Who?

“Who Am I Without My Story?”
I cut the barbed wire stretched taught between two sturdy old fence posts,                          first at one end and then the other.
Tossing it away,  I pushed on the posts, each in turn.
They loosened easily from the ground.
Lifting them free, I threw them aside, away from my body.
Lying back, I viewed the scene without them.

I saw a flawless field of blue sky and green pasture untouched by human invention.
Again came the words that had been moving through my mind, like a mantra,          endlessly asking,
“Who am I without my story?”

I looked into the scene produced within and saw now the fullness of nature revealed.
Three wild Indian ponies galloped into the pasture of my body
and I saw them as me.
Body, Mind and Spirit.

This is who I am without my story.
I am wild and free, uninhibited by custom or convention.
I know not my past and care not my future.
I am here now. This is all there is.

In this moment, I dance myself into existence and awareness flows along each breath.
I continuously unfold.

I am neither nefarious nor reputable.
I am either the falsehood of my story or the truth of my being.

I cannot be both.three wild horses

La Pachamama

I am at Esalen, the unique community perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Big Sur, California.

Esalen  was established to create an atmosphere of acceptance and freedom to explore the depths of the human experience.  It encourages each individual to dive deep into the darkest corners of their inner life and uncover those parts of themselves that are hidden.  Esalen is the home of the Human Potential Movement.  It aspires to help individuals achieve their own highest potential. 

For the past decade, I have been spending several weeks every year at Esalen attempting to become transparent to myself and developing the courage to be transparent to others.  What if the parts of ourselves we bury and hide are actually the most endearing, the most lovable, the most creative aspects of ourselves?  How will we ever know if we don’t open ourselves to discovery?

Each time I arrive the first few days are spent in transition from my outside “ordinary” life to the non-ordinary life of Esalen.  Part of that transition is the awareness of my “theme.”  A “theme” emerges in those opening days and it sets the tone for my experience.  Yesterday, the word for my theme came to me.  It is La Pachamama, the Andean word for Earth Goddess and when you say La Pachamama it means Mother Earth signifying the Goddess’ connection to Nature.

When I visited Peru a couple of years ago I spent time with several Andean Shamans and participated in their ceremonies.  I learned the meaning of the word Pachamama and my experiences there have influenced my life and choices since.  I am feeling honored that the days that are to come will be spent in further exploration of what this word means to me.  I started this morning with a poem.

LaPachamama pachamama

Pachamama is the gift of my life.

I seek to honor her with every breath breathed, every word spoken, every step taken.

I see Pachamama in the waves of the ocean, I feel her in the touch of the breeze on my skin.

She is the in the solid feeling of the earth beneath my feet.

It is Pachamama who is warming my face when I walk in the sunlight and activating my senses when I lie under the stars and gaze up at the full moon.

Pachamama is the rhythms of nature.

She releases the leaves from the trees and the raindrops from the thunderheads.

She pushes the baby bud from the protective cover of its seed and the chick out of its eggshell.

She whispers to me, teaching me the magical secrets of my Universe.

It is when I am still and turn my attention inward that I feel her.

It is when I am in wonder and awe of life that I sense her strongly.

It is when the complexities of my life reduce down to one simple knowing…then I am hearing her clearly and I understand.

 

Delving into the Mystery

A Case of Contradictories
A case of contradictories, both of them true.
There is a God. There is no God.
Where is the problem? I am quite sure that
there is a God in the sense that I am
sure my love is no illusion. I am quite sure
there is no God, in the sense that I am sure
there is nothing which resembles what
I can conceive when I say that word.

                                    by Simone Weil

When Roy Dopson came to our Mountain Valley Retreat to lead his meditation retreat called The One Step Path, I, for the first time, had a glimpse into the feeling that is created when I step behind my thoughts into the perception of the one who is thinking.  If ever there is a paradox, it is speaking the unspeakable and teaching the unteachable. Roy did a masterful job.

Here I am, attempting to write about that which has no words. 

When the words stop and stillness has not yet arrived, what arises are images and sensations.  The images have labels but the sensations can be left nameless and simply experienced.  It is in these sensations that I perceive what I call Source. 

I have written about “Wild”, that state of my being that existed before I was “domesticated”, and that which I am attempting to return to.  As I contemplate this experience of Source through the sensations of my body, I recognize that they are one and the same.  Wild is Source.  Source is Wild.

To return to Source.  To become that from whence I came.  To be Wild.  I believe this impossible quest is possible.  This is  the journeyvoid of my life. 

Let Me Be Wild

wild womanI have been thinking-talking-writing about “Wild” for months.   I first wrote about “Connecting to My Wild” on August 5, 2013.  So here I am, over a year later, reflecting on where my exploration into “Wild” has brought me…and more importantly, where it is taking me.

Stepping into Wild, the undomesticated nature I was born into,  isn’t something that happened suddenly.  In fact, it didn’t happen at all!  It is an evolution.  As layer after layer of domestication slip away, bits of my Wildness are revealed.

Wild surfaces most apparently when I am creating.  She speaks the words when I am teaching.  She comes through my touch when I am treating.  She chooses the herbs when I am cooking.  She sneaks into my writing, showing up between the lines of words that slide out onto the page.  She hides in the bottles of dye and paint and is revealed when my brush crosses the silk or canvas.  And most recently, she is in the keys of my piano and the chords of my voice waiting for the cage door to open so she can sound herself into the room.   Wild always gets into my bare feet when they move to music across the floor…and when the moment is right, she comes bursting forth in the spins and leaps and bounds of ecstatic dance.ecstatic dance1

I am the blessed one to have opened the door to Wild.  She is Joy expressed without inhibition.  She gives life to living.  She is the magic that is manifesting when I have the courage to release her and let me be Wild.

This is my prayer, “Let Me Be Wild.”

“Balls,” said the Queen

“If I had them, I’d be King!”teaparty

‘Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll

I have been believing the impossible all my life.  It seemed like such a bore to stick to only believing the things everyone else did.  What are beliefs anyway?  Just a thought…just a feeling…and we know those change as quickly as the weather.  Everything is relatively impossible until it is done!  I would rather attempt the “impossible” and fail, than fail through not trying because I accepted another person’s idea of what is possible.  Life is either about risking the impossible or it is no life at all.

Colors of My Mind

I have been practicing meditation.  One of the methods I use is to simply watch my thoughts as if they were a ticker tape running across the field of my mind.  As I watched my hyper-active thoughts yesterday, I noticed the ticker tape turning colors.  As I paid attention and looked for a pattern between the thoughts and colors I discovered an interesting curiosity.

When the thought incites the emotions of frustration or anger, it is red.

If the thought is melancholy evoking sadness or grief, it is blue.

Happy thoughts are yellow.  Thoughts of contentment are green.

As I pondered this discovery with great curiosity it occurred to me that perhaps this phenomenon is a two-way street.

I have been practicing changing my emotional weather by thinking of a field of the color that represents the feeling I want to invoke.

My favorite color is green.  The color of my contentment.  So when I  notice I am feeling frustrated or angry, I bring to mind a scene of green.  A lush valley of green vegetation is what comes easily…and I immediately notice my anger dissipating as a feeling of contentment washes over me.

And life just gets curiouser and curiouser!
green-valley