Monday, August 31, 2015

That's My Story and I'm Sticking to It!

Here’s a Waking Dream. 

I walked on the beach this morning, early sun and so beautiful.  I walked, meditated, and did some Tai Chi because I pinky swore a friend I’d get back to it.  I was a few yards from the stairs up to the street and there was a woman coming down them, so I slowed my pace.  Beach hellos are always fun; she had a mug of something in her hands and looked like she was at the start of a stroll of her own.  Her husband calls for her to wait, so she stops and I come to where she’s standing and greet her:

“It’s marvelous down here!” 

She nods and begins to tell me how she loves it here at low tide; I certainly love low tide on this beach and nod in agreement.  Then she makes a U-turn in conversation and begins to tell me how high the tide has been and how that’s not good because it means more storms and blah, blah, blah. 

It feels like a visceral onslaught so, having just played Tai Chi, I push back.  I lean over and say to her lovingly, “I think you should just enjoy this day.” And I move on.

I get it; there are scary things happening because of our doodoo headedness as a species, but you’re here, with your cup of coffee, waiting to take a stroll in this miraculously beautiful day and this is what you talk about?

Besides, she was seriously bumming my afterglow. 

I’m a student of the power of story; the power of story is also about the power of word.

It’s a long story, but think about it.  As a human race, we began communicating verbally whenever we did; it was supposed to mean progress in our evolution.  The jury’s out on that one for me, we may have shot ourselves in the foot as we put it in our mouths. 

Here’s another story, one of my all time favorites.  It’s the story of how I got my mantra; I know I’ve told it before but it bears retelling. 

When my niece had her first little boy, she and her husband were over the moon about him.  As he grew beyond the expected age for him to start speaking, some relatives got worried.  The two of them, I remember, were cool and nonplussed about it most of the time; they were going to give him space and time to reach the point of wanting to speak without pressuring him.

One day I’m talking to her on the phone and she tells me he has uttered his first word; of course, I want to know what it is.  She says, well, at first she thought she heard him say “dada” so she rushed out to get her husband and then she coaxed him, “Say that again, pumpkin.” 

He looks at them both beaming at him over the bed and says; “blah, blah, blah.”

I howled laughing and decided it would make a great mantra.  Most people are familiar with this word used in meditational practices, a signal word that you repeat to block out the mental chatter.   I want to be in the moment, especially when I'm in Nature, like at the beach.  When I catch myself in my head instead of embodied in the moment, I use my mantra. Blah, blah, blah.

It's so effective in alerting me that I’m in my monkey mind and need to focus and be present because that’s where the fun is.  My nephew is in his teens now. I’ve got to tell him this story; I think he’ll get a kick out of it.

We started out using words to tell stories.  I like stories and I like words, but there’s a difference between living my story day to day and telling myself stories about a time that isn’t now.  Where am I going to place my focus?  Either way I create my own story, but with very different results. 

In fact, that’s another mantra I use; “What story am I telling myself?”  When I go to that place of worry and fear and loose focus of my present moment, I weave a scary web of what might happen. I  play a dour story out like a movie in my head – I envision this happening or that could happen. 

This is pretty typical of how we're programmed to operate in our heads by Western culture, as the beach lady story illustrates.  I've learned to stop the story; "what story am I telling myself?" It usually makes me laugh.  Holy shit, that’s some gruesome story I’m spinning.

I have a choice. I’m creating the mental web of words that will trap me if I let it.  Some stories can sap my spirit from the inside out.  It’s my choice! I can tell myself stories that have a healthy impact on my psyche or I can entertain future scenarios that frighten and sicken me.

I just listened to a wonderful talk given by NDE experiencer, Jeff Olson, at last year’s IANDS Conference.  A major lesson that is part of his story and his teaching is that we have a choice and the smart thing is to choose to love.  He also shares how dreams still keep him in touch with his wife and I say, yeah, baby, of course!

I received the same lesson in a 2007 dream, the night of an anniversary of my mom’s death, so it was probably a gift from her.  I won’t go into the dream here, but at the end a voice says to me, “You have a choice; that’s the secret of the universe.”  I try to practice that teaching as much as possible and as Jeff Olson says, “choose joy.”

The story I tell myself is important to what I think, feel and do.  It’s my choice.  I’m creating my story as I live it, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of my story creating me. One way I always know which is happening is by the way I feel. If I’m sliding into glum or grumpy, I listen to my mental chatter for a clue.  I'm telling myself things that make me feel that way so all I have to do is change the story.

In the beginning was the Word.  

Not in my book.  The word is Logos, the power of intellect, rationality, Left Brain, structure. Logos is okay, but without Eros, the very vitality and energy of life, Logos is a killer.

To speak is to make it so, not just for the great patriarchs, like Jehovah, but for each of us.  When we say, I’m not smart or I’m not creative, we’re baptizing ourselves in our own labels.  I’m this. I’m that.  Labels limit our experience.  They put us in boxes of our own and collective definition.  They’re loaded with energy, good or detrimental.

So here’s the outline for a new story.

Fewer words, blah, blah, blah. 

More heart.

Lots of imagination.

Always, Love.

Live the best story possible.

Your dreams will guide you to those best stories, so pay attention.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Flowering of Women

In my last post I told you about Mother Nature’s S.O.S. to all dreamers.  The real and present danger to our own survival as a species if we don’t learn to value all living things above ridiculous monetary gain should be apparent to all but the most concrete embedded citizens of this planet.  So that means that most of us must know this and most of us must act to do our part.  That means there’s hope.

And where there’s hope, there are women. 

Another dream theme that is coming increasingly clear to me is that Mother Mary is indeed howling for us to wake up, especially the women. (The link will take you to my Howling Mary dream. She’s the Feminine Divine who recruited me in a dream in 1971. When Mary howled, I listened; she led me to discover the goddess and the importance of dreams as organic spirituality.) Bye, bye patriarchy; I just can’t take you seriously, anymore.

The deep, ancient understanding that the Feminine is behind all creation, all life on the planet (and perhaps beyond), that our pre-historic ancestors saw the Divine as Mother, came to me first in dreams.  Synchronicity took care of the rest; my life played out in the most interesting and parallel ways to that big dream.  Having that dream as a road map made it much easier to sort out the paths I took; dream guidance is a powerful ally. 

At the time I heard Mary howl for help in my dream, there were very few women in religious authority; the stained glass ceiling of religion is a tough one to crack for women, to this day.  Many of the women I met as fellow students in seminary in those days were challenging the ban on women priests and ministers in Christianity; most everyone but the Catholics caved.  Many got ordained; I didn't because I learned that I didn’t want to change the system from within.  The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. 

So I turned my attention from theological studies to psychological ones, after all, the word psyche in Greek means soul.  By then, I was convinced that understanding dreams and dreaming was the road to my Divine connection and so much more. I pursued studies in transpersonal psychologies and Jungian ideas.  I also studied and continue to learn about the Goddess in her many manifestations and in her great antiquity.

This brings me to the real topic of this post.  Woman’s flowering.  Perhaps, you’ve noticed that a great divide exists in this American political race regarding issues that deeply impact women. I sincerely hope many, many Americans are disturbed about the attack on women’s autonomy and full constitutional equality afoot in Republican legislation.  What is at the root of these political attacks? Religion.  Religious thinking that says our god, the great white patriarch, knows what’s best for women.  Women should have no choice about when to conceive, let alone whether to be pregnant and give birth because it's really god who's creating; she's just the incubator.  

Already, the republican anti-woman rhetoric is beyond belief, from leering disrespect to condescending religious dribble.  Looking at the horrible situations in the world today, I feel stuck between two super patriarchy’s, Christianity and Islam, who have nothing but the worst intentions for me.  “Shut up, sit down, do as I say or I’ll make you.” Do women really want to be treated this way?  No, of course not. 

There is great danger in what’s psychically implanted, because we’re controlled by our deepest beliefs.  Notice please, that in groups where the strictest religious sanctions apply to women’s behavior, women lead invisible and often miserable lives.  Religion is the corporation that handles mind control for the big patriarchies of the world.  It’s easy to spot a patriarchy, just count the women in public and religious authority.  When you've only got a male god, watch out, especially when he's petty, unfeeling and constantly demanding.

Mary was howling about the way things are done in religion and about her relegation, the Feminine Divine, to the sidelines.   In my dream, I know I have to do something to help Her; her pain is unbearable.  I snatch the chalice from the priest’s hands and the worms he was giving as communion turned to rubber bands.  What do you use rubber bands for?  I use them to hold things together.

Just as we're being called in dreaming to honor the planet and hold it together, women, and men who love women, are being called to take charge of the clean-up and transformation of human consciousness, with our hearts open to the sacred Feminine.  I think the literal manifestation of this dream is that we'll see more women in roles of leadership, leading compassionately and cooperatively with men.  The flowering of women means that we come into our full potential as equal citizens of this planet, as leaders and saviors and healers and mothers of all.  We don’t use the same methods or employ the same mentality, because on this very real eve of self-destruction, we see clearly that those methods haven’t worked.

Consider the metaphor of women being de-flowered. In patriarchy, much is made of the deflowering of women, control of women's virginity.  I’m sort of stuck in reading "Memoirs of a Geisha"; I’m at the part where her virginity is being auctioned to sleazy old men and it makes me sad.    The sado-masochistic patriarchal paradigm of sexuality is another psychic realm where deep healing is needed.  Again, it’s about woman’s role in sexuality. Was it fun for her?  Was it joyful for them?  “The only sin that passion can commit is to be joyless.” Dorothy Sayers

What would it mean to flower a woman having sex with her – to invite her out to unfold in all her pleasure and all her glory?  What would it be like if advertising treated women and men as people instead of body parts?  Would we have more joy centered, less frenzy driven or repressive sexual cultures?  

The flowering of women means the empowering of all that is Feminine.  She’s calling to us all – be the change you want to see and see to it, with all your soul, that the change happens. 

I can't help hearing that hauntingly beautiful song of solidarity, "Bread and Roses".  Here's Judy Collins version on youtube:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Dream Archeology: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Survival

I’ve signed up for a wonderful course taught by Robert Moss on the Shift Network titled: “Dreaming into the Dreamtime: Tapping the Power of 7 World Traditions for Transformation.”  One of the great advantages of working with Active Dreaming is how it introduces vital but forgotten, ancient and indigenous methods to explore the dream worlds.  In this course, Robert is opening new doors, taking us even deeper into each dreaming tradition.

Learning from our ancestors and understanding their wisdom requires shedding the left-brain, white man knows best attitude we’ve assumed for the last few centuries.  It requires opening our hearts and knowing in a deeper sense what is true and what is vital for ourselves, understanding that though we’ve “evolved” in some ways, we’ve devolved in some important ways, forgetting what our ancestors knew, especially about living in alignment with Nature.  Robert Moss says:

“One of the things going on in your dreams might be that the ancestors are calling. When I say the ancestors, I mean the ancestors of your bloodlines certainly, but I also mean the ancestors of the land where you are living or the land you are visiting and the ancestors of your spiritual kin who may come from many places and many cultures. I think that dreaming is one of the ways that we interact with the ancestors, and it can become a very interesting source of guidance and direction of where to go with our interests and our sense of tradition and our sense of belonging in life.”*

I’ve found my bloodlines in dreaming; one is in the Lucumi peoples of Cuba, where I was born.  In my dreams I’ve danced to Yemaya and Oshun, visited with many Lucumi elders and shared many deeply healing experiences, full of gifts.  Because of these dreams, I’ve studied Afro-Cuban dance, music and culture in my waking life.   

Currently, I’m following teachings from my dreams that are challenging me to grow in my relationship to Nature and better understand the natural world around me. In a series of recent dreams, there are black bears on my path or I’m in bear country.  The beauty of a series of dreams with similar content is that you can compare and contrast vital elements of the dreams: place, characters, feelings and actions.  In at least two of the dreams, my dream self literally asks the question; “How am I not supposed to be afraid of bears?”  I re-entered one of these dreams with a partner/tracker and received a great gift from her journey into my dream.   

In her dream of my dream, she saw the antlered goddess, an element that wasn't in my dream report to her.  The Celtic goddess, Elen of the Ways, is one manifestation of this great Divine Archetype.  Here’s what the well known researcher of her stories, Caroline Wise, has to say about her:

“As the Green Lady, she peeps out between the trees in forests and woods. As a British Venus, Goddess of Gardens, she is the Flower Bride: at her Holy wells, mainly to be found in the North of the country, she is guardian of the underground streams that carry the sacred waters. These underground streams have themselves become a metaphor for the secret continuation of sacred wisdom. She is the Guardian of the ancient track ways, the Leys, the kundalini currents in nature, and as the Horned Goddess, she leads us to the first trackways, the migratory tracks of the reindeer and later, she leads us to the path of the red deer through the forests. From here she leads us to the lost Shamanism of the isles of Britain, and we can follow her across Scandinavia, Russia, Mongolia, Siberia, India and beyond.”

She is Lady of the Beasts. What Black Bear is trying to teach me is to grow in my connection to Nature and to Mother Nature, the Divine Feminine Archetype on whom all survival depends.  As Robert said in our second class, the Australian First Peoples teach us that we live in a “speaking land.”  Everything is alive and may have something to say to us, if we listen.

This summer, I’ve learned to hold birds in my hands, thanks, in part, to the inadvertent efforts of my cat. These were sparrows, small and sweet, that he brought alive into the house; in the past, I would have gotten Jim to pick one up and take it outside; after all, he grew up on a farm.  Through my dreams and dream re-entries I’ve come to realize that opening my heart, really seeing a creature and neutralizing my knee jerk instincts of fear allows me to “communicate” with another living being and see it for how it truly is.  That’s how I’m not supposed to be afraid of bears.  If I do end up face to face with black bear in waking reality, I’ll remember what I’ve learned and act accordingly.  Talking to a friend who actually lives in bear country today, she described to me how all bears are unique, and some have a really sweet disposition.  She also decried how our entitled attitude to study or control them in ways like banding them, distresses them and interferes with a more natural personality. 

I know from participating in this wonderful course that there are many, many people whose dreams are calling them to reconnect with Nature; it’s as if She’s put out an S.O.S.  Here’s a powerful excerpt from the dream inspired post of a sister dream traveller, Kate Temple-West calling us to act to save our waters.  "You can dream into the great river of story, into imaginal realms that are larger than your own subconscious mind.  There are vital medicines for us all in these places, and we need them.  Now, please.  We need them now." 

 May we grow a dream of awakening and healing together.  May it be so!