Monday, June 17, 2013
When I wake up in the morning, before anything else happens, I ask myself, Where was I? It's a technique I learned a long time ago that helps me remember my dreams. I love my dreams. They're so weird, also very creative.
I can't say I'm thrilled when I've had one of those horrifying nightmares from which I wake up all of a sudden, heart pounding with fear, though it is great to wake up from those dreams. Nor do I enjoy the sad or scary dreams that stick with me through the whole day. However, the things I learn from remembering my dreams, the way they point me in the direction of mental, emotional, and spiritual healing and balance, makes them well worth remembering.
I have a lot of repeating themes in my dreams, like the house - my house - the one high on a cliff overlooking a place where fresh water meets the salty sea. I dream about that place all the time. There's another place I'm often lost within, a huge structure that's kind of like a shopping mall, kind of like an office building, also like a hotel. It's huge. I'm either trying to remember where my room is, or wanting to get out of there and go home, but I can't get a cab and have no idea where the closest subway stop might be.
Based on the above, you might wonder what it is about my dreams that I find so compelling. Ha. Well, I also have incredible dreams in which I can fly. Sometimes I dream that the planets are huge in the sky. In those dreams the awe I feel is palpable. When I'm at my house on the cliff I often gaze at the place where fresh water meets salt water. It feels profound though I can't explain why.
Jake is often in my dreams, as well as my parents and other people I loved who have died. It's always nice to hang out, even though they no longer inhabit bodies in the "real" world.
Not every dream is repetitive. Not every dream is a challenge. Some dreams are just fun. I love those dreams!
This morning when I woke up I couldn't bring to mind any scenes or characters from my dream. When I asked myself Where was I? all I "heard" was Everything is better in Israel!
That's interesting, hey? I wonder if parts of the dream will emerge later today. Sometimes I'll see someone on the street or hear a bird or just as I'm handing money to the guy behind the counter at the corner market, a snip or bit of the dream will come back to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
I am intrigued! Everything is better in Israel? Everything? Well, then, ok.
Friday, June 14, 2013
I saw somewhere on the internet yesterday a list of reasons why reading is good for us. We love our lists! One of the reasons reading novels is beneficial is that it increases empathy, or so the list said.
When I try to read novels, what I ordinarily decide is that the author is working through something, a personal issue. In other words, it's hard to get involved because it feels like none of my business. I get that the author needed to write the book, but do I need to read it? I don't feel like I learn anything from novels. I would much rather read history or science books.
Less and less as I grow older am I interested in the psychology of people. I love to hear their stories, though not so I will understand them.
What I like about people is the energy around them, the patterns of their stories (as opposed to the content). I like seeing how people navigate their way through this crazy experience of life. Some people are incredibly original in approach. Others follow a script that seems to have been written several generations ago. I have no opinion about how life is lived as long as no animals are harmed in the process. Should say unduly harmed. Life is harmful, there are consequences to every twist and turn. The food chain is a bitch in terms of perceived harm. But we perhaps shouldn't go out of our way to harm others, yes? It's good to try not to.
I like the patterns, the energy, the way that energy feels when my energy interacts with it. Why people do what they do is not as interesting. I figure there's something lovely, also something really gnarly, about everyone. Do I need the details? I really don't. Does that mean I have no capacity for empathy? It could. I'm kind in general and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Isn't that good enough?
Hmmm. Maybe I do need to work on empathy. Do I? If so, must that learning come from novels? Hope not!
Thursday, June 13, 2013
|The color is all wrong here. I can't get it right, no matter how I try. These lilies, in real life, are deep mahogany.|
Summer solstice is right around the corner. In the Reyaverse, solstice is a time of concentrated energy, worthy of my attention. In summer, the denseness of energy is the result of an overabundance of light. There is such a thing, there is.
I loved the Reclaiming beach rituals for the solstices. At summer solstice there was a wicker man, always home made and homely, if elaborate, at the center of a rather large fire circle. The effigies were huge some years, sometimes more modest. It depended completely on who volunteered to make it.
We brought to the ritual the stuff we were ready to say goodbye to. We brought symbols of ended relationships and life eras now concluded, also mundane odds and ends like the stubs of wax left after the candle has burned out, old spells and such. We decorated the wicker man with our stuff.
There were always lots of roses at those rituals, roses on the wicker man, also there was always a rose wreath that was passed around the circle after the wicker man had begun to burn. To gaze through the wreath at the solstice fire would give us clear vision through the darkening half of the year.
Even cooler, just as the sun set into the Pacific, an archer strapped a sparkler onto an arrow, lit the sparkler, then sent the arrow into the sky, up then down towards the western horizon. I loved watching the sparkler soar through the sky. Also loved the sound of the arrow as it was released from the bow. There is music in archery, for sure.
It was an elegant send off for Brother Sun. The years when the burning man's fire sputtered out just as the sun set were especially magical. Sometimes, though, that fire burned on and on, in which case the drummers would start up and people would dance around for awhile.
I was never that great as a pagan for many reasons. I'm too uptight, I guess. I did not enjoy dancing naked around a campfire at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Even considering the peer pressure at those gatherings, I mostly kept my clothes on. The rituals were held on the beach at the foot of Taravel Street which runs right through the middle of the Sunset district. It was hardly private.
That was then and this is now. I still dance with the solstice. I like to sit on the west steps of the Capitol, fully clothed, watching Brother Sun sink down behind the monuments, the river and Arlington National Cemetery. There is no archer, no sparkler salute. There is no burning man. The Pacific Ocean is 3,000 miles away.
I celebrate the solar year in a quiet way these days. I'm far better suited to it, and Brother Sun doesn't seem to mind the form of my worship. It's the sincerity of observance that matters, not the structure.
Let there be light! Shalom.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Brother Sun spends a lot of time in the sky at this time of year. Because he is so far south at midday, even the ambient light inside my north facing apartment is significantly brighter than in winter. The days are much longer and everything is filled with light. Let there be light, indeed!
Once upon a time I was not fond of the solstices. In winter it was too dark, in summer, too light. I railed against the extremes as I struggled to get a grip on my own extreme nature. You see I've been pursuing the Tao of Goldilocks for many years. Many, many years.
Yesterday a friend said there is love in discipline. Is that right? I think it is, depending on the discipline of course. Jake used to love training sessions. Following commands was one of his favorite things. It made sense to him, helped him be slightly calmer. We never did anything elaborate, just the usual sit, down, stay. I was lazy about it, though, especially as he grew older. In fact I'm lazy in my practice of many disciplines that would do me a world of good. It's not like I have a solid grip on impulse control in general.
But I have not been lazy about the discipline of mindfulness meditation. I sit every day - every day. Sometimes when traveling I'll skip a day, but I get right back to it. I'm almost superstitious about it. Is there a love for the practice in my heart of hearts? I'm thinking about it.
One thing I can say for sure is that the solstices don't bother me as much as they used to. I'm enjoying the bright solstice days. I'm marveling at the tiny shadows of things at noon, how compressed every shadow becomes. I'm enjoying the afternoon light that comes through a kitchen window only at this time of year. At summer solstice, Brother Sun enters the kitchen, catches the crystals hanging in the window, fills the kitchen with rainbows. It only happens at this time of year.
My working theory is that I am more tolerant of the solstices because I'm closer to living the Tao of Goldilocks than I once was. These days I leave it mostly to Brother Sun to enact the extremes. I feel liberated from the need to push hard, first this way, then that. Hence I'm able to enjoy the splendor of the solstices.
Whether or not I love it, I am grateful for my meditation practice and whatever the hell it is that compels me to set the timer and sit down every morning. I am wisely guided.
|We've had a lot of rain lately. My rose begonias are so happy.|
Sunday, June 9, 2013
|Churchyard on 8th St. NE between Constitution and C. Oh the light of summer solstice!|
If you could see my natal astrological chart, if you had studied astrology, you would understand instantly why moderation was not historically my best thing. My chart is a diagram of extremes in opposition to one another. I've got some things working in my chart to help me prevail and work with the oppositions, but there's nothing about moderation there. The picture of my innate intensity is so clear in my natal chart that once upon a time a friend had a teeshirt made for me with my natal chart and the words "It's not my fault!" above the image. Yeah.
Once upon a time in my life I pitched first this way, then that, almost always to damaging extremes. Imagine one person on a teeter totter, standing on top of the plank, running from the end on the ground to the one in the air. Imagine me barely pausing at the center, running hard up the plank until gravity brings the upper end crashing down to the ground.
It was interesting to live that way and now the memories make for some dramatic storytelling. Memories of my early adulthood also carry with them a considerable number of regrets. There's nothing wrong with that; I did the best I could. Nobody's perfect.
I've been thinking about it since the Voice in the Shower asked me why my love of mindfulness meditation has to be such a big secret.
Me: I do NOT love meditation! I have to force myself to do it each and every morning.
VinS: If you didn't love it, you would make up a story about why you don't have to meditate.
I've been thinking about it, about whether I love meditation. I can not agree with the Voice on this one. I do not love to meditate. It's a discipline, like flossing my teeth (something I also do every day). Though meditation is always interesting, it's rarely pleasurable for me. It is necessary, end of story.
If I said I loved to floss my teeth, wouldn't that make me a little weird?
Whether or not I love meditation, what I can say is that it has helped me manage my temperament of extremes in opposition. This is a good thing. Earlier in life I had more energy for the intensity. But now I'm sixty. I'm glad meditation is a central part of my practice. But do I LOVE it? I do not.
Shortly after yesterday's new moon at noon, the overcast cleared and Brother Sun emerged. After swimming around in the Gulf of Mexico for a couple of days, the baby moon brought in a beautiful, clear, early summer afternoon. I spent it with a beloved dear one, walking around, taking pictures, ending up at the Matchbox bar and an art opening. It was a sweet afternoon of moderation, considering I could have decided to go down to the Mall for either Pride celebrations: joyousness, partying, color, laughter, or to see the Million Bone Project: a grim art installation meant to increase consciousness about the price of genocide.
This city is so crazy. Both of those events were taking place in DC simultaneously. Good lord. Is it any wonder people go mad when they come here to help govern this country?
Pride was too much of one thing, Genocide too much of another. Instead of either extreme, I stayed on the Hill, spent quality hang-out time with someone I love beyond all reason, but rarely see. It wasn't too hot or too cold, too big or too small. Yesterday I was living the tao of Goldilocks. Here, here!
Friday, June 7, 2013
Boy did I ever get high from the wedding. The joy and perfection of the ceremony was an elixir. Add to the dizzy juice of love a couple of plane rides and - well - I was three sheets to the solar wind. I was still flying around several days after landing in DC. Woo hooooo!
Someone told me that jet lag is the time it takes your soul to catch up with your body. Truth!
Ah but every lovely flight must come to an end. What goes up, must come down. The Sufi acupuncturist brought me back to earth Wednesday. Since that treatment, I can once again smell and taste, construction noise and traffic annoy me, I've once again become very picky about what I eat, what music is playing, etc. I am back to myself.
After the treatment, he said, "You'll be of better service now." I thought at the time he meant I would be better able to care for my clients. Interesting to think about.
I don't normally consider my work to be service because I love my work, I really do. It sustains me on so many levels. It helps me. It serves me. It is grounding, satisfying, challenging and fits like a glove, more so the longer I practice. Somehow that doesn't feel like service to me.
I guess the idea of service can go both ways, hey?
Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Reyaverse is a multiverse in which there are layers of reality, layers of truth. THE truth does not exist in the Reyaverse. There are many truths.
This is not an original idea. The cosmologies of many different cultures, from all over the world, throughout time, contain more than one truth, one reality. There are three worlds, or nine. Sometimes seven, sometimes more than that.
The most recent incarnation of that idea comes to us via the astrophysicists. Here's a link to a video of the fabulous Neil de Grasse Tyson speaking about the multiverse. He is a very clear channel, as was Carl Sagan. I love the people who speak for the stars. Even I, living in a multiverse, need to be reminded that there is not some objective reality out there.
In addition to past lives, I have alternate lives. Do you? For instance, in an alternate reality I am a bass player named Reggie. I'm awkward and lanky, a bit too tall, painfully shy. I have long messy dreads, smoke weed from morning to night and never take off my sunglasses. I'm a decent bass player in that reality - soulful but not star material.
I'm not the only one with multiple lives. Think about Superman and Batman - think of Walter Mitty. I know they're fictional characters, but still.
When I work on clients, sometimes I can "see" the outfits they wear in their alternate lives. I see suits of armor all the time on mothers of young children. They are mighty, noble, fearless. I admire these women so much. Sometimes I see regal attire, or more surprising, rags, on the alternate selves of Capitol Hill's wealthy citizens. I wonder what the heck is going on in those alternate realities.
Yesterday in the middle of a session it came to me that the person I was working on had recently discarded her Navy Seal Barbie uniform. Even more startling than having this information come to me all of a sudden was her response when I mentioned it. She seemed to know exactly what I was talking about. How weird is that?
We are multi-faceted beings, we surely are. Complicated. Endlessly fascinating.
Do you have alternate identities? It's fun to think about, gives you something to do while you wait for the Metro train or while in line at the supermarket. It's creative and as long as you wonder about it with a light heart and skeptical mind, it will cause no harm. Who are you in alternate realities? Well?