Tuesday, August 27, 2013

All I Want Is A Room Somewhere

The title of this post is a line from a song by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe in the play-movie “My Fair Lady”.  

My mother used to make us cinnamon toast and my sister and I would cozy up on the couch to watch the movie with her, while my mother sat in her pink rocker for a much needed break from the vagaries of her life.

Today, for me (and for all women, whether they realize it or not), the words to this song carry a different theme all together.  The power to be strong enough to ask and seek for what we really need, and to expect that it will be provided; while remaining true to our feminine-nature and unique brand of power, is a dynamic in the mind of many women of all ages on the planet, some of whom may sit down and read this post, this very EVE-ning.
As I have begun to do natal charts for friends and family, I have been studying four feminine archetypes that were discovered in the heavens between 1801-1807.  The one in the forefront of my mind lately, (that has me considering the words of this song this afternoon), is Pallas Athene.  
In Greek mythology, when Pallas was in her mother’s womb, there was a prophesy that she would take her father’s (Zeus) place as ruler.  When Zeus got word of this, he ate her mother and she was born from her father’s head.  Wow!  What a story.  A story that is applicable today in a very unique way, that rings in my head, as it longs for my heart.  
Pallas Athene, is the smart-girl, the upholder of patriarchal order, who gets a bad wrap from feminists, myself included.  As I enter the latter-half of my 40s, I have high hopes for Pallas and all like her.  The Feminine plight, to be able to be strong and vulnerable, simultaneously.  To fight the good fight, without being consumed by the unconscious demagogy that can come from belonging to any group (be it religious, spiritual, corporate, family, or whatever) that turns over the truths of the heart to the traditions of the head, takes the courage and smarts of Pallas, herself.
She is beautifully portrayed in the character of Eowyn, in JRR Tolkin’s “Lord of the Rings”.  Her uncle-father has fallen into a daze, manipulated by the courtiers, who have their own idea about empowering traditions. The kingdom Eowyn loved so dearly is cankered, as she clings to the robes of her patriarch, desperate to wake him up.  She is hungry for both his protection and love.  As the story progresses, he is woken by a man she has a deep admiration and love for.   She refuses to leave them as they head off to battle, so Eowyn (being true to her Pallas nature) disguises herself as a man.  A radical decision, yet her own unique way of   both upholding patriarchy and social order, while still honoring her heart.  
In truth she is simply in love, she is following the power in her heart, with a resolve to give any protection of a loving-warrior-goddess-daughter, that befalls her, at the risk of her own life.  She honors her nature, and refuses again, any separation from her heart.  The battle begins, she fights side by side, with men who don’t even recognize that she is fighting the same battle they are.  As the chapter in the story climaxes, the Nazgul (a “witch”-king who has fallen far into darkness) attacks her beloved uncle father, and "gives" him, as prey, to the hell-hawk the Nasgul rides, to devour.  
With ferocity and fear combined in her soul, she holds the symbol of Pallas Athene (a sword and shield), that is knocked from her arms.
The witch-king grabs her, ready to kill her as he says the words:  “You fool, no man can kill me”.   It is at this very moment she remembers who SHE is.  Up until now Eowyn had repressed her own particular brand of innate-power; her ability to love beyond limits, her ability to protect with passion what she loved dearly.  For a moment, in the heat of battle, she set aside her sorrow in the face of vulnerability, betrayal and dismissal, as well as a plethora of other heavy baggage, she had already been carrying on her collective body for generations.  
Mary, a hobbit-man, about equal to her size, (who had discovered her secret) assisted her by injuring the leg of the Nazgul, bringing him to a knee, so she faces him where he lives, mind to mind.  He can't really see or hear her any other way.
At all cost, up to now, while facing the unimaginable loss of her protector, of the love that was not hers to have, of all the desires for trust in the system that had failed her, she had never forsaken her own heart.  It was the heart of Woman that she wore under all the outer masculine trappings, weighing so heavy on her frame, that had enlightened her Pallas Athene mind.  She wielded her sword and said intently with heartfelt resolve:  “I AM NO MAN!!!” and thrust her sword into the head of the Nasgul-witch-king, who dissolves before her.   She knew that to stab him in the heart would be pointless, because that is not where he lived anymore.  
She annihilated the very womb from which her archetype had come.  Yes, it had taught her how to think, yes, it was the womb of the head of a God that gave birth to her and then told her who she was all along; but it was not her home, it was not her womb.  She was, at last, fully a Woman.  She was complete in her calling, in any room she chose.  Any seat at the collective place at the table, kitchen, garage, garden, meeting, or mountain-top, that had been the "room somewhere" she had for so long, longed for.

The nature of Eowyn, Pallas or the collective individuality of woman, is to teach a man’s head from her heart.  It is from the bosom of her psyche that she needs him to understand that to reach her strong, devoted, love-embracing spirit; to truly provide for her a modicum of what she can for him, he must leave his head and follow her into the heart.  For her, it is essential that he surrender to his anima, and meet her where she has been all along.  Like her uncle-father-king, maybe momentarily forgotten, yet her heart is her home nonetheless, where she is faithfully waiting for him to follow.
The image on this post speaks to me, in relation to these thoughts I call my Syliloquie for today.  It is from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/star-wars-wedding-photo_n_3612947.html

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"LIFE": The Near-Death Experience

I think I am ready to speak about three experiences I had when going through cancer. Then again, maybe not...What I am actually more comfortable saying, is that I experienced one thing, three times.

Three weeks prior to a cancer diagnosis, I was laying in bed, nearly asleep, when it felt like a helicopter was rattling away in my ear.  Somehow, I knew my spirit was leaving my body. I also knew there was no fighting it, no resistance, nothing to do but surrender.  It was not scary, it was intense.

I very carefully and quietly, in my soul, sensed an acknowledgement to a presence both within and without myself.  It felt, unmistakably, like a very big Father-God-Presence.  I had an awareness that I was communicating a vibration of the words:  "Thy will be done, Father. Thy will be done."  I felt an indescribable and immense gratitude for my life, that is not capable of being written in letters and words.  I knew on some level, that I had never anticipated experiencing in my life, a rapturous gratitude.

In this same moment I could also feel myself asking: "I'll come, but if You're willing, I would like to stay a while longer and raise Tom."  With my intention for my son, I dropped back into a surrender that is beyond measure.  The surrender I felt, was more like what I know an instinct, or an awareness to be.  I felt again an awareness that I was exuding an all encompassing Gratitude, (which even writing now, I feel I should write with a capital "G"), yet there was something so distinctly different from what I know of being in my body.  If I had to be completely honest, I would have to say I felt a difference in my agency.  I was in more my awareness and desire, than my choosing.

I felt my spirit moving back into my body.  It was ruckus, it felt non-physically-painful and I began to cry tears that had every emotion in the spectrum of life possible.  I was worn out, worried about the bump over my sternum, that one doctor had already told me was nothing and that I should just ignore it.  I  recommitted to myself to pursue the issue deeper in the morning, and then I fell into sleep.

The experience happened again a second time, three days after I was indeed diagnosed with invasive cancer, that had moved into my lymph-system in my armpit and internally toward my heart in my chest.  The second time was very similar, very sacred:  ruckus first, washing out, supplication to stay and moving back into my body.  It is an experience that is, even now,  beyond my understanding.

I have to say, I am writing carefully here.

The last time it occurred was on the darkest day of my life, following my third round of chemo.  Things weren't going well.  I was not handling the chemo; or could say, more accurately,  the chemo was really handling me.

On the saddest day of my life, feeling worse than I could imagine would be humanly possible (and I have known much of the humanly possible), I thought of Job's wife in the bible, who wanted to curse God and die.  In this worst of moments I felt flooded with the sense that I would again have another experience, that coming night.  It loomed over me like a final straw on the camel's back.

I knew it was going to happen again, though I cannot describe how. The ruckus in every cell of my frame, the sting that I would have to surmise we call death;  I had heard people refer to it many times.  The reality was more encompassing than I thought possible and I was so very sad.  I was nearly spent in my waking hours, no more will and no more courage.

I was indeed, in a Job-like frame of mind as I contemplated the evening approaching. My physical, emotional and spiritual strain was so bad, laying on the couch, that I agreed within myself that if it happened again, I had had enough.  I was going... I was going... (I feel like I should be writing the "i" in lower case here).

That night, I fretfully crawled myself into to my bed.  Not so unlike a woman in labor; but this "birth" felt sad to me.  Truth be told, I did not want to go out of this life on a sad note.

Again it came, just as I instinctually felt it would, the ruckus-helicopter in my ears, body, bones and spirit.  My spirit drifting upward, attempting to move beyond my frame, I WAS my awareness of what was happening... such an unusual feeling.

There is more to tell here, but the details are so specific to me and so sacred, for now,  I simply need to let them be.

What I can say is this, in the moment I knew I was at the brink of passing, that I had reached twice prior, I was aware I could choose to let the experience ride further on than I ever had.  As I reached a little further out, stretching the tip-toe of my soul, I heard footsteps, walking in puddles of water toward me, that were gradually increasing in speed. I knew it was a male presence, not God, moving in to catch me.

Just as I began to slip, as near as I can tell, away,  I let out a very loud gasp (so loud in my ear, I worried I woke-up the neighbors down below me), yet I was simultaneously not sure if I had actually made a sound.  It was one of the most real, tactile, awake, frames of being I have ever experienced.

I felt a depth, of what I would call spiritual pain at returning fully into my frame.  I heard voices from beyond the veil, all around my bed echo my own gasp.  I could sense, in their collective gasp, that what I had just done was very, very hard.  I felt their concern, love, and intent care for me, and I knew myself, that I had just made a huge leap.  

After a moment of physical and spiritual pain (for lack of a better word), I sat up in my bed and all my life's intentions were absolutely crystal clear.  I thought to myself:

"Of course I am staying!  Of course..."

I heard immediately a voice, that I knew to be God, yet indistinguishable from my own voice,  ask me eight words:

"Would you take a bullet for your boy?"

The answer was "Yes", of course I would, absolutely.  Even if I never recovered from treatments, even if I was this sick, even if this misery was my life each day, for the rest of my days, I would do it.  I would do it for the sole reason that he would know I was home in bed while he was out and about in the world, that he wouldn't have to wonder who was going to watch over him on the day-to-day of life.  The answer was Yes.

Then, this question came immediately again:  Would you take a bullet for your son?  and I heard myself answer again "Yes".  Only this time the answer carried a whole different meaning...

If the only way for him to learn the lessons he needed to learn in this life, could only truly occur to the extent he needed, and would be in place only by loosing his mother early and having life experiences that would shape him in ways he could not gain any other way, than Yes, the answer would still be Yes.  If I didn't recover.  If cancer took me early, the same answer, and the answer was Yes.  I would die for my son.  I would live for my son.  Either way the answer was Yes...

I felt peace at the reality that no matter what happens in my life, good, bad, happy sad, everything, at the essence of who I am, is okay, and that if my perspective could actually flash clear for one moment, I would agree to it all wholeheartedly.  The answer would be Yes.

The next morning, the clarity was still there, the treatments became a bit more manageable, the tumor dissipated completely and the long and arduous journey of recovery continues to this day.

Part of my recovery has been, (for lack of a better word, again) channelling these three experiences into the work I do with the Chakras.  It was the only adequate language, through which I could articulate these experiences; a spiritual language that has nothing to do with words.  

The image above, I painted and digitally designed, to fairly adequately communicate the pulsation of Gratitude for my mortal life, that I experienced three separate times. A love sealed in knowing.   It is a visual metaphor that would describe the answer I received back from God, for my desire to stay in my body for a bit longer; a reply back to me from that Eternal Presence, with whom I was supplicating, which is for now also "Yes".

The experiences I speak of here will take me a life-time and beyond to understand.  Yet for now, the take-away that I can best surmise is this:

First:  I have an agency from which my desire to come have a physical experience happened instinctually.  The time of labor and delivery into this beautifully, intricate mortal experience was a mutual decision between me, my source and the outer presence around me of my mama's physical body.  

The leaving of this life back into the spiritual realms is also inseparably interlaced with both my instinct and my agency.  In a very similar way, and at a very essential level, this agency is plural; a mutual decision between the inner mother nature in my own body, my Essence-Self and the outer energy around me of my Father-God's Eternal presence.  

No matter the circumstances, I will only come into, or go out from life when these three aspects are in some sort of communion.

Second: There is an Essential aspect of my soul that is indistinguishable from what I personally know to be God.  The Essential aspect of who I am, will not come into this life (or go beyond it) unless the time is fully ripe for my soul.  What I learn most poignantly is that when I cross out of it, the experiences I gain through my mortal life will be the ‘near-death’ story I tell there. 

Times when I lived unconsciously in my life, the love I held back, the doubts I focused my time and energy on, both the truth and kindness for self and others I withhold; all are a type of death, to the real-life blessing of this sacred time in my mortal body.  The only "deaths" beyond the veil, are the regrets, for these kind of missed chances, that I carry with me beyond this physical body experience (also called karmas).

Also, that this mortality is teaching me things that are unequivocally necessary for my soul to continue her expansion.  To be able to reach further, and further outward, with my God-Souce, in a perpetually Eternal magnification in all realms. 

Without the capacity I gain for progressing during my life, my longing for Oneness and expansion becomes acute, as God's moves beyond where I can go.  

My finite ability to evolve with God, is what drives my desire for progression into physical intention in the first place, where I grow and learn to be one with my Source. Mortality is a huge gift.  Each moment I spend in my physical body, is making me fit for better light, beyond time, beyond space.  

Third: I gained a clear understanding that being in mortality, even doing the simplest, most mundane daily routine, like blowing my nose, sitting in a wheelchair, not being able to shift myself in bed or get dressed; or on good days, when something as simple as wringing out the dishwater from the cloth at the sink and laying it over the faucet, are each an opportunity through which the spirit aspect of my soul pulsates an Eternal Gratitude beyond measure.   

I've felt beyond a shadow's doubt, how my spirit clings to my body, with a passion of the deepest of love affairs, and learns volumes, to which my mortal mind has no clue of the full magnitude.

I learned that we have no idea, no idea what a gift the everyday is.  How sacred every glance or exchange, with the ripple effect they render throughout this realm and beyond.  My gratitude for this life springs beyond measure. 

So for me, (just as it is for you, in truth), I have the sacred chance to spend a little more mortality, crossing my "t"s and dotting my "I"s (capitalized).  

These days I get to be at the center of Tom's comings and goings, sending a bit of my spirit out the door with my son as he moves through his life.  

In body, or not, it's what parents do.