A Pleasant and Scenic Ride

I know that when I’m at one with my Tao, or engaged in the flow, or however you’d like to put it, that things feel easier. I know that right there in the pit of my stomach that it feels good and right. Its a deep and sure and steady feeling of just knowing.

Wu Wei - Image sourced from http://www.koanic.com/tao6.htm

At times, when there is action about and I feel like this, like the wind is at my back and all good fortunes are with me, then it is very easy to be carried by the motion, to surf along on the wave. It’s exciting. The metaphorical – or even metaphysical – wind is in my hair, I know I’m on the right track and whoosh, the old adrenalin’s up and I know I’m headed for something good.

But as there are times of action, so there are also times of non action, times when it is not the right thing to make a move, or a decision. And I know these signs just the same as those that indicate action.

And that’s when it can get kinda difficult. Sure, I get still in mind and body, and I’m ok with that, kinda. I’m sure its the right thing to do, to be still and do nothing, but action is a little addictive. It also gives me an illusion of control over external events, like I’m directing the wave rather than just riding on it. So, when it comes for time to be still and that feeling of control is debunked, a mild panic sets in.

What to do? I still the mind (again).

Then I become aware of the activity around me. People scurrying about seeking the same results that I want to achieve. From the outside, they seem to be in control, they seem to be taking strides towards their goals, they seem to be achieving what they’re setting out to achieve, and here am I sitting still, doing nothing.

Two things can happen at this moment; the first is that I can act out of panic. Inevitably whatever I do in this situation gives immediate satisfaction, like a sugar rush that spikes but then plunges me back down into a trough of self recrimination for not staying true to my path. The results of the action rarely bear fruit that’s  more than a momentary distraction.

The second thing I can do, if I’m calm and together enough, is to observe the people scurrying about in a detatched, yet compassionate manner. I am not them and they are not me. I have no way of knowing how connected or otherwise their activity is to their inner compass. In most ways its none of my business. My business is to be about my own business which is my path and my deportment in the world, in a manner as true to my own compass as possible.

This is what I try to do. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, and I keep my mind clear and ready to see the signs for action, expecting them, expecting only the best and trusting the Tao to provide them, things tend to go swingingly better. Patience (not my best trait) wins the day.

To finish, I was told this story by a man who was a soldier just after WWII, and I’ve often used it as a metaphor for myself and how to engage in Wu Wei:

“We were on manoeuvres on the Island of Arran. Arran has mainly two roads – one that goes around the perimeter of the island, and another, the string road, that cuts through a Glen  in the middle of the island and connects the eastern and western coasts.

I was dropped with the other soldiers in my squad on Brodick Beach, on the Eastern side. Our mission was to get to the other side of the island and meet there later that day. I really didn’t feel like it, I’d been out drinking the night before and I watched my mates all run up the beach in front of me with their ‘AAARRRGGHHs’  and war cries as they fought the sand, jumped up onto the esplanade, crossed the road and disappeared into the Glen that carried the String Road.

I managed to get  up the beach, climb the seawall and get up onto the footpath. I watched my colleagues disappear into the greenery – I was the last person there and I really doubted that I had the energy, never mind the will, to tackle the trek.

All of a sudden my vision of the Glen was obscured by a vehicle that pulled up in front of me. Turned out I had been standing at a bus stop and the door opened and the driver asked me where I wanted to go. I told him Dougrie and he said ‘jump on.’

In full uniform I didn’t have to pay a fare and I was at our muster point two hours before my mates after a very pleasant and scenic ride!”

 

Re-awakening

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and much has happened.

Not that you would know it. Work has been very busy with little energy left when I’ve come home except to have tea, stare at the telly for an hour or so before wondering if 8.30pm is too early to go to bed.

But there’s been stuff happening, internally. Not my digestive system, I’m glad to say – but in my heart and my head. I’ve been going through one of those times where you question where you’re headed, where you reassess what’s important to you, and you refine your trajectory for where you want your life to head in the future.

I’m lucky in that I have a fab husband who lets me bounce all this stuff off him, and he’s always there as the person who supports me, who encourages me and who, often as not, rips the piss out of me when it’s required. Yes, I’m very lucky to have him.

Its always interesting when these phases strike, like a caterpillar going through yet another phase on the road to butterflyhood, each one builds on the one before.

I can trace these phases in my life going back to 1995. That was the year my mum died and my spiritual education took off with a blast. Suddenly I was propelled on a fast track of information soaking into me like I was a sponge. I was led to the right people, the right books, the right places and all at the right time. It was like I was inhabiting a parallel world for a few years. One where I would go to my work and look after my family on the one hand, and on the other I was slowly learning to  create the future I wanted.

After a kind of incubation and learning period of about four years that included me being introduced to numerous spiritual practices – both ‘New Age’ and very ‘Old Age’, I launched.

In the past 14 years I’ve managed to achieve all I had visualised; I gained the right job at the right time to get the points required to get our family to Australia; I gained my freedom from a bad marriage on my terms; I learned the difference between thinking I was in love with someone because I wanted what they had in life (and I was living it vicariously), and actually being in real love. The first situation is where you’re pulling that person’s energy out of them to fill your void – not good as it depletes them. The second situation is where you can’t help but spontaneously send out your energy to the other for their well-being and happiness – and when two people are in a relationship that’s a mutual outpouring of energy to each other, its just the best thing ever.

And then, after all that activity and learning and manifesting, I seemed to forget all about these amazing tools and connections I’d learned. It all totally dropped from my radar and I became so grounded, I lost sight of all I had learned. I’ve spent the past four years being ‘totally human’ and not really regarding my spiritual side at all. Of course what’s learned has never gone away, but it feels like it has been sleeping, like part of me who sees the bigger picture has been asleep.

And now, it has awoken again and there’s a sort of surprise that the sleep happened. Not that it hasn’t been great and restorative, but now I’m back again, feeling more whole than I have in such a long time, that it feels like another launch period isn’t far off. I’m immersed in a revision process, my old sources and helps are coming to the fore. Certain books, like old friends, are reappearing and waiting patiently in line to be re-read, other books are being offered for reading by old friends. Conversations with those friends that never before touched on the spiritual are now springing up of their own volition, and the synchronicities are happening more and more – the right people, articles, pointers are all amassing.

I wonder if there’s a wave of energy happening; perhaps I’m not the only one experiencing this reawakening, perhaps now is the time for all of us to start getting to work.

Is there anyone else out there feeling this?

Have a great week!

M 🙂

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween in a few days time, on 31 October, and already I’ve heard enough people complain about us celebrating an ‘American tradition’ here in Australia that I’m moved to set the record straight.

Halloween isn’t American.

Yes they have a distinctive way of celebrating Halloween in the US with Trick or Treating and rewards for this juvenile blackmail consisting of various types of boiled and hardened sugar, but that’s not where its from.

Halloween, if you go waaay back is related to the old Celtic festival of Samhain, which was the celebration of the ending of the ‘light’ part of the year and the coming of the ‘dark’ part of the year.

Then when the Christians came, like the other big festivals, they put a layer of their own meaning  on it. With Easter it was the celebration of new life in Spring, of the goddes Oestra, or the celtic Beltane, and they slapped the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus onto it.

With Halloween taking place on the day before All Saints Day, it was in the Scot’s tongue, Hallow – meaning Holy, and een or e’en meaning eve or evening – the evening before the Holy Day – All Saints Day.

When I was a kid in Glasgow in the 60s both the pagan and the christian meanings sat very comfortably side by side. We dressed up as other people, we were told, because on Halloween the devil had his last big blow out round the world before we all cast him out by celebrating the saints the following day. If we were disguised then he wouldn’t know who we were and would pass us by. Thus the tradition for ‘guising’.

It wasn’t commercialised back then. You’d go to your neighbour’s door and ask ‘anything for Halloween?’ and you’d be invited in to do a ‘turn’. so, you had to have your repetoire ready – a poem, a song or a dance to amuse and entertain and you’d be rewarded with peanuts in their shell (monkey nuts as they were called), sometimes fruit, sometimes sweeties and sometimes (rarely) a penny or two.

As for costumes, it was whatever your mum had in the  house. My first guising was when I was four and was dressed as Robin from Batman and Robin with a pair of red tights and a tea towel for a cape. There were lots of ‘Mrs Mops’ because everyone’s mum had aprons and overalls and slippers and mops in the cupboard, and ther would be little boys dressed in their dad’s oversize gear with flat caps.

You’d go to neighbours who knew you, often accompanied by parents and it was all a bit of a laugh.

The city Bakeries produced Halloween cakes – a sponge covered in icing made into a big funny face with imitation cream under the cheeks to puff them out – leading to the saying “He/she’s got a face like a Halloween Cake”.

For games we’d be ‘dookin for apples’ – hands behind the back, trying to grab apples floating in water with our mouths, or if you were like my mum she made us kneel on the chair and drop a fork from our gobs into the bucket to spear the apples.

The other game, which I don’t know what it was called, had slices of bread covered on two sides with jam hanging by thread from the clothes pulley in the kitchen. The object was to eat the bread with just the gob again, resulting in a gloriously sticky messy face.

Oh, and we didn’t have pumpkins but we did have turnips that grew to the size of footballs, so these would be carved out and a candle put in them.

Anyone else have memories of Halloween pre commercialisation? Would love to hear them.

Happy Halloween!

The Martian Parenting Style

An interesting train of thought was sparked by Rebecca Dettman’s blog (http://rebeccadettman.com) on how we teach our kids about spirituality.

It’s a good question, because outside of organised religion we don’t have that formal framework as parents, so we’re thrown back on our own experiences, thoughts and the things we’ve come to know that are authentic.

When I had my son, I hadn’t a clue about raising children. The only thing I did know was that I didn’t want him to grow up as I had – so my mum actually did me a favour in the way she brought me up, in showing me what I didn’t want to do.

As I’m a person who loves a certain amount of structure in which to play, I needed a framework, so I coined my philosophy ‘The Martian Parenting Style’.

The basic precept of this was that I would treat my son as if he’d dropped on to the earth from a different planet, and my job was to teach him the rules of the game of life on earth.

This neatly removed the need for the wars between good and evil that I’d had drummed into my catholic childhood, and also the concept of unnecessary guilt.

I taught him that while some things aren’t necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ they are more or less appropriate in certain situations. One example was swearing – I taught him that swear words are simply that – only words – and that they only have the power you give them yourself. In saying that, they’re not always welcome in the wrong context or situation so one has to be aware of that.

I taught him what I believe about metaphysics, the notion of God, we did guided meditations and visualisations together and then as he grew older and became less inclined to talk about such things, that was the time for me to step back and let him formulate his own philosophy from his own experience and beliefs.

To me this seems so much healthier than blindly accepting someone else’s teachings. By all means accept teachings from those older and wiser who’ve gone before us if they resonate, but do it only after questioning it with an open heart and mind.

Educate our children in ethics, morals and spirituality (if that is part of your experience). Do it early and consistently, and then trust them. Teach them about the stuff they won’t learn at school; relationships, family, rights and responsibilities by demonstrating your values every day, for the rest of your life. It’s the utmost in accountability and be prepared to make mistakes – we all do – but the rewards are supreme.

*************

It’s been a busy week, with stage managing Mother and Son at the Holden Street Theatres, and my first professional after dinner speaking gig for the National History Teachers’ conference at the National Wine Centre, and fitting in work around all that too.

A busy week, but a good week. I was reminded once again of the value of good friends –  not only friends who you love to spend time with, but friends of the heart who encourage you, promote your self-confidence and tell you that “you can do it.”

Friends like these are gold – I really believe they’re sent like signposts to help you on your way.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few friends like that in my life and this week one of them – the wonderful Kehau – shone like a beacon. We’ve been friends for a long time but this week it’s been like our connection has shone even brighter. So, between Kehau pointing the way and my fabulous hubby Steven supporting me and ever so gently encouraging and pushing me from the other side I’ve taken a couple of steps this week to propel the story forward. Reasonably soon I’ll be boring the ears off you about what it is, but for now I’m letting it brew and settle. More on this anon.

Have a great week!

M :o)