Two weeks ago, on the early morning of the Virgo full moon, I had a dream about my friend Martha. It was really about her friend, ‘Shaman.’ Martha was stranded at a ski resort; my husband Michael and I were able to give her a ride, and met her at the bottom of the slope to tell her. I offered her some raspberry tea (an item she often offers me when I visit her). Suddenly, this man comes skiing into us. I said, “Whoa! Watch it!” That’s when Martha says, “Oh, this is my friend Shaman.” I was a bit dubious—who calls themselves ‘Shaman’? I told him it was nice to meet him but I really, honestly didn’t quite feel that way.
Then Martha begins to tell us that Shaman teaches an ancient branch of yoga. She says the name, of which I do not remember but in the dream I think that I recognize. I say to Shaman, “Is that the one where you practice All-Is-Temporary?” Yes, he says. It is. He may have said something else; I woke up shortly after.
Naturally, I was set up nicely to ruminate about the implications of this vision for my morning journaling time. All Is Temporary, is it? I started to write about situations and emotions that encompassed past pain, past joy, past worry, past anticipation. My relationships, my wringing hands over publishing my novel, my unresolved issues around my first husband, my frustration over not understanding my step-daughter fully, my low back pain, the hideous turquois color our kitchen is painted, the beautiful and calming color our bedroom is painted—ALL TEMPORARY. From mundane to crucial, all in this material plane is, in fact, temporary. I am reminded of a line from a tune Jerry Garcia croons in my heart: “We’re all just passing through.” All that we perceive to be important is dictated by our prejudices and value systems—systems that most likely got handed down to us from either our country or parents or both.
So, what lasts? What is not temporary, if anything? For me, it comes down to my soul and the Spirit which ensoules my soul. Those things I do not believe are temporary but timeless, boundless, and ever-evolving. This exploration led me to a former revelation I had many years ago but perhaps needed to be reminded of: We are here to 1) experience joy and 2) learn our lessons. That is what we agreed to, and consciousness (ie, remembering) awakens in us the pursuit of those privileges.
The Shaman—slick on his skis, about to plow me over, bold in his self-identifier—teaches that All Is Temporary.
As a business owner of Clan of Origin (formerly River Run Reiki), I know that advertising the services I offer is part of the territory. However, I loathe self-promotion. Or business promotion. Or whatever it is we want to call it without calling it what it is: Selling.
But a friend recently encouraged me to view this process through a different lens by simply asking: Do you believe in the special gifts you have to share with the world? Yes, I said. Of course! Do you trust in those gifts’ value? Yes again I said. Then they are worth something, she said. And in this world, people pay for things they find valuable.
I get it. I understand on the precarious mantle I hold “promotion” that it is necessary to somehow let the world know I have something OF VALUE that I’d like to ‘share’ with them and in exchange, I’ll take sixty bucks for the first hour. As a somewhat unconventional healing modality, shamanic healing and reiki therapy are not always “easy” sells. That is why I take every chance I get to GIVE SOME AWAY.
I donate sessions to auctions of any 501 C3 that asks. I run promos monthly for specific groups of folks that might not always have “extra” to spend on an hour of juicy reiki and energy work–students, healthcare providers, other healing service providers, seniors, teachers. I used to give FREE sessions to birthday peeps! (Now I offer 1/2 priced sessions on your birthday). I am happy to trade my healing work for something I find value that you might have or give. (Still looking for my new guitar teacher who needs weekly reiki!)
In other words, I promote HEALING and INTENTIONAL LIVING through a vibrant mind/body/spirit connection. Sometimes there is an “exchange rate” in the form of a green and white piece of paper with a president’s face on it. Other times, there are more dynamic ways the energy flows…
If you are a business owner, and are trying to figure out new ways to bring in clients, consider giving your services away. If it is something you value, it will carry its own power in the world.
I am one of those lucky people who is in touch with her childhood best friend. Leigh-Anne lives in Raleigh, less than thirty miles from where we grew up in Siler City, the Mayberry of Chatham County, North Carolina. I live in Portland, Maine. We don’t see each other nearly enough…but thank God for texting.
Texting with your childhood bestie is like being placed in a time machine because they hold memories you may have forgotten. One day recently, we were reminiscing via text about all of the creative things we used to do. I know building forts is a common act of creativity children everywhere enjoy but Leigh-Anne and I had a special magic. We fused together a type of imagination sandwich that we fed on daily (she lived right beside me).
Our recent texting thread went something like this:
LA: Remember when we forced Cocoa and Rufus into our dog show?
MK: And we made tickets and charged people? My sister…her friend Melody.
LA: Poor dogs!
MK: Old maid, gin rummy? We could play those for hours.
LA: War! I *loved* war.
MK: I hated playing war with you…you always beat me.
LA: What about the Daisy club in the back woods of your house, that one log that was wide enough to be the ‘drawbridge’??
MK: OMG! And if you fell off to the right, you fell in poop, and if you fell off to the left, you were eaten by sharks!
LA: No, pee.
MK: Oh. Sharks were something else then.
LA: That was if you fell off the doghouse.
MK: How about that time we dug up all of the wild onions in your front yard, put them in my red wagon and went door to door selling each bundle for ten cents?!
LA: LOL, we were geniuses!!
Yep, we were geniuses. This is not a post about how kids today have lost their connection to the natural world, are too dependent on electronics to entertain themselves or are becoming ‘desensitized’ to the point of not knowing how to relate to others–all concerns that may be true. But I want to talk about the urge to create, the impetus to MAKE SOMETHING.
In the infamous words of Portland’s Poet Laureate, Gibson Faye-Leblanc, “It feels good to make something.” Whether it’s a poem, a vision board, dinner, or a new bookshelf, it does feel good to make something. And don’t believe the myth that you have to be considered “creative” to enjoy the act of creation.
When we create—make something—we align ourselves with fire, which is the element of transformation. We are transforming one thing to another (and ourselves get a vicarious burst of change as well). Other elements are associated with other qualities: water with feelings and emotions, air with higher thinking and ideas, earth with grounding and stillness. At different times of our lives, we might need more or less of these precious elemental essences. Often times, I can go through the entire gamut before lunch!
We are not separate from the Elements, and none of us can be excused from the needed growth, release, healing, and change they bring to our lives. My ancient ancestors of the Celtic way knew well how to work with them, how to respect them, how to expect miracles from them. We are being called to become ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS–co-creators with the Elements–in order to establish a higher order of consciousness on the Earth.
We are living in a time where becoming a conscious creator is crucial. I am a big fan of intention, which means you act from your heart wisdom. By contrast, acting from your mind is called having an agenda. Intention is very powerful because—coming from a place of heart—it can’t lie. It can’t trick you, or others. It is pure, and when you make a clear intention from a place of co-collaborating with the Elements, you are pursuing a vitality which makes miracles happen.
Now is the time to wake up to the change we want to see in the world. Make your bookshelf, but also make your voice heard. Find your joy and stand your ground. Get to know the fire of transformation. Because Leigh-Anne and I are still geniuses. We all are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
The Winter Solstice happens in the Northern Hemisphere at 5:44 AM on Wednesday morning, December 21st. I look forward to this time of year because I’m a writer. There’s a psychic shift that says, “Good, I can stay home and think. Be still, reflect. Now, where are my books?” It is a time to allow the silence to let me in on its special secrets, an opportunity to plant myself even deeper in my interiority to see what might germinate.
But seeing is very hard in the dark of winter. In fact, all of those fire ceremonies my ancestors performed to coax the light back could not ensure the light would comfort them through loss, fear, hunger, uncertainty. They resigned themselves to dance harder, pray longer, and show up for the ritual of carrying on. In a way, they trusted.
Of all of the broad, general words that are supposed to have rich meaning, TRUST tops the list. As writers, we are told to be specific in our language choices, to describe! The very sound of trust feels a bit untrustworthy in my mouth; it’s right up there with passion, belief,special, and more remotely, amazing,vibration and truth. We have overused these words so much that their meaning has slipped away. Does anyone really know what amazing means anymore?
Trust is different because, while the aforementioned words flit about our consciousness with abandon, trust can still move us in the darker recesses of our longing. And what is that longing about, exactly? To be a better person? To be full of grace? To not act but…trust? The concept is as elusive as its dichotomy is brutal. We want to like it, want to inherit its benefit. If only it could show us how!
But the Solstice marks a time where we can test trust out. We have forgotten how to live with the rhythms of the Earth, of weather, of seasons. Although this Sun-Standing-Still event celebrates the return of the light, it is the darkness of winter we enter into. That darkness invites us to align with something more mysterious than what we can see with our eyes.
Yesterday, I left my house in a fit of fussiness because the insulation project which we needed to have done in our bedroom was not exactly “finished” due to the estimated cost not covering the plastering, spackling, and cleaning up this type of work entails. As I sat at my altar for my morning ritual, a white-yellow film covered the entirety of my altar table. Feathers, smudge pot, candles all stared back at me with a dim, mournful vibe that said, “Wipe and repeat, please.”
I knew if I stayed at home, I wouldn’t get any work done since I would not be able to resist scrubbing, washing and wiping down every possible surface upstairs. Trust me: I am no Miss Hospital Corners. But this wretched cellulose debris in its microscopic state was everywhere! So I hustled over to the library where I went to my 7th floor “office.” I was able to create lots of copy for my new website and even figured out a nuanced application of WordPress. Yeeha!
At noon, I was hankering for lunch but still not ready to return home to the mess. Because my sweet, loving and considerate husband would never want me to go too long eating his vegetarian diet, I decided to take myself out for a burger. Bintliff’s, here I come.
I sat at a wobbly table facing the post office with a cup of mandarin orange spiced tea warming my hands, the latest Poets & Writers magazine inviting me to enter some more contests. The Tuesday lunch crowd was ambling in and the delightful buzz of white noise filled the café. I ordered my burger, adding thick cut apple-smoked bacon, because what the hell? Cows and pigs love each other.
When my burger arrived, I closed the magazine in a fashion that was reminiscent of turning off your cell phone before you enter the passage grave at Newgrange. That is to say: I wanted nothing to detract from my gastronomic experience, not even reading. Havarti dill oozed over the grilled brioche roll, the crispy-fried shallots danced in the “lean” grease of the meat, the sweet potato homies were devilishly blackened just enough. Okay, stand back. There will be no doggie bag today, I thought.
And before I knew it, the hallowed experience of a meat treat was over. As I checked the bill for accuracy, a prick of anxiety rushed over me as I remembered that my wallet was in my gym bag. I scrambled around in my purse, only coming up with my checkbook. No I.D., though. No credit cards or cash. Could I write a check here?
The panic melted into embarrassment as I told the server my situation. “I left the house in such a rush this morning,” I whispered. “I can leave my cell phone here, and I’ll just run back home. I am so sorry.” She smiled meekly then stared down at my checkbook’s curling carbon edges. “I need to check with my manager,” she said.
When the manager came over, I was compelled to tell him the whole thing. Listening to myself recount how forgetful I’d been amplified my embarrassment even more. He was nodding patiently, his brown eyes flickering at the floor as if to solve a puzzle. Then, the gentleman sitting at the booth across from me said, “I’ll take care of it.” He and another woman had just opened their menus. When I looked at him, my eyes filling with tears, there was a flush of thanks and appreciation mixed with a deep knowing that there are kind people in the world.
But most of us don’t know what to do with kindness. I kept blubbering “thank you, thank you,” as if saying it once was not enough. I asked for his email so I could send him a thank you note. Because I was so flustered, I couldn’t even write it down and handed a piece of paper and a pen to the woman sitting with him so she could write it down. Finally, I said, “You just don’t know how much I needed this.” My chest heaved one more good time and I turned back to my wobbly table.
On my ride home, asking outloud for blessings on the man and the woman, I realized the real lesson inherent in my free lunch and it wasn’t about kindness or gratitude or even grace. It was the Big Question: When will we adopt the legacy of taking care of each other? At what point will we be fully trained in the art of compassion, fully giving and fully receiving, no strings attached because that’s just how humans operate?
Or, to put it bluntly: Can the Golden Rule save us? Will we let it?