Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Alive in spite of myself
I took a brief shamanic journey yesterday at the request of Sheila Pearl, my life coach and coaching trainer. The topic at hand was to think of a significant situation in my life and find the gifts in it. I had already found so many gifts from the event I brought up, it seems like there's nothing left to find, but all things have so many layers to them, we can always find new meanings and new purposes if we look again. The event I brought up was of a period in my life where I hit "rock bottom". I'll go into it more, because not everyone has been to rock bottom. I took a shamanic journey back to my rock bottom. If you've experienced rock bottom it may be very different from mine. Or it might be the same. Please share in the comments! My brief Middle World journey back to Rock Bottom yesterday: I had no trouble finding my Rock Bottom -- since Sheila and I were actively talking about the journey I had taken there, it was palpable, just within reach. I closed my eyes, and drumless, only my heartbeat and my breath there to take me to the otherworld. But I often walk with one foot in each world. Only a slight twist of my inner eye, and I was there. It was a dark place. But not the dark of void. It smelled of loam, of rich earth of the forest floor. It was a deep vertical shaft, a pit, and only the very barest hint of light like your eyes at 3 am could barely pick out objects in a pitch black room. I could feel, touch, and faintly see the materia* laying in the bottom of this earthy shaft. It was not rocks, it was fertile soil, disintegrating wood, nitrogen rich, nutritious and dark and oh-so-ready to bring forth life. The ether hummed in this place with the pain, the loneliness, the crying, the tears, the torn stuff of the soul that I had lost there, the possibilities so limited in this narrow space. I wrote about it, "At the bottom there is a richness of emotion of feeling of exquisite negative fodder." When you're at the bottom there's only one way to go: up. "In depths of pain and despair we can fuel our return to the fullness and possibilities of a renewal of life & positive energies," I continued writing. But there reliving my moments in this pit with the clarity of the Shamanic experience, I realized what I had done with myself. I didn't climb my way out. I didn't claw my way with bloody torn fingernails. I gathered the fuel. I set it on fire -- a mystical blaze of energy and renewal. I took a long time to rebirth myself. So I wrote, "Like the phoenix, I simmered in the ashes of a ruined life -- alive in spite of myself. And with the carcass of love at my feet. It was no instant journey to rebirth & renewal. It was a hard journey." I might explain. I am alive in spite of myself. My journey to Rock Bottom was hard and long. I'd been there, or someplace like it, so many times before that day. But this time it was different. This time, Rock Bottom had taken the life of my lover -- boyfriend, best friend and confidant. I was the sole survivor of a suicide pact. It took 9 years to start to forgive myself, but that is behind me. It is now almost 23 years ago. I've moved on. I'm moving on yet farther. Forgiving and never forgetting. I am not Christian, I do not have conversations with God in a Judeo-Christian sense. He has only graced me with His voice once: I lay in the hospital, in the aftermath. I am only just coming to, raw and open like a bodiless heart laying on a gurney in the ICU. The room has not yet come to me. My whole body is coalescing around me, transparent like the manifestation of a body through a transporter beam. I have the dawning realization that I'm still alive. And I have the utter gall to ask, in the overdose-induced haze and only dawning self-awareness, but with the ever-present, full and overwhelming burden of all my mystical and Shaman gifts at the tender age of 16. In that moment I reached out, bewildered. "Why?" I asked, "I tried so hard. It would have been so much easier to let me go." and He replied, although not quite in words, "You're not done yet." Since then I have spoken with many gods, of many religions. Gods who you can dine with, gods who will massage your back when you are tired, gods who will hug you and hold you when you are weak & cold. I have channeled gods, and I have been given great gifts by them. But that Judeo-Christian God has nothing to say to me after this one day. Perhaps He has no great love of me, if He takes those he loves the most early. Or He loves me most dearly and refuses to face the hard work He has put before me, and in staying His Hand and saying, "Sit! Good dog!" was all He had the heart to give to me. It is clear to me that I am my greatest church, my best temple, and that all the sparkling facets of divinity are free to come and go from my life. That is not enough, but it will do. For a time. My Shamanic journey ends in the present & future tense, so I write, "Arisen and on fire, I dried my wings & soar -- I now lead a flock of phoenixes like geese to ignite a new direction -- to bring the rebirth of the planet -- to give hope & love & healing." The most amazing thing is that without intending to, I realize I've done a spontaneous soul retrieval. It's not recommended to do your own soul retrievals, but it was not my intention and I'm not one to listen to other people's rhetoric & dogma anyway. I understand soul retrievals are very very dangerous territory, but I considered myself very safe in the loving presence of my Life Coach Sheila, and I am so very happy to have another part of my big soul puzzle back. That I spontaneously recovered part of my soul (in the Shamanic sense) explains why I felt wonky when I left. If you're interested in learning more about Soul Loss and Soul Retrieval, I have an article I wrote many years ago on the topic. Thank for for being my Witness. *In Latin, herbals are called materia medica.