A Day in a Life: Waiting In The Void

I feel somewhat like this little fellow, emerging from the ground after 17 years in another world... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
I feel somewhat like this little fellow, emerging from the ground after 17 years in another world… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

It’s Tuesday afternoon. I’m waiting for the proof of my book to arrive. It’s been a tense few days. I’d sent the book off at 3:45 last Thursday, declaring that I was ready to take a few days off while I waited for the proofs to be delivered by CreateSpace, Amazon’s on-demand publisher. With knowledge of Word and a techie friend who can design a cover, it’s fairly simple to publish a book these days. A few simple downloads and the book was on its way to the great digital reviewer in the cloud. A great sigh of relief and a lot of self-congratualtory pats on the back followed. I smiled a lot and felt very happy.

I decided I’d take a few days off, while I waited for the proof to arrive. I’ll do something else for a while, something else besides writing and thinking about writing, I thought, things I’d been putting off, like cleaning the bathroom and raking the leaves out of the flowerbeds and vegetable garden so I can get my planting done.

Friday, the first day off, and the weekend went by fairly quickly. The weather was nice and so Chuck and I got a lot of outdoor work done. Then Monday arrived and all of a sudden I felt groundless. After obligations were fulfilled, my usual writing time arrived and I didn’t know what to do. The allure of freedom from writing had worn off, but I felt like I had to uphold my intent to give myself a break.

Here it is Tuesday, and I’m still wandering around in the void of free time and so I’m writing this blog just to reground myself. It has to be done anyway, but on the other hand all of this wandering in the void that I’ve created gives me the opportunity to write about routine, how grounding it is, how safe it makes us feel, how important it is to who we are. Without it, I feel like a ship out of water!

When I was a full time freelance artist, I dreaded the lull between jobs. Not only was it financially stressful but I feared that I’d lose my creativity completely in those down times. I worried that I’d be unable to come up with an idea when the next job proposal came along. And so I’d keep multiple projects always going, making sure there was always an overlap so I’d never lose my creative edge. And so I never had free time either, or very little of it. I was always working in some way, keeping myself safe, because free time in the old days meant fears would seep in. It meant risking deeper depression and darker moods than normal, states that were very difficult to extricate myself from. I’m in a totally different place these days, in fact, I’m a totally different person. But I look back on the person I was with such fondness, for her ability to deal with the tension of living on the precipice of despair was impeccable.

These days, I’m a stranger to depression. It’s rare now, and so fear of depression wasn’t an issue as I faced the past few days. I didn’t worry about discipline either, for I am a very disciplined person. You can’t be a freelancer and not have discipline; your livelihood is totally in your own hands. Discipline however, involves routine, and so I come to this self-realization: I love routine! It’s so predictable. It makes life flow. It makes life so easy. I will do this and this and this, and then that will happen and that. What could be easier! But what could be more boring!

And so I face this boring truth about myself, while at the same time I look into the void of my empty writing time. I must fill it with something else! NO! I won’t. But then here I am, filling it. As I sit at my computer and write, I have to admit that my sense of groundlessness has dissipated. The void is fast receding, and yet I refuse to see this as routine—not me!

Yes, Jan, it is. I’m not letting myself sit in the lull that I’ve created by my intent to not do the routine. I’m not letting myself sit in the calm, in the moment of silence when the mind is still. When in the busyness of my routine I long for such moments. I long for the long meditation period, the calmness of a quiet day with nothing to do. I feel like I’m away on vacation and after two days I’m done, I’ve had enough. It’s time to leave. But I’m too far from home, committed, the vacation paid for and so I must stay. At times like these the challenge really is to let go, to push through the urge to jump up and go back to work and let the lull become important, sacred, and nurturing. We all need respite.

We had quite the communication this tree spirit and I... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We had quite the communication this tree spirit and I… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

I can so easily lose sight of such basic human needs for rest and relaxation in the energy of the creative. And I think that’s what I’m dealing with right now, the energy of the creative, because although I didn’t consciously make certain that I had something to fill the gap while I wait for the proofs to arrive, my creative self stepped in and took over. Her old spot opened up and she grabbed the opportunity to reassert her priorities. Creativity runs deep, and so I acquiesce—for a little while. I realize that for some people having the free time to be creative is such a dream, while those of us who live it our whole lives might need a break from it every now and then, from the consuming fire of it. Just a little break.

Writing this blog doesn’t feel routine. I’m “not doing,” as the Shamans of Ancient Mexico say—breaking the routine by doing things differently, or not at all—by writing on a different day than usual, and when I’m done I’m going to do something quiet, in alignment with my spirit asking for some attention. It’s time to reenter the void. Hmm, I’ve been yearning to learn a new song on the ukelele…

Just taking a small break from my beloved routine,

P.S. It looks like my book, The Edge of the Abyss – Volume 1, will be ready for ordering by the end of the week. I look forward to being able to post that announcement! Feel free to write reviews at Amazon and spread the word in other ways, if you feel that it’s right. One must be an Amazon customer to leave a review on the book page, I believe. I personally have such a hard time saying that I hope you’ll like the book knowing that it’s about such a difficult subject, but I really do hope you’ll all like it!

Readers of Infinity: Intend A Contemplative Life

Here is Jeanne’s message for this week, a call to connect with our spirits in quiet contemplation.

Contemplate something beautiful today... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Contemplate something beautiful today… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

My heart pains for the beauty in all of you as yet untapped. Do not fear your innocence or your inner beauty. Do not fear your creative side, your spiritual side, your deeply knowing self. Do not fear revealing who you truly are. If you wish to change, this is where to begin, within the self, exactly where you find yourself now, at this point in your life, in this moment in time.

Note how you refuse the call of your spirit, though it calls repeatedly. Do not fear the outcome of your life, for if you heed your spirit’s call—though it may at first be a challenging road—it will eventually lead you to success and peacefulness.

Be pragmatic and fierce. Be determined and kind. Be loving and gentle with the self and others, yet be also intensely focused and attentive to your spirit’s guidance. Learn to listen to your inner truth, not the rhetoric of trends or outer world factions, but the voice of your deeply inner self. This voice will ask you to act only innerly. It will not ask you to project onto the world around you but only to reflect on the self. Your inner voice will never ask you to hurt another or the self. It will only ask you to be kind and loving. It will, however, seek to guide you to discipline so that you will find time within the context of living a busy and productive life for inner work and contemplation.

Seek the contemplative life in some form today and every day. This may mean you set aside a few minutes a day for calm sitting without distraction and that will be enough. The discipline required is a commitment to do this contemplative work on a daily basis. Eventually, its role will increase. As it becomes a more natural part of your life, like eating a meal or brushing your teeth, you will begin to notice your moments of quiet extending into the other hours of your life. You will begin to crave such moments and then you will know that your focus is working.

Commit to a contemplative life today. Set aside a time and place to be calm and utterly detached from the world around you. Do it daily and it will become easier and easier. I advise this above all else. Nothing will feed your spirit as the gift of quietude will. Just be quiet.

NOTE from Jan: Each morning before we jump into our day, we light a candle, a tall taper, and take a few minutes to gaze into the flame, closing our eyes every few minutes to experience the inner flame. It’s a great way to begin a contemplative practice. Even just 5 minutes sets a tone for inner calmness and connection to spirit. It calms the mind and the soul. I highly recommend it, though there are many other options available as well. Just do what feels personally right and is practical enough that you won’t have to make too much effort each day. Keep it simple and you won’t fail!

A Day in a Life: Worry Is Me!

We sat in the warmth of the fire and talked... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We sat in the warmth of the fire and talked… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

This morning, Chuck and I sat and talked, a fire going in the wood stove to warm us. The sun not up yet, we sat in the light of the fire and talked about how worry attaches to us and just won’t let go. “But what is worry,” I said, “except Me, Me, Me. It’s all about the self, poor me, and it consumes us!” When we worry nothing else makes sense to us, nothing else is real. We are totally fixated on the worry!

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico say that when we worry there is no room for anything else, our energy is totally usurped and we become nothing more than a dead carcass. Worry comes like vultures and picks away at us, as if we are carrion. Not a pretty sight! But when you think about it, that’s exactly what it feels like. When we are so totally wrapped up in our worry we cease to see and experience the world as it really is. Worry takes us into a dark place and our energy for life and possibility is drained. “Woe is me,” our minds say, “Woe is me!” Worry becomes Me—I become worry! Such a lifeless place to be!

When we relieve ourselves of worry we realize it was all in our heads. The sheer relief of shedding worry leaves a lightness to the mind, an instantaneous lifting of that heavy curtain of misery and woe. We all know the feeling. Suddenly we notice the world around us again, and everything looks different. So what is that thing we call worry, just an illusion? You bet it is!

In recapitulation we learn to shed our worry. We learn how it controls us and holds us captive, how it is basically meaningless, how it is a mere conjuring entity come to drain our energy. By worrying we attract negative energy and even possibly negative outcome to our lives. If we think about bad things happening, bad things will happen. I learned about such things when I was recapitulating. I was so steeped in worry and old negativity that every thought just dug me deeper into my negative ways. One day I’d had enough.

“I am so done with this worry. I now reject the bad,” I said. “I only want good in my life!” And from that day forth good things really started to happen. It took some time before I learned to totally rid my mind of negativity and worry, as I had to really prove to myself that I could change my world by changing my thoughts. I had to test this premise a few more times, but eventually I learned to leave the negative thoughts to the crows of recapitulation.

Worry is very patient... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Worry is very patient… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

As I began to more fully invite only good thoughts and positive energy into my mind, I felt energetically very different. Physically and mentally, I became lighter. Life began to unfold in unbelievably brighter ways too.

I recommend taking note of worry, how it comes in, how it gets conjured by thoughts of what if, but is rarely based on what is. In recapitulation we face our fears and dismantle them, effectively dismantling the basis of worry as well. If we are no longer afraid of life we discover that worry is fleeting, a mere crow flying overhead, nothing to attach to, nothing to get upset about. If there is something we must face it will appear in its true form, not as something enigmatic that has no real place in our lives. The real stuff will become fully known and then we must not worry about it but face it squarely and deal with it in a practical and impeccable manner.

Sure, there are plenty of times when worry feels necessary, when one worries about children, spouses, loved ones and if they are safe, happy, doing the right thing, etc. But I’ve found that in such cases my worries regarding others has a negative effect on them. I’ve learned that if I worry about them then they are not free of Me, the same me that I’m not free of when I worry endlessly about things. I infect others with my worry, the same way worry infects me. And so I have learned to send only good and positive thoughts and loving feelings to the people in my life when worry arises.

I know they are all encountering the things they must encounter in their own lives, just as I had to encounter and still do encounter things in my own life. I set them free of too much Me. I set them free to live their own lives to the fullest, free to make their own decisions just as I have had to make mine. We are all beings on our solo journeys after all, listening for the call of our own spirits, trying to decipher when is the right moment to heed the call.

It does not serve anyone to live in the false world of worry. If I am to free myself from Me, the me that Chuck has been writing about lately—the poor me—and really evolve into a new being, I must free myself of the energy-consuming worry wart that constantly seeks me out. Think of it as being out there in the universe, flying around like the crows, looking for a place to sit down and munch away! Are you going to make yourself available for that?

My head gets so much lighter as I release worry. As if I have just woken up or come out of a hole in the ground, my energy returns and I find myself happy to be alive. Try it, it really works. All of a sudden you notice all the things you’ve been missing, and you’ll find that the people in your life will be so much happier too. You’ll hear it in their voices, and experience it in their energy, just as you’ll hear it and see it in yourself.

Enjoying the spring, watching the crows fly overhead, worry free,

Chuck’s Place: An All-Inclusive Dream

Old Dream
Old Dream

The Marathon of Energy cannot be stopped now, not by a psychotic youth, not by the NRA. We are in a new dream. Like the dinosaurs of old, who once pounded the earth intending to fly—and now do as birds in the sky—we too, as a species, are cracking the shells of our old mold intending a much more inclusive world of infinite possibility.

In this new world, we are witnessing a flood of inclusiveness as new elements flesh out the dream in the form of gay marriage, immigration reform, a new economic frontier—even marijuana legalization is but a blink away—to cite just a few.

The old guard of religious control, riddled with hypocrisy—actually retiring a Pope—is in retreat. Political dominance by a white elite is in permanent recession. Despite the hiccups of Tea Party or Old Confederacy protests, the now twice-born/elected black Obama stays at the helm and Hillary waits patiently in the wings.

There is no returning to an old dream. That dream, as John Lennon put it, “is over.” This new dream, seen clearly by Brother Martin on the other side of the mountain, is in full swing, and we can barely keep up with the pace of its unfolding.

We must understand that the world is literally on speed now, as it breaks down the old and ushers in the new. This is the deepest meaning of the momentous, traumatic events that flit through our screens in nanoseconds: the time of great change is upon us. It’s not about mass psychosis, though psychosis will captivate the vulnerable, and it is contagious, but it’s really about birth, the evolution/transformation of our species and world into a newly sustainable dream.

New Dream
New Dream

The fate of our species in this new dream is dependent upon our ability to be in alignment with truth—the true needs of a new balance. The earth is abundantly demonstrating its willingness to swallow us up and flood us if we continue to insist upon old world practices of pollution and reliance on non-sustainable fossil fuels.

The peoples of the world are increasingly demonstrating an unwillingness to live in a 1% world. Ironically, America, once the beacon of freedom, now lags, as it clings illusorily to a dream long finished.

The challenge of now is to appreciate the momentum of the masses that the interconnected movement facilitates by social media, but shift awareness away from the Me of it all. The new dream is not a “Me” dream, it’s an all-inclusive “We” dream. In the all-inclusive we-dream, no life is more important than another. In the all-inclusive we-dream, we acquiesce to the true needs of the self, each other and the planet. In the all-inclusive we-dream, it’s affection over profit. The all-inclusive we-dream is not a socialist regression but actually a responsibility progression.

If we all assume responsibility for the truth within ourselves and our planet, we launch our mass shared dream into unbelievable evolutionary journeys into infinity.

All aboard!

Readers of Infinity: Empty The Mind

Here is this week’s channeled message from Jeanne.

A spider bit my foot and then I found this logo on the bottom of my shoe...What did it all imply? I had to go inward to figure it out... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
A spider bit my foot and then I found this logo on the bottom of my shoe…What did it all imply? I had to go inward to figure it out… – Photo by Jan Ketchel

Seek change. What use is life if one does not use it to grow? If all you do is repeat the same mistakes, boredom will ensue. Boredom offers little resolution or explanation. For what true purpose do you exist upon that earth? One will never know if one does not pay attention and constantly ask the self to evolve. Why do you exist? Don’t you want to know the answer?

Utilize your experiences to help you grow. Pay attention to what comes to teach you. Everything—from your encounters in the world to your dreams and revelations—are there to lead you, but you must do your part. You must do inner work to put everything together. You must give yourself permission to be a little selfish each day, in an introspective way. How else will you figure things out?

Empty the mind and listen to your body and your spirit. These are your greatest resources of knowledge—the physical and the spiritual being the two most important aspects of life upon that earth. Let the busy, conjuring mind be silent and empty. Let the physical body and the spiritual body feed your mind with their innate wisdom. This is how to gain balance and attain the evolutionary path.

If you only live in the outer world, you will miss one of your greatest resources and assets: the true self and all that resides within. Go inward today, and each day from this day forth, to resolve your current difficulties. The answers are to be found within, in the alignment of the only true selves that matter: the physical self and the spiritual self. Meaning will come from within this union. Then go without, taking your daily inner lessons with you into your life. In this alignment will your way evolve naturally, and your balance will be assured.

Jeanne seems to be implying that we will only evolve as we let go of the mind—the busy, obsessive, judging mind—and as we drop into the deeper mind, getting to the real crux of our life’s intent here on earth, which she suggests is to get body and spirit in alignment so they can take the evolutionary path that is ready to receive us all, the real intent of our lives. At least, that’s how I interpret it, and it seems significant in terms of where our world is right now, on the brink of decision.
-Jan, channeled most humbly.