A Place of Love

e.e.cummings

I sit in silent contemplation and awe of the direction my life has taken. Where I’ve been. Where I’m headed. I am amazed by the change that has manifested in my life because of my persistent dedication to my intentions but if I allow it, and I do allow it, I feel a pressure in my chest, a tightening of my throat.

It is anxiety. Stress. Worry.

It is a reminder of those things that brought me to this point; hard memories of hard times that led to hard decisions that brought me to who and where I am now.

I allow those feelings to express themselves completely. The disappointments. Failures. Shame. Guilt. They are the voice of my soul asking for my attention and tender affection. I listen.

I don’t ever want to forget those things. They keep me grounded. On my path. But I never allow them to control me. My past has no place here. Now. Except to keep me on course by reminding me who not to be.

I have allowed those hard times to make me soft. Vulnerable. I am ever grateful for that. There is strength in that softness.

With eyes closed, I breathe deep and slow, acknowledge those feelings, then treat myself with the same loving compassion I would treat anyone else who was suffering.

I lay one hand on my belly, the other on my heart, and, with honest sympathy, I repeat those same words to my Self that I would tell anyone I care about;

“I love you.
I am listening.
I am here.”

In doing so I release those feelings and love rushes in to replace them.

I keep a place in my heart
for my Beloved.
I keep her heart in my heart.
For it to be a place
where she feels the care
and compassion
and passionate love
I keep there for her
it must be a place of love.
For it to be that place
I must first love myself.
In loving myself
I love her.

This is what it means to love myself and why it is so important.

So I sit in quiet contemplation and awe of the direction my life has taken and in that quiet contemplation I find gratitude, even for the reminders of the past that led me here.

Balance

effervescent.by.Christina.Rivera.jpg

Today is the Autumn Equinox. Day and night are of equal length for a few days and then the days will become shorter.

It is the time of harvest. When we reap what we have sown and labored so hard to produce. It is a time of harmony and balance. When everything is exactly as it is supposed to be.

Seeing that balance isn’t always easy so I’m going to refer to the Oxford Dictionary to help:

bal·ance [ˈbaləns] NOUN
1. an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain 
upright and steady: 
"slipping in the mud but keeping their balance" ·
synonyms: stability · equilibrium · steadiness · footing

I appreciate the example they provide, “slipping in the mud but keeping their balance”. I can relate to that. It defines balance as tenuous yet firm. Precarious and cautionary but upright and steady.

Balance doesn’t mean sure footed. In fact, I am most likely to be seeking better footing when balance is even, but slip and slide aside, I remain upright.

Tonight I celebrate that balance and while I do it while physically alone, I do it forging ahead with plans to join my Beloved.

The past and future are even tonight and beginning tomorrow the days grow shorter and each shortened day brings me closer to her.

Whether you call this day Mabon, The Second Harvest, Wine Harvest, Feast of Avalon, Winter Finding, or, my personal favorite, Cornucopia, I wish that this Autumn Equinox finds you in harmony and balance with all that you do and that your own harvest is as rich as my own.

 


 

Image: “Effervescent” by Christina Rivera

Timeless

timeless.by.Moe.Shirani.jpg

Time is as often friend as foe. It flows steadily. Never ending. We can tell ourselves that it is an illusion. That only “Now” exists. But that’s a half truth. Now is the only place we exist but we live in a progression of time. In our human form we have a beginning and an end. We are born, we live, we die. What happens in between is a combination of circumstances and events guided by will or careless indifference and interpreted by intention and understanding or misunderstanding.

I chose to embrace that knowledge some time back. To acknowledge that I had a beginning. That this body will at some point fail. That how I live now is entirely up to me. Not everyone gets that choice. Some are born into short and brutal lives. Some never get the chance to live at all.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I see glimpses from time to time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the arms of my Beloved. Compassionate days that flow into passionate nights. A flow of energy between us that builds and shares and expands. Perpetual. Timeless.

I want those things.

Time, however, often chooses the pace and, thus, can affect the quality of Now… if we allow it to. Plans made need to be shuffled again and again before they can be implemented and even then I must remain flexible to last second alterations.

This is where I am now: Making the best of unexpected changes. Unexpected changes making the best of me. Guiding the future with intention and understanding with one difference, mutual desire.

Not the base and often destructive sexual or sensual desire of immature love, though certainly that exists, how can it not? I do desire the physical connection of my lover. Intensely. More than that, however, is the desire to give and receive love. Physical. Emotional. Psychological. Spiritual. To create something together under the guidance of those intentions of compassion, connection, union, care, growth, and so much more that I so often describe as simply “love and gratitude” and through those intentions build something lasting. Eternal. Timeless.

Today the flow of Now across which time passes and at the edge of which I exist is both friend and seeming foe. It prevents immediate satisfaction of our goals. Blocks access to the woman I love. But every second that passes brings me ever closer to her and to Divine Union with her. In this it can only be considered friend.

I could focus on the obstacles or focus on the goal. The choice is made easy by these facts:

The obstacles are temporary.

Love is timeless.

I choose love.

 


 

Image: from the “Timeless” series by Moe Shirani

Change

1280-CATERS_TORNADO_RAINBOW_01_0.jpg

Change is the only constant. Change happens. Which is just a nice way of saying shit happens. But change itself is neither “good” nor “bad”. It is simply change.

Sometimes that change is small, easy to deal with; a fender bender, a missed appointment. Other times it is larger and affects us in unforeseen ways; the work season, already too slow, comes to a sudden halt leaving us worried, possibly near panic, about how we will survive. Sitll other times it is dramatic, profound; our home is blown away in a hurricane so massive it clears the land, burned in a wildfire so out of control that the smoke covers 5 states.

Though change itself is often out of our hands, where those changes lead us is almost always up to us.

Do I give in to the panic? The rage? The fear? Do we rebuild our homes? These are choices. The choices lead to decisions. The decisions, if based on intentions of love and gratitude rather than fear and panic, can lead to unexpected new places. New lives. New love. All of them of our choosing.

It’s okay to be angry with the Universe for these things, She’s used to it. No one wants their home destroyed or to lose their job after barely scraping by, but it’s important to look beyond those events to the possibilities and opportunities they open. New choices. New paths.

I am leaving North Dakota soon. Change has opened new doors for me. Opened my heart and my mind to a new life. I’ll be damned if I sit here and worry about what I don’t have when what I can have is so much more.

Know that whatever change you are facing, we all face it at some level, all of us. In that simple knowledge you are assured that you are not alone. Know also that no matter how insurmountable that change may feel it is simply the Universe saying “I love you. Time for something new.”

What that something is, is entirely up to you.

This change will be good because I will make it good.

 

The Four Agreements

four-agreements.jpg

A few readers have asked where my sense of spirituality comes from. What, exactly, do I believe?

Big questions.

Obviously, I believe in the Divine Feminine. I do not share the view of a masculine creator. I call her the Universe but just as often refer to her as God or a number of other names. I will address this as well as my belief in Divine archetypes (i.e. Selene) in later articles.

But what else? A lot. Too much to define in any single reply. So I’ve decided to start sharing some of that, starting with The Four Agreements.

The Four Agreements are a Toltec philosophy written by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is one of the pillars of my beliefs and practices and has been instrumental in my personal growth and change.

Before I describe them and their effect in my life I want to point out that there are no Toltec. Not for a very long time. Most of what we know about the Toltec civilization comes from a scattering of Aztec history which is most often discounted as mythology. The rest comes from the writer Carlos Castaneda who describes them as sorcerers who just happen to share the name “Toltec” with that ancient civilization.

It is upon the back of Castaneda’s work that Ruiz built his name. I guess he saw an opportunity and took it but the truth is that Don Miguel’s work, his philosophy, stands on its own and connecting it to modern mythology detracts from it’s true potential. A potential that has led others, like Heather Ash Amara, to build off it and for me to consider it worth sharing.

So here they are, the Four Agreements:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.”

I can’t tell you how much trouble I have with this one. I understand that our words carry power. Magick, if you will. I try to be impeccable but in the end I have no control over how people interpret what I say.
So…

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

This works both ways. What I do and say is a projection of my reality.

At the core of my beliefs stands the Tree of Life which is represented by the deceptively simple phrase, “As above, so below.”

What I allow into my core shapes me. What is at my core shapes my words and actions.

With that in mind I disagree with Don Miguel on this one point: He suggests we take nothing personally. Not even positive words and actions. I say if it’s good let it in. Just don’t let it go to your head.

And…

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

The rule here is simple: Assume nothing. Not even that tomorrow will arrive.

This includes making assumptions about myself (“I can’t do this“, “there’s no way I can make this work“, etc).

It doesn’t matter if you fail at something if you…

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

I can not do any better than my best. Sometimes that means asking for help. I’m not very good at that.

The Four Agreements work together. Support each other.

Let’s say that I need to replace the intake gasket on my car:

Before I can say “I can do that” I need to know that I’m capable of it. I can’t just assume I can do it. So I fall back on experience. In the past I have done a good job on similar projects. I have done my best and it worked. Not taking that personal, not allowing it to go to my head because I am aware that changing spark plugs is not at all like changing an intake gasket, I can admit to myself that if I do my best it will get done. Even if I have to enlist the help of my mechanic buddy.

These Four Agreements can apply to everything from fixing leaky plumbing to committing myself to a loving relationship.

I have found that the most profound processes are often the most simple and straight forward. This is one of the most direct approaches to change I have ever used and with just a little practice it becomes second nature.

 

What you deserve

Life has been hard on you. It has given you challenges you never expected. Pushed you to do things you never thought you would do. It has kicked you when you were down. Stomped on you. At some point it convinced you that you are unworthy. Less than perfect.

Yet here you are, embracing those imperfections. Finding strength in courage and hope. You are authentic. Unafraid to be vulnerable. Honest with others and with yourself. Compassionate. When life knocks you down you simply get back up and proclaim, “You hit like a bitch.”

You have uncaged your wild nature and embraced the divine feminine.

You are a goddess.

You deserve the worship and love of a warrior. A god.

He will support you. Go out of his way to show his appreciation and his love in every way he can. He will dance with you while doing dishes. Kiss you long and deep without reason. Ride the stupid spirit wagon with you at your kids football game just because you are on it.

He will caringly touch and lovingly kiss all those areas, physical, mental, spiritual, that are hard for you to reach or uncomfortable for you to touch alone.

When you are down he will help you up. When you are up he will raise you higher. When life hands you shit he will make fertilizer from it, plant seeds in it, wash it from you, and put you to bed with soft words and hard passion.

He will reflect those things in you that make you a goddess without fear. You will see yourself in him and you will like what you see. You can be vulnerable around him because he will never take advantage of you. Never use your vulnerability against you. Because he is also vulnerable.

He will bring out the best in you by being his best. Only his best is good enough for you.

He will encourage and help you to grow and in doing so grow with you. Not separately. Not as competition. Together. As One.

He will do these things because he wants to. Not because he needs to. Not because he feels obligated. Because he wants to. He wants to because he loves you.

You are a goddess, you deserve to be loved like one.

 

 

 

Image: “The Fountain of Love” by Jean Honoré Fragonard, c. 1785

A Promised View

Gentrys.Sky.jpg

She sits at the edge of the world
Unconcerned with my silent inquiry
In peaceful examen
Contemplating All
Serene in her surrender
To the known and unknown
Welcoming a future
She creates with intention
Every thought with purpose
Every movement decided
Every word chosen
Mindful and accepting
She gazes out upon her world
Created with the meaning she gives it
Surveying beyond the smoky skies
To a place where a promised view
Of the Milky Way
Conforming to her vision
Overlays the grey-blue background
With colors of her choosing
Where eagles glide
On winds that whisper the Sopurkh
While harmonizing
With the mystic forest below
Home to true magick
Where compassion is spoken
Not only when needed
Because compassion is always needed
But with consistent care and kindness
Where passion is more than a line in book
Or a poem
But resides in every touch
Every look
Every kiss
Because passion belongs everywhere
In everything
To everyone
Where Love is tangible
Something she can see
Touch
Smell
Taste
Drink
Something to be shared
.
I see her world merge with my own
It is a world
Where the promise of a view of the Milky Way
Is kept
If only in her heart
and in a picture I take of her unaware
.
.
.
.
.
.
If you’re not familiar with the So Purkh a good explanation and recording can be found here: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/so-purkh/