March 30, 2013

The archetypal themes of the spring equinox and Easter season are several and powerful. New life, hope and possibility after the cold death and darkness of winter, miracles of resurrection, dark nights of the soul followed by transformation and grace — messages that profoundly encourage and inspire us.

For me this year, the theme that has been a stand out in my reflection is that of forgiveness. Religious persecution is another.

In the Christian story, Jesus is taken not by lousy thieves and bandits, but by the admired and respected authorities of religion and state. Shockingly it seems we have not evolved from there in these 2,000 years. Intolerance goes on and on in all manner of human affairs. Why can’t we get it? I so wish we could get it. Even if a person doesn’t have a particular religion or politics, the tendency of an individual to have his or her own personal Way, the lens through which they see the world, and to resist those who seem to threaten it is no different from any manner of religious persecution. Everyone can benefit by sober reflection on this, I believe.

The pivotal moment in the drama of the capture, torture and crucifixion of Jesus seems to be when he asked for forgiveness for those who were involved in his death. He understood that they really didn’t get it, and he didn’t want them to suffer because of it.

Last night, Good Friday night, thoughts of this came over me like a storm and a weight. I had been watching the news and piddling around when suddenly I found myself unable to do anything but turn off all of the lights, fire up a bunch of candles and sit solemnly in the dark with my altar. I have not forgiven. I know I have not forgiven. Do I even want to forgive? Sometimes it seems like forgiveness is a naive collusion or denial, a failure to stand for something. I know real forgiveness is not that, so how can I find this in me? How does one accomplish that? It doesn’t happen just by saying you want it.

As I reflected, suddenly it became painfully clear to me that the person I need to forgive is myself. This is where it begins and that could make the rest of it easy. The many ways I have failed myself, disappointed myself, judged, criticized, betrayed or lied to myself — these awarenesses came in clearly and baldly. I have joined with some super-ego authority that prescribes what I could or should have done by now, how disciplined I should be, and on and on. It is a failure  in tolerance. The people in my life that I thought I had to forgive, that I still know I have to forgive, hold a pale specter compared to this issue.

Now I see it a little more clearly; many thanks to guides, angels and powers who support the journey for helping me to see. Still, how does it happen? In this self-forgiveness work, just like any other, we don’t want to be in naive collusion or denial about what is to be forgiven. It seems important to stand for something. Figuring this out won’t happen just because by wanting it to, it will be a journey. A journey toward love and tolerance. I accept the task.

Forgiveness begins at home, they say. It goes out from there. It will take over the world I suppose when we start with where the calling truly begins.

Holding the Broken Places

March 24, 2013

Recently I fell and broke a number of bones in my right hand. Figuring out how to live with only one hand, and that one not being my dominant one, has been an awakening journey. The simplest things we take for granted, like the basic capability of  opening a jar or tying a shoe, come into question. Every other minute of the day it is something else. This has a way of calling absolutely everything into question — how we come to take anything at all for granted is up for reflection.

There is pain involved, layers of pain not just physical, but the physical pain is the most easily focused upon. In dealing with this I have had some interesting discoveries. More than pain killers or anti-inflammatories or aspirin, what my hand seems to crave is touch. In a few instances I have asked friends to just hold it, showing them where to place their thumbs and fingers on the most damaged parts. I feel the energy of the touch like a subtle but powerful electricity going into the brokenness; it is fascinating. I can barely believe how good and healing it feels, or the sense of relief it brings. This is not at all something I can do for myself, it only happens through the touch of another.

Perhaps brokenness is sometimes a necessary opening to allow for energy from another to come in, so we can understand more fully the ways that we require one another. This experience encourages me more than ever to want to do what it is that I do in my work, which is sometimes to sit with and hold broken places in soul, spirit and psyche so that energy, which is by nature healing, can pass through.

This hand holding gives a simple image for what we can do for one another. It isn’t surgery and doesn’t take great skill; it simply requires focus, willingness, care and attention. That is not too hard for us.

Setting Sail

March 19, 2013

A kind client of mine mentioned yesterday that he has missed my blog. I know I have been hiding under a bushel for awhile, feeling the need to be silent while I re-calibrate. I knew the transition from mountain to town would be big for me without question, but not until I entered the process could I know how complex and deep the journey would be. I appreciate my client’s gentle urging. It encourages me to attempt to find my voice again, to pick up my instrument. I told him that writing is certainly my craft, the one I have been honing my whole life. For decades – as a minister, public speaker, professor, doctoral student and during the last few years of article and consistent blog writing – rarely would a week go by without care-filled work to find words for some of the deepest thoughts and images of my soul and what I observe of the soul of the world. I have felt like a violinist who put down her instrument. Maybe now I will pick it up again.

Before resigning from the ministry, and while in the conflict that led to it, I remember hearing about an Irish saint whose legend says that while despairing over the direction God wanted him to take in life he decided to push his boat out to sea and then pull up the oars and the rudders and let the forces of God and Nature take him to the shore where he belonged. The story goes on, but I don’t remember the details well enough to recount them here. I was deeply moved by the image of letting go of one’s own design and control enough to push out to sea and let Nature decide. It helped me to decide to leave all that I had known and had trained my whole adult life to do when I left the ministry.

Leaving the retreat center and home that I had built on the mountain to move into town has felt like a similar push to sea. I have had ideas and intentions about it all, but have been basically waiting, and still await, Nature and God to bring my boat to shore. I have felt lost at sea, but trusting while keeping a prayerful vigil.

Lately the image of setting sail has been occurring to me. There is a time to push off and let the ocean take you, and a time to set sail and direct the course – while still working, of course, with the huge forces of wind and sea. I feel the urge to set sail now. I pulled up rudder and oar when I set out to sea, now intend to use them again.

At this point I can’t see yet where I am going, but I know the sail is set and I will work with the currents, like Columbus setting out for a new world. I have found a completely charming home to buy so that I can set down roots, and have an office in downtown Asheville that is enchanting, in an old timey building with a view of town and the mountains beyond. These are my ship, I will begin to direct its course.

God and Nature will always be boss, but I want to pick up my bow and play the music. The rest note has been good, time to make some noise.

Saving Jesus

January 12, 2013

Yesterday was the first New Moon of 2013, New Moon in Capricorn. In the spiritual tradition I trained in and where I was ordained, it was suggested that the New Moon before Christmas is a time when Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is very attuned to our hearts and that on that day we might say prayers to her and ask for her helps regarding our deepest concerns. And similarly the first New Moon of the year is considered a time to pray to Jesus, his spirit being especially aligned with our needs at this time. Jesus being a man who certainly created new beginnings, after all his story is written in what we call the New Testament, I always liked this idea of invoking his helps with the new intentions formed at the beginning of a new year. Over many decades I have fasted and said prayers on these days, and experienced some strong responses from the spiritual realm.

Though I resigned from that ministry in 1994, what I learned there has continued to hold immense value for me. Increasingly I am grateful and moved by the wisdom of its founder, Ann Ree Colton, in her efforts to introduce those who studied with her to the wisdom tradition in every world religion, Christianity being just one of those we studied, the Bible just one of the scriptural texts poured through and revered. She said, “Every man beats his own path to God,” and encouraged respect for any sincere approach to divinity and spirituality. Jesus was certainly not held up as the “one way” that many Christians fiercely believe.

I decided to include some friends in the ritual that I normally would conduct privately for the “Jesus New Moon” yesterday. It was a very sweet occasion. However, some of the conversation, and other recent conversations with friends, have highlighted for me the stigma around the name of Jesus; even the name evokes a similar kind of gut response that comes with mentioning groups who impose their ideas on others with violence and persecution, or at the very least with judgment and scorn toward non-believers. People don’t want to be associated with the name Jesus because of it. I understand, I deeply understand, and it makes me really sad.

I was in Jerusalem visiting the site where The Last Supper is honored, a building that is believed to be a similar construction to the one in which this event would have taken place, and approximately in the same neighborhood, when an inner event occurred that caused me to differentiate in my mind Jesus the man from the character that Christian churches constructed by that name. Our guide was a Mormon. He told the story as it is written in the New Testament about the last supper, that Jesus knew he was about to die, and that he had supper with his disciples. He spoke the mysterious words that the bread is his body and the wine his blood, and as they ate it said “This do in remembrance of me.” I was following the story which I knew “by heart” anyway and was powerfully moved reflecting upon it in that place. Then the guide said, “And that is when he established the priesthood.” I was jarred, even shocked out of my reverie, and thought “WHAT???” Where did anyone get priesthood out of that? He was having dinner with friends. He seemed to me to be telling all of those who loved him to break bread together in remembrance of him. Should not men, women, children, families, friends, small groups, large groups do this? My mind suddenly lit up with the question – where did this notion of an exclusive, celibate, authoritative mediator between spirit and other men come out of that simple story? I started to get upset, but then heard these words inwardly, “The only Jesus is the one who reveals himself in the heart.” The churchy idea of Jesus began to be eradicated for me at that time.

One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw read: “Dear Jesus, please save me from your followers.” If a person reads the stories of Jesus in the New Testament, just by themselves without explications and commentary, I think one finds that the last thing in the world that Jesus ever intended was to start a fundamentalist group who made rules and judged people according to them and were exclusive and separative. Jesus hung out with everybody and eschewed rules created by the spiritual dictates of the time, which surely got him into trouble. The people he was most critical of were the pompous, proud, overly pious church people, and those who sought to profit from religion.

I won’t say more except that I am concerned that our “savior” needs saving from the sad blight on his name created by humans and groups who use it to shame and persecute others. The simple stories in the scripture, and especially the unedited ones found in the Nag Hammadi desert as well as early gnostic and Celtic records put down before the Roman empire took over the Christian tradition, reveal a very different spiritual leader, healer and guide than the Jesus whose name now causes people’s skin to crawl when they hear it. For many, seeing a cross causes the same reaction as the swastika causes others. It’s tragic. Sad.

I love, truly, the Jesus who lives in my heart and the influence that the pure teachings and stories of him have on me. I’d love to know better how to help save his name from the reputation created by over-zealous, misguided fundamentalists. I hope that the beauty and power of his true legacy can be reclaimed and retained for the generations to come.

Death and Life, Bridging the Worlds

December 4, 2012

For blog readers who are not on my mailing list, I want to insert here the newsletter I sent today as it contains reflections deeper than the words can convey. The process of moving my work from wilderness to town is affecting at a cellular level. I respect and embrace it with optimism and curiosity, even as I can barely conceive of it.

I know I need to market the work I do, to inform people that I have been long trained and with all my heart am prepared to assist persons who are awakening to the wisdom of their own deep connection to the powerful intelligence courting them in their dreams. But to blog readers I will admit a certain confusion. I am thinking for some reason of St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila – mystics whose writings I have devoured, whose stories I hold dear, and whose sites in Avila, Spain, I have visited with deep interest and devotion.

Their lives of inquiry into the depths of their own spiritual natures were all consuming. They became writers and spiritual directors as a logical outgrowth of their commitment. They lived a life devoted purely to these intentions.

In the processes of selling my home on the mountain, I have referred many times to a desire to simply rid myself of everything and move into a cell — with bed, a cross and a bible — and forget about the “stuff” I drag around and any reasons for it. I feel like I’m experiencing a kind of cellular memory of a life unfettered by these concerns. Yet…  I am a mother, maybe to be a grandmother, a citizen, a member of a social rather than monastic order. (Though an astrologer I recently consulted, who came to one of my mountain retreats, told me she thinks I am more like one of the Desert Fathers than an ordinary citizen.) But, I choose life in this exciting world outside the monasteries, and want to find the way to live my deepest intentions within this framework. Social and monetary realities prevail differently than in that cell I might otherwise imagine.

Spiritual directors in the time of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila didn’t need a website, an office, an apartment, a brand, a logo, a marketing plan to let the people who they could assist know where to find them. I embrace this challenge.

Here is my recent newsletter, all of these concerns coming to bear in it. I had only planned to write the shortest of introductions to it, yet had more to say than I thought.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

A happy, holy holiday season to each of you. I want to share with you some of the strong meditations occurring due to the death of the first phase of Bridging Worlds, and budding visions for its regeneration into new life. These themes of death and regeneration are collective and personal, and timely as we come to the end of a big cycle in human history.

Death, in common experience, prompts a spontaneous life review. This occurs certainly not just in the process of physical death, but also in the death of relationships and eras or stages of life. So it has been with the dying phase of Bridging Worlds as a Mountain Retreat Center. Bridging Worlds is now operating from the 5th floor of the historic Flatiron Building in downtown Asheville, as opposite a setting as one could find. The work continues with new vision for the original intentions.

Original intentions: to bridge, in the individual heart and in collective bodies, culture with nature, conscious mind with the unconscious mind, waking with dreaming, the visible world with the invisible world, domesticated mind with indigenous mind. The purpose behind these intentions is to assist in our recovery as a species from a “profound cultural pathology” as eco-theologian Thomas Berry words it, that causes us to destroy the balance in earth’s natural systems without realizing what we are doing, and certainly without realizing how suicidal and homicidal our systems of living have become in spite of our generally good intentions. Witness the ravages we are experiencing constantly due to climate change, which have been warned about for decades by environmental scientists. Our recovery begins one by one; not in big corporate and governmental powers, but in the potency of power dwelling within each individual. Balance returns in our own hearts, relationships and lives and radiates into the workplace and the larger community from there.

For 8 years, with these concerns at heart, I have been conducting retreats in a remote mountain wilderness center where we worked on dreams, engaged in deep dialogue, connected with the invisible world, the natural world and each other. I led vision quests and held sweat lodges.

Now I am downtown. Bridging Worlds brings these intentions forward into a new incarnation, and all of these activities are, for now, funneled into deep listening into what the dream is telling the dreamer. Listening to dreams is an art, a science and a craft that I have been actively studying for nearly 40 years, working long with spiritual teachers and shamans, as well as earning a Ph.D. in depth psychology. I have been fortunate to work extensively and closely with some of the best of the best in terms of Jungian approaches to dreamwork. All these years I have daily worked with my own and other people’s dreams.

I work with private clients in my office and by telephone. In the new year I will start up dream groups again. Until the new vision for Bridging Worlds expands into other avenues, I am quite comfortable with this focus for addressing all of its original intentions.

If you have never done dream work before consider paying attention to them, writing them down and talking with me, or with someone trained in the language of the dream. Dreamers, come see me in my charming office overlooking the mountains and downtown, or call to schedule a time. For the holidays, I have beautifully crafted Gift Certificates so you can give loved ones the opportunity to work on their dreams, or to consult the wisdom within the system of tarot which I have been studying for more than two decades. These messages come from the same realm as the dreamtime, I find. Call or write to purchase Gift Certificates for this or any future occasion.

I look forward to hearing from you and invite your questions, feedback and dialogue always.

I send love to all, with hopes for a very prosperous and happy solstice, holiday season and new year.


Milarepa and Me

October 25, 2012

Milarepa, known by some as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, and certainly one of its greatest saints, has been an important figure to me since my early 20’s. He lived in the 12th century in a mountain cave, a great yogi and poet who ate only nettles for sustenance. My spiritual teacher told me that I was one of his disciples. She said to me, “You lived on the mountain and the mountain was your temple.” I read biographies and writings of Milarepa avidly after that, as well as those of his teacher Marpa, and was very inspired by them. Some 20 years later, soon after resigning from the ministry while teaching a Dialogue workshop in Brattleboro, Vermont, a friend wanted me to talk with a woman there who read past lives in the palm of your hand. I had just met this woman and she didn’t know anything about me. The first thing she said after looking into my palm was, “You were a disciple of a man called Milarepa. You lived on the mountain and the mountain was your temple.” Please tell me, what are the odds of that? This was 20 years later, and she could never have consciously known.

A few years into my journey of living on the mountain from which I am now moving I recalled the words told me two times about living on the mountain, the mountain being my temple. Sheesh. Here I was again. After dissolution of a life in California I ran to the mountains and created a temple there.

Right now, with less than a week to go before the closing, in the very last stages of the process of separating, readying myself to birth the next phase of my life, a lesson from the life of Milarepa is coming to me strongly, profoundly helping me to gather vision and strength. Part of me has been resisting making my little apartment into a home since I realize that it will only be temporary. I haven’t wanted to hang pictures, organize closets and drawers, make it all functional and familiar, but have been living in it more like a campsite. The idea of constructing it all like a home and then having to dismantle it all soon, after I find a more permanent place, sounds too emotionally taxing. Just having deconstructed a whole life on the mountain, more deconstruction of a life too soon scares me a bit.

A couple of days ago a remembrance occurred that is helping me gather the courage to go ahead and make this a home, even if very soon I leave it. When Milarepa first began working with his teacher Marpa, Marpa wanted to teach this strong-willed, strong-minded man the way of obedience to a master. He had him build a house made of stone, and to carry every stone to the site on his own back. After Milarepa completed the house, having suffered much damage to his skin, feet and body from carrying and handling the stones, Marpa instructed him to tear down the house and build it again just a few feet away. Milarepa did so, understanding the value that this exercise was constructing in his own nature. After he finished the task, again suffering much, Marpa instructed him to move the structure yet again. Milarepa did so.

So, I will construct this home, hang the pictures, organize the closets and drawers and make it a well-functioning environment even if right away I have to pull it all apart again. So much self-protectiveness over the emotional cost of this seems ridiculous in the light of Milarepa’s story.

The first night of sleeping in my apartment after seeing my house on the mountain become hollowed out and emptied by the movers, I dreamed a dream. I was at my monastery – a rich, ancient feeling, beautifully tended, gorgeous stone building, with sacred spaces created everywhere in it. The monastery was about to set sail, as though it were a ship. In dream logic this was not strange at all. I was preparing plants to receive what they needed before we pushed off. One plant was situated in a hollow log, open at the top and the bottom. I was trying to pack more soil around its roots. Josi, my daughter who was here with me during the crucial days of this move, was showing me in the dream that the roots of this plant really didn’t need more soil, they thrive in air. The dream has comforted me in many ways. My own roots, now dangling in air, will thrive there just fine.

Milarepa is said to have advanced through stages of enlightenment in a short time in his life, stages that generally were understood to take a yogi many lifetimes to master. He attributed his gift to the ability to control “internal air.”

My master still instructs me. I am thankful.

Reflecting the Interior of the Mountain Out to the World

October 14, 2012

When I was living in California, after having visited North Carolina to find the mountain property that I have been living in for the last 8 years, but not yet having decided to buy it – several dreams occurred that convinced me to jump in, buy and move. Some of them had Eagle in it. Eagle is the animal of the East in Lakota cosmology, and I am an East person in the Lakota personality-type structure that is based on that cosmology. East is the direction of the visionary. I knew the Eagle dreams were coming to guide my vision.

In one of these dreams, a friend from the mountain who helped me find the property gave me a silver ring that was a sculpted head of an eagle. It was placed on the middle finger of my left hand, feeling very numinous and powerful. When I woke up I felt the ring there, but it wasn’t there! It was almost disorienting, and somewhat dismaying. My beautiful daughter, Arlene, went out and found such a ring that fit that finger perfectly. She gave it to me on the morning when I defended my dissertation and became a doctor. I wore it sacredly from that day on.

I was also having very numinous mountain dreams. In one of them, I was riding in a truck with some friends. We arrived at a mountainous place. They all went one direction after we parked and I wandered off in another. I came to the foot of a mountain that I saw was shaped like the head of an eagle. Eagle and Mountain melded in this dream. As I looked up, under the beak of the mountain, where the heart of the eagle might be, I saw a cave. It was too high up to see straight inside, but from where I stood I could see rich, gorgeous tapestries on the wall, sconces of fire to light the cave, and mirrors carefully situated to reflect the interior of the mountain out into the world. I was flooded with insight and a sense of wonder. I saw that this is a calling in life, choosing to live in such a way as to reflect the wisdom held in the interior of the mountain out into the world. I saw it as a vocational calling, like a monk’s life, and knew that it required that kind of commitment and sacrifice. It felt beautiful and very compelling.

Such dreams as these were too hard to ignore. I had to come. I have lived somewhat like a monk or a nun during this time, taking the time here very seriously, sacredly, thoughtfully. At some point, some years in, a friend who could see that I was struggling in certain ways convinced me to remove the Eagle ring from my finger. I called it a wedding ring, the ring of my commitment to the mountain. She said, “at least place it on the other hand.” I did so. I knew I was having to shift but it was hard for me as I am a stubbornly loyal person. I placed a different ring, a silver ring with 4 pearls, on that left hand middle finger as a ring of continued commitment to the vision, while offering the possibility of switching the vision from how I held it in my heart and mind. I have worn this one continuously since.

And now I am moving from the mountain. I have an office on the 5th floor of a charming old building smack in the middle of downtown Asheville, with big tall windows facing out over the town and well into the mountains. Maybe this, then, is my cave, the place from which I will be reflecting the interior of the mountain out into the world. I know the actual cave is my heart, but this location may be an external dwelling place and manifestation of it.

And so the vision moves, like eagle, like wind, like water, like love. And I reflect. And will continue the commitment. I commit to stay true. True to the heart of the mountain that has held me in her love and who has given much to each one who has come on retreat, vision quest and sweat lodge over the years I have been here. Mountain who gave me true-hearted friends to love for a lifetime. Mountain who found the husband for Josi my first-born daughter, Eli, the man she calls “the love of my life”, a man who we all adore. Mountain who is helping me now to release her comforting embrace as I pack up my belongings and prepare to be out by October 31st, a sacred day in some calendars. All Souls Eve.

Come visit me in my new cave. I invite you.

Bucky and Me

October 3, 2012

Any long-term readers of my blog, and anyone who knows me personally, know that R. Buckminster Fuller has had a major influence on the way that I see, experience and think about the world and the human’s place and responsibility in the world. Bucky has been enormously formative in who I have become. Knowing him since childhood, and having spent summer vacations year after year with him and his lovely family on Bear Island in Maine, the decisions I have made at nearly every step in life have been shaped by the world view Bucky helped me develop.

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center and The Buckminster Fuller Institute collaborated in hosting a wonderful conference about Bucky this past weekend at UNCA, looking forward at his legacy. We were steeped in his vision and thinking and saw many demonstrations of how it is being utilized in diverse endeavors. I felt the familiar shift and thrill that I always felt around Bucky. And I realized something.

At major junctures of my life Bucky has been there in a huge way, unplanned and unscheduled by me, apparently scheduled by universe for me. At age 24 I was living in Atlanta, Georgia when I received an invitation to work in Los Angeles for 6 weeks. It would require me quitting my job and shifting things around quite a bit. I sensed that it was an important invitation and that it would probably change my life in a permanent way. I deliberated hard, and decided not to go, felt attached to the friends and life that I had created in Atlanta and was reluctant to disrupt the web of connectedness I felt there. Frankly, I think I just didn’t have the courage or vision to make that step.

Then Bucky came to town. He was speaking somewhere in Atlanta, and I ended up sharing several meals and spending time with him. It wasn’t anything Bucky said directly about my situation, it was just the light of Bucky himself that shined clearly into my inner world. By the time we said good-bye, it was crystal clear to me that I would accept that invitation, go to Los Angeles, embrace the change that presented itself to me. Within a couple of months I had moved there, began graduate school, and started on a life that would include tending a cosmological vision of how to be in service to the whole of universe. Marriage, children and career ensued. I always smiled inwardly knowing something about the grace of Bucky’s presence in my life had triggered and initiated it all, that he had emboldened me to embrace, subsist and persist in it.

Twenty-nine years later that phase of life had ended and I was on my own again. I wanted to open a retreat center. Circumstances assisted me to find a gorgeous location for it in a remote spot in the mountains of Western North Carolina, coincidentally not too far from Black Mountain where some of Bucky’s seminal work and ideas had gestated. Also coincidentally, just one week before the moving van showed up at the house in Los Angeles where I had raised my children, ready to move me out to North Carolina, Bucky’s family was holding a celebration on Bear Island for the centennial of their family’s owning the island. So, I left the moving project and took my daughters out to Maine so they could see for the first time the land, homes and shores where I had summered and learned and grown with Bucky and his family. I knew deep inside that it was no coincidence that Bucky’s spirit would be there for me so strongly just as I was again making a radical move across country, fortifying my vision and emboldening me once again. It was astonishing, and sweetly comforting.

And now, just as my retreat center has been sold and I am in the final days of packing it up and moving into town – a move that is few in miles but that feels more than any former one almost like I am leaving one planet for another – here, in space and time, just down the road from me, is a big Bucky event to stimulate my cells and bones, to empower and strengthen my spirit for the move. When it happened the first time I noticed, the second time I noticed, and now the third time… WHAT? Why should I be surprised or my mind be blown? But, WHAT? The design in cosmos is so precise. The mystery reveals itself so exquisitely, yet as it reveals itself in such a way it simultaneously serves to heighten mystery.

After such an inspiring conference, punctuated by Sunday night attendance for the second time at a one-man play being shown at the NC Stage Company entitled “R. Buckminster Fuller: the History (and Mystery) of the Universe”, my mind and heart were filled to full with Bucky-ness. I even got to enjoy time with his sweet daughter and granddaughter, who I grew up knowing as well. But a stark reminder of another vision for reality grated and greeted me immediately on the Monday night news. War. Killing. Syria. Iran. Afghanistan, where the Taliban had released a video in which a woman was being shot for the crime of adultery, while the man she had been with was free. The newscaster said, “After a decade of our presence in Afghanistan, nothing has changed.” A decade?, I thought. Isn’t this story thousands of years old?

It took me back to Bucky’s strong, brilliant, compelling, solidly formulated ideas that we must take all of the innovation and resources that we invest in Killingry and invest them in Livingry. He spent his entire live doing just that, creating solution after solution to the problems that we war over, showing again and again the reasons why war is obsolete. There is plenty for everyone, we do not need to fight for our own, humanity can easily co-exist with abundance for everyone. He explained the political and economic structures that prevent this, and showed a way out and through.

Ah, Bucky. Thank you. I re-commit to your brilliant vision for peace, to figure out how to turn the tide from Killingry into Livingry. I honor the amazing Love in your heart that so obviously fueled it all, and I re-commit to Love as well.

The Space Between Heartbeats

September 16, 2012

One of the most memorable of my dreams occurred years ago, nearly a couple of decades. In it I heard the words, “You have to listen to the space between heartbeats.” In the dream I would drift into a vast, fathomless, spaceless, timeless void – pure peace there – and then bam, a heartbeat occurred and I slammed back into my body and this time-space continuum. Then I would drift out again, time outside of time, endless ocean of peace, and bam, another heartbeat would bring me back. This kept happening. I became increasingly irritated with the heart beat that shocked me out of that limitlessness, until I started to get the rhythm. It’s like a dance, I thought in the dream. I was catching on. A very visceral quality permeated this dream, I can still feel it.

Buddhists similarly talk about listening to the space between thoughts. I am intrigued that this dream talked about space between heartbeats. It offers a more embodied, incarnated focus; shifts the thought of the head to the experience of an embodied heart. Many of my dreams and experiences in the years after this one seemed to be moving me toward understanding the brain in the heart, the thought of the heart as distinct from that of the head–two very different systems, generally differing sets of values, methods and focus.

Indigenous people tell us that they think with the heart, and it is well understood by them that the thinking of the head is meant to be subservient to the thought of the heart. The Western mind switched this, and let the head dominate the heart, almost to the exclusion of valuing the thought of the heart. The result has been ruinous to the eco-systems of Earth and human well-being. Look at what an anxious mess we are in general, consumerists at war with each other constantly, out of touch with what truly nourishes our bodies and our connection to the Self.

Recently I have been experiencing a re-visitation of the sensations from that dream. In the transition from mountain to town, events in my current life – like a session with a client, a dinner with friends, a dream group, a phone conversation feel like the heartbeats in the dream I described. They bring me into this time/space continuum and remind me of incarnation, a very welcome sensation in this case. Between these events I seem to inhabit another reality that feels more timeless, spaceless, void-like, but rich with sensation. I won’t say that the experience of this in-between dimension is peace-filled at this time; actually there is anxiety involved unlike in the dream. But the similarity between my waking experience now and that of the dream keeps occurring to me–the constant floating out into timeless/spacelessness with the sudden return to this dimension, experiencing vividly the dichotomy.

With this I am reminded to listen to the space between heartbeats. Get the rhythm, learn the dance.

My writing has almost come to a standstill during this process. I only seem to write when I come to the mountain, on the rare occasions that I do, and not always even then. My desk in town is in a tiny room with low ceilings and no mountains outside the window–not at all like here where there is a vast sense of space both inside and outside. Must find the peace in the space between while in town, catch the rhythm and dance this new reality. Listen to the space between the beats of the heart. Then jump in when the beat happens.


Owl Nature

August 26, 2012

Coming back to the mountain from town for the first time to stay more than a short overnight, I arrived on Friday with two days ahead, planning to jump into figuring out how to further the project of getting ready to move. Am hoping the right buyer for this mountain sanctuary is just around the corner. So what happened on Friday night to switch up my well-intentioned plan? I developed a fever, a massive cold took over, throat burning, eyes swollen, nose running, cough.

So Saturday rather than being devoted to going through drawers and closets became a day of rest. Arrest. Unable to move, I sat for hours and hours on my porch. Spirit of owl entered into me, I began to realize. I was an owl, sitting quietly on my perch, hearing every move of wind, insect, bird, forest dweller. My mind was taken with just listening,  head moving back and forth similar to an owl’s, staring here then there. Almost too sick to even fret, I settled into owlness. Surrender.

Not too long ago a dream arrived that alarmed me tremendously. In it I was attacked by an enormous owl who had come looking specifically for me. The owl landed on me and ripped the skin on my arms open. I knew in the dream that this was happening in fulfillment of a prophecy. Working that dream in my dream group was one of the most emotional events I have experienced, and it left me with more questions than answers. The dream continues to work me, and I suppose it will keep at it.

Instead of sorting through the many things in my house, owl nature apparently wanted me to sit quietly. Had I not gotten ill I wouldn’t have done it, owl knows that apparently. Today, Sunday, I am a little better, but arrested by feeling tackled again, and ripped into. A part of me thinks I should use my returning energy and what little time I have here to get busy with the many, countless things. Another part says no, don’t you get it Tayria? Listen. Be still. See what can only be seen in stillness, like the owl.

I watched the Pink Goddess arrive last night as she painted the clouds with her color at sunset over the mountains. (I wrote in a recent blog about having been introduced to this goddess by Hannah, my 5-year-old neighbor.) The slowly changing scene can only be truly appreciated in silent, still witnessing. I waited until she “turned out her lights” as Hannah said she does each night, and watched the darkness arrive, then the stars come out.

Not being busy with closets and drawers nor distracted by TV and the news, owl nature was in full play. I want to know what owl wants from me, why these attacks. Will wait and listen.