There has been a powerful theme running through my life lately. The theme of saying "I'm sorry."
It first came up a few weeks ago when I asked a friend if she had a suggestion for clearing a challenging relationship with someone who refused to communicate from the heart. She suggested the Hawai'ian Huna Ho'o Pono Pono practice. I may be doing a bit of a disservice to it since there are books and workshops on it, and I simply am passing on info from a friend, but the basic premise is that we are 100% responsible for everything in our lives. Wild, huh? So, anything we are experiencing that is difficult is our responsibility. Now, I had heard of this practice before, and decided it wasn't for me. I tend to look at myself a LOT and frequently focus on clearing my own slate before suggesting someone else take blame, and taking on extra guilt just felt heavy and unhealthy, but this is different. This is an empowering practice that allows us to stand up and take accountability for resolving something that is not in alignment with love and compassion. So, I started doing it. The basics that were shared with me were: 1) Say "I'm sorry," for whatever it is that is out of alignment. I chose to say I'm sorry from every angle I could think of. Then 2) Ask for forgiveness, and for me, this is an asking to be liberated from the heaviness of blame, guilt or any burden of hurt or wounding. Again, I did this from as many perspectives as I could imagine. Then, 3) Say "I love you," which was actually harder for me than the first two, and again, I said it from all different perspectives, and finally 4) Say "Thank you," as though everything has been forgiven and resolved and all is well.
As soon as I sat to do this practice, SO MANY OF MY ANCESTORS SHOWED UP! I was feeling my Native American ancestors wanting healing, my Western European ancestors wanting to be forgiven, and it became almost addictive because IT FELT GREAT! I felt like I was standing as an ambassador for many lineages and doing powerful healing work that was liberating souls that have been stuck in lifetimes of wounding/blame/guilt/shame . . . So, that has been really beautiful.
Then, I was able to complete, through mediation, an old unresolved piece with someone, and again, it felt really good to get it out of the way.
I actually got a little sick afterward, and realized it was my body releasing the toxins that I'd held onto (like when I get a deep tissue massage that releases toxins, this was like a deep emotional massage). I wondered how much better I would feel if I could really clear up every old unresolved piece from my past.
Then I was gifted with a beautiful presentation from Matthew & Terces Engelhart, the co-founders of Cafe Gratitude. They spoke at the Goddess Collective last night. And they spoke about the power of apology. They echoed what the Ho'o Pono Pono practice had taught me: to choose to take responsibility for clearing a circumstance that is not full of love (no matter how justified or "right" the ego may say we are, and how at fault or "wrong" the "other person" may be), we become empowered and no longer the victim of anyone else's behavior.
This isn't taking on blame. This isn't cow-towing or sniveling or subordinating oneself. This is standing courageously and saying "I'm ready to take full responsibility for filling my life with love and releasing from my heart/mind/spirit anything that is not love." The ego cringes against this because it wants to be right, it wants to be appeased, but this is the catch that keeps the unforgiving heart in prison, and choosing to apologize is the key to open that cell door and liberate the soul.
So, in many ways, it feels like some of the wisdom of the Mushroom. The ego needs to take some large bites of the piece that causes shrinking, and then the heart and the conscious part of ourselves that is connected with all things and knows we are all born and thrive in the light of love, can feast on the bit that expands and grows.
I invite all of you to try this out. You can do it in the privacy of your own home. You don't need to make it anything but a personal practice. Try choosing to be fully accountable for anything in your life that isn't full of love. Imagine the ego nibbling on the make-you-shrink part of the mushroom, and then allow the heart to expand (it probably doesn't even need to snack on the magic-size-shifting mushroom, but you can imagine it just for fun).
Notice if, as you deepen in this practice, you find deeper karmic debts that show up to be released (like polluting the earth, enslavement of our earth brothers and sisters, war . . .). And notice how it feels to take responsibility for it from a place of empowerment, rather than criticize it from a place of helplessness.
Post your comments here! And spread the word!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Alice approaches a Mushroom that’s bigger than she is. After walking all around and looking underneath and every other which way, she finally decides to look on top of the Mushroom to see what is there. We all know what she finds atop the cushy cap, don't we?
The Caterpillar offers her advice about how to properly use this magical mycelium that’s moonlighting as his laid-back lounge: “One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.”
Yes, the basic guidance is spot on, however, the details, such as how much should one consume and how much growing or shrinking will take place? Well, it’s all relative, and probably unpredictable as we can safely assume here in Wonderland. But despite the ridiculousness, this is a serious matter, you know. Because too much in either direction and you’ve booked yourself swift passage from Wonderland and into another (d)rea(m)ality that’s likely not so fairy-tale in nature.
Those Mushrooms are amazing; some of them are incredibly medicinal, some will take you right out of your mind, and some will take you right out of your body, so before you take so much as a nibble, ponder for a moment what sort of Mushroom it is you have in front of you. [I am, of course, speaking of more metaphorical mushrooms. Don't pop anything into your mouth from the mushroom realms you aren't 100% certain about.]
You've found your way in front of The Mushroom, not by accident. There are no accidents. Nonsense, yes, accidents, no. The Mushroom is here to say that you have in front of you some very special resources. They can make you larger (emotionally, energetically, socially . . . it all depends upon your query), or they can knock you down a size or two. And which direction would you like to go? Well, that is something to really get a grip on before you start snacking on any size-shifting substance.
If you are considering taking on something that may have dire consequences for you, the following meditation may be a good companion for your decision-making journey:
Meditation #1: Take it slowly. This is a time not for baby steps, but for micro-baby steps. First do a scan of your mind, body and feelings to get a gauge of where you are at now. Then, imagine allowing in a little of that which you are considering opening up to, and really take the time to feel how your being is responding to it (your body is great at sending signals in response to emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual and physical input). If you feel contractions in your body (the area of the belly, the heart and the head are common places we get strong messages), contemplate whether this is just a fear that needs to be overcome, or whether this is genuine wisdom that should be heeded. If you are feeling an expansive or light feeling, this could be a sign of stepping further into this experience. If you are feeling this lightness or if your wisdom tells you to push a little further into the contraction to see if it is real, imagine taking another micro step and do another scan. Continue this process until you have come to a clear answer about whether moving in this direction is best for you or not.
The Mushroom is a very special sort of life form. Though it can feed us, and offer us medicine, it is only one link in the food chain away from, well, how can I put it pleasantly? It thrives on our waste. In this sense, The Mushroom serves as a reminder of the CYCLE of life, especially the renewal phase of that which has passed and yet lives on in a new form. Mushrooms and their other fungal relatives, assure that every living thing that passes on is transformed into something amazing, vital and in service to the complex system of Mother Nature herself.
So, my friend, The Mushroom has grown in a place where shi(f)t happened, and is here to help you figure out how to see the shi(f)t as a blessing. The Mushroom may not be here for your personal consumption; taking the wrong medicine in this reality has much harsher consequences than in Alice’s dreamy Wonderland. The biggest gift of The Mushroom is its teaching of turning shi(f)t into that which nourishes your life, and how that nourishment is received is up to your wisdom. Take it slowly and sit with it so that you do the right thing for yourself. The following meditation may help with this.
Meditation #2: With eyes closed, in a quiet and comfortable setting, allow yourself to relax and focus on a challenge that has come your way. Notice how the mind tends to label it as negative or unpleasant. With the message and wisdom of The Mushroom, imagine that this challenge is actually here as some sort of gift. It may take some time to see what exactly the gift is, so give yourself that time, but until the wisdom emerges, continually let go of any negative labels you have placed on your circumstances. Continually re-focus your mind on accepting what is in your life as an opportunity, a blessing, a shining treasure chest waiting to be opened. Keep up this practice until you are able to find the hidden treasure inside the shi(f)t. Journaling about your thoughts and ideas after each meditation can also be very helpful.
To connect more directly with the mushroom wisdom, I suggest eating some of our fungi friends. There are many edibles that have powerful healing and medicinal qualities.
Use meditation #1 to decide which medicinal mushroom is best for you.
Some examples: Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, Cordyceps, Lions Mane . . .
After choosing a mushroom that feels best for you (consulting with a nutritional expert is also wise), make a tea following the directions (it is the heating of the tea that allows the benefits of the mushroom to be integrated).
Avoid any other ingredients, such as sweeteners, until you have really connected with the taste of your mushroom.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
So, it would seem that there is some sort of artificiality to your query. Either you, someone you know, or the whole circumstance itself is lacking the inestimable quality of authenticity. Notice the connection between The Mock Turtle’s forlorn state and his lack of verity. You may sense, as well, a melancholy that clouds your own circumstances.
The Mock Turtle may be giving us a clue to finding where the authenticity went as he tells his story of his childhood days of school. Most of us go through great storm and stress as we become adults, and we frequently lose important parts of ourselves as we deal with childhood challenges. For whatever reasons we encounter, we frequently feel it is unsafe to express our true nature. One of the important tasks of becoming an actualized adult is to remember those essential parts of ourselves that got lost in the process of growing up.
Another insight that comes from our hard-shelled harbinger of happiness lost is that when we are learning (as when we are in school), we are open and growing. As soon as we close the book, convincing ourselves that we’ve “got it,” we have also shut the door on the growth process, and you know what that means. If we aren’t busy growing, then we are busy dying, and that is truly cause for grief.
It’s time to open the book on who you are again. Allow yourself to remember what you once were as a child, calling back all parts of yourself that have been closed off with the delusion of being completed, or the illusion of being unsafe when authentically present. Now that you are an adult, and you call the shots, you can allow what was once shamed, ignored, or scrutinized into non-existence, to blossom and grow. Don’t worry, those parts are still there. They might need a little dusting off and oiling up, but with a bit of gentle use, they’ll be running like new in no time.
Meditation: Give yourself plenty of time for this one. You might even want to give yourself several sessions as this is such a powerful and beneficial practice. In a comfortable position, allow yourself to think back to when you were young. What did you love to do? What gave you special joy? Just focus on the first thing that comes to you. Really allow yourself to step as fully into the experience as you can. Notice how you feel. Notice what strengths show up. What talents. You probably didn’t notice them when you were young, but as an adult looking back, you can recognize what your gifts were. It may have been a curiosity in how things operate, or a strong intuition, or maybe you had a talent for physical activities or the arts. Maybe it was something you got in trouble for, but inside of it lies a super-power. Allow yourself to explore what was once vibrant in yourself. Once you have that image, and have taken the time to feel it as thoroughly as possible, give yourself time to write, draw, do further meditation or some other practice to bring that gift into the present. Spend some time creating space for this gift in your life. How can you express this talent now? Give yourself all the time you need. This reclaiming of the self is a rich practice that can connect you with parts of yourself you didn’t know existed, but parts that are essential to a deeply rewarding life.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Instead of just posting the weekly oracle reading, I'm listening to your requests and offering some other more personal input as well.
It seems like many of us are riding similar, if not identical, waves of change that are taking us to new places in our consciousness we've never experienced before. We are feeling things differently than before, and old ways of responding to the changes we're facing aren't really working anymore. It's a great opportunity to learn some new tricks and gain new strengths, but it can also just wipe us right out. Have you been feeling more tired lately? You are NOT alone!
Despite the (albeit VERY SLOW) warming weather here in the Bay area, there seems to be less energy out there for romping and play. This is a time to really listen to yourself! Don't push yourself into activity just because it's expected (by you or anyone else). If you are tired, rest, and don't feel guilty about it, because that's not helpful or very restful. Really do it right. Allow quiet time, conscious breathing, maybe a bath or some inspirational reading.
When I was hit by this wave, I started to try to beat up on myself about how I should be productive, but then I remembered that my body actually has a lot of wisdom and maybe, just maybe, it was tired because it needed rest! (interesting concept, eh?) So, being a recovering type-A personality, I decided to make my rest time as fruitful as possible and I found it was amazingly helpful! I do Reiki on myself, or I focus on some really helpful images (either something inspirational, or restful, or if I'm having a really hard time allowing myself to rest, I use my rest time to envision what it is I want to manifest for myself. When I got back into the swing of things, I had a LOT of energy and creative flow to pour into things, and I think I ended up more than making up for the time I took off, and instead of slogging along, I felt great doing it!
I have been doing some personal studying of the mystical meanings of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph-beis), and I have been using a book that offers meditations with each letter/symbol. And since I have been using, developing and researching guided imagery/imagination journeys/meditation since I was 11, I can't help but to explore this new realm of imaginary possibility.
The fourth letter is Daled, and one of its symbolic meanings is the spiritual doorway, which has seemed really helpful. As we look towards shifting consciousness about how we heal, relate, and occupy our global home, it seems as though we are all being asked to pass out of old ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving in addition to being more physically sustainable and energy conscious. This symbol has been one that I have added to my daily meditation practice and I felt its tie to this week's card reading. Here's a little image so you can use it too:
Oh, and if you are feeling like you've gone down the rabbit hole completely unprepared for the twists and turns and strange creatures, you're not alone! Don't wander around in the dark by yourself! Help is always available. You can get your questions answered for free or even have a free live phone consultation to support you on your journey: www.GoAskAliceOracle.com
The Moth is one of the characters in Wonderland that maybe you haven’t read about. This is because we have passed beyond the last row on the checkerboard, gone through the doorway in the tree, and are just beyond the Kingdom of Wonderland, deep into the heart of the unknown. This is even more mysterious than the Cheshire Cat’s disappearing act, and my guess is that while he’s smiling down on the Royal Courtyard in the land of Wonder, his tail is undulating here in this place of darkness and infinite possibility.
In fact, The Moth is one of the gatekeepers into this little known vastness beyond the boundaries of the imagination. It shows up inside the flames of transformation and it appears to have done a mortal nose-dive into certain death, and in some ways, this is exactly true.
Some have great fear and judgment about these flames that lick at the doorway into the land of Unknown. Some think, and understandably so, that the flames bring destruction, but the Moth is here to help us figure out a secret.
The Moth is a good friend of the Caterpillar and has already passed through one round of metamorphosis from pupa into winged one, and so he is quite confident in his flight towards the flames. This little winged creature knows full well what he’s doing as he moves into the portal of the flames. He knows that his time has come to completion in this current form and with one last ecstatic breath leaps into the flames for instant alchemical transmutation into spirit.
The Moth is here to help you to take a similar plunge into the fire of catalyzation into a new way of being. It may seem like a long walk off a short pier, but if you can see beyond the fear that faces you, you’ll find that only the unnecessary and unhelpful parts of your being are consumed, liberating you from the weight that was keeping you from passing through your current limited movements and into something much better.
Here is a more poetic explanation:
Maybe it is not the light and heat of the flame that kill the moth. Maybe the moth, knowing its end is nigh, seeks out the light and warmth of one last ecstatic breath as it passes through the portal of Sacred Fire. Yet this is hard to accept, for as we move away from judgment and blame and closer to acceptance that the passageway is not the cause of our demise, but merely a marker for transition, the closer we come to embracing it, and therefore, embracing our own imminent mortality. It is also our liberation from that fear, but we have to fly into the flame first to attain it.
There are certain rites of passage we all must experience. Sometimes they look very different, but at their core, they are all Sacred Fires through which we must pass with faith, not being able to see what lies beyond.
Don’t avoid stepping through this mysterious and powerful doorway just because it will consume parts of you. Look at it as a free clearing of all the old debris you’ve gathered, and once it’s burned off, you’ll be able to experience a completely new landscape. You’ll be lighter and more likely to fly.
I know it’s scary, so here’s a meditation to help you take this fiery leap of faith:
Meditation: Sit comfortably and light a candle in front of you. Ask the flame to consume any limiting beliefs and feelings you are able to let go of in this practice. Now, allow your query to become clear in your mind. Take a deep breath in and with the exhale, let the whole image blow into the flame, not to be destroyed, but to be transformed. Allowing anything that is not pertinent to the highest good to be consumed by the fire and transformed into something more useful in the world. You may be left with an image, and you can notice what that is, and then continue to breathe deeply. Take another deep breath and with the exhale, allow an image of yourself to move into the flame. Notice if there is any part of your body that is contracted or resisting this visualization. Breathe into this part of your body and ask if there is any wisdom that needs to be shared before this transformation takes place. Keep breathing into the contracted parts of your body and inquiring into what is resisting this process until you have enough insight and have let go of enough fear that you can, visually, imagine passing into the flame and letting the crucible burn away anything that is keeping you from moving forward on your path. Notice what is burned off and what stays. Notice what is having a hard time letting go. Journaling about this and continuing this process until your query has come to completion is highly recommended.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Painting the White Rosebush Red:“Would you tell me, please, . . . why you are painting those roses red?”
Alice comes upon 3 playing cards who are furiously painting white roses red. Alice inquires into the madness: “Would you tell me, please,” said Alice, a little timidly, “why you are painting those roses? The playing cards explain that the Queen ordered red ones, but they put in white by mistake.
Now, of course, it seems ridiculous to paint roses rather than admitting to the mistake and then replacing them with the right kind, but the cards are acting out of fear, and so there is no opportunity to take care of things properly.
Fear has a funny way of blockading reason. In fact, it’s been proven through several studies that stress (a fear response) impedes our vision, our creativity, and our ability to think clearly. So, trying to solve problems while in the grips of fear is likely to lead to very unsatisfactory solutions.
Taking a moment to stop and smell the proverbial roses with a deep inhale and then letting go of the fear is a great step towards having the peace of mind it takes to problem solve with clarity.
One of the most exquisite qualities of a rose is its aroma, and the smell of red paint, even in Wonderland, certainly couldn’t compare. No, when we find ourselves painting white rosebushes red, we can assume that we have abandoned the essence and gone straight to the surface. Some say that beauty is only skin deep, but I would beg to differ that true beauty shines through from the core, and no amount of paint will ever properly cover over the truth of any animal, mineral, vegetable or query.
You have found a painted rosebush in your garden for a few possible reasons:
It is possible that others in your query are intimidated by the thought of being honest with you, and it would behoove you to open up a dialogue that engenders authentic self-expression, otherwise you’ll continue to get wet, drippy flowers instead of the lush, fragrant ones that bring so much joy.
Meditation #1: With eyes closed, imagine your query. Notice feelings of anger or a need to be in control or to have things “just so.” Notice if these feelings come with a sense of contraction in the body. A place of frustration that is tight. Now, start breathing into this place. Give it your breath, and start to ask what is most important to you in this circumstance. You could even imagine being at the finishing point, and noticing what your ideal completion would look like. Is it most important to have a sense of harmony? Is it most important to feel good about where you are? Are close relationships a factor? Do you want a genuinely good quality outcome? Or is it just an appearance you need at the expense of respect, cooperation, or camaraderie? Allow what is most important to stay, and as you exhale, let everything else go, including those little tight frustrated spots. Let the breath help relieve you of expectations that just aren’t worth the burden. Notice what you are left with, and give that your breath and attention. Keeping this image in mind, you are now equipped with the best information for moving forward.
Or maybe you are the one who is busy keeping up appearances, caught in a silly game of holding the surface together, not realizing the great loss to the quality of that which you are disguising. Give fear the shake and let your unhindered heart and mind help you make a good decision
Meditation #2: Call your query into mind as you breathe deeply. Start to notice where you may be holding fear (fear of getting in trouble, fear of failing, fear of not creating the right appearance for others). Breathe into it, and as you do, ask yourself what would your circumstances look like without the fear. Just pretend you are happy and confident in what you are doing. How does it feel, and what is going on with this new way of being? Are appearances as important as you thought? Is it possible that something that is authentic might blossom and become much more valuable and helpful than what you were scurrying around trying to fake? Give it your breath and see what emerges. Imagine using all the energy it takes to hold things together now, and just letting things follow their true nature. Imagine what might happen if you used the qualities of your resources to create, rather than fighting against what is to give the illusion of something that is not real. Breathe deeply and let go of any expectations that require you make a white rose red by painting it. It’s a waste of resources, and completely misses the point of having a rose in the first place. After you have let go of fear and unreasonable expectations to create a façade, allow your heart and mind to come together to allow what is true and authentic to blossom. Feel how much more joy there is to be had when true essence creates the blueprint for manifestation.