ourselves and the world.



This is the work of the spiritual warrior.  We're not battling something out there; we're taking steps toward self-mastery.

We're cleaning up below deck.  Overhauling the engine room.

Visiting the underworld is not for the faint of heart.  Peering into the shadow aspects of our selves requires bravery and compassion.  Our circle of women provide these generously when one of us falters.  As we re-work our inner dynamics, we feel the ship of self begin to sail on it's own power, inspired, toward what we may not have thought was possible.


But here's the real magic about Venus, that sparkling star who ventured through hell -- on March 31 she emerges in the morning sky!  The evening star rises with the sun.

I expect all of us who are doing our shadow work -- willingly or not -- will feel the shift as Venus graces the pre-dawn skies at the beginning of a brand new day. Maybe then it will finally feel like spring.



Persephone promises to return and when she does the earth flourishes. May we align with the great creative forces of the earth and sky and do the same.



*If you're interested in JOURNEY TO SELF:  Beyond Anxiety and Depression, a therapeutic group for adults combining cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic healing, look for us on Facebook.