Lessons

I have written before about the act of surrendering to the Momma, and how there are varying levels of surrender. I indicated in my last post that it was a topic/lesson that had been coming up for me since July. Over the last week, I realized how inaccurate that statement is.

Unsure and confused over a tarot reading I had done for myself, I consulted my beloved who is more familiar with the deck I was using than I regarding its meaning and significance. I can’t remember if it was before or after the reading (I think before, but I’m not positive) that I had found out I had forgotten to file a form for my financial aid for the summer so that my tuition expenses could be covered. As a result, my financial aid wouldn’t go through in time to pay for my summer tuition – a total of about $11k. Though now, the situation seems less catastrophic (after having moved through it and gained some perspective, not to mention resolved it), at the time, it felt like the last card, misplaced that sends the whole house crashing down. The difficulties in getting an internship, the thought of postponing the internship and setting back my whole graduate program, the stress of being encouraged to hang on in a sort of limbo state and hope and wait for someone to drop their internship site (and that it be one that I wanted), and now this left me feeling trapped, confused, bewildered and insecure.

As I listened to Signmom explain the reading, I felt even more confused. I was avoiding something, ignoring something. I was trying to rush forward even though what I should have been doing was standing still and trying to decipher what this something was that I was running from. In so doing, I was making an even bigger mess for myself. And as I listened to her, I had no idea what it was I was avoiding. But we soon figured out what it was. Death. Not physical death, but the complete death of Self. The act of complete surrender. As I sat on my living room floor staring at the cards in frustration and trying to assess my situation, I recognized the familiarity of it. I knew that I had been at this point before. More so, I knew I had been at this point before numerous times. I had faced this lesson of complete surrender, of total death of self, in a large handful of life times in the past. Signmom pointed out to me, and I knew she was right, that every time it had come up before, I had said to the Momma, “No thanks” and turned away. We talked again, as we had on previous occasions, about how the Momma will present us with a lesson, and at certain times, we have the choice of whether we want to learn it. If we say no, it temporarily drifts back under the surface only to later re-emerge harsher than before. Furthermore, some times we are asked to simply learn lessons and other times, we are required to live them. Signmom told me, and again, I knew she was right, that I wasn’t going to be given the option of not living this lesson this time. Like the addict who reaches rock bottom and understands that the work of recovery, the act of change, is better than continuing life in the same way, I began to truly see what a mess I make of things when I try to control them instead of giving it all and my Self to the Momma.

Over the course of the following few days, signmom and I were unable to talk to each other due to her schedule. Not being able to speak with her set off all kinds of fears for me that went from mild to extreme. Because I was unable to speak with her, I was forced to sit with those fears and examine them. I did so only somewhat willingly because I had little else to do, and grudgingly because I knew it needed to be done. I eventually realized that they stemmed from ego, and like a floodgate opening up, I began to see how much my ego gets in my way, how much it colors my thoughts, my actions, the things I say, the things I write, the growth I claim to seek. Rarely, was I ever even aware of its presence or its effects. I wondered in frustration how I could fix this or change it when I didn’t even know when it was in play.

And when I paused to think about how it effected the growth I claim to seek, I became nauseated. I spout so much about seeking growth, wanting growth, seeking transformation, but my ego constantly gets in the way. I learned that it usually appears in one of two forms, though probably both simultaneously most times: 1) I write and talk about wanting to grow and the energy behind it is all ego screaming, “Look at me! Look at what I am seeking! Laud me! Praise me for the things I am undertaking! Pat me on the back because aren’t I so spiritually developed and tuned in to be seeking this!” and once the growing is actually underway, usually comes, 2) Oh, look at how hard this is! This burden of growing I have taken on! Pity me and applaud me at the same time! Praise me for my willingness to seek this burden, this hardship! Growing is nothing but hardship, and aren’t I laudable for enduring this duress? When I realized this, I wanted to throw up because I knew it was true. And what really, can I take from any lesson presented to me if I am going to treat it as a burden, especially when it’s something I have asked for?! And all the while as I was digging through ego to more ego, I was feeding ego in that I was saying to myself, “How can I ever get through all of this? How do I fix this? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge?” and still viewing the growing process as a hardship the entire time.

I began working on a ritual for death and rebirth. I sat, I meditated, I played a lot of spider solitaire (breaks), watched episodes of “Big Love” on DVD and eventually the movie “The Celestine Prophecy.” I hesitatingly, at first, talked to the Momma to see what She would reveal to me that I needed to know or consider regarding this lesson and change I was preparing to undertake. I stopped attempting medicine card and tarot readings because they all said the same thing: death, surrender, etc. I sat with what complete surrender (which is a death and rebirth) looked like as far as varying aspects of my life were concerned. Eventually, I completed my ritual on Mother’s Day.

In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes that enlightenment (or, I think, any kind of epiphany since I’m not saying I’m enlightened) does not come during the act – it comes afterward. Though I felt different after my ritual, it wasn’t until Tuesday that something shifted for me. I was driving down into town to take care of some tuition classification details and meet up with my professor/mentor and was thinking about the whole ego thing. I had already briefly described my past several days to him in an email, and I knew I would fill in gaps when we met. I wanted to communicate this to him without ego being present. And as I drove, it hit me – I was STILL looking at this ego lesson as a hardship instead of a gift. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that growing is a gift. No, it’s not always easy, but shouldering it as a burden takes away the very gift itself and any chance of actually keeping the lesson that’s being offered. I thought back to the Celestine Prophecy and one of the insights that said to always look at things from a positive perspective, to try to find the deeper meaning, as a way of moving through them.

Something clicked. I thought about how when I have some physical ailment, it’s almost always energetic and the Momma’s way of telling me to look at some issue, some reaction I’m having to a current situation, some way I’m thinking (which is usually irrational or ego-induced). I almost always complain about this kind of communication. I’ve bitched about wanting the Momma to speak more clearly to me, but I was still bitching when She would do so through this way. And though rarely are physical ailments pleasant, it was (and is) one direct means of communication between She and me that gets my attention quickly and is an offering of a way to move through something I might not have otherwise noticed as being an issue.

And then, I thought about what I really mean when I tell the Momma I want to grow, to develop. What I really mean is, I want my magickal skills to increase, I want to see auras, I want to become more psychic, I want, I want, I want, etc. I realized that it’s like I am in second grade asking for 6th grade lessons. And the Momma (justifiably and rightfully) says, No. Learn this 2nd grade lesson, and we’ll work up to those other ones. This has to come first. Because you can’t skip grades unless you’ve already learned or know the lessons from the grades you’re skipping. And I’ve got some very important lessons to learn here in 2nd grade.

I met with my mentor with whom I’ve shared a great deal of my life and grown closer with since I started school and told him of what had been transpiring for me the past several days. I wanted to do it in a way that was devoid of ego, and though I’m not sure I succeeded, I tried. I don’t know if there was something in telling my mentor of what was going on with me or my pondering the insights of the Celestine Prophecy (fiction or not, I think it bears truth in it) that caused something to shift for me, but after we parted and I was on the train back to the station and my car, I felt a lightness and joy inside me, and a deepening Love. Not a disappearance of the recognition of where I am, what I have to learn, but rather a joy in the presence of where I am. A little later, I went to ground, and grounding had never been so easy. Normally, I have to push the energy from my body down through my feet and into the earth for it to really leave. Now, it was like all I had to do was think about grounding, and my Self opened, and then whoosh! It all left easily and peacefully as though there was a magnet in the earth that is the Mother that drew all of my energy I wanted to let go of toward Her.

Since yesterday afternoon, another feeling has begun to grow that I don’t have very good English for yet other than to describe it as a detachment. Not the unhealthy detachment that warrants a diagnosis, more like a lack of clutching or grasping at the things in my world. I’m finding it a little unsettling right now and wondering if that’s because I have always clutched at things, people, relationships, jobs, etc. and the feeling is generally foreign to me. But despite being unfamiliar, there’s a sort of calmness that comes with it that I’m currently trying to sit with. I’m not sure what it will unfold into, and for the first time, I’m okay with that.

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To be danced

Grace over at The Wild Pomegranate posted this poem in January of this year, and I’ve been waiting for enough time to go by before reposting it here (it’s absolutely delicious) so as not to steal her thunder. This poem speaks to me very clearly and loudly right now, so I thought I’d share.

We Have Come To Be Danced

We have come to be danced
not the pretty dance
not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
but the claw our way back into the belly
of the sacred, sensual animal dance
the unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box dance
the holding the precious moment in the palms
of our hands and feet dance

We have come to be danced
not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
but the wring the sadness from our skin dance
the blow the chip off our shoulder dance
the slap the apology from our posture dance

We have come to be danced
not the monkey see, monkey do dance
one, two dance like you
one two three, dance like me dance
but the grave robber, tomb stalker
tearing scabs & scars open dance
the rub the rhythm raw against our souls dance
We have come to be danced
not the nice invisible, self conscious shuffle
but the matted hair flying, voodoo mama
shaman shakin ancient bones dance
the strip us from our casings, return our wings
sharpen our claws & tongues dance
the shed dead cells and slip into
the luminous skin of love dance

We have come to be danced
not the hold our breath and wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance
but the meeting of the trinity: the body, breath & beat dance
the shout hallelujah from the top of our thighs dance
the mother may I?
yes you may take 10 giant leaps dance
the Olly Olly Oxen Free Free Free dance
the everyone can come to our heaven dance

We have come to be danced
where the kingdoms collide
in the cathedral of flesh
to burn back into the light
to unravel, to play, to fly, to pray
to root in skin sanctuary
We have come to be danced
WE HAVE COME

by Jewel Mathieson