It was -1 C at 9 am this morning, with the wind chill it was -10 C.
Nestled into the hedge, waiting for the heat of the sun
It was -1 C at 9 am this morning, with the wind chill it was -10 C.
Nestled into the hedge, waiting for the heat of the sun
A few years ago, while I was in the early stages of recovery from burn out, I realized that all the work that I was doing to heal was missing a component. That component was my spirituality.
From past experience, I knew that my spirituality was the foundation of my existence. Over the years I had taken a lot of workshops, drawing from each of them, facets that I resonated to and that supported my inner world.
The only way I managed to do anything was when I was reacting to the world around me. but to do that meant that I was ignoring my inner world. to accomplish what was expected of me I would over extend my self and once I had fulfilled ‘their’ expectations, I would collapse for days, sometimes a week. A ‘Catch 22’.
It was at that time, that I received an email regarding an online Spiritual workshop from Jocelyn Mercado. Being online meant that I didn’t have to leave the house, I could choose to listen to the presenters or not.
It takes a lot of energy to listen and focus and I didn’t have the energy to listen to all the presenters, so I sorted through the offering and chose 1 or 2 a day.
I enjoyed listening to the other spiritual guides and advisers, but it was Simone Wright’s no-nonsense grounded attitude that caught my attention.
I worked with Simone for 2 years until she took a sabbatical from teaching last year. Recently, I received an email telling me about a program she is offering called Visioneering.
In Simone’s words “There IS a way to making your Visions a reality and it’s not rooted in magic. It’s rooted in an energetic STRATEGY that actually helps you ENGINEER your Visions for the future, by giving them a stable yet powerful, container through which ALL of the energy of your Visions can move!
YOU are that container and YOU are the Engineer as well.”
Check it out at Visioneering.
Simone’s offering a special price until March 3.
Disclosure: I have no connection with either Simone Wright or Jocelyn Mercado, other than the work I did with them. As a spiritual teacher I highly recommend Simone.
Today I am honored to have Widdershins as guest Blog post. Read On & Enjoy!
Widdershins has just published her book, Prelude – The Gaining Of Shamanic Wisdom. It’s part memoir, part memoir, part Shamanic adventure, and part guidebook, with a dash of dire warning on the side. More information about Widdershins herself, and Prelude, at the end.
Take it away, Widdershins!
We are Beings of Earth, Air, Water, Fire.
But there is so much more to our existence, so much more to ‘see’, all around us, if only we have the ‘eyes’, the awareness, to understand what we’re looking at.
We are also children of this planet, our Mother, Earth. And as such we are able to connect to the fifth Aspect of Her Spirit, by engaging with a different Realm of Awareness than the Physical, measurable, quantifiable one that we see all around us, and without which we wouldn’t exist in these biological forms we currently inhabit.
One of these Realms of Awareness involves the Places of Power on the surface of the Earth, and their interconnectedness through the body of the earth.
The Places of Power are scattered throughout the six great landmasses, Australia, Africa, South America, Eurasia, Antarctica, and North America, and the myriad islands throughout the ‘seven seas’. (There may indeed be Places of Power under the oceans and seas, that we haven’t got close enough to experience yet)
They are naturally occurring Sacred Circles, that separate the magical from the mundane and from within which, it is easier to connect to other Realms of Awareness.
They range from famous and grand structures like Stonehenge in south-western England and the Nazca lines in Peru, to the moment when you walk between two trees on either side of a forest path and know that something is different.
All of them are connected to each other by rivers of energy that pass through the body of the Earth, the mantle and inner and outer core, like a giant three-dimensional spiderweb.
In my Shamanic Journeys I see them as brightly colored strings of shiny beads, woven around a core of pure energy. It’s possible to, carefully, engage with these rivers and hitch a ride to any destination, to any Place of Power, you wish.
The rivers also allow the Places themselves to communicate with each other, to share energy as needed, to repair the passages of Time, or the careless scuff made by the boot of a human tourist.
The smaller Places that are not anchored to one geographical location, as are the two ‘famous’ ones I mentioned above, have the ability to move around, drawn by a Spirit’s need, or responding to the Earth Herself.
They are both the Journey and the Destination. And are such fun to play with!
Imagine, having prepared your physical and Spirit bodies, you close your eyes and hitch a ride with one of the rivers. You travel, at the speed of thought, through the great body of the Earth, observing all the energies swirling around you.
Who knows what adventures you will have.
Shamans come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, from all the continents of the Earth. We’ve been around since the human race realized there was more to existence than just the physical, and we’ll be around long after the last star has died, when the Wheel turns to renew All.
Becoming a Shaman is not for the faint-of-heart, or the timid-of Spirit. It is not an easy Path, nor should it be. The responsibilities are great and require harsh testing before one is judged capable of shouldering them.
There are many Pathways to becoming a Shaman, and I came to understand mine through my Earth-based, Goddess Spirituality, She who is the First Mother of Us All, in all Her forms.
‘Prelude’ is the story of my very first steps along that Path. It is part memoir, part Shamanic adventure, and part guidebook, with a dash of dire warning on the side.
From the moment I came across a giant statue of Bast, I knew my life would never be the same. There were times I froze, bled, burned, raged, and cried. My life, my past, the shadows, and the shining moments, all the things I believed defined me, were challenged, until nothing but a truth, my Truth, remained.
Join me as I confront my monsters, discover my true Name, and come to understand that the Physical world I grew up with was just a tiny corner of a much vaster Cosmos.
I was born in England on a crisp autumn eve in 1958, emigrated to Australia at the tender age of two, and moved to Canada in 2004 where I married the love of my life. I left school when I was fourteen, and thereafter continued my education via libraries, books, and whatever Life decided to throw my way.
I’m a Shaman, a lesbian, a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fiction. I’m a bicyclist, a feminist, a gardener, a crafter of clay … I’ve been an architect, a seamstress, an athlete, a field hand …
Being a Shaman is the Thread of my life from which all else is woven. Writing is one of my Great Passions, novels specifically, short stories occasionally, and always with lesbian characters.
I adopted ‘Widdershins’ as a username in the early days of the interwebz, and it stuck … because I am, if nothing else, contrariwise. Also, it’s witchy, whimsical, and wild.
Widdershins, as Writer:
One day, late in my high-school career, in order to avoid writing a very boring science essay, I turned in a short science fiction story instead. It incorporated the information in the essay, but in a much more readable form. (in my humble opinion)
When I handed it in I caught a glimpse of my teacher’s face as she started reading it, she’d turned rather pale. I discreetly exited the room before her ability to speak returned. As I fled I heard a bark of what I hoped was laughter, but it could’ve been an incipient heart attack. Only time would tell.
Upon receiving the marked essay back I saw the following scrawled across the top. ‘Don’t ever do this to me again.’ Somewhere in the middle was a, ‘Well Done.’ In the bottom left-hand corner was a very large red ‘A’.
That was the moment my career as a writer began.
Widdershins, as Shaman:
I always wanted to know the layers of ‘why’, about everything, and to see beyond the horizon, all the horizons. I found answers to most of my ‘why’s and wherefore’s’ about things of a physical, intellectual, and emotional ilk, but the spiritual … hmm … that evaded me. So I engaged with the obvious first, but found far too many holes in traditional religion, and any practice that required genuflecting to a guru didn’t do it for me either, particularly if there was some bloke at the top of things telling everyone else what they should or shouldn’t do in order to achieve his vision of … whatever he wanted.
I read everything I could get my hands on, and quested among New Age philosophies, and ‘eastern’ practices. (a good many of which, unfortunately, fell into the above mentioned ‘bloke-at-the-top’ category)
Then I discovered the women writing about feminist politics and spirituality from a woman-centered perspective. Women like Mary Daly, Colette, Kate Millett, Diane Stein, Starhawk, Monica Sjoo, Dale Spender, Vicki Noble, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and many, many others.
After much searching I came to understand that what moved my Spirit was an Earth-based, Goddess Spirituality, the First Mother of Us All.
And so, my Journey to become a Shaman of Her Path began, with ‘Prelude’.
The wind blows
Strong, yet warm
Soft brushes lift my hair.
A spring wind in Autumn
Rattling the bamboo
Sweeping, incoming waves shaking trees.
Seeds filling the air, like a cloud of butterflies.
A spot of rain dropped,
A singular wetness upon my face.
Its been a hard summer – heat hit, spring was barely a whisper.
Throughout the British Columbia, fires exploded caused by lightening and stupid humans. Destroying hectares of timber, cleansing the forests of beetle killed jack pine and slash; and threatening homes.
Smoke, soot and particle matter (PM2) replaced oxygen.
Once again, we rescheduled our vacation, hope holding, before finally cancelling.
Rain replaced heat, sudden heavy rains saturating the earth – good for the fires but not vacations – the fires, though held continued to burn, sending smoldering clouds of smoke, soot and PM2 into the environment. Temperatures tumbled towards winter, Bronchitis replaced smoke.
October’s closing in; we grasp onto the autumn wind, holding past memories of softer springs, easier summers and long warm autumns with leaves gradually changing and plan for a long winter.
We just returned from a walk, surveying the damage of the ice storm that swept through Mission.
Trees are shaking off the ice, snow and broken branches as they bask in the heat of the sun. Icicles now hang precariously on power lines ready to impale the unwary. As we were forewarned by a few standing up-right – piercing our drive.
We had listened to the thud and cracks of the trees that surround us; topped, branches torn and swept away by the wind.
Our maple lost 2 branches… we’ve nurtured that tree since moving here 6 years ago, and it was painful to hear the heavy crack as they gave way under the layers of ice.
It was nirvana to wake up to the power on yesterday morning, after 3 days without it. We’d kept warm with our kerosene heater, but we were down to our last filling of kerosene. And we were melting snow for water, our electric water pump for our little cult de sac has no back up generator.
I’d like to join the many others who are Thanking BC Hydro crews that worked 16 hour days to get the power back on. I can only imagine how difficult it was to battle the ice rain, toppling trees, branches and poles layered with ice.
The fog lifts.
Battered I feel.
I took a tumble the other day.
One would think that a person would recognize that when a large group of people are bustling about, the lighting is dim and even dimmer at the floor level that the person they dump their over-sized stuffed black bag beside may not realize that said bag is there. Perhaps she could have said something like ‘my bag is on the floor beside you’.But she did not.And I did not. So… stepping carefully over my own bag, mindful that it was dark, and I didn’t want to trip over the straps of my bag… I stepped… then stepped again… right foot anchored… like a bird caught in a snare, leaping upward only to have the noose tighten and slammed back to earth.
Fortunately for me, I have worked on getting back into shape over this past year.
For I landed on my left side, my left arm and hand braced against the fall, all the while twisting my right side into the fall to take some of the impact.Its taken a few days for damage other than the immediate contact point to show itself
I don’t think I have a ligament, tendon, or muscle that isn’t in some degree of discomfort
Even my brain has been mushy.
I seldom take drugs… of any sort… but to ease the inflammation and relax, I have indulged in – acetaminophen and IBUs, (a hard toss between them and the bottle of wine) this is both a shock to my system and my ego.
Old habits press upon my mind when trauma happens. The discomfort ignored, yet undermines my day.
All my plans have gone awry.
My emotional shield… propped up with adrenaline, didn’t hold and for one brief moment.
A bubble of rage flashed …. Startling in its intensity.
Fortunate I am… no bones broken. Though, spotted with bruises large and small.
Yellowing each passing day.
One of the challenges of starting any new project is figuring out the tools you’ll need to do the job.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, ‘Work-space Upgrade, I had to buy equipment to do Voice Over work. I bought a mic and downloaded the software… but that’s only the beginning. I also needed sound panels, to cut extraneous sound. So, back online I went … after viewing what was available (I don’t have the space to build a sound studio) … my partner suggested that I look at the DIY on Youtube – How to make High Performance Sound Absorption Panels for $5.
With a few revisions, I built my own. The 1 ½” finished product was a trifle expensive so I went with the 2” common.
The guy at local building supply were really helpful – he found me 4 boards – approximately 8’ long and agreed to cut it for me and even wrapped the ends up. Easier to carry and cut my work load way back.
Since the wood was stored outside I wanted to ensure that the wood was good and dry… taking advantage of the 26 to 30 degree heatwave.
Gathering my tools
using 3.5 inch wood screws … the 2″ common wood became 4 frames
I bought the towels at a local thrift store laid them out on the floor
stapling the outside towel, then, cutting the inside pieces from additional towels – a large bath towel, gave me 2 pieces per
My frames are free standing, rather than wall mounted and I wanted to attach them together in pairs
I tried sewing the inside pieces to the back panel as suggested but the inside pieces didn’t remain taut. I pulled the stitches and stapled instead …
Stapled on the back, attach the brackets to the 2nd frame and…
My cost was a bit higher than the $5 per but I did add 3 sets of hinges per pair and increased the inside towel pieces to 7. Cost was approximately $8. Still a lot less expensive then buying portable sound panels that would be 2/3 the size.
As I said, I realized I wouldn’t be travelling and performing as I had originally planned in 2017. My Business Advisor at Community Futures suggested I create a Plan B.
What to do?
What to do?
I played with a few ideas and latched onto Voice Over.
Changing Plans required ‘deep thinks’. My adviser made a few suggestions … Librivox … sounded interesting… a good place to start. following their suggestions, I ordered a mic and I downloaded Audacity. I read (moan) parts of the manual. Looks simple enough.
It quickly became apparent that my work-space wouldn’t work.
So after a few trips to thrift stores… this space …
Becomes this space …
The final results are!
Coming up … Sound Panels …
It was a wet chilly morning, the grass shimmering with the remnants from the previous nights rain. I’d dressed with a little more care. Adding heels and pair of earrings to my usual flaring yoga pants and loose top.
Leaving the house with just enough time, I stepped onto the sidewalk and hooked my foot behind my right ankle and fell, face first, catching myself with my hands, grinding gravel into the pads. Groaning, I pushed myself to my feet, wincing as I put weight on my left foot. “Great! Just Great!” I snarled to myself. “Just what I needed.” Nausea simmered in my gut.
I had a good excuse not to go. I sighed. No go now and get it started. Putting off the meeting wasn’t going to change that I had to find a way to make a living. Getting a Doctor’s note for additional sick leave would not be likely. I limped to the truck hoping it wasn’t broken. Foot… not truck.
I limped into the meeting. Put on a happy face. Ran the gauntlet of introductions. Listened to the benefits of working with Work BC. I was asked what I wanted to do. I really dislike job interviews, filling never ending applications, and forms. So, I said, Self Employed. I figured less of everything. Besides I was tired of 9 – 5.
I gathered up the information and my next appointment date with my Case Manager and hobbled back to my truck… sagging into my seat as my heart rate slowed to a near stop.
I contemplated spending time sitting in the Medical clinic to get my foot checked out, winced, moaned and decided not to. It was the same foot I broke 6 months before and it felt the same… bloody painful. I had the Air boot, so I went home.
I stared at the sheaf of papers the staff had given me. It hadn’t seemed so large when I folded them and put them in my case. I placed them on my desk and sipped my tea. Maybe a little distance… I walked away and looked back. No, still the same mass. I frowned, it actually seemed to be growing exponentially. My eyes crossed, my vision blurred. I blinked trying to clear them. Maybe better lighting.
Moving the light didn’t work and only took 5 minutes. The writing seemed blurry, my ears filled with cotton wool. I re-read the questions as they jumped on the page. Throwing the paper down I snarled at my wife … who’s a bit deaf.
On the 3rd repeat. To her back. I yelled and jumped up and down. Turning around she said calmly, “What’s the matter?”
Snarling, I thrust the papers at her. “These stupid questions don’t make any sense.”
I listened as she read each question out loud, and muttered to myself as I took notes. Whimpering, I crawled back into my skin dragging my resistance with me.
(stay tuned for Part 2)
Dropping Pennies is about insights, changes in perspectives. The Ah Ha!, and Oh!, moments I have, books I read and anything else that catches my fancy. And every now and then I’ll throw in something about my business, Wise Women Travellers, travelling theater company.
I grew up in a family of girls in the Cariboo, BC Canada. My father followed the work, mining and logging while my mother kept the ‘home fires burning’, canning a quarter acre garden and the deer or moose they brought in, not necessarily during the hunting season.
I was in my early teens before we got electricity and running water.
For my 10th birthday, I begged my parents for a pair of cap guns that I saw in the window of the local store – they were full size with leather cross holsters that tied down. I was in my 30’s when I let them go, and even now question why. I believe that the choices we make in life should be informed – conscious – not because others say so or because we’re swept up in the moment – I found not thinking through a choice creates regrets. And so, letting go of my guns was not something I thought through.
About the same timeframe, age 10, a group of entertainers came to town and played at the community hall. The MC and main singer introduced his daughter who tapped danced, telling us that she didn’t like to practice, she would rather skip. So, he and she agreed she could skip as long as she tapped at the same time. It was the first time I realized that work could be more than drudgery.
At Simon Fraser university, where I graduated in 1994 with a BFA in theater, I met a young man in his 20’s, who was born in Tibet, raised in China and India, and was Caucasian. He showed me that race, colour, or religion do not necessarily create culture. Culture stems from our life experiences.
According to E.B. Taylor, culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by a man as a member of society.”
Today there seems to be more pressure on people to conform. Different cultures demand that their differences be acknowledged and the expectations that we deny who we are in order to be seen as politically correct and unbiased. I believe that if we accept our own culture, and acknowledge what doesn’t work, and what does, then we are apt to look for alternatives that are more expansive than our individual culture and then become more accepting of all cultures.
Denying ‘our Selves’ doesn’t create better people. Denying who we are doesn’t help the issues that arise when cultures clash. How can we accept one another if we are denied our own?