Little did I know…

Life is a series of cycles – an ever-changing, hopefully evolving, dynamic process. In my previous post I wrote about the key to happiness. In that post I touched on some myths of that all-too-often seemingly elusive experience and its pursuit. I haven’t been writing for the last little bit because I’ve been busy learning something else. It’s something that to some, perhaps, might seem obvious. Perhaps it was my naivete or idealism (or maybe just laziness) that kept me from being able to see it for myself before. Regardless, here it is: Happiness is not static. It is not a destination. It is as dynamic as balance, as peace. Here’s the other little tidbit I’ve been experiencing: That first taste of happiness – and, oh, is it delectable – is like an amuse-bouche. It is a teaser of things to come in a multi-course, exquisite, rock-your-senses-and-change-your-whole-world dining experience of Life. And it needs to be that amazing, that evocative, that ecstatic because it provides the motivation to get you through what comes next:

An interactive demonstration of everything in your life and your world that keeps you from being able to live in and from that dynamic space.

That first taste of true happiness is the honeymoon that precedes the work of marriage.

The name for that work is healing. The drive to do that work and achieve the happiness that is wholeness is desire.

Now, frequently when we hear the word ‘desire’ what comes to mind is of a romantic or sexual nature. It makes sense to me that this came to be in our lexicon because sex is the greatest act of creation one can experience and participate in. It is sacred in its nature because, in addition to what I just poinetd out, it is union. All of our relationships (platonic, romantic, etc.) teach us how to be in relationship with the Divine. Sex and sexual union is the most powerful analogy we can come up with for the ecstasy that is union with Divinity, with Source. Healing, re-membering, uncovering, and returning to our Essence is how we achieve long-lasting union with the Divine while in a physical body.  

One of my favorite music artists is P!nk. I just have a lot of admiration for her commitment to living her life as she sees fit and not being apologetic about it, about the choices (both wise and poor) that she makes, and taking those experiences and turning them into medicine. When I heard and saw the video for one of her new singles “Try,” though it seems written as a discussion of a romantic relationship, when I applied my filters of the above discussion of desire and healing, the chorus, at least, has elevated substance and meaning for me. As I’ve said a million times, healing is hard, messy, painful work. It is a beyond-intimate process with the Divine of being re-broken and re-made into Wholeness. And it is a decision that needs to be made sometimes every moment, every day.

So if you’ve experienced happiness and then had everything blow up around you or fall to pieces shortly thereafter and are now wandering lost and wondering if you just hallucinated or made it all up, don’t fret. It’s all a part of the process, and (perhaps counterintuitively) it means you’re probably on the right track. Just get back up and try.

 

 

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The art of getting lost

Whenever I move to, or perhaps just visit, a new place, I will at some point relatively early on set out with the intention of getting lost. I’ll take some precautions. Usually. I’ll make sure I have enough gas, some money, maybe some snacks. But I’ve found that it’s a great way to get to know a place and to discover treasures off the beaten path that I might not otherwise have come across. Things and sights that won’t be found on any citysearch website or in the pages of a tourist book.

I’m beginning to come to the realization that I do the same thing with my life, except not always intentionally. Okay, most of the time it’s not intentional, but rather it’s a result of setting out to find something. I just tend to get a little ahead of myself and take off with no map, no supplies, and the only thing in my pack being my sheer will, my ability to actively cope with pretty much anything, and a compass a little like Captain Jack Sparrow’s, except mine seems to be a little less reliable. Hard to believe I used to be a major planner, huh? Perhaps it’s something in my hardwiring – I have no idea. In keeping with the whole Pirates of the Caribbean movie connection I’ve got going here, it reminds me of the second movie. You know, when Captain Barbosa says, ‘You have to be well and truly lost to find a place that cannot be found.’ Or something. I’m paraphrasing. My point being that most of the things I set out to find are not straightforward, concrete, tangible objects.

In a conversation with my wife and L recently, my wife remarked that I was lost. I was working on getting un-lost, but there I was. I hadn’t confessed this to myself in those exact words yet, but the idea was present enough in my space to the point that when she said it, it wasn’t even a light bulb moment for me. Not one of those – Aha! That’s what’s going on! No wonder I feel/think/seem *fill in the blank here*. It was just a, Yup. I am. Again. Sigh.

I have a rough idea as to what this round of being lost centers around. The last major time of being lost was about finding my Self. I made some serious progress in that regard, and I can say that, while it’s certainly a process that continues to unfold, I know my Self better at the moment than I ever have before. In general, I am more managed and have the rest of my shit more together than it’s ever been before (no, really – you can ask my wife). That is certainly something I am celebrating and am grateful for. What I’ve set out to find in this most recent endeavor is my career. Like, the career that harmonizes beautifully with who I am. Because I’m stubborn and a bit idealistic and can’t imagine settling for less. In the mean time, sure, I’ll wait tables, but it’s simply a means to an end and is definitely not my career.

So, here I am. Lost.  My wife reminded me early on in our relationship that what you do when you get lost is sit down and stay in the same place and wait for your Momma to come and rescue you. Thus, am I staying in this place, and asking Momma to come find me (again) and please bring my Career with Her when She does. I’m slightly frustrated with myself about the being lost again part, but not blaming anyone else for it and nonetheless am determined to make the best of it while I wait for Momma to hunt me down. For instance, I asked my wife to teach me sign language. In the past 3-5 days or so I’ve established about 100 word vocabulary. Do I think I’ll actively do anything with sign language or that it’ll be integrated somehow into my career? Nope. But I love to learn – especially languages – and it’s something I’ll be able to share with my wife. Just one of those little scenic side routes along my journey.

I respect those who do not need to pursue their life’s path the way I have mine and some times am a little envious of those individuals. Perhaps my life would be easier or smoother in some way if I moved through it differently, but then I wouldn’t be being me. And that is something I have learned (the hard way) to never do. 😉 Wherever your journey takes you, may it bless you beyond your imagination. And remember, if you ever get lost, just wait for your Momma to come and find you.

As for me, I’ll be…

 

Enter the White Room

I am currently in a space that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been in before. It is a still and quiet space and it is full of emptiness. How can a space be full of emptiness?  Honestly, I don’t know how that works either, but I know that it is. Why do we characterize emptiness as a “bad” thing? I know that in my own head (a dangerous place to spend too much time) when I say the word ’empty’, the emotional response that first pops up is sadness, but in a variety of flavors and intensities. And when I step back and observe it non-judgmentally, it is like rice paper. Thin, flimsy, filmy, and a little dingey and dirty. Like an old white t-shirt that the washing machine can no longer restore to its initial brilliance. That tells me that it is not Truth. At least not all the time, and certainly not in this instance. This emptiness is clean and crisp, like a fresh canvas or maybe more accurately, like a fresh bulk of sculpting clay, waiting. And its silence is a music all to itself.

I sit in this white, crisp and clean fresh room/space, and I acknowledge that I – not my True Self, but all the crap I have piled on top of that brilliant and radiant Essence that I know is buried under here somewhere – am making myself miserable; not to mention, I imagine, making the people who love me anyway, crazy. It is a consclusion that I first reached last night. This I – the crap piled on top of Me, I – has sought transformation, half-heartedly, many times. But, again, when I step back, it looks like those attempts have just pasted shiney pieces on top of the crap. But the shiney pieces don’t stay shiney, and soon, they just look like everything else, and no real change has occured. It’s like setting out on a path to an amazing destination, but convincing myself that the directional signs I encounter point the exact opposite way they really do and so I’ve walked around in circles and, of course, end up right where I started.  The result is that I feel more confused, disoriented, exhausted, discouraged, and frustrated altogether.

So last night (I think it may have been when I was lying in bed before I fell asleep but I’m not entirely sure), I recognized myself as being right back at that same starting point, except this time, I also recognized that little bit I mentioned above about making myself miserable. Possibly for the first time ever, I admitted that to myself. Always before, I would point to circumstances around and outside of me – people, situations, my bank account balance (a consistent favorite of mine), etc. Events over the past few days had catapaulted that little fact into my consciousness. My response to a gentle and inordinately patient prompt from my wife as to what I needed the other night when I’d  thrown a temper tantrum about not having eggs in the house and had come back after having gotten them (I had started to bake chocolate chip cookies and ended up driving out to go get them in an energetically violent huff) was a personality transplant. You mean me, she asked? No – I need one, I had responded, as I journaled the ridiculousness of my outburst so as to not put any of that shit into the cookies I still planned to bake. I am telling you, if we were Roman Catholic, my wife would have been canonized years ago. Her response was to pick up our sea salt grinder and immediately shower me in the stuff.  Back to last night, though. After acknowledging that I make me miserable, I informed Momma that I think I might finally be at that point where I am willing to truly and irrevocably change. Not like any of the myriad times before, but completely different. I also told Her that I knew it might be a difficult road, and that I would need Her help to tap into that crazy-oomphy-Divine Will that’s buried somewhere in my core that I struggle to access on a conscious level but seem to be able to do fine when it’s completely unconscious and unintentional. Please, please, please, I begged. Help me to do this. After I’d woken up (not just the physical part of that, but, you know, my brain was awake), and I stopped to breathe a moment, I found myself here. In this white and beautifully empty-filled room.

I did a spiral journey reading with my Goddess amulets revealing my gifts and talents; my childhood wishes; my secrets; my pleasures and treasures; my anger, fear and sadness; my body, mind, and spirit; and, my Future Self. Then I went outside to smoke a cigarette. Outside, I closed my eyes and saw myself in the white room. As I sat there, I don’t remember if I was trying to figure out what my next step needed to be, if I had asked a question. But I saw a vision of myself reaching down and the floor of that space opened as I reached. Vision-me reached for my Self – the one that I’ve buried under all the crap – and an arm came up to grab my arm. My Self’s arm. Vision-me told my Self that I didn’t think I was strong enough to pull Me up from under all the crap. Vision-me didn’t have enough weight or substance to do it. Then I thought that maybe that wasn’t the answer anyway. As soon as I entertained that notion, the idea that this me simply needed to be devoured by Me and then partake in that alchemical process of transmuting all the crap and be the only one left standing. For a moment (probably out of fear that the notion of being devoured inspired), I entertain other possibilities and analogies to get to this same destination. There are none. I know this on a visceral level, more clearly than I know my own name.

All of this I could see happening in this vision in the white room, and where I am now is standing in that white room, starting to bend over. The floor has not yet begun opening up, My arm has not yet reached out toward me, to pull me under and devour me completely. I will because the idea of being consumed in that way by my Self both terrifies me and excites and arouses me on every level imaginable and promises to be ecstatic in a way that I have never experienced before. How could I possible turn down a promise like that? Better yet, why the hell would I? No, I will not turn it down.  I simply wanted to pause in this moment, to record this moment as I stand on the precipice of such ecstasy after having inflicted such misery and pain upon myself while it is still pooling around my feet with the sensation of it gripping my ankles with its cold and meely fingers because I know that whatever lies ahead – and for once, I am not attempting to predict it or imagine it, to set an expectation or prepare myself in any way – will be full of the kind of beauty that speaks directly to and of Life. That beauty that a Mother sees and stands in awe of as She watches Her child grow and stumble and make mistakes and get up and learn. The beauty that is so True that the only response is in the language of tears. And I hope that some day, I will look back on this, and I will see that beauty not only in the step I intend to take shortly here, but in the thousands of circular steps that have brought me to where I am now, with all their pain and stubbornness and hardheadedness and determination and folly and arrogance and selfishness and close-mindedness. I honor those steps, as I honor the one I am about to take, and I express gratitude and hope as I lean forward to be devoured by my Self.

Autumn reflections

Perhaps the title of this post is a bit confusing for you provided that it’s the beginning of September and here in north Florida, fall is a ways off still (though you wouldn’t know it by today where the sky is gently overcast, the temperature is probably in the low 70s, and there isn’t a lick of humidity in the air). The day before yesterday I woke up, got myself coffee, and headed out to our back patio per my usual routine. As soon as I had sat down and taken a deep breath, my senses were overwhelmed by Fall. It didn’t matter that it was probably 75-80 degrees outside and sunny here. Superimposed over that reality in such tangibility that it left me literally breathless was a deeper one. One in which I could smell crisp leaves recently fallen from trees, apple cider, bonfires, and pumpkin pie; one in which I could see and hear those leaves – on trees and being whisked along the ground and those bonfires; one in which I could taste that apple cider and that scent of autumn in the air around me; one in which I could feel the crisp and cool fall breeze along my skin; and, one in which I could feel that pull as the year, for Witches such as myself, begins to come to a close and the pull of the darkness of the coming winter starts to overcome the length and lightness of the days of summer.

For the last several years toward the very end of July and beginning of August, I have felt the undercurrent of fall beneath the summer that still was in full swing start to slowly rise to the surface. I have had moments, as well, of that kind of superimposed vision of seeing the leaves of trees around me in their fall attire when, in the moment, they were actually still in their stunning summer green. But I have never before experienced being so tuned in to the cycle of the year so as to experience the coming autumn on every sensory level like I did several days ago. It was as if Nature opened herself up and invited me to partake of her magic. I have had “witchy” moments and experiences before, but nothing at this level of primal energy and certainly not solo – completely unaided by my Teacher, other witches, or a coven. I sat for a good 10-15 minutes, silent, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, in utter and complete awe and gratitude. Still, when I think of it now, I am humbled to have been granted that experience. No amount of ‘thank yous’ could suffice, and so I take a moment to simply be in deep reverence.

As a Witch, this time of year is about the Harvest. Mabon is approaching in the next weeks, the second of three harvest festivals of our year. It is a time both of celebration of what we have learned, what we have manifested, what we have been blessed with this past year, as well as a time to reflect on the work that remains in front of us before the last harvest sabbat and the end of the year at Samhain. Come October 1st, at least for me and my family, that work that remains can be felt as a tangible burden on our shoulders, an almost oppressive energy (depending on what is left to do and learn) that continues to grow until the end of the month. It can be, in some ways, a month full of “those days” where it seems that every obstacle that could come up in our path does because the Goddess and God are presenting us with last-minute opportunities to move through those lessons and be able to leave them behind us as the year ends.

This entire past year has felt like an October as my family and I have faced trial and challenge and crisis one right after another. You can imagine how much I am looking forward to bringing the year to a close! And yet, as I shift my mindset into that of bringing in the harvest as I reflect on what I have learned, how I have grown, and what remains for me to learn in the time left, I have created for myself a place of peace and gratitude (something I can count among the things I have learned this year) in which to do that work. Among other things, I still have some work to do on money shit. I also have some figuring out that needs to take place about the differences between intimacy, sex, and romance and where my needs lie within those three. And I need to actively embrace compassion as far as my parents are concerned if I am to find any healing for that relationship. I’m sure there’s more (there usually is 😉 ), and that’s all right.

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about

A day after I declared that the time for whining and wallowing was done and it was time to move forward, L found $140 in a parking lot. The day after that, our housing situation solidified and, instead of having an uncertain 60 days (to which we are almost at an end), we now have 6 months with a manageable rent payment scheduled to begin in about three weeks. And I have two days off in a row. All of that screams to me that the Universe and Momma and Papa are behind me 150% and that my sense that it was time to start moving forward was accurate and in sync with what is in my highest and best interest as well as where we are in the Wheel of the Year.

The Summer Solstice is a time of things coming to fullness and abundance. It’s not time yet to start to do the work of harvesting – now is the time to simply revel in the beauty and prosperity that abounds, to take joy in living among the fruits of previous labors.  It feels to me to be a quintessential live-in-the-moment sabbat. The work of the harvesting will come soon enough, but it’s not time now. And despite this whole year feeling a bit Samhain-esque, the events of the past few days seem to be saying to me that we have completed the spiral down in this time of transformation, and now we begin spiraling back up. The road blocks that contributed to the necessity of the transformation have been uprooted and are no longer in our path. And while I’m not so naive as to think there won’t be bumps or stones that will be encountered and need to be dug up – after all, we are here to grow and learn and unfold which means taking off all that is not Truth – it feels as though we have reached a turning point in this cycle. And for that I am exceptionally grateful.