Morning Messages January 21, 2010Posted by gerrystarnes in Animal Wisdom, Learnings.
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Sitting on my front porch in the morning and watching what Spirit has to show me has become a daily practice. It is a way that I can integrate inspiration into my everyday activities. I take what attracts my attention as a sign, a guide that I can use throughout the day to give perspective on my “doings” in ordinary life. Most often I gain clarity and insight that I might otherwise overlook were I not to have that thread with which to periodically touch base.
Our part of town still has wooden poles that carry telephone and electrical lines through the neighborhood. This morning, a squirrel scampered along the electrical line across the street. They often do this, but this morning, he captured my attention as he hurried and paused, hurried and paused, making his way to the next pole.
I thought to myself how wonderful it is that the city provides this aerial highway so that squirrels can travel safely above the traffic. If only they could see the bigger picture, they would be able to get from place to place and never have to cross a dangerous passage.
Once at the pole, he turned and scampered head-first down it until he reached the top of a small, bare tree. He then sprang from the secure, strong pole onto a impossibly thin limb at the very top of that tree, and from there made his way to the ground.
One way to work with these events is to put yourself in the place of the animal and try to experience it from its perspective. Relaxing back into my chair and closing my eyes, I envisioned myself as the squirrel.
I have occasional bouts of acrophobia, a fear of heights. Though diminished greatly over the years, I still sometimes get that panicky feeling on tall ladders, or when suspended without what I think is adequate support. As squirrel, though, I had no such concerns. I envisioned scampering hurry-pause, hurry-pause along the electrical line through his eyes, and traveled easily, eyes fixed on the pole ahead. However, I noticed that the pauses allowed me to focus my attention all around, rather than completely on the pole.
I, too, ran down the pole head-first and truly marveled at how easily such a gymnastic feat could be accomplished! I felt light in my bones and a fearless playfulness as I leaped to the treetop and felt it sway. I rode the impromptu swing for a moment, then made my way to stronger limbs and finally to the trunk and the ground.
The squirrel was not there when I opened my eyes. To my left, however, two small birds were busily plucking seed pods from the winter-barren Chinaberry tree. Somehow, they found the seeds inside and, with a vigorous shake, tossed the hulls to the ground. First I was surprised to see that any seeds were left in January, yet they seemed to be finding plenty as they hopped from limb to limb.
Even in the midst of what appears to be a barren landscape, Life provides.
I noticed, too, that they seemed to be a pair, working closely together without squabbling over the food. It reminded me that Spring is coming. From this unusually cold winter, Nature will soon emerge to continue the cycle.
No matter how cold, dark, and sometimes painful life can be, there is always an ending and a new beginning. The cycle always continues.
The birds took flight after a few minutes’ grazing. I stayed on the porch a little longer and pondered these beautiful messages of the day, then went back inside.
Messages From the Ice Storm January 21, 2010Posted by gerrystarnes in Learnings, Society.
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The ice storm was almost over when our monthly Deepening Journey Circle met on Wednesday evening, January 13. In these circles we often use the shamanic journey to focus on topics of community interest and seek insights about the “bigger picture” of events. On that evening, our topic was “Weather Shamanism,” and we chose to seek insights on what the weather was trying to teach us.
This past summer was very hot and dry, with a near record number of 100+ temperatures and deep drought. Yet, in the past week, our city and much of the rest of the country experienced the lowest temperatures in decades. Our focus and intention was very simple: to find what the Weather was trying to tell us or teach us. What is it that we need to learn, to understand, or to do?
The results of our journeys were very consistent, which given our previous experience was not surprising. Most usually the group returns with different but similar insights, rather like pieces of a puzzle that when put together can offer the most amazing teachings. Here are some of the insights received:
The scientific, meteorological explanation is that there are natural cycles to the weather. It is only high and low pressure gradients, warm and cold fronts moving. Yet, from a shamanic perspective, it is more than that. Our connection to Life is real, and Life has something to tell us – individually and culturally – about being in or out of balance with everything else. We are out of balance.
We need to be woken up to feeling. The extremes of hot/dry and cold/wet are urging us to remember the vast dimensionality of life and experience. Even though our political and social worlds seem outrageously polarized, on the whole we have become narrower in perspective and entered a time of tunnel vision, especially in regard to relationships with others.
We are being shown our disconnection from the dimensionality of life, the interplay of the polarities is missing. Masculine and Feminine energies running along parallel tracks, rather than the spiral dance they naturally do. That disconnection is feeding the polarity rather than balancing it. That “being out of balance” forces us to swing, sometimes wildly, between the two.
There is a visceral connection with the Earth that we are missing, to which we are numbing out. Being uncomfortably hot or cold helps us to shake off the numbness and, if we are awake, to reconnect with the juiciness of being alive.
Our humancentric view of everything doesn’t work. We need to let go of our insatiable desire for control and understand that there are forces at work much stronger than our most powerful attempts to insulate ourselves from Nature. The climate-controlled boxes we have created to do so failed to protect us. There is an overarching balance of which we need to remember we are a relatively small part. We need to flow with it and let it help us to grow and expand in appreciation of the human experience.
I met again with the Thunder Beings. This time, Ice stepped forward. He reminded me that we humans have not been around all that long in Earth time. I saw the Earth as a whole, and in that vastness, humans are so small they cannot be seen. Major natural events – such as hurricanes, earthquakes, flood, and even forest fires – are natural occurrences that Mother Earth needs to keep herself in balance. They heal stuck energies and release “hot spots” by burning, washing, blowing away what is there and allowing a new beginning.
Unfortunately, humans often live on the edges and so are simply in harm’s way, though we do contribute our own energies to the stuckness and heat. It’s not personal.
He also showed me a link between the Weather and DNA, and how emerging from the Ice Age as humans did a mere 10,000 years ago fundamentally changed us. On a smaller scale, the Weather continues to do so. As we migrate to more temperate environments, for example, we are fundamentally altering our genetic responses to climate change. We are, sometimes in spite of our efforts to the contrary, adjusting our humanness.
As group journeys tend to do, this one showed us both personal and global levels of messages from the Ice Storm. Now the question is, what do we do with them?
My thanks to Karen Sharp for her memory and support of this article.