Sunday, April 16, 2017

2017 Year of Women, For a Change

One day recently, at Trader Joe's shopping for dinner, I found this card among their always excellent collection of affordable greetings.  It happens that a neighbor had gifted me a wall tile engraved with this saying that I enjoy hanging in the guest bathroom.

Seeing such a captivating image using the same quote, I bought two, with no specific plans for them.  It turned out to be a lucky choice, as I sent one to my grandniece,  after we spoke on the phone that day, along with her GS cookie sale check.

The second card, I realized when I looked at it again, is custom ordered for me.  It speaks straight to my psyche in a series of long established dream images that, if I didn't know how fluidly dream and waking interact, would be startling.  It often happens that the realization of meaning in a synchronicity lags behind the spontaneous, intuitive action that creates it.  It's deeply inspiring to hear the universe whisper in my ear.  "It's okay; how's this?  It all coincides; it all comes together.  Stay true; have fun."

Every year, I create a new dream journal for the year; it's fun to let synchronicity lead me to the images I'll use to decorate the front and back covers.  Sometimes, it takes me a while to find the right ones, but this year, I delighted across the front cover in December. This card is the back cover.  

I declare 2017 the year women step into their strengths and leadership.  I declare 2017 the year of women.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Inner Resources for Challenging Times

Perhaps some of you, like me, are feeling the intense surrealism of this present time in our country. What just happened?  What is happening?  What will be happening?

What's feeding this bizarre violent nightmare playing out in our country and around the globe? It seems like a world hell bent on Armageddon.  But, it makes sense if you look at the motivating myths and religions of the battling forces.  It's like "battle of the titans"; the war Gods have demands and rules that we mere earthlings must carry out.  If we accept these myths, we are dreaming an apocalyptic consensus reality into existence.  But we don't have to.

When I feel overwhelmed by the oppression of  consensus reality, I often turn inward. I ask myself, from a much larger perspective, what am I supposed to do?  How can I contribute and what can I learn?

I write to share an organic spiritual reality with others that is ridiculously accessible and which can be a balm in these uncertain times when we may well be asking does love trump hate, or hate trump love?  If Love, the universal super glue, matters to you, dive inward.  Pay attention to dreaming. We live in our waking reality, but we also live in the dreaming reality.   If we don't know we're eternal and loved, we can be easily manipulated.

My favorite dream teacher, Robert Moss posted this quote the other day on FB; "Jung once told me that he thought the dream was always going on in the unconscious, but that it usually needs sleep and the complete cessation of outer things for it to register in consciousness at all." - Barbara Hannah, "Encounters with the Soul"  Robert post 12/19/16

There's a great tradition of spiritual literature that balks at the fetters of conventional and religious thinking, including in Jesus' own teaching, "the kingdom of god is within." Jung saw this inner kingdom (queendom) as the unconscious (which he categorized as personal and collective). He came to believe that without a relationship to our inner life, we are doomed to tragedy, personally and collectively.  Paul Levi, a Jungian scholar, writes on his blog:

Jung elucidates, “What future developments are being prepared in the unconscious of modern man…It depends on us whether we help coming events to birth by understanding them, and reinforce their healing effect, or whether we repress them with our prejudices, narrow-mindedness and ignorance, thus turning their effect into its opposite, into poison and destruction.”[xxix] We are potential spiritual midwives, who by ‘understanding’ the psychic nature of ‘future developments,’ ‘reinforce their healing effect’ and birth ‘coming events’ into incarnation through the womb of the psyche. The psyche, which is pregnant with open-ended possibilities, is the very cipher in which the history of humanity is being written. Jung writes, “The world today hangs by a thin thread, and that thread is the psyche of man."

We need a relationship to our own psyche, our soul, our own spiritual life, just like we need a relationship for our physical love life. Spirituality is the love life of the soul.  We begin, as in any relationship, by paying attention to that connection and how it makes us feel, day by day.

We have inner resources.  When people say to me, (and I wish I had a nickle...) "I don't dream." or "I don't remember my dreams" my first question is always to ask, do you want to?  Do you pay attention?  People mostly smile and shrug their shoulders; many admit that they've never really tried, but would like to. Where to start? I've explained the practicalities of beginning a dream practice on my blog before, so for that advice, I refer you to the previous posts I've linked throughout this sentence.

One thing that blocks our access to inner resources is "lemming social behavior."   For instance, the "media" is something we imbibe in huge quantities on a daily, and for some, an all night basis.  TVs blare in every room across America, especially the "living" room of many, many houses around the country, with a mind-numbing consistency.  Unfortunately, an inner life needs some time of introspection, sleep time to dream, time to meditate, dance or abide in joy.  It's accurate to depict the media as shallow, gutless, full of deliberate and manipulative misinformation, but who is forcing a person to watch it?  Nobody.

Most of us have a choice.  I've heard people say that TV is "entertainment," or" relaxation" or "staying informed."   Add the computer and cell phone, that's a lot of ersatz experience substituted for the living, direct real thing. There are several generations now who've grown up on external, vicarious stimulus far more than on their own creative play and developing imaginations. I call it the "Disneyfication of American Childhood."

Dreaming is our inner reality; waking is our outer reality. Without connection to our own inner life, it's easy to become fearful and susceptible to external controls and idiot influences that cost us not just our money, but our essential life force, our souls. Let me emphasize that by soul, I don't mean some poor spotted white spirit, sin-tinged from the moment of conception. I mean the essential collective energy that is at the core of the Self.  In each incarnation, in each physical personality or ego, we are different, but we have an indestructible core that if we care to nurture, saves us needless grief.  The Soul does not need Saving; the Soul Saves.

We have an invaluable resource we came to the planet possessing; it can't be destroyed like our bodies can, though many willingly shut it down or belittle it. Through conscious dreaming, we become independent, spiritual beings with access to individual spiritual guidance as we tune in.  It's not about the meaning of one dream; it's about creating a dialogue with your inner world.  Over many years, you come to know that the foundation of your own being is unconditional love and endless creative life. You come to know for certain, that you are here for a reason and you are never alone.

May your inner resources grow robust in the coming year and may love energize all you do.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fly Free; You Are Forever

In the aftermath of the waking dream that has many of us stunned, saddened and fearful, it's hard to find that silver lining.  Many of us in the consciousness/spirituality movement feel it's very important to stay positive, because despair leads to emotional catatonia, which literally gets us nowhere.

In my last post, I mentioned how one of the things that seems apparent is that we won't have a leader to turn to, so we'll need to do it ourselves, for each other and with each other.  Do what?  Make sure Love trumps hate.

Obviously that won't be easy, but the hard things seldom are.  For myself, I'm choosing the areas I most want to champion and commit my energy there, while supporting others in their endeavors to move human consciousness beyond the stagnant mental swamp of this dying patriarchal system and its death generating values.

For me, the women's movement has received a huge wake up call; too many women, white women it seems, voted for a misogynist and put their own civil liberties, their daughters' and their grand daughters in jeopardy.  Why?  Brainwashed, that's why.

That's the title song by George Harrison on his posthumously released album:

Brainwashed in our childhood
Brainwashed by the school
Brainwashed by our teachers
And brainwashed by all their rules
Brainwashed by our leaders
By our Kings and Queens
Brainwashed in the open
And brainwashed behind the scenes

God God God
A voice cries in the wilderness
God God God
It was on the longest night
God God God
An eternity of darkness
God God God
Someone turned out the spiritual light

Patriarchy is a 5-6 thousand year old paradigm that has forced humanity into this perilous period of self-destruction.  It takes many forms on the planet, physically, monarchies that are inherited or hierarchical legislative structures that are to various degrees elected, but psychologically it takes one common form.  God is male, so the male is the only suitable representative of his rule in the physical. This belief is manifest to varying degrees of severity, depending on where in the world we find ourselves.  But very few societies extant give equal voice to the Feminine Divine.  This denial of half of who we are, within and without, has created the dark paradigm, the collective dream, we're living on this physical plane.  I spoke about this in my Mother's Day Homily a few years ago in more detail.

The good news, as I've mentioned before, is that we humans have been here much longer than the patriarchal age and have experienced peaceful coexistence and egalitarian organization of societies. The myth of it's always been like this is part of the patriarchal, apocalyptic narrative.  Are the myths of Eden hinted at in this bleak story echoes of the paradise we indeed lost when god was not the war tyrant father and all that was life was the Mother? 

The challenge of the times we're in is doable; it depends on one person at a time learning to free herself/himself from the mind-forged manacles that make us conform to values that are religious rather than spiritual, exclusive rather than holistic.  The choice isn't religion or atheism; it's dogma versus experience. The realm of God/goddess is within and the path is always open to us, especially through our dreaming.  Paying attention to our dreams, our organic spirituality, can free us from the religious strictures and lies that cloud our judgments and harden our hearts with fear.

We are forever because we're spiritual beings in this present physical existence.  We've been here before and we've been elsewhere in the multi-universe, as well.  We don't have to earn our way into heaven because heaven is inside us - as is hell, if we choose it.

The question for each of us is, why am I here now?  What do I need to learn and what am I here to contribute?

A world out of whack is a world of imbalance; many teachers in the consciousness/spirituality movements of today believe that the Feminine Divine must be returned to equal status with the Male Deity that's been Ramboing us to perdition these past several millennia. The influence of the Feminine is key to achieving balance; the goddesses that all our earth centered ancestors revered informed our moral codes very differently.  Goddess respecting cultures embodied a very different paradigm, a very different consensus reality. 

We need to melt down this hateful paradigm that's imprisoned the human imagination for so long and fly free.  Patriarchal religions control through fear and coercion, just like patriarchal governments or patriarchal family structures.  But no one can control our inner freedom.

The spiritual movement of this dark patriarchal age is brighter than it has ever been, thanks to so much passionate research and writing in the last century.  Material science and metaphysical science are partners in the current conversation on what constitutes "reality."  We can take heart in that.

There is no doubt in my mind that as Jesus put it, you can't put new wine into old skins; the new skin we need to grow, to rebirth, regenerate and renew our existence on this planet is a psychic one.  We need to act as if our spiritual being is just as important as the ego being of our waking reality. It's not either/or, it's both/and, especially when the shit hits the fan.  We need to examine our beliefs, where and how we got them and whether they serve our deepest values.  We need to tune into our dream lives because that's where we find the help we need, custom tailored to our own soul, not mass produced, mass distributed and controlled by patriarchs for their own profit.

As Robert Moss teaches; "We are born to fly, and in dreams we discover that the soul has wings."

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Dream Strong Now!

The moon when it's full lights up the dark night; using our dreaming life consciously, we can lighten the darkness of this waking reality.

 I was deeply inspired by Secretary Clinton's concession speech.  Here's what I learned from listening to it.

a)  I'm not off the hook.  Four years of HRC and I could have lah-di-dahed my way around serving my community and future communities on earth by doing my civic duty of giving back in a cavalier way, confident that the ship of state is in good hands.  Now, the glow is gone and things look dire, but as she points out, this campaign, this movement was never about one person.  Get out from behind the FB posts she challenges us and do something for whatever you believe to be right and good. 

b) Watching her give her speech made me realize that HRC is even more valiant and capable than I already knew her to be. What an example of poise and states-personship!  She's an inspiration to the women's movement; I know she will continue to lead and do her part for the greater good. I loved how she reached out to the young and challenged them not to be disheartened.  More than anyone I know, I feel she leads by example in exhorting us not to lose heart; never doubt that working for what you believe is right and good is worth it, she exhorts, despite how painful the moment must have felt to her personally. 

c)  Brutishness has always been a part of patriarchy so it appears Mordor is waking once again. But,   spiritually considered, we're all going to die sooner or later; it's no big deal, we've done it who knows how many times, how many lifetimes! We can ask ourselves if it's wise to be so fearful of death and if it's not even wiser to ask ourselves for what purpose was I born this time around?  The currency of eternity is love.  The answer to our spiritual purpose is too individual to allow for the doctrines and legislation of patriarchal religions; spiritually we're all equally free and assured of deliverance, death where is thy sting? As for a life's purpose, any variation of spreading love in the world will do; it's one of the few treasures from the physical that converts to the non-physical at death.  I'm guessing spreading hate and violence doesn't sell well on a soul level and that attitude bears re-thinking. Perhaps, many of us volunteered to bear witness to this truth, at this time, in this space for the purpose of spiritual evolution. 

d)Both HRC and Pres. Obama are speaking to our hearts, calling for a mindful transition into whatever difficulty we encounter and for our powerful, loving and creative energy to transform the worst case scenario into the unexpected.

e) "Scripture tells us: Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."  Her message is simple and clear: Never doubt that doing good is worth it and never give up.  She's amazing.  She's not giving up and neither should we.

f) This isn't how I wanted it to be, but I am famous for my life motto: "It is what it is and it ain't what it ain't."  We have choices to make.  We live in interesting times.  We can make a difference that is far bigger than our little self.  Calling all to dream strong and all dreamers to connect deeply with what is good and kind and loving.  We are still stronger together.

"Hopeful, Inclusive and Big Hearted".

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Halloween: Dreaming with the Dead

For a pagan, this is a very sacred time of year.  Honoring our dead is not a superstition or a means to ward off hostile ghosts; honoring our dead is about building a bridge between their reality and our own, in the dream worlds, especially.  Across that connection, we can continue to grow our relationships, smooth out misunderstandings and express mutual support.  We stay in touch, all year long, but at this time, we acknowledge that the veil is extra thin between the living and the dead, so take the opportunity to give and get forgiveness or cut ties, altogether.  Whatever unfinished business or desire for renewed communication you may have with someone who has crossed over, now is a good time to ask your dream guides to open those gates for you.

You can be as specific in the request as you'd like, the point is, now is the time on the wheel of the solar year that we go underground with the Maiden Goddess and we dream deep, renewing dreams of the world to come.

Pagans see time as cyclical rather than linear; this lifetime is one on a great wonderful wheel of existence that continues, despite transformations from physical to spirit, from matter to energy. Death is included in an understanding of life; birth is the other side of a particular life journey into the physical that transforms us back to the spiritual at death.

It's sad to me that Halloween is turned into something all about ghouls, zombies and hatchet murderers when it's really about honoring the dead, our family, friends and ancestors who were here before us, helped us, loved us and then transitioned back to the spiritual realities before us.  Honoring the dead is an ancient practice among indigenous peoples around the world, not because we're scared of them, but because we love them still and respect what they did for us.  The well known Day of the Dead, Dia de Muertos, is one such tradition from the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

A highly esteemed Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos is characterized by symbols of death like the skull and the skeleton, but they're colorful and celebratory, often humorous. Altars to the dead at grave sites or in the home are decorated with marigolds and all the departed's favorite things.  The three day holiday dedicates specific attention to children, little angels, on the first night.

It's easy to see how these ancient traditions of honoring our departed have devolved into yet another commercialized opportunity for we consumers to consume.  I don't mean to spoil the legitimate fun of dressing up and trick or treating, for children and adults alike.  I do think it would be better for everyone if the connection to our beloved departed were more emphasized than our ridiculous fears of death.

We associate fear and fright with Halloween; we unleash our worst fantasies of what death might be and the hideous ways it can come.  If we take a more holistic view of death, we might unleash our imaginations on what we'd like to do in non-physical realities, when we're no longer limited by corporeal restraints.  We can dwell in the world of possibility we call magic, we can live in our dreams, as well as our waking realities.

I'll be setting up my altar to mom, dad and other beloved beings and asking my dreams to make it easier for them to get through.  If you listened to my conversation with Robert Moss on his radio show earlier this month, you heard me share my death journey dream and his wonderful psychic slip about my setting up a business to help people, like a travel agent might, design their own death journey.  Why not?  It's a great idea; let me know if you need my services.

If you'd like to hear our whole lively conversation, click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Dreaming it Forward

This past Tuesday I had a wonderful talk with Robert Moss on his web radio show.  Knowing that he'd ask me if I had a dream story to tell, I incubated a dream for the show; I asked my dream source to send me the dream I should share with him.   I titled the dream I received, Create the Moment.

I'm in a beautiful outdoor setting, like an emerald glen surrounded by green trees.  My focus is on listening to an inner voice that feels like an inner knowing; it's coaching me to experience the moment as it's being created by me, even as I experience it.  Somehow, I'm being challenged to participate in the flow of time differently, moment by moment, as I create it.  I know there is a subtle difference that's huge.  I have to focus on the subtlety of what I'm being taught to discern how it feels.  I woke from this dream with a sense of wonder.

Robert and I used the Lightning Dreamwork game he created and several insights opened for me then, but the illumination of many dreams is gradual and eventual; their meaning evolves out of our lived experience.  Very often, synchronicity plays a large part in this process.

The day after I shared my dream with Robert on the air, he posted an insightful description of using the twilight zone for in depth dream adventuring on his blog.  I practically smacked the middle of my forehead with my palm as I read his post, of course!  My dream is not about this level of reality; not only is time a different sensation, I'm being shown the liminal space where I can experiment with this teaching.  I was treating it as a lesson for my waking life, manifestation and all that, but my dream is showing something far more valuable.  l have a lush green dream locale where I can experience what it might feel like to relate to time without a body.  Through this portal, in twilight dreaming, I can return to learn the types of life lessons that will come in handy when I cross death's threshold. 

The synchronicity of finding Robert's post, was followed the next day with more of the same, as if the dream source was working in installments. I spent the day with a dear friend, you can meet her in my first post. She's a healer, a poet and an amazing person. We drummed together sitting on her patio.  As I drummed, I looked out and recognized the greenery in front of me; it had an uncanny resemblance to the location I experienced in my dream. I allowed the drumming to take my spirit into the landscape before me and into my dream.  I'd found another facet of wisdom from this dream, by magical coincidence.  It feels like someone is leaving sparkling bread crumbs for me to follow home.

Elizabeth created this photo art and haiku to honor our beautiful day together and as a gift to me.  It captures the entire journey, the dream, the sharing and the honoring over a period of three days perfectly.  I asked permission to share her gift with you here; you can find more of her soulful work on Instagram.

The last step in the Lightning Dreamwork game is "how are you going to honor your dream?"  I honor "Create the Moment" originally by sharing it with Robert Moss, as it seemed intended I should, by sharing it on my blog with you and by living myself into it, thinking about it and watching for it in my waking life.  Using the Active Dreaming guidelines for playing with dreams invites joy and creativity into our every day lives, especially when friends use their loving imaginations on your behalf.  I'm grateful for the many gifts I've received through dreaming this way.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Double Your Lifetime Theory of Dreaming

If I pay attention to my dreams, if they inform my waking and enliven my sleep, I live twice the lifetime of experiences.  Not only that, I live life with one foot in physical reality and the other in the spiritual worlds, if I so choose.

So many theories about dreaming are "psychological" only, they posit mental health reasons why dreams are beneficial, or why there are social advantages to following dreams, but they neglect what the indigenous ancestors of all people knew.  Dreams are real experiences.  We visit a dream world and those from the dream worlds visit us.

This doesn't preclude other empirically provable effects of paying attention to our dreaming life; dreams can reveal to us suppressed emotions and hold a mirror up to our ego as it navigates the many relationships of the physical world.  They definitely have psychological benefits, but I'm way more than meets the I.  This I is only one of the potentially many egos I've embodied on this physical plane, lifetimes ago.  Dreams invite me to consider all the possibilities of my experiences before and after death.  Growing research and literature in many contemporary fields such as physics, medicine and spirituality increasingly points to an awareness that the material world is not what it seems, that we outlive this physical existence in non-physical form.  We no longer have to give our heads to Science (material left brain logic) and our hearts to Religion (dogma based spirituality).  Dreaming is organic spirituality; it comes from within, as in "the kingdom of god" is within, as Jesus noted. It makes us our own spiritual authorities and encourages us to live a more involved, inner life, as well as a more informed and entertaining waking life.

We are spiritual beings here to experience a physical lifetime for some purpose to be discovered through living this lifetime.  What tempers the fear and insecurity inherent in finite physical existence is a knowing, that can come from listening to our dreams, that there is much more to experience than physical reality and that Love is paramount.  Love is the coin of eternal life.

This isn't to say that mystical, magical living involves material destitution.  But as all good witches and wizards know, intent is everything.  Putting all our intent on making it here has its hazards, as does putting it all in a spiritual existence that denigrates the physical, like the patriarchal male priesthoods do.  In the best ancient spiritual practices, it is always about balance.  Domination is a patriarchal invention.  The opposite of domination is balance, sharing and mutual respect.

If we think this is all there is, just as if we're afraid of what might be when we die, we miss the freedom from bullshit that living a life with awareness of waking and dreaming, ego and spirit, can give one.  There are so many great teachers out there right now, it behooves us all to learn to dream well so that we can accomplish what our best dreams urge us to do.

Active Dreaming, created by author and teacher extraordinaire, Robert Moss, is the most versatile and accessible dreaming practice I've encountered in my thirty plus years of studying and teaching dream "interpretation" theories and methods.  I've used it with children, teens, and adults of all ages. Some important aspects of this practice are: it protects the dreamers authority regarding what the dream means as well as the dreamers privacy; it's not therapy, but it can be incredibly therapeutic; it's an active approach, whole bodied and whole-hearted, drumming, singing and lots of laughter; it fuels creativity, it offers possibilities way beyond cerebral dualities; and one of my favorite reasons for using the tools of this practice to connect people to their dreaming is that Active Dreaming is accessible, simple, direct and clean of dogmatic baggage.  The dreamer learns to depend on her or himself for all aspects of dreaming, waking and in the dream worlds; I am only the guide till the dreamer finds "that in dreams, the soul has wings." (Robert Moss, in The Way of the Dreamer.)

The reason to double my lifetime by dreaming actively is that in reality, I'm connecting to my immortal lifeline.  In essence I learn to stop seeing this lifetime as a limited time only and to not fear death.  What I discover is that I chose to be here in this physical plane now, but I'm not alone or in peril of losing my soul.  I may be challenged, but I can't be defeated.  I am loved because the essence of all that is, is Love.  Love is the energy that fuels everything.  And no particular group has the answer to how to live my life; it's up to me to figure it out with the help of dream guidance. When I learn to trust my dreams and not fear them, I've opened the door to my spiritual existence and to the help I need to get through.  I've also expanded my life experience, no longer ignoring all that happens in the night, I benefit from far more choice than mere waking experience can give me.

If you'd like to hear a lively discussion of Active Dreaming for creative and expansive living, I have the pleasure of talking with Robert Moss on his international radio show, The Way of the Dreamer, October, 10/11/2016, noon to 1pm EST.