The surprises of Life continue to amaze. In choosing my touchstone word for the year, the consequences are completely unexpected. My routine is caught up in “Transformation” regardless of the original intent, humbling and irreverent as always.
Thus, my blogposts catch me in moments of imprecision, making it difficult to capture, in words dilemmas and paradox. Ah well…such is the path.
I will remain open to the continuing unfolding of events. The only thing that I am able to do right now is pay attention to the body. It is happiest when connecting with All My Relations of the Natural World.
Last week I asked my students to revisit a meditation to practice forgiveness with a worthy opponent. Simply speaking, a worthy opponent is someone who is a mirror for one’s shadow. Since I do the exercises along with my students I chose to have a conversation with my mother. My mother has definitively been in worthwhile opposition to my being. I may thank her for embodying traits and beliefs that I did not want to resurrect in my lifetime.
There are many instances where she tried to steal my power. Without recrimination, in this meditation, I chose to face her and let her know that I forgave her. She is sad now, alone, and is losing her mind. Her intense self-importance tethers her to the present. I feel her mortality and mine.
Concurrently, I received my Sun Magazine subscription with an interview with Katy Butler. She wrote, Knocking On Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death. The interview and excerpt from her book reinforced my attitude about my own death. I want to be able to discuss it freely with my loved ones. I take every opportunity to do so because I want my family to be clear about my choices to have a dignified death. I don’t want any last minute medical interventions which may force undue burdens because of grief. Butler shares her experiences with her parents’ deaths. I have mine with my father-in-law. I especially liked her description of the 5 things that you should strive to say during the transition to death: Thank you, I love you, please forgive me, I forgive you, and goodbye.
My husband has asked me if I am frightened that I may end up like my mother and I have to chuckle. I have no fear. I have constructed a life in defiance to hers. I do want my death to be the way I want it to be. As a gift to me my husband spent a huge amount of time researching the laws about “Advance Directives”. I have my advance directive sitting on the kitchen table now. It makes me happy. All Paths Are One.
In the book, Journey to Ixtlan, Don Juan Matus juxtaposes Carlos Castaneda’s self-importance by performing a seemingly ridiculous display of talking to his plants. He spoke to them as if they were his closest friends and lovers. He caressed them and fondled them. Don Juan’s message was clear: if you can’t bring yourself to do this, you will never be able to understand real power. I love this exercise in humility and frequently ask my own students to get down on their knees to the plant world.
This past month, I was honored to be referred to as a Plant Woman by another remarkable Plant Woman, Robin Wall Kimmerer, who recently published the book,Braiding Sweetgrass.
I love to revere, caress and fondle my sweet, darling plants. I love to converse with them in soothing, melodic notes. I love to scold them too. They laugh and giggle at my antics. We have playful battles in my garden. They challenge me and don’t mind when my aesthetic sense of what I want my garden to become determines that I may pull them out by their roots. They like to please me. They tell me it’s OK because they will endure no matter what I may do. And so it is that in the next season of the ripening moon, I see their sisters and brothers all around me.
To find a clear path on your Path with Heart, it is imperative to clear away the debris.
One of the first personal ceremonies I ask of my students is to do just that. I ask them to give away something that they feel may be holding them back on their quest for true personal power. The ceremony is tied to deep inner work and by month three in our journey, deep shifts are already taking place. Enthusiasm is dampened a bit because the work causes resistance.
Not to be daunted, I keep checking in with my students to let them know that I am doing the same work and I meet the same resistance. All we really need to do is move forward, bit by bit, identifying those barriers to our self realization.
This time for my ceremony, I chose to focus on my self-importance. There are so many lessons to be learned from reevaluating one’s ego and committing to the humble stance.
One of the benefits of teaching is that you learn so much from your students. One of my students and I are engaged in a more in-depth study and I asked her to begin with Lynn V. Andrews books. Once she started to read them, she began to ask me questions whose references were imbedded in the context of the book. That meant that I had to reread the books so that I could adequately answer her questions. The last time I read any of Lynn’s books was usually just after they were published. It had been a few years. In fact, the first one was published in the early 80’s.
The first book, Medicine Woman, has the most amazing initiation ceremony and the incantation has become my mantra over this past week. It is, “You Are The Centering Fire. You Are The Flowering Tree.” I have merely changed the “You” to “I”. It is so beautiful to me that every one of my girlfriends I have encountered, I have passed it on to them. Of course, the entire ceremony is exquisite, but I feel OK to adapt this little part so that it gives me a sense of balance and wonder everytime I hear the words. It also makes me feel powerful because it is an initiation ceremony for woman alone. The visual artist inside of me wants to paint those words now.