Tag Archive | purpose

To Die

woods path 091410d

Maine Woods

I died in 2011. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s what happened. My death wasn’t physical, however, but rather psychological. This wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last. It was, however, one of the more tremendous transitions through which I journeyed, albeit somewhat unaware of its full context. I was often confused and overwhelmed, and, although I did realize that I was going through a change, and wrote about it at length through journaling and creative manuscripts, there remained pieces missing from my cognizance.

Initially upon reflection, I thought it was due entirely to the physicality of menopause, a threshold I reached relatively early. I attributed this to a decades old premonition; in my mid-twenties, I was convinced that I was to die at fifty years old. I thought through the years that this would be a physical death; this felt inexorable. As I began to approach that age, however, it seemed logical that the death I’d foreseen all those years ago was the bridge of moving through The Change. But it has been far more than that.

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Sonoran Desert, Tucson

In 2011, I had left the home I’d made (haven), the friends I’d bonded with (community), and the career I’d been slowly building from scratch (purpose) for nearly twenty years. My husband was desperate for a change in climate and job, so we moved from Maine to Tucson, Arizona. I naively thought I could simply pick up where I’d left off, re-create and re-discover what I’d left behind; it wouldn’t be easy, but I felt I could manage. That wasn’t to be and nothing seemed to be coming together. During my four years in the Sonoran Desert, I crashed and burned and tried to rise from the flames; I wrote two memoirs about those psychological traumas: Minoan Messages (about the pilgrimage I made to Crete) and Desert Fire (about my struggle to face the monster in my mind). Writing these books was very beneficial, but I still seemed to fall short in recovering peace and equilibrium.

I retreated further and further into myself, attempting to find outlets that would provide a sense of haven, community, and purpose, but my husband realized before I did that we needed to move; he recognized that while he couldn’t fix two parts of my loss, at least he could participate in finding us a place to live where we both might feel at ease. This led us to my birth-state of Missouri and a property and landscape that quickly felt like a haven, a true home. Roots and re-birth. One piece resolved.

Tree House Dream Sideways

Home in the Ozarks, Missouri

The other two pieces have been slower to emerge. Community is a slow, often awkward or even grueling process for someone like me who has a deeply introverted nature; it doesn’t manifest in the same way that it might for people who are extroverted. Another challenge is that I’m living in a part of the country where the majority of people have a completely different perspective on spirituality, politics, society, and culture than I do. I’ve been compelled to explore these antithetical views in depth, though that process nearly overwhelmed me at times. Nevertheless, I’m finally, after nearly two years, beginning to feel the presence and comfort of a loosely connected web of community.

The third piece is purpose. This aspect for me, historically, has broadly been about giving back, caregiving, and healing other beings (humans as well as animals). In the past, I took a direct route by working with friends in animal rescue, by creating a petsitting business, and by studying natural health care and transforming what I learned into a business that offered classes and consultations. I was writing books as well, another life-long interest of mine, but that was a sideline to my direct offerings. In Tucson, I was shown an indirect way to share healing and transformation: through writing.

Copperhead 042517 on front porch

Copperhead

This reflection upon direct and indirect offerings is what has shone the light upon the death of one manifestation of purpose and the rebirth of another. I am not the same person I was six years ago; that self is gone, died. Do I want to continue trying to wear that “dead and useless skin“? Not really. Like the snake, I’m ready to shed my old skin.

My mid-life purpose has now shifted into using the experiences of my past and reflections in the present to offer healing-through-writing into the future. I realize that death will come again in a new guise, but for now, I’ve been reborn.

Dream Puzzles

from: Free Jigsaw Downloads

from: Free Jigsaw Downloads

We dream and wake with eyes still closed

imagining the world outwith the night

as mysterious and foreign

speaking a language unknown … yet it isn’t.

We think we are here

for the day’s newest pleasures and pains

but perhaps we are here for the dreams at night

so we can create other worlds

where there are beings similar to all we know

yet they stand a better chance than we —

evolving as we offer them our confusion to transmogrify

like a puzzle gifted in a box.

All the pieces are contained within,

each being removes a piece at a time

to examine and smell and touch

its rough edges or smooth long side or bumpy nodules

that fit somewhere unexpected by color or preconception.

The night is our real world perhaps,

our dreams the manifestation of a window

into a parallel universe where we watch

in awe as problems are sorted

like the blue puzzle pieces here to this side

and the yellow over there

and the straight-edged here,

becoming organized —

so that the image will emerge quickly

from our sorting and prompt recognition

that perception has its value.

Dreams are the world of possibility for us

yet real for those we walk with in the dead of night,

our footsteps silent near theirs,

they imagine us watching them

and glance over a shoulder … but we are the unseen.

Words Fly Free

3flowerswrittenFields of Forever beckon but I look away from those Fields to the garden of Home and breathe in Love. Blessings push up through the compacted soil, the sweat of my beloved’s effort sweetens and amends, filtering out the stark barren expanse so that green is unearthed and new life sprung through hair-like roots, see them wriggling? Three rows of agave curve around a corner, softening the drama and edge of sharpened perception. Little green plants poke up tall, finally in a place to spread their feet wide, spread arms out long and far away. One tree in, two to go, three in a row, all around they fall in line along the wall, to share color, texture, air — breathe in and out, we share life. I stay sane, they grow safely; we are protected and encouraged.

I no longer pretend to be someone I’m not, no longer hide the shadow that is part of my skin, but neither do I let it rule and make all the decisions. Time leans into place and I know an urgency building; I keep at my work, my efforts. It’s not “hard” or “easy” — it has become purpose and something I am meant to do. I don’t know why, I just am. Perhaps it is as simple as keeping me “here on earth,” to love and be loved, to care and be cared for, to provide the arc for someone else’s rainbow purpose and journey.

E.D. #613 (randomly selected) ~ Emily Dickinson Poetry as Portals

They shut me up in Prose — 

As when a little Girl

They put me in the Closet — 

Because they liked me “still” — 

Still! Could themself have peeped

And seen my Brain — go round

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason — in the Pound

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Abolish his Captivity

And laugh — No more have I 

I, too, grew up with the hobble-phrase “children should be seen, not heard” though home was more often a boisterous household of chatter that by its very noisy nature held my tongue silent and my mind vocal, conversing with the people in books.

pathThe prose of story set me free, though, it didn’t restrict; stories were the adventure into which I happily shut myself, a diversity of experience without needing to leave my closet at all! A joyous adventure through words and worlds, where poetry was the puzzle, the mystery, where I didn’t fit. And now I welcome the freedom to write however I wish to, without limitation – ignoring “do not enter” – because the expectations are nearly invisible. I don’t care if I should write like so-and-so says, because I write like me. I could do the structure well if I chose … sometimes I do … I’d rather flow and when structure leans in the window frame, allow it to set a panel or hang a margin or plant a verb.

Me and my shadow enjoy the closet, the comfort of walls all around that allow few visitors. But prose is not a closet but a castle in the forest that tells me secrets and holds mine in its roots; my closet keeps me “still” but I like the stillness when mind expands and all the birds fly free!

When I am out, walking, connecting with the world, the voices are listening, gathering petals, leaves, acorns, twigs. I am not a captive; to be so is delusion and weakness — my open eyes see possibility to choose a path. The only captivity is imposed by Self — my mind is always free. And so I write. And even set my writing free … in blog, in book. There was a time when I wouldn’t have been able to let the letters fly; no more.

I honor the women who have been part of creating a world, a society I am blessed to live in, where my words can be let out and about. I honor, too, the women whose words are still confined to mind … by writing mine down.

And like these free words, I will travel for as long as I can — another freedom that has been hard for women to own as their right; not to be doled out like a long leash, but to sever the leather strap, the chains. My beloved partner understands that setting me free is the way to love … and why I return to him with love.

My independent spirit, though often terrified and insecure, nevertheless gets up and walks, travels, writes. I have to — when I haven’t, I felt dead. I am nothing yet everything because I am not the outer result but the inner growth that comes from earthing true in manifestation. I know myself in all my fear, pain, sorrow, insecurity, and I breathe in the courage to step into my Self. I breathe in the courage from all those women who lived before me, doing their best to live true. Little steps that might transform into courage. I keep on, believing. The stories I hear and see in my mind and heart, the ones written and unwritten, are powerful ways toward courage — encouragement.

path2For those of us who live in the caves, or at the edge of the valley where sunlight is scarce and shadow abundant, for us to know our nature as worthy and beautiful and powerful — this is a blessing. Not to be taught and restricted to be someone we aren’t but to instead harness our own ability and gifts, darkly elegant, often sensed and felt rather than seen through bright floodlight. We are the night, our actions held forth at dawn and dusk: gray, pastel, deep, soft, slow, quiet.

We are hard to picture, difficult to photograph or identify clearly…

Eternal night is a welcome friend that we hold at arm’s length, touching often, yearning for that kiss but knowing the sweetness of divine union must wait a little longer — for now, there is one more word, one more walk, one more loving embrace by an understanding physical partner. We live fully present, each moment a choice to be here now.

A Solitary Dancing Slipper

To admire the strong, the sturdy, the confident who grace the vast expanse of our experience and do not even notice when their time has past — is a wonder. Many flock to such a unique and gifted soul that does not hesitate to raise her face, high, chin tilted; tis her nature not her desire that carries her through that life, where mine is short or subtle cry escapes. She could no more be me, than I her, and if dwelling in her true nature she holds no bold proclamation of being “better than” for she bears a tremendous responsibility to all those who seek her out and beg of her essence in excessive quantities. To bee and butterfly she is Queen and her mantle could weigh heavily if she were not at ease in her own individuality, born to this, her duty, her vocation.

I do not want this, though I admire her qualities … her beauty, abundance, sweetness, praises sung to her that vibrate across the land. Look how long she has to live! Look how much she has to give! Devoted to those who bow in her presence as they redeem their devotions from her stores of energy.

Yes, she may grow earlier, stand stronger, give more, spread, be admired by all, living longer, and feel no defeat when felled in her own time. Yet, honest and praiseworthy though she may be, would be a shame if were no diversity.

singleLadySlipperSo let her spread in obvious profusion, and I in my hidden glen, a single stem of green wearing a pink slipper, shall dance unseen in dappled dim day and mellow moonlight while the air carries my essence, the rain and dew linger in my cup that allows a few in need to drink, a brief interlude I stand here swaying and then just as softly sink into the humus for another long, sweet sleep, thankful that a devotee held a chalice into which the unique essence of this moment and me could seep. I am become immortal, outside the bounds of time and space when in Gaia’s Grace, and known as both separate and One. Feel into Her — now. Do not wait, for my time, my nature, may not be the longest stranding or hardiest or sweetest, but I am vital if only to offer a solitary sip to a weary traveler in a hidden forest.

The poetry portal by Emily that led me into the above was:  Continue reading

Footprints

We are the Shakti within our own footsteps.

white sands my feetI am the toes that bend and wriggle and stretch creating a forward/backward balance upon which the solid bone can find dance and play. I am the ball under my big toe that rocks me gently into a step here and skip there, receiving the placement in my world right now yet knows the ability of shifting into a new beginning from soft sand to cool grass that tickles to hard rocks both round and jagged and my feet partake of the blessed planes of standing still and moving. I am the arch, reaching up, reminding my foot that even when I am touching the ground, I am also reaching high to the sky to feel the caress of air and the expanse of space. I am the outer edge that joins front to back in a line of continuity unbreakable when honored and accepted as the connection between disparate sensations and purpose. And I am the heel of trunk that grounds and sends my roots deep into the Soul of Gaia’s womb until our blood flows as One.

With each step, I make an impression and someone else will follow though our gazes may never meet and our fingers never graze the skin of our individuality yet here where my foot was, upon the past impression of another being, coms eventually another and another to infinity in Gaia’s cellular memory. The impression is resonant with what I was thinking and feeling, and I want to leave an impression of love and abiding joy that is deeper than the pen or words, deeper than the weight of this body-temple, deeper than the distractions that cause me or someone else a momentary pain from lack of conscious connection, deeper than the practices that carry my mind to the Infinite within and without, above and below.

It’s the vibrational footprint of love that I want to leave behind whenever I go. Loving Gaia and all beings though my personality may have been less than loving at times. Loving existence though I was fine with going to the next one. Loving each of the precious beings who chose to be with me in my home and out on the walks of inhale and exhale where impressions of others were digested and assimilated. Loving and transforming those impressions through compassion into gorgeous notes left behind upon the sky story of thought and earth story of soul and spaces of spirit that sing to the flowing rivers and lava that give generously to the sustainability of ocean and land.

Could there be a better purpose than to leave an impression of love in the footprint of one’s life?

Leaf on the Wind

The dry leaf scrapes across the sandstone reflecting the approaching death that frees us to fly more easily in the air. We release the weight of excess earth and water, and we are lifted by the slightest breeze or thought to soar and gain a different perspective from that which we knew much earlier.photo

Dangers faced by the dry leaf are going too high so that it disconnects forever, or alternatively, catching fire from the tiniest spark and being incinerated instantly to the ash of invisibility without leaving a trace behind except cellular memory to feed the next life, which is fine if that was the purpose—there is no shame in being the nutrients for another life’s expression. Just know and be aware of what is happening; don’t be asleep to possibility and who you are ensouled to be.

Fly and land, fly and land, sometimes skipping across the surface of where others have walked or grown; sometimes flying above for the broad perspective and distant travel to a land in a forest where none of the other leaves look like you and they are heavy, wet, as they contentedly decay into the thick humus of the forest floor and invite you to join them, all glumpied together until it becomes impossible to see where one ends and another begins in the “communion of subjects”*—is this your purpose? To be one with them? Look at all the good that they do! All the nourishment they provide for community diversity! Or will you thank them and lift a brittle edge to fling yourself upon the next zephyr and fly out of the forest to see the next land and spread the word of the previous community? Off you go…wheeeeee!

What’s that vast expanse of blue below? A mirror of the sky and your slender soaring form? A fish leaps out of the smooth surface and as soon as it disappears a bird dives after it to emerge an instant later swallowing the fish. The bird calls out to you a warning not to land on the liquid mirror unless you are ready to stop traveling, for the water will quickly saturate you, and you will sink to the muddy bottom to become food for the lake creatures. Are you ready? Or is there more to see and share?

Your edges are getting ragged and torn; you even have a few holes in your cloak punching through the veins of your fragile skeleton. But, no, not quite ready and so you call to the wind for a ride and climb once more…high, higher.

timberline

There is a snow-capped peak of a mauve mountain that beckons with its swirling mist of white flakes and its song serenades you like the sirens of old on oceans of past lives. There!That’s it. That’s where your purpose lies. To fall apart in bits and scatter yourself upon the edge between forest and alpine tundra, there at the timberline edge where you can see both sides and rest in the unknowing of self, at peace. Your bits will continue to scatter themselves over the entire mountain and beyond so that you are disbursed invisibly, only the most minuscule bit disintegrating and then integrating here and there.

Your essence scattered, nothing intact, gone from sight yet everywhere, back to mingle with the stardust of your origin that wasn’t one at all for there is no beginning or end, only transformation.

________________

*Thomas Berry

Inkwell of Purpose

Dreamstime Free Downloads

Dreamstime Free Downloads

A few days ago, I read the following on the Writing a Sacred Path blog:

“Even if all you do is spark a few moments of doubt in the mind of someone who thought they already had everything figured out. Even if your writing does nothing more than let in a single sliver of light. Even if your lovingly crafted words are just a quiet whisper in the reader’s ear.That whisper, combined with hundreds more, can turn into a roar.”

These few lines from the Writing Can Change the World post were the inspiration that I needed in that moment, the words reminding me of the conclusion I arrived at after my pilgrimage, after writing a memoir about that journey:

“As long as I can continue spilling feelings and thoughts like a river upon the page, then I am fulfilling my inkwell of purpose as scribe for the life-giving Creatrix of this precious birth. Through this practice, the energy of my joy and passion vibrates into the universe. I remind myself that I don’t need to know any ultimate reason, or see the results of my efforts, because the joy of my vocation is to witness and then share what I see and experience, with the framework of loving-kindness my guide, and Gaia my inspiration.”

This intention of honesty, vulnerability, and awareness is what I seek to bring into presence whenever I’m writing, whether it’s a blog post, or the novel I’m working on, or the non-fiction manuscripts that seem unending in their call to create and share.

I have no delusions of grandeur that I am or ever will be a great writer, and that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am following my heart and soul, witnessing, whispering. This is the path of writing into relationship with the Divine Feminine that is within me and out in the world.