365 Days of Prayer – Day 31

I have not posted daily as I had originally intended. But life keeps me busy with jobs and creativity. I want to say that today I am grateful my son called from Marine Boot Camp. He has made it through the Crucible, no longer boy, but man and Marine. My heart holds so much pride, yet side by side with that pride is the fear that most moms would feel when their only child has chosen a Warrior’s career. One day at a time. Kahlil Gibran wrote something in The Prophet, that our children are not our own, but come through us, a gift to life itself. I can believe that. But as a mom, I got attached to this child, and I hope that wherever his life journey takes him, he will always come home again.

Dear Creator, you gave my son a calling, as you have given many mothers’ sons a calling… Daughters too are now becoming Marines. I have so much respect for these determined young men and women. Please hold them close in their honor and their courage, and whether or not they make that ultimate sacrifice, bring them home to the hearts of those who love them, and to your self, because in life or in death, Creator, the home you give us in our hearts is the one that matters. Amen.

Contradiction Brings Stuggle

Contradiction brings struggle. Whether the contradiction exists inside of us or outside of us, a struggle exists between two forces. The struggle might be as simple as realizing I am cold when I want to be hot and putting on a sweater to warm up, or the struggle might be between two armed forces trying to overcome the other for matters of economic principle or a higher ideal, such as letting all of humanity be free.

When Odin first came to me, he greeted me with the statement, “Wilkommen al kriege.” Perusing a German dictionary, I discovered this meant, “Welcome the warrior.” A warrior, in Angeles Arien’s book The Four-Fold Way, is one who shows up. When I show up to my areas of resistance, a very real opportunity exists for soul growth.

If one comes to struggle and contradiction unconsciously, these are things that just happen to us. Accident.

If one comes to struggle with a conscious effort, one can bring to bear the full force of one’s own will within the struggle. And this is an entirely different thing. Destiny.

There is more I intend to say about this later.

Life Changes

Recently I had a bout of sciatica that took me way down to the point where all I wanted was relief from the pain. This planted the seed of a new metanoia in my relationship to the divine.

The term “metanoia” is explained in Maurice Nicoll’s book The Mark. He discusses the word’s translation as “repentance” in the New Testament as being inadequate in its meaning. Instead, he says, “metanoia” refers to a deeper process, of grieving or suffering to the point where life as seen through the physical senses seems unreal, and this is the point at which a change of consciousness, or waking up, becomes possible. Faith is more than simple belief, but an inner knowing of something higher. People may have many such moments in their lives; these moments provide opportunity toward an awakening of the higher mind. Not everyone makes conscious use of these moments for spiritual evolution; some people’s lives are so hard that they give up on hope and simply do the best they can for themselves.

The challenge for me has been to turn away from old judgmental thoughts that no longer serve me because they were fed by unhappy experiences I had as a child. These thoughts generally followed a comparative pattern, and when I felt someone, usually my sister, had something I wanted or I felt I had been treated unfairly, these thoughts manifested as critical judgments of other people that fed my unhappy ego. I needed to feel superior to other people because I felt so diminished in myself. My sister was the one who commanded the attention in our family, because she wasn’t well. I lacked the parental nourishment that would let me feel satisfied and joyful in my accomplishments.

When the pain had taken me down to the point where all I wanted was relief, there was room for the divine to enter. I received help in seeing through my childhood memories to the grief that was buried deeply inside my nerves and bones. I allow myself to process this grief, and as I do this inner work, my inner child begins to experience levels of joy and clarity I have not known for a long time. I still hear my ego mind repeating those old judgmental stories, but now I can see them for what they are: stories that keep me from living in my fullest happiness. I can ask myself whether this story is true, and if it is not, I can re-write a new tale.

Meanwhile, there are new connections to make, new relationships to form, and old relationships to deepen. I feel like a new person, and I am still learning sides to Susan that I was unaware she had – I have.

The journey to self-knowledge is not always an easy one, but the person I am becoming is happier and more able to take better care of herself. Why am I sharing something so personal as this on my blog? It is my hope that people going through these hard times will turn inward and see what is possible for them with the awakening to a higher state of mind. It is so very worthwhile.

 

Turning Inward

Turning inward factors into my weekly Rune forecast lately. How you or I respond to events that happen to us can engender an entire wealth of experiences. Before I turned to face the unpleasant stuff in life it was easy to give up and be a quitter, but once I began turning to face my fears, I gained something from that simple experience: most of my fears are just ideas that live in my head.

When I face my fear, I ask myself, “What is the worst thing I can imagine?” After I get that list, I go down the items one by one, and I ask, “Is this even likely to be true?” Usually I can wipe the fear off the slate right there, but every now and then something will come up that gives me the goosebumps.

There was the time I casually said to my husband I would go on the roof to clean the moss off that was growing there, and then I froze on the ladder due to my fear of heights. I faced myself down and did the job any way. It had to be done. I shook the whole time, but once off that ladder, deep breathing never felt so good. But then there are the more subtle fears that have their roots in not feeling good enough or capable enough. These fears may have their roots in unresolved emotional issues buried in the unconscious aspects of our being. Some of these can be dug out with the help of psychological professionals, but when talking things out results in talking around things instead of getting at things, there is another thing you might try.

I have found that just before or after sleep, my mind is often receptive to the power of suggestion. I find those moments when I am consciously trying to work through stuck points to be valuable questions to ask of my Subconscious in just this way.  Here is an ideal moment when the Subconscious and the waking consciousness can communicate. I had been drifting a bit in my spiritual clearing practice and noticing that I felt off-kilter. I asked my Subconscious upon waking one morning, “What is the next soul issue I have to work on?” I waited a moment, and I felt a black energy at the back of my head, just at the base of my skull where it meets the spine. Then I said, “I don’t know what to do with this!” Something in me took pause, and the energy reassembled itself into the symbol of a Black Swan and I “heard” the names “Leda and the Swan,” and “Swan Lake.” Both relate to how men have used women, and I discovered in myself there a deep pool of anger at men. As I learned how to work on these issues, layers began to peel away for me, and I am more able to step into my own power.

That experience was particularly deep, but I have also found this method to be a reliable guide to intuitively know what decisions are best for me, and those that aren’t. I invite you to try this method, and please share with me whether it works as well for you.

PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY

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IDEAS TO PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY – Some people have better ideas than I do, and others have different practices. You can peruse this list or create your own.

1.) Ask yourself, do I really need a materialistic lifestyle? If not, practice thrift. If I don’t need it, I don’t buy it. This was not always true for me, but in recent years I have begun a preference for a minimalist lifestyle. I discovered that having too many things meant having that much more to take care of.

2.) It has been my choice to avoid bringing home those plastic shopping bags and to avoid as much as possible purchasing pre-packaged food. This has cut my trash in half or more. I keep on hand those recycled plastic shopping bags with handles that can easily be folded up to store and reuse.

3.) Walk to work, ride a bike, or drive a car with excellent gas economy. The first two will only be practical if you live close to work, and that too, may be a practical solution.

4.) Keep a garden. In addition to supplementing your diet with healthy fresh produce, the time outside gets you into contact with those little beings who help pollinate the plants and break down the soil. If you keep flowers, especially Butterfly/Bee/Bird gardens, you will appreciate many moments sighting Hummingbirds and absolutely gorgeous butterflies. With a little care and research, you can find plants that these beings love that are also of practical use to humans. My Monarda, or Bee Balm, provides food for both bees and hummingbirds, and the tea from the leaves? That is flavorful Bergamot. I also grow Anise Hyssop and Ecchinacea.

5.) If you or other members of the family hunt, utilize all parts of the animal. I have made clothing and drums out of deer hide, and if, like me, you practice an Earth-centered religion, you can turn horn, bone, and hoof into rattles, buttons, and other useful noise-makers.

6.) Support as much as possible solar energy and wind power. Technology has developed so that now many people can use for their homes.

7.) One friend shared on FB that she always carries a trash bag when she hikes to pick up any litter she finds. I so appreciate people like this! And if you hike, please carry out what you carry in!

I’m out of suggestions for today, but if you read this, won’t you please leave your own solutions in the comment box?

 

Ways to Honor Earth


1.) Develop a feeling of reverence for the Earth. Develop a practice of gratitude. Thank the Earth for all the support She gives you – the solid ground under your feet as you walk, the food that comes from the garden, the Beauty of mountains, valleys, hills, trees, deserts, oceans, even the crowning stars of the night sky. The Earth as a planet rides in that night sky.

2.) Work to overcome any revulsion or fear you feel for the lowly Earth creatures. Bumble Bees and Honey Bees contribute to the pollination of our food; the larvae of those annoying house flies breaks down that dead and decaying material and turns it into rich compost; that Dandelion that some people call “weeds” is actually a healthy herb to sustain the body – it is good for the liver and the digestion.

3.) Develop your practice of intentional sensation to further the sensual enjoyment of your Earth experience. This life is a precious one. No matter what stress you are dealing with, time spent walking in Nature refreshes the soul. Let the Wind caress your face, open your hands to the rain, allow the sensations of hot and cold, pleasant and unpleasant, even joy and sorrow, because these give you the wisdom to know that no matter how bad things are they can always get better, or no matter how good things are they can always get worse. Therefore, these opposing sensations and emotions make us wise in the face of meeting life situations with precision and flexibility.

4.) If the idea calls to you, begin to work with and learn from the Elements, which will speak with you. It has been my experience that all beings – those we consider organic and those we consider inorganic, participate in the life force of the planet. The connection or communication is usually telepathic or emotive – the trick is to stay open for what impressions will come. I taught my Reiki share to develop their intuition, and they were often surprised by what they could know by simply remaining receptive. So give it a try, and have patience for the process. Keep a Journal to record the results of your efforts.

5.) Speak aloud to the Earth, forests, streams, Winds. Giving Voice to what we feel is to give added vibration to our thoughts and emotions. The spiritual realms that work within the realms of Nature do hear and appreciate our appreciation. I have had Winds come up for as simple a statement as “What a beautiful tree!”

6.) Dance! When you feel your joy and your feet want to start tapping, allow the desire for movement to flow through you. I have twirled like a dervish in accord with the Winds and refused to feel like an oddball. There’s no one to care but me.

7.) Practice a lifestyle that leaves a small footprint on the Earth. Live sustainably.

 

Earth Is Our Home

Earth is our Home, and human beings have forgotten to honor Her. The long-term results of colonization and industrialization that led to climate change and changing of weather patterns are easy to foresee – population dispersal due to loss of human habitat and disruption of food provision systems. Earth has survived numerous changes and will again, but will our species?

It is useless to place blame for problems which began long before our generation. It is useless to take up guilt and shame. It is useful to face the problems squarely and ask my self, “What is my function through these changing times I am in? That we as the human collective are in?” It is useful to work together and to develop local communities that are supportive of each other and of the changes that humans are facing globally, yet affect us on a local level. I believe that deepening our reverence for the Earth and tolerating our mutual differences while honoring the strengths we each contribute are key to the process.

We are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Taoists, Hindus, Heathens, Pagans, polytheists, monotheists, and diverse others. We are loyal to our countries, causes, and families. Reverence and loyalty are to be respected. None of these are mutually exclusive except insofar as we separate them in our own minds from a personal need to be right.

But if we can transcend that need to be right, we can step into a larger understanding. Two things connecting all of us, whether we agree or disagree, are our Humanity and the fact that our mutual Home is Earth.

Again, I ask myself the question: “What is my function through these changing times I am in? That we as the human collective are in?” My answer is to deepen my reverence for Earth, and to encourage others to do the same.

My reverence for Earth makes Earth relevant to a devotional and mindfulness practice that includes my religious process and meeting the daily demands of life. Mindfulness and devotion are practices common to all religions, including science, as are meditation and prayer. “Religiousness” arises from human emotion, providing a deep feeling for one’s life and one’s purpose. It does not exclude my belief in science. This too can be common to humanity.

Recently I sat outdoors with the fire at night. I was just beginning to feel the changes to the season, although the Solstice had happened a few weeks prior. I had to rake the leaves away from my fire pit thrice that day, and even as I was meditating with the fire, I could hear the whisper of falling leaves all around me. That night’s experience deepened my relationship with the fire element (which our Ancestors relied upon for their survival) and my awareness of the changing tides of Earth time, season in and season out. The Earth I sat upon has sustained the footsteps of generations of humanity for about 200,000 years, according to the fossil record. I placed my hands palm downward upon the Earth where I sat and marveled as I considered each individual life, each individual species, the shapes and forms and multitudinous ways that life – this wonderful life – has manifest throughout the generations. Species rise and fall, but here I sit today with gratitude.

Shamans have long practiced gratitude for the Elements. It is a way that we walk upon the Earth, acknowledging the human need for water, fire, the fruits and meats that Earth provides for the sustaining of our physical bodies, the air we breath, the shelter Earth provides. In their own way, Shamans were the early Scientists, observing from the natural elements and gaining the knowledge necessary to survival. Shamans were working with energy fields long before Faraday, Maxwell, or Planck formulated their theories of electromagnetism.

Connection to Earth was the foundation for all primeval religion, and the Overworlds and the Underworlds as known by the Shamans became the foundation for the stories of Heaven and Hell. What modern science knows as the Biosphere links all Life through the winds, the water currents, and the seasonal cycles. Human instinctual awareness of these connecting linkages became severed as humans moved into cultures that valued intellectualism over intuitive knowing of Earth. Yet Earth remains the Garden of Eden, have we but eyes to see and ears to hear. As humanity regains an understanding that Earth is a living, self-regulating Being from whose Life we all partake, our attitudes and life practices will change.

I believe that humanity can regain these connecting linkages without sacrificing the intellectual innovations we have achieved, but we need to discipline ourselves to avoid the excesses that make toxic the environment for all beings. One example, the interconnected work of many species (bees) contributes to the provision of foodstuffs of which all partake, yet that we all depend upon for sustenance is stupidly killed off by human ignorance. “Neonicotinoids are especially likely to cause cumulative effects on bees due to their mechanism of function as this pesticide group works by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brains of the insects, and such receptors are particularly abundant in bees”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees). To sacrifice ignorance is to begin to educate our selves and change life practices to be more congruent with the welfare of all beings.

The beginning point is to change our point of awareness. To change our point of awareness, we need to educate ourselves and become more informed than we are. An important consideration to this information is the question, “How well do I know myself?” To inform yourself of how you truly think – and feel – about any given topic, situation, reality is vital to your well being and existence on the Earth. The work you do, the work I do – all has validity and contributes to the Uplifting of all beings. If it is true, as I believe, that humanity was created to carry the process of conscious transformation forward on Earth, then it follows that becoming more “Conscious,” or more Enlightened, is quite important, and I will say more on this in my next post.

Ways to Honor Earth