07-11-16

The Web of Ultimate Reality

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As I brushed my teeth the other day with bleary eyes, I spotted a gypsy moth caught in a spiderweb. The moth flapped vigorously in an escape attempt. But no matter how hard it struggled, the Ultimate Reality was that it would be a meal for the spider. After some moments, it stopped, exhausted from effort.

The next day, the Process of capture and encasement was complete. The moth was gone, eaten by the spider probably, as part of nature’s Cycle.

What webs do we find ourselves in? As children, we’re stuck in the web of family dynamics. We seek Right Relationship before our Higher Purpose. The entangled web of finding our Higher Purpose comes in our late teens and early twenties on the North side of the Wheel.

Sometimes the spiderweb of societal expectations feels more like a leash. Rather than focus on a Journey imposed on me by society, I’ve chosen to concentrate on the inner Journey. That Journey that leads to Forgiveness of Self and hence for others.

The spider does what it has to do for survival. It traps the moth and eats it. That is its Higher Purpose in the Cycle of life. That is its Ultimate Reality. We, however, have more options. We can make Choices and be Creative about our path.

I know what my Right Action is. It is to be in Right Relationship with others and to have empathy. I know this is the only way forwards for me, toward Sacred Oneness.

07-07-16

On Great Mystery

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I recently found the yellowed pages of a reading from 1985.

When I consulted Gustave, the clairvoyant astrologer, I was 31 and living in Paris. At that time, I was seeking a sense of direction. I was hoping Gustave would provide what I called back then “objective feedback from the universe”. I wanted someone to check my assumptions and tell me whether I was on the right course. 

Nowadays, I suppose people would go to a psychologist for the kind of guidance I craved but I was raised in a family that wouldn’t consider therapy. My father was an airplane pilot, always up in the sky, near the stars. You could say he came by astrology honestly. More than a mere hobby, my father never hired an employee before determining their natal chart. He never had to fire anyone either.
 
Why do we consult readers and fortune-tellers? We live in the most “modern” times in a society that has benefited from many scientific and technological revolutions, yet we continue to look to systems that are not science or logic-based.

Why did I choose a clairvoyant astrologer over a psychologist? I wanted a reading related to what is eternal: the universe, the seasons, the sun and lunar cycles. Gustave’s point-of-view and grand context helped me from falling prey to the idea that life is nothing but random chaos and then you die. Gustave’s context was what I now call Great Mystery.

He foretold that I would become a teacher of “perennial wisdom”. A mere 10 years later, I found myself being called by the medicine wheels and its natural traditions. The calling was so strong, too strong to ignore.

07-05-16

Follow Me

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I’ve just returned from a quick project in Singapore. While in transit at the Moscow Airport, I saw a “Follow Me” car. These cars assist and guide international landing planes to their proper taxi and gate. Naturally the “Follow Me” car driver knows his way around the airport runways and taxiways better than the pilots who fly into the airport only once in a while. It’s a pragmatic and effective Process to guide these metal flying behemoths when the pilot is in unfamiliar territory.

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The “Follow Me” car in action

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The “Follow Me” car in action

I like to think we could use Wisdom Wheel as a “Follow Me” guide on our Journeys. When I find myself in unfamiliar terrain, or meet strangers, go new places, or experience new challenges, I use the Wisdom Wheel principles to get back to basics. It’s my calibration tool, guide, my compass. Even when I make mistakes, which I do often, I can forgive myself, because I’ve learned to be in Right Relationship with myself. “Follow Me” is the Ultimate Reality of the soul’s voice, the inner voice I listen to. May it continue to serve me well on the Journey.

06-27-16

Brexit and the Law of Choices

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There’s a saying: “A week is a long time in politics”.

As many of you know, I am British and this saying was proven yet again this week in my motherland. This week’s referendum was an example of the Law of Choices on a national (even global) scale.

Apparently, the majority of British voters feel that the Right Action is to “Leave” the European Union. Will their Faith in England be rewarded? Time will tell, I suppose.

In my humble opinion, the “Remain” campaign was not in Right Relationship with the English folks outside of London. Their campaign lacked an Awareness of the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  Many in the “Leave” camp do not Trust the political leaders in London, much less in Brussels.

Fear also fueled the decision to “Leave”. People are fearful of the immigration crisis, open borders, and Europeans (and refugees) taking English jobs.

However, England’s Journey back to self-sufficiency is having global repercussions. The Pound Sterling has dropped to a 30-year low and the stock markets are tumbling. Even my small English pension is worth much less, but I can deal with that. This is a lesson I am taking with me on a personal level. It’s important that we all maintain an inner sense of Balance and self-sufficiency while chaos reigns in the outer world.

Good luck to my country of birth. May there be Right Relationship now between those who chose to Leave and those who chose to Remain.

process

Process and the Price of Wisdom

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Can wisdom be bought? I could charge $1,000 for a Wisdom Wheel book or experience, but the guarantee of change afterwards depends entirely upon you.

On the one hand we say we want change. We see violence and we want something different — peace, civility, stability and security. But we’re constantly delaying the Process. There’s emails to send, dishes to wash, kids to pick up, etc, etc. Our modern, busy culture has conditioned us to follow political candidates or religious leaders who’ll do the heavy lifting for us while we’re trying to get through the work week.

The most unpopular among us tell the truth: that it is up to you to do the work. This will never make us financially rich, but it is immensely satisfying to be in the company of souls as they grow and evolve.

This week, we celebrated the vision quest fast of a Wisdom Wheel graduate. Her dedication is paying off in ways that money can’t buy. Deeply embedded pains, old traumas and the despair around changes she faces have left her.

When I put her out on her fast, I had to Trust that her Surrender of comforts, water, food, technologies would ‘work’. That Process is part of the Great Mystery. She was ready. The groundwork had been laid over 3 years. Every day, she said her prayers, did her work, ran her household, and journaled about the monthly Law in our study group. Receiving our daily emails on her 1,000 Day Journey and hosting our monthly study circles helped the Process, too.

Devotion. Dedication. Reverence. What are these things worth? Community. Ceremony. Ritual. We need to make space for these things in our lives in order to anchor the changes in our day-to-day. This is how to bless yourself with the wisdom beyond your ken.

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How Do We Make Positive Change?

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It’s been a tough week in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando. How can we begin to change the behavior of those who believe that violence is the answer?

Some say change is the most difficult challenge for people. Could the Wisdom Wheel help change the way many angry young men feel? They seem alienated and alone. Rather than projecting their anger on others in the form of violence, better to go inward. On the Wisdom Wheel, this “go within” place is something like the “dark night of the soul”, like Jesus’s Gethsemane. It’s associated with the body, and also, feminine energy. It’s no coincidence that is also where the Law of Compassion resides, right alongside the Law of Power. As we all know too well, Power without Compassion can be dangerous.

I hope one day that we can invite those who are disenfranchised, angry, and without direction to sit circle with us and be heard. What if we handed them the talking stick and quietly listened to their stories? I believe, fervently, with all my heart, that when we become the Sacred Listener, we join the Sacred Oneness that makes a difference and helps people (and us!) change.

Violence only adds fuel to the fire of mayhem and fear. Let’s look inward to transform our anger into a productive force for positive change. Let’s summon our Compassion. Let us listen to one another. Let’s use our “arms” to hold, to Love instead of kill or maim.

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Work, work, work…

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What constitutes our work?

We all struggle with this to varying degrees. Is work strictly what earns money? What about the unpaid hours of mothers, wives, caretakers and friends? Is it any less important because there’s no dollar amount attached to it? Is the real work what thrills us? Scares us?

Oddly, I think the highest compliment my husband gives people is “They’ve done their work”. But what does that mean? That they’ve spent time in therapy? That they know themselves well enough to stop projecting on others?

Initiations teach us about ourselves. You learn your limits: for tolerance, fear, hunger and thirst. Next week I’ll be supervising a faster on her first vision quest alone. While she’s out in the woods by our house, I expect I’ll relive my own Initiation in that tradition, too.

But last week, when an Initiation of my own came, it was something quite different. It was an Initiation I almost gave up on ever happening… A publisher accepted my memoir manuscript.

When I got the email, my body went through a combination of shock, elation, disbelief and resolve. And I’m still not entirely over it. After steeling myself for the many rejections writers receive, I hardly knew what to do with myself when the acceptance came.

Of course, there’s a lot of hard work ahead. There’s editing to complete, packing, distributing, marketing and all the rest, but the Choice has been made, and the Commitment was kept. My Trust in my Higher Purpose and Right Action follow-through on it has given me proof about the Process. Being published is a big deal! It’s a new Initiation for me.

scotland

Freedom

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I attended the Rhode Island Scottish Festival the other day. I am, after all, three quarters Scottish by ancestry, but fully English by birth.

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The opening ceremony kicked off with the march of the massed pipes and drums. From the moment the bagpipes’ skirl sounded, my whole body began to tingle and so many childhood memories flooded back. The band played the Flower of Scotland, then the national anthem of the United States.

The last line of the American national anthem is “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”. What does it mean to be free, to be brave? We are often drawn in by the thoughts and opinions of the many at the expense of our own inner voice. How do we individuate from the crowd? Become our own person? The Wisdom Wheel can be a support system, enabling us to become aware of our own tunes and melodies.

Going on a Journey inward listening to the skirl of our own Shadow, we can learn to comprehend those inner voices, both good and bad, spirit-led and ego-driven.

I went home when the rain came, earlier than planned, but felt fulfilled. I particularly enjoyed the sheep herding exhibit. The dogs are so well-trained, they naturally round up the sheep. We dined on Scotch pies and potatoes, a meal I hadn’t had for well over 30 years. And I even managed to eat a smidgen of haggis.

I sense freedom… being of, yet apart from the crowd. I feel brave, knowing I can face my Shadow. I have Courage to Surrender. To give over, rather than give up.

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Return of the Fireflies

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Last night, I spotted my first firefly of the season.

At first, I thought my eyes were fooling me. You know: you see something, you look again and it’s not there. So I trained my sights on the window, to the spot where I glimpsed it, and, just when I was about to give up, its glow came into view. It was no mirage. The firefly was back, like other things that wax and wane in our lives. This was a reminder I needed.

After the second sighting, it was easier to find, because I ‘knew’ it was there. All of us have had this experience, in some form or another.

I mentioned the firefly to my friend. When she tried to look, no luck. Soon she gave up and turned back to me to continue our conversation. We were catching up on the past 6 months since we last saw each other.

“There it is again!” I interrupted, hoping she’d catch a glimpse while the insect glowed. This time she did.

My friend told me that fireflies usually emerge around this time of year. She remembers this because it coincides with a surgery she underwent some time ago. “I saw them after surviving my surgery, so fireflies are a sign to me,” she shared.

When my friend was born, she was starved for oxygen and her heart was malformed. She’s survived multiple open-heart surgeries and beat the life expectancies numerous doctors assigned her. Born under the Law of the Journey, her life has certainly been full of challenges. Even she’s sometimes surprised to still be here! I’m grateful to have her in my life and call her a friend.

Now the fireflies have new meaning for me. They’ve helped me learn more about the Law of Eternal Present and Cycles. Phases and seasons wax and wane but the mere fact that Cycles persist is an example of Eternal Present. This season belongs to the fireflies and the Wisdom Wheel is a flickering calendar of stones, glowing with meaning, for those of us who’ve seen it, and believe.

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Finding Purification at the Gym

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While Cynthia stretched in yoga class the other night, I took the exercise bike for a spin. After weight lifting and laps in the pool, my aches reminded me of the toll time has exerted on my body. The sauna beckoned my achy bones.

I took a seat at the highest point to absorb the hottest heat. It felt wonderful. My imagination immediately transported me to Sweat Lodge and the memories our ceremonies there. The Sweat Lodge is but one way that Native Americans have gifted us wisdom. The ritual steam baths in the Lodge are for Purification, ceremony, prayer and more. In the gym sauna, I found myself silently humming the medicine songs of the Lodge. I felt in Right Relationship with my body, heart and spirit and connected to Creator. There was Sacred Oneness. And then, I suddenly became aware of a young man sitting beside me, chatting away.

I soon discovered he was on his cell phone. I have to say, it was strange to overhear this conversation in the sauna, and unfortunately, unavoidable in that small space. The experience was a dissonant one for me. I wanted to be in a spiritual space of Purification but this fellow brought the mundane annoyances in with him and disturbed the peace, so to say.

In our hectic modern society, Purification is hard to come by. As he chattered away, I thought ruefully to myself that he’s missing the benefits of this Purification rite — and interfering with mine. But then again, maybe we should learn to accept Purification where we can. This stranger’s phone conversation is another challenge — an exercise, if you’ll excuse the gym puns — for me to transcend in my quest for Purification. After all, Purification is something that starts within us (although it’s aided and facilitated tremendously by ceremonies like the Sweat Lodge).

How might this stressed young man experience the Sweat Lodge ceremony? Perhaps I should have invited him.