A Day in a Life: Take Action

Take action knowing that it is your move.
No one else is present in your life to take action or move for you.
Everything depends on you.
Do not look to others to resolve your dilemmas.
Your life is totally up to you and your actions.
Take action.

This is the tenth step in learning a shamanic practice, a practice that is pragmatic and helpful in learning to evolve, to keep going, to grow and to change, but also to learn to live in more than just this fixed and rational reality. I wrote the above in the middle of the night of November 2, 2009, after intending again to connect and dream with the women of don Juan’s generation of seers.

A shamanic practice revolves around becoming totally responsible for the self, for the past self and the future self, as well as for the self who strives for each moment to be one of awareness. As I have been relaying these shamanic steps in my blog over the past few weeks, I have been struck each week by the relationship each step has to recapitulation, perhaps the most important step, according to the seers, in really electing to change and grow.

In doing recapitulation, in seeking to fully know the self, these steps that I learned from the women seers become more than just pointers, they become a way of life. Until one is in the process of learning about the deeper self these steps may simply come across as good ideas or thoughts that make sense in everyday life, but they blossom into true steps of growth when one begins the process of recapitulation with intent, with unbending intent. It is through experiencing each of these steps, through taking a personal journey into the darkness of the self, that these ideas ultimately make total, practical sense.

A recapitulation can take place through many means. One of them is to simply allow the self to go back into memories, to feel, see and experience them as if reliving them once again and then to go back again and again, going deeper and deeper each time. In looking from a different perspective each time, a personal experience may be revealed as it had actually happened rather than as it had been consciously remembered. When memories are revisited in a state of heightened awareness, new clarity and insight may be gained where before there may have been only vagueness or just a shadowy sense that something was not quite right, or there may have been no memory at all because it was effectively blocked by the psyche.

In memories, painful experiences may be replaced with less offensive stories. Safe or pleasant memories may be construed in order to alleviate the full force of the true and often brutal memories. In essence, selective memories can make us feel safe and okay, though they are not the whole truth. The truth often lies deeply hidden. In my own case, I was nagged by incessant feelings that something was wrong with me, but I was not able to fully access what that meant until I was ready and able to handle it.

Recapitulation, as Chuck mentioned in a recent blog, is a volitional action that happens when we are ready. Somewhere along our journeys, our psyche and our body determine that the time is now and prepares us for the moment. When we are thrown or drawn into recapitulation, some deeper part of us is ready, and it is asking us to shift.

In recapitulation, I did learn that I was totally responsible for everything about myself and that if I did not make a move to help myself then nothing would happen to change me or my life. And as I worked through what that meant, in light of where I was at the time and what I had to remember about my past, it empowered me, diminishing my reliance on others and my reliance on staying stuck in certain familiar modes, repeating the same habits and staying in a world that never changed. Although I considered that world to be rather safe, it was not until I was well into my recapitulation that I discovered that it was, in fact, a world of fear that I kept such control of by retreating, withdrawing and hiding, by making safe choices, so that I did not have to confront anything that made me afraid or uncomfortable. In spite of having lived a very full life in many ways, achieving a measure of success, I still had not resolved the inner dilemmas, of what was wrong with me, of why I felt so powerless and unsafe. What was I really afraid of?

So, I would have to say that I did not feel truly safe in this world until I had done a recapitulation of a world that lay hidden deeply inside me. It was purposely hidden so that I could grow up, maintain sanity, and mature into adulthood. I was protected from it long enough to prepare to return, when the time was right, and look with the eyes of an adult at what had happened to me in my past. In returning, I was afforded the opportunity to learn what it really means to take responsibility for the self, for the cards dealt, for the circumstances of life, and to regain the power that I had lost along the way. It took breaking many vows of silence, many pacts, and it also took facing the darkness within, the stuff that had followed me around for a long, long time, just waiting for me to return and remember what it was all about.

So, in the final lesson to “take action,” the women seers are also suggesting that it is our choice to evolve, to change, and to recapitulate too. We are all afforded many opportunities to practice such steps. We read our books and chant our mantras. We do our yoga and meditate ourselves into calmness, but until we really take action on our own behalf, and face our fears, we are just waiting for something or someone outside of us to change, when it is what is inside us that is asking for change. At least, that has been my experience.

Until next week,

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