Every now and again, I get on my high horse and I want to change the world. The downside is that I perceive so many things in need of change that I can never long focus my zeal toward any one thing, so activism for me in the way of leading protests and joining with like-minded others is out of the question. This morning, Asclepius, one of the Gods I follow, said to me that I am empathically feeling the pain and suffering in the world, but that I have to understand that I cannot do anything to solve it. Rather, the best I can do is to work on healing my own issues, dealing with my own conditioned thoughts and feelings, and integrating myself into a person who can meet people n a positive way. The difficulties in the world exist in order for incarnating souls to pass through experiences in order to learn from them.

As I was struggling with myself to find the best words today, an old feeling arose in me about the religion of my childhood. I was brought up in a dogmatic, authoritarian Christian home of the Lutheran denomination. These days wherein I work with ancient Heathen deities, I am only as Christian as the childhood influences that are too imprinted within my psyche to easily shake off. One WASP Christian ideal that stings is that all other peoples ought to be “just like us.” Conversion and missionary zeal were a background feature of our home. I rebelled against it, because it conflicted with my own inner urge toward independent individuation. I did not want to be “just like” anyone else, so I passionately dislike the missionary zeal. What a dull world it would be if everyone were “just like us!”

I had interest in the nature-based mysticism of the First Americans – the American Indians. To me it seemed as if everything is alive and life itself is integrated among species. The idea of a Great Spirit that includes Sun, Moon, and Stars, day and night, trees, animals, birds, people, fish, and the creepy crawlies makes sense. I read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee in my teens, and learned how missionaries and federal Indian Boarding Schools were used to subdue the Native Indian tribes by removing children forcibly from their culture in order to assimilate them. The entire program played into the philosophy that humanity was separate from and above Great Nature, instead of dependent upon the Earth and Her produce to maintain our own lives. Heaven still is thought to be a “better place” where the chosen few will go when they die. I don’t know who the “chosen few” are, but some of the more dedicated Christians I have met are no one I want to spend an afterlife with! The Lakota have an expression, Mitayuke oyassin, which means, “All my relations!” There is gratitude in this expression, and a sense of belonging to something greater than myself.

These days, five months after my husband passed from the long goodbye, I am very much the loner, as I am sorting out the process of life on my own. I feel numb and empty, not as if everything died with him, but instead as if we were so much a part of the other that I now have to sort out the in-between where Alan ended and Susan begins to fill in the gaps. I am grateful for my spiritual connections, with All That Is, the trees, forests, and mountains just outside my door, and the non-visible entities dwelling in and caring for the land. My old dog passed not long after my husband, and I have a new puppy who is helping me fill in the gaps. He is a black standard poodle and very entertaining. HIs favorite parlor trick is to grab a towel from the rod or a chair cover from the chair and get me to chase him. We are taking puppy classes with Dr. Karen Garelick of Doc’s K9. Loki is slowly becoming more obedient to the “Leave it!” command.

I sit for long periods and just stare at things while ideas I don’t bother to track too definitely pass through my head. I would like to change jobs or work from home, but so far I haven’t found anything. I’m still doing the psychic work and the pet portraits. Perhaps I will step up my game there. But for the moment I have the opportunity for stillness and peace, and I am taking it. I have an unfinished painting of a Great Blue Heron on the easel and I just took a lasagna out of the oven. Alan’s family had me over for the 4th of July, and we took a moment to light a candle for Alan and recite the Kadesh. Like us, his brother has a mixed Jewish-Christian marriage. His family has welcomed me while mine is no longer available to me, and I am grateful. My contribution to the potluck was a cheesecake and potato salad. These ordinary things of life take on a deeper level of comfort in the wake of the loss of a loved one.

I discover that grief has its own seasons. For a while I felt as if I were drowning in an ocean of sorrow. I think that it was anticipation of the loss of my friend. As time passes, though, the memories come without the feeling of loss; rather they are reflections of myself through the times I had with Alan. He had life skills that I was not good with, but I could better myself from his example. We had our differences, but these help me think about the deeper philosophical questions in a new way. We both had childhood trauma, and we triggered each other in ways that, speaking for myself at least, helped me to observe in myself the patterns in order to begin to break old habits of reactivity. The idea that humans are unique works in process contributes to my effort to break with judging others. That programming and conditioned arising become subject for study with Carl Jung, Gurdjieff, and the Buddha in order to better understand the Shadow, which is really our Subconscious. Both Gurdjieff and Freud said that the Subconscious is more proper to be our Conscious mind, but we mistake the work of the waking consciousness for our common consciousness. I have more work to do. Perhaps there is another book here.


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