Thursday, February 24, 2011
These days we talk about how our thoughts affect everything from prosperity to losing weight, but have you thought about how your thoughts affect the weather? I know some of us consider weather control to be the purview of the Divine or shamans, but I’m convinced we all play a role. I didn’t quite understand this connection until I had several experiences many years ago that taught me how profound this connection can be.
I was visiting Colorado’s Mesa Verde, which was once the home of the Pueblo people for over 700 years. I had not yet arrived at any of the cliff dwellings. I was simply driving across the mesa, when I suddenly was overwhelmed in sorrow. Those of you who are empathic know what I’m talking about. It is as though the emotion comes out of nowhere. As I opened my mind to the source of this sorrow, I could feel and see scenes of a great war that had taken place across this vast stretch of flat land. For whatever reason, the pain and loss of that war still lingered in the land. And I cried the unshed tears.
The moment the tears began falling from my eyes, it began to rain. The harder I cried, the harder the rain fell. I wept for hours, until I finally pitched my tent in a campground to rest because I was emotionally exhausted. The moment I crawled into the tent and my tears stopped, and so did the rain.
Just weeks after my journey to the mesa, I had a similar experience at home. I felt the pain of people in my life and gave in to experiencing the deep sorrow that longed to be acknowledged in compassion. As my eyes gave way to tears, the clouds gave way to rain. Again, it rained as long as I cried and when I was finished a rainbow graced the sky, testament to the light and love I was feeling when the purification was complete.
As if to put punctuation in my heart and mind on this profound relationship we have with the Mother, I had another experience with the rain and the Mother Bowl we use for our women’s ceremonies in the Sacred Feminine. I was cleaning out the bowl and getting her ready for ceremony, when I wondered if there might be a connection between all of the unusual winter rain we had been receiving in Sedona that year and the fact that I had just moved to that area with the bowl and its ceremonies. The Sedona area had been in a draught for many years, and after relocating the bowl to the area, the local creek filled to the brim.
When it was time for women gathered at my house, we started indoors with a talking circle and when we were ready for the water ceremony, we put on our coats and wraps to go outside with the bowl and the moon. As the last woman stepped over the threshold onto the patio, it began to pour down rain. The drenching rain then turned into hail as we completed our rites. We dashed inside for cover and as the last woman crossed the threshold into the house, the rain stopped sharply. It did not taper off. It stopped suddenly.
I laughed out loud at the answer I had received to my question. Indeed, our thoughts and our prayers have a direct relationship on the weather, and not just rain. I live in Colorado now and I was recently educated by one of the foresters in the area that the mountains here need heavy snow in order to protect our beloved pine trees from the devastation of the pine beetle and the summer fires. Snow pack melts more slowly into the soil, giving the trees enough moisture over time to protect them from beetle infestation and fire. However, when there is little snow or rain instead of snow, the soil becomes dry too fast, making the trees vulnerable. You can see acres of trees that have been destroyed in the Rocky Mountains.
When I still myself to pray for the snow that our trees need, I can feel huge resistance to my prayer. It is human resistance. It seems a lot of people in this area want it to be sunny and dry year-round. This is understandable. Snow and ice make driving dangerous and causes our heating bills to go up. And for some, it’s just not as pleasant as the sunshine. But there is a price Mother Earth and we are paying for our indulgence. We are losing our trees.
Of course, there are many weather influencers, and we have control over one of them—ourselves. We have influence over our thoughts and desires, which indeed affect the weather we experience and the backlashes that are created when our desires and thoughts are not in alignment with all of nature’s needs.
If we are true to the Sacred Feminine, as we think about and pray for the weather we want, we will also take into consideration the needs of our Mother Earth. We will allow ourselves to being in loving peace with whatever weather is presenting itself, because all weather is an expression of life in the Divine. In the Sacred Feminine, we hold all weather with respect and love. We hold a greater intention that the weather express what is in the highest good for the overall well-being of the earth and ourselves.
I invite you to begin exploring your relationship with the weather in your area by tuning in to your feelings about the weather as it shifts and changes throughout the year. Discover ever more deeply what it means to live with and in the natural cycles. Invite yourself to uncover the profound relationship that exists between you, the Mother and the weather.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
When my elder told me I would need to do four to seven quests during the time I was learning how to offer ceremonies within the Cherokee tradition, I was a little scared, a little excited, and very ready to take the next steps in my awakening. Somehow I knew questing was going to push my edges into the unknown and that is exactly where the Mystery unveils itself. I could live with status quo, or I could choose to experience beyond my current limitations. I chose to visit the unknown.
Some have described quest as a death and rebirth, and energetically this does indeed occur. You are reborn to yourself if you are willing to shed your attachments. It takes great courage to look the physical, emotional and spiritual limitations you have placed on yourself and consciously choose to let go of your need to define yourself through those limits. Then, the courageous journey continues as you surrender to the limitless nature of who you truly are, and willingly allow yourself to remember your most profound nature as a physical and spiritual being.
When you are sitting quiet and alone on Mother Earth for several days, you have time let your mind slow down. You discover a rhythm that is in complete harmony with the earth. The elements, nature and the animals know this rhythm (usually better than we do as humans), and you discover there is a oneness and peace that your busy life wasn’t fully experiencing. You are then questing with the Mother rather than on her, and you will experience this oneness reflected in interactions with your physical world.
This slowing down also creates an opening with the spirit world. It is common for questers to experience very different kinds of dreams, where they are much more lucid in dreaming reality. They are engaged with life in both the waking and dreaming worlds, and recognize the intersections between the two. Mystical awareness is quite common for those that surrender, opening themselves to the existence of their being beyond material life.
Questers experience the physical connections between themselves and their loved ones. If a quester is fasting completely (which I don’t recommend for people on medications or herbal therapy) or eating and drinking minimally during their days alone, they can discover what it is like when friends and family eat and drink for them. It is actually possible to be hungry, pray for satisfaction, and minutes later feel the physical relief as someone in camp eats for you.
While it is true that many questers receive visions or medicine songs during their quest, I usually recommend that questers not attach to this. Quest is a space in which you can open to a greater understanding of the Mystery that flows within you and around you. It is a place to shed spiritual and emotional weight. And it is a place in which to gain greater clarity about who you are and how you can best walk in the world in your greatest happiness and service. If a vision or a medicine song helps bring you in understanding your true nature and purpose, then that is a blessing.
There are many kinds of questing rituals. Some that I have personally experienced include sitting alone in the woods for several days, day-long sweat lodge, meditating with water for days, and ritual burial. Even how you sit alone can vary from tradition to tradition. I prefer to create an environment where there is a community of supporters in camp, tending sacred fire for 24 hours per day, holding space for themselves and the questers. I was taught ceremony within a matriarchal tribe, so our customs and practices reflect a unique perspective about the Sacred Feminine.
If you have never been to a quest or supported someone questing, it is an honor and there are sacred openings for the supporters as well as the questers. Commonly, I hear people express their thanks for being invited to participate because they could not have imagined how much was going to be spiritually revealed to them simply by coming to witness and support. If you would like to read about New Dream’s quest and read comments from supporter, you can discover more here: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/spirit-quest.htm. (Many of our regular attendees are making plans this winter while airfares are still low.)
When it comes to questing, within some traditions, you are not asked or required to do any preparatory work. When I hold space for a quester, I ask them to prepare for a year. They offer daily prayers, reflect upon their dreams, and meditate upon questions that I ask them to consider as they begin the process of shedding layers of attachments, self-doubt, confusion, fear, self-abuse, regrets or resentments. This helps them release from the challenges of life before their quest, purifying their spiritual bodies to become ready to experience the beauty of the Mystery.
People quest for many reasons. In fact, it is one of the first questions I tend to ask, “Why do you want to quest?” From there, the quest develops a life of its own, and we can then hold space for your unfolding. You can ask any person that has quested if it was difficult, and they are likely to tell you, “Yes.” You can also ask them if it was worth it and they will probably also tell you, “Yes.”
What is revealed during questing ceremony, whether you attend as a quester or a witness and supporter, is the Mystery itself. Certainly the Mystery unveils itself to us every day, and yet, do we typically take the time to slow down and notice? For many of us, we would have to admit honestly that we don’t slow down nearly enough. If we wish to surrender to the limitless love and expressions of the unknown, a quest is one meaningful way to slow down and open the door to the wonders of the Mystery.
Friday, February 11, 2011
It was many years before I was able to acknowledge that there was a Sacred Feminine aspect of the Divine. I had been raised with the belief that God was masculine. Notions of a feminine aspect were pagan and ungodly. In fact, acknowledging a feminine aspect of God was a good way to pick up a fast ticket to hell. Fortunately, I outgrew that belief, but in doing so, I developed a rather skewed perspective of the Sacred Masculine.
For the longest time I couldn’t pray to God without conjuring up an image of an ancient gray-haired man that, while loving, doled out justice with a fairly heavy hand of either indifference or punishment. While He controlled everything, He didn’t seem to be very accessible, so I felt helpless and insignificant in His presence. Since that kind of relationship wasn’t working for me and I couldn’t quite get the feel for a Sacred Mother, I just stopped praying to anybody. All the definitions I had for God were too limiting and too confining.
I focused instead on how I chose to exist in the world. I stopped asking somebody in the ethers for help whenever I felt stuck or confused, and decided to put my energy in applying my knowledge, talents and gifts to the best of my ability. I figured I must have been put on this earth with plenty of know-how to do what I came here to do, since I wasn’t finding anybody “out there” who seemed interested in my personal and day-to-day challenges.
In my process of personal empowerment, I also became a student of masculine and feminine behavior. And if you’ve read any of my stories about living for many years with a significant hormonal imbalance (as much testosterone as a male in puberty), my interest in masculine and feminine behavioral traits makes a lot of sense. When I was most immersed in masculine energy, I was aggressive and easily ran over other people’s interests. I was logical, organized, and an addicted workaholic. I did not do a very good job of looking after my health or in honoring my feelings. My personal experience with my own masculine energy was not very good.
When I finally learned how to respect my emotions, empathy and intuitive nature, I began taking better care of myself physically and emotionally. I worked diligently to maintain balance in my life between rest and work, organization and impulsiveness, care for others as well as me, and the use of my intuition with my logic. As I found balance, I found peace. Over time, I understood the correlations between my newly discovered feminine approach to life and the Sacred Feminine.
In a rather twisted way, I equated healthy, happy living with the Sacred Feminine and unhealthy, unhappy living with the Sacred Masculine. Now I realize that my view of the Sacred Masculine was deeply marred. My out-of-balance aggressiveness was certainly not what the Sacred Masculine is really all about. Nonetheless, I had a deep-seated fear of the Sacred Masculine that I did not recognize.
I was afraid that if I allowed myself to know the Sacred Masculine, I would lose my health. I was afraid I would revert back to my old aggressive ways when I was out of balance with my feminine nature. I was afraid I would lose my mental health, conceding to logic alone when I knew my intuition was guiding me correctly. I was afraid I would lose the peace and serenity I had discovered in owning my Sacred Feminine nature. I might lose my spiritual center.
So in my fear, I became too still and quiet. I became too compassionate about others and did not have enough compassion for me. I took too little action on my own behalf. I didn’t know how to speak up for myself without feeling angry, resentful or placating. I frequently isolated to protect myself. I fought with men, ran to them, or ran away from them. I had no idea how to live with them and be myself. In embracing the Sacred Feminine, I became fearful of the Sacred Masculine and discarded it from my life.
I’m sure you can imagine how challenging my relationships with men had become. If I didn’t know and respect the true, beautiful nature of the Sacred Masculine within myself, I certainly didn’t know how to recognize it in men. I didn’t know how to fully receive the deep love, concern, protection, care, tremendous passion for life, desire to make a difference, longing to create, and generously overflowing provision for others and self that flows with great grace through the Sacred Masculine. Now that I have experienced the wonder of the Sacred Masculine within me, I realize how freely it expresses through us if we allow ourselves to know its real nature. For a meditation of union with the Sacred Masculine, Step 2 of the Creation Meditation provides a way to fall in love with the masculine self: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=75.0
If I didn’t know how to protect myself, live in passion, or create and provide well for myself, I limited what I had to share with others. I limited my expression of the Divine in me. I was only half alive. However, I yearned to be fully alive, and there was only one way to get there. I had to surrender to the full expression of me and that included the complete acceptance of the Sacred Masculine with in me, next to the complete acceptance of the Sacred Feminine.
I no longer sacrifice one sacred nature for the other. I love both aspects of the Divine, and I have chosen to live in the delight of both. What happened to God? Well, God is no longer masculine or feminine to me. God, the Divine, is both. The experience of two natures is what makes life mysterious and wonderful. Enjoying the masculine and feminine natures of the Divine is my daily, living prayer and experiencing heaven here and now is the gift of living with a more limitless and inclusive experience of the Divine.
Friday, February 04, 2011
Step Three of the Creation Meditation
The true rebirth of the soul is more than a mental desire. If you have ever felt truly reborn, you know that the experience is a whole new perspective of self from the inside out. Your entire being—soul and body—emerge in nothing less than a sense of new self. Limited patterns, behaviors and beliefs seem to disappear as you experience a more true and full sense of your existence.
Certainly, the birth of the self often begins with a desire for new realization; frequently followed by choices and behaviors that reinforce that desire. Yet the rebirth itself occurs when we surrender to love. We stop fighting love and recognize that is all that we are. It sounds easy doesn’t it? And yet, the rebirthing of the self can be one of the most challenging aspects of the spiritual journey, because it requires we surrender our limited attachments and definitions of self.
In the ancient Creation Meditation that I was given to share with others, we follow the calling to be reborn, one step at a time until rebirth is all that is remains. The meditation begins with an honoring of the self, particularly the emotions that comprise your current experience of life. We refer to this as your “I am” for this moment. You might say, “I am angry,” or “I am hurt,” or “I am delightfully happy.” All of these emotional states reflect the “I am” of the moment.
If you choose to enter the first step of the meditation, you will hold your feeling in compassion and without agenda. There is no attempt to fix or mediate anything. There is only a willingness to be present to what is being experienced through your feelings in this moment. The loving witnessing or holding of emotion is enough for the emotion to release. It might take minutes, hours, days, or weeks, yet if the emotion is held in love with great sincerity and no desire to get beyond the feeling, the feeling will transform itself. The transformation takes you to higher frequency feelings and states of Divine self-awareness.
This new state of “I am” is then witnessed through the union of the Sacred Masculine and Sacred Feminine, where the light and passion of the Sacred Masculine lovingly merges with the dark, stillness of the Sacred Feminine. This is the second step of the meditation, where in this loving union the “I am” transforms yet again to become life longing to know itself. Life emerges as a Divine seed or sphere of awareness.
In the third step, the Divine seed is welcomed in love through every energy center of your body until it is ready to emerge from your energetic womb as an expression of life born anew in self-awareness. You are that expression of life and you are reborn as a new “I am” in the world. In this rebirth ragged edges of human existence are shed, like the snake shedding its skin, and you emerge fresh, alive, awake and in harmony with all of existence.
This Creation Meditation or process of conscious rebirthing can be done at anytime by anyone. Your own creativity and Divine relationship emerge in ways that are natural to you, as you open to witnessing yourself in whatever state you are experiencing in the moment—joy, sorrow, jealousy, happiness, rage—any state of human experience. These feelings are expressions of your truth in the moment. The feelings come with stories that deserve to be acknowledged and honored. Once witnessed, they are set free to experience life in a more limitless way.
The ultimate rebirthing is the result of honestly acknowledging yourself in the reality you are experiencing. The rebirth comes when you know, not from your mind, but from the well of your being, that you are free to experience life as the Divine love that you are and in the way that your soul longs to experience life on earth. The effort that is required is in the diligence to remain present to what you are experiencing without judgment or assumptions.
Here at New Dream, we share this Creation Meditation freely with others. You can find an audio introduction to the first step on our Sacred Path of the Feminine Page, and you can find the entire meditation in written form at the New Dream Forums.
I invite you to watch for our Creation Tele-Meditations by signing up to receive our monthly guided meditations and announcements at http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/register.htm. You might also appreciate our monthly tele-meditations focused on the individual steps of the meditation and introspective journeys. Most of all, I hope that you continue to discover ways in which your true self emerges here on earth through the rebirthing of your soul.