Will we be part of the madness, or will we join in a vision of a better world?
How many times has this thought occurred to you in the past few decades? Yet now more than ever, the question becomes crucial. My friend Sue Dreamwalker recommended a series of video/audiofiles a few months ago called Time of the Sixth Sun. This is a brilliant compilation of visions and voices of Indigenous peoples throughout the world. As one speaker says, we are all Indigenous to somewhere. Think about it, and you’ll realize it’s true. We may have lost our roots, but we haven’t lost the desire to belong to something larger than ourselves.
I have shared this website with many, and gifted several series memberships to loved ones, as a result. The information presented is brilliant and illuminates corners of my very being that had lights blinking on and off for a time. I am grateful to have the affirmations of many, stated in various ways that touch on each corner of what most now term Reality (which is, after all, an agreed-upon collective ‘creation’). And participants turn these corners upside-down and inside-out with their grounded earth-based wisdom. If you want to heal the earth, or more particularly our relationship to it, I know of no better compliation of work. I realize, and you might as well, that we Can be the change we want to see.
The ‘old guard’ is not going to go without a fight, the like of which is plastered across worldwide news media screens like a bloody banner these days. I always thought watching corporate news was a waste of time, but now it’s even more blatantly clear why this is so. There is So much going on, So many wondrous things happening in our world! Yet the same sources all over the world hash and re-hash the same fear-based agendas: war, conflict, politics and greedy corporate business machinations. Most of us know that political systems are breaking down left and right, making a mockery of any sort of Democracy or social justice constructs. Do we really want to play into this fantasy vision of reality? It is a choice we make with every breath we take.
Last Monday we closed on the lovely property pictured here. We are now in a position of having secured the ground for our future whilst awaiting the selling of the home we have lovingly restored from old Plantation times to its present incarnation. It’s been so much fun, and yes, a lot of work! We never planned on leaving it, so we made it our own, tropical gardens and all. You can view it here.
Still, we might have known better. Living wide open necessitates a willingness to shift and grow, both inwardly but also occasionally outwardly, at least for us. So back we go to where we lived many years ago. The high desert of New Mexico is singularly unique. And we look forward to the variety of topography and wildlife we remember from that time, as well as different opportunities for us both. Aloha for now!
photo credit for all images: Laurie Hilton; last image: Alexander Berlonghi
Activate, move! Directions barely registered
in that middle place between worlds;
life in the ethers more familiar, more desirable
than this constant adjusting; bold when she
should choose circumspection; equally
withdrawn when action seems desirable,
imperative even, in the face of those who wait,
feigning patience as though expecting something,
anything, while she remains frozen inside,
tears rolling down pale cheeks, filling roles
chosen by others so that she might survive
the duration of some unknown tenure;
When finally it arrives, that inner direction spills
in surges, haltingly familiar as once-bluster,
then streaming forth clear as spring water,
filling chasms in the incomplete puzzle
form she inhabits, firming up pathways once
simply perceived, interstitial patterns, linked codes
scattered randomly in pitch dark possibilities;
Some say a path is chosen, while others claim
destiny guides, yet in the end (which is likewise
a beginning), one is motivated by forces
only barely understood much less named;
so a deity arises to fill that void, our human need
to attribute, a magic mirror to ask and receive,
and all is well and right; sense is restored, proper
place and timing imbued with meaning,
while mystery, in all its splendor, endures.
The sea rolls out and cannot pause long before
once again seeking the safety of the shoreline;
children leave home until they sprout sturdy wings
of their own, only to one day return older,
perhaps wiser, with appreciation of rootstock
and richness of the nurturing ground;
Fingers of the infinite, we jump ship and land
on foreign soil, forgetting, longing to return
to that One Magnificent Tree from which billions
of branches have cleaved;
Yet why do we yearn for reunion before we have
fully experienced the capacity and magnitude
of a multidimensional self which ever informs
the One, expanding it, enlarging its own ability
to conceive a more colorful body of light?
A walk in the forest reveals character,
the too-smooth perfect bark of white cedar
alongside the pocked husk of a dead relation
not yet upended, bustling home to woodpeckers
and nuthatches; mossy trunks of ancient
fir spirits, rooted then and now
in the goddess’ good earth;
Long before humans roamed these woods,
forest kinfolk called by others Druantia
visualized their own forms, gathering first
the dying limbs of relations who gathered
about in free association following
each sylph’s template, finally crowning
tops to denote distinct identities,
informing other beings who may then
behold them without trepidation
in their three-dimensional world;
Rituals practiced by the faithful remained,
in form or invisible, and as the greatest
of sacred numbers was three, a trio
of Druantia would venture forth to bless
open ground, threatened then and now
by strangers fearing to enter the dank
of their cool, dark forest home.
Before I began gardening in earnest; before I allowed myself the luxury of flowers rather than the scratching of necessities, firewood and food; before my vision exploded into islands of umber and emerald with spikes of magenta and indigo flanked by tiny waxen buds, I asked my gardening sister how she did it. How to begin, so as not to spend time in futile effort, to somehow create the perfect plot on the first attempt. How she responded and what I have never forgotten since, all these years later, was to begin in a corner and go from there. Just take that first shovelful and the rest will follow.
Moons and rains too numerous to count have passed and I have learned what survives in xeriscape and what thrives so well in moisture that it must be cut back more or less, depending on what is selected. I have mostly learned more about life. There is no greater teacher for me than the garden. There is no Buddha more evolved than this earth. All the lessons of mindfulness, detachment, the need to let go and drop any preconceived notions of perfection exist in the eternal now of the garden. There’s an alchemy that happens when sweat and creativity mingle and merge into landscape; a transformation that happens quite by chance if not intention.
It can be frightening to observe the body breaking down while nothing Western medicine offers seems to help. If this is happening, perhaps what you are experiencing is much deeper than what can be detected on the surface. If possible, consider emergence rather than emergency, for in some way your core self may be asking you to attune to a more profound life path than you are currently upon. Yet even if you sense this, even if you know somewhere deep inside that this seems true, where do you begin to access the assistance you need in order to facilitate this emergence, this opening to the depths of your being?
Dedicating oneself to deep inner work requires a time commitment that many find hard to assimilate into busy lives. Most simply want the “quick fix,” a pill or procedure to offer instant relief. And Western Medicine more or less promises the same, so it’s tempting to capitulate to a system supported, in large part, by a massive pharmaceutical industry. The integral, multidimensional Being That You Are, however, may not respond to such remedies. Instead it urges us to get in touch with our deepest desires and express this passion work in a meaningful way. This takes time and focus we might believe we lack. Yet if we are to discover balance, if we are to experience quality of life in the years we have left on the planet, a lifestyle change might be in order. This can begin with an honest review of how we expend resources, both time as well as money.
Once the basic bills are responsibly dealt with, for this alone can alleviate a tremendous load of health-eroding stress, what are you worth? How much time do you spend in self reflection, time in nature, enjoying creative ventures, physical movement, prayer, meditation? What resources and time do you allocate to self care on a regular basis, whether or not your expensive health insurance covers it? Do you see a counselor, go to an art class, support or prayer group, get a massage, get a new hairstyle, read, listen to music, attend a self improvement workshop or take yourself out for a healthy and relaxing meal? Perhaps you don’t think you can afford these little luxuries of time and money and depend on that medical insurance to take care of you when you fall apart. Notice I say when, because unless you are extremely lucky or have amazing genes, without a focus on maintaining your physical, mental and spiritual needs, sooner than later things tend to break down.
In the end, no matter how we try, we can’t give to others when we, ourselves are tapped out. Recognizing our own resistance to change is an important step. When we realize change is difficult but ultimately rewarding, we can embrace the excitement of beginning a new, more self respectful way of living. Anyone at any level of income can find ways to improve their lives. Each of us possesses challenges. Accepting and moving through these rough patches results in modicums of wisdom, depth and maturity. Dedication to a path of self awareness and self improvement helps us handle what life doles out. We can choose to accept our challenges as growth opportunities rather than cursing our lot in life. We can possess an attitude of gratitude, regardless of circumstances. It is from this humble stance that blessings emerge in often unexpected ways.
When I moved to the Hawaiian islands over twenty-five years ago, I shouldered a bit of cynicism and not a little buried anger. Living in a land of volcanoes was illuminating. Time and again, my feet were held to madame Pele’s fire. Time and again, I tried to minimize her impact upon me. Goddess be damned! I rebelled. Still and yet, the earth kept metaphorically shifting and rumbling beneath my feet. Transformation was inevitable and profound.
Deceptions of a human mind unaware never fail to amaze me – what we think we know versus the facts materializing before our eyes. And although we have senses to guide us, too often we hear, see and feel only what we choose in any given circumstance. Some consider themselves brave, others boldly court hubris. Depending on the circumstance, I suppose it could be either. Or both.
Picture a brilliantly blue sunny day in Paradise. Variable tradewinds whip sand playfully on a two mile stretch of deserted beach. Sparkling turquoise waters and medium swells invite the initiated; this is a popular surf haunt, but only for the skilled. I have sat on the pali overlooking this location during winter with enormous banks of water rolling in, sounding for the world like a freight train chugging along miles of open track. This is not winter. Still, rip currents can arrive out of nowhere and the locals have warned me, time and again, to always wear fins. At least one. Never, they repeat, go out in the ocean without fins. Hell, I think, I grew up bodysurfing The Wedge in Newport Beach! I appreciate that you are looking out for me, but I know what I’m doing …
Out we go into these unknown waters, my husband and I. This is not our usual swimming site. And he’s not such a keen swimmer in the depths, has never really been. Loves boogie boarding, goes out into secondary breakers by a small reef to catch bigger waves at our regular spot. As long as he’s on that board with those fins, he’s a happy camper. I, on the other hand, prefer merging swells and body into one, as much as possible. I head out. He backs off. Out I go, where the waves are breaking. I mean, I really. Go. Out. At this point, it seems I have no choice. The undertow is severe. There is no longer sand beneath my feet. I flow with the ocean’s decision to carry me further into uncertainty.
Big waves, at least those large enough to surf, usually come in what are called sets. That’s why, in those surfer movies, you see lots of waiting. Sets arrive, boarders paddle out, wait for a ridable wave, joyfully cruise on in. Six is an average set; really, a person is fortunate to get more. I grew up near the ocean, have studied wave patterns since my youth. Today all my knowledge and perceptions go out the window. There is no rhythm, only unrelenting, pounding oceanic swells. One by one, surfers return to shore. I remain out in the water because I have no other choice. I cannot return, no matter how I try.
Rip currents have swept me down and out, far from loved ones on the beach, further from any recognition of topography. Wave after non-negotiable wave assaults me; I dive under and under and under again until I begin aspirating saltwater. I become afraid, something I rarely feel in the embrace of Mother Nature. In marked contrast to what’s familiar, Big Blue is thrashing me now, as I offer a silent prayer. To be faithful to the truth, I offer many. I ask, Am I going to die out here? In answer comes a firm No. (Gasp, gasp, dive, gulp, choke, surface into sunlight and blessed oxygen.) What, then, I query, Is happening? I hear – and believe me, I could not invent a more lucid, nor more vexing response – Rebirth.
Moments feel like hours and later, I notice a lone Hawaiian man on the beach, waving his arms in my direction. Someone has spotted me! Gesturing wildly, he points to a visible section of a large, mostly underwater a’a lava outcropping blocking my way. If I get pulled closer to it, my skin will be torn to shreds. He’s now flagging me down, down and further down the beach. Far from others but closer to him, my port in this frightening storm. He’s the only one who seems to sense the depth of my peril. Still more precious moments later as my strength is waning, he signals. I glance backward and notice the waves are at a lull. I swim. And swim. Waves break, but carry me now. Landward. My feet touch sand for the first time in what feels like hours. The man rushes out and into the water. Staring at me hard, as if to assess my sanity, he asks, Are you okay? Weakly I reach out my arm, croaking Help. As he clasps my hand, I look into steel blue eyes. Once I am safely on the beach, he disappears.
I rejoin my family. They have no idea whatsoever of the degree to which I have just faced down mortality. I am perhaps a quarter mile from where I started. How independent am I, that no one questions my whereabouts? How many times have I refused help, just to prove my strength against all odds?
Weeks later, I am still querying residents of this very small island about a blue-eyed Hawaiian. The locals just shake their heads. There is no such person. Not here on this rock. If there were, we would know. My good friend, a kindhearted street fighting big braddah offers, It must have been an angel.