Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Resistance Is Futile

There's something about me that is dysfunctional. (Wife says, "Oh...?")

It's very much a bad habit, and it's in my way. I've been receiving guidance about it now since we opened Firefly Willows, but I guess old habits die hard.

I have grown up and lived my life as an over-achiever and as a hard worker. I have reveled in my ability to carry heavy loads, be strong, and grind my way forward.
In theory, I have held this capacity in reserve, used on an "as needed" basis.

The facts seems quite different. Upon close inspection of my behavior, I notice that if it isn't hard, I don't think it's worth doing. If it isn't a struggle, I don't feel like I've accomplished anything. If it doesn't include resistance - something for me to push against - it's not a good use of my time, talent, and resources.

That's kinda dumb.

Because I end up making everything harder than it needs to be.

When I find myself in a place of ease, I look for a way to push up against its boundaries, to find the edge. To find the resistance.

This behavior is in sharp contrast to the "effortlessness" I have been guided to embrace.

Seeking resistance, I'm informed, is pointless. It's no longer useful exercise - it's just wasted energy and lost momentum. It just slows me down. Perhaps it was useful once, but no longer.
I go for a walk in the woods and I see squirrels and deer. They blend effortless into their daily routine like melody in a song. I look at the undisturbed natural systems in the world and they always balance. Yes, there is death. Yes, there is loss. Yes, there is pain, in all those balanced systems. So? I know I don't live as freely as the chipmunk or the crow. My sense of security and of my place in the world is much more tenuous than theirs. I observe death, pain, loss here in this human construct we call "culture", in much greater measure than I see out there.

Effortlessness is not laziness. It's a willingness to let go of a white-knuckled grip on the wheel and take the time to enjoy the ride. It's about stopping the march and starting the dance.

In a deep shamanic trance a few years ago, my spiritual guidance fairly shouted in my ears, "STOP TRYING TO FORCE IT, AND LET IT HAPPEN!!"

Here I am, still trying to stop trying.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rites of Passage

I keep hearing this message in my head.
"Rites of Passage". "Rites of Passage".

Over and over and over. So without knowing what I'm about to write, I begin.

I wonder: What Rites of Passage have I experienced in my life?

Certainly, marriage. Sex. Being a father. Watching my children become adults. Experiencing death. Coming face-to-face with my limits. Failure.

Each of these are rites of passage in their way. Unique. Some joyful, some tragic.

What do they have in common?

Each has had a role in illuminating Truth. Each has played a role in dissipating illusion.

"Drop your illusions...!" is another message I am hearing. Trying to heed that message is difficult, by the very fact that illusions are illusory - they don't reveal themselves as illusions voluntarily. How does one discern illusion from real?

Through rites of passage? Is that a part of what they are for? I usually think of them as marking some kind of "initiation" into something - a way of perceiving, a gateway to new experiences, an arrival at a place one cannot retreat from - no going back. Perhaps it is in that part of their nature that rites of passage dissolve illusion?

What else about "Rites of Passage"? Do they humble the ego? Do they open the heart? Perhaps they do many things. Perhaps each one works on a different part of the self, bringing it into clearer resonance with the Self.

Perhaps we don't have a very complete set of these to assist us in our "breakthroughs" of growth and perception.

My thoughts take me now to the power of grief and loss. I am meeting people who have experienced great loss, and who are still processing grief.

I have learned that the Celts believe that two of the three internal "cauldrons" of life are turned upside-down at birth, and cannot hold anything until they are righted. The cauldron of yearning (in the heart), and the cauldron of knowing (in the head), are both empty until either great sorrow or great joy turns them upright. And then they can be filled.

Somehow, I think a Rite of Passage may be key to this turning as well. If we are not prepared -- perhaps to "see" through illusion -- then these great sorrows and great joys may remain simply that - sorrow or joy - without having the effect of righting the cauldron. A missed opportunity?

Rites of Passage. Rites of Passage. Rites of Passage.

What are my Rites of Passage?

Why must I write of Passage?