Personal Power

 

I am on Cape Cod as a storm blows through. Thunder and lightening. Heavy rain. High winds. When I wake and hear the storm, I am compelled to go out to see the ocean before She calms. As I make my way to the bluffs I pass a man, who in our brief exchange, informs me that, “the ocean is angry today.” While I recognize that assessment is as close as he can get to something about what he has seen, I also know deep in my bones that that is not an accurate description.

The ocean is not angry. She is unleashed.

Depending on your relationship to personal power, Nature can be many things; angry, awesome, terrifying, inspiring, life-giving, life-taking. You name it. How we feel when we see Nature at her fullest says more about us than it does about Her. It says more about our relationship with raw, uninhibited, and unapologetic power than it does with any misstep on her part. How we see the natural world exactly parallels our relationship with our own experience of personal power.

For instance, if we are needing to control and manage the elements, expecting Mother Nature to get in line with our comfort levels and expectations, it means we do the same to ourselves. And to others. It means that we allow that same level of imposed and artificial containment to be done to us. One way or another.

Look at all the things we do, every single day, because we feel like we should. Because we believe, and are told, that this is what makes us a good person. I know, I know, we do it for others. We do it because this is what society expects and needs from us. That without us containing our power, society would break down. But here’s the thing that many of us never, ever, investigate: Where is the truth, and the line, around being yourself, and being a contributing member to the community? So while there is an argument to be made for the necessary and vital tension required to balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the group, is it actually true that we need to tamp down and tame ourselves in order to belong? In order to do good?

If you are interested in exploring personally where that line is for you, learn to pay attention to the conversations in your mind around what you need to do according to others. What it is that you have made to mean what good is. What you have convinced yourself of what it is that you must do in order to fit in. To be thought well of. And then, wonder to yourself, “What would the power of the ocean have to say about that?”

We are not here to acquiesce to the distorted demands of a world that has confused what real power is. We are here, instead, to express the fullness and the totality of who and what we are. To do anything less is a lie. An error of judgment. A case of mistaken identity and misplaced allegiance.

Raw power. Unleashed. Unapologetic. We interpret it as unsavory and unwanted because we have forgotten what it feels like to be free. Wild. And unencumbered by falsehoods imposed from within and without.

Universal & Natural Alignment

 

We have chickens, and at the moment blueberries, peaches, elderberry, and now apples, all ready and waiting to be picked. Every morning, I make my rounds of picking fruit, gatherings eggs, and talking to the chickens. I love this time of year for just this; a daily reason to be outside that starts my day on the right side of Life and living.

Walking barefoot in the grass, fending off mosquitoes, listening to the sounds of the birds, encountering something unexpected or beautiful, all do what nothing else can: Remind me of who and what I am, and What it is that I am connected to. Outside, in the Presence of Nature, the pettiness, the greed, and the ugliness of this world recedes and becomes right-sized. Ceasing suddenly to loom so large in my psyche and on my heart. Ceasing to be the most important show on earth.

At the very core of all our troubles, both personal and collective, is that we have forgotten we belong to Something much greater than the distortions and demands of the times. Something much greater than our personal strivings and short-comings. And we have forgotten that in our forgetting, we separate ourselves from the Guidance and Support that is available to us when we take our rightful place in the order of things.

Find a reason, every day, to start your day outside. It can be anything. A garden. A morning walk. A bird feeder. A commitment to step out your back door and take a few deep breaths. While you are there, intentionally observe and sense what is around you. Something that is both you, and so much more than you all there for the picking. How can you align with This? Humble yourself to This? Learn from This?

While we often believe that the issues we face as a people are enormous, complicated and unsolvable, I will tell you that in the Presence of the Natural and Universal Truths that play out right before our very eyes, right under our very noses and feet, and right within ear-shot, lies the answers to Everything. Sound naive? Sure. To the modern day mind this way of existing appears foolish. But I ask you, how much more foolish is it that we continue to destroy ourselves, one another and the planet as we drift further and further away from these simple Truths?

P.S. Did you know that spending time outside in the morning sets your biological clock to the natural rhythms of light and dark? Meaning that you naturally balance your hormones, shift your metabolism, while offering you innumerable benefits like a better night’s sleep. Indispensable in a world where we get too much of the wrong kind of light (screens), and not enough of the right kind of light (Sun). Yet another example of the natural healing and balancing effects offered by Nature Herself.

 

As Within, So Without

 

Years ago, when I was first studying shamanism, we were working with the concept of “as within, so without.” A basic tenet of not only shamanism, but many, many religious and philosophical schools of thought. In a nutshell, it is known as a fundamental law of existence, where whatever is within you, can be found playing out in the world around you.

This was an enormous shift for me to begin to explore how what I harbored within me in terms of fears, resentment, anger, and imbalance was being expressed in my outer world. That it wasn’t being done to me. This challenged the victim in me. The one who got to both bemoan the atrocities of the world and stand separate from them somehow; believing that it all was someone else’s doing. Believing someone else was at fault. Believing that if the world of people would just get their shit together, everything would be better.

During the same time period I was exploring “as within, so without,” I heard a story about a village that was in desperate straits; suffering through season after season of drought. Finally, they called in a shaman to help bring the rains to their failing crops. He took a hut at the outskirts of town to stay in, and holed up inside for week after week. The people began to get agitated and restless for they could not see any change in their circumstances. To them, it appeared he was doing nothing.

Finally, when the villagers could take it no more, they sent one of their own to check up on him. To call him to task for the reason he had been called in. That being, to bring the rain. When the villager confronted the shaman with the lack of progress, the shaman took a long pause looking deeply into the man’s eyes, and said, “Before the outer world can bring the rain again to you, your village must come to balance within itself. I am bringing back the healing and the balance within all of you and among you that you have turned away from. That is why you have no rain.”  

This is where we stand now with the Earth. She will go on with or without us. And whether or not we go on is up to us, but perhaps not in the ways we believe. For what if everything that you can see outside of you that you find unbearable, horrible, and excruciating is yours to do? From the inside out.

This is not the same as going on a crusade about what you want to fix in the world. This is the opposite of that. It is instead, going within yourself to find what you cannot bear, or are afraid of in the world, and locate it within yourself. And then, work to bring that into balance. For the Truth is, what we do to ourselves, we do to the Earth. However we violate our own precious Nature is exactly how we violate the precious Nature of the planet.

The real problem here is: We do not value Life. Not ours. Not others. Not the Planet’s. For if we did, there is much we would never, ever do. It is a deep and ancient knowing and practice to take on that level of accountability within yourself; doing what is yours and only yours to do.

If this resonates with you, watch your thoughts around what is happening to the Earth; your fears, your anger, your apathy, your blame. And then, look to find it in yourself as a direct path to bringing balance, peace, stability and harmony back into our world.

Everything We Need

I wake this morning to the call of the crows, and even though I am rising later than they would normally be around, there they are. Three of them. Arranged in a little triangle. Three is a number of balance and completion. It signifies past, present, and future. The triangle is the strongest shape in construction.

My day is off to a great start. Why? Because I am listening. Listening to more than my fears and conditioning. Listening to something other than the self-imposed limitations that plague me. Listening to the Truth of the Universe as spoken by The Natural World.

The animals always serve as a harbinger, or a reminder, or a confirmation of something for me. This morning I am thinking about expressing more of myself through the work I do as I first lay eyes on the crows. I take their presence as confirmation and reminder. I am on the right path, and I no longer need live with outdated versions about what people are going to do with me if I challenge their world view.

And then, it gets better. Out on a run, I encounter a doe and her fawn on the road right at the moment I am thinking about the progression each one of us is on in our own lives. That we are all in different stages of development, and that all stages are to be respected and honored.

And then, it get even better. As I am running back towards my house, there is a cyclist broken down on the side of the road. For those of you who know my road, you know he is miles in either direction of help. I ask him if he needs anything, to which he responds, “I have everything I need. It’s just that right now, it’s catastrophic.” To which I respond, “Just like being in the world we are living in.”

And there it is, we have everything we need to be healthy. We have everything we need to solve things with other people and nations. We have everything we need to live in harmony with the Earth. And we have everything we need for everyone’s needs to be met and for their greatest potential to be expressed. The question is, will we do it? Will we each and every one of us make the shifts we need to make? Or will we continue to create catastrophes to wake us up out of our own self-imposed fogs?

This is not easy to do, and it takes time. But if we are committed, little by little, and in great leaps and bounds, we can find ourselves there. If you are willing, try my new 10% practice for anything you are ready to shift in your life. It looks like this: When you are full, leave that last bite on the plate. When you are moving your body, go a little stronger, a little more, or a little more unusual to challenge yourself. When you get a sense inside that you can’t prove, but you know to be legitimate, see if you can act on it, or at least keep it in mind. If you are always talking, be more quiet, and if you are always holding back in conversation, step forward. Go to bed a little earlier, turn your phone off at the dinner table, do whatever needs changing in your life in increments of 10%, and watch what happens.

Our Truest Nature Is Our Greatest Contribution

 

In a woman’s circle well over a year ago, I was asking for guidance around how to be of service in a world gone mad with fear. I drew the card “Healing.” The instructions were to “Reconnect to My True Nature.” This was not the answer I expected, or even wanted. I was looking for something along the lines of an outer effort. Something that I could do. Something that could be seen, known, and quantified.

And yet, the guidance was profound.

I have come back to this one instruction over and over again because something deep inside me knew it was true. But it hasn’t always been easy. At times it has uplifted me, and at times it has smashed me into my own misconceptions; deeply humbling me and forcing me to rethink what it means to contribute to the world.

It can feel so much easier, nobler even, to send our energy and attention out to what needs fixing or saving in the world. Out to how we are supposed to be or show up according to someone else. How it is that we are to demonstrate our caring nature by behaving in prescribed ways. But if we are all to truly heal, it can only come in the form of reconnecting to our own selves. This is different than doing things for other’s health and well-being, and instead is a recognition that the single most powerful thing we will ever do for another is to take full, personal responsibility for how we show up in the world. For it is only in knowing and claiming our own Nature, that which keeps us healthy and that which does not, that we come to truly and genuinely contribute to the world.

Otherwise, we add to the chaos, the co-dependent ways of relating, and the polarizations and politicized debates we find ourselves in. Everything that will never be healed by focusing on what is outside of us.

Health and healing are fundamental to our truest Nature. As a matter of fact, it is all unbelievably simple. This is contrary to the messages we receive in the modern world that our well-being is complicated, requiring experts and things to buy. Over and over we receive the message that it is all beyond us and best left in the hands of another. But that is not how our truest Nature works. Despite the contortions and distortions of the modern day mind and what is being sold to us, our very own healing Nature is built into us. We have only to clear the illusions and confusions that get in the way of a clear connection. Not easy to do, but oh so very satisfying, and so desperately, desperately needed by All.

Would it not be the single greatest blessing in all the world if out of the past time period came a return to what is true around human health? A kind of deep inner knowing that can only come from becoming more completely accountable to the choices you make every day. For everything. From what goes into your body, to what goes into your mind.

Where could you begin? If in doubt, what could your body absolutely not survive without? Think back to times before there were the technologies, the experts, the junk foods, social media, insane schedules, things being sold to us, and anything else that takes us away from the Truth of who we are and what we really need. Start there.

Warfare

 

I don’t buy food with chemicals in them. We do not spray any chemicals on our grass, fruit trees or garden. I do not put chemicals inside or on the outside of my body. But yesterday, I found myself within the stroke of a pen to agree to cover the outside of my house with chemical toxins. Why?

Wasps. Always the wasps with me.

I have such a live and let live attitude outside of them. Even with the ticks. But when it comes to wasps, I see red. I want to annihilate them. I hate them. And I look for every chance I get to seek out their presence as a kind of affront to me and my life. How they are ruining it for me. How scary and dangerous they are.

They have no idea of course that I feel this way. But if they did, I just wish they would know how uncomfortable I am and be different. Not so waspish. Not so “sting first and ask questions later.” Not so ugly with that weird thing hanging down. Not so swarmy and floaty around the front of my house. Or in the places where I want to be outside and not feel like I am in the middle of a war.

In the midst of all of this, I lose myself. Enough to have a pest control company come to my home. Truly, nothing could be further from the truth of who I am and what I believe. Caught up in my feelings, I just wanted them gone and I did not care what it took. I think the hardest thing of all is to stand in relation to another being (human, insect or animal) whose very behavior you do not understand. Or hate. Or are afraid of. And still say “yes” to their right to be here. To their right to live as they see fit. To move as they move. To choose as they choose.

I know, but what about how it impacts me, might be what a part of your mind is thinking. To that part I would say, open up your perspective to include more than just you and your particular beliefs. Root out the fears you hold about something or someone that is different than you. Especially when that difference brings up fears in you around how your life will be affected.

In the end, I did not sign the contract. Why? Because in the midst of talking this out further, suddenly the knowing that I was going to harm other forms of life, like the honey bees we are keeping, was enough to stop me cold in my tracks. Was enough to bring me to my senses. And therein lies a Truth. We cannot eradicate Life on any level without harming all Life. We cannot coerce living beings into being what they are not, or doing what we want them to do, just to make ourselves comfortable, without bringing great harm to All.

Who Will You Be?

 

There is nothing I love more than when I am working on something, wondering about something, or making changes in my life, and then, the world reflects that back to me. It happened this morning while I was taking a yoga class, coming in the form of a question posed by the teacher.

“Who am I in this?”

She was referring to the choices that we are presented with personally and collectively each and every day. The decisions, small and large, around what we will do with, how we will be with, what we are faced with. This matters. Perhaps more than at any other time in history. It is showing up on every single level of existence. And it is born out in the astrology of our times which is asking, will we choose control or will we choose freedom? Will we choose the old or will we choose the new?

This coming year is a year of choices; with the decisions we make being really big. What’s happening now has literally been marked in the heavens. And it is calling each one of us forward in our own way.

This takes a lot of courage, and I know this one personally. Other than the experience of having children, I have never been as challenged on some level as I have this past year when it comes to who I will choose to be through all of this. I find so many similarities between now and when I was a young mother. The steep learning curve. The lack of control. The challenges in deciding outside of the mainstream. The search for the like-minded. The judgment; mine and others. But most of all, the deep call from within to choose from within. As it was with raising kids, it has been a messy, glorious, confusing and strengthening journey.

In my best moments, I would not change any of it. To decide who and what you will be, separate from what the external pulls for, I think, is the very point of being here.

To know yourself, sovereign unto yourself, is what every living being, except human beings, do and do quite well. I know I have written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. Nothing, not a single thing in nature changes its Nature because of external demands. No animal stops doing what it does because we do not like it, or agree with it.

The wasps on my porch, the porcupine that eats my fruit trees, and the anonymous animal that has burrowed into the barn and pooped all over the place, will never, ever, stop doing what it is doing because I don’t like it. Not one of those creatures will change its Nature to fit in with my expectations of them. We humans, on the other hand, regularly do this.

This is a hard one. We all want to belong, and so we all do things against our very nature. Fearful that without the adjustments and the distortions we will be left out. Ostracized. Harmed. But there is a big difference between belonging and fitting in. So, where do you decide how to be in this based on the need to fit in? Based on the stories you tell yourself about what a good person is? Based on what you watch coming across a screen? Based on your fears of being who you actually are?

Here’s something to try. The next time you are in an interaction with someone, and the conversation is creating some kind of pressure in you, pause and feel. Is there a fear, an anxiety, or a stifling of what you really want to say or be? Are you pretending to feel one way, when you actually feel another? Instead of leaving yourself, becoming what you believe the other person expects you to be, stay with what is happening for you. Feel it. Be it. Let it reveal its Nature to you. Staying with yourself is the essential ingredient.

Then ask yourself, “If I had all the courage, integrity and authenticity I needed, who would I be in this right now?” 

 

The New Look of Discrimination & Oppression

Over the past several weeks, I have run into some things I believe important to point out. All of them related to what we think we must do now in order to be allowed to be here, and all of which relate to the plight of the minority.

The first red flag came during a conversation with a couple who told me that the only reason they were getting vaccinated was because otherwise, their friends would not associate with them. Then, I was with a woman who told me of her concerns around the experimental shots, and how she had made up her mind to not do it. Until she heard that the kids could not go back to school until a certain percentage of us had been vaccinated. At which point she said, “Well, if I grow an extra limb, at least I helped the kids.” And then there is the health care professional of a friend of mine who is getting the vaccine not because she wants to, but because her work requires it. She did it, while begging her husband to not get his. Why? Because she feels that if both she and her husband take the shot, there will not be a healthy parent left for her children.

And now, pilot programs all over the world are rolling out digital vaccine passports that will either give you entry into the world. Or not. All depending on whether you have taken an experimental shot. (One, by the way, that is not approved by our own FDA, or ever been used on human beings.)

In essence creating a caste system. A world of have’s and have nots. All based on some arbitrary standard of the times around who is clean and who is dirty. Who is deserving, and who is not. Sound familiar? It should. We have already seen this kind of discriminatory policy in the form of “red lining.” The practice of drawing a line around communities of color; refusing them basic rights and access to things like mortgages and insurance. Groups deemed “high risk” by the very nature of one maligned criteria.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, we have got some enormous questions to ask of ourselves that far exceed whether or not to take an experimental drug. Questions like, is it in the best interest of our lives together to shame, coerce, and even force another person to do something they do not feel is good or right for them? Is it humane to discriminate against people, while getting them to agree to a system that does not recognize or include them? Is this the kind of world we want to be creating? One where we oppress others based on their individual beliefs? Have we not already had enough of this as a species? Enough persecution because someone believes or acts differently than you do, or are comfortable with?

We have seen this played out on every level of human life. With race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and more. Now we are doing it again. Only it is more insidious because now we have hired public relations firms to drive a single message to the exclusion of all other viewpoints. But when you strip it all down, we have also been here before. We have also created messaging across history that certain ones of us were dangerous, contaminated, and not to be trusted because we looked, or acted different than the status quo.

And then there is the tried and true hegemony where we convince people to such a degree of their inferiority that they claim the role of the oppressed who can only expect the dregs of life. It is a most dangerous precedent to set to condition a populace to violate themselves all while believing they are doing it because they deserve nothing better, or because it is all part of playing their role for the “common good.” What goodness is there to be had for the community when we are convincing people to deny their own naturally endowed God-given rights to the sovereignty over their own bodies?

It is most interesting to observe that the very same among us who would take to the streets to protest discrimination for marginalized people are the very same ones who would stand behind discriminatory digital passports. The very people who would rise up if a disenfranchised group was silenced, being the same ones who would censor anything that questions the safety and efficacy of Operation Warp Speed. The very ones who would rail at anything less than full consent in a sexual encounter, being the same ones to deny informed voluntary medical consent for others. And the very same who would put their life on the line for a woman’s right to choose what happens in her own body, would now take that right away from others.

I know. Some would say this moment in time is different. But isn’t that exactly what others across history have said when it was believed that a gay teacher would corrupt children, that a member of a lower caste would foul something they touched, or that a woman was the property of her husband and therefore subject to harsh demands that had nothing to do with her?

History aside, let’s follow the argument that this is different because personal choice impacts us all. Are we ready to say then that there is no more smoking, drugging, alcohol, and yes, even caffeine? Will we go so far as to take away Netflix because of the way it interferes with a good night’s sleep? Will we remove sugar from the stores because of its impact on the immune system? In short, will we take away every health-depleting substance and activity because of the way it compromise individual health, and therefore impacts the health of the rest of us?

Let us never forget that ALL of our individual choices impact every one around us. All the time. While the effects may not be immediate or always easy to see, the detrimental impact is there nonetheless. Therefore, will you find it in you to put aside your personal beliefs, fears and conditioning in favor of health freedom for all? Or will you use this time as another opportunity to continue a long and devastating tradition of the human psyche to diminish and demonize what is not in agreement with your limited, biased and temporal world view?

Most of all, will you look deep inside of yourself and flush out the ways where you will stand behind concepts of liberty, fairness, freedom and human justice just as long as it does not get too personal for you?

Knowing Where You Are

 

This week my husband and I were out walking in the woods on a trail we affectionately call “the little loop.” I have done this loop so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. Oftentimes I have been alone. At other times accompanied. I have ran it and walked it. I have been here in both the day and the night, and through every season and under every weather condition there is. I know it like the back of my hand.

But on this day, I do not. The loggers have been working here for months; leaving the trail and its surrounding landscape absolutely unrecognizable.

At times we can find a part of the trail, and at other times we have no idea where we are. The look and the feel of the woods is so unfamiliar. Where once there was a well worn trail, there are now branches and the tops of trees littering the landscape. Where once the woods felt enshrouded, it now feels wide open. Where once it was lush and warm, it now feels raw and exposed.

As I make my way, there is no just dropping into the motion of my own body. There are so many obstacles to navigate. So much footing to be aware of. At times, an agitation inside of me begins to arise. Over and over I have to remind myself that this is normal; that I am feeling as I do because what was so familiar, so easy, is no longer so. What once held me so effortlessly, now requires all of my attention. There is no going on automatic pilot here. And with the glass beer bottle I have retrieved from the ground, I struggle even more. Because the risk of falling is so great, I do not dare to put it into my pocket. Awkwardly I struggle to climb over things and keep my footing while still holding onto the bottle.

And even though my husband has got a compass, I am not convinced he has an understanding of the actual direction we are aiming for. Frustration shows up as we try and figure our way through this. At one point, I realize I need to do something different. I need to stop bashing up against what is. Stop fighting with how I want it to be. So I begin to look around to see if there is anything that looks familiar. Anything that hasn’t changed. There is. The little rolling “mountains” that encircle the area remain as they always have. I locate the top hump, and start to remember other times on the trail. Times when I knew where I was when I saw this landmark.

It is only then that something starts to open up. That I begin to locate myself. For me, this is one of the most profound gifts of Nature. Her ability to reflect back to me where I am.

What are we to do when the inner or the outer landscape changes so dramatically that we cannot recognize ourselves, or our lives anymore? Will we wander around aimlessly? Will we rage at the unfairness? Will we lament that the well-worn path we have always travelled by is no longer there?

Or will we orient ourselves to that which is steady, enduring and beyond surface level changes. What are those things for you? Do you even know?

Individually and collectively we are in a time that demands we become aware of what no longer is, for surely there is no going back. To even hope for a return to the way things were would be to miss the point. Completely. More than that, it would stand as a detriment to us All.

Listening For Truth

 

I love winter. The stillness. The quiet. The bare reality of it all. No frills. No demands. Other than, of course, to go in. To slow down. To do less. To tend to the roots. To descend into Truth.

This is a tall order in a world intent on doing. Replicating. Proving and demanding. Keeping up with it all. A tall order in a world that does not know how to make use of the sacred pause of the wisdom season of winter. And it shows. It is there in our rush to solve things without quieting down long enough to understand the full scope of what stands before us. It is in the frenzied fear-based energy that is intent on fixing, without fully understanding. Resulting in a kind of overwhelm that imposes solutions that have little chance to work because they come from a less than complete assessment.

This week, I recommitted myself to letting go of the places where I unnecessarily fight in my own mind. The places where I bang my head up against the proverbial brick wall. The places that burn. The places where I relentlessly spin my own wheels. Instead, vowing to use the noise and the chaos of the world to drive me ever deeper within. Deeper down into the long tap root of my very existence. The place that just is.

That is winter’s influence. A deeply distilled, spacious and endless depth. A place below the confusion, and ill-fated action. A place of unity, wholeness, and natural, effortless resolve. Try it. Sit down. Even if just for a minute. Breathe easily and naturally. When you feel ready, breathe your breath down, down, down. As if your legs were roots that extended deep into the Earth. Down, down, down. Sink lower and lower. Just this. Only this.

This is where Truth lives. When you get there, say to yourself, “Within me, beyond all that rises and falls, Truth remains.”*

 

* Sacred Rebel Oracle by Alana Fairchild.

Blog inspired by a friend who reminded me “To listen for Truth.”