Monday, August 21, 2017

Stretch to Contain: A Dream Motto

A big dream is a life plan; it's a map for the journey.  Over the years I've written about my Howling Mary dream. I know why Mary was howling; she was calling to me to see and to do.  In my dream, I ran to her and offered to help.  She inspired me to grab the chalice from the priest and offer something better than the worms they were serving communicants. The worms had turned to rubber bands.

Rubber bands stretch to contain.  This dream is decades old, but right now, I think that's an excellent motto. A game in Active Dreaming is to come up with a bumper sticker derived from a dream.  "Stretch to contain."

I was recently invited as a past board member to a wonderful organization , run for and mostly by women, addressing critical issues women face in patriarchal culture, domestic violence and sexual assault.  In patriarchy, males are sanctioned to commit both, especially if women step outside the behavior code prescribed for them.  There are, of course, always patriarchal not libel clauses for  moments when "men will be men."

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent, Lara Logan, is the keynote speaker at CFJ's event.  She was covering the Egyptian "Arab Spring" In Feb. of 2011 when minor technical difficulties for her and her all male crew created a moment off camera when the reveling warriors became obsessed with attacking her.

She impresses me in her account with her unbelievable courage and clarity.  I cannot imagine in any cell of my body having to endure what she endured.  I'm very grateful to her for sharing her story and hope you will take the little bit of time to hear it if you haven't already; I'm attaching it at the end.

I've already mentioned how we're living in a ramped up pussy grabbing world, until we decide to call a spade a shovel and confront the explicit and malignant male view of women, how it's perpetuated in various religious cultures and what we can do to reverse this poisonous tide, we miss the point of what needs to happen.  A point that Howling Mary in my dream made very clear.

What happened to Lara Logan happened because she went into a supremely patriarchal bacchanalia thinking her international journalist status would protect her, as would her team of men.  But you look at that crowd and you see it's all men, maybe one grandma in full dark burrito wrap, but all men.  Then you look at Lara and she is the epitome of beautiful Euro/Anglo woman.  I have to ask myself; what's going on here  that isn't being reported? This is a hate crime, not a sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a loaded term in patriarchy; the "she asked for it" defense has served attackers well over the years.  But the violence that erupted from the celebratory victory parade Lara was covering, in my opinion, erupted as a cultural, uber-male patriarchal hate crime that has mixed into it, the hatred of the controlling male faction of patriarchy, the white race, the West.  But Lara was in the bullseye. She was the epitome of the Western woman, smart, beautiful, independent and unrestrained; definitely not burrito wrapped.

What responsibility does CBS have for their naive approach to covering the news of that testorone charged day?  A lot, I think.  But that aside, in the 60 minutes report, there is no mention of the obvious.  This is a fanatically anti-woman religious group attacking a beautiful, independently successful white woman, perhaps because she personifies what they fear the most, the freedom and equality of women.

I'm sorry, any culture that insists women be burrito wrapped in desert heat because of what her beauty and seductive powers might do to undermine the excellent job the guys are doing currently, is a culture to be called out and watched closely.  Uber-macho patriarchy is at the heart of God the Father, men in charge religions.

As a feminist since the 70's, I'm so tired of the bra-burning, man hating media Medusa projected onto our movement on the yap-tube, which is at least 90% male owned and run.  Yes, there was a great feminist awakening of consciousness for women and men in the 70s and 80s, but any feminist who doesn't know how the movement was co-opted; think super hero women in stilettos and bustiers, faking ingenue for Mr. Right.

At the heart of all human renewal is the challenge of balancing the female and the male in the human psyche, (psyche in Greek means soul, as well as butterfly).  It's clear to me that women don drag every day to take on the world.  They pluck and tuck and tweeze and squeeze into Barbie archetypes to follow the drill of feminine existence in patriarchal cultures.  I marvel at the smart news women on all stations in their Barbie dresses and stiletto heels.  Really?  I'd love to see drag day, where all the anchor men go into hair and make-up for the same effect.  We'd hardly know the difference.

We are souls first, manifested bodies second; yet, we're living in a culture that just focuses on the physical, and even worse, stereotypes the physical so excruciatingly narrowly it has all of us jumping for no good reason.  What if we thought more about the lessons we're here in the physical to learn, in order to continue an infinite journey?

What if, as renowned OBE pioneer, William Buhlman teaches, we need to claim spiritual independence?  How?  By trusting that we're born into the physical equipped with several safety lines to home. I consider all of dream studies a portal to organic spirituality, that includes spontaneous night dreams, lucid dreams and OBEs.

This spontaneous big dream that came to me in college preceded so many unforeseen turns in my spiritual road.  I went from culturally indoctrinated religion to paradigm bending women's spirituality to  exploration of inner space without the blinders of preconceived beliefs.

Why is Mary Howling?  The huge imbalance, injustice and under championed status of women in patriarchies all over this current world, the one that is imploding of its own greed and wrong-heartedness, is causing more and more suffering.  She's mad as hell and won't take it any more.

I'm so grateful that Lara Logan, warrior woman that she is, was able to reclaim her spirit after that horrendous waking horror.   However, this is a hate crime that shrieks of how brutal patriarchal religions are towards women.  Why weren't there women celebrating with the men? Allah wants women behind the scenes; Yahweh's often right there with him.  When will we call a spade a shovel and ban all religions that have only a male divinity?  It's not good for anybody, female or male.  The TAO teaches the yin/yang of existence and the need to achieve balance; it works.  As we exist now, the planet is threatened by the uber-patriarchal stances of warring male egomaniacs.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over, expecting different results.

In the end, it was a group of Egyptian women on the sidelines, themselves burritoed, who saved Lara when CBS official protection failed. Her story is breathtaking.  They intervened and folded her into their circle, throwing water at the attackers, mobs of men.  The mob stopped at attacking their own women in a public setting, also, some men sided with the women.  From there, Lara was delivered from her attackers with the aid of soldier intervention, though it was touch and go the whole way.  Her story is remarkable; I hope to hear it personally at the fundraiser.

In my dream, Mary is howling for what happened to her and for what happens to women subjected to patriarchal religious and legal cultural restrictions.  Egypt in 2011 might have been one extreme of the great octopatriarchalpus, but pussy grabbing is our own western manifestation; that and legislation that subjects women to unfair biological demands because it's written into male favoring, women bullying patriarchal pseudo-god dictated codes of social behavior.  As Gloria Steinem once said, "If men could have babies, abortion would be a sacrament."

My Howling Mary tells me that we must stretch our imaginations and our hearts to contain all the damage that force based, rapist ideologies have inflicted over the last 6 millennia on our world cultures.  We need to think outside of what has been considered conventional, not with our heads, as the patriarchy endorses, but with our hearts.  Beware of anyone who doesn't use the heart as a touchstone.

Let's stretch our imaginations to redirect how our waking dream on this planet plays out.  Let's think in spirit form first and recognize how arbitrary rules about female existence subject to male dominance are destroying our planet.  We're in this together.  God is not Father, is not male.  God/dess is Love.

Here is Lara's story:


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Peace and Blessings to Heather Heyer

Every time someone stands up to injustice, force, ignorance and violence, an Angel gets her wings.  What risky business standing up for loving, inclusive values can be!  I am so sorry, Heather, that your life was sacrificed to some roboton's absurd and bloodthirsty ideology.  I'm betting you're being attended now by all the loving spirit guides you need, but I am so very sorry for our loss.  I'm so proud that there are so many young people like you who are strong and smart and bold! Thank you for your courage and the message you died to uphold.

Some jerk from Ohio got into a car in Virginia, and full of blind allegiance to his hate fueled ideology, plowed into a crowd of innocent Americans exercising their full amendment rights of free speech. He murdered Heather Heyer, a proud young social justice warrior demonstrating for justice against white supremacists. What price did she pay in free America for her courage?  Is this something she or her family could have anticipated as the price of her civic altruism?  Her mom says:

I don’t want her death to be a focus for more hatred, I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.”

A dear young friend of mine posted on FB today a memory of blind racism from her childhood that chilled me to the bone.  As a Cuban-American, I know a little about ignorant projections, but I'm not dark skinned.   I've been with dark skinned friends and witnessed abysmally racist and ignorant behavior towards them.

These unenlightened, uninformed knuckleheads who behave this way have formed alliances like the one Heather counter-demonstrated against; they rule by violence, ignorance, deceit. The question is, how can they thrive in our country today? Does this represent America now?  One nation, under God...?

When did ignorance and brute force become the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm glad I knew Jesus before he got co-opted, back when what made you a Christian was giving a shit and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Good for you Heather; I'm sorry it cost you and your family so much, but I appreciate what you died to uphold.  I'll think of you, try to be braver and do more.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Reflection on Tanya's Dream in NPR Podcast

Have you ever been in love?  Researchers have isolated the chemical and neural pathways that light up our brains when we're in love; does that explain love to you?

I don't mean to diss science and research; for those who wish to take that left brain path, fine. It's always fascinating to keep up with theories and studies and scientific findings.  But when it comes to falling and being in love, I'll take the experience over the explanation.  The same is true for dreams and dreaming; nothing you can know about dreaming beats what you can do through dreaming portals.  Dreaming is a part of our existence. If each of us is individual consciousness in a physical body, my guess is that dreaming is meant to be our bridge, our life-line, our connection to Home.  Through dreaming we remember important aspects of who we are that help us live our waking life well.

I'd like to share a wonderful NPR podcast  relating to dreaming, a segment produced by Abby Wendel.   A young woman, Tanya Marquadt, shares her dream encounters with a little girl she knows to be herself, but full of joy and free of the pain of so much childhood trauma.  They consulted Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a dream researcher at Harvard Medical School who suggests using dream incubation to invite a re-union with Tanya's little dream girl she calls X.  As Robert Moss often says, help is always available (in dreams) if we ask.  We only need to focus on what we want to know, on what we feel we need, then articulate our dream request simply.  Tanya decided on "I'm ready for your message." and repeated it over to herself as she drifted to sleep.

She dreamed a wonderful encounter with X that went further in connecting her to this bright shadow dream character.  I loved hearing her story and how her dreaming is helping her heal in her waking life.  Still,  I was wishing I could share Active Dreaming's dream re-entry practice with Tanya. Abby commented on how quickly the feeling of being unconditionally loved that had been part of the dream experience, faded for Tanya in the waking.

An Active Dreaming practice is to consider the dream narrative as if it were my own, without projecting any of my thoughts as interpretations for the dreamer.  So, in my dream of Tanya's dream experience, I would know that this is an important dream that has much to teach me.  To re-enter the dream, I can lay back anytime I wish and, while wide awake, allow my imagination to explore any part in the dream I choose to enter again.  Do I want to continue dancing?  Shall I go back to that beautiful lake and sit with X some more?  Shall I put on the shoes and jacket and open the door to adventures, perhaps X comes, too?  Shall I go to the place where I felt that powerful love and let it wash over me again?  My dream is a portal to a location I can envision and to which I can return.  And this is a journey I can repeat, again and again, exploring further, understanding more to help my waking self.

Is this self delusional?  When what we call "waking reality" in our contemporary world seems so deluded, perhaps there's something to be had from understanding our individual and collective humanity a little better, using a different approach.  If I am a spiritual being, a spiritual approach matters.

Lately I've been listening to several podcasts on dreams and dreaming that propose to answer scientifically what dreams mean, what purpose they have in the survival of our illustrious human race.  This theory, that theory, all fascinating, but how do I use it?  I don't want to know about love in my head, I want it in my heart.  I don't care what the latest science-babble is on dreaming; I want to just do it, learning all about it from my very own source.

Active Dreaming isn't a theory; it's a set of practices.You can believe anything you want about dreams, even that they're meaningless, and still use the tools of AD to your own benefit, perhaps even to the benefit of those around you.

The NPR podcast reported on one or two dreaming theories; one, whose source isn't named, posits that dreams replay trauma and the brain desensitizes the dreamer so it hurts less in waking. Dreams are certainly powerful engines of healing, but I'm not sure this is what is happening in  recurring PTDS dreams.  I don't see the need to have a "theory of everything." I see this as left-brain thinking that's been elevated in patriarchal cultures to the status of "rational" and "right".  Reducing the machine to its parts might be fine for motorcycles, but human beings have shown themselves to be more than brains and bits of organs.

A popular dream question is "What does it mean?"  That might be the wrong question to ask.  I prefer; Where was I? What was I doing?  Who was I with?  Dreaming is a natural resource; Active Dreaming is a dream practice that helps anyone willing to use a more Right brain approach to satisfy their curiosity about dreams.  I've played AD games with kindergarten, primary and high school students, with adults of all ages; this approach never fails to produce results, so many aha moments connecting people to their own dream source. Learning to dream strong is a path in the spiritual revolution happening today.

Dreams help us keep, literally, an open mind.  We can be as rational as we want in waking life, dreaming existence isn't like that.  The rabbit (w)hole of the dream worlds is safe to explore when we take stock of both sides of our conscious existence, in the physical and in the spiritual.  Through dreaming, we have access to a spiritual lifeline, but we have to adjust our mental paradigms and relate to the language and culture of the dream world before we can truly benefit from observing our dreams.  Just like there's no theoretical way to know love, dreaming can only be known by dreaming.

What we experience in the dream worlds can be every bit as beneficial to our existence on this physical plane as what we experience in the waking life.  I love Active Dreaming because it focuses on direct experience of the dream world.  It honors the dreamer as the ultimate authority on her or his dream and it offers ancient practices mixed up respectfully with modern techniques to provide a toy chest of tools for dream exploration.   It's more like being in love with dreaming than studying it.