The crows of recapitulation show up regularly, asking us to reflect on lessons learned, asking us to seek value and meaning in every aspect of life. It is only in looking back, in recapitulating, that we are fully available to see what we might have missed while in the midst of learning our lessons.
Our lessons come to us in a myriad of ways, in the situations we find ourselves in and in the circumstances of our lives, desired and looked forward to or put upon us and feared. It doesn’t matter how the lessons come. The only thing that matters is that we take the time to study them and fully grasp what they are trying to teach us.
I wonder what I’m supposed to learn today? I often ask myself. And then I wait. By the end of the day I may often have to search for meaning, yet, at other times, I have grasped meaning throughout the day. Either way, I am aware that I must recapitulate the day’s events in order to fully integrate the lessons of value into my evolving spiritual journey.
In daily recapitulation, as well as in deeper recapitulation around our past, we are offered the opportunity to become a more fully evolved human being and to grow spiritually as well. Eventually, we might learn that everyone we encounter in our lives has something important to offer us. Whether they appear as angels or devils, it doesn’t really matter, because they are all there to teach us something of value.
Although the process of recapitulation can be extremely challenging at times, if we stay focused on learning we offer ourselves a tool to navigate through even the roughest of memories and situations as they arise. In constantly asking what we are supposed to be learning, we give ourselves a purpose. Often the deeper meaning is only revealed as we constantly return to an event, over and over again, going back over the details, seeing everything from a new angle each time we return.
The gift of distance is the most important gift we are given as we recapitulate. The gift of time having passed offers us the additional gift of reflection from a new perspective because, each day as we live out our lives, we are different; we are inevitably changing. We are a day, a week, a year older and wiser. We are physically different too, as well as mentally and emotionally. Life’s unfolding itself offers us change, even if we are not able to see it clearly.
When the crows of recapitulation descend, when thoughts return to a recent event or a long past event, we are being asked to learn a valuable lesson. Can I be open to it? Can I suspend judgments about my self and others, so that I can reach a deeper meaning and understanding of what I am being offered?
Personally, I discover the intrinsic value of recapitulation more fully each day. In my last blog I wrote about the death of my beloved aunt at the age of 92. It was quite a day we had together. Now, a week later, as I reflect on that experience again I gain a new, deeper sense of what else was transpiring that day. I more clearly see now, in looking back, just what a journey it was.
In a shamanic sense, it was an incredible journey for both of us, but for me, personally, I have gained a level of clarity that I might otherwise not have accessed had I not continued to reflect. I now understand that my aunt was always an impeccable Shaman, present in my life as a teacher of the highest magnitude from the moment I was born. No matter what I presented her with, she never dismissed or doubted me, or my experiences. She was loving and tender, emotionally and compassionately supportive. Sharp and witty, never one to beat around the bush, she was also cuttingly direct when necessary. She taught me how to value experience, how to value the journeys that we all take, what it meant to care deeply about others, and finally she taught me how to leave this world without attachment.
We shared a lifetime of connection: in spending time together in deep conversation, in letter writing, in sharing books, in taking many walks together over the years, whether we were in New York City, the countryside or along the beaches picking up shells. And finally, we shared her dying process together. We were deeply, spiritually connected. Now I know more fully what that means.
At the same time that I accept this woman as a shamanic presence in my life, I must also accept other people in my life—those whom I feel less spiritually connected to—as shamans as well. I must accept that though these other persons may have been strict, withholding, even downright cruel, that they too have been Shaman teachers of the highest magnitude, leading me on my journey, teaching me invaluable lessons. Though presented in a different fashion, the lessons taught by the tricksters, devils, and disconnected journeyers are no less important than those taught to us by the soul mates, angels and spiritually connected journeyers we meet and travel through our lives with.
By constantly recapitulating the events of the past few weeks, I have recapitulated my way to a greater understanding of life itself. This is the ultimate gift of recapitulation. What I know today that I didn’t fully grasp a week ago, is what the Shamans tell us, and what the Buddhists tell us: that we are all Shamans and we are all Buddhas. I now understand more deeply what the Shamans mean when they talk about dreaming and what the Buddhists mean when they tell us that all worlds are interconnected, and that is, that we are all dreaming the same dream; awake or asleep, alive or dead.
And now I can see how I flowingly embraced and proceeded on a journey with my aunt through her final days, taking up the intent she set, as it was presented to me each day. In retrospect, I see how seamlessly her agenda flowed. I learned so much from this Shaman teacher, as she asked me to face each challenge as it arose, personal and otherwise. Synchronistically tapping into her intent, I was asked to perform and facilitate things I could never have dreamed of. In so doing, I learned how to flow with the energy in the universe, going into our interconnected dream world without fear and without attachment, knowing that it was right, that life was flowing as it should.
In facing my fears and challenges—in everyday life and in recapitulating—I have learned so many lessons about the people I encounter every day. In reflecting on life from this newly gained, greater clarity, I conclude: You are all Shamans on shamanic journeys. You are all Buddhas seeking enlightenment. You are all teaching lessons to everyone else you meet—in how you live and learn your own lessons—just as they are teaching you.
As the crows of recapitulation swoop in, it’s important to remember that they are carrying our most valuable life lessons on their broad wings, in their strong beaks and in their sharp claws. If we can withstand their presence, listen to their messages, step back and reflect on the meaning of what they show us, we eventually gain access to the clarity that deep inner work affords us.
And once we have learned our lessons for the day we are free to turn and walk away from the crows, free for the moment, until they reappear another day with new lessons for us to learn. And then, without fear and without attachment, we are challenged to ask once again, most humbly: What am I supposed to learn today?
Noticing the crows,