Spring has come and gone, as has summer, and without further hesitation, I feel compelled to catch a bit of fall in my writing. Not only that, I wish to let go of what perhaps needs to be let go of, the imperfections that can imperfectly snag and nag one to the point of preventing the presence of the present from being here.
Why the date as the blog post title, you might be wondering? Well, after having set aside a novel on my shelf, actually my two copies of the one novel, one being a giant-sized special edition of it, I have picked it up again after about a year, this time being the time of year when people most read this author's works. So, perhaps you can see this coming, but within the first two pages of picking up the novel again where I last left off from the previous fall, a novel which I've read numerous times now--the day the novel resumes on is, you guessed it, September 28th:
"That year the first day of fall (real fall as opposed to calendar fall) was September 28 ..."
This happened to be in the mid- to late-seventies when the novel's story takes place, but it seems strikingly dead on for fall this year, in 2017. It is also rather spooky, or synchronistic, that I pick up the novel on the exact day that I read about in the novel. Maybe I've read it so much, I knew that date was coming. Perhaps, but the sentence I quoted above is not one I'm likely to lodge in my memory, except now after blogging about it.
So I thought September 28 an apropos title for this post, and something to write about after months of hiatus.
Why the hiatus?
I think I always try and write when I have something perhaps exceptional, extraordinary, or something illuminating to share, and I am not saying I do not this time, but this is my entire point. Imperfection is a given and a reality and only needs to be said because I think we try and hang our coats on perfection, when the darn hook keeps being dragged down to the floor, not being able to take the weight of our attempts at it, what will always only be imperfection.
I have not blogged since April, until this time now this year, because I was fooled by my own interpretations of others' comments or actions. Maybe I can assess them in a way that casts the shadow on them, when it really has to do with my own self-absorbed interpretations.
This time of year, perhaps it's natural to reflect on our own shadows, seeing them mirrored and shimmying down the lane, through tunnels of trees, in the curves of leaves blowing our way. I can throw out this word, daemon, at perhaps the risk of what some others may think, but I will use the word anyway, it being a Greek idea of an intermediary between the divine and us humans, or perhaps the messenger within ourselves to spur us on to go deeper, to relinquish our cloud covering of light, to let the shadows appear to take a closer look at them, to not flinch, but to see where we might have obscured our own path.
It's not the depth and death of winter yet, but it is time to reflect, to prepare, to let go of the previous suppositions and assumptions of the year thus far.
Be gone! Whatever truths hanging there as falsities, still lingering, be gone!
A leaf here, a leaf there, just let them blow away and realize them as the phantasms that they are, back to the nothingness from whence they come.
No self-absorbed false truths to exist anymore.
A good day to let the shadows dance and come, to freely swing them, and let them fade away, releasing them back into the nothingness from whence they come.
Beneath what we may consider to be our waking reality, other layers exist that are more refined, holding more of our truth. Several traditions speak to this idea, letting us know that being and living from these more refined places becomes possible through what are considered their best practices, ways of understanding and arriving there.
You can think of it this way: although you may be driving home or arriving at a place you visit often, if you are lost in thought as the scenery or surroundings go past you, you may not be noticing that these areas around you actually exist in these moments. You are unawares, driving or riding on the way to your destination, the scenery passing you by as you are lost in your thoughts.
This is what the idea of layers speaks to, that we are lost in what may be taking us from actually seeing and experiencing life more.
I feel so compelled, driven at times (pun intended), to come from the most refined and deepest layers of myself, to be as authentic and true to my understandings as possible.
In a real sense, this means being myself, simply and without the extra layers, without anything blocking my view and my experience of life.
Sometimes this translates into a poetic sense of seeing for me; at other times, this comes across as an inspiration to spur others on, dynamically communicating what I feel should be said.
If you think of yourself and your truth, the most real and authentically experiencing layer of yourself, when you are enjoying life fully and in the fulfillment of who you are, then this way of being is like the most precious version of yourself you can know. For me it is the most precious relationship I can have. Some traditions would even say this is the goal, this uncompromising and very real, natural version of yourself, the truest sense of yourself you can have.
Life becomes about an identity of experiencing then, not fixed ideas or ways. You may have your old habits, but they are seen with this more natural and less troubled understanding permeating your way of being in the world.
Light and free. Truly. You are.
You can ride or drive to your destination, but now you do it with a more enriched and fuller understanding of yourself and your experience, not letting the scenery pass you by.
We are not told what we need to hear. We are not told what makes a happy life. We are not told the truth of reality. We are not told we should not be told.
We should be allowed the knowledge inherent to us. We should be allowed the joys of living an embodied life. We should be allowed the turmoil and triumph of our own experiences.
We should be allowed to be human.
Telling robs us of our own authority, our inherent rights as human beings to discover, with joy, the beauty of our own path. Shown by the light of love, from others, ourselves, from the universe with all its signs of love.
Why love? Why not? The sun nourishes us along with our planet. The waters of the earth replenish our bodies and the earth itself along with them. There are many, many signs on a most basic and fundamental level that we are not only wanted, but loved. The universe has given us each the means of life, given us, if only glimpses, the miracle of knowing existence.
You are loved, because you exist.
What I can tell you means almost nothing compared to what you will know following the guidance, in the trust and love and joy, of your own self. The universe has always, will always, can only always begin with you. You cannot experience any experience in any other way.
I am here to share with you the knowing of yourself. Because you are the lens, the mind, the heart, the body of all experiences, and they begin with you.
You are the answer. Lead yourself, by the hand, by the heart, by your own love of life.
Life is a beautiful beauty, and it all comes from you.
After writing my previous blog post, and listening to the song again I posted from YouTube, I felt like I needed to embody more of the spirit of that song and what I felt and am feeling today.
I am not sure there is any greater joy right now, certainly nothing exceeds it, being able to be with others in the sacred space of therapy, and being able to know them, understand them, and help guide them to their light, to let it shine, to experience a lightness of just being, being who they are, who they choose to be, who they are led from within themselves to shine as.
I really find that to be so awesome!
So, this day I am feeling very unencumbered from winter concerns, just being, with a lightness in that being too.
I certainly want that for anyone interested in being helped out like that on their journey too.
enjoying the warmer
the full feel
Feeling spirited today, with spring coming, and could not help but enjoy this today--
"Do you know that there's still a chance for you, 'cause there's a spark in you? You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine. Just own the night, like the Fourth of July."
"It's always been inside of you, and now it's time to let it through."
Music video by Katy Perry performing Firework (quoted above).
(c) 2010 Capitol Records, LLC
As winter approaches, it may feel good to stretch into this time of year, lean into it, feel its quietness, solitude, and peacefulness, such peace.
I encourage you to find solace in the silence, make that happen for yourself this time of year.
I am including many inspirational quotations about silence below.
True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.
Silence is the true friend that never betrays.
An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.
Silence is a source of great strength.
Silence is the universal refuge....
~Henry David Thoreau
Accustomed to the veneer of noise ... society is suspicious of those who value silence.
I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
Silence is a fence around wisdom.
Silence is as deep as eternity; speech, shallow as time.
Silence is medication for sorrow.
Silence was never written down.
Silence is exhilarating at first - as noise is - but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.
Nature and silence go better together.
You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind.
~Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.
Silence is more musical than any song.
Nothing is more useful than silence.
~Menander of Athens
Silence is a sounding thing, to one who listens hungrily.
Silence is the mother of truth.
Her hearing was keener than his, and she heard silences he was unaware of.
We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence.
Silence is the secret to sanity.
There are times when silence has the loudest voice.
Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.
~Margaret Lee Runbeck
Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Authentically connecting with others occurs when we feel safe enough to do so, and it certainly becomes a risk to be vulnerable.
We may develop personas or masks or other forms of defense about anyone actually seeing us and connecting. But, that is what we want and desire, to feel loved, and that loving connection, on a basic human level.
Here are wise words from an actor who grew up over twelve years portraying his character, both on screen and off. The words which follow his video are from author Isabel Faith Abbott, and recount her beautiful experiences in connecting with others in such an authentic way.
Isabel Faith Abbott
(Facebook timeline posting, November 2, 2016):
"I spent four hours at the airport today. There were raging storms outside and everything grounded; no taking flight. There was nowhere to go so we were just here.
I was met so completely by one who loves me and cracked open in a way unanticipated. I watched as all these humans who do not know one another gathered close to pass time and crowd toward screens to watch the World Series. I sat in the chapel with one other person and I cried and cried. For all the reasons. The most heartbreaking intimacy and privacy, to be alone together, while below we could hear the cheers from a team beating the odds. Airports are one of my favorite places. As they are a space between. No one at home so everyone belonging.
I don't know how any of us make it through really. It is all so strange to me, and beautiful. How terribly difficult it is. How we need each other. To connect. Only connect. Not promises or platitudes. Just these human bodies who in this night happened to collide here together, lines intersecting into unexpected angles.
As there was lots of time, I did what I sometimes do with an extra hour in public space. I set out a sign: 'Separate and Together. Be seen, no words needed, four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact, (because we are both human and it helps something real to only connect)'. And I sat there, no real need or agenda.
And what happened, as is often the case, fed me and delighted me and held out a hand of what is possible when we don't try to figure anything out and just stay in the strange mystery of all of us here in this space on an unexpectedly warm night in November. I sat and wordlessly looked into the eyes of many different humans. They would come up and usually laugh uncomfortably and then sit down and I would set a timer. How vulnerable and unfinished and lost we are, how afraid and complicated and beautiful. We laughed. We cried. We said not a thing and instead lived in that place where no one knows what comes next. It is quiet and real and magnificent.
Tonight was a really good night to be here alive, human, paused in the passing through."
Into a quieter time of year, the potential is there, where you will not have to do what you think you need to do, where you can simply be, and that is enough.
To this time of year I add and am inspired by the words of author Ursula K. Le Guin, speaking of a feminine way of being, spoken as part of a commencement address she gave over thirty years ago.
See how it shines now:
(Full speech here: A Left-Handed Commencement Address)
"In our society, women have lived, and have been despised for living, the whole side of life that includes and takes responsibility for helplessness, weakness, and illness, for the irrational and the irreparable, for all that is obscure, passive, uncontrolled, animal, unclean — the valley of the shadow, the deep, the depths of life. All that the Warrior denies and refuses is left to us and the men who share it with us and therefore, like us, can’t play doctor, only nurse, can’t be warriors, only civilians, can’t be chiefs, only indians. Well so that is our country. The night side of our country. If there is a day side to it, high sierras, prairies of bright grass, we only know pioneers’ tales about it, we haven’t got there yet. We’re never going to get there by imitating Machoman. We are only going to get there by going our own way, by living there, by living through the night in our own country.
So what I hope for you is that you live there not as prisoners, ashamed of being women, consenting captives of a psychopathic social system, but as natives. That you will be at home there, keep house there, be your own mistress, with a room of your own. That you will do your work there, whatever you’re good at, art or science or tech or running a company or sweeping under the beds, and when they tell you that it’s second-class work because a woman is doing it, I hope you tell them to go to hell and while they’re going, to give you equal pay for equal time. I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing — instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls."
Sharing a place which alters lives, reveals them, shows us where we already are, where we might be headed, and how we are never really distant from what means so much--these are the kind of understandings I find so precious to share.
Whatever words one may use to communicate this place, I know where that is, I live from there, and try to know and allow it each second and moment, to the point where time becomes an unnecessary idea, and the concepts are lost in the experiencing.
Living life, alive.
I want this for anyone who might be led for me to be there to help out and guide them.
Contemporaries who nurture and live from this place include the teacher and author from my previous posting, "Summer, Tigers", as well as Anam Thubten, and Daniel Odier.
A truly sacred feminine teacher can be found in Mukti as well.
Please feel free to click on any of the names above to go to their websites.
With summer approaching soon, I feel an ability to be more at ease, natural and energized as a person this time of year. Obstacles, whether they be of people or situations, can be a challenge and a drain on energy during this otherwise rewarding time. Here are some words of wisdom which speak to my heart, which perhaps can be a source of inspiration for you to live your life past and around any "tigers" this coming summer.
From spiritual teacher Shambhavi Sarasvati:
"Resistance for me has most often meant going around rather than fighting the tigers head on.
I’ve tried not to struggle with other people’s fears, projections or demands that I take up a leading role in their karmic patterns. And I respect that people have the right to be however they are. I sometimes want to fight—to prove something or make people I’ve cared about understand me—but this rarely works. It most often gets me more entangled.
Going around and continuing on my way, or engaging in a softer mode, have worked better. These strategies have been my teachers. They have taught me a lot about aggression and have required developing some serious patience and fortitude. I’m definitely still working on it.
But I’ve learned, through sometimes painful trial and error, that the use of more forceful means is only rarely necessary. In fact, I’ve found that in simply continuing on my path and letting other people be, the intelligent and compassionate patterns of nature are revealed. Nature is generally playing a longer game than us impatient humans."
Mark Newlon, feeling the embrace of the sacred feminine daily!
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