I feel I was “walking tall” this month. I feel that my vulnerability was cradled by curiosity. I’m happy I dove into poetry, music, and composition.
I continue to embrace a small-footprint life with my loved ones. It feels amazing to be with All My Relations right now, enjoying raking leaves or cooking recipes from all over the world.
The White Bear Medicine Shield class is concluding. Walking the Earth with these lovely and amazing women has enriched my Path With Heart. With them, I look forward to this month’s Grandmother Moon, Gives Praise, and all that she may teach me.
My hope and wish is that everyone has a beautiful Thanksgiving, filled with love, inspiration, and really good food. Life as it unfolds is remarkable, mysterious, and gratifying.
Met with my beautiful class participants yesterday. It was time to highlight the purpose of the last rotation for this year on the Medicine Wheel–the time of looking within.
As we shared with one another we are all busy thinking about what our Medicine Shields will look like, what materials we have needed to gather, and how our ideas have influenced one another. The rest will be up to each individual. All are well equipped with the principle tools and symbolic language to practice with depth the art of looking within.
The one dilemma for each was a lingering worry about the execution of the artwork. I just keep reminding them of my own process: to overcome the fear by telling myself that I don’t care if I mess up. It’s just a blank canvas and I give myself permission to begin again. I remind myself that making marks is fun. The result will emerge one step at a time.
I’ve noticed that as I’ve been able to give this upcoming month a name (Seeking Balance) and acknowledge the ebb and flow of the movement of Grandmother Earth, I, too, am feeling the need to journey inward. This upcoming period of rest will be welcome. Last year, at this time, I was recovering from a serious setback to my health. I quit writing my blogs altogether until the new year. I felt additional distress because I had been consistent over three years. I thought I wouldn’t be able to come back. I couldn’t even give a name to what I was going through. This year, I feel healthier than ever and looking forward to stretching the body a little bit more. Every tweak is important and propels me into a bright future.
I think, though, that I will allow myself to slow down a bit, and write every other week until January. There is a lot going on and I want to be present to be able to give and receive with delight and enthusiasm.
To get to the Crack Between the Two Worlds is to become so accomplished a seer that you are no longer distracted by illusion. This is the relevant lesson that we are learning from month 5 in my course, The White Bear Medicine Shield. One of the greatest lessons comes from the reading, Looks Far Woman, in Jamie Sams’ book, The 13 Original Clan Mothers.
I love Sams’ lush rendering of the gateway or Crack Between the Two Worlds. I must admit that if I were to ever describe that kind of experience myself, I would feel somewhat embarrassed. I know well that it is the rational, academic part of me that seeks to evade such flourish. I also know that reaching the Crack doesn’t have to look the way she described it. We must remember that power comes to us uniquely. It is especially designed for the individual. When you do arrive there the vision of it will be just for you.
Perhaps you have had a fleeting vision of the Crack already? Why not if you are already a seeker? Just as was described in Sams’ text, the vision of it is so overwhelming that our senses go into overload. That’s why we receive glimpses in balance with our conscious awareness and understanding.
Who are the best teachers to guide our way? They are the Natural World. The Natural World is singing to us. Their voices are alive with song, if only we will open our hearts.
With the start of class came much intensive learning (I had at least 12 objectives for the first class, a 2 hour session!) and several assignments to be completed over the course of a month. The most important of which was to begin to become familiar with the creative aspect of self. We will, after all, be making a White Bear Medicine Shield. The shield will tell a story. The story will be about the power of the individual who crafts it.
I know how I first felt submitting to the incredible void of creativity, this power of the feminine. It was daunting even as I wished to commit myself to its mystery. So I decided that we needed to have an entry point that was doable and non-threatening. I chose to have each participant color a pre-formed mandala from Susanne F. Fincher’s book, Coloring Mandalas, Circles of the Sacred Feminine. The book has 50 designs to choose from.
Each participant had about 10 minutes each to select one or two pages that spoke to them. They needed to be able to work on it in the first week (and, hopefully complete it). One of my participants shared with me that even though she had selected an “easy” design, the execution of it was challenging because she wanted the colors to imbue meaning (from within her) to the coloring page. From the teacher’s perspective, this is precisely what I hoped would be sparked from the assignment.
Took quite the time off (about 3 months) to get healthy and think about what I want to do with the blog this coming year. This will be year 4. I thought of so many embellishments but I still like keeping it simple so no big changes coming. I will be focusing on the content of the class I am teaching this year and how it plays out with me and the class participants.
The “The White Bear Medicine Shield” class is a completely revamped “13 Feminine Truths of the Indigenous Americas” class I’ve taught these past 5 years. The new focus is that class participants will be taking a year to construct a medicine shield as well as learn all of the information I taught in the original. After the class of 2011, I knew that this had to be done but I was really scared to do it because there was so much information to cover in a short 2 hour format. Happily, I have a small class of bright and open participants who thought the first class of 2014 was successful. They received loads of information that flowed and formed strong bridges from one concept to the next. I think that my problem-solving success materialized because I realized that I don’t want to be called a Medicine Woman. I am just a really good teacher (lots and lots of training and experience) who continues to study the Medicine Ways of my ancestors.
My touchstone word for 2014 is PEACE. I have alighted on this word to help me remember that this is a year of dedicated work for me. I have removed myself from all of the committees and community activities so that I may devote myself to writing, the visual arts and, of course, teaching. Still, I don’t want to pressure myself unduly. I want to remember that all good things come in their own perfect time and I have plenty of time to care for All My Relations, both in nature and at home.