Union and Separation

The American people chose an integrated world view over a racist, jingoist “Country First” world view.  The world feels lighter.

I am way left of Obama and the Democrats. In my view, the change he represents is more symbolic than actual. To be precise, I think we need bigger, more fundamental change than he can or will bring. He is beholden to Wall Street and the corporate elite like any other bourgeois politician. Nevertheless, right now I am elated that Americans who participate in electoral politics chose this man to be their president — a man who in his person represents the integration of several cultural oppositions.

I think many of us are feeling better about each other this week.

Dream: History of Military Aviation

Over the weekend, I dreamt that my husband and I were walking to a grocery store near our house.  Suddenly there was roaring in the sky above us.  I looked to see two old-fashioned red fighter biplanes overhead.  They were chugging along in the sky looking slow and clumsy.  Then I blinked and several more fighter planes appeared, joining the first two.  These were of more recent make but still old-fashioned.  I blinked again and there were more fighter planes, more recent yet.  Then there were still more fighter planes, more recent in design.

 

Every couple seconds the number of fighter planes in the sky increased exponentially, and each time the new planes looked more recent in design.  Soon the sky was crowded with hundreds of fighter planes.

 

“What is going on?” I cried.  In an instant hundreds more fighter planes appeared, filling in all the remaining space in the sky.  These were sleek and ultra modern in design.  The roaring was overwhelming – it was like a storm bearing down on us – but the planes were basically stationary at this point.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” I said to my husband.  And just then two GIGANTIC spaceships appeared overhead – one black, one white. 

The dream dissolved.

Funny thing is that I have zero interest in war planes, but this dream began with a friend visiting me at my home to drop something off.  In “waking life,” this friend is into historic war planes as well as UFOs.  When I described the dream to him today, he immediately placed the red biplanes as Red Barons.  I joked that he visited me in the astral and dropped off his dream.

Right Place Revisited

right-place-revisited.JPGI returned to the heart-shaped island in the western North Atlantic.  I climbed a mountain and listened.  In the golden light of the Equinox sun, with a chorus of crickets and chickadees around me, I called out to my higher self.  I affirmed my intention – to evolve and, in so doing, do whatever I can to help carry the evolutionary tide forward.  My will is thy will, I said.

I then descended steeply into the underworld between two mountains where I passed through a tunnel formed by twin slabs of giant stone.  There an orb of light greeted me, though I didn’t know it until afterward when I saw the picture I had taken. 

Having passed through the tunnel, I climbed steeply back up the mountain – a different mountain in 3D but it doesn’t really matter.  At its summit, once again on the bare pink and green granite, bathed in the golden light with brilliant blue for miles around, I affirmed my intention and listened. 

Nothing specific.  Nothing immediate.  Just a subtle release of fear and a resulting clarity inside.  One step after another.  Mindful.  Unhurried.  The path stretches long ahead. 

The trails were mostly empty.  I had the thought that another 911 could have happened hours ago and all hell could be breaking loose in the world.  But on the mountain that world was far away.  Our world was the perfect serenity of granite, pitch pines, wild blueberry bushes and cricket song awash in the golden angles of the September sun, with ocean and sky spread endlessly on all sides.

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Et in A(r)cadia ego

Back at sea level, I traveled through the woods to the sacred boulder.  Fallen trees lay everywhere. I passed through the grassy channel where I saw the bear crossing our path four years ago.  A few steps later there was fresh bear scat.  Very fresh. 

Bear is my guide.  He sits on my right shoulder.  Nevertheless, I could not overcome the fear of meeting him in the flesh.  I took out my keys and jangled them.

We pressed forward and his scat was everywhere.  So distracted by fear this time, I missed the boulder on the first pass and we had to double back.  When we found the boulder, I was dismayed to find more bear scat its base.  My husband climbed on top of the boulder to meditate, but I could not relax enough to trust myself to attempt the climb.  Still jangling the keys, I meditated on a ledge at the bottom.  I found a chrysalis there which I refrained from touching out of respect.

Despite my fear, I managed to enter that rich dark matrix where Wolfie, the spirit of the boulder, resides.  Just for a few moments, though.  For four years now, I have been eager to return to sit with him again.  Thinking that I’ve grown since the last time, I loaded the moment up with hope and expectation.  Unfortunately my fear of the bear muffled all of that.  I was still jangling my keys after all.  But I did sense him – Wolfie, that is.  I also asked him to help me heal my relationship with work so that I can earn my Right Livelihood and work in alignment with my higher self and the evolution of the planet.   This request might seem silly, especially now, but what can I say?  We each bear a cross — my woundedness in relation to work has been mine.

That night I had a mundane dream that was interesting for being a new spin on an old recurring theme.  Usually I find myself in class on the last day and there is a final exam being handed out or a seminar paper due and I’ve done nothing – I haven’t even been attending class because I didn’t know I was enrolled.  My usual response is a frantic scramble to pull out a good grade at the last minute.  This time I decided not to bother taking the final.  I knew the class wasn’t meaningful to me and I shouldn’t waste any time on it.  I also knew that people would say that I “failed out” but that didn’t matter because I had to stay true to what I felt was important. 

The next night I dreamt that I was at a conference in a building that was a cross between a school and a workplace (the two are often conflated in my dreams).  Outside on the road there were fanatical nationalists waving the American flag and throwing firecrackers at passing cars.  Someone threw a lit firecracker at me as I walked by.  I threw it back and they called me a terrorist.  I tried to argue – next thing I knew I was inside the conference and embroiled in some drama I don’t remember.

In the hall on my way to the next conference event, I saw a dark-haired guy with an infinity symbol on his t-shirt.  I told him I liked it.  Then I saw “2012” spray painted in silver on a whiteboard nearby.  I commented on it to those around me, but no one knew what it was. 

Later I saw the dark-haired guy in a silver leotard outfit with the infinity symbol on the chest.  He was with a crew of people dressed just like him.  They were all gathering underneath a strange room.  The room was actually on the floor above us but it had no floor so we could look up into it.  All four walls were spray painted silver in countless rows of alternating infinity symbols and 2012s.

Suddenly the silver leotard group was gone. 

“Aren’t you going, too?” someone asked me.  I responded that I would like to but I didn’t have a silver leotard outfit like theirs.  A voice told me that didn’t matter.  It was my choice and here was the moment I’ve been waiting for.

And so I went to the silver room, which was some kind of gateway.  The dream dissolved as I was transported.

Both of these dreams were about freeing myself from the bonds of external expectations (good grades) and prerequisites (silver leotard) and choosing my next step based solely on my own internal compass. 

The next night I arose from a deep sleep in the wee hours and looked out the east-facing balcony of our motel room.  The night sky was bright and overwhelming.  It confused me at first, then I realized that it was the Big Dipper emblazoned over the ocean looking giant and surreal.  I went to the room’s lone window, which looked southward, and saw Orion framed perfectly over the mountains and lit up the same way.  Don’t know what it means if anything other than the fact that I am so accustomed to light pollution that I am stunned when I see the constellations unobstructed by haze.  Somehow, though, it felt meaningful.

*   *   *

Bear made his presence known — so did Falcon.  Falcon was everywhere in the flesh.  Once I saw him catching prey in midair.  Sad for the prey, but it did communicate that now is time for seizing the moment.

 

Earth Activation

upheaval.JPGEvery time I visit Acadia, the trails present me with a coherent theme in imagery.  Last time it was splits.  Split trees, split rocks — all kinds of splits were underscored with a synchronistic glow.  The lesson I took away was that there was a split within me and I needed to align my will with my heart.

This time the imagery was about upheaval.  Uprooted trees were a frequent sight – much more so than in the past – some were bearing the bright blue paint of a trail marker.  The path itself was eroded in spots, certainly not everywhere but again more so than in the past.  The East Face Champlain Trail was completely closed due to damage and subsequent rock falls stemming from an earthquake that occurred in October of 2006.

Please don’t misunderstand.  Acadia National Park is a treasure.  It has not fallen into disrepair.  It is amazing in its natural beauty, and its many trails are lovingly kept by brigades of people who are passionate about the place.  I would gladly live there if I could.  What I mean to say is simply that the trails presented metaphors for upheaval to my eye this September.

As I’ve written before, I feel I was activated by this place and have or had some kind of connection to it.  In past years, I’ve seen familiar faces on the trails – others who kept returning and had a glow about them when they were here.  This time I saw no faces familiar from previous years.  It seemed like the activation party was over, the guests were gone and now the host was alone and possibly in need of assistance.  For all my meditations on the mountaintops and at the base of the sacred boulder, maybe I really should have done only one thing and that is ask the question: Dear friend, what ails you?

Toward sunset on the last day, we drove up Cadillac Mountain to say goodbye to the island, just as we did four years ago.  We haven’t hiked up Cadillac in a long time – mainly because it can be a let down to spend hours climbing up a mountain and then be greeted at the top by tour buses and a gift shop.  (Cadillac is the only drive-up mountain on Mount Desert Island.)  Nevertheless, this was where I experienced what I believe was a heart chakra opening last time.  It seemed that Cadillac Mountain was a powerfully active volcano, but instead of lava, it was spewing energy of a high vibration.  For those keyed to it, being in range of its energetic broadcast was a blast to the chakras.  That was my theory, anyway.

This time I got out of the car with some concern that the mountain would be quiet – that it was stressed and wouldn’t have the same power.  But ultimately, at the top of Cadillac, the energy was there.  It was somewhat subdued from last time, but it was still pulsing bigger than all of us.  Bigger than the upheaval at hand.  Bigger than the mountain, the sky and the surrounding ocean.  Maybe bigger than the Earth itself.

 

Mere Anarchy

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…
– W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming

But the center had no integrity.  Built on illusion and delusion, the tower must fall.  All of this has happened before.  What do we do now?  Do we choose the path of FEAR?  Do we try to cling to the failing order?  Do we hoard and stash and hunker down?  Do we feed on fearful rumors and panic at possibilities?  Do we retreat into old patterns in the face of the shift of the ages?

Or do we release the old structures and embrace the shift with open hearts and minds?  Do we start building the communities of the future today?   There is a huge difference between building bunkers and building sustainable communities for a changing world.

Consider the following insight from Neil Kramer’s latest post on the Shift:

The only real preparation is spiritual preparation. Psychological and emotional balance, together with a real, deep connectedness with oneself and the natural world has never been so important. Be who you really are. Dissolve inauthentic behaviours and attitudes. Allow the universe into you. The chrysalis that we thought was the whole world, is beginning to crack open…. 

Greater dimensions of being await. Observe non-attachment. Do not cling to anything, and there shall be no suffering. Easier said than done, some may say, but take the first step. Know in your heart that all is one. Feel the impermanence of all things. Know the indestructibility of your soul. We have chosen to be here now, in this time of revelation, unveiling and transformation. Stand at the centre. You are the change.      

And let it be so.

Namaste.

Ides of September (Sort of)

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Since I had a dream months ago that pointed to September 15th as a day of death, I approached this day with some caution.  I have been grappling with my darkness lately.  Interesting that despite the progress I’ve made in recent months, I feel darker than I did a year ago, darker still than I did the year before that.  I am not sure what I mean by this.  But I do know that I am experiencing my Saturn half return, and the full moon today is conjunct to my natal sun. 

I previously posted about feeling that I had finally unlocked the gate.  I think this is what Charles Eisenstein described as “a glimpse” in his essay on the seven stages of the spiritual journey (“Invisible Paths”).  He writes:

“This state does not last very long: sometimes just minutes, sometimes days, rarely for weeks. It disappears faster the more you try to hold on to it, and once it is gone it will not come back by trying to replicate the circumstances through which it came before. You might slip back into doubt and despair, you might live a while longer in the old world, but there is a huge difference now. After having had this glimpse, you now know that a more beautiful world and a more beautiful life is possible.”

Now I stand on the inside of threshold, and for the time being at least, I am overwhelmed by the lands before me.  There is a maze of traditions and schools – which route to take? 

Meanwhile, the outer world seems to be crumbling.  Everyday the state of affairs in the U.S. reaches a new level of absurdity.  Last week, someone I know dreamt that chaos had broken out and UFOs were hovering overhead and picking people off.  Everyone was panicking, but he said “I know the answer!”  Then he took out his credit cards and money, cut them up and threw them away. 

Fear and clinging to the old order are the last things we need.

But yesterday I looked at the “work” category of this blog and realized that, on the subject of my job, I sound like a broken record player on a downward spiral.  I apologize.  Clearly I need to resolve this contradiction.

The good news is that I am going on a return pilgrimage to Mount Desert Island, Maine.  The last time I was there – four years ago – I had an experience that I believe was a heart chakra opening (recounted here).  I return now in a different space.  Then it was just a beginning.  It was an ungrounded opening.  I believe I have grown and achieved some grounding in the years since. 

Now I need to be quiet with myself and the mountain to see how to carry this forward and bring the swirl inside me into being.  I am eager to listen to whatever the mountain has to say.

I will write more coherently from the trails.

Namaste.

 

Labor Day Musings on My Alienated Labor

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So it’s Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.  Labor Day, of course, is the holiday that was invented to divert the American working class from celebrating May Day with the rest of the world.  Instead of joining in international class solidarity and remembering those who gave their lives in the struggle for basic things like the eight-hour day, we Americans go shopping, lie on the beach and eat mad cow burgers at barbecues.  It’s a big party weekend signifying the end of the summer – and one fleeting workday off from the misery of our jobs.

Right now the biggest obstacle I’m facing on my spiritual journey is my job.  I dread it.  I feel chained and trapped by it – it is feeding on me and dragging me down. 

I won’t belabor why my job sucks.  I will say only that it is as if I am a flute desiring nothing but to play my tune.  But my job uses me as if I am a can opener.  Dump trucks piled high with cans are unloaded in my cube each day and I am expected to have them all opened in a couple hours.  Then I am expected to write reports about how many cans I opened, how many cans I farmed out to the Philippines to open, what categories of cans were opened, how many cans are left to open in each category, what is the rate of all the opening, what is the rate of the reporting on the opening, how many cans do I expect to come in for opening in the future.  In between, I am responding to complaints about the contents of the cans. 

To top off the absurdity, no one wants the cans – open or closed.  The customers are demanding about them because they are paying my company a premium for its services.  But they don’t really want the cans.  They serve no useful purpose in the world. 

Just as using a flute as a can opener day in day out would be damaging to the flute, my job is damaging to me.

When I was a manager, I took work home literally and figuratively.  It took up residence in my head and pushed me out of my life.  Now that I have a scaled down job, I no longer take work home.  I think I am leaving it behind at the end of the workday, but I wake up in the night after a couple hours of sleep to find that my mind is caught in a loop of worry over what I have to do at work.  This is now happening six out of seven days a week.  My only night off is Friday.

So here I am back to square one.  I left my managerial job to reclaim my life.  I got a scaled down job thinking I could keep it in bounds.  For a while it worked, but now it, too, is growing like a weed throughout my mind, choking out my own plantings. 

Some people tell me I should not think twice about work – I should just come in, do what I can without stressing and, if it’s not enough, let management worry about it.  These shoulds join the other shoulds in my head.  The ones from childhood that tell me I should be a good worker and always meet or exceed expectations (even if wildly unreasonable).  All this shoulding gangs up on me, telling me there is something wrong with the way I am and how I feel.

A part of me feels like a failure for not being able to keep my day job in its place, but another part of me will not relent: I am NOT a can opener!  I refuse to spend most of my time and energy opening cans that no one wants or needs.  I don’t want to separate myself from my work.  I want to play my song.  I want my work to be a true expression of me and what I came here to do.  I want to work in alignment with my higher self and the evolution of the planet.

And maybe this is not a matter of dreamy escapist me being unable to settle down and get along in the world.  Maybe this is the truer part of me pushing onward and outward into manifestation.  And maybe if enough of us manage to manifest our truer parts, we will be the change we want to see in the world in sufficient numbers to change the world.  

I’ve been thinking about Kingsley Dennis’s comment on my last post.  He quoted the Persian poet Saadi:  “If you wish to find the Truth, dive into the ocean. But if you prefer security, stay upon the shore.”  Maybe I am trying to dive into the ocean while keeping a toe on the shore with a corporate ‘day job.’  An obvious contradiction – hence my discomfort in the pose.  Something has got to give.  I have to let go.  Somehow.

Handful of Sand & A Barrelful of Water

handfulofsand.JPGLucidity in a dream can be like a handful of sand. You have it – you’re looking right at it, but even while you do, it’s sifting through your fingers. When your hand is empty, you don’t realize it. You’ve forgotten what you were holding.  You’re submerged in the drama of the dream. 

Life on this plane is like a dream.Spiritual awareness is like lucidity. The handful of sand phenomenon applies.

To make matters worse, we are buffeted on all sides by a cacophony that would drown out our inner voices and by strong waves that would pull us back down into the dream.

It is challenging to hold onto that sand. 

In three of the podcasts I recommended last time, Christopher Moors talks about the need to first withdraw and observe your patterns without acting on them. Start where you are, he says, quiet the mind and observe without reaction. When the drama surges, let it pass by. 

I have been consciously trying to master my emotional reactions for years now with only limited success. I am a person with a whole lot of water going on. I have a big barrelful and I easily slosh over the top.I think a big problem was that I’ve been consciously trying. You cannot consciously master unconscious processes. You need to deal with the unconscious directly – in its own language. 

Listening to Moors talk about “letting it pass by,” an image came to me wherein I was sitting calmly on a bank at the edge of a wood watching a river rush by me. Somehow the image spoke to me on all levels, so I’ve adopted it as sort of a mental talisman.

This is a day-by-day, step-by-step journey. Some days are better than others. Nevertheless, with this image in my mind, I have been much less swept away by my reactions. Progress, not perfection. 

A test came in a family event some weeks ago – an annual event that I always dread because of the negativity that permeates it. My family is a bit oddball, but there is a very conventional couple in my extended family. They are financially well off, politically conservative and — in my view — narrow minded in their aspiration to middle brow American culture. I have nothing in common with them except this extended family connection that forces us to socialize at least once a year. 

The husband is basically good natured, but the wife is arrogant and judgmental. She sits aloof in a closed posture of arch superiority and provides negative commentary throughout the day. She doesn’t approve of me and makes it known with several put downs at each gathering. Since she is my mother’s age and this pattern goes back to when I was a child, her put downs have a powerful effect on my barrelful of water. 

In recent years – mainly since I quit my managerial job – her put downs have focused on my writing – specifically on my lack of what she would call “success” as a writer. She makes it clear she thinks I should stop my silly scribbling and resign myself to the “real world” (i.e. climbing the corporate ladder, owning a big house, raising kids, voting Republican . . .). 

This time my mother, my aunt and I were talking about email behavior when it struck me that “Reply to All” would be a funny name for a satirical novel about the contemporary corporate workplace. Unfortunately, I blurted the thought out, forgetting that my critic was sitting nearby. “And I have an idea for the picture on the cover . . .” I said playfully. It was all supposed to be a joke. My idea for the cover art was going to be the punch line. Maybe it would not have been funny in that setting, but that did not matter because I didn’t get a chance to finish. I had stepped out of line and my critic was already snapping back.

“But you don’t have the content for the book, now do you? There’s where your writer’s block comes in.” She was looking away with a smirk on her face – arms akimbo, one leg crossed over the other. Awkward silence fell around us. 

Does this comment seem mean to you? To my ears in the moment, it was sneering and dripping with contempt. In the past, I would have taken it like a kick to the stomach. I would have felt completely humiliated and worthless. 

This time I saw that wave coming, but I sat on the riverbank and watched it pass by. 

Okay – truth be told, I did muse to myself about how she is going to look eating crow at my book-signing party. BUT this wee bit of a MILD reaction is a HUGE improvement for me, sloshing barrelful of water that I am.

:)  

Um, did I have something in my hand a little while ago?    

Image by my husband, used courtesy of a marriage license 

Unlocking the Gate

gate.JPGI am deep in process now. It’s where I need to be. For years I was stuck at the gate, rattling it in frustration. Now I am taking my first steps in. I have a long way to go, but I see where I am going. I am in no rush, despite the hour. Step by step, the journey is the process.

Chances are you’ve heard it, too — that strange inner calling. That half-tuned in radio station playing in the next room. For me it was always there, but I didn’t know how to move in that direction. There was no direction to it in my mind. It was just a nebulous droning that over the years intensified into a distinct but still poorly understood imperative. I felt I had a purpose to fulfill in this life . . . I confess I fancied it a special purpose. But I guess it’s often experienced that way.

Years passed. I had recently graduated college. I was standing at the first major crossroads of my adult life — completely confounded and carrying this maddening impulse within me. By day I was lost and afraid. By night I was dreaming about being on an elaborate multi-stage quest that I could never fathom upon waking.

One such night I dreamt I was in a small band of travelers following a white unicorn or horse on a path through fields and forests. We were on a grand quest that would solve the riddle of everything.

I was so engaged and excited. This is what I had been waiting for my entire life. In a semi-lucid moment, I thought that the quest would make an inspiring novel and that I must remember it to write it upon awakening. All of the other dream characters continued on unaware, but an elderly couple in the party responded to me as if I had spoken the thought aloud. They were smiling and nodding emphatically.

“Tell the tale and live it,” they told me.

The quest itself did not survive the dawn, but I came away from the dream with what I felt was a directive. One that validated my lifelong love of stories and story telling with the stamp of a higher purpose.

Tell the tale and live it.

Not live the tale then tell it. Like an expert. Like a memoirist looking back on a thing done.

No, tell the tale and live it.

I felt “the tale” was the grand quest of all quests. The inner grail quest that I felt relentlessly drawn to but didn’t understand. Telling it meant writing a grand novel. At least one.

Years passed muddled in frustration. This was far too grand a tale for me to tell. I had no clue. I tried to live it, but for the most part I was circling around, endlessly searching for a way in but always stuck outside the gate.

Then weird little things started happening in my life. The more I paid attention to them, the more frequently they happened. The little things got bigger and formed chains that became undeniable. I spent some time on the web looking to see if anyone else was experiencing what I was experiencing. I found a lot of things, to be sure, but not quite what I was looking for.

A new wrinkle came in the fall of 2006 when I started getting synchronistic nudges to start a blog. The nudges came from outside me. Blogging was not something I wanted to take up. I thought it would be another jones-driven distraction keeping me from “telling the tale and living it” and was therefore avoiding the whole blogosphere. But the synchronistic message was strong. It took me a long time to get rolling, but I heeded the call.

The urge was to come out as a seeker and share my experience with fellow travelers. NOT to put myself forward as some kind of expert and dish out bullet points of wisdom. Instead, to share from one seeker to another – here is my personal experience from where I am on the path . . . can you relate?

This was a scary prospect for me. It was a side of my life – of me – that I did not often share, even with my husband and closest friends. My socialization told me it was the kind of stuff that you just don’t talk about or people will think you are wacko. Nevertheless, what I often looked for from others I would try to put out there myself.

Here I am several months and a better blogging platform later. Little did I know when I started that putting my journey out there on this blog would unlock the gate for me. Previously I was looking for something out there to let me in, when actually I needed to put something out there to turn the key.

Now I am finding things that I’ve long been looking for. Books I knew about but never felt inclined to read now call me and turn out to be revelations. Pieces of the puzzle are clicking into place in big clusters. Understanding that long eluded me now flows easily. And I am starting to connect with other travelers around me.

Tell the tale and live it.

So now I am processing. I am pausing to find balance in my new surroundings. I am learning to make that calm space within so I stop getting swept up in reactions to daily drama. I may continue to be relatively quiet for a few more weeks while I process, tend to my garden and finish setting up this blog. But I would like to say that the podcasts over at Occult of Personality have been very helpful to me. There are too many good ones to list, but I particularly recommend the following four if you relate to the rattling-the-gate syndrome: Podcast 32: On the Spiritual Path with Christopher Moors, Podcast 41: Journey to the East, Podcast 47: Exploration of the Inner Realms and Podcast 46: Fraternity of the Hidden Light’s Steward, Dr. Paul Clark.

Namaste


Dream: Rocket Crash & Shadow Aircraft

I dreamt I looked out my office window here at home and saw an aircraft hurtling in for a crash landing. It looked like a rocket flying on its side like a plane, low and parallel to the horizon. It screamed across the sky and then exploded some distance to the southwest.

There was a huge commotion there – a crowd of emergency vehicles, lights flashing, sirens wailing, amid great plumes of smoke and fire. But it seemed that the commotion was there before the crash, and the exploded rocket was merely adding to the chaos on the ground. I wasn’t sure.

I studied the air above the crash site. At first it appeared empty, but then my eyes refocused and just like when the other side of an optical paradox emerges, I could make out two huge dark space ships and a slew of other strange aircraft hovering above the area. They looked like shadow craft, but they were darkly lit and now that they had emerged from their camouflage, I could make out their complexities.

It crossed my mind that a new war may be breaking out. I raced to turn on the TV and radio to hear what was going on. Station after station was playing the same inane commercials and programming as if nothing was amiss in America. But I could see with my own eyes out my own window that the reality was clearly and extremely otherwise.

Out of Sync: More Wage Slavery Angst

contribution.JPGLately the synchronicity stream has me awash in one-offs. I jolt awake at 4:43 and 3:44 and 4:45. My timestamps are 3:33:34 and 4:44:43. My electric toothbrush stops inexplicably at 2:21 minutes while I am still trying to brush. People inadvertently send me emails at exactly 1:10. The best was the QA test I received at work after I finished telling a friend I am always one off lately – the auto-generated title was “Sanity Test 11:10:10.”

I feel off. The perennial contradiction between my job and what I see as my true work in the world has me spiraling down. I hate that I spend most of my time and energy working for The Man. I hate the idea generally, and it only makes it worse that my job is absurd on every level.

It hurts my head to do my job. I don’t know how else to describe it. Work is an energetic river – I guess all activity is – and dipping into this particular river does violence to my mind and spirit.

It’s not that my job entails activities are in themselves difficult – far from it. But they are crude and inane – and far beyond one person in volume.

Ultimately, though, the work is fundamentally non-aligned. You could say that I work for the defenders of those who would put a spigot on air and force us to pay to breathe.

It’s painful to turn to that frequency.

To those of you in the same boat as me, I ask can we agree to stop this? Spending our days working for the wrong team in grossly mismanaged situations, banging our heads into walls, trying to accomplish nonsensical tasks given to us by bosses without a respective clue, doing the work of whole departments because they keep laying people off, driving long, harrowing commutes back to heavily mortgaged homes . . . By the time we’re home, we’re mentally and physically exhausted, but then there many household tasks that every good suburbanite must do. We’re just starting to feel human again when it’s time to go to sleep. Next thing we know, the alarm is ringing and we have to go back.

I don’t want to go back.

There is something else I long to do that I think would be a much more worthwhile contribution, but it doesn’t often pay a living. I’ve been trying to figure out a way, but the health care/health insurance issue is a stumper.

I may not have figured out an alternate route yet, but I do know we are all better than this. Our time, our will, our creative power should not be wasted and misused in this way. This is NOT who we are.

I really liked Charles Eisenstein’s post “Money: A New Beginning” on Reality Sandwich a while back. He captured the absurdity of the artificial scarcity that we are living in. He writes:

For indeed, we live in a world of fundamental abundance, a world where vast quantities of food, energy, and materials go to waste. Half the world starves while the other half wastes enough to feed the first half. In the Third World and our own ghettos, people lack food, shelter, and other basic necessities, but cannot afford to buy them. Other people would love to supply these necessities and do other meaningful work, but cannot because there is no money in it.

When paying work is meaningless at best and destructive at worst and when meaningful work doesn’t pay enough to sustain the worker, the system is obviously unsustainable.

“Contribution” image by my husband, used courtesy of a marriage license.

Top Three Things I Learned at “Being Fearless”

emergency-exit-by-owenblacker.jpgAs I mentioned in a previous post, I attended the Omega Institute’s “Being Fearless” conference in April. I’ve been turning over the impressions and insights that I collected there. Here’s what I am learning:

1. I can be the space that I seek.

All my life I’ve felt that there is no true space in the world for me, and deep down, this has made me feel unworthy and afraid. I’ve been searching for my Right Place, and over the years, I’ve done some “wild and crazy” things on that quest. But for the most part, I’ve been living like a figure in an Emergency Exit sign – always rushing to the door. Whether rushing to meet the next external demand or to run from it, I’m always trying to be where I am not.

I’m usually earlier than I needed to be, and I’ve usually done more than I needed to do. Where has that gotten me? More demands but not more rewards. And the price is that I haven’t taken care of myself in my perpetual rush to respond. So there is no space for me.

It’s true I don’t like my job. And I don’t like where I live. Neither of these places is a good fit for me. They give me blisters. But does that mean that there is no air for me to breathe where I am? No. Yet I’ve been experiencing these places as if they are suffocating me.

I’ve been chastising myself for feeling this way, but this only feeds the cycle of bad feeling. At the conference, I attended Tara Brach’s workshop and got a glimpse of the way out of the cycle – to be my own Right Place wherever I am, not through superhuman feats of willpower or gut wrenching fortitude, but through radical acceptance.

The idea is not to repress or deny or overcome the pain you are feeling, but instead to PAUSE in it. Fully RECOGNIZE in detail what is happening and how you feel about it, and then to ALLOW it. As Brach said in the workshop, “to hold it in kindness.”

This opens a space where previously there was none.

Brach told a story about a man who in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease agreed to give a presentation to a sizeable audience. Although he had prepared thoroughly, his speech left him at the podium. He went blank — every public speaker’s nightmare, no doubt all the worse for someone who knows that a mind-robbing disease is the culprit. Instead of fumbling for words or racing for the exit, the man stood firmly where he was and proceeded to acknowledge and honor aloud every nuance of what he was feeling in the moment. Brach said he had the audience in tears – not because they pitied him but because he was demonstrating the concept of radical acceptance.

The story moved me.

2. Wholeness means accepting the gift of my shadow.

In a workshop entitled “Discovering the Gifts of Your Dark Side,” Debbie Ford talked about how we learn to repress certain aspects of our personality. She likened these repressed aspects to beach balls that we are forever trying to keep under water and out of sight, lest we appear “bad” in the eyes of others. Of course, the constant beach ball management effort is exhausting, and when a ball gets away from us, it explodes out of the water in a potentially destructive way.

I like the analogy. I’ve been smacked in the face with more than a few projectile beach balls, so I know what that’s about. The alternative to repression is to look for a constructive way to use the aspect, accept it and thereby integrate it.

3. Don’t hide my cracks.

It seemed that everyone at the conference told the story of the Golden Buddha, each with a slightly different take on its lesson. If you haven’t heard it already, this is the story of a 700-hundred-year-old solid gold Buddha statue that long ago was encased in clay to camouflage its true worth and thus protect it from invaders. When the people who did this died, knowledge of the inner gold of the Buddha died with them. So the statue was thought to be a plain clay statue of modest worth for time out of mind. In the 1950s, it was damaged as it was being moved. Someone looked into the cracks and saw a glint of gold within. They chiseled at the cracks until the golden statue was fully revealed and all were amazed. The statue is now known as a national treasure of Thailand.

It is a simple but rich story, so it’s no wonder so many speakers at the conference referenced it. We, too, have gold within us, waiting to be revealed. This is the gold of alchemy — our evolutionary potential. But the key point for me is that exploring the cracks – wounds, if you will – led to the discovery of the gold within. Far from being something shameful, the cracks were the gateway to transformation.

I’m still turning these lessons over and processing. For now, I will focus on standing in the four corners of my feet where I am . . . and breathing.

Emergency exit → image by OwenBlacker, used courtesy of a Creative Commons License.