Carlos Castaneda once said, in the most supremely nonjudgmental way: whatever life you’re in, whatever part you’ve chosen to play, play it to the fullest! From the point of view of infinity, life is endless adventure, with endless roles to play. Let’s all win Kennedy Center honors for the parts we play.
To be fully engrossed and captivated by the life we are in makes us the serious actors our parts fully deserve. Turn around then with joy and glee at the ultimate realization that when we are done with our role we are free to retire it, job well done, complete. Now, onto the next! And what will that role be?
This ability to free ourselves to move on to new life is supreme detachment. This is supreme love; love for all the actors we come into contact with as we continue the unfathomable journeys we are all on, journeys of infinite possibility, as boundless as the growing universe—universe upon universe.
With awareness and affection, and a growing connection to boundless love, I wish you all a Happy New Year!
I dream all night of gaining serenity and stillness, of aligning spine and chakras and achieving inner peace. I dream this process over and over again, constantly turning inward throughout the night. I wake to hear that Chuck has dreamed the opposite: violent dreams of murder and rampage on a college campus that he cannot control. He did not lose his awareness, tried to alert people to the truth of the perpetrator, a professor, but could only minimally hold him at bay. Though he attempts to engage authorities, violence prevails. We realize that as we slept side by side throughout the night our dreams created a balance. We slept in the tension of the opposites.
I see our dreaming experience duplicating the energy of our times, the masculine being balanced by the feminine and vice versa. There is always going to be violence, just as there is always the capacity within us all to bring ourselves to inner calm.
As this year comes to a close, I note the tension of our times. The energy of discontent being spurred by a need for all people on the planet to be nurtured and cared for, the energy of the movements for change asserting a new kind of masculine energy so that the feminine may prevail. The energy of our times asks that the planet be treated in the same manner, the overbearing paternal energy of greed and power relinquished now to the nurturing energy of the maternal.
I see this energy of now and the energy that Chuck and I slept through last night as the energy of our birthing time, the energy of the universe righting itself as we go into 2012, perhaps long predicted, but definitely right. Though the Mayan calendar speaks of endings we must keep in mind that endings also mean birth into new life and new possibility. The quest we are now on as human beings on our planet, Earth, is the quest for balance, for fairness, for caring compassion so that all things, human and animal—nature in all its abundance—may prevail in a new manner.
My dreams say: Go inward constantly, realign, work your way through your personal issues as you go deeper and deeper into the calmness within. Find anchoring stillness within as you turn from the disturbances without. We are all capable of shifting ourselves into stillness, my dreams say. We are all capable of recapitulating ourselves to a new place, to a new era of self.
We are all capable of shifting the old masculine energy of control and domination into new alignment by letting our feminine energy bring us to a place of inner calm. We are all capable of becoming the maternal self we have long sought outside of ourselves, just as we are capable of changing the masculine self, toppling it from its place of power that we have long felt was so necessary. We are all capable of releasing ourselves from what we carry within as we bear the tension of the opposites, as we birth through the energy of our times, as we watch the old energy disperse in the ending energy that is now upon us.
We are in the throes of birthing to our new selves. Let us not get lost in despair or fear, but let us take advantage of the facts that are clear right now: We are all in turmoil of some sort. It is right. It is exactly where we need to be if we are to change.
We are all asked to do the ultimate balancing act, to constantly realign as we bear the tension of the opposites, as we take in the truth of the violence around us. As Chuck’s dreams tell us, violence is real, take it in, let it go through us, and then let us sit in the momentary stillness that even incremental release allows. Calmly align another chakra, strengthening the inner self in the truth, knowing that we are in perfect alignment with our times.
Keep going inward as the energy of this ending time pushes us into our next birthing. This is also the energy of recapitulation. It’s alright. It’s where we’re supposed to be.
Tend to your mellow heart. In the calmness of your knowing self allow the day to unfold. Tend to each moment of the day with awareness, staying present, accepting without dispute the place you find yourself in. Remain grounded in reality knowing that this moment will end as it flows into the next.
Graciously accept the gifts that come and yet hold your mellowness sacred, for it will guide you deeper into the calmness of truth, grounding you on your journey.
Tend to the self in this manner even while tending to others, even while tending to the busyness of life around you. Stay present and aware of the speakings of your heart, the whispering words pulling you back into calmness of self. This is the place to be no matter what is outside of you.
Practice tending to the mellow heart, the calm heart, the truthful heart, the good heart. Tethering each moment to the next, go about your day in steady calmness.
Christmas is the archetypal birthday, a universal day to honor and give to the golden child. The golden child is our innocent child, the child we enter this world with, the child we lose touch with as we grow disillusioned in a world of suffering. It is the child we spend a lifetime seeking to retrieve from the shroud of protection we build to avoid further shame and the highly sensitive pain of not being met or received.
We learn to shut down our anticipation, excitement, wonder, and love. We will not be fooled into hoping again, into opening that sealed door of vulnerability to our innocent, golden child. We vow not to be disappointed again.
We never forget our innocent child. Often, though, we cannot go near it within ourselves, that is, we cannot allow ourselves to receive. We are able to project it outward onto our children or other’s children, or onto the puppies and kittens of our dreams. Somewhere in our lives, no matter how terrified or avoidant we might be of it, we project our innocence and are drawn to the renewal of contact with it.
The real journey to retrieve our innocence begins with the journey of recapitulation. We cannot allow our innocence back into life until we go back and fully free it from the encounters and experiences that caused it to go into hiding in the first place. This is a delicate, raw, and tender process. Though it might be facilitated interpersonally, through some kind of relationship, the true healing relationship is within, between the adult person we’ve become and our lost, innocent child self.
The adult we’ve become, however disillusioned and defended, is still a wise self. The adult has learned that Santa Claus is a myth, that evil is part of reality, that things constantly change—people die and nothing is forever. The adult self knows about broken promises, abandonment, and betrayal. The adult self has somehow found a way to navigate the world, however impoverished it may feel, however cut off from the joy and renewal of its innocence.
And this adult warrior self is the one—the one true parent—who can find and help that golden child to return to life; a life of fullness and completion.
The adult self is the one who can be with the child as it shares the truth of its lost innocence. The adult can hear the truth, feel the truth, withstand the truth, bear witness to the truth, and fully accept the truth in solidarity with the child. The child is not alone. The child is worthy to be fully known on its own terms, not pushed away because its feelings are too much, not talked out of what it truly feels. The adult will stand with the child and hear the fullness of the truth.
Next, the adult can help the child broaden the picture. There are things that the seasoned adult can see that the child couldn’t possibly see at the time. Such things can help the child self unravel the mystery of “why,” clearing up misconceptions, such as: It was my fault; I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough.
The adult self goes on to help the child self express and release all the feelings that have been held back, perhaps for a lifetime.
As recapitulation proceeds, innocence is freed from its old trappings and a new self, a wise, innocent, fully integrated self is born into the world. This self knows about the ways of the world, it doesn’t need the world to change to live out its innocence. It no longer needs to suffer disillusionment, to be reminded of its lost innocence. It can choose wisely in relationship and accepts that nothing stays in one form forever. This is no longer a deal breaker for innocence. Innocence, with wisdom, can now flow with the changes.
This is the one true gift of Christmas, the one only we can give to ourselves. That is the gift of recapitulation, the adult that takes the journey of truth with its innocent self, ultimately merging with it. Born anew, there is now new life to live.
I step out onto the deck in the early morning darkness. It’s balmy today and I’m comfortable standing there in the calmness before dawn. The world is quiet, not much stirring yet, though I hear a rustle of squirrel in the woods and I can just make out the broad, shadowy side flanks of two deer nibbling in the backyard. Today is the shortest day of the year and the longest night, a pivotal point for all of us as the season changes into winter. I wonder what this day will bring.
On one level we have already been feeling the intensity of this time, the build up to some kind of breakthrough, the feeling that something must give way prevalent for weeks now. Each of us must face within ourselves what that might be. Perhaps this is the day that we will be rewarded for our deep inner work, for our ability to withstand the tensions of our psyches, our bodies, our inner world being confronted by our outer realities.
Last week my 92-year-old aunt said to me: “I wonder why I’ve lived so long? It must be so I could relive my life and see it from a different perspective, because that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing a life review and as I go back into different scenes and phases from my life I now see myself as arrogant, judgmental, boastful, mean, and stupid when in the past I saw myself as right, smart, and having all the answers. This is meaningful. I’m being offered the opportunity to change, and that’s good. It must be what life is about.”
She realized, as we talked, that her life review, her recapitulation, was teaching her new lessons. In looking at every action and situation in her life from a new perspective she was shedding her ego’s need to be in charge, to control, to be right, and to judge. She softened as we spoke, the awe of her inner process clearly showing on her face and in the words she used. She understood how our self-righteous attitudes and our judgments hold us caught in old places for most of our lives, until we face them and soften, with compassion for ourselves and others, and finally let them go.
Although she is old now, her demeanor that day was refreshingly young, innocent and alive. As she talked she became lighter, her face glowed with new life as her awareness shifted. The next day she called me and told me that she had more energy than she’d had in months and that she was certain this recapitulation work was so necessary for her evolution into new life, so near that on some days she wonders if she’ll make it to the end of the day.
We talked about death as being no different than life, a day like today, a solstice, a passage into new life and new awareness. The ocean doesn’t end just because you can see the horizon, I said. The sky is not finite just because we only see a small part of it. Life is the same; the energy of life passes from one reality to another, from one phase to another, through solstices and seasons, through times of turmoil and conflict, through times of great understanding and revelation. Through recapitulation my elderly aunt was preparing for her death, preparing to ride the solstice and accept the energy of new awareness.
No matter how old we are, no matter where we are in our lives, what our circumstances are, we always have the opportunity to do a life review, to recapitulate our lives in a new way. On this day, on this solstice, we are offered transition to new life. As my aunt sees it, she has a great future ahead of her. We all do. We can face it with awareness, as my aunt is electing to do, or we can go fighting, resistant and resentful, but in the end we are all going.
We are offered moments of solstice every day, though we may not see them as such. It’s often easier to embrace them when they are pointed out to us, made significant by tradition, ritual, and feast, by predictability and seasonal alignment. But in reality, every day offers us moments to shift our awareness. It’s time to embrace all of those moments as significant, to make everyday life a sacred ritual, as if we are all 92 years old and facing our deaths.
I honor my aunt on this day. I honor all of you. I honor myself, and I honor those closest to me, as we all take our next steps on our journeys.
The dawn begins to lighten the dark sky as I finish typing this blog. I breathe in its first energy and send it out to you, wishing you all happy solstice, and happy holidays,