Tag Archive | story

What is real?

View from deck 042417Is it real, this world? It is for me, but what if this abundant magnificence that I enjoy every day were, in a few thousand years, to disappear? And all that was left were stories of vast green tangled-woods where birds sing and night creatures roam; would that make what I have known any less real simply because no one can any longer imagine that this beauty could have been possible? So what about our own myths and legends. Are their stories real? Does it matter? Or does it only matter that we embrace the tales as portals into growth, self-realization, and love on all scales, so that the wonders of what-once-was can be manifest again?

My favorite aspect of Avalon Within: a sacred journey of myth, mystery, and inner wisdom is that the author Jhenah Telyndru offers to readers her perceptions of the Arthurian legends of Avalon entwined with the myths of Celtic Goddesses and energizes them through our modern understanding of archetypes. We are invited to explore not only what Avalon means to the author but to dive into uncovering what it might mean to each of us. How do we understand “Avalon within”?

IMG_0354Telyndru presents Avalon’s history in the context of Glastonbury and, while admitting we have no proof of this physical location might have been that of the ancient Avalon, she offers a possibility that, “Fabricated or authentic, there is an energetic connection to Avalon that overlays the town of Glastonbury like an ancient mist, constructed over time and through the workings of the collective unconscious.” I certainly don’t know whether I believe that Glastonbury was once the legendary Avalon, but that doesn’t really matter to me. Because, for me, Avalon is within…within me and within our imaginations and it is there the power for transformation and self-realization lies; we can recreate Avalon.

Telyndru goes on to say: “Firmly rooted in the archetypal realm, Avalon can be accessed through focused and disciplined inner questing.” And, while she provides many “tools” for “journeying to the spiritual landscape of ancient Avalon,” Telyndru also states that “there are as many ways of knowing as there are portals.” I’m grateful for her openness and acceptance that, although she has discovered the symbols and portals that resonate most strongly for her (and created her own Avalonian Tradition around them), and which she shares with all of us, she also realizes that many other ways of access are available to each of us.

Was Avalon real? Can we re-imagine a non-patriarchal version–a place of healing and wonder–into our world?

Trees and Dreams and Frames

MaineTreeRootsTrailReflections on songs and trees, dreams and frames …

I love this phrase in one of Carrie Newcomer’s songs: “I am the fool whose life’s been spent // between what’s said and what is meant.” I find it honest and humbling; that as a writer (or even simply in my vocal communications with others) I am seeking to convey the authentic me and, through that process of honesty, to recognize the other and honor their journey as well as my own. Whether the Other is human or more-than-human matters not; all are equal, vital, precious, for we all rely upon each other for  creating a vibrant — or tarnished — whole. The words can be perceived either as real reference or as metaphor, speaking of people or spirit, of Muse or Divine; they and we are interchangeable, depending upon each moment. A dream or a real moment?

When Newcomer sings the line, “There is a tree beyond this world // in whose ancient roots a song is curled,” I’m captivated by a deep knowing of this tree and song/story as both tangible and etheric. From the mythic Tree of Life beyond this world to the multiplicity of forest and woods harboring trees of mystery and diverse magnificence, that each tree has the potential to become ancient within its lifetime and containing the generational wisdom of all those who grew before it. When I next walk among the trees, will I see all the songs/stories nestled among the roots? Will they be whispering to me of what they’ve witnessed and experienced, the conversations they’ve heard of secrets because no one thought anyone was listening? Imagine if our world does exist upon an energetic template and that the “other world” is here in every moment? Imagine the energy flowing sweetly into feet, spine, heart as we hear the song of the universe?

Old dreams may not be meant to come true — perhaps they fulfilled their purpose by being unmet. Clinging to old dreams — the past is passed — doesn’t allow new ones to manifest. I write about old dreams, setting them free through stories, and thereby further my healing through knowing them on a deeper, higher level. People change; we all do, even if we resist seeing our change, because nothing remains the same. That’s a gift of hindsight. The one who desired the old dream is gone. Who is she now? Maybe parts of the dream remain the same, just as the innate nature of the person remains, but the composition has grown richer. It is a powerful experience to observe this, albeit scary at times.

The sand has shifted beneath us and as we rub the grit from the corners of our eyes, waking to the new day, our vision clears and our song is a fraction different, the breeze dances upon our skin with a fresh rhythm, and the taste of the orange peeking over the horizon is sweet again.

I slow down, ease up in chasing both day-dreams and night-dreams, opening instead like a flower that trusts this moment, knowing the dreams will reveal themselves to me when I cup my hands invitingly to catch them when they fall like mist-become-dew on delicate petals.

Being present does not necessarily mean one is to ignore the past or future but to be grateful for special days of remembrance and trust in plans for tomorrow. In another song of Newcomer’s, she sings to “frame my life by before and after.” Yet the frame is permeable and can be replaced or changed by the healing of our hearts so that what was tarnished is gleaming, what was chipped is mended, what was burnt is sanded and painted, what was deeply damaged is replaced with a new fragment from the gift of gratitude and forgiveness. We gather what has been scattered and create a charming, unique frame that shows our jagged journey to authenticity, love and wholeness … being a personal testimony to anyone who has been ashamed of their own raggedy, crooked frame.

The joy that is the background of my spiritual presence becomes more solid at the same time it is slipping away in the passage of this life, pouring through fingers that celebrate the river’s flow for what it is. The background of joy is the container for compassion and pleasure while holding just as much reverence for melancholy and death. This is the Divine within and surrounding me, holding my sadness and grief, transforming them when relevant into peace, happiness, and a little game of hopscotch being played by butterflies among the cosmos.

Stolen Memories

redlilylg

Red Lily – Australian Bush Flower

Observations of being human …

Gaia guides me, helps me value my memories and my Self — through Her kind and loving eyes I see the me of my story before memories and moments are stolen — or given away; She grounds me through the trees nodding in affirmation and recognition, and the path welcoming my footsteps, and the dogs looking to me for guidance and love. Full Circle. When I step into woods, I feel Her embrace and Her love holds my memories as sacred, as mine; my soul is nourished, our spirits are One. Gaia sees me as me. And She tells me to write into my own infinity …

If I don’t make the effort to tuck away my treasures, the essence of each moment’s quenching of thirst, the healing well, can be drained by those who presume to know what I meant … they steal the memory and put their own spin on it and I wonder if I’m crazy — ! Did I recall a fantasy, a story created in my mind or was it real?

To write is my way of putting a lid* on the memory, to wrap it up with a ribbon so that I can say: this is what I felt, thought, sensed, knew. No matter what anyone else may say or think, the memory has become real — it is my memory, not someone else’s.

I have barely any memories of childhood, of being part of my family’s life, of my socially active early twenty-something years — all the people around me sucked my memories away and made them their own, and I wasn’t quick enough or mature enough to realize I needed to write it down, that I needed to be the scribe of my own life or it would appear that I was merely a footnote, an addition, an accessory to someone else’s life and memories. My wispy memories are of a solitary child playing in the barn with cats, of watching roly-polies for what seemed like hours, of twirling alone on the green grass in an old square dance dress until, dizzy, I drop to the ground in my Gypsy fantasy.

Later, the longer I lived alone, the more memories I have retained, through writing in my journal and scripting the story in my mind — consciously pausing to write my story, my internal response to a situation, before someone snatched it away and said “no, you aren’t remembering right — it happened this way.” The space, a pause, a few moments of solitude and stillness are needed to set my memories firm, to establish their home in me.

They didn’t intend to steal my memories, or my innocence, or my identity. They simply assimilated the events into their own story — like The Blob in that old horror movie — and I disappeared, became a mass of bone and flesh without a sense of Self. And I do own my part in giving my Self away. But who was I if my memories weren’t there? Most people set such store by the importance of past — of memory — and my past was someone else’s footnote.

Only a discipline – writing – within solitude’s grace, the solitude I again came to know as my long lost identifier in a deeply rooted core of being, only then were my recent and new memories allowed to remain with me — they weren’t stolen away by good intentions of control or a foreign persona of deception.

Write, write it down, write everything down before someone can abscond with my experiences and create their own version of my story, my life. I hear it revised and rewritten whenever I visit family, so hard to hold onto it. Who I am disappears into someone else’s memory of who I was and my young nieces don’t see or know me — they only know the person I was supposed to be or the me who disappointed authority. I disappear into someone else’s memory — I don’t recognize that person they talk about, that me in their memories. But since my memories of the early years are gone, I cannot contradict, I can only shrink a little further into the bubble of my dimming aura, contract in so that no more memories are extracted. If I don’t speak, my voice cannot be stolen. Write it down; become the story in the pages, preserved a little while longer than would happen if the fire blazing through vibrant personalities made me disintegrate.

Now in my fifth decade, when I am with other people, silence preserves my voice from being distorted … I listen, feel, think, and then later write into wholeness of Being. Not to be chained by ego, but to recover and know my own soul in the world.

Are there other people with stolen memories?

lilypondmaine

Lily Pad Pond in Maine

Without abundant water and earth, is it possible I fear the desert fire and air will try to steal my memory — my identity — if I let go of my resistance to its intensity? I nearly lost it once in the desert already …

The desert is another face of Gaia. I’ve always trusted Her loving presence. Maybe it’s time to have faith that even in Her most fierce form — the Fiery Desert — She will keep me growing, safe, whole. She has nurtured as the North Woods, She has inspired as the Rocky Mountains — what is Her gift to me as the Sonoran Desert? She’s never stolen my memory before, why would She do it now? Unless … would She do it to teach me that I am more than my memory?

_______________

*The portal for the above was Emily Dickinson’s poem (#1266), drawn at random:

When Memory is full

Put on the perfect Lid — 

This Morning’s finest syllable

Presumptuous Evening said — 

lilypadroomcave

Lily Pad Room, Onondaga Cave, Missouri

I have also been reading When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams, and I know her essays influenced my direction toward contemplation of voice.

Deep Listening, Deep Seeing

DesertDawnSky081114Rainstorm! Thunder! Lightening!

Across the night sky my heart was beating and I heard it in Her voice at play among the clouds in our union. My body in bed relaxed into the moments; whisked away to the inky infinite I was at peace, serenity of mind and body attuned to the symphony held among the stars tossing themselves across the expanse as they danced in a lacy play of cosmological badminton.

A breezy, cool 70 degrees welcomed me on an early walk as the clouds created a soft batting above and I could look directly at the dawning sun — we beamed at each other while the hills were a splendor of rust and emerald, rock and plant. In the opposite distance, the western horizon was blinking itself awake with half-closed eyes in wrinkled pink and violet. 

The air was, and is still, heavy with suspended silken water that absorbs into my skin and, deeper, into my cells — I am fluid, flexible, bending like the slender hop seed branches. The Santa Cruz River is flowing, there are puddles in the Sonoran Desert, and I am full in our Oneness — a well-spring opened.

Solitary, I sit outside sipping chai — no dogs are with me for, being a weekend, they would bark at any noise in the neighborhood. This is part of my new practice of growing a deeper silence: a few moments of only background noise so that the space around me heals, my aura can feel itself gently pulsing, and I can feel me — alone. To grow, breathe, Be in a state of solitude and learn to relish this quiet separation that mysteriously creates total union with all life. A solitary bee is buzzing near my head, off on its own private adventure this morning while a bird flies overhead, cawing — not a crow, a gray bird who seems a little frantic, searching.

I didn’t even hold my usual indoor sadhana … this moment called for me to be in the outdoors, sitting, listening, Being. The thickened air holds scents more firmly and I know the plenitude of dogs in the area by smell as well as sound, one sense that normally doesn’t alert me to their presence since the usual aridness desiccates droppings rapidly. 

I lightly brush the soles of my feet upon the still-damp sandstone, feeling its softness, and wonder how far it traveled to be here; does it miss its first home? The sandstone — sandpaper-like against the calluses on my feet — breathes, I can imagine the space between the particles where the granules are splashing in puddles like happy grubby children and a subtle melody, a lullaby, whispers itself into existence unheard except by otherly realms found in fables. While walking earlier, my husband pointed out a rock formation upon a nearby hill — a giant turtle rock. The hills are a bounty of shapes and sizes; a little imagination goes a long way. 

My husband rescued (with permission) abandoned rocks from the shelves of the basement at his office, and they are excited to be out in the elements again, once more soaking up the rain and reflecting the sun and feeling the wind whip around their jagged faces. Liberation! 

RockFaceA rock face guards the agave, his solemn expression reminding me of Easter Island giants or totem pole alchemists shapeshifting. His chin is jade green, his lip line thin and stoic beneath a recessed granite nose, broad and sensing all that goes on around him. Green appears painted around deep-set eyes beneath his broad gray brow. His inner cheeks are rusty brown from too much sun as he holds the space around him in safety. What are the minerals called that he reveals in such solid presence?

I had felt the coyotes watching us during our morning walk; they were safely hidden among the wild buffer zone of mesquite and palo verde and cholla. Motionless, they were undetectable by weak human eyes so I only knew them through feeling their eyes upon us, that prickle on the back of the neck; one that could have been a vibration of past presence, who knows for sure. It doesn’t matter because at least I know they are out there, still stalking, breathing, Being. If I were to stand barefoot on the sand atop the packed earthen ‘concrete’ — the hard caliche of the desert floor — could I feel their paws trotting miles away? Does the dense earth of desert pavement carry their vibrations like the stampede of buffalo were heard miles away by placing one’s ear next to the plains grasses on ground that held the sounds of all life, all movement, back to the beginning of time? 

Is Gaia’s body a chamber of resonance across time and space? We talk of a Field “out there” somewhere, but what about the Field of pure awareness that holds the recordings of all manifest form archived within Her veins, cells, tissue and organs? 

Do our rescued rocks, now reconnected with the skin of Mother Earth, speak of their adventures and send their memories into the chamber of knowledge beneath my feet? 

3RocksEach rock has its own forgotten story of excavation, transport, experimentation, and entombment. A story that is a mere blink, but each one unique. In the palest of sage green coloring, a mere blush of elegant residue, the pyramid stone casts healing rays around the yard, its edges rough yet kind, an ancient symbol of masculine principle transformed into healing the wounds of patriarchal ignorance. Three huge guardians, each of different origin, bump shoulders in a corner: green, brown, gray … they anchor us here, determination and courage in their unearthed exposure reminding me that home is wherever I desire it to be, it’s where love is. To go visiting for nourishment and expansion is wonderful … but my human-rock, my Beloved, is here. He, like the boulders, anchors me in safety wherever I am. 

This is our story … rain, desert, rocks … all Beings.

Possibility

Surprise LiliesGaia’s infinite wisdom and essence permeates all life and universe vast without limitation for She is not a Being, a construct, an energy — She is All of these and None of these — She is form and non-form, in me and part of me, me within Her and Her outside of me flowing as the ultimate Source. She is beyond comprehension and what we glimpse of Her are facets of Her Grace, thus, the possibility of my grace, our grace.

“Know Thyself.” ~ earnest advice inscribed at the Oracle of Delphi, but a far more ancient concept.

“If that which you seek, you find not within, you will never find it without.” ~ from Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente

That which is sought, the “it” is: Self, peace, love, divinity …

Through Jung and his perspectives on psychology … To be seeking Grace and the Soul in Life, in Living. Not to be trapped in the past or stuck in reviewing the past, but rather using it consciously as a tool, a mirror into revealing sacred Self and Source. There is a balance to be discovered within this exploration, one that allows peace and love to flow … if these energies aren’t becoming stronger during the times of non-reflection, then the Self-discovery is stagnant and stuck in the ego-woes of former moments. The psychological quest is meant to be a healing process; if one is not feeling the healing seeping in like a transfusion of a fresh, clean, pure blood from the heart of Gaia … then one must review where one has gone off the healing path. Jungian psychology supports the process as both: a healing journey and a spiritual journey.

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