In one form or another, at one time or another, we must encounter a wall, a limit that says we can travel no further as we are.
At one extreme that wall might be an actual wall, an ending, such as an involuntary crash into the finiteness of death, when we are required to leave the lifelong companionship of our physical bodies to travel onward, transformed, as purely energetic beings. At the other extreme is the volitional imposition of a wall, a container that houses the masses of energetic needs and impulses within us. Through bearing the heat of this voluntary containment we activate a process that leads to transformation. In the end, when we are finally released from that containment, we are a whole being, energetically alive in a new way.
One example of volitional containment is Jan’s favorite process: recapitulation. Recapitulation is willed introversion. Introversion imposes a wall around the inner self as the opus of transformation is undertaken. In extraversion we look to the world—our relationships, teachers, jobs, communities, and government, etc.—to be the container and the opus of our change. In introversion we withdraw our expectations for change from the outer world—the buck stops here—and go within the walls of the self.
Part of the challenge of undertaking willed introversion is contending with the compulsive, energetic pull of needs projected onto objects in the world. Those objects glow with the glimmer of gold, as the unknown self projects itself outward onto people, places, and things that we are drawn to consume, possess, love, hate, merge with, and control in the world.
In willed introversion we acknowledge the projective nature of our very alive but very hidden inner selves. The inner self, hiding in the dark, seeks desperately to be known and lived through attaching to the objects that seize us in our extraverted worldly lives. These objects are symbols that mirror the unknown parts of our inner selves.
In willed introversion we withdraw our living of this inner self out in the world and instead contain and interact with it inwardly, learning to know, love, and integrate our unknown self. In willed introversion we view our compulsive and addictive impulses as the symbolic language of our inner truths. We choose not to concretize those impulses in the world by attaching to substance or person. We choose instead to go inward and interact with the energetic source that is being activated.
For instance, during recapitulation, we may notice a compelling, attractive, repulsive, anxious fearful, or disorienting reaction to a person or event in the outer world. Rather than energetically attach outwardly, we willfully go inward and ask to be shown the source of the energetic excitation. Often we are led to images, characters, dreams, and memories that lead us into unknown, forgotten, or split off parts of ourselves that are desperately seeking attention, reconciliation, and new life.
Even our bodies may manifest sensations or pain that may reflect communications from our unknown selves. While of course we must always medically rule out physical challenges, exploring the body as a symbolic object of projective communication might lead into a deep discovery of the unknown self. It doesn’t hurt to ask, to talk to the body.
If we don’t construct a wall, if we don’t accept containment, we cannot achieve the self-knowing that allows for real transformation and genuine extraverted fulfillment freed of projection. Without containment, we find ourselves wandering aimlessly from room to room, seeking our projected gold in a vast and endless consuming world, never realizing that the pot of gold is waiting not beyond the rainbow, but within the confines of the self.
We work in the garden in the early morning, weeding and clearing the summer’s growth. Time for fall plantings now. Time for a change. The energy is with us as we work in the early morning light, in the cool air and companionable silence. Our task done, we prepare breakfast and sit on the deck, content in our togetherness. Suddenly I have an urge. I want to go out to a restaurant that I like. It has a nice outdoor garden.
“Why don’t we go there for dinner tonight?” I suggest.
We discuss the possibility. After a while it doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. I acquiesce to the energy that says to take it slow, be patient, and stay put. It’s a day to be calm and to rejuvenate.
We sit and read. The air is calm, the day sunny and still. The birds are busy around us. I hear a fluttering of wings overhead and a zinging sound, like a jolt of electricity. Something has just been caught midair, right above our heads. A bird flies off with something big in it’s beak. I worry that it might be the hummingbird that had just hovered busily nearby.
We read for a few more minutes. Suddenly Chuck is restless. “I have such creative energy brewing inside me,” he says. “I have to do something with it.” I wonder if I can match it, if I can join him in this creative spurt, but no, my energy is utterly calm. I just want to sit and read. Chuck heads off to do some more yard work, shaping the hedges and ornamental trees, a good project for such energy.
While he works in the yard, I read and contemplate the energy of the day. A hurricane is brewing, and the Republicans are gathering for their convention, saying they will go ahead with it no matter what. I sense masculine energy stirring all around me. I don’t get attached, but stay in my inner calmness. I remember my own pull earlier to go out into the world and do something, yet I know I made the right decision to stay at home today.
Soon Chuck returns, his energy spent. Contented and calm, he sits beside me and we enjoy a quiet few hours. The energy stirs repeatedly throughout the day, however, both inside us and outside us and we must make decisions about whether to acquiesce to it or wrestle it down. It just seems to be the way it is at the moment.
Things progress, the hurricane continues to gather energy, the Republicans begin their convention, the masculine energy continues to stir. Aggressive and controlling, I see it playing out in many instances over the next few days. Suddenly, I realize it isn’t masculine energy at all that I’ve been feeling all around me, but feminine energy, the energy of nature, the creative unleashed.
My urge to go out to dinner was the romantic feminine stirring in me. The bird snatching food from the air above our heads was Mother Nature in raw form. Chuck’s creative urge was also the feminine urge to give birth to some new creation. The feminine was stirred in us throughout the day, offering the possibility of new adventures, new desires, new experiences.
Now I understand the energy of the hurricane as it slowly amassed and headed into land as the creative force of the feminine unleashing, no man or woman able to hold such power back. This got me to thinking about whether or not we really have any control at all, over anything. Are we just fooling ourselves in thinking we make our own decisions? Are we all just subject to acquiescence, in spite of our best efforts to control and direct our lives?
I dream. I have no control in my dreams. The feminine energy of the unconscious emerges and takes me on nightly adventures while my ego is asleep. Ego is masculine; the controlling self in everyday life, thinking it has the upper hand, thinking it’s in charge. But is it really? I don’t think so. It tries hard, it asks me to conform and abide by its tenets, yet underneath other truths have been stirring for a long time now, truths that I have learned to pay attention to. And I know from paying attention to those inner truths that I am more like the hurricane, that I am nature, the creative.
We are all this creative force, yet we must be accountable for it within ourselves if we are to live as mature beings. I must not let the creative feminine energy rule me anymore than I let the masculine force rule. I must learn to acquiesce to each of them when appropriate so that I am not overwhelmed or controlled by either. This is where I believe we do have power, the power to gain balance over the powers within us that constantly seek expression. This is how we become mature spiritual beings able to flow in the universe.
If we allow ourselves to be overly controlled by either force, we are not only out of balance, but we are not our true mature and evolving selves either. We become automatons to the powers that be, to the outside energy and the inside energy. In order to gain equilibrium within, we must attentively weigh the energy outside of us, making decisions on how to act and how we want to be in the world.
Do I want to control everything in my life? No, I don’t. I want to be available to flow with what comes, but I also know from previous experiences that I don’t need to be taken over anymore either. However, it’s appropriate at times to be overtaken, to allow both the masculine controlling energy and the unleashed feminine to teach us what we must learn. And so I have allowed myself to indulge in both kinds of energy, sometimes unknowingly and often intentionally. But there comes a time when it’s enough. There comes a time for living in the world in balance, as a mature and whole being.
As human beings, we have the opportunity to make choices. We are surrounded by nature in the raw, we have it inside us, and yes, it can unleash at any time. But in mature balance we learn to detach from and attach to it as feels right. We make decisions based on what is right for us at the moment. We can choose to maintain the calmness and contentedness we have so desperately sought and fought for our entire lives.
In always saying no, we shut the door to life. In always saying yes, we leave it open to being overwhelmed by life. When in balance we offer ourselves possibility, the door always half open, and yet our choices become ones made in awareness, knowing what we are choosing and why. In choosing recapitulation—yes, I do have to mention it because it’s my life’s work and offering—we allow ourselves to gain the mature balance that leads to calmness, contentment, and access to the awareness of knowing what is right for us, at all times.
So, my lessons this week have been a growing awareness of what it means to be in mature balance, which is really a constant shifting in awareness, as if one were on a balance beam, making slight adjustments in inner balance to meet the outer energy that seeks always to upset the ego-dominated self. It’s just the way it is; the job of the creative feminine energy is to make new life, both within and without, and new life only comes from disrupting stasis. We all need a jolt of raw nature every now and then to catapult us into new life.
Here’s hoping that Hurricane Isaac, the feminine unleashed, doesn’t do too much damage and that it leads us all to opportunity for new mature life. And here’s to my lovely daughter who is living through it at this very moment, in her little house in New Orleans. May everyone be safe.
It is time now to take all the lessons you have learned—all the tools and techniques, the discipline, containment, and limitation practices—and not only put them into deeper practice, but to step back and take a clear look at all that you have been granted in your life. Look not at the self with pity or sorrow, nor with self-adoration or inflation, but look upon the self as a journeyer upon a journey. Look upon the journey of your life as a journey of fulfillment, a journey that is showing you just what you need and how to get there.
This is a time of acceptance, for everything is now in place; the only thing missing is your awareness of this. All of you who reside now upon that planet are in a unique position to personally and collectively grow. The big question is, are you fully aware of this? Are you totally alert to the truth of major change being in your own hands?
You are the energy and the catalyst to change. You are the carrier and the deliverer of your own change in circumstances. You are the power and the provider of power. By your very existence you hold all that you need in order to grow, to take yourself to a new level of understanding, and to reach fulfillment.
Life’s journey is, as you already know, a step-by-step process. Today, though you may awaken in a bit of a fog, will become a day of clear skies, meaning clear head and clear insight into the self, if you allow it to be so. If you accept your journey and yourself as transitioning—at all times being pushed to evolve—you will awaken to many truths about the self and the world around you.
Channeled advice and vision is ancient knowing coming to guide you, full of long-ago learned truths that have fallen by the wayside in modern times. But it is guaranteed that most of you will discover your true identity and your spirit’s yearnings explained quite nicely in these ancient truths that in fact lie waiting within all of you.
Do not be afraid to channel your own truth and your own spirit. Do not be afraid of the changing self. Accept the rightness of this changing self as you confront your deepest truths, both your past and present truths. Make a determination of how you wish to proceed, knowing all that you now know, and go in that direction. You will, if you are ready, go there anyway, for your spirit will guide you. Your main task is to accept the offer. Much life is in store for you if you do.
In a dream, I notice that a young boy is missing. I race to the parking lot. I see him in a car with other young boys, the car about to drive off, being taken into who knows what. I notice Mitt Romney in the passenger seat; I don’t see the driver. I reach in and grab the stolen boy.
In America, the home alarm industry is a totally Mormon-dominated industry. Each summer cadres of young Mormon men, schooled in public relations during a year of service, converge upon America. Knocking door to door, they sell the safety of home alarm systems, home security that promises to protect us from the darkness, the blackness of the night and all that lies lurking to invade our sense of safety.
Akin/Ryan, the likely driver of the car in my dream, promises to protect life, “the innocent,” even the products of “legitimate rape.” These are the images, the themes, the platforms, boldly advanced lately to protect America from its own darkness, the outbreaks in Aurora, et al.
Ultra-protection is the proposed answer to the blackening of America, projected onto the blackness of Obama, the “socialist foreigner” who threatens the security and purity, the whiteness of America.
The blatant shadow of this platform is a witch hunt, the degradation of the feminine, and the legitimization of violence on all levels and against all peoples. Romney the Mormon, as in my dream, takes the passenger seat, leaving the country in the hands of the extremists, and anything goes in the service of protection while the truly innocent are taken to their slaughter.
The truth is that the wounding of our childhood innocence is developmentally unavoidable. We arrive in this world creatures of need, seeking and longing for nurturance and love to enable us to grow. A child looks at the world with the innocent eyes of surprise, wonder, joy, and expectation. From early on there are many disappointments. An indifferent, absent, or simply overtired parent is bound to not get it right, at least some of the time. The child will experience disappointment, disillusionment, sadness, frustration, and withdrawal, as the world does not meet its innocent calling.
Rejected innocence curls up in shame. Repeated rejections harden the shell of shame. Traumatic violations of innocence—intrusions into the body and soul of the innocent—dramatically dissociate innocence into even deeper and more impenetrable protective covering.
This protection of innocence is critical but must be time-limited, because life without innocence is life without life. A high-powered home security system only offers an illusion of safety, for it merely separates us from the darkness that already resides within, reflecting the energy of frustrated, unlived life.
Furthermore, buried, encapsulated innocence is innocence awaiting the completion of a transformational ritual. For innocence to continue to be present at all stages of life it needs to transform. Shattered innocence is the beginning of every shamanic journey, but for the journey to be completed, it must be recapitulated and brought into life, allowed to mature with us. Recapitulation offers the completion of that journey to fully retrieve innocence. As all the protections and illusions of protection are removed, innocence merges and becomes fully available for real life.
Real life in the real world must include facing the predatory reality of life. It’s not about being protected from it. Life is loving and fulfilling, as well as deeply disappointing and shattering. The goal is to live our innocence in the fullness of reality.
In recapitulation, we stay fully present with the shattering impact of assaults to our innocence. We bear the full emotional and physical tension and pain of crushed innocence. We don’t dissociate; we don’t leave our bodies. We stay whole and fully present with our innocence as it suffers. In this way we retrieve our innocence, and once joined we are freed to bring it back into life more knowing, more pliable, more able to flow with the world as it truly is. We become inseparable partners with our lost innocence, fully transformed, mature, alive, and open to life in the now.
The shamanic journey of recapitulation is the ritual journey of completion into our blackness, into our night’s soul where we face the full truths of our trials in this world, however horrid. At journey’s completion we emerge integrated beings of light and dark combined, in balance, our retrieved innocence nicely matured, open-hearted and wise.
May we, as individuals and as a nation, take the journey into our darkness, however shattering, and move forward as an integrated whole. The days of safety through segregated security systems left with apartheid. Let’s retrieve not regress.
One of the most important things that I’ve learned in my life and continually utilize is the process of shifting. Shifting might mean deciding not to get drawn into someone else’s drama, even when I feel I might be helpful. Shifting might mean something as simple as making the decision to drive in a different direction from the usual route. Shifting might mean breaking a comfortable routine, allowing the self to encounter something new, even if that something is potentially disturbing or challenging. Shifting might mean asking the self to forego a habit or an emotional attachment, nurturing or otherwise. Shifting might mean asking the self to turn inward rather than project onto another person or situation that which is creating turmoil or incident within. Shifting might mean asking the self to take a big leap into new life, or acquiescing to the inner process, or beginning the process of recapitulation.
The main thing about learning to become a shifter is that it requires action, and action comes from making a decision that, for better or worse, will lead to change. Sometimes shifting means going back and revisiting something that we haven’t quite finished, such as a relationship, an emotional attachment, a fantasy, until we get what we need or learn that what we thought we needed never existed there to begin with. It might mean finally accepting that our dreams are in our own hands, not in anyone else’s, and then making them reality. Shifting—asking the self to move out of one place and into another—offers us the opportunity to experience life differently and more fully.
During my recapitulation process, I discovered that in physical shift, by actually moving my body, I could aid my process. I could cut through stagnancy, repulsive thoughts, physical paralysis, and repetitive behaviors. I could shift out of memories that took over and consumed my energy. But what I also learned was that shifting took work. It required grounding and alertness so that I could maintain enough awareness to know exactly when it was time to shift. It meant daring to allow myself to take back control in situations where I felt I had no control. It meant that I had to forge a steady adult presence that could appear when necessary and make a decision about how to proceed.
This was a growing process that ran parallel to the recapitulation process. So that while I was breaking down and breaking through old stuff—disassembling the protective, defended self I had become as a result of trauma—I was simultaneously building up a strong and independent self, an evolving self. This evolving self gradually learned that it was okay to say no at the proper times, to take back as well as nurture fragmented parts of myself. This evolving self allowed the recapitulating self to have the necessary experiences, even some very difficult and frightening ones, but this self never abandoned the recapitulating self. Even when it was just in the beginning stages of being forged, it had an underlying sense of what was necessary. And so it learned to stand aside so I could have the experiences I needed to have, but at the same time it was busy capturing lost energy, strengthening each time an experience was recapitulated.
Recapitulation affords us the opportunity to become a shifter, in a shamanic sense to know immediately how to act, how to move, how to speak, and how to protect our energy without having to even think about it. For that is the ultimate goal of recapitulation, to recapture our lost energy in the healing process it affords, so that we may have it for impeccable use in this life and in the next. However, to get to that place of being able to act so succinctly and impeccably, we must train ourselves during our recapitulation to become fully conscious and to stay conscious.
Although recapitulation may take us on a journey we had not anticipated, we must forge a self willing to take the journey, not be a slave to it, but a fully accepting participant. Indeed, there are times when in the midst of recapitulation we might feel overwhelmed, taken places we don’t want to go. We might even allow ourselves to go places we know we shouldn’t go. But we must train ourselves to pull our heads up out of the muck long enough to remember that we are recapitulating for a reason, and we must be ready to face whatever that reason is. It might be clear or it might be a mystery, but we must remember that once we begin recapitulation we are surrounded by the ancient intent of recapitulation.
As we take our journey, we must become conscious of how the unconscious guides us, how intent works, and how we are guided in all sorts of ways through our trials. It is in times such as these, when we might feel helpless, that our shifting abilities are honed. In our darkest hour our greatest challenges come to teach us.
Becoming conscious requires acquiescence. Acquiescence may be the most difficult part of the recapitulation process, but once we clearly speak the words of acquiescence—Okay, take me on this journey, I’m ready to do it—consciousness will naturally arise and lead us to hone our skills. In acquiescence, we will gradually experience that which we thought we might never experience, that which we projected onto others or rejected out of hatred for ourselves, thinking we were unworthy of love, of happiness, of a life worth living.
In acquiescing to our recapitulation journey, we accept that a new self is going to emerge, in fact in acquiescing we intend a new self. We become braver and more daring as we recapitulate, as we hone our fragmented self into a new stronger self. As we dare to face what comes to greet us, we hone the ability to shift out of any potentially harmful attachment or experience. We might suffer a few failures at first, but that is just to awaken our consciousness to the reality of the recapitulation process, letting us know how it will steer us along, helping us to see just where our greatest work lies. Whatever our greatest work is—whether getting beyond self-hatred, self-pity, self-doubt, inflation or deflation, negativity or inertia—our final oath of acquiescence offers us a major tool in honing our ability to shift.
In acquiescing to our recapitulation journey we are accepting that we are part of something bigger, far beyond the world as we experience it on a normal day. We are accepting that there is good energy available to us too, and as we take our journey we find it making its way toward us more often than ever before.
Once we decide to take our recapitulation journey we discover that in conscious awareness, in honing ourselves as shifters in both waking and dreaming states, we become aware of the truth of interconnected energy, aware that we are all part of it, that it flows to us and through us. Such energy exists for all of us, but we must work at achieving such awareness and the means to accessing it. The tools are within.
The biggest and most ready tool is what our unconscious brings to us, and the next tool is our conscious decision to go deeper into our unconscious, into our darkness and our light, for they reside side by side, just as our recapitulating self resides alongside our evolving self.
We are all offered, many times in a lifetime, the choice to either go on a journey with our spirit or to reject it. If we make the choice to reject it, I can state that—based on my own previous life lived during the first 50 years of this lifetime—we will suffer. If we make the choice to join our spirit, we will free ourselves of our suffering and reconstruct ourselves according to our deepest truths, our spirit alive in us, taking us into vibrant new life. This I can state from my own decision to do so, and my own experience since then. As always, it’s a personal choice. Do I stay the same or do I evolve?
There is always support as we take the recapitulation journey. Support comes from without and within, from our guides in this world and beyond, from our spirit’s intent and the intent of the shamans, from our unconscious and conscious selves, from our memories as they challenge us to recapitulate and our evolving selves as they challenge us to trust the journey, to sweep away doubt and judgment, the old voices and the old fears, and to keep going. And that is my intention today, to pass on the energy that urges us all to evolve. Keep going! You’ll get there! Life awaits!
Sending love and energy as you dare to take the full journey to freedom,