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Earth Breathing at the Beginning of the Day

In these days of transition and transformation, many of us are focusing on the world we want for our grandchildren. For me, it is a life of freedom, joy and harmony within the human family and throughout the web of life.

Drawing from my shamanic journey practice, and my use of the Bön Chant, I weave my stories with images, wisdom and grace from the unseen and timeless world. Many times I feel that I am receiving support, love and guidance from my helping Ancestors and beloved Descendants. These stories are my gift back to them. I envision them being told by a storyteller as, “Stories My Drum Told Me.”

(Author’s Note: The Women of the Open Sky appear in a number of the stories in this book. They are amazing teachers about the unseen, Ultimate reality that exists just beyond the range of our ordinary perception. They are the Elder Women, who abiding in that reality, express it in their thoughts and actions throughout the day.)

Earth Breathing at the Beginning of the Day

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I woke at 4:30am and felt an instinctive pull to get out of bed and go outside. A flash of thought, “It is nearing mid-summer and there are only a few more minutes when the moon and stars will be visible,” launched me out of bed.

I put on my thick terrycloth bathrobe and my outdoor clogs and turned off the outside light. Stepping onto the porch, I let my eyes adjust to the pale light in the sky. Then, one by one, the last of the nighttime stars glistened into view. I love these moments, when all is still, just before the first birds begin to twitter and sing to the new day.

After a few minutes of drinking in the beauty and singing greetings to the moon, I went back inside. It was time for the morning rituals of washing my face, brushing my teeth and putting on outdoor clothes against the chill of the morning. This always wakes me up and lets my senses open to the wonders that surround me. But this morning felt different. There was a stirring along my spine that usually alerts me to watch for something new.

Walking toward my chair at the top of the meadow, I looked up at the ridge of hills that rise just a mile away. There, silhouetted against the first pale light of dawn, were a row of women in long shirts. I recognized them as The Women of the Open Sky. They are Elders from the distant past, who come to teach me the ancient wisdom that helps hold the world together. The sight of them always makes my heart leap with joy.

I bypassed the chair and headed straight to nearest hill. I had already passed that beautiful vale between “real life and the unseen mystery,” so it only took me a dozen steps to climb to the ridge. The woman who greeted me this morning was from one of the early North American tribes. She reminded me of the Hopi women I met when I lived in Arizona.

“We want you to see why we come here every morning to greet the new day and to celebrate the openness of the sky,” she told me. Her dark eyes were filled with playfulness and delight. I was about to be let in on a secret, and I could hardly wait.

“Just watch and see what we experience as we chant. We will only use the sound of spaciousness this morning. It will be enough,” she said, turning to face the East and the approaching light of the sun.

I heard them sing “Ahh” in a full rich alto pitch. They would breathe in together, and then release this one syllable in a long, gentle flow. Their chant was full and strong, its vibration riding the wind for miles.

At first, I didn’t notice anything but the beautiful sound of their voices. It was like hearing the ringing of an ancient temple bell and feeling the waves of sound moving outward to encircle the Earth and flow out into the Universe.

Then, as I watched, the scene before me began to shift. I noticed it first in the pine trees and oaks that fill the downhill slope to the east of the hill. They were always vague in outline in the early light, but today, every needle, every leaf and every tree seemed to drift away from one another. My attention flew to the space between the solid forms, and I was captivated by the vast openings appearing in what I had always seen as a dense forest.

I heard the women’s voices again, and watched the tone moving on the wind like waves. This rippling movement was filling the spaces around all of the rocks and trees, plants and animals to reveal a wide open plain, right there within the forest.

Then their pitch shifted a bit. I stopped being able to see distinctive leaves or needles, even on the trees closest to me. It was like taking off my glasses and having the outlines blur into soft shapes, with each form also looked bigger than it had been.

Each time the women repeated this tone, this process of growing larger and more subtle in outline continued. Then, my breath caught in my throat as my mind explained what I was seeing. Every cell and molecule within these trees were relaxing their hold on one another and drifting apart. Molecules of water and those of matter continued to hover near one another, revealing the truth that they never truly touch.

Each time the women sang “Ahh,” there was a small expanding of the spaces both within and around each element of the forest. When the women inhaled to prepare to repeat the tone, there was a minute contraction in those spaces. I held my breath, in fear that the whole forest could be scattered by a human sneeze.

“These nature beings are held in perfect balance and relationship as they always have been,” my guide reassured me. “They enjoy revealing how much space there is within and around every bit of matter and every cell of being in this beautiful world.”
“What is that tree showing you?” she asked, pointing to a venerable Ponderosa Pine. At first I saw what I was used to seeing, its upper branches waving freely and its powerful trunk and deep roots holding it firm. “Soften your eyes,” she encouraged.

As I did, the tree revealed all of its inner spaces. I could see the wind moving not only among its needles, but within them. I held my breath for a moment to focus, and then as I inhaled, the molecules of needles drew inward. When I exhaled, they relaxed out away from one another. They never fully touched, but continued to expand and contract with each breath I took. The tree was drawing in what I was breathing out. Then it offered me the air it released for my next in breath.

When I turned my focus to the Women of the Open Sky, I saw that they were all breathing with the trees. But it was broader than that. The rocks and birds, grasses and wildflowers were all dancing with this same rhythm of air, inhaling and exhaling. Everything as far as I could see was moving in this basic dance.

“We all breathe together,” my guide explained. “This is the Earth breathing us all as one.”

For a long time I remained transfixed on the unity of nature breathing in harmony. Giving and receiving, floating apart and then joining in unity, all the atoms of matter looking the same and yet hinting at specific forms.

Then I felt the surge of breeze that comes when the warm air that has blanketed the Earth is released, and the chill of morning rushes in. Would this break the magic of shared breath?

The limbs of the trees did lift in their usual dance, as the wind became part of the day. The outlines undulated, but held. The deep unity of each of these nature beings was stronger than the vibration of voice or wind. Each molecule knew their inter-being with all the others in their environment. It was not that cells of a leaf were less part of the nearby rock, it was just that the relationship was slightly different. All live here in an intricate dance that helps all to thrive.

It was not until the sun emerged from the slope of the mountain that the spell was broken. The strong rays of the new day called each being of the forest back to its usual form. Leaves and needles coalesced and took on their specific outlines. Bits of dust hung in the air, and then landed on the surface of a stone. Colors and textures that I had barely noticed, came to life throughout the landscape. The day had begun.

As we walked down the hill, my guide explained:

This is our celebration of the inter-being of all living things. Seeing clearly that we are all made of the same stardust/earth soil, air, water, energy and spirit, we remember our place within nature. Breathing with the Earth and the web of life, we are renewed in our intimate connections to one another. Seeing this Ultimate and Intimate mystery of life is our service to the people.

As we sing, each morning, we envision every human being as you saw the trees this morning.

First, the space appears around and among them. Within our community there is balance and trust. The unique gifts and insights of an individual gain full expression as each one is acknowledged for what they add to the people. The solid individual boundaries can ease as each person is given room to grow. The personal outlines and identities are less sharp-edged, because they are invited to keep learning, discovering and experiencing life.

Like the needles of the pine, the unique being of each person is visible in the affinity that their molecules and life energy have for one another. We are not the solid individuals we seems to be. We are the dance of matter and energy with the empty space of that fills and surrounds us. At our most basic level, we are the same stardust and breath of life as every other being within the web of life. But there is some unique, undying essence which keeps our thoughts, emotions, creativity and physical expression interwoven, even as we evolve throughout our life. Openness allows for the constant changes of life to blow through without breaking the inner harmony.

We teach our young people how to breathe with the Earth. Inhaling, they receive love, joy, and nourishment from all of nature. Exhaling, they give love, joy and nourishment back to the Earth. In time, they learn to feel their whole body/mind/energy expanding and contracting as they are inhaled and exhaled by the Earth. This is the point when they sense in their bones that they are at home here, within the web of life. There is no separation, only unity.

It is our task, as Women of the Open Sky to live these realities, as much as we can, in our thinking, speaking and acting in the world. We renew our connection with this Ultimate reality every morning. Then we bring it back to our community and keep it visible until everyone discovers it within themselves.

As I walked along the path, I saw a new vitality and vibrancy in the trees and flowers, the birds and boulders. Each one becoming a beloved friend now that we shared the secret of breathing as one. I began wondering if it is the Earth Herself breathing us, or if we breath one another, or if something beyond us all does the breathing. As I began trying to figure this out, I noticed a shift. My guide was gone. I had stepped back through the vale, into my meadow.

I turned, looked up toward the glorious sunrise, and bowed in deep gratitude for the gifts of this new day. Tomorrow, I would wake early, go outside and sing to the spaciousness of the open sky.

 

Stories My Drum Told Me

I am delighted to share the first chapter of my upcoming book, “Stories My Drum Told Me.” Each chapter will be a self-contained story containing images and wisdom drawn from the unseen world, which I access both through Bön Chant and shamanic journey. Looking beyond the surface illusions of our ordinary existence, I hope to share the beauty, unity and power that exist in the mystery that flows through all of life.

You will find the first chapter, “Earth Breathing at the Beginning of the Day” on the Stories for My Grandchildren page.  In this chapter, I introduce the Women of the Open Sky as they experience all of nature breathing together in the spaciousness of the early morning landscape.

Learning to Embrace Suffering

Thich Nhat Hahn, (called Thay by his students), teaches that we must look deeply at our own suffering before we can see the suffering of others. We begin by working with our strongest emotions, by welcoming them, and letting our practice of mindfulness embrace them.

Thay uses the example of a crying baby. When the baby cries, the mother goes into the room, picks the baby up, and holds it tenderly. After a few minutes the baby begins to quiet, just from her presence. As the baby quiets, the mother discovers what is causing the baby to cry. Thay encourages us to do the same with our own suffering; our pain, sorrow, confusion, anger, grief and other strong emotions. He recommends saying, “My precious suffering, my pain, I know that you are here. I will not run away from you.”

At first this was difficult for me. I have been raised in the mindset of “professional distance” from the suffering of others. This taught me to delay my emotional response to their pain until I was alone. But in time, I forgot to go back to my own feelings and became distanced from my deep sadness, sorrow, confusion, despair and anger. I learned to use my personal energy to pretend “everything is fine,” and wondered why I got tired, distracted and tense.

When a strong emotion arises, I am learning to greet it and feel it fully in my whole being. It has my full attention. When suffering is crying out, it cannot show us what is beneath it or reveal the insight it holds. The mother must first pick the baby up and offer it comfort. Thay uses this image to describe mindfulness practices which can help us care for our suffering.

One of the tools I am learning to use is the Bön Chant. It reminds me of the spaciousness within and around me that can hold anything that arises. Practicing this every day makes it a familiar energy that I can draw on when something difficult arises.

There are also songs I sing in gratitude and connection with the present moment.
One of songs from Plum Village includes the lines:

I have arrived, I am home
In the Here and In the Now.
I have arrived, I am home,
In the Here and In the Now.

It can be repeated in my mind as I walk outside in the sunshine. Feeling the earth under my feet as I take each step, I am held by the compassion of creation and this makes the pain smaller and the confusion more tolerable. I recognize that all people throughout time have felt this same intensity of loss, grief, or outrage. I am not alone in the grip of this emotional energy. We feel it together as members of the human family. Today, it is my pain and sorrow, but tomorrow, I will understand the deep pain that another is going through. She weeps or wails with me in my despair, and I weep and wail with her in hers. We both know the feeling intimately and can now share it. In the sharing, the intensity wanes and we are comforted. In understanding that suffering is a natural part of life, the fear subsides.

In the meantime, while life is quiet and calm, I will sing, breath, walk, and return to the present moment. Not to brace against future disaster, but because it is here that I find joy. Here in this moment, I am surrounded by reasons for happiness and peace.

Love, Joy and Peace,

Nancy

Seeds of Healing and Restoration

I saw a gorgeous hawk sitting on the fence post as I walked over to the motor home last Saturday morning. He was perched in perfect profile and only flew when he heard the sound of my gasp of delight. His wings stretched to show their beautiful white on black pattern and he soon disappeared through the trees.

What follows was Hawk’s message that came partly in my shamanic journey and partly as I wrote this piece.

In the journey, Hawk asked me to ride on his back so he could share a higher perspective with me. We soared up through the clouds and took a stationary position high above the Earth. This gave me the view of the entire globe with the soft flow of land into water and water into land. He hovered there and let me breathe in the unity and balance of the scene below.

Tiny seed-like droplets of shimmering light began to fall past us, showering down all over the Earth. “These are sister and brother seeds,” Hawk told me.

Each one has an exact mate within a human being. These are seeds of healing and restoration that are now pouring down to touch and strengthen the love, joy, and harmony which each person carries within. Some people have been so deeply wounded that they no longer know that these qualities exist within them. The seeds you see falling will move to their core and bring both remembering and healing of the wounds that have festered for centuries and generations.

Look first within yourself to see where your seed droplet comes to rest. It may ignite your life force energy reminding you of your inner strength and freedom to live your life fully. It may rest in your mind to release all of the thought patterns that hinder your well-being. It may open your heart to understand your deepest wounds and how to embrace them with love and care. It may ignite joy and laughter within you so that you feel like a fresh fountain bubbling with delight for all life holds.

Your inner healing and renewal does not take place in isolation, because all of Humanity is interwoven as cells within the same body. As the seeds of love, joy and harmony begin to emerge from the soil of your being, they will enliven all around you. Once you can look gently at your own pain, sorrow, anger, and regret, you will be able to see how others are also suffering in these ways. When you drop the illusion of how different you are from one another, your unity with all of humanity will become apparent. As you tend this new understanding, all of you will blossom and flourish.

You are not alone in tending the highest qualities within the human family. All of creation is here to water your joy and nourish your inner light. The vibrant and fully expressed life of any being within the Web of Life enlivens all. Breathing in, you receive the loving embrace of all living beings and breathing out, you celebrate the wonder of all the lives around you.

May these words and images water the seeds of love, joy, harmony and vibrant life within you as they have within me.

Nancy

The Gift of a Healing Crisis

I wrote recently about the resonance field in which interconnections result in a rippling of love, light and joy throughout the whole of our existence. In April, I encountered a number of waves of synchronous energies that have begun to expand my self understanding.

The first wave was my continuing work with the Tibetan Bön Chant. Over the months I had been working at the level of the upper three energy centers: crown, throat and heart. The crown is associated with the syllable “A,” and the image of a wide open sky which nurtures a feeling of spaciousness. The throat syllable “OM” adds the sense of sunlight pouring into that wide open sky, and a feeling of life being complete as it is. The heart is the place where the seeds of love, joy and peace are fed by the syllable “Hung.” I had not yet moved on to “RAM” at the naval or “DZA” at the root energy center.

The next wave was a healing journey that occurred when I met with the leader of our drumming circle, Della. She drummed and I sought healing for pain in my right hip and some long-term digestive problems. I met with the aboriginal medicine woman who is the one who does the work of healing on my body, mind and emotional being in the unseen world. She told me that when I decided that I would not be giving birth to children, I tied knots in the sinews at my hips and created a barrier across my abdomen. Ever since, I have sought to birth everything in my life through my thoughts, words and heart. She did the work of untying the knots and told me that over time I would discover how to birth what I create through my whole being.

These journey images resonated very powerfully for me and I knew that it was time to begin using the rest of the Bön chant to open those lower energy centers. While “RAM” is traditionally associated with joy, I found it also connected with my life force. Through Qigong, I have learned that this naval level is the Lower Tan Tien where we store our personal vital energy. This energy or fire nourishes our overall well-being and refines our deepest nature. It is a womb in which love, joy and peace can ripen into their highest form.

The root energy center is for giving birth, and “DZA” is about bringing the fullness of who we are into tangible expression. As our life force empowers the expression of our deepest being, it becomes effortless to spontaneously express it in our daily lives.

The next wave came through dental work that at first seemed to go very well, but a week afterward resulted in an infection near my lower jaw. After an unsuccessful four days on one antibiotic, I started on a stronger one, two days after my healing journey with Della. The details of the week on medication and the gradual recovery of health are not important. The outcomes, however, were very significant, revealing this as a healing crisis to aid my personal transformation.

Being very ill always opens me up to the liminal state of not being fully in either the seen or the unseen world, but drifting between the two. In this state, I found that doing my chant twice a day was one of the few things I could do. What I experienced was a broadening and deepening of my understanding of spaciousness, light, love, ripening of deep virtues and how to bring them into tangible form.

The overall result was a shift in my perception of my place as a human being within the web of life. All of us share vast space within and around us; light as our central nature; unconditional love and joy as our natural vibrational level; the capacity of our life force to nourish love, joy and peace for all living beings; and the continuing birthing of these elements into all of life.

I also experienced a shift in my eating habits, food choices and weight. The chemical changes in my body reset my system. As a result, I have a new lighter, healthier body that is best supported by smaller meals and more simple foods. It feels like I have been given the gift of a tangible change to keep me aware of the inward transformation that continues to unfold.

In the weeks and months ahead, I intend to share more about the healing qualities of the Tibetan Bön chant, and go into more detail about the images and insights it brings me. I am also beginning to write a storybook, “Stories That My Drum Told Me.” It gives me an expressive outlet for the wisdom and images I receive during my chanting and shamanic journeys.

I thank you for your presence in my life as companions in this unfolding journey of life.

Peace and Joy,

Nancy

The Resonance Field of Life

In recent weeks I have been captivated by all of the ideas, images and words that have come into my life as echoes and additions to what I receive in my shamanic journeys. I receive an image or message and within days other people share things that add to it and help me in the process of bringing what I have received into tangible form. This resonance knits our lives together to form the supportive structure that all of us need.

When Kathleen shared within the drumming circle of her journey to Grandmother Spider, this guide gave the advice to not worry about trying to build life in a linear fashion. It does not help to concentrate on one strand and ask it to hold all of our forward movement. Instead, we are to remember that each bit of energy, light, insight, or sound that sparks anywhere within the web enlivens and strengthens the whole thing. She spoke of a resonance field which fuels intuition and which is enhanced by joy and love.

During the same drumming circle, I experienced Humanity as the collective of all of us as cells in one being. We were each lit with our own inner beauty and wisdom. The whole Being of Humanity shimmered with light, love and possibility. Then as I watched, there were sympathetic vibrations within the Web of Life surrounding this Being of Humanity. As light, color and sound waves danced through the creation around us the outline between humankind and all of life faded. Every pulse of energy that was initiated anywhere in the Web of Life was felt as gift to every other part of the web.

A few days later,  I read an article about the shattering of the collective consciousness of humankind. Our shared cultural and societal assumptions about who we are as individuals and as a human species cannot carry us through this current evolutionary transition. They are breaking apart to allow new perceptions and a new understanding of our interconnection to emerge. What if the resonance field of the Web of Life is now beginning to provide new connective tissue to knit Humanity into unity with all living beings?

Within the week there was one more piece dropped in by my friend Karla, who has practiced Buddhism for decades. We were dialoguing about how to work with the strands of Karma which move through our lives. She taught me that I do not need to know the cause or even if the Karma is something from my own history. Facing the feeling, sensation, energy of it head on, feeling it in my body and letting it pass on through is how it is cleansed. Doing this work benefits not only me, but all living beings everywhere.

The way I am putting these pieces together leads me to great hope. I had been looking for a cumulative awakening of individual people until we reached the critical tipping point within the collective consciousness. Now, it feels like the whole creation is working together to transform the most fundamental connections among all living beings. Humanity, far from being outside and separate from the Web of Life, is part of a resonance field which is rewriting human consciousness along with every pulse of light, love and creative vibration throughout the cosmos.

I continue to use my chant from the Tibetan Bön tradition to do my own inner work.  As I encounter fears, angers, frustrations, mental barriers to feeling whole and united with all of life, I use this form of vibration and visualization to of clear them. As the vibration of the chant clears the clouds of mental chatter and the physical sensations they cause in my body,  I experience the peace of a wide open sky. I do not try to create the feelings or ideas, but work with what I am experiencing in that moment. As I do this, I am adding my experience of relief and openness back into the resonance field of all people everywhere. As I clear blockages from my own being, a spark of light is released into the whole web.

I am still in the process of seeing how all of these hints and ideas fit together. This is an amazing and complex web of being. If this sparks images and ideas for you, I hope that you will share them in the comments section. Each one of us carries strands of the web that weave together to bring wholeness to our world.

Peace along your path,

Nancy

Finger Painting with the Flow

I had a dream that seemed to last all night. I was in a classroom and there was something being taught that was both unfamiliar and intriguing. I felt the intensity of my attention and the resonance within me that this was both important and true. Yet, when I moved from sleep to waking, the only thing I could remember was a comment made in the hallway outside the classroom, “This is how we touch form within formlessness.”

Who wouldn’t want to go back and find out more.

I had the chance in a shamanic drumming circle where there was someone else playing the drum beat for me. It allowed me to sink fully back into the unseen world where I asked if there was a way to return to the classroom of my dream. I was immediately taken to a huge hall of marble, with alcoves lining either side. It reminded me of the Hall of Kings from Tolkien or a grand cathedral from medieval times. I walked past scientific labs and rooms filled with telescopes; places where languages of many varieties were flowing over one another; and past botanical gardens.

In a short time, we arrived at a closed door which opened before us and I saw the long table, surrounded by eager learners that had featured in my dream. The teacher beckoned me in and I took up a position across from him. “You want to remember the class from your dream,” he said, looking into my eyes. “That is easy, we were finger painting in the air with vibration, to get a feel for the flow of Life.”

At that moment, a swirl of rich green color moved into the space between us, and one after another of the people around me began to reach their fingertips toward it. There was no sense that they were trying to make the color shift in hue or to move it in space. Instead, each one caressed it like you would a satin ribbon, letting it move and shift between their fingertips. Sometimes there were many hands touching it, and at other times all would draw back and allow one individual to reach out with an open hand to let their fingertips rest on its surface. In those moments, their hand moved as through they were conducting a silent symphony.

As I watched, several other color swirls also entered the space and were interlaced with the first. A vivid royal blue and a deep rich maroon joined the play. As sensing fingers encountered them they would remain for a moment unmoved and unchanged, continuing on their way as though nothing was happening. Then, a shift would occur and their color and shape would shift. This was often the signal for that person to remove their hands from the area.

The teacher reminded me that in the night I had heard a train whistle and saw a blue velvet light flowing around the hillsides and sweeping around my bedroom. It had been a beautiful experience of seeing the sound and knowing that this vibration was carried in midnight blue.

The colors you see here are not sound waves, but the currents in the flow of Life. What we are trying to learn is how to feel this flow and move with it. We are not creating this flow and it is not coming through us. Its source is The Source and we are reaching out with our core being, our soul, to experience its resonance within us. We use our fingertips to focus our attention. We learn this way because we can pick up both the physical sensation of Life’s flow and see when we are seeking to change it.

He then invited me to extend my hand and touch one of the swirling forms of color. My finger moved through neutral air until they connected with the original green swirl. It was warm and thick, and there was an almost rubbery resistance to the pressure of my finger. Then suddenly it swerved away from my hand.

You are touching it with your physical body and your sense of touch. These place a buffer of space between you and the flow. Your mind comes between you and it, and creates a sense of separation or a desire to control. Prepare yourself through song and see what your experience becomes when it is your own being of light that is reaching out.

I stepped back from the table, and turned my back to the others. I sang one of the songs I use to prepare for shamanic journey and moved into the awareness of the light of my inner being. I sensed my whole body filled and nourished by the Source of all Light. This always helps me remember all of who I am; that at my core I am light and spirit.

Feeling more like a star than a human being, I turned back toward the table and extending my hand into the space of dancing color. The color patches did not change their form or direction as my fingers encountered them. Instead, I felt my hand invited to float on the current of the flow of vibration. It made almost hula-like wave movements, lifted and carried by the thick finger paint-like current of life. I was not seeking to influence it, but was allowing it to carry my hand wherever it might go. One color would lift and then withdraw, only to have another move in from some other direction to carry my hand through this dance.

The teacher spoke gently, so as not to break my focus.

This is how we learn to sense the flow of Life. You will sense it on many levels and through many senses. It is color and music, rhythm and cadence, sunlight and shadow, sandpaper and silk, scent of flowers and taste of salt. Finger painting with it allows you to be playful and to notice when you are letting it move you and when you are trying to move it.

The return beat of the drum told me it was time to return to the tangible world. I thanked the teacher and all the others involved in this classroom. As I was stepping out the door, the teacher called after me, “You are not very strong with your sense of smell, but you might want to listen to what flavors you long for. It is just another way of experimenting.” I smiled and turned to walk back through this magnificent hall and back into the room in my home where I was journeying from.

(Part of this did come within the time of the shamanic journey with my drumming circle in February. The rest has been a gift from my helping spirits and guides from the unseen world as I typed this morning. I sense that there is more about the play of finger painting with vibration, in which our own energy/vibration dances with that of all creation. I will let you know how that unfolds.)

Lesson from Hare

What I see outside of myself depends on the filters I use to interpret the information flowing in. If I put images through the same conditioned framework, I am bound to see the same old things. In fact those thought patterns keep me from seeing what is right in front of my eyes.

A hare taught me this the other day. I was sitting reading a book and glancing up occasionally to look across the yard to an open area in front of the manzanita bushes. At first he just sat there motionless. I watched this statue-like form for about five minutes and wondered if he was all right. The next time I looked up, he was munching the grass near the base of the nearby bird bath. A half hour later, there he was again, just sitting, appearing to stare into the yard. Over about an hour and a half he was somewhere in that scene, sitting motionless or eating, any time I looked his way.

I had not seen a hare do this before. I usually see one haring off out toward the open field. They have kept their distance and if they pause to nibble the bushes, they are soon on their way. This behavior was different and therefore my mind began to see a problem. “Is this hare ill or injured? Does it realize that there is a coyote in the neighborhood and that lingering in one spot might be dangerous? Do I need to put extra food out for it?” All my thoughts circled the feeling that there was a problem with the hare and I needed figure out what to do for it.

That night, I asked Hare (the archetype of my visitor) if there was a message for me. In a dream Hare responded, “I was not concerned looking into the cabin and seeing you reading your book and drinking tea, even though you usually do not sit in one spot for so long. Why should you think that there is a problem with me when I sit, eat and enjoy the first warm afternoon?”

The next morning, the memory of the dream made me laugh. The gift of the hare was to show me what my mind does when I look out at other people, places and situations with the wrong eyes. Over the previous week I had been focusing not on my friends and family, but on the challenges they are currently facing and the frustrations they are experiencing. Instead of seeing the capacity, strength, inner light, and creativity of each person, I was scanning for “problems” to be help them solve. This is one of those well-worn thought paths that I can slip into without noticing.

No one needs my suggestions about what they should do or how to move forward in their lives. When I launch in with my ideas, I often interfere with their ability to listen to their own deepest wisdom and find guidance within.

When I share a challenge or puzzle, I do not want someone else to grab it away and try to solve it. I want the chance to listen to how I describe it and see what pops up. While possibilities sometime emerge as a friend adds their comments, it is still up to me to sort through what is offered and to see where it fits for me. Most often their gift is the compassion of listening to my words with open acceptance, and reflecting a confidence in my ability to find my way along my path.

I have not seen the hare in recent days, but I sense he is still afoot enjoying the longer warmer days. His presence is a gift. This animal let me bounce my thoughts and projections off of his lovely, peaceful form so I could see them more clearly. I’m deeply grateful for hare and all the four-legged teachers who visit me bringing curiosity, playfulness and peace.

Peace along your path,

Nancy

Millions of Possibilities

In a dream the other night, I was sitting working a complicated jigsaw puzzle. My brow was furrowed in concentration and my belly was tight with frustration. I kept picking up the same three pieces, trying them and finding that they did not fit. I was beginning to think about getting the scissors and just making them fit when I heard very clearly, “Let go and open up.”

The words seemed to send a wave of relaxation throughout my mind and body. A huge spiral column of vivid green light began to rotate slowly through the whole room. Its movement was not effected by my presence or by any of the tangible items in the room. It did not change color, intensity or form, simply flowing through us as if we had no solid form. I was fascinated.

When it reached the level of the floor, it revealed a woven carpet made of energy thread. At each crossing of thread, color and light glistened revealing images and patterns beyond imagining. I recognized it as an expression of the Web of Life. The spiral of green light seemed to help draw my focus to first one point and then another in a playful dance.

“There are not three options, but millions,” I was told. “Your mind is very tight and your fear closes down your vision. You no longer need to live in that frustrating way. Open to the giving and receiving throughout the whole Web of Life. Sacred reciprocity guides the flow of limitless love, light and creativity as it moves from one form to another in an effortless progression. Learn to open to this flow.”

How much energy have I wasted in my life trying to get pieces to fit in the way that I think they should? Guided by my conditioned assumptions and projections, I go to the three or four most familiar options and get frustrated and angry when they will not provide what I want or need. My dream made me feel like a little girl, hands on hips, scowling at the unfair ways of the world, while standing knee-deep in a field of wildflowers.

I think the dream had its roots in reading about and practicing The Five Seed Syllables of Tibetan Sound Healing as it is taught by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a master in the Bön Buddhist tradition. For the past week I have been focusing on the first tone, “A” (which sounds like “Ahhh”). With this tone I focus on an area in my head which is directly down from the crown and inward from the middle of my forehead, a little above eye level. As this vibration fills me on each exhalation, I bring to mind “opening” and envision a broad clear sky.

When the five to ten minutes of toning is over, I feel entirely different from when I began. Where there had been a feeling of grasping tension, there is now a relaxed openness. I can feel the muscles of my chest and belly relax and the wrinkles in my forehead smooth. My inner vision is now ready to see the million possibilities that surround me when I allow my mind to open to like a bright blue sky.

Peace along your path,

Nancy

(You can find a nice introduction to Five Syllables of Tibetan Sound Healing and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche in his presentation on “Tapping into the Source of Creativity” on YouTube : https://youtu.be/PXlFM8Aw8dU).

Burning Through to Unity

My recent inner work has focused on burning away the most basic assumptions, projections and illusions in my life, those things which block the flow of creativity, love and joy. I have been using Qi Gong practices that strengthen the inner fire of life energy in my belly to help provide me with strength, clarity and a deep sense of who I am beyond my mental frameworks and behavior habits. As my inner physical energy builds and moves throughout my body, I experience a growing confidence. I feel a stable core within myself that offers both flexibility and resilience.

I often do shamanic journey to the Unseen World to enter a great bonfire, and invite it to burn away all of my personality, ego, and separation. As I moved into it during a recent journey, the process did not end in the usual way. I dropped even the image of myself as a being of light and I found myself tracing the history of the elements of which my body is made. The molecules and atoms that have stored my personal memories, also remember their existence within drops of rainwater and moving through the bodies of other creatures. They remember being stone and stardust, oxygen and iron, tree fiber and wing feather, photons and magnetic waves.

I do not have to slowly untangle the fire of my being from the limited experiences of this lifetime stored in tissue and cell. I can focus instead on the memory of being part of all that has been from the beginning of beginningless time. This broader, unified reality also exists within my physical form.

In my journey, I was invited to reverse the process so that I was again aware of my core being of light and the fire of my life energy. I was told to look here for the truth of who I am in the world at this time, and to find direction for my focus, thoughts, words and actions. I alone am responsible for this vital life force within me and can choose how I stoke this fire and direct its creative force.

I suddenly become aware of the entire Web of Life — all expressions of life in this cosmos. Each was shining with its own inner light and life force. Connecting all of this is the light and energy of the Sacred One that surrounds and fills us all. Aware of the light shimmering and twinkling throughout this web, I felt the light of my own being enlivened with both joy and purpose. Each of us is called to live our life’s fire and energy to the fullest expression of who we are. Each is unique, precious and vital to the whole.

As I came out of the journey, and back into the tangible world, I felt calm and fluid. All living beings are gifts to spark my memory and connection with my inner being of light. They remind me who I have always been. My heart opens with the desire to live in such a way that my inner fire fuels the most rich and complete expression of my being. In this way, I recognize and honor the broader harmonious reality. The light of my core sparkles throughout the Web of Life and my inner fire adds to the clarity and power of the whole creation.

Peace along your path,
Nancy