Poetics of Light #5

 

 Birth of a galaxy

 

 Chapter Three…Part 2

Boot Camp ….  Rules are rules

     ~

The beginning of this series starts here….

       

         Since I was engaged in the dialogues for over a decade, they became less like a spiritual event and simply became an ongoing relationship in my life. In their beginning I was immersed in family life. We are a fairly close knit family and this unusual relationship was accommodated within my day to day routines. “Where’s Mom”? “She’s talking with those guys”. And so it was that those guys became more or less part of the immediate family. 

         During these first few years I would sense an intuitive prompting or a desire to engage. Later when our work in the dialogues had been established (although not exactly defined) and I was living on my own, the dialogues became almost daily work and I initiated contact commensurate with my ability and schedule. However, each time I opened in dialogue I was directed whether it was appropriate in that moment to engage.

          These two inquiries… Do I have permission? and Is it appropriate?… were actually the two questions I had asked that immediately preceded the beginning of the dialogues. In their simplicity and respectful acknowledgement, they became the foundation of our relationship and prefaced each prayer required during any given part of a dialogue, formalizing the relationship and keeping me ever mindful of every shift in conversation.

          I was expected to have thoughts related only to the subject at hand and that I used language entirely descriptive of the present moment, since references to a possible future were inappropriate and cause for stopping and acknowledging that I had done so. Specific references to the past were allowed, but only within context and they had to be relevant to personal experience. I was to be careful to respond with balanced emotion no matter what occurred. I was never to make a verbal reference, or even have a mental thought of another living person, their ideas, or their work. This was by far the most difficult rule to maintain.

          There were formal prayers required when ever a rule was broken. When I had a question of my own I was instructed to verbally formulate it before engaging which I found difficult to remember in my early enthusiasm or long disregard of formality and of strictly following rules. Then beginning a session I was to ask if it was appropriate and if I had permission to ask my question.

          Aside from the continual practice of deep and responsive listening, I began to see that the discipline requirements, the rules of Contemplative Resonance itself, required me to be consistently mindful of the language I was using, since it was required that I speak primarily in the present tense and never relative to anything in the future. This inevitably led to a deeper consideration of my regard of both the past and the future. The past just is. The future, though not certain, is a distinct possibility. So it wasn’t the existence of either but how I regarded them. Was I reading circumstances solely through the filter of the past? Or was I only seeing what would provide me with what I desired, or keep me from what I feared, in a projected future?

          The inability to reference other living human beings or their ideas showed how fluidly other people’s concerns and ideas passed through my thoughts almost unbidden, of how much I relied on all human relationship for validation of simply being and belonging. I came to see that every relationship, even the most simple, acts as a cord anchoring or grounding me in the world I live in.

          I also could clearly see how alive ideas are in the mind and how I automatically build my own concepts by referencing the thoughts of others. It was not easy to understand why referencing others was inappropriate. When the material in the dialogues was the most difficult, the most challenging to witness and integrate, having to hold to this rule often made me feel very alone. I was told it was a matter of respect but it wasn’t until well into the dialogues that I was to understand that all relationship is profoundly creative and immediate. We may inevitably build on the ideas of others but our own response in relationship must come from the solid ground of our own being. We may also care deeply for the welfare of those we love and care about, but without their explicit permission and the express permission to do so, it was a disrespectful interference to make reference to anyone besides myself in Contemplative Resonance. Since thoughts are usually able to roam freely and even my thoughts were known, this rule was extraordinarily difficult to hold to.

          But there was something else, something that was being slowly uncovered. As I held to the rules in this relationship I was to personally witness another deeper, more hidden side of human perception. Perhaps it was possible for me to witness only within the dialogues…and of necessity entirely alone. Despite my trusting, the rules of relationship felt like a tenuous cord holding me in place and enabling me to withstand the riggers of witnessing and recording the human archetypal perception of trauma, denial and indifference.

          However the “boot camp” I am describing here was early in the dialogues and I was learning that it also became essential to closely investigate how I regard new or challenging information, how to venture into unfamiliar territory that may not be expressed in references I was more familiar with. The rules pointedly showed that I habitually connected new ideas with a full personal mental reference library collected over a lifetime. I used these stored references automatically for connecting bits of information and for confirmation or judgement of the value of new information. It was also challenging to remain open when concepts that I was familiar with, consider possible but had already more or less dismissed as irrelevant, were being introduced into context.

          It became apparent to what extent I relied on the world of thought… a vast landscape of memory, acquired knowledge, collective agreement and relationship. This thought patterning of continual referencing was so natural, so pervasive, that in order to hold to the strict discipline, I eventually found it necessary to refrain from any research or reading other than factually relative to the content of the dialogues.

          I was aware that there was also the distinct possibility that in following my own “referenced” trails I would fail to see the complexity of the perceptual paradigm being introduced, especially when confronted with a small part that I didn’t understand or had already previously dismissed. It also became a hindrance to seek comparison with any structured belief or philosophical system to validate my experience. I came to appreciate this offered poem…

Imponderables measured falsely are delusions

Each moment has no measure

          So as simple as the rules were, like keys in a locked box they have become essential tools for perceptual comparisons and deeper, and then deeper again, considering…..

 

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To be continued…..on Sunday, October 2nd after a short hiatus. Off to the Coast  on the 24th!!!!

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Artist: Max Ernst

The Poetics of Light #4

Max Ernst

Chapter Three…Part 1

Boot Camp

~

The beginning of this series starts here….

         While engaging in the dialogues, I was held responsible for balancing my own thoughts and emotions and expressing myself in a fully integrated physical presence. However, I was assisted in my attempts to function in this alternate perception by adhering strictly to the rules of procedure. Since I was occupied with simply comprehending that the dialogues were actually occurring, I wasn’t at all aware that these rules would be helpful for this when the dialogues began.

           However, the rules afforded me a thin perceptual veneer from reverting back to the perceptual familiarity of expressing my thoughts and responses from the linear perspective of a time oriented continuum. Rules were rules, and because I was strictly required to follow them, they instigated a deep consideration of how they might apply in my everyday life.

          The dialogues themselves were also not communicated in the linguistic patterns of language I was accustomed to. The immediate challenge was of stretching my ability to communicate in a resonant body centered language. I eventually learned to use my entire body as a resonating aperture for fine tuning the shades and accuracies of meaning in order to communicate. I was immersed in an intricate learning curve.

          The challenge was of learning how to physically translate the immediacy of complete thought, or whole insight, into a sensory language of hearing, feeling and seeing. As I gained competency I was better able to query whether I’d understood what was being communicated and then was reciprocally answered somatically. I literally felt, saw or heard the response resonating in my body which was exhilarating and extraordinary in every sense, especially the visual language. I visualize easily and normally I’d say that a screen “opens up” before my eyes. While in the dialogues I was inside the visuals. It is rather like dreaming in the sense of being immersed in the visual itself. I would then ask questions about what I experienced, or witnessed, which is quite different than describing what I saw.

          Hearing had a variety of expressions. It is not quite accurate to say “I heard” a voice speaking. Most often I’d catch words or phrases. They would just be there and worked as keys or clues, which were a prelude to whole concepts conveyed all at once. Sometimes there were poems… most often in the form of puzzles. I’m still working on this one…

Consequences of actions understood

resemble the opening of a flower

Flowers themselves open because they do

Birds fly because they do

Bees collect pollen because this is their work

Knowing the difference is spiritual maturity

Becoming the difference is life

          Now and again there would be a bodily sensation. I would feel a great weight pressing on me or perhaps my vision would dim. These signaled preparation as we headed into more difficult territory. Eventually the ever shifting variety of subtle body centered expressions developed into a sensory language of communication that was effective even for abstract concepts.

          This way of communicating may seem complicated but I can assure you, it was very effective. In imagining the possibility, perhaps consider the moments of insight that you have experienced and how different each one of them has been. Sometimes insight is simply there… whole and entire, resonating as a knowing accompanied by a heightened sense of physical clarity.

          Other times it comes in smaller insights fostered by synchronicities… something you have heard, seen, dreamed? We piece these layered insights together like a three dimensional puzzle, again accompanied by physical clarity or knowing. Can you actually pin point where this body knowledge is received though? Where these impressions are actually felt in the body? Are they visual? Something you hear? Feel? Dream?

          By participating in the dialogues my appreciation of insight deepened and I gradually developed a tangible recognition of the many physical ways I am personally receptive to it. So although the dialogues were ultimately in words, the words were conveyed in a variety of somatic physical expressions which greatly expanded the possibilities of language.

          As I learned the rules, it was established that I work in absolute solitude without possible interruption for however long each session would take. Sometimes a few minutes, but more often many hours. My personal life was in yet another transition and for the last three years of the dialogues I had the opportunity to give much of my day to this spiritual discipline. I was able to open in resonant communication at regular hours of the day, which aided immeasurably in my abilities to concentrate and hold to the rules.

          The physical guidelines were similar to meditation except that I was to keep my eyes open. Otherwise I tended to float off into my own thinking. Even with my eyes open, I focused on an object in order to keep my mind from wandering or being distracted. Hearing my own voice speaking in normal conversation also helped maintain a body centered focus. It wasn’t until well into the dialogues that I was able to work silently in my own mind without speaking and even then I rarely employed this way of communicating. With practice I slowly became more or less adept at the sensory, animal-like alertness that is necessary for receptive concentration.

          We all have moments of entrainment and there are many known forms. Here are a few examples from Wikipedia….

Brainwave entrainment, the practice of entraining one’s brainwaves to a desired frequency. Entrainment (biomusicology), the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm. Entrainment (chronobiology), the alignment of a circadian system’s period and phase to the period and phase of an external rhythm.

         I would say it was the norm while engaged in the dialogues, which were purposeful and held within relationship. I’ve since made it a part of my day to consciously drop or center my awareness into the whole of myself….to be aware in my body. I wish I could say it comes naturally but it is not always possible to move awareness into my whole body when it is too strongly focused in my thoughts or particularly my emotions. Then I know I have work to do. When my awareness is physically oriented it feels like a quiet permeable immersion…. and is a matter of grounding in place with my eyes open, physically sensing the movement within as well as without. By doing this my thoughts calm and are relevant to the moment, my awareness is fluid…inside, outside…I become a kind of tuning fork. I am aligning myself in place as well as within.

          I believe it is a traveler’s skill. Perhaps the beauty of it is what keeps some people on the road. It is also useful for sensing potential interference of any kind, but I am not talking here about being “on guard”. I’ve recognized this state of physical awareness since well before the dialogues but never understood the elements of consciously actualizing it.

          By adding this to my daily spiritual practice and working to maintain an element of emotional and mental balance, since it is conscious work, I find that I more easily move from the position of an observer as the distinction between myself and others, myself and my environment changes, becoming more immediate, more direct. When I accomplish entrainment I am more able to discern relevance. Communication is unguarded even if it is just a passing acknowledgement of existence. I feel centered in the province of trust.

 To be continued…..

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Artist: Max Ernst

The Poetics of Light #3

Truls Espedal

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Chapter Two

Transparency

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(The beginning of this series starts here)

           This summer I spent a few days with my brother and sister-in-law who live a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Mexico. The trip was their gift to me. We hadn’t seen each other in many years and had only a few days together. We spent our days in deep and quiet conversation. They also shared the abundance of the natural world that speaks to them and which gives them their connection and sense of place.

          Each of us has lived a life of wide and varied experience. Listening, as we each spoke of navigating in these often turbulent waters, I understood the beauty in transparency. It allows the light to shine through…

~

        The way in which the dialogues began was relatively subtle. There was nothing dramatic to announce their beginning. The opportunity for dialogue slipped in one day as if I’d asked a question that could be answered. What preceded the advent of the dialogues however, was a circuitous route through a serpentine path of personal healing.

        For ten years prior to the dialogues, I had been homesteading on a densely wooded piece of land in the Finger Lakes Area of Western New York State. It was rough, riddled with springs, deep woods, and had never been developed due to its difficult and varied terrain. While homesteading I had been in intimate daily relationship with nature as I worked the land. It was a place of opportunity and safety for me as I began to open and begin to heal the sublimated wounds of a violent rape I had experienced twelve years earlier while living in the California Bay Area.

          A serial rape, I was one of many. The rapist was never caught and although not named, I was in the news a number of times since I was the only one of his “victims” with children. I learned what it is like to become a cultural statistic. Perhaps it was the time. Perhaps it was the place. Perhaps it was a matter of circumstance or all of these, but I was immediately confronted with the stigma of rape. I didn’t know whether to be more stunned by the rapist or at nearly everyone’s surprising reaction. Though confusing, it was an eye opener. It became apparent that being vulnerable, or showing vulnerability, was similar to having a contagious disease no one wanted to catch, so I held tight and carried on. My daughters had both been toddlers with the needs of small children, my family lived thousands of miles away, and the crime had repercussions in my marriage and among our friends and neighbors. Life was complicated and I made the choice to give these concerns my attention. I felt that I had navigated my own response to the rape privately and well.

          While living on the land however, I began having chronic respiratory problems. A wisdom tooth had been surgically extracted from my sinus cavity and wasn’t healing properly which then led to a chronic low grade infection. Simultaneously I also began having the symptoms of PTSD, which wasn’t clearly understood yet, and information about it was not readily available. I often had lucid dreams that began to feel invasive, and was disturbed and disconcerted one afternoon to experience a fever induced trance state which I knew was connected to the dreams. Even though I was seeing both dentists and specialists, this wasn’t something I felt comfortable taking to the medical profession and I was at a loss as to how to navigate in these unexpected and confusing realms, or understand their connection or significance. I knew a bit about transpersonal psychology though and recognized my PTSD symptoms were a spiritual crisis. Instinctively I knew that I needed somewhere I would be able to address this spiritually. However, I hadn’t yet connected any of this with the incident in California.

          I read about a Native American Elder in our local paper and, considering that he might be more spiritually open to the combination of things I was experiencing, had sought his assistance. Through the Native American ceremony of the sweat lodge, I finally understood that my sublimated feelings concerning the experience of rape and its cultural repercussions was the cause of my spiritual crisis and I was able to address the range of emotions I carried from having experienced sexual trauma. Having retreated to the land with agoraphobic tendencies, in retrospect I think I also knew that I needed to be able to allow myself to be vulnerable once again while in the company of others.

          Among the many personal lessons learned through the physicalities of ceremony, chronic illness and working with the land, I understood the necessity of becoming responsive to my own body’s signals in order to find and then maintain an emotional balancing in myself. I learned to follow the pathways of emotion as they physically manifested, energetically opening the wounds to be acknowledged and find their place in my life. Within ceremony, and as my day to day life became a spiritual acknowledgement of my relationship with nature, I learned to connect with a richer, deeper, more intimate Source that inspired healing. After a number of years of ceremony, and although grateful for all his help, I knew I had gone as far in understanding as I was able with the guidance of the Elder.

          Living in an ongoing relationship with this piece of land was an extraordinary decade of learning for me. At the bottom of the page I’ve left a few poetic links about these experiences if you are interested in reading more.

          Families grow and circumstances shift and when the dialogues began we had moved to more southern climes. I was now living in a small mountain city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Although surrounded by nature, I was not in the same intimate daily contact. In some ways I welcomed the move. Homesteading is hard on the body and I had reached a definitive physical impasse. I no longer experienced bouts of PTSD and felt I had reached a level of health and healing I could maintain. Still, I wanted to find ways to further explore the spiritual relationship I had been building with the deeper Source I had recognized while working in nature.

          It was a considerable change, now that I was living closely among people again, and it left me more open to experiencing new things. One day I was introduced to a woman who was training in shamanic practice who freely shared her experience with me. There was much she shared that seemed at least promising. I knew that shamanic practice was based in a relationship with nature and I was curious and remained interested in cultures that incorporated alternative spiritual states into their worldview, so I initiated an apprenticeship with a shamanic teacher who was attempting to integrate non drug induced shamanic practices with western medical and psychological modalities.

          While working with the practices I was being taught, I again experienced an acceleration of altered states but I found I was personally accessing realms I felt no grounding in. It wasn’t long before these experiences led me from pursuing shamanism further. I was grateful for the experience but my answers were not to be found here either.

          Continuing to follow the path of the intimate Source that I had recognized while working the land and through the sweat lodge ceremony, I began to feel that I was being drawn towards what I thought of as the responsive feminine mysteries, mysterious because I had no clear definition in mind. The symbology that kept recurring was feminine in that the feeling was responsive and supportive although I didn’t attach a gender in a human sense.

          I knew my relationship with this intimate Source had led to my physical and emotional healing. I had yet to understand or clarify the difference between the altered or the inspired states I was experiencing, but I was now making a distinction and becoming more discerning. If all of this sounds confusing in its lack of definition…Well, in a way it was. I was finding myself continually in unknown terrain and navigating with a compass that was more intuitive than anything else.

          There were life experiences I could call on for guidance though. Following the experience of giving birth to two children myself, I felt spiritually compelled to explore the originative mysteries of birthing in every aspect of life. Of how a seed, whether of a person, a living plant or an abstract idea is formed, birthed and then continues to grow. While working with plants as food and medicine, while propagating and raising hundreds of seedlings, I had experienced a commonality and responsiveness with nature facilitating these creative energies. I finally came to the conclusion that instead of looking for an already established spiritual approach to answer my questions, I would best find direction by placing my trust directly in Nature.

          With little preamble, the dialogues began one afternoon while I was engaged in these considerations. I don’t remember having any cohesive thoughts or emotions initially. The experience was too improbable, too out of the ordinary for immediate reflection. I simply accepted the dialogues as I was led through the initial apprenticeship.

          We traversed the fog of my own preconceived ideas of spiritual relationship, religious prejudices and conditioning, and any spiritual ideas or taboos I’d been attracted to or had adopted. While addressing my life long accumulation of spiritual persuasions, I gained practice in this more physical way of communicating. I was also introduced to the rules that were required for engagement. The rules themselves were uncompromising, and in their simplicity, oddly difficult to follow. However, by following the rules I was learning what is required to be present and responsive in the spiritual practice I learned to call Contemplative Resonance.

          A distinct feature of the dialogues was their startling intimacy. I became accustomed to the understanding that everything about me was known in the deepest way, beyond even what I clearly understood myself. There was a flow and a naturalness to the communication that immediately engendered my trust. Who exactly was I in dialogue with? Who knew me so intimately? As they individually introduced themselves, I was informed they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light, although I was to learn later that designations themselves, that “naming” is a human inclination utilized and relied on in order to observe and categorize as a prelude to comprehension. Of those that I personally worked with, some were Masters that had been human but the majority I worked with were Beings responsible for overseeing elements of nature. I was given specific training to ensure that I was communicating with only these Beings in their realm of Spirit. This was also reassuring since I had no mystical tradition or human teacher to lean on for guidance and I had had enough of disconcerting experiences navigating on my own in unknown realms I felt no grounding in.

          Ultimately, I was made aware that I was in dialogue with the Divinity of Nature but I didn’t know what to make of this. Within the context of the dialogues whenever I tried formulating an image or an idea of the Divinity of Nature I felt an unimaginable vastness. A velvet dark so boundless, so deeply without beginning or end… I experienced a very visceral response and the feeling this elicited was overwhelming.

          Perhaps this is why we began slowly. As unparalleled teachers, understanding was built upon understanding tailored to my level of comprehension. It was a slow process of experiential integration. Various teachers introduced and named themselves as I was passed from one teacher to another. In this most improbable of situations, I held on to any familiarity I gained from their humor, their strict procedures, the tricks they played on me, which were all tests to discern if I was able to hold my own. For I was finding that this was a mutually co-creative way of communicating. I was expected to be physically discerning no matter what they should tell me. I needed to be able to recognize a reciprocal clarity beyond my own thoughts or emotional responses and I eventually gained ground in the practice of Contemplative Resonance. I learned to be physically resonant by literally making hundreds of mistakes, but more importantly, by being aware and understanding each one of them.

          How did I encompass all of this? I was in totally unfamiliar territory, without familiar references of any kind to explain the experience. Demanding in every way imaginable, the dialogues were far from a blissfully transcendent experience. The absolute intimacy though, was undeniable and encouraging. The challenges of communication completely held my attention as nothing else ever had. Yes, it was an overwhelming experience but I felt extraordinarily alive.

to be continued…

Poetry:

Ceremony ….. The Deep has always loved me ….. One note

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Artist: Truls Espedal

 

The Poetics of Light #2

Casey Braugh

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Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary into the Real…. continued

(The beginning of this series starts here)

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          Once upon a time…. the beloved opening of story that incites our imaginations transporting us to imagined times and other worlds. We have the ability to live within story using all our senses. And then we put the book down or walk away from the movie and there we are… in our heads and mentally checking the time to see where we need to be or what we need to do.

          In the dialogues I learned that our regard of time is ingrained and acts as the basic mechanics of human perception. Because of this it has the possibility of qualifying a great deal of what we perceive… especially in our day to day functioning since we are all continually engaging in it.  

        We are encouraged through cultural consensus to organize a view of what is valid to incorporate both a past and a future in a seamless linear progression. We become accustomed to thinking in terms of a past and a future. Because of this linear perception, however, patterns of cause and effect are established due to continually viewing events through the lens of a time progression, where the past can be assessed and a possible future projected or manipulated by our desires, our needs or our fears. The general tendency is to not only live within these patterns of cause and effect, consciously or unconsciously, but to evaluate and judge what is possible or “real” according to their parameters.

          This formed the basis of the initial puzzle I was presented, since through engagement in the dialogues it was also made clear that this time oriented progressive continuum is a solely human way of perceiving and by natural extension, it creates its own “reality”. This in turn becomes a problem because this ingrained way of perception, creating a “reality” based on cause and effect, operates separate from the natural order. Since it is inherently impossible to be separate from the world we exist in, this raises the possibility that we are literally living in two different perceptual paradigms! Many of us have known or sensed this, incorporating our understanding into our spiritual practices, our creative work and most often in our relationships with nature. 

          The questions inevitably arise though. What is the natural order? Are these two systems of creation compatible? Do they function symbiotically? Do they work at odds with one another? What conditions are promoted if one becomes dominant over the other? What effect does this have on us personally and collectively? It makes the head spin and the heart ache…

          The dialogues covered material that I found increasingly difficult, not only to comprehend in its complexity, but to assimilate. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, we are being introduced to another view of the workings of our world. In many ways I entered a heart of darkness, but darkness can also be seen as creatively deconstructive and a source of all fertility.

          In navigating the complications of how to write this narrative I found I was tempered by and tossed between both involvement and a certain uncomfortable resistance. The resistance permeated my understanding of how to approach this narrative when confronted with the challenge of representing the implications of two different operating paradigms in a linear written format. Is it even possible? At times I also felt as if I was a Pandora character letting all manner of chaos out of a carefully sealed box. There was the probability of anything I shared being viewed with the familiar linear logic of a progressive cause and effect. Hadn’t I fallen into this predicament myself often enough?

          The puzzle we are being presented however, can not be understood, let alone assimilated, by a progressive logic or even simple observation using our ordinary way of looking at things! It becomes overwhelming, and personally I have found it a veritable slippery slope, until I am able to enter or engage a perception based upon immediate relationship with the spiritual intelligence of Nature, our creative counterpart. I am finding that here lie the seeds of trust with the possibility of effective compassionate action. At the very least it has been a catalyst for personal change. This may seem a little abstract…perhaps just noble sounding words on a page. However, we are not alone in our attempts at understanding. The natural order is by nature responsive affording each of us opportunities to find our own way to these insights in ways tailored to our own comprehension and within the realms of our personal experience.

      If my experience is any indication we are being given an interactive map of what has been created due to our collective perception. Collective being the operative word here. It is true that while working in the dialogues, although ideas were introduced, I was never simply handed information. In order to genuinely understand what was being conveyed, to personally acquire a grasp of the material, it was necessary that I make the attempt to communicate solely in the perception that was being introduced. The exploration became an entirely experiential one… one which is impossible to reproduce here. The dialogues however, were based in relationship and this leads me to consider that relationship itself is an essential key to understanding. My experience also leads me to consider that in sharing this narrative here in an open, ongoing format, could we possibly be continuing what has only begun?

To be continued…

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Drawing… Casey Baugh

The Poetics of Light

face

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Chapter One

Out of the Ordinary and into the Real

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     What do I know of time? The measuring of days, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, the cycles of history, aging and the natural rhythms of life, they all interweave in my considerations. Memory and possibility play their hands.

         During the days before the turn of the 20st century when the idea of time was prominent in the collective mind, the “timing” was oddly perfect that I was challenged with a puzzle. The puzzle was to understand my relationship with time. The challenge was to become experientially aware of my perceptual relationship with time.

         In the reflective quiet of an afternoon I was prompted to engage in a series of spiritual dialogues with intelligent Beings responsible for various aspects of the natural world, who were well versed in the history of humanity and who surprisingly knew me intimately. When I asked who they were, I was told they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light and I admit I went through all my references of angelic visitations and guardian angels until I realized… I was in entirely un-referenced territory. The dialogue that began that afternoon developed into an extended series of dialogues which lasted for many years. The puzzle is something I continue to work on every day.

         I have learned a great deal in my life about persistence, endurance and a flexible kind of continuity since whenever I am finally settled somewhere, something inevitably uproots me, keeping me continually on the move. I have become accustomed to creating a kind of order in these chaotic situations, situations which prevent me from becoming more firmly rooted in place. I find stability in family, in friendship, in being a mother, in nature and even though I am now on my own, in partnership. I will also be eternally grateful that I have two daughters, great friends now they are grown and mothers themselves, who have blessed me with four creatively inquisitive grandchildren. I’ve worked any number of odd and interesting jobs but my energies have remained centered within my family, whether it’s my family by blood or ones created by work or circumstance.

         For the most part from a young age Nature has been my constant spiritual companion. I was raised Catholic, gravitated towards Indigenous and Eastern spiritual traditions, although like the rest of my life, none has firmly taken root. I’m naturally introverted and unabashed by the need for solitude and I enjoy working with my hands. I have only begun writing in recent years in order to understand and share this experience. In trying my hand at writing I very quickly discovered a love for writing poetry, which for me is the most natural language.

         The dialogues themselves were often in poetic voice, a welcome break from the usual strict formality. I would have been happy translating this experience solely in poetry but in writing this narrative I am following the path taken in the dialogues, convincing me that to the best of my ability this narrative necessitates a specific unambiguous clarity. Finally, I am of the persuasion that it is useless to question why I was asked to engage in the dialogues. Perhaps it is just that I had the space in my life to listen.

         In writing this account of my experience I’ve also come to understand the impossibility of describing perception itself in language, since I’ve learned that perception is by nature experiential. In order to acquire a grasp of my perceptual relationship with time however, I was challenged to dialogue in an alternate perception, affording me ample opportunity for comparison. In writing this account I find it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to give an account of engaging in an alternate perception by describing the responses I had in my attempts.

         In my search for vocabulary to describe an experience difficult to describe, I have developed a huge respect for shared dialogue. As I’ve been writing my way to my own understanding and sharing my attempts along the way, I’ve experienced that words have the possibility of becoming more than ink on a page when there is shared dialogue. As in oral culture before we developed and began to depend on the written word in order to communicate, by openly encouraging this sharing I am hoping the ideas presented in the dialogues have the opportunity to stay current, to remain alive, and most importantly to find context in as many personal ways as possible.

         In all honesty, on a day by day basis, my own experiential understanding of perception comes and goes. Living in our world is complicated and I’ve learned that, although we entertain the idea of enlightenment, there is no such thing as static accomplishment. It requires continual participation, continual acknowledgement to navigate the borderlines of awareness and perception. It is also very clear to me that although we may all be in this life together, our spiritual approaches are inevitably unique even when following a common path.

         However, my experience also leads me to acknowledge that even though we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all.   

To be continued….

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Artist credit: Michal Lukasiewicz

 

 

An Invitation…

Path

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I started this blog on an inspired whim because I needed to learn how to write. I had experienced something unusual and wanted to talk about it… to share it. Learning how to write needed to fit within the crazy parameters of my chaotic life so blogging seemed portable and perfect. I’m a disciplined creative, having taught myself any number of things and so I considered there was a good chance I would learn how to write by simply working at it. Directly publishing whatever I was working on would be nerve wracking enough, I felt, to keep the momentum going. All of this has proved productive with the great impetus of being in the company of so many truly creative people.

Early on I discovered that it is the connections between us that is decidedly the warp drive behind momentum. Although we may be communicating through a virtual medium, the depth of communication is deeply and responsively immediate, often uncannily synchronistic. Which is pretty amazing. We must be arcing on a frontier out here in cyber space…or in here….(hand on heart) because this is where I feel the connections.

At the same time as I have been here blogging, I have simultaneously been working on a separate long term writing project. With this project I’ve experienced that the process is similar to all the aspects of birthing. There’s the initial conception, the long gestation, the transitional period when the intensity is at its peak and I go a little crazy and then the project is ready to take on a life of its own.

I have been working out many of my ideas for this “long term project” here on this blog. It was the reason I started this blog in the first place, so in many respects I recognize that this separate project has been a collaboration from the beginning. I can not imagine I would have found my way through the complicated labyrinth of this project without the many relationships that have inspired me here. I am truly deeply grateful…

I am finally full to bursting with this “baby”. It only seems natural to continue this extraordinary relationship by birthing this project here. So I’m trying an experiment. I am serializing it and every Sunday morning you’ll find a new mini-chapter in your Reader. I hope you’ll continue to join me as the project grows and continues to morph.

Who knows? Perhaps publishing what I’ve written in this way is giving it the opportunity of growing into a new kind of creative form where words stay alive and have the opportunity for continued growth instead of remaining singular and static on a page. I’d like that….See you Sunday!

~

Photo credit: http://piccsy.com/2012/03/root-steps/

 

Collage collaboration!

Blue

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It’s been a steamy tropical summer here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. At odd moments errant cloud bursts are signaled by the booming of thunder and zig-zag flashes of light. Just as suddenly the clouds part and the air radiates with the returning intense heat of the sun and everything changes color. I’ve become accustomed to waiting out the impenetrable sheets of rain. They rarely last long. It’s as if someone is having fun with the on/off switch. Makes me wonder what the birds and bees are doing during these drenching interludes.

And I’ve been traveling a bit…the bath tub waters of the Gulf Coast and a retreat on the southern Atlantic coast with alligators and jellyfish. My most recent trip was a road trip to upstate NY to celebrate with my Father on his 94th birthday!

Upon my return, I was delighted to find a request from fellow blogger, Marcy Erb. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in allowing her to post my poem “I dream of being a weed…” with a collage she was creating inspired by the poem. What a great idea Marcy! Another weed lover…and so much more! If you aren’t familiar with Marcy’s blog,  head right over there. She has begun designing a Major Arcana with birds as the focus. Her alignment of archetypal symbology is so unique, relevant and beautiful, I’ve become completely captivated. The links are below….

“I dream of being a weed…”

The Emperor

The Tower

The Wheel of Fortune   …. and my favorite!

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pastel: j h white

Beauty waits

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There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it fills the spaces left behind

a tenderness that registers the slightest wind

so vulnerable it stops breath from breathing

in sudden recognition of how hard it is

to fill space when empty

waking each day turned inside out

~

There is nothing ambiguous about loss

That sharp clacking of stone upon stone

leaving a path of shards

the hidden gravity that shades the color blue

Even though memory seems only skin

translucent but barnacled

by the legacy of dead stars

~

There is nothing ambiguous about loss

it separates the cut edges

opening abrasions with graveled hands

where hearing is more sensitive than sight

as music evokes both acid and balm

and the heaviness of dreaming

is carried in weary flesh

~

There is nothing ambiguous about loss

I am ever present in its deep grain

comprising the growth rings

through which side branches grow

I have become something other than I was

something less something more

while separated from beauty

~

This seemingly inexhaustible thirst

redeemed in the breath of wildness

each inhalation responding

each exhalation my wordless prayer

In animal distress

I bend low at the stream

Silent, listening…. I drink

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Photo credit: http://amolecularmatter.tumblr.com/

Akimbo

abstract 6

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there are no round corners

my imagination is akimbo

jolts of current spark within context

without setting light

What to do?

~

I gather the dexterity needed

and carry it to the scales

only to find

it weighs more than I do

~

my skin is transparent

I employ a magnifying glass

angling towards the sun

the beam passes right through me

blazing and unhindered

~

I bulk up

looking for muscular advantage

and slip easily into the crowd

our words are hot but cool off fast

leaving nuggets between my teeth

~

I turn invisible

and pass easily through the crowd

floating a few inches off the ground

I still stub my toe

while leaving no footprints

~

I want to weep like a child

but worrying about the leak

I put duct tape on my face

covering my mouth

leaving space for my eyes

~

awkward and exploding

my imagination

is no longer rooted

in safe ground

I am uncomfortable

I am vulnerable

profusely sweating

this sensory revolution

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painting and poem: Jana H. White