Saturday, July 28, 2018

It Begins with a Call: The Work of an Elder (Part 10)

And the wind in the body moves again.  Pancreas issue handled, I am now waiting, again, to see a cardiologist.  Palpitations.  Skipped heartbeats. Again, I think, “Am I still in the underworld?” 

This is not the life of the elder I pictured for myself when I was younger.  I always saw myself in a garden, content, long gray braid hanging down my back, attending to my herbs and vegetables and flowers.  Peaceful.  Wise.  How innocent I was!

But this is what I need to do:

The Work of an Elder

When the years pile up
and what is visible ahead
is the dark doorway into
the otherworld, it is time
to drill down to the old childhood wound,
to lift it up out of the soil of the past,
hold it in the light of noon time,
cradle it in soft arms, rock it to a gentle sleep,
and let it breathe in the naked air.

It is time to take up your staff
and walk with determination,
with grace, if you’re lucky,
towards that portal,
without hiding your burden.
When you meet others,
bless them.
When you fall,
rely on helping hands to
lift you back up.

There is the pride of
work well done, and
there is the pride of
armor and walls.
You know which one
you want to wield.
There is no need to hurry.
Only the need to persevere.

I had a psychic reading.  She saw me needing to remove obstacles in order to see the big picture.  According to her, I am a stabilizing force but have been hurt by energies that are not mine.  What is the big picture, I wonder?  It must be that the invisible is real, that Spirit is real. My karmic work, she said, is to trust Spirit.  She told me that my fear is an automatic response and that in actuality I’ve been pretty fearless.  That's a new perspective!

I am spending a lot of time at home, and a lot of time alone (even if my husband or others are around).  I don’t seem to want to go anywhere or do much of anything.  The world’s a mess and so am I.  I do love my home, though.

Part of the trouble with looking at this as a “healing story” is that this implies a linear progression; there should be a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But what I’d like to consider is a cyclical model, a spiraling cycle.  Isn’t that more how nature works?  I once heard Ram Dass say, “We never lose our neuroses.  We just lose interest in them.”  That has always stuck with me.  We cycle around and around, hopefully coping better as we go.

(Note:  This was originally written a year and a half ago.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

It Begins with a Call - Part 9

I had a session with my friend, a medium who channels.  We hadn’t done this in a long time.  What emerged was that I was the same age when my health problems began six years or so ago that my grandmother was when all her trials (death of her husband and oldest son and the ensuing shock therapy that followed) happened.  Interesting.  The theory is that I took on some of her fear.  Not that I don’t have plenty of my own, but not all of what I carry is mine.

Something moved me to go back to the Psyche story.  My version. 

Another Psyche Story

Here is what I know:
Persephone’s path is
a downward spiral into
the core of my heart.
She took me in hand
when I was just a child,
led me to the darkest remote
chamber contained therein
where I interred the box
of grief and shame I bore,
the one bestowed on me
by a loving mother
who wished only for me to thrive,
who constructed the cask
with hands of humiliation.
All these years
Persephone has kept it for me,
tended it, aware that
I would need to claim it one day,
that one day I would recognize it
as treasure and be astonished
by its beauty.

What I know:
The underworld is in
the core of my heart.
I must believe
that what led me in
will also guide me out,
that love and a certain tender kindness
will revive me when
I open that box.

 Suddenly, I was struck with insight about my last SoulCollage® card (the one with a tower on it).  

As is often the case with making cards, I had no conscious understanding of why that tower had to be in the background.  Aha!  Psyche’s last task, to go down to the underworld and retrieve the box of beauty from Persephone, involved her ascending a tower; she had decided to throw herself off in order to die and so to get to the underworld.  But the tower gave her instructions that helped her descend without dying.  

So, I had a little conversation with the tower in my card.  One of the ensuing revelations was that my fear began even earlier than the incidents with my grandmother; it started in utero.  My mother had had several miscarriages and one infant death from hyaline membrane disease before I came along.  She must have been terrified throughout my pregnancy, and her fear ran through the umbilical cord along with blood and nourishment.  I was grown on fear.

Everyone insightful that I have consulted, including the gastroenterologist, has told me not to worry about the enlarged pancreatic bile duct; no one is seeing red flags.  I, however, am in constant fear.

I thought to look up the symbolic significance of the pancreas.  Get this (from the website  “The pancreas is the main organic structure that processes the emotion of fear because its function is to maintain the stability of the organism and any threat at the emotional or physical level can cause a structural imbalance to the entire system.”  This is all starting to make a certain amount of sense – my blood sugar issues, this duct problem, my fear….  Truly, I do feel I could be getting to the crux, the hub, the core. 

My dangerous, beautiful assignment.  Beauty?  That’s what was supposedly in the box for Psyche, right? Right now my assignment seems to be waiting, sitting with the unpleasant sensations in my body, and attending to the fear.  Dangerous, I get.  Beauty, not so much.

The other curious aspect of that tower card is the fire being, hand on heart like the figure I associate with myself.  Another mystery.  But the subsequent card I made also has a fire spirit on it.  I made it in a session focused on shadows and light.  I had had a dream in which my man chose me over another woman.  This woman wore a horned headdress and was young and beautiful.  She looked down on us from the roof of a tall building.  She looked powerful and clearly did not mean me well.  I found an eerie picture of a horned woman and one of a woman with an owl on her shoulder, looking concerned – the chosen one.  But behind the horned woman was a third figure, a powerful fire spirit, with flames emerging from her outstretched hands.

So, somehow I am back - or still - in the realm of fire.  It is quite mysterious to me why these figures came to be on my cards.  But they are protective, strong, empowering.  What exactly they mean or bode for me I do not know. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

It Begins with a Call - Part 8

My SoulCollage® Fire Element Card

More fire?

There are little fire gremlins in my stomach now.  I have no idea what they want or how to get them to leave.  Weeks go by, and I am nauseated.  I have literally visited over twenty practitioners, both allopathic and alternative, in the last six or seven years.

The story shifts again.  The story is, I see now, about fear.  I am beginning to realize that my fear is what damaged the hub of the wheel.  Yes, I can try to connect to Spirit, but until I find a way to live with or accept or deal with or get rid of or I-don’t-know-what about the fear, I will continue to break or damage or crush or ignore the hub repeatedly.  All my repair work will be for naught, because, for the last number of years, with all of my little unpleasant and undiagnosed (and often seemingly undiagnosable) illnesses, with all of my mortality, deer-in-the-headlights’ reactions, the common denominator is fear. 

My acupuncturist and friend tells me that the moving symptoms are called wind in the Chinese system.  Moving around, now here, now there, because every time I realize this set of symptoms is not deadly serious, another one pops up.  Back to Oya, goddess of wind, lightning, storms.  But why?  Perhaps to inaugurate new fearful scenarios and more opportunities to handle my core issue?  If so, up till now I have failed dismally.  I am only beginning to get this.  It’s been pointed out to me, and yet I didn’t get it.

How interesting that my state right now (it is January 26, 2017), when fear permeates the country, and Donald Trump is, in short order, instituting all of the things he ranted about in his campaign, is a perfect reflection of the collective.  I can hardly figure out what to be afraid of first or more. But the nausea and the gremlins demand my attention.

Finally, a diagnosis!  Here is the question – is it possible for me to come to terms with any of this?  I am now in a waiting game to find the cause of and the cure for an enlarged pancreatic bile duct and my 7 weeks of nausea and distress.  It could be an easy healing, or it could be my death, or anything in between.  Assuming I survive, will I then, Chinese-wind style, be off into the next fear-provoking episode?

Right now, the waiting feels somewhat like doldrums, but worse.  Maybe I’ve gone deeper down.  No one has to tell me to go down now.  I’m down.

I didn’t intend to write this part.  I certainly don’t want anyone to read this epistle of self-pity.  I think, “Well, I can edit it out later.”  Whatever.  Right now I need to write.  I need to write because it is how I process.  I need to write to fill the time.  I need to write to be truthful.  I need to write so that it shows up somewhere that I am facing this darkness, that I don’t know what the fuck to do, that I am pretty much a wreck.  I wanted to say that I’m “at my wits’ end,” but I stopped myself.  Why?  Is there further down to go?

I had the thought this morning that this facing up to my fear is what the brilliant Caroline Casey calls my “beautiful, dangerous assignment.”  I may never know why this is so.  It is a useful reframe, though.

The box is open.

How did I get so fear-based?  A few years ago while getting a cranial-sacral treatment, a story about my paternal grandmother surfaced, out of the blue.  She lost both her husband and her oldest son the year before I was born and moved in with my parents.  Grief-stricken, she cried for several years, apparently endlessly, according to my mother, her daughter-in-law, who, at her own wits’ end, took my grandmother to the doctor.  He prescribed shock therapy.  My mother then had to take my grandmother across town on the bus (in the days before we owned a car) for treatments, and my grandmother begged her repeatedly to stop.  My mother replied that when my grandmother got a grip on herself, she could be released from the therapy.

So, my insightful practitioner asked, “Where were you when this was going on?”

I’d never thought about it.  I must have been on that bus, too, and observing this whole drama.  No wonder I got scared.  Maybe if I didn’t behave, my mother would take me for some terrible treatment, too.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Earth Was Given

Just back from an intensive with Deena Metzger in Topanga Canyon.  It was a most extraordinary, heart-wrenching week with a wonderful group of people. 

Several poems came while I was there.  Here's one of them:

This earth was given.
Not to us.
It was not given to us,
It was just given,
Life arising out of itself,
Blazing forth,
Blossoming forth,
Birthed into being
For its own sake.

We are such fools
To think we own it,
Control it,
Master it,
As if it were here
For us and us alone.

No, it is here
Because it is here.
It is glorious because
It can be,
Generous because
That is its nature,
Beautiful because there is
No other way for it to be.

This earth was given,
As we were given.
And the only way
to be together
Is for us
To bow down.