Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Tragic, Wonderful Insight

There is no promise that will be fulfilled. No savior. No salvation. All the good deeds and good behavior shall culminate in more of the same. More moments. Just like this moment is a moment. Not at all like this moment.

I have been living for the promise. For the future guarantee. For the happily-ever-after. For the prince charming, for god’s sake. The one that comes when things are looking really dire. When I’m in my own little corner, in my own little chair. When I’ve given up. When I least expect it. Well I’ve given up and have been least expecting it for quite some time now. I’ve lived through a long long stretch of dire. And through it, came to deeper and deeper places in myself, found acceptance, perhaps even found god, or at least the energy that experientially has opened to me as the god-force.

And maybe it is this new knowing that made me able to grasp the harsh, wonderful truth that nothing newer, better, brighter or shinier is waiting for me around the next corner of time. There is only me and there is only now. This now. Right here and now. Settled into my body. This present moment body.

Here’s what gets funny about this realization:  it feels like now I can truly be open to receiving my truest desires, or not receiving them – because it just doesn’t matter that much. The having or not having does not define who I am and I am not identified by any thing in (or not in) my life. There is no better or worse – those judgments are in space and time. So in my humanity, I have preferences, wishes, desires – all part of the physical world. But the Truth of me, myself at my essence, there’s only now. And it is good.

I confess to mourning the lost dream, the somewhere over the rainbow. In humanity, there is something strangely attractive about pain and heartache. When I first got the real hit of the insight, I cried. I sobbed. I felt like “I” was dying – and I suppose I did die. I am not a victim to this life story. I am not a helpless Cinderella waiting for my prince to come. I stand firmly in the power of Truth. Who I am is so much broader than just my desire. I have been defining myself by my unfulfilled desires, and making myself small and weak, or even worse – worthless and bad. I was using my own life story against myself.  Until now. This now. Right here, right now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Is A Fire Ceremony?

The Fire Ceremony is a ritual performed for healing and transformation and is one of the core traditions of the shaman. Any individual may participate. A stick is used to represent an issue that one is offering for change or clarity. The stick appears solid and unchangeable yet once it is offered to the flames, it is transformed into warmth and beautiful fire. Similarly, the issues we deem difficult – our old stories and limiting beliefs - can transform, especially when we are willing to acknowledge our own intuition and spiritual guidance that is always available. In our society especially we seem to forget the Divine support that is ever present. The Fire Ceremony can act as a reminder.

At the Fire Ceremony, we are invited to honor both our past experiences and the new that we are inviting into our lives.  We release the past with gratitude, for it is what has brought us to this present moment. We acknowledge the gifts of every experience.

Each person has the opportunity to offer his or her stick to the fire.  We can also be energetically fed by the fire by running our hands through the smoke and flames and drawing the energy into our bellies, hearts and forehead, our three main energy centers.

The Fire Ceremony takes place within Sacred Space, a space of safety and balance, and is typically held around the full or new moon (although a Fire Ceremony can take place at any time). Ideally the ceremony takes place outdoors so that we can easily connect to all the elements.  But it is one’s intention that creates the true power of ceremony and ritual, so that an indoor Fire Ceremony using a candle can be equally as effective and powerful.

The Fire Ceremony is also performed with the intention of healing the community and the Earth.  Another stick is passed around the circle of people present so that each can offer their prayers and blessings for the healing of the planet and the stick is offered to the fire.

Participating in a Fire Ceremony also creates an opportunity for community -  people gathered with the intention of healing – for themselves and the Earth.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Where I Come From

 Everyone is a masterpiece, because God never gives birth to anything less than that. Everyone carries that masterpiece hidden for many lives, not knowing who they are and just trying on the surface to become someone. Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it. God himself has created you; you cannot be improved.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

            We start our physical lives keenly aware of only that – our physical bodies and what we need to simply survive. We scream when we’re wet or hungry.  Perhaps we scream when we simply want companionship or to be seen. The only language that an infant has initially is a cry, or at least the most obvious and easily noticed.  I suppose that an infant’s quiet contentment and the in-and-out steady flow of breath are other forms of communication.  I don’t know of anyone who has true memories of infancy and whether we are born with any level of awareness or our state of being pre-birth. Do we recall where we came from?
            I heard a story once of a four year old asking if he could spend a few minutes alone with his newborn baby sister. The parents were a little puzzled and even a little concerned but told their son that he could and that his sister was in her crib in the nursery – while they listened intently at the child monitor.  They heard their son enter the nursery and, after a moment, they heard him say to his sister, “Hi. I know that you must still remember and I’m starting to forget. I don’t want to forget. Can you please remind me what it was like?”
            I like to think that we do remember. That our infant eyes look out into the world while still holding an awareness of the wisdom of the ages. I like to think that we are so connected to the infinity of love and light from whence we came that we can forgive our parents and our families the limited human love and care that we receive.  In comparison, it must be limited. But from the vastness of unconditionality, connection and a knowing Unity, there can be no sense of disappointment. Maybe we love hearing the power of our own screaming infant cries. Maybe the first few pangs of physical hunger are welcomed. “Yes! This is what I came here for!” To feel the contrast. To feel what empty feels like when we know only fullness.
            Then we forget.  Hunger and longing and pain are very difficult without the contrast of fullness and Unity.  In our humanity, we become driven by needs fulfillment. This seems to quickly become an endless drive and not terribly satisfying. There is always, it seems, another need to be fulfilled and the conditioning is so powerful and pervasive that we even begin to create new needs faster than we can satisfy the needs that are already unmet. Life becomes a constant pursuit.
            But. . .
            Under all of the effort, the trying, the pursuing, the waiting, the “if only”s, there seems to be something. A sense of having forgotten something, something of incredible importance. Maybe it’s that something that we see when we hold a tiny infant and he or she holds our gaze for an instant. Maybe it’s the same something that we feel when a little one asks if we want to play and smiles with such trust and hope. Maybe for a moment we are sharing our common memory.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Whose Camp Are You In?

Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.
                                                                                                            Mary Oliver

            We are given this one “wild and precious” life. (Regardless of whether you believe in past or future lives, I’d say that this one is wild and precious).  It surprises me, then, how easy it is to focus on other people’s lives and what they are doing or not doing, what they could or should be doing or how things could be if only they would have been doing, or seeing, or understanding, or listening, or . . . It is surprisingly easy and even entertaining to see other people’s issues and come up with the appropriate – and obvious – resolutions.
            And all the while, our own lives and issues and choices remain unattended to.  It is impossible to ponder and contemplate other people’s lives while paying close enough attention to our own.  There is no one left manning our own camp which sits lonely, abandoned and neglected.
            So I ask, whose camp are you in? Where do you spend most of your time, in your own camp or in someone else’s? And if you’re in someone else’s, has another person stepped in to manage yours?  If so, how is that working out?
            “Camp” is defined as a “temporary structure used on an outing or vacation”, which could be a quite adequate description of life. Our light bodies are given a physical body for this temporary human existence.  Interesting that another definition of the word “camp” references battle and battlefields and a group of troops.  I suppose that we have the option – the daily option, or even the moment-to-moment option – of making life a pleasant vacation-like experience or a constant struggle, battling everything around us and, oftentimes, ourselves.
            A well cared-for camp would provide the sense and feeling that everything needed is available. Right here. I feel secure because I know that I have everything that I need.  If things feel a little vacant or lacking, it’s up to me to make the repairs and make my camp as welcoming and comforting as I can.  It is amazing what pure, positive attention can do to bring warmth and transformation.
After all, this is my one wild and precious life.