Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A conscious birth

Earth day was a fabulous [re]birthday that not even I had planned.

Grateful for a slower pace on Wednesday, I made my way to my monthly shamanic-counseling appointment. It wasn't until I crept in my quiet Prius down the long, leaf-cloaked lane and into the path that circles the house and spied an extra car that I realized I was two hours too early. Forgot to check my calendar.

No worries, I'll just head to the nearby library and spend some time reflecting on what I desire from this session. I untucked my laptop, logged in and searched spiritual companionship. I have felt in desperate need of some. I landed on a page about developing a partnership of trust and I realized I already possess that relationship with my shaman.

And, then I began to think that even if I don't have one, constant spiritual companion, I have many. That revelation was reassuring and reminded me of the idea of looking for the helpers at given times in life. Fred Roger's learned that tip from his mother:
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, m mother would say to me 'Look  for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" 
I have been looking for helpers in pointing me in the right direction, so I continued scouring the website. Reading deeper, my breath left for a moment learning about a process that will reset your body's cells on a primal and transformative level, erasing patterns of illness. YEP, that's what I was looking for ahead of my appointment.

Three times in recent months, wise people have suggested I look at childhood trauma and its connection with my fibromyalgia. I couldn't locate any until I went all the way back ... to birth.

I always knew this was me/pastel and paint on paper
I returned to my shaman peaceful and focused on undertaking a rebirthing process. He was delighted to accommodate me and  was open for whatever would transpire. We talked a bit about how our birth circumstances cast a shadow our entire life. I told him that all my mother remembers is being knocked out and that I came head first, my sister, feet first five minutes later. I was lovingly teased as a child that I was really red and had a pointed head after birth. It wasn't easy being the first out and, likely, assisted by forceps. I always told my sister she kicked me out to make sure it was safe.

My shaman helped me understand that whatever happens to the mother happens to the child and with my mother unconscious, I was as well and that's the state I return to during transitions. He confirmed this with his own birth story.

I am definitely in transition, moving a studio, re-evaluating my path and living in the cloud of unknowing for the moment. I want to be clear and aware, not asleep. I want to consciously choose what's next by listening to Spirit.

On the massage table, I rebirthed myself in a rhythmic, gentle and intentioned way guided by my spiritual companion. He asked me to hold out my arms (my eyes were closed through the process, probably a nod to my unconscious birth) and accept the baby. As I did, a flood of memories of my birth, those of my daughters and the accident that set off the fibromyalgia opened, followed by effusive light and a sense of empowerment not unlike when I feel unconscious. There's a distinct, but very thin line.

Almost a week later, I am letting that experience settle down into my core and re-arrange my cells. My awareness has been shifted and I am not anxious about my current state of unknowing because I know Spirit is with me – always. I know it in every cell now, thanks to this rebirthing.

This transition as a matter of choice is more clear. Taking contemplative time to sort it out is my path.

Saturday, my daughters and I ventured out in the wicked, torrential rain to shop at Ikea and gorge on their coffee and real cream. I almost asked my 17-year-old to drive, but decided she wasn't experienced enough in heavy rain on the highway. Traffic was moving pretty quickly when, oddly, the sun broke through in patchy places, actually decreasing visibility. As I began to exit for another highway, I noticed cars crumpling like toys one into another. I instantly knew not to head in that direction and forced the car out into traffic with no opportunity to look. I employed the brakes and came to a stop. Not one car was anywhere near us. I let out a sigh and don't really remember getting to Ikea, though it was safely. My youngest felt sick after seeing cars pile into each other, My oldest emerged with a bear hug and a "Mom, I wouldn't have known what to do."

I sent them off to shop, while I recovered with a coffee. I was steady and not unnerved. I began to wonder if others were hurt, so decided to check online. I found no notice of the accident, but a news story about a fatal shooting the night before. One block from where we had been about the same time.

THANK YOU, God, I silently screamed ... for keeping us safe and letting me know clearly that I am still here because that's what you want. The earlier message I'd receives "not to jump into anything" had become "not to jump into anything ELSE" but God's arms.

I sit here still stunned by the string of incidents, grateful and wondering if by experiencing the pain I have tried to escape all these years simply means I am fully awake. Not unconscious.

• What's my birth story?
• Can I see its impact or patterns in my life?
• How could I create opportunity for rebirth?
• Where do I find the comfort and understanding of spiritual companions?
• When have I felt full awake?

weeks melting into
months, morphing
into years

trying to
escape the

which had
a very real

wake up
wake up

I have put
you here

life is a

not a

Listen to this post:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just follow

Three years ago to the month, I was dreaming, slowly unpacking and savoring my new, light-filled studio in a former classroom. It had taken me six years to get here and since the first inner promptings of Spirit initiated this adventure.

That six years seemed like forever. And the three since have vanished too quickly. However, I can count the many blessing in between:

• The luxury of space and quiet to listen to God regularly.
• Using that gift to create an arts exploration for then unknown children, though Jordan, Alivia and Jihad had infiltrated my heart and were the target to which I was drawing closer. I had met them as an art-room volunteer and they melted my heart and planted the seed for a program, where other kids from their complex could shine.
• Having an empty classroom as a blank canvas in which to create a sacred studio.
• Actually hosting Artsy Fartsy here initially with six girls and now with 21 on the roster, including boys.
• Dreaming up a series of classes or single, creative workshops and having the perfect space to pull them off.
• Finding a place to hold all of my ministry.
• Being at the heart of the community and my neighborhood.
• Sharing in the patina of wonderful things that have happened here since 1912.
• Making art here.
• Writing blogs and books here.
• Sharing this section with other artists, including my husband.
• Feeling community.
• Always knowing my stay was tenuous, but planting roots anyway.
• Inviting others here to find a way to save this building.
• Knowing I have been faithful.

I have come to realize that what I believed to be impatient waiting for the next step has actually been grief named by two wise ministers. 

I have known this place with the young-adult loss of my best friend, a miscarriage and the passing of in-laws, grandparents, beloved aunts and uncles, even family pets. I had not equated it to a space or my work. I have come and gone from many jobs over the years, but never mourned them quite like this. This wasn't a job, it was ministry and emanated from my heart.
How it began

With this new insight, I spent yesterday relishing being in the quiet space and carefully packing what can go to storage. It wasn't a chore, but a ritual. Packing away the wonderful presence of Spirit here that has witnessed and facilitated so much transformation in me, the kids and others here to volunteer or participate in a workshop or class.

Room 102, a former math room, is totally infused with God and it will remain even if the last brick is yanked out.
Where it is ending

Yesterday, I was sad and the ritual helped. That is one important lesson I learned working for a casket company. Rituals are there for the times, like grief, when we don't know what to do and we must do something. Rituals are comforting and offer meaning. Even my own, by myself.

Writing this blog seems part of the letting-go ritual. I am savoring this task  more than normal, not skipping through to get it finished, edited, recorded and posted. 

I sense God between the words, on the keyboard, in my heart and head. She knows this is a bittersweet time. Yet, today, I am growing more toward deep, quiet joy, calm and peace as I move from one known thing into one unknown – at the direction of Spirit.

My prayer two days ago was for spiritual companionship and I received it abundantly. I also asked for simplicity (taking the time to pack) and abundance (the richness of companionship and empathy from so many).

I don't know where I am going. And, today, that's just fine.

An hour ago I was speaking with one of my current spiritual companions. His church has promised me space to do Artsy Fartsy. That may be the simplicity that I am seeking. Just knowing they are there, supportive and available makes all of the difference.

So does what my pastoral counselor told me Wednesday. He looked me dead in the eye and said: "You have made a difference ... in the lives of those kids. Whether or not you continue, their live shave been changed for the better."

As has mine.

• When have I found ritual a comfort?
• How?
• How have I learned to surrender to Spirit?
• What practices, companions or experience help me trust?
• When can I walk one step at a time?

the cool, soothing
air drifts in the
open window

for the first time
this season

as if a finger

calls me
out into
the unknown

it is time
to move on

God has
another plan


Listen to this post: