Having a Physical Moment…

It’s popular to prescribe seeing oneself not as a human having a spiritual moment, but as a spirit having a human moment.  While this is true, it’s not enough to say “human” without insisting on including sensation.   To be incarnated as a human  is to be entrusted not only with a brain and a heart, but also with a physical body.  Of the many realities we experience, this may be the only physical reality.  Is it our inexperience with the physical that so often leads to our mistrust and denial of our physicality?  Ascetics deny it by declaring it “illusion” and by avoiding the sensations that affirm it.  Many see it as a separation from spirit, yet spirit is fully here with us in our “human moment” whenever we choose to notice.

When we locate ourselves exclusively in the head and heart we forget how very wonderful it is to be in the physical, what a joy to be able to partake of the sensations of this world.  Of course that includes sex , but there is so much more!  The scent of the evening breeze, the soft prickle of grass, the shock then the gradual numbing of feet wading in a cold river, the shushing of the leaves as the wind dances through them – there is so very, very much to experience here, so much that can bring a wild joy to the heart.

Sensation is a very particular way of sidestepping the tyranny of the brain; that is why sex has been a sacrament and a path in so many religious traditions, and demonized in those that deny personal agency when connecting with the divine.  Personal connection with the divine is unruly, uncontrollable.  It encourages individuals to seek their own path instead of following rules and books of instruction.  It is dangerous to established religions that seek a governing role in lives.

We like to pretend that connecting to the divine means being without appetite, being untouched by the physical.  It’s a philosophy well suited to dividing the self against the self, to establishing a war within that can be mirrored in an external war against the ‘other,’  yet there is nothing so peaceful, so blissful as a human perfectly satisfied in her/his physicality.

A Guide instead of a Guru…

The age of the guru is over. There is something new in the air, something containing the mixed flavors of Learning, Being, Sharing and Wisdom.

Once learning was the province of children and Masters. That power and logical imbalance continued even when the learners were as often adults as children, but now there is a distinct whiff of something new, something that requires us to set ego aside and move forward together.

When you learn in the company of adults there are experts, but no masters. We accept that each of us has talents and experiences that carry us in different directions, and that we are entitled to respect in our own fields. We cede our authority to the resident expert and offer respect, but not fealty. We do not expect to bury our own experiences or rational and intuitive capabilities, though we may agree to set them aside for a short period while we learn the new language, the new nomenclature of the area we have chosen to explore.

This is an exciting way to learn! With a guide instead of a guru, we race ahead much faster and go more deeply. We free all of our joyousness and let it propel us forward, instead of letting ourselves become mired in hierarchy.

As in all times of change, different models will dominate in different areas and among different populations, but the time is ripe for spiritual learning to fully commit to this path.

Being a ‘Hollow Bone’

There are many contradictions when you live from within a shamanic path. Energy is used to heal, but it is not our energy we use. Spirit passes through us, leaving a gift of energy as it passes.  Experiencing exhaustion, which is not uncommon, is an indication that perhaps one’s ego may still be involved and one has not properly ‘stepped aside.’

A popular healers’ term is ‘hollow bone’ and it is used to talk about the fact that we do not use our own energy to do healings, but allow our Angels, Guides and Power Animals to work through us using their own. The ‘hollowness’ is about pushing ego aside to make room to work, pushing the head aside: this work is done from the heart, not the head.

I don’t like the term ‘hollow bone’ for several reasons, but the most important is that we are not seeking to create a rigid hollow structure inside of us as connoted by the word “bone.” It is a container, but the sides are not rigid. As we grow in this work, as we are able to bring in and use more and more energy, our container becomes stronger and expands, just as a healthy artery does when blood pulses through.

Learning from Fasting

Maintaining a weekly 24 hour fast is helping me learn to think about things differently.

A fast doesn’t begin when you’re hungry, it begins with the end of a meal. Mine never begin at an exact time, but after breakfast is finished. When my meal is complete I look at my watch and say, “yes, it starts now.”

It doesn’t start when my will power is lowest, but when I’m sated. I manipulate the timing so that the most difficult hours happen when I’m asleep. There is room both for my strengths and my weaknesses in this pattern.

My body has become accustomed to these weekly fasts, and so have I. I know to drink lots of water, eliminate or minimize sugar the day before. I feel “snackish” more than I feel real hunger. That’s interesting to me, and shows me how my body sends signals to my brain long before my body is actually hungry. In an environment where each meal takes a couple of hours to prepare, it makes sense. In our world of easy food access, it permits over-eating. My impulses to EAT are very strong, very emotional: in the beginning they carried a sort of desperate energy, and a feeling of despair when I knew I wouldn’t be eating for a long time yet.

Now, knowing them so intimately, I am less pushed by the emotion, I find it easier to notice and then just let it go.

During the rest of the week I’ve become more indifferent to meals – if I miss one, I know that it’s no big deal – only a few hours, after all, not 24!

Today, as I finish my comforting pre-fast breakfast and check my watch I wonder what other habits might be more easily controlled using some of the same practices and techniques that I’ve learned from fasting?

Return of Mermaid Girl


Mermaid Girl

Our dreams can help us heal by reconnecting us with aspects of ourselves that we have suppressed, or lost touch with. Below, I share a dream flow experience that was deeply healing for me personally. In traditional Shamanic terms, this is called a soul retrieval journey:

Dream Flow Journey

I lie in my bath, and I daydream about the power of trees in dream journeys. Suddenly, I can see my favorite tree from childhood – the one where I spent hours perched on a branch reading Nancy Drew and King Arthur stories.

In my mind, I go back to that tree on the edge of the cow pasture; I can feel the rough bark and the curve of the branch under me. I imagine myself shrinking and climbing down its roots into the earth. I spiral down the main root in my mind – seeing the dark rich soil. I go further and further down until I find myself in a huge cavern with a slow moving underground river Flowing by.

I know I have traveled this route before – it all looks so familiar. I jump into the water. I wonder about a guide and imagine dolphins – no manatees swimming with me, guiding me. we swim downstream through a series of 3 pools, each a different color.

In the last pool, I see my 7 year old self sitting on the beach with our old dachshund under her arm. I get out of the water crying, I am so happy to see her – she is mermaid girl – the part of me that KNEW she was destined to grow gills and swim away. And so she did.

I ask her to come back with me, telling her how much my life has changed. She is reluctant at first to return to this reality. She didn’t like this place much! We finally agree that she will come back and be my treasure hunter part; she will hunt for stories that I can use in my writing and in my classes. It is the perfect job for her – she adores books; myths and stories especially.

Mermaid girl and I merge energetically. I am ecstatic. I jump back in the water and swim with the manatees up through the pools to the cavern. I climb up the tree roots and fly home on eagle.

Fasting

I am terrified of fasting.  I’m sure that I will have horrible headaches, nausea, cravings.

Yet I have chosen to fulfill my dream to do a Vision Quest, and the one I’ve chosen to join offers me me the opportunity to Quest, and to fast, for 3 days.

It sounds beautifully organized.  We will each have a whistle for emergencies, and every day we will walk over to a common spot in our pod of Questers and wrap a piece of colored yarn around a stick to show that all is well, pick up our new container of water and go back to our private site.  I suppose it’s possible, in theory, to arrive at the same time as another Quester, and interrupt our solitude, but it’s unlikely and as none of us will want that, I’m sure we will linger at a distance if such a coincidence occurs.

The idea of the fast, however, looms so large in my mind that I can scarcely think of anything else.

I choose to start my preparation 10 weeks in advance, and for the next few weeks I will ease up on a 24 hour fast.  This week I start with 12 hours, next week will be 14, after that 16, and so on.  When I arrive at 24 I will stop increasing the length until it is time for the real event.

I’m told the first 24 hours is the hardest.

A Talk Amongst Friends

This web site grew out of friendship.  We serendipitously sat together at a dream teacher training back in 2013, and instantly connected. Each day after class, we found ourselves hanging out together, talking for hours. We talked about dreaming and healing, we shared what we love and what we fear; we talked about nothing and everything all at once. When the dream training ended, we could not stand for our close connection to end. So we decided to continue our long rambling talks by phone.  We are geographically challenged, so face to face meetings happen rarely. But oh how we treasure our weekly talks!

This blog is a way for us to “discuss” and share our views on life and healing with each other, and with you. We hope you enjoy the time you spend here.