Transition time – embracing my fierceness-vulnerability

Grargh

I am feeling my essence pulled between sharp contrasts of strength and crying helplessness. If I can embrace the whole paradox there is a new way.

For almost the entire relationship with jeff (not far off a year now) there has been uncertainty and unknown. At the moment we don’t know if he still has a job in the uk. And I don’t know if he will move here for months or if this visit is the last. Every visit has had that feeling. There is only so long you can “enjoy the possibility to learn to live-in-the-moment” before the frustration mounts and it becomes almost unbearable.

I was reading some neurology earlier to soothe myself and remember my interest in mind-body links. Nothing like some physiology to calm things. I was reading into balance of sympathetic-parasympathetics. So here’s an interesting thing — when caught between inescapable choices, between approach-avoid, past the point of fight-flight, the system resorts to a last ditch attempt to avoid pain-death : a freeze-dissociation response. You get a comforting flood of endorphins and leave your body a bit, very helpful as the lion drags your body away to eat – and there’s always the slim chance if you look dead already a hungry predator might leave you alone.

Interestingly, reptiles are quite adept at this, but in our fuzzy mammalian systems its possible for this to back fire and everything up to sudden death result. This is how voodoo-curses work : in a tribal culture where a taboo has been broken and the individual shunned with the voodoo-mans bone-rattle, often they will go and lie down and die. This isn’t just some super enhanced placebo – this is the fear and panick of being rejected/cast out of a tribal group where lack of support and community equals death. The same sudden-death phenomena has been observed in “developed” cultures with people finding themselves in seemingly “life threatening” situations : problem with our smart mad-monkey mind is we can see loss of a house/huge debts/exam failure/divorce etc as life threatening, especially if its the last straw on top of a huge steaming pile of stress.

They key word in all this is : (perceived) helplessness. It can create an obsessive/spirallying/anxiety loop that keeps you awake at night amongst other things detrimental to mental-spiritual sanity.

This feeds into how I’m doing. My feelings for Jeff have only grown, despite everything, my longing to share my truth with him has led me to reveal more and more of myself and its hitting crazy transcendtal levels now. I’ve just about to grips with existing far apart, finding a routine to talk on skype, supporting each other and feeling our connection through long distance.

Him being physically around is wonderful but also brings home the whole so-near so-far problem to light. It becomes apparent how much I want to just live with him and yet its a lie – he has a life still in a whole other country. I find myself caught between wanting to approach : deepen love, hold to him, open up more and more… And avoid : because fucking hell this will hurt if it all falls apart. There’s burst of my excessive destroyer – rip it all up in a bloody mess, including myself. My excessive submission – give up, let go, cling on to him and become nothing but his shadow. What I struggle with the most is the helplessness. It stirs things from early childhood. Back then I dissociated and then ran away emotionally.

I’d rather not do this with Jeff. Its getting hard though. The last few days I find myself disconnecting at the smallest thing, trying to pull away and numb/diminish myself. He helps me by calling me back into my body and life. All this comes at a time of huge life transitions for me in my living and work.

In between the approach-avoid there is another way though, I can feel flashes of this, like getting a gasp of air as you struggle against drowning.

It involves growing into something bigger, fuller, more rooted to life. I have to foster my connection to the earth and nature or I will never been able to hold this. I sat outdoors earlier, feet on the earth, herbal smoke and coffee. Feeling the plants, green, birds, sky.

I am also forming a new relationship with my fierce-beast creature. I’m seeing there is more to her than raging destroyer, and that her actions can be aligned with Will and with Love. She is curled at the base of my spine, she wraps around my innocence like a black dragon and she has been becoming better at protecting and guarding what is white and pure. There is something else now — she is a spark of fire, narrowed eyes of determination and a level of fuck you world that I will need if I want to take on some pretty controversial issues.

I also see in her a deep and dark old wisdom, that sees the blood and death in life. As I woke her the other morning I had a sort of dream-vision of a black dog bitch nursing puppies that were a mix of blonde and dark. I and some other human were trying to collect the runt and get it back to the teats for feeding. To try and save it. But there was an overwhelming, strong yet calm and loving feeling of – NO, this is part of life, saving runts is disrespectful somehow, sentimental human mush.

So she is bringing me something new, if I allow her to grow and integrate. If I allow too her complement – the crying child in me that falls apart quaking in fear, bringing tears that wash and heal and soothe.

I had an excellent chat-session with a life coach yesterday that helped me acknowledge in the carrot-stick scheme of things, I do well with a few good sticks. I don’t like what happens to me when life is soft and easy. To the point I will destroy/make a mess for the sake of it/or diminish myself. What I’m finding is that there is a gift in my anger and drive — turning helplessness back into fight, into direction — that has at key moments transformed and catalysed my life in profound ways.

And there are plenty of positive sticks – things about the world, about pain, about disconnected people, about crap massages, about lack of touch, about negation of the role of shadow and dark and anger and fear to create positive life – that I can use to fuel and feed that fierceness. She has grown tired of being rage-filled and directionless. And she can destroy things beyond my own self-esteem and life plans.

I’m not sure yet what this turns into. But I do know that as I talk and feel into this it creates a spark of life-horniess that stirs and thrills me. I want to run and bark and howl at the moon. Grip life fiercely and feel blood in my mouth. Love with fierceness in my soul.

writing on the wall

I’m exploring strange parts of london on an unravelling quest for osteopathy-secrets. Getting some yoghurt jars from leathermarket I first of all found a wood worker/carver who invited me into his studio and showed me the oak trees he grows from acorns.

Then I stumbled across this on the wall —

“there are dark
shadows on the
earth but its lights
are stronger in the
contrast. Some men
like bats or owls
have better eyes for
the darkness than
for the light. We
who have no such
optical powers, are
better pleased to
take our last parting
look at the visionary
companions of
many solitary hours,
when the brief
sunshine of the
world is blazing full
upon them. C.D”

Conversation between emerging Man and Woman

I was sharing excitement at my Man’s unfolding.. Right now many things are in the balance but he chooses to grow and be stronger not run and hide..

‘Wanted to share this with you. Jeff is moving from being reactive and small to embracing his mastery and direction…..Anyway am proud of him…. for seeing him fight even if it doesn’t go anywhere.
Really loving seeing the masculine in the world, in him, in you, and in mike all in different ways. And learning how to embrace my feminine side in a deeper richer way’

Rama – “Yes! Part of being male is embodying the sword, in all it’s manifestations, whether through decisive vision or clear cut decision making. He will make the space for you to be truly female.
Days of fighting, and nights of love :)”

Then followed this awesome email, which prompted a response. I am proud of us, him and I are almost the same age exactly and I’m glad to be dancing on the planet together. We’ve known each other for 10 years now!

The Man (Rama-Mark) speaks :
“In short, a lot of the writings on the male come to the conclusion there is no singular manifestation of the male, there are only authentic, full expressions of the divine forces within. These forces are like suns – and as men, we stay within their warmth, but never moving to close lest we burn up in passion / desire / work or whatever. These suns have two shadow sides – an active, and a passive shadow. And these suns are created by the transformation of boy energies into man ones, usually by a catastrophic event or pain so unbearable it forces the mind to re-organise into higher structures to deal with it. And sure enough, the active and passive shadows from boyhood manifest in a slightly different way in men, but they are fundamentally the same thing. The goal as men is to live in the warmth of all these energies, and the sum total of them produces the king. I see a similar thing happening in you, and wonder if the feminine is initiated in a similar way, despite what we think about blood / menstruation. Perhaps there are many initiations, like there are for men, to move us into the psychological (and physical, if you think of mind body connection) space where our divine will/soul/whatever can act. Without divine will, we have no vision. Without initiation, no ability to see that vision. And without the balance of king, no way to implement it once know.”

Woman’s (my) response –

Wow this is amazing! I sat with a coffee (in my mother’s irish coffee cup) and read it slowly and took it in.

Jeff was going on about loving seeing me in the active and steady place I am right now — I cautioned him that I am at the active part of my cycle, and to love me fully is to embrace the whole circle dance.

I spoke a bit of the circle that women move in, how each month I go through life-death-rebirth, maiden-mother-crone, echoes of the larger circles of a woman’s life, and of nature. Femininity is circular. Is cycles within cycles and wheels within wheels. Lunar shifts and tides. I’m learning to flow and ride with it and communicate-integrate with all my aspects, the queen who embraces all with love and yet directs and nurtures, chooses through the mastery-will not so much a clear direction but an emotional choice. There are times when I feel all the currents at once, and I could choose to flow in the reality of fear and terror, or I could choose the reality of growth and fire. I see the power of choice among many rather than definintion/seeking for one/higher truth reality. They are all valid emotions-feelings-beings, they are all children of the body and of life.

In the centre of me is not a sun but a void and a spider. The fertile darkness and the weaver-creatrix. Drawing threads together and making something beautiful and deadly and life sustaining in one.

I read Joseph Campbell and the development of mythos many years back now. He spoke of the goddess religions that stuck people within circles and cycles, honouring the land and aligning with it — the stuff that certain hippies and feminists hark to and elevate. But we do not want the pendulum to swing back to that. The response of patriachy and male ascendence was in reaction to an overly female system. The circle traps and limits, there is little room for the creative drive and fight-strive of human individuation that came with the male creative force, the arrow or the sword of linear progress

What I seek is the combination of male and female. The circle plus the line combined together creates a spiral. Even better shapes form when the circle can expand and contract in pulsing life, and the line is not straight but allowed to peak and trough. The spiralling vortices that come from this are the energy of life itself. The rising birds on thermals, the unfolding ferns, the movements of galaxies.

This is the new way and it starts with our mission from years back, from our early twenties – our heart’s compulsion to feel and heal the hurt between men and women, to find a new way, a new partnership.

Yes I have had my initiations too, big ones and big cycles as well as many small ones each month. It isn’t just about bleeding and menstruating, but that is one of waves a woman can choose to ride on if she wills it. I see it not so much of a climb up a mountain now, or a sequence of stages, but a spiral, and an alchemical process of combustion, dissolution, pressure and release. Solve et coagula.

Already Jeff wonders at how I keep saying that I’ve worked out something I already said I’d worked out. I reassure him not to get frustrated or distrustful by it. It is how my psyche moves, I see different things at different times, I learn something new each stage of the spiral – from above it looks like I’m going in circles, but as long as I feel myself progressing and gaining from each loops round I know this is valid.

Ultimately I am coming only to embrace my own mystery. The portals and essence and pleasure and death inside me only unfolds fractal like into everything and nothing.

A man that can hold a space of will and presence can allow a woman to feel herself, and know herself more deeply too. A bright spark of coherance in the swirling emotions. The void contains the womb, the passage, the gate to life-death.

I still feel in myself the inner union of genders..for now though the dance is whirling the two of us apart into the opposite ends, but I feel our connection in it, like two lovers-dancers on the same ballroom floor, hands released and at the edges of the space, many people in between but with eyes still locked and a slight smile of knowing. I love you and I see you and I am warmed and thrilled by us.

See how your words went into my soul, and inspired such words out!
Xxxxx

From he –
“know I have deeply read this, and see how clearly your own being is coming into your own view. The same is happening for me, in this great journey, we still move together in dance step, set in motion from that wintery January.”

I love my tribe, my life, my body and my adventures. Proud of us all, emerging into awesomeness.

wedding gift I'd never seen before.

wedding gift I’d never seen before.

Foundations of lovelove without purpose?

A friend reminded me a few months ago that when you fall in love, your brain chemicals get so fucked up you actually go insane temporarily. I nodded and understood and yet at the same time was still a bit wrapped up in semi-addictive falling-in-loveness so figured it didnt really apply to me. I have fallen in love in an infatuationy way a few times, the whole experience is addictive, and depending on the situation lasts for days, weeks, months. I was sure that THIS time something was different, and I still believe that. There is an undercurrent of a deeper, more stable emotion, which actually scares me a lot more than rush of love experience I’m used to. Falling in love reminds me of orgasms, of desire and pleasure; there are ways to prolong and ride the waves of it for a long time, building up layers of colours and textures. Falling in love with Jeff took months, and we didnt have full sex for most of that. It started with an incredible touch connection, and then I found myself in a dance of archtypes-aspects, every part of my soul came out and was met by him, each one fell in love with it’s counterpart; and beyond that I found myself called to dance and fly higher, to grow and to merge and transmute myself in some kind of mutual alchemy. The worlds around us burnt down to ash, and we felt the potential of the phoenix reborn. The destruction was pretty intense and horrifically painful at times, and it’s amazing we survived it. Throughout it all we have held to a principle of honesty and truth speaking, although i am finding as we spiral deeper towards our root fears and issues it gets harder for me to trust the stories my mind spins. Actually i have watched aspects of my mind loose it completely, trying to understand what’s really happening here.

6 months or so on, the waves of falling in love have receded – in fact I felt a whole cycle of our relationship end, and in the last month the question is what do we create from here? And another question emerging for me has been – what is this love and relationship grounded in? If the drug-rush has gone, what carries us, what holds us together?

The situation itself is far from easy. In fact its pretty much the last thing any sane woman would chose, and even further from the vaguey polyamarous open loving situation I had been creating for myself.

When i was in the devil-may-care falling in love experience stage, none of this really mattered; in fact I used to get off on seeing his wedding ringed hand caress my breasts and skin. I figured it would all work out fine, his daughters would adore me for loving their father like he deserves. Also I was totally captivated and driven to discover – what IS this connection, why is it so compelling, how deep does it go? I felt a love that ressonated from my soul, from places that I didnt believe love could reach. I also acknowledged that to avoid the risk of pursuing this would mean a life time of wistfully wondering what would have happened if I’d stuck with it. Plus I was full of love-chemicals; we were as bad as each other, and used to dare each other to stay on the ride.

So, months later we are living a continent apart; different nationalities with unhelpful immigration possibilities. A non-trivial age difference. He is about to embark on what has the danger to be messy bloody divorce (unless he captiulates totally and spends the rest of his life a wage slave for a depressed ex-spouse), and his teenage daughters refuse to speak to him for not giving up his home-wrecking whore (aka that english harlot – me). The last one is the hardest – i dont care what they think about me, but I felt the love in his heart for his daughters, it is sharp and bright like sun, a beautiful radiant love that, not being a parent, I have never felt before. I know it hurts that he cant see or speak to them and that if he had hidden our love or denied it then perhaps things could have been different. 

A good thing is that his job is partially based in the uk, and pays to fly him over for a week or so perhaps once a month. So my life is becoming a strange hybrid of singledom and chastity interspersed with periods of intense contact. I havent quite got into the swing of it yet, or even worked out where the playground is to be honest. My emotions and heart have evolved intensely – to my slight dismay, as the love addiction has faded, i have discovered that i am actually still in love with this man. Feelings of commitment and monogamy I didnt think i was capable off are emerging, and a longing to create an impossible life with this man, to live together and have kids, to do the normal thing – and to have to accept I cant have this is like an exquisite bittersweet tease.

Something i wrote a few days ago  :
” Its a bit emotionally intense with Jeff this time, trying to find a stable ground for our love, but all that’s happening is as I go deeper into adult woman emotions, all sorts of things I never felt before start to emerge. And I become more aware of how I’ve hurt others I’ve loved, and more aware of how hard and hurting elements of this situation are for me

I found the part of me this morning that shakes with a cold jealous rage, that wants to destroy and murder his wife and children, and not from some righteous “they don’t appreciate him” place but a full on evil poisoning witch that wants the man for herself and hates them for what they have had with him.

I found myself giving up and surrendering, falling backwards into a grey pool, sinking down further and further from him even as he slapped me and told me to kiss him it didn’t work I just smiled and fell away to a place where it doesn’t hurt. I’m heavy with it and my bleeding. I feel part of an eternal massive story of the triad of man wife mistress, when the mistress develops feelings and wants more than just to be enjoyed, when she wants to be the wife and realises she can’t… I didn’t know what to do any more so its like I’m sinking beneath all of it to see if there’s anything else there. There is all sorts of pain of women and love here. I don’t think this is depression I think its some other death. But wanted to tell you, as you were there, and will let you know when this changes and if I don’t in a week can you kick me and check if I’m alive still?”

Hooray for the adventure of humanity! It is very easy for me to start getting upset about what this man cant provide for me, for the seeming impossibility and perhaps even ‘pointless’ nature of our love. Where does it go from here? There is no guarantee, and no promise that we will live together in future. I’m having to look in the face of not having a family or children at all, of giving my life to some other adventure. However, I have found a stable place underneath the storms of mental-emotional turbulance. It comes down to this – a pure act of will. A choice that is made, and held to. For the last ten or so years i have been, as much as I can, following the impulses and choices of my soul, my embodied spirit and the longings it calls me to. Its been quite a trip, and to turn my back on that now is to deny my clearest life-hypothesis. I feel into my soul, and it is here I find a simple truth – I want to love this man. I enjoy loving him. I choose to love him. I am not willing to let it go, and so instead I will hold on, through the mess and chaos and pain and hurt, I will return to and come back and nurture this truth-choice of my spirit. I will not leave to look for another man when I will always be comparing and longing for the one who feels, still, to be my true match on this planet. I dont care what shape the love turns into. What way i can express it -words, friendship, touch, sex, these things are all expressions of a deeper call to intimacy and connection with this other being. I have a deep sense of need and of belonging. We lie together and it feels inexplicably good – always has done. I enjoy this, it is warmth and fire to my essence. I feel an apprecation and a respect for a man that i have never felt before, and this changes my whole outlook on the world. I am used to loving what a man provides for me, or how I feel around them, or how their desire for some aspect or another validates me. I have never really looked at a man and seen a beautiful magical creature in them that I  cherish, that I adore and appreciation for reasons that have nothing to do with me -for the man in his own right. In turn this unlocks my vision to see such qualities in other men – and my massage work develops and deepens as I start to really appreciate the male spirit. It amazes me how good it feels to touch him, even after a day of massaging, when i feel tired and demanding. I enjoy feeling a love like this, it has a richness to it like an oil painting.

So how about this situation? Every week we get together feels like a reunion and an ending, it can almost feel cruel to allow our hearts and bodies to reacquaint before being ripped apart again. Having said that, we are finding ways to connect and feel each other through energy and voice and words, even far apart. In our best moments we are determined to embrace this crazy love, to show the world how we manage to sustain in it; in our worst we are crying  and defeated in loneliness and hurt. 

The uncertainty is particularly challenging to the controlling aspect of my mind. That wants to make plans and structures. However, in the best moments i choose to see it this way – that every moment of life is uncertain, that death can come at any time, without warning – there IS no guarantee. The poignancy of knowing our time is always limited means the choice for the moment is simple – despair or love. I do my best to chose love, though it doesnt always work that way.

Im becoming a believer that as human creative beings, and master illusionists – we really can create our own reality. Shift your perceptions, tell a different story, the feel of the world changes. And if we can really and truly accept the limits and the edges, we can create reality within that which allows for surprising discovery and depth. J and I can cry and bemoan what we cant have or be, or we can combine our creative talents together and make something amazing within the constraints. That’s what i want.

What is the foundation of our love? It cant be built in the physical world in the usual way. Looking at it on that level, and all i can see is the saturnian limits of time, money, distance. Accept those limits, and go deeper. I see the opportunity to experience a love that has no purpose, a love that exists purely for itself, where the child of this love may not be physical but can come out as art, as magic, as new ways to be. My soul has a plan, a mission, and it knows this man is integral to it, regardless what my mind can see. When I feel lost, then remember – i want to love this man, i choose to hold to this love, please just let me touch him – i feel myself recenter, i feel my will strengthen. I can make a choice to destroy this because it is hard, or believe myself to be strong enough to grow as I embrace it.

When I step back a bit, I can recognise that the family-kids mission hasnt been my primary goal…perhaps not ever…I just assumed it would probably happen somewhere along the way. If I can surrender all anxiety about this, then I can see that right now my life has huge potential. And I have the chance to really develop in the time I have alone – right now I am being truly self sufficient without living with a man, for the first time in over 5 years. I get to enjoy learning to care and develop myself without running around looking for a boyfriend. AND I get to experience incredible intimacy and magic with Jeff when we do get our time together. The journey of unfolding love doesnt have to stop just because the container looks different from the norm. It calls for more creativity, to find a whole new structure. The centre of it is love and care for myself, for life, and for enjoying and choosing to love a man in his own right, not for what he is currently able to provide for me. It is an experiement and an artistic endeavour in one – no guarantee – an adventure. Fuck knows where it goes, but im still not ready to get off the ride…
image
(written in a theatre, jan 18th, day of snow walks and hot coffee)

Writing to a man – difference between tribe love and the love of your woman

Hmm —– so two people coming together to fill holes/needs is not the same as two people who feel full in themselves combining together to create a new life beyond themselves.

J and I are starting to find a soulful love that’s deeper from our surface needs and drug addictions — deep down in a hidden space I am keeping protected, I notice we still have a sense of “I need you” but its more a sense of “I need you to create something amazing with my life beyond myself” (actually I’m not really sure yet what this “need” is, but it feels fundamental, perhaps the same as how we “need” to recognise we can’t exist in isolation), than “I need you to stop me feeling shit about myself” (there were elements of this in what we had before).

So approaching life and the hunt for a wife/woman when you feel full and approach from that space is so much more appealing and allows for more awesome. Although I do feel and honour the healing relationships I’ve been through that helped me find and soothe hurting fragments of myself.

In your tribe, you have men and women who see, respect, love aspects-and-all-of-you, and you yourself and life itself is part of this love and respect. I sense this will be clearer following your ritual. It seems like then, unlike many men, you do not need the woman to make you feel like a real man. When I first had sex with M., when we lost virginity to each other — after he said how now he felt like a man. But that’s not the best way to do things I feel, for a fully co-creative partnership.

So you can then approach women from a new, fulfilled angle, and even if women sneer or don’t see or don’t respect you, you have your tribe helping to hold your worth and pride and beingness, so you don’t need to feel as wounded by rejection as you might otherwise have been. Doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, but does give sense of extra strength and support. Without the confidence in the love-care-support of my tribe-friends, and their encouragement and witnessing of me, I would have been far too scared to even really start the love-dance with J. I was right to be scared! It obliterated our lives and the lives of those close to us. Burnt it down to phoenix ashes. Still shocks me sometimes. But the strength I gained from my tribe was key to support me and my heart.

The other part of this is about “being seen” by a woman, especially your masculinity. I was trying to tell you this is not quite enough — that there is another step when it comes to YOUR woman. You don’t just want to be seen. You want a woman strong and desirousness enough to long for you, to want you, to want all of you and to be able to **receive** this into her. I am now starting to do this with J and it feels very different… Deeper and fuller. Before I could “take it” from him, but now its more I feel strong enough to really welcome and invite and hold with care. Before some of his aspects were too much for me, it felt too intense like fire burning through me, more than I could handle, and I’d close off inside even if I didn’t want to. Now as I cultivate and develop my own feminine body and pleasure and sensuality, I feel a shift, and I feel that I don’t need a man now, that what I want is my pleasure and beauty and self love to be seen and shared and delighted in, and THEN from that strong place to welcome and long for the man and his energy AS WELL, to mingle and mix it together, and this is what creates the new life. It is a different alchemy.

Before, almost all my sensuality was via the desire of men, and their pleasure in me. Now something else grows. So yes, on being seen — you HAVE been seen in the past, people could see the worth and work that was in your body, appreciate you and your words and skills — but being SEEN is not the same as being longed for, by a woman dripping and wet for you and begging to feel you inside her. Being seen and being longed for is not the same as entering that woman and feeling how she fully opens and can be filled by all of you, you can empty your whole soul inside her as she is not afraid and she can hold it all. And she can also allow you to be small and vulnerable and held in her safe love. Part of the beauty of men that I am starting to see is the masculine who is emotional, who is moved by life, who can cry. This is not the same as being female. This is why I wanted you to see the Impossible film, there is a moment of man and man loving each other in pure vulnerability.

And the difference between this and tribe is tribe is wide and friendship and love for standing alongside you and supporting each others truth. Wheras this deep relationship is a dance between two, a dance that goes into mystery and depth, a combining of two souls into one, it is something else, and I am afraid and excited by it. It is based on deep deep trust, beyond anything I have felt before. I have moments where I really get it, but I tend to cry and feel so afraid right after. I’m not sure yet what it is that I’m afraid off; this is something I feel will come in the next few weeks.

Xxx

Why Ritual keeps you safe as you learn

“My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”
 Anais Nin (French born American Author of novels and short stories, 1903-1977)

—-

I have a thirst to explore, understand, experience, get to grips with this life in a raw bloody and direct way. My best understandings and wisdoms have come through experiencing directly the world, the light and the shadow, going right into the midst of experience and letting the waves and traumas of it rock and tear through my body and soul, trusting I will survive somehow. This is all very exhilarating, but dangerous too – and since my new world involves self-care, and care of the feelings of those who have to watch me traumatise myself, I’ve been wondering about other approaches.

I’ve been told that there are many ways to develop understanding – reading, researching, observing others… the key objection to my behaviour in the past, is when I return from my hard-won (or survived…) battles clutching a treasure of pure comprehension saying “look, I finally get it!”  to find my friends and lovers banging their heads against their palms and saying “I TRIED TO TELL YOU” this, “why did you have to go do it yourself? Couldn’t you have just listened to me?” For a long time I didn’t care, because to me the personal knowledge, earnt by myself, is worth so much more than second hand opinion. Also I didnt really think other people knew better than me (yep, I’m that arrogant). I needed to challenge and test everything. But in my new world, I can see the tears, grief and pain behind their exasperation – they COULD see and knew already what I was striving and struggling to understand – they had to watch helplessly as I risked my self, and sometimes defiled my sacredness and broke what was precious. And since they loved me, this caused real pain. It was never about who knew more, or best. Now I understand this, it has led to waves of grief over my past behaviour and what those I care about felt because of my choices and actions.

When you only look at the world as you alone, and part of you craves obliteration, you fearlessly risk yourself. This is not true courage. True courage is daring to feel and face the fullness of your choices, the impact and ripples it has outwards. Taking responsibility for it all. Knowing that every step you take into your fullness will lead to joys and pains, for self AND others. There will always be hurt somewhere. Get conscious of it, and look for ways to care for yourself and those you love as best you can. When you act without regard, you may destroy that which you most cherish.

——–

The issue for me is that words and reading and mind-thinking is not enough. For true transformation and comprehension, on the deep soul-shaking-making level that I crave, I need a way to experience the phenonemon. Through my body, my energy, my essenece. I need the deepest parts of me touched sometimes, or it doesn’t satsify or reach the root of what wants to shift inside. To open, to release, to transform. I could have happily read books my whole life, but my true life began when I put them down and threw myself into the alchemy of experience.

Two solutions/ideas came to mind today…they relate together quite potently.

1. Developing Empathy and connection

“Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. It goes beyond sympathy, which is a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others. Both words have similar usage but differ in their emotional meaning.” (Empathy vs sympathy)

In order to feel experience and learn deeply from it, we could consider developing our empathy skills . I do wonder if there are forms of empathy-to-the-world, beyond just direct to peoples feelings, perhaps depending on if we are sound/visual/kinaesthetic in nature. Playing in an orchestra or band require a level of musical empathy or awareness of the players around you, and even listening to music actively requires a level of attentive connection and feeling to the sounds. We can “tune in” to music, and let it carry us and move us, sensing the subtleties of it. Or we can just let it play in the background…fine if you are just in the audience but less so if you are a performer. Visual arts also need empathy to appreciate. It’s only in the last few months that I finally comprehended why people go to art galleries! To do this I had to move beyond a distant intellectual appreciation and simply looking at the art, and instead be in my body and open myself to really feel it. Taking it in through my eyes, but letting ripples of response flow in my body and energy. Feeling the colous, textures, impressions and letting it stir memories and imagination with in me. Not just observing, not just listening – but feeling. And from here I am transformed by the art.

So same with people experience life? The other night I danced for hours in a club, drawing in the drug highs of those around me, mingling it with the music and vibration, and journeyng myself without ever consuming anything. Something in me laughed at the idea of using other people’s bodies to filter the drugs for me, with me siphoning of their excess energy/experience. I can do the same with sexual acts, and sadistic ones. This is a skill I wish to develop, I’m curious how deep it can go, and it cuts out the risk of drug come dowms, sexual diseases and criminal records quite significantly.

Where empathy skills for experiential learning really come into their own is in the use and witnessing of ritual.

Use of ritual

Rituals have always been a part of human development and healing. I believe in reclaiming ritual therapy as a key part of the emerging psychosomatic medicine of the future/past. It is an unspoken component of our lives already.

For example : When patients came to our student osteopath clinic, we met them wearing the recognisable white coats of the medic – making it clear who was in which role for this ritual. Just the act of booking a time and intent to come to the “healing temple” would often start helping people feel better. We would  make a “sacred space” for them in a special room decorated by “mystic symbols” – anatomy posters and diagarams – and then take them through a set of procedures/actions. As budding clinicians we were taught how to use medical language – lots of greek and latin – between ourselves and then translate it for the patient. Either way, hearing “words of power”  – nonsensical but recognisiable as the medicine of the day (another time or place we could be talking about balance of humors, chi-lines, chakra) all added to the aura of expertise and ritual of healing. Often just assesing and offering an explanation for the pain or issue in this context would start relieving the symptoms. There is more to this story, for another time…

I have engaged with, crafted, created conscious and transformative ritual for myself at various key points in my life. These are the moments that creativity, magic, feeling come together. My rituals are not planned out line by line, but flow like a dance, usually seeded by a core intention. Sometimes these have happened spontaenously in other bodywork or healing sessions.

Because rituals are so immersive  – there are layers of sound, colour, sensation – I find that they can touch and work on those deep layers of the soul that I long to access. Ritual scenarios are the art equivalent of life. They are not the direct pure experience, but they allow us to access or feel echoes/ressonance with the real thing – perhaps based on how willing we are to let go in to our imaginations, our living empathy, our response to the symbols and activities. Rituals, like paintings and music, must be actively engaged with in order to be fully appreciated. Wheras real life situations are going to smack you round the face with full intensity, whether you are ready for that or not.

But can a ritual drama  ever provide as authentic  an experience and understanding as the real thing? I’m not sure if this is the right question any more. Authentic experiences can be dangerous and cause ripples of trauma through my tribe. What is useful is accessing or  developing an appreciation of the patterns, the way one thing changes to another in order to release what is stuck, finding the emotional-experiential feel to support or challenge the intellectual understanding. I have the sense that done carefully and powerfully, ritual experiences can help carve out channels-pathways through our soul-feelings-emotions that allow true alchemical change to flow or understanding to come. We don’t need to actually risk death to have a profound experience through a death ritual. Another slant on this is how many shamans and magic workers HAVE gone through a genuine near death experience (for example) – and then can use or draw on their experience to help others move through a ritualised version. Lots more to discover with this.

Rituals are medicine for the soul. The soul  impulse arises from a desire to learn or transform – we use our creative-intellectual skills to craft a ritual around this living impulse, and Life supports us. Otherwise ritual can be an empty, sometimes repetitive action with no power or essence to it.

What I want to develop and explore now is getting into ritual deeper, to craft indiviudalised magics to help an person or group transform. I also get the sense that if the right level of empathy could be invoked in those watching-participating, then it might only take  one or two people to go through  the experience (especially good if it is an ordeal!) for the whole group to feel echoes of transformative effect.

Something like this can happen watching theatre, drama, even horror films. We can ride the currents of our emotional response, sometimes using this to release stuck emotions or gain insight. I think of times a tragic scene or lost love in a film trigger memories of my own lost loves, allowing tears of grief to release. Or friends who play violent computer games to deal with anger. This is just the tip of iceburg.

in my new world – I will seek to notice and develop rituals for my souls’s needs, allowing the transformation to happen in an environment of consciousness and love. This might save it from spilling out in to shadowy actions and unneccessary risks. And might even be more effective…?

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[1]There’s an essay I should write on this topic alone – but I laugh when people dismiss something as “placebo” or “psychosomatic.” Give me a sugar pill that makes me feel better any time over a drug with toxic side effects. Most people don’t ask themselves what the mechanism actually is  behind this real therapeutic benefit.  The details are fascinating, I encourage anyone interested to go on an intellectual adventure. The End of Modern Medicine, by Laurence Foss is good place to start…

Empathy and ocean

As part of the new world of togetherness –

Claiming our empathy is part of feeling deeply how we are not alone. We can feel with and through the life around us, the experiences of others, of trees, of water. We can gain and flow and learn from this. We do not have to carve out every experince directly and uniquely.

I used to think “being an empath” was something you were or you were not. [1] Now I feel it is more a matter of degree, of how much and how willing you are to open that channel, and sometimes how capable you are. (My) Body-soul work helps to identify and unblock-release the channels that may be getting in the way; to allow a fuller participation in life.

Still  – it’s not all about being totally open and merged. The paradox is to also find and know your limit and centre, and stand in it at the same time. I vision it as being a rock in the ocean, either standing on the rock so you can see the waves around, merging into being the solid rock and the waves and currents themselves, then crystallsing back to the rock-vantage point. You need to know where that rock is, where the root to ground is.  Empathy can feel so good because it is the extreme end of feeling total connection and merging – and there are those of us who can feel good if we are merging with pain and horror as much as light and laughs…its the merging that feels good. But to only be that is to become the ocean, to be lost in the currents and to loose your sense of self care. This can be hard not just on ourselves but on those around us who care about what you do with yourself. Remember we are together now, and your choices influence others around you.

If we stand only on the rock/as the rock, eventually we get jealous and longing to feel the excitement for of flow and water. We feel and hear the battering of waves against us, wearing us down, the scent and spray of sea form tantalising us.

With people who exist duality view/world – it looks like this; the sensible friend who stays sober in order to keep the party girl from destroying herself. This dynamic slowly (or rapidly) eats away at love and leads to disconnection.

So embracing the paradox view here – is we seek to be both the rock and the ocean, at the same time. This is the point I stand in when I do my magic and facilitate healing work. It takes cultivation and practice. Sometimes you need to spend time in both positions purely to know what they feel like. I started my life as the closed rock and couldnt feel at all, when opening to feeling I got lost in the joys of the ocean, loved to abandon myself to the currents. But for love of life, those I care about, and my own self, I’m now coming to a place where I can be both. It is standing here I feel both strong, centred, and joyfully alive. My capacity to feel and participate fully in life rises dramatically – I can both feel everything AND care for myself. I am the party girl who knows when to stop and doesn’t get hung over, ha 🙂 best of all of it.

 

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[1] This is part of the old world of confining boxes and lables…release yourself from that prison.  Saying you “are not” something means you are limiting yourself from discovering more of your soul. Saying “you are” something also confines you to a fragment or other of your fullness. Risk giving the whole identity-based-on-labels up, and change the question – “what is my true soul/self longing to express here?” participate in your unfoldment and feel the joy and pain for it, playfully, profoundly. We let go IN to our truth, and the bliss and freedom of that can carry us to way beyond lables or definitions.

Paradoxical vision – trust and wariness

In magic-hippy land you are often encouraged to “trust in the universe/god/guru”… The cold cynics shake their heads at the stupidty of this life strategy whilst secretely being a bit jealous.

See the Fool step off the cliff edge at the start of the tarot.(Add More describing this)

There is a power to the trusting Fool, and this had been part of my crazy and strange dance. I’ve fallen off some big cliffs, down holes, seen the world upside down and torn apart, and discovered unexpected joys in strange places. In the process I’ve gained insights and learnt the power of laughter and not taking yourself or your preconceptions preciously. There is an exhiliration to the constant cliff-diving and the naive trust does offer a kind of protection. Like the cartoon character running out across thin air — you’re so oblivious to the danger sometimes you end up miraculously skipping past it. It can’t touch you because there is no hook for it.

Of course, other times this is no protection at all, and you fall dramatically to the ground, breaking bones and then finding ways to rebuild yourself anew, laughing as you do so, and then returning for another go.

Living this way has fostered in me an eye for adventure and draw to the unusual and risky. I know there to be wisdom to gain in these places. What I have been missing though is my new-world notion of care. Not just care for self but care for those who love me.

It’s horrifically challenging to be in love with a coyote, and watch her risk herself over and over, oblivious to the dangers, each time hearing her say she understands it now and yet knowing she will be out there again the next day.

At the same time, my coyote journey and foolish dance has led me to some incredible and unexpected situations. It shakes the world and allows for catalysis and real change. Humour and a slightly wise sense of perspective that I value.

Often times I have gone into situations oblivious or not caring about factors that would make most people run a mile. Or I have seen the spark of love and kind-truth in a person surrounded by darkness. I have been giving people the benefit of the doubt rather than doubting up front and this has let me reach the untouchable with truth and magic.

The paradoxical vision I want to foster now is to be able to see both from trust and wariness. I want to practice looking at all the dangers and issues as well as the unexpected joys. People, situations – dont tend to fall into one box or another. There is usually a mixture of both, especially in the rich and intriguing life situations I often find myself exploring.

So rather than categorize as trustworthy/waryworthy(?)… in my new world – I wish to see as much as I can in others/situations – to see simulataneously with eyes of trust and wariness. To hold both possibilities at the same time, with dual awareness. From here I can make choices based on more complete understanding. It might not stop me doing the crazy things, but at least start being a bit more prepared for them.

(Add info/links to Books of innocence and experience – william blake)

Sexualising God

“Come with me
On a journey under the skin
And we will look together
For the pan within
When to be with you
Is not a sin”

So I’ve been dancing and shaking and vibrating and journeying and dreaming and discovering “joy hands” and “excitement feet”. I’ve sanctified sex and it’s taken me to whole other dimensions of reality. Tantra is not some spiritual icing on the cake of ‘debaucherous’ sex – rather you start with the expansive sense of ‘love coming out’ (rather than love grasping in) and the sexual part becomes this powerhouse of energy to fuel the love until it bursts out like a fountain and you feel your wings.

“Put your face in my window
Breathe a night full of treasures
The wind is delicious
Sweet and wild with the promise of pleasure
The stars are alive
And nights like these
Were born to be
Sanctified by you and me
Lovers, thieves, fools and pretenders
And all we gotta do is surrender”

So I’ve felt so real, hyper real, where everything comes into more intensity, like the focus and saturation of life is turned up. In my body and my heart love and sex, heart and body have forged a new alliance and I find myself grounded and with a sense of surity of my own spiritual-earthly way. I have felt the sheer force of the love that exists around us, and really love isn’t even the right word, or at least my sense of what that word means has quite profoundly shifted. I’ve seen God and Goddess burn out through the eyes of other people with fire and passion and love.

I’ve felt the shadow of our whole culture, dreamt it, pulled it into words, read those words out and feeling my whole body shake with nausea and fear and nerves. I bite a chunk of it, digest it, learn a thousand new fragments of truth, feel compassion. I cry from my heart about the river dolphins being extinct. I can be vulnerable and feel it all, and this in itself gives me a strength.

I’m here, finally permitting myself to be alive, to make decisions based upon that, to dance and feel and laugh and cry. To give myself freedom to love, and to be finding those who allow me to love them fully is just the best thing ever.

Pan within

notes for a new aeon