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The Heartbeat of the Soil

The Heartbeat of the Soil

 

Be With Those Who Help Your Being

 

Be with those who help your being.

Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath

comes cold out of their mouths.

Not these visible forms, your work is deeper.

 

A chunk of dirt thrown in the air breaks to pieces.

If you don’t try to fly,

and so break yourself apart,

you will be broken open by death,

when it’s too late for all you could become.

 

Leaves get yellow. The tree puts out fresh roots

and makes them green.

Why are you so content with a love that turns you yellow?

   

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

 

After having a dream that refused to leave me for days, I became frustrated with the repeated imagery and confusion about possible meaning. Aware that a dream such as this lingers as a token of importance, I still wanted the imagery to abate if only for awhile. This dream was so stubborn, it quickly became clear this was not a typical downloading of data that often accompanies a deep sleep but an opportunity to wake up and take note. The time had come to take out the proverbial notepad and start writing, regardless of potential. There was no rationalizing this task away, only the need for analysis and a way to place all discoveries within the confines of my current situation.

 

In this dream, I found myself lying on a soft blanket of soil while looking up at a very formidable tree; the kind of tree that stretches endlessly into the heavens and seems to brush the stars with its uppermost branches. As I reclined in a peaceful repose, I noticed the rays of the sun kissing the very top of the tree and skirting in and out of the various branches and leaves. It was a mesmerizing display of light that traveled at breakneck speed around the bulk of the tree.

 

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

 

For reasons unknown, I became aware this very same highway of light wrapping the length of the tree was in fact me. My spirit, being an energy that is free and boundless, was dancing along with the life system of the tree. I watched as this light show continued and marveled at the fact that I could be a part of an amazingly complex ecosystem in ways in which I could never have believed.

 

Moments later, the blanket of soft soil seemed to close in and become more tangible. With an element of fear, I realized I was not on top of the soil, but a part of it. Being of the soil meant I was underground and a part of the complex roots and superhighway of light connecting with the sky. Fear was replaced by a calm sensation of oneness with all else: the universe, sky, sun and this very tree with it’s steadfast roots. I was everything and everywhere, but at the same time small as a grain of soil. In this state, I was able to hear the heartbeat of the entire system in which I was a part of. I danced with a constant rhythm of energy swirling around and tangibly participated in the life cycle of this tree via a rhythmic heartbeat giving way to all else.

 

As magical as this all was, I could not resist reliving this experience as the days passed. We all have the divine spark within, just as the complex energy system the tree inhabited. This spark creates a magical and connected superhighway of energy that pulsates with life force.  If I recognize this spark in another they too can recognize it within me, including all that is known and unknown in this discovery. I must make an effort to quiet the noise in my life in order to experience the mystery of this connectivity each and every day no matter how mundane the tasks presented to me may be.

 

A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the living meaning of Zen?.”   

Zhaozhou said, “The oak tree in the courtyard.”

–  Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans

 

Nothing else seemed to matter in this state. Not the stress from work, people that had been less than kind, illness, nothing. All that mattered was connection with everything around me.  Believing the in all matters like calls out to like, it moves me to seek others that have this same sensibility. This has nothing to do with external worldly roles, rather a knowing that the soul next to me is a seeker such as myself. A seeker is one that asks questions, sees the light in others regardless of outside packaging and looks for beauty in all circumstance. I know that I must try to find this connection in a world that is closed off to interpersonal connection, compassionate attention and even personal touch.

I will not meet this challenge simply by sitting under a tree and feeling universal energy. No, the only way to find this other is by living a full life among the weeds and thorns. In the process of living this very messy life, my path will undoubtedly cross with those whom I seek. Each time I find another who has the heartbeat of the soil within, I feel a moment of recognition that says without words “I see you”. I enjoy this immensely and cherish it whenever and wherever it may approach. Seek out those that speak to you beyond the daily particulars of life. Once found, hold on and honor the spark that shines brightly in the being of another. This very spark is what lies within you and will continue to burn brightly after having connected with another.

 

Creative Energy and the Feminine

Creative Energy and the Feminine

 

“I can tell you that it takes great strength to surrender. You have to know that you are not going to collapse. Instead, you are going to open to a power that you don’t even know, and it is going to come to meet you. In the process of healing, this is one of the huge things that I have discovered. People recognized the energy coming to meet them. When they opened to another energy, a love, a divine love, came through to meet them. That is what is known as grace. We all sing about amazing grace. It is a gift. I think that it comes through the work that we do. For some people, it can come out of the blue, but I know that in my own situation, the grace came through incredible vigilance.”

Marion Woodman

 

Surrender, easier in concept than practice. Surrender implies weakness, a giving in that comes from a lack of resolve. This implication could not be further from the truth. Surrender is an action of incredible strength. One that takes much courage and a facing down of fears that otherwise go unchallenged. As a woman, I have spent much of my adult life learning about this strength firsthand. I have experienced a complete missing of the mark in this regard and the intervention of spirit at these junctures. While terrifying, this collision of fear and spirit can be spectacular in every sense of the word.

 

The feminine spirit personifies receiving and all of the nuances required to bend but not break. Women are expected from a very early age to be soft spoken and service orientated. As women age, the Divine spirit continues to burn and will do so until set free by choice or circumstance. For some women this fire is set free much earlier than others, but timing is of no real consequence. What does matter is that this feminine energy ultimately finds it way into the light and serves as a beacon for other women not quite ready to shine.

 

As one that has always relished the role of mother, I have towed this line with practiced accuracy. I am one that enjoys every aspect of nurturing another life. It feeds my maternal instinct. Conversely, I have a creative fire that burns hot beneath the surface. I abhor being told how to express this creativity, especially when outside influences unwittingly attempt to cool this heat. My journey with the written word began in elementary school, but it took four decades before I greeted my feminine spirit with love and published this blog. I had already raised my children, suffered a difficult relationship and lived the better part of a very raw and real life. Life had gotten in the way and my creative spirit had suffered until words set me free.

 

“Rage and bitterness do not foster femininity. They harden the heart and make the body sick.”

Marion Woodman

 

Unexpressed creative energy can manifest as rage, anger and depression. If I had never picked up a pen again, my life would certainly be a wandering from point to point with no compass, perennially lost with a heart sealed so tightly nothing could permeate. I have only grace to thank for my current situation. With copious amounts of grace, I have managed to find myself in a new space, feeling spirit in ways that amuse, mystify and make whole my entire being. I am so very thankful for this discovery.

 

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.”

― Thomas Merton

 

By embracing this Divine feminine completely, I am now able to explore other areas of my life without fear of retribution or even failure. Do I wish to stay in my current profession? What qualities do I value in another? How do I envision my life moving forward? I can dream boldly without the voice of fear drowning out my thoughts. I give myself permission to fall short while learning to shine as brightly as possible. This evolution is all a part of the process of discovery. It requires the shedding of an uncomfortable skin layer upon layer until the very core of self is revealed. No more hiding, no more false representations, just me.

 

I am most in companion with my Divine feminine when I quiet the noise around me, becoming apart of the natural world once again. I purposefully let go, surrender to this change of pace without persecution. It is only in this quiet space that my creative energy begins to flow. It is in trying to attain this flow that I most often fall short. Surrender is just that, a letting go of the outcome. I must accept that I may have nothing of extrinsic value to say. It must be enough that I have put it down on paper thereby releasing it from the jagged corners of my soul. This writing in some ways is selfishly for me as I continue to allow grace to have its way with me, as it will. Only in this way can I find my way home.

 

Finding Strength in the Divine Feminine

Finding Strength in the Divine Feminine

Pat, Sheila

It has taken me nearly fifty years to come to a place of calm acceptance of myself.  I am a woman that wades in the deep. It is a gift that has been passed down, one woman to the next on my mother’s side of the family, a beautiful and soulful force and a powerful way to move in the world.  My sisters and I, my mother, my grandmother and even my daughter, no one has escaped the call of the spirit. This powerful force has at times been isolating and odd.  Imagine moving through your day feeling everything those around you are feeling, now imagine looking at another’s eyes and seeing their truth.  Uncomfortable at its worst, empowering at its best. I often hide this part of myself, putting up walls in order to navigate the world. No more. The time has come to be completely myself and claim what many other women have before me.

 

“A woman in harmony with her spirit

is like a river flowing.

She goes where she will without pretense

and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself,

and only herself.”

~Maya Angelou

 

In this family, the women have always walked the energetic perimeter of both worlds. I have slowly learned to embrace the Divine feminine that lives within and trust in the wisdom of this energy. It has not been easy.  I have been called, sensitive, naive and uninformed. I know I am none of these.  I am a beautiful, gentle and loving soul. So why has it taken so long to walk confidently, claiming my true self? I believe it is because my energetic qualities make many uncomfortable, especially those that know they are being “seen”.  I suspect it is akin to standing naked in front of someone for the first time, stripped of all the layers that we as fragile souls acquire. When being stripped bare and exposed all that is left is the true self.

 

And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul.”

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

Some days I try not to look too deeply, fixing my gaze downward when I simply do not have the energy to connect.  Other times, I have no control as if my intuition wants me to see someone for reasons unknown. If the other person feels this they often immediately look away, afraid to expose too much.  The whole interaction is awkward and at times painful. People go to great lengths to hide the things about themselves that they feel are less than enough.  It is as if they are constantly putting the best foot forward not realizing that it is the whole person, both dark and light, that together makes a beautiful and glorious person.

 

As I have matured, I have learned to find strength in my femininity, intuition and energy. I understand that some will come into my life only to feel overexposed and ultimately leave. A relationship with me is not for the faint of heart.  Those that I hold close in my life sense when I am at my energetic limit, quietly giving me space to calm the turbulent waters.  They also are recipients of the endless wells of empathy and compassion that I am capable of.  To be loved by a woman in my family is to feel love in the truest sense.  We love fiercely and deeply. Even if this ultimately means that I walk alone for extended periods of time, I am at peace with solitude. It is here that I find strength in the Divine feminine within me. I have come to embrace, trust and set it free out of the protective shell that I have sequestered it to for most of my life.

 

“She is so bright and glorious that you cannot look at her face or her garments for the splendor with which she shines. For she is terrible with the terror of the avenging lightning, and gentle with the goodness of the bright sun; and both her terror and her gentleness are incomprehensible to humans…. But she is with everyone and in everyone, and so beautiful is her secret that no person can know the sweetness with which she sustains people, and spares them in inscrutable mercy.”

Hildegard of Bingen

 

Conversely, I have also learned to be careful who is the recipient of my interest. I am a magnet for those that feel less than or are searching for a savior in some way. Over the years I have found that in many of these situations, the offender senses my gentle heart and seeks refuge in our relationship, hiding their darkness in broad daylight.  They may think me naive to this arrangement.  The problem is I do see them, even if I don’t say anything.  My empathy has gotten me into some bad spots in the past. I always hold out hope that another will find their way given support and loving kindness.  It has taken many years to understand that I can be empathetic from a distance and do not need to connect on a deeper level with every soul that requires help and guidance. It is not always my job.

 

“I stand in my own power now, the questions of permission that I used to choke on for my every meal now dead in a fallen heap, and when they tell me that I will fall, I nod. I will fall, I reply….”

Beth Morey

 

I write this for all the other women that have felt out of step, different and exposed. I understand what it means to walk this world seeing and feeling so many things that others simply do not.  I say to you, this is not a weakness, as some would like you to believe. This is a beautiful quality that cannot be stolen, borrowed, or bought.  It is inherent to who you are. Step confidently into your role; embrace that which is within you. Early cultures venerated this Divine feminine understanding the power of connection on this very deep level. It is only in this modern era that we have closed off and ignored the interconnectivity of everyone.  The powers at hand would like everyone to believe that we are separate and apart from one another, an untruth of the worst sort. For those of us that see beyond the externals, we know. We see that within every human is an energy that is emanating outward, a sharing of self on the most intimate of levels. What an amazing site to behold.

 

Intimacy and Energy

Intimacy and Energy

Love_Mystic

Have you ever sat next to someone and felt his or her vibration?  Or maybe someone walks into your office and you feel a sudden change in your environment?  If the answer is yes, you are one that can feel others energy. We are all as biological beings, just a conglomeration of molecules vibrating and racing about. This is never more apparent than when we exchange energy with another, either purposefully or unintended. I liken an energy exchange to an unspoken contract.  One is extending their innermost self to another for better or worse.

 

Real intimacy is a sacred experience.  It never exposes its secret trust

and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture.

Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.

John O’Donohue

 

As one that is especially sensitive to this, I often find myself with the urge to reach out and hug someone that is hurting in some way.  I feel it and very deeply. When sitting next to my children or family, I will usually place my hand on their leg, arm or back thereby connecting energetically.  It is a quick way for me to clue into how they are and what they may be feeling in that moment. I also am careful at work not to jump into someone’s office without an invitation. I will usually start conversations from the doorway testing my colleague’s energy to see if the timing for the conversation is correct.  If I sense any hesitation I will defer and return another time. I only wish that others would be sensitive to my needs in return. Daily, I have colleagues come in unannounced and proceed to tell me their woes.  I try to be the good INFJ counselor but often feel tired after these interactions. The difficulty can be when I do not fully let go of this energy and carry bits of it home.

 

Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with

someone–and finding that that’s okay with them.

Alain de Botton

 

The first time I understood the power of placement, energy and intimacy was during the more difficult years of my marriage. When my ex-husband would start yelling and pacing, I would tell my children to move away from him to the farthest point of the room.  Just sitting on the couch that was a good twenty feet away from him would relieve some of the tension that we all felt when he got in a mood and started to blame everyone for his troubles. Even with this practice, I absorbed more than my fair share of his dark and discontent spirit. His touch would cause an immediate reaction of withdrawal on my part.  Even if I was not able to vocalize my feelings out of fear, my body language was speaking for me. I shut down and kept my internal dialogue to myself, putting up walls of protection and protecting myself from any unsolicited intimacy with him. I carried this with me for years and believe this burden activated my autoimmune illness. My body reacted in the only way it knew how, by protecting itself.  It took years after our divorce and much self-work to finally feel free from this energy.

 

You see, as spiritual beings, we all crave intimacy but really have no idea how to achieve this with another.  So many things in our world are superficial and carry little meaning in the grander scheme of things. We spend so much time and energy chasing money, professional success, and material things with very little time talking about human needs.  It is as if this is a taboo subject not worthy of discussion.  No wonder so many today are unhappy and jaded about their lives and futures.  It is a big and lonely world if the only things that are meaningful are material, which have nothing to offer in the way of intimacy or love.

 

We can not comprehend the utter intimacy from which we arise and in which we live, but we can give expression to it in words and in silence, through gestures and stillness.

Tom Stella

 

Young adults today are faced with a constant onslaught of energy and information. True intimacy is not found in a text message, a Facebook post or an Instagram photo. True intimacy is taking the time to know and honor the true self of another hidden behind the facade used to navigate the world. Intimacy can be in a touch of the hands, a passing smile, a nod that says “I see you” or a moment of empathy during a difficult time.  Intimacy can also be standing close enough to look another in the eyes directly and really see them.  I am not talking about just looking at the physical self, but rather reaching deeper and peering at their soul. In addition, when standing close enough to another, one can feel energy even when not physically touching.  That is connection and it is important to be careful who is in direct proximity on a regular basis. For all these reasons and many more, intimacy is so much more than the physical expression of love.  It is an exchange of self on the deepest level and an opportunity to be vulnerable.

 

It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.

Jane Austen

 

Growing up, I was instructed to be careful whom I gave my heart too. This struck me as silly when I was younger, but I now understand the importance of carefully choosing whom I sign the contract of energy exchange with. In new relationships it is prudent to have a vetting process, allowing someone space to take down walls and expose whom they truly are. This is contrary to our social constructs of today.  We live in an immediate satisfaction society in which time is of the essence and many rush relationships only later to feel the ill effects. It is only when two choose to be vulnerable that their souls can connect in a meaningful way.