Tag: healing

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

Love Letter to Mother Earth

I love you baby bald eagle whose soon-to-be magnificent head now peers shakily over the edge of that giant nest looking out into the great vastness of this wonderful world.

I love you gnarled live oak tree whose branches, though twisted and broken, still reach for the heavens.

I love you magnificent Mind of Humpback Whales that gazed into my soul through one of your embodied masters.

I love you matriarch of the spotted dolphin tribe who befriended me, claimed me as a daughter and encouraged me to swim hard to keep up with the pod.

I love you slithering baby cottonmouth who warned me kindly to stay away and give a wide berth to your infinite bigness.

I love you Appalachian Mountains whose strength reminds me of the earth within my bones.

I love you Atlantic wave that telepathically warned me before arriving and slamming onto rocks that you were coming…you gave me time…to climb, to live, to celebrate life and Ireland every day.

I love you wild wind that tries to push my bicycle over as I pedal…you crazy wind that brings out curses, laughter, shrieks and childlike joy.

I love you shimmering stars that kissed my mind as I lay on the edge of Ireland feeling the thundering roar of waves through rocky cliff.

I love you ancient stones circled at Castlerigg that took me to an ancient time of initiation into the Blue Snake Clan.

I love you misty, fishy whale breath that drifted over salt water in moonlight and reminded me who I am.

I love you Ocean whose deep indigo draws me deeper and deeper into Communion.

I love you Mother Earth as my heart breaks more each day at what your human children do to you and all life upon you.

Thank you.

 

Wild and Whole

Wild and Whole

Late this afternoon Buddy and I went for a walk in the woods of the state park near where we live. It was a survival move. A passive aggressive man decided to unload on me earlier. And you know, my wild women sisters, when a passive aggressive man starts pointing fingers at us, he’s struggling with taking responsibility for his own mess. So we have to take care of ourselves and get back to the wild places in nature that can reflect the purity of the wild places within us.

On the way to our regular walking trail I had a dark, familiar energy arise that felt very self-abusive. I hadn’t felt that way in a while so I immediately paid attention and it brought amazing clarity as I tugged at it.

When people wish to control others but wish to be nice about it, they twist and turn their words to try and pry under our boundaries. If they can just plant a tiny seed of their passive aggression within us, we take it from there and turn the knife ourselves. I saw clearly today how that works energetically. They know they cannot be outright aggressive but if they are passively aggressive….well, then their work is simple….that is until they meet a wild woman.

Today, as we walked the trails and watched wild deer watching us, I also looked inward and saw how I used to allow other’s passive aggression to work its way quietly into me and rattle me, make me doubt myself, make me hate parts of myself, and make me not want to even exist, so intense was the pain. I think women are especially prone to do this as we allow ourselves to become domesticated and controlled by receiving ‘silent’ aggression and then using it to destroy ourselves.

Why? To be loved….to have security….to have attention…to feel safe….to be noticed….to advance our careers…to not have to deal with our own wounds…the list is endless but perhaps the saddest of all is we are willing to take in another’s passive aggression because we believe that’s all we deserve.

Later today, in meditation, I sat with this and realized it’s a chronic problem women have faced for how long?…from the beginning? Passive aggressiveness is a lazy person’s way to get what they want–control. And the need to control is based in fear. The insidious part is that we destroy ourselves….yes, sisters. We do it to ourselves by taking that tiny little seed of someone else’s quiet aggression and become the assassin. We are the hired hit-man for our own execution.

We have been conditioned and domesticated to the point that we are not even aware it’s happening. We just gradually know that we feel less engaged, more depressed, sadder and our self-talk becomes darker and more abusive. We lose friendship with ourselves and rightly so. Who wants to be friends with a bully?

After a while we begin to think we are crazy, wrong, at fault. We doubt the truth. We doubt our truth because we have swallowed the bitter seed of passive aggression and turned against ourselves. When we do this, we lose the essence of ourselves. We lose that beautiful, wild, free, amazing woman. We give our power to the aggressor and become depleted.

As I connected with that strong, powerful wild woman within me, she was able to help me see that this isn’t an isolated case of one woman struggling to keep her power. No, my sisters, this is a global issue women deal with all over the planet. It’s in families, the workplace, politics, churches, schools…everywhere.

Aggression is masculine energy warped and mutated and it can come from anyone. In my particular life it has come mostly from men, thus the reference to males. But the process is the same for anyone who uses aggression or receives it. It’s a dance of power.

Perhaps the idea of passive aggression is unfamiliar with some readers. Think of a person writing an inflammatory letter where they are subversively threatening you and then at the end writing God Bless…but you know that what they really mean is F#%k You! When that happened today I burst out laughing. I know what you really mean mister. I hear you loud and clear. Now hear this…you can’t have my power. You can’t control me with your ‘polite’ aggression.

Dear sisters….and brothers. Let us stop the nonsense of aggression and take responsibility for our own lives so we don’t have to try and conquer or steal others power so we don’t feel afraid. And women….wild women…take the time to notice if you allow other’s seeds of ‘polite’ aggression to become the method you use to abdicate your beautiful, shiny, fierce power…your life force.

If you are blaming anyone else for your misery it’s time to take a walk in the woods, on the wild side of yourself, and take full responsibility for your life…whether you are the aggressor or the willing recipient of ‘polite’ aggression. We heal our lives when we say, NO MORE! to any power struggles and live fully in our own, beautiful, wild nature.

I return to nature to re-charge, to reconnect with myself. I am a part of nature. We are nature. I always feel better in the woods or underwater, but especially need to connect with the pure essence of wildness when facing abusive human interactions–whether coming from another person or I am perpetrating them on myself.

 

Brick By Brick

Brick By Brick

Even in the thick woods the fiery sunset illuminated the sky with intense color. I paused and listened to birds singing their last songs of the day and in those soft notes felt the hush of twilight surround me. My dog Buddy gazed into trees in search of squirrels and in that momentary stillness appreciation grew for the small strip of woods that have been so healing in the last few weeks.

Several weeks ago Buddy and I were walking and ended up at the trail entrance. I had never walked the trail…didn’t know it was there…after nearly 7 years of living here. I stopped, fearful to move forward. It surprised me, this fear of a woodland path. But I remembered that when I was in Asheville a couple months ago I drove to a familiar trail and began walking. That same fear gripped me and I was surprised then as well. What the heck?

I am a cave diver, a solo traveler. I spend most of my time alone so what’s with the fear? Over the following weeks I tugged on that question, gently though. I allowed it to play in my mind–a loose feather floating on currents of thought.

What has happened to me? I don’t recognize who I have become.

The answers kept pointing toward fear. I felt myself growing smaller and my world growing smaller as well due to fear. But it wasn’t new fear…these are the fears buried from long ago. Aware that major changes were coming in my life, all the old programming began to be activated. It was like, ‘Oh, she’s getting ready to make a big change…let’s show up NOW!’

Many months of deep inner excavation work have uprooted many fears which needed to be illuminated so I could move into the next phase of my life with more freedom.  Even knowing that was the issue, I still couldn’t walk down that wooded path. So every day Buddy and I would walk to the path and pause. I would stand there wondering….

On the island of Inis Mor, Ireland, last year a most amazing experience unfolded. It was sunset. I stood on massive, ragged limestone rocks at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and tearfully said my goodbyes after a solo day of cycling, hiking, singing and connecting deeply with Nature. As I turned to walk back to the ancient chapel ruin and then down the hill to the inn, I felt a massive presence behind me. I paused and then walked onward. The presence followed me.

All the way through the cow pasture, past the chapel, to the gate, down the street….I felt a massive presence behind me. Two days later, on a crowded trans-Atlantic flight, the seats next to me in my row were ’empty’ and I felt the presence enter beside me and settle into the space. I wasn’t sure what to make of it but knew that something significant had happened.

When I arrived home I connected, through meditation, with this presence and felt it was a guardian and felt strongly It was with me to help fulfill a great task I was to do. It felt like a protective energy, a partner, a strong, masculine presence and a great comfort. It was as if the lush grass, gray rocks and sea combined into a palpable energy that followed me. After arriving home I didn’t know what to ‘do’ with It so presented the landscape here and let it go.

Over 18 months passed. Then…BAM! Fear of a narrow strip of woods. Who have I become? Then….the presence tapped me on the shoulder. I remembered the confidence with which I strode down the hill in Ireland and walked with the strength of the ancestors behind me. What happened to THAT woman?

So I began to invoke the presence each morning as I did my daily dedication. It was as if I had buried it there in Ireland lifetimes ago as a treasure that would be waiting when I was ready to reclaim it. As I have worked with it a profound shift has occurred within me. I feel like this big, energetic presence is a part of me that I went to find and now it’s integrating into me, helping me feel more whole.

In doing the inner excavation work I have uncovered some deeply rooted operational errors. I read a book by Edith Eger and this passage could have been one I wrote, “I have become my own jailor, telling myself, ‘No matter what you do, you will never be good enough.’ The number one demon I wrestle with is this lie. Invoking the presence…what I now think of as my Higher Self…I have gathered the strength to deal with deep-rooted beliefs such as this.

The prison I built was built of fear…that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t lovable if I was myself, that I would never succeed, couldn’t be who I was in my truest self. These fears began to overshadow me as I prepared to move forward, as I dug deep to heal on a deeper level.

The commitment to growth is the most challenging and scariest one we can make. I had been in relationships for over 30 years. Finally I took the time, after my divorce, to be by myself. Edith Eger explains the opportunity perfectly, “Divorce empties the room of other distractions, of the habitual targets of my blame and resentment, and forces me to sit alone with my feelings.” And there it is…the past six and a half years of living alone, not being involved in a relationship, have been about me finally facing the emotions…and fears…that shaped my life. It has given me the opportunity to discover not only the fears but also the way forward.

From my journal on the pilgrimage to Inis Mor…. It’s not about changing the world. It’s about opening more to the wisdom found in Nature that reminds me of cycles and seasons and persistence. I met blueberry bushes on the tops of cliffs that have grown horizontal rather than vertical, toward the sky, to avoid being stripped by wind of leaves and fruit. Their stems are deep within the multitudes of cracks in rocks and they barely lift their fruits above the ground. They take their cue from the elements and thus have found a way to thrive in conditions most plants would die from. I’ll take my cues from nature.

I see how persistence has led me to a solitary life these nearly 7 years so I could have the space to look inward and take full responsibility for my life. And so I could take the pilgrimage to the dark recesses and scary places within to discover what holds me captive, what keeps me from shining to full capacity.

Edith Egers also wrote that in the sacred present she can celebrate the choice to dismantle the prison in her mind, brick by brick and can choose to be free. A few days ago Buddy and I walked the wooded path as I envisioned removing brick after brick after brick. No longer resistant to what I’ll find within myself, I discover freedom.

Life as a Pilgrimage

Life as a Pilgrimage

For a pilgrim, the outer landscape becomes a metaphor for the Unknown inner landscape. A pilgrim travels differently, seeking a change of mind and heart, John O’Donohue reminds us. He also said, “When you bring your body out into the landscape, you’re bringing it home where it belongs.”

As I watched him speaking on a favorite DVD, I thought…My life is a pilgrimage. I remembered John saying that in the Celtic Imagination the insight is that the landscape is alive. We’re not walking into simply a location or dead space but rather we are walking in a living Universe and in this way of being, our journey becomes different…it becomes a pilgrimage.

Two years ago a friend of mine and I traveled to northern England for a pilgrimage. We called our journey that from the beginning of our planning. Our intention was set clearly and together Maria and I journeyed on a pilgrimage. We didn’t want to just visit places, we wanted to connect with the landscape–with the ancient stone circles and elemental energies of the land and water.

I located my journal from the trip and read about the first encounter with Castlerigg Stone Circle. After taking a while to connect with the energies of the place, I had a most amazing experience of shamanic journeywork. Or meditation. Or simply connection with the Spirit of the Place.

Throughout the pilgrimage, I wrote of vivid dreams, of being chased by an antlered man through the forest, of connecting deeply with the Feminine energy of Earth. At one point in our travels I drove us to Grasmere and when we parked near Wordsworth’s home, Dove Cottage, I started sobbing. There was such a powerful connection to his work and the place.

Upon returning to the USA I reflected, “Whispers of the Ancient Ones echo within me as I reflect upon the magical pilgrimage experienced with my spiritual sister and friend. Conversations with companions from a weekend retreat, that closed the journey, still weave a web of light around me. Past invasions of Romans and Saxons perhaps instilled into the Collective unconscious of the people there a maturity of spirit, a way of being civil and gentle with each other and with strangers. Every person I met was helpful, generous, supportive, kind and many had wicked and dry humor. The individual journeys and experiences will be told over time but for now, in the afterglow of it all, I feel profound gratitude that I was embraced so fully by a land and people that welcomed me as one of their own. My heart beats in sync with the land there and longs already to return and feel ancient stones vibrate and sing their wisdom and the land embrace me as a daughter. From magnificent caves to snow-covered mountaintops from villages older than the country in which I reside to stone circles dating back to 4500 BC, I traveled the path of a pilgrim–open to hearing and learning the lessons given by magical Britain.”

As I finished reading the journal, it felt as if I was back there among the stones of Castlerigg, Long Meg and Swinside circles, in Elderbush Cave, in Thor’s Cave, or walking along the trail near Keswick…or sitting at Dove Cottage weeping with joy at feeling so at home. It’s not ever simply a trip or vacation for me….it truly is as John O’Donohue says, “If you enter into the dream that brought you here and awaken its beauty in you, then the beauty will gradually awaken all around you.”

Life is a pilgrimage to me. Every day gives new opportunity to be outside in nature seeking reflection into my inner landscape…to learn more about how I can connect deeper to nature and all life and find the common threads that join us together.

Breadcrumbs and Buried Treasures

Breadcrumbs and Buried Treasures

When I was a child I instigated buried treasure hunts in the bay where my grandparents lived. A great uncle told us the story of pirates using Week’s Bay as a hiding place and pointed to a place where they used to anchor their ships. He suggested there might be a treasure hidden there in the depths of the sticky, thick, muddy bottom. Every time the tide was low enough, I’d try to recruit my brother and cousins to search for it. We never found it but the seed was planted in my subconscious….buried treasure lies hidden in the dark, sticky, thick mud.

In an effort to clear my phone of clutter, I’ve been sorting through photos and videos. There are many that need to go; however, there are some real jewels that are beautiful and quite amazing in their ability to remind me of not just of good times and travels but of the strong, wild, adventurous person I was. Yes….I said ‘was.’

Over the past year (plus some) I’ve been clearing inner debris…diving into my depths. The phone cleaning is like a final polishing compared to the deep, inner work I’ve undertaken. During this descent into my Underworld I’ve met up with all kinds of ‘fun.’ Fears, anger, resentments…did I already say fears? It’s like the lid was removed on the well-hidden psychic debris and I did a deep dive into it.

One of the gems I discovered on my phone was a letter I wrote to a workshop facilitator from Ireland. I went there for a Celtic spirituality retreat in September 2017. In the letter I described an experience I had there and as I re-read it again yesterday realized that was the entry point into the Underworld.

We were singing a Brigid chant and I saw arise within me a primitive form. It was slick, wet, dirty and it unfolded within me. It felt like this being had been cramped and shoved down into the muck for a very long time. As the day progressed I observed as the figure became progressively clear and more humanoid. Later that night I did a solo walk up to the 5000 year old fort perched atop a 700 foot cliff on the Atlantic Ocean. As I climbed in darkness of night, I could feel Her given space to breathe and freedom to unfold. The next morning She was shining and beautiful. She was a goddess. The Divine Feminine literally born within me. I had been waiting my entire life for the rebirth and worked hard for that moment.

As I walked the next day along the narrow roads of Inishmor, it was Her voice that spoke through my voice, arising to protect the planet and all Her creatures. Something had shifted within and it opened a doorway to a journey…remember Innanna? Her journey?

This experience was the invitation to go deeper, to excavate the inner realms. Not as a way to punish myself (yes, it’s been that hard) with difficulty and pain but so I can discover hidden treasures buried within the fears, resentments, anger. It’s all in there in one massive debris pile and sorting through it is the way to discover the strengths, talents, and gifts.

More sorting on my phone unearthed a video I created over two years ago within a stone circle in Northern England. It was the day after the US election. I was heartbroken as I saw clearly the suffering and darkness that would envelope our country….a lessening of human rights, an increase in social injustices, an attack on the environment and innocent wildlife. That morning I checked the news and fell to my knees in the cottage where my friend and I were staying. I sobbed with grief as the vision of what was to come unfolded. Then it felt like a push and message interrupted my spiral into despair. “Go to the circle.”

I quickly dressed in many layers as it was November and Northern England is quite cold then. My friend was asleep so I left a note and drove to Castlerigg. I was alone there for a while as it was early. I went to the main stone and fell on my knees and simply listened. Very clearly an inner voice said this: This is necessary for there is much darkness hidden. This president will take the country into the depths of hidden darkness so that light can be shone onto it and healing can take place. It will be a perilous journey but one that is necessary. Do not despair.

Foggy dawn below Castlerigg Stone Circle

Two years ago the preparation for my personal descent into the Underworld began. Nearly a year later is when She was freed from the prison of mud and since then it’s as if I’ve been in explorer mode, going where I’ve never had the courage to go before and facing the root of fear within myself.

During the middle of this intense year the Thai boys trapped in the cave were rescued in a most amazing rescue. In an odd way this gave me hope that I would survive my own descent into my inner ‘cave.’ My guide, instead of a cave diver, was a wholeness coach who offered to work with me in my journey. She has been holding the lantern as I make my way back from the long, perilous journey.

Earlier this week I released a lot of anger and resentment and found myself deep in forgiveness…of myself, of others. It felt like the hard kernel of angst had cracked. I wrote that it was like a dark sphere of polished stone cracked open and from that cracking released me to experience more space and freedom within….freedom from the gripping anger at being wronged by others, at being wronged by myself.

Inanna’s descent into the Underworld, to visit her sister, required her pass through seven gates. At each gate she had to remove one of her royal garments….her crown of heaven, breastplate, gold rings, beads, and scepter–rod of power. When she finally gets to the bottom,her sister curses her with a word of power and she dies and is hung from a hook to rot. She is rescued and arises from the Underworld three days later.

She isn’t a whole person until she becomes vulnerable before her dark sister, dies and returns to life. Inanna’s story is a template for those wishing to be whole. There is sacrifice. We leave the trappings of the ego behind–all of who we think we are must be removed. The ego is stripped of its power, which feels like death. Then we return, cleansed of ego and born into our true self.

Making the journey to the inner depths can be disorienting. All of who we think we are must be surrendered. We learn to be okay with uncertainty. The Unknown becomes a friend or fiend depending on our attitude.

The journey to wholeness isn’t easy. Often I have questioned the reason for going through such painful excavations. Years ago I was given the answer and it continues to be true and grow in power: The clearer and more open I am, the more I can truly live and feel the life force within and around me. The subtle energies of Nature can be felt clearer. The communion with wildlife is sweeter and stronger. I am a clearer channel when I clean my Underworld.

Sometimes it can feel like self-punishment…this relentless quest for wholeness. Ultimately I am simply discovering the treasure that was buried by pirates who plundered and pillaged long ago. Thankfully I have left breadcrumbs in the form of photos, videos and writing.

The following note was written by me on the title page of Matthew Fox’s book, Original Blessing. It is dated October 6, 2005:

It is an outpouring of God from my depths that comes out of me, that demands attention, and I know that surrendering to this passion to express God’s love through me is the only path that leads to happiness for me. When I allow God’s awesome beauty to move through me and express itself through my thoughts and words I am transformed. I become something greater than I imagined I could be. Writing about these transcendent experiences is my salvation. 

Until I saw myself happily talking into the camera on my phone, I didn’t realize how much I have changed…I don’t recognize who I have become. The descent has taken a heavy toll. However, I feel a growing flame of friendship with my self that is hopeful and reassuring and holds within it the promise of light-filled adventures of joy and beauty.

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.”–Mark Anthony

May we have the courage necessary to explore not only our individual darkness but our collective darkness that is now exposed for the world to see.


As I was adding photographs to the blog post an email dinged in…it was from the sweater market on Inishmor. It felt like a little pat on the shoulder from the Ancestors saying, ‘we are proud of you…we support your journey.’ That’s where the descent began….that’s where the deep healing journey kicked into overdrive.