Tag: humanity

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.

 

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

A true self-portrait evolves and changes as we change and grow. Several years ago I created one and found it the other day. I decided to create a new one and see how it might be different.

Our lives are works of art that evolve as we change and grow. I’m so grateful for the adventures, both inner and outer, that have shaped my life.

What shapes your life?

Darkness Within

Darkness Within

It’s easy to see the darkness exposed in our country….politics, citizens, potential judges, appointees. So many protections and laws that make our country great are being rolled back…environmental protection, protection for children, families, women….there’s no need to list the many assaults on our way of life that appear to be happening to enrich a very small percentage of privileged individuals while the rest of us suffer. There is no denying or debating those facts.

The bothersome thing I’ve noticed is my own ability to hate. I wasn’t aware that the strong seeds of hate, planted when I was a child raised in the Deep South, were being watered by the injustices seen daily…and the hate was going out to the racists, fascists, the drunk white boys and men who get away with it, those who destroy the environment to line their pockets….the list is long so I’ll stop here and say how uncomfortable I am with the fact that how I was taught to hate by society as a child wasn’t healed completely so it’s rearing it’s very dark and ugly head.

And the truth is this….when I practice hate it fuels the evil happening to everything I hold dear. When we practice collective hate….against evil….it fuels the evil. Read that again….and then pause for a few moments.

Those of us that claim to be on a higher spiritual, moral and ethical path must examine our own hearts and keep shining the light of awareness into our darkness. How could anyone mock a woman brave enough to tell her story? How could anyone mock a physically challenged reporter? How could….how could….HOW COULD??? We RAGE! We cry out for justice. And friends….let’s be honest….we feel hate….against the haters.

We say this is a time of greater awakening, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius….a time where all will walk as brothers and sisters. And I submit this: Until we look within ourselves to examine our own hearts and minds for seeds of hatred, we are part of the problem.

I want clean air and water. I want grizzly bears to have protection. I want whales and dolphins to be protected from ship strikes and sonar tests and fishing line entanglements. I want children to be with their parents. I want non-biased, non-political supreme court justices. I want a leader that doesn’t embarrass our country with his venom and abhorrent comments on all manner of issues. I want lawmakers that care for our elderly and those that are less fortunate. I want us all to get along no matter our religion, color, or economic status.

All of those ‘wants’ are great but first I must look within myself and search not only for light, but for darkness. Don’t be afraid of the darkness….and don’t be afraid of the light….both are within. Which one will we choose to water?

Luka Bloom, Don’t Be Afraid of the Light


So….what do we do with the angst we feel? The frustration? The anger? Stay tuned….I’ll be sharing ideas soon about how to stay engaged with our best light and how to refrain from practicing hate. Put on your seatbelts….it’s gonna take us rooting out some old patterns and beliefs. Love to you all!

A Grieving Planet

A Grieving Planet

Tahlequah gave birth July 24 to a calf who only lived one half-hour. Since then, she has been carrying her baby for a week, refusing to let go. This grieving ritual is being witnessed by her pod….and the world. She’s become the focus of our collective grief that goes far beyond her baby’s death. Tahlequah is the matriarch leading us all in a planetary grief ritual.

J-Pod is starving. Not enough salmon. Orcas–endangered whales– this pod has become another reminder of the crisis in which we find ourselves.

Loggerhead Hatchling

Each of us is alive at this time to bear witness to this decline in global well-being of all life and health. Overpopulation of humans stretches resources to a breaking point coupled with reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and use of toxic chemicals…no need to review the many ways humans are failing our own life support system.

For too long we have viewed this sacred Earth as a resource to exploit. Surely we cannot be surprised at the rapid changes created by our careless behaviors.

Many of us feel helpless as we stand witness to an administration that values money and power with absolutely no regard to compassion and love–the very basic tenants of what the great masters have taught us. The empathic ones are especially suffering because we feel the intense suffering of many species, including humans.

So what can we do?

I suggest that instead of turning away from our pain and grief we join Tahlequah as she mourns. Shed tears for her loss, the loss of salmon that feed her pod, pollutants they carry in their bodies, health of humans in decline, separation of children from families, polar bears loss of vital hunting ice, penguins loss of snow, sea turtles and manatees dying of toxic red tide, out-of-control forest fires destroying many areas of the planet, plastic pollution….

Increase practices that help maintain balance….walks in nature, yoga, prayer, meditation, drumming, singing, dancing, creating art.

Join with others to strengthen these efforts. Connecting with others of like-mind and intention is a powerful antidote to the feeling of helplessness. For example, the drum circle that meets at my home has increased our meeting frequency to help us through this challenging time.

Stop watching the news and read it from a trusted source (such as NPR). Unplug from social media one day a week (or more). Refrain from practicing hate and stop giving your energy to those in power who thrive on attention…any kind of attention.

When you feel despair at the state of the world remember there are others who feel it, too. There are others whose hearts are breaking with sadness over Tahlequah’s loss and cry when they see an injured bird or a lost dog or cat. Or who mourn the loss of species, decline in ocean health….Reach out to others. Join together in compassion and love. Work together.

Celebrate beauty! Let us be mindful of this amazing, profound beauty still abounding even as species die and other landscapes crumble. Rejoicing in what is still beautiful cultivates appreciation that ripples outward from your heart and mind to others. Share beauty on social media and express it through art, writing, dancing, speaking…let us help each other remember.

Mostly importantly, please remember you are not alone in your grief and sadness…and outrage. As we cultivate unity and the qualities of compassion and love I suspect the shifts we have longed for will emerge. Every other way has failed….perhaps its time to give peace a chance*…. and love….and compassion. The reign of anger and hatred is over only when we choose something different.

*John Lennon….Give Peace a Chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

 

The Face of What’s Happening

The Face of What’s Happening

Do you dare look? Can you bear the grief? Sea turtle nearly decapitated by propeller. Children ripped from their parents. Whales dead full of plastic. This takes courage friends. To deny our grief is to make ourselves sick. The planet is suffering. All life is suffering. So what can we do?

The face of suffering is evident every day whether we watch the news or read it or listen on the radio. From every direction we are made aware of the destruction. Perhaps our natural inclination is to look away, but not because we don’t care. Perhaps, as Joanna Macy says, it’s because we don’t know what to do with our grief and we feel overwhelmed.

Last night I dreamed I was helping a sea turtle whose throat had been slit. This morning, on sea turtle nest patrol, I came upon a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle whose neck had been nearly severed from an apparent propeller strike. Even in my dreams they reach out asking for help. And so today, I share this turtle’s story and use it to illustrate the bigger story happening in the world and with every one of us.

So how can we look upon the face of suffering and death and survive the grief? If you are paying attention, you are probably sad and maybe even depressed. And I’m guessing you feel grief. The answer is to feel it. Have the courage to look and feel the emotions and then allow them to move out of your beautiful heart into the world. Don’t be afraid of the grief and likewise, don’t be afraid of your own depth of caring, love and compassion.

I sat beside the turtle’s body after patrol was done. I sang her a song and thanked her for bringing such beauty into the world. The odor of rotting flesh covered my hands and the wind blew her death smell over me as I wept openly. Not just for her passing but for the opportunity to love. What an amazing time to be alive, when every person’s love and compassion is needed so very much.

Loggerhead Hatchling

If you think you can’t make a difference, or the pain of what’s happening is simply too much to bear, allow the strength of that which you love pour through you as grace. That’s what Joanna Macy reminded our on-line group last week. Breathe in the strength of the turtle species that have survived for so long and let that strength pour through as grace to move out through your heart into the world….or the whales….or children removed from parents….or whatever it is that you love deeply. Work with your grief and let it motivate you to love deeper and fuller.

And let me know if you want to work on this together. Thanks to training with Joanna years ago in a week-long retreat, I have some ideas as to how we can come together and stay sane as the chaos of uncertainty shakes us. Always happy to bring a group together to further more love, compassion and grace in this world. (Email Simone)