2012, 2013

I find it peculiar that in all the media references to the Mayan calendar business re: 12/21/12, the only aspect of the hype that any reporter or mainstream commentator (at least that I heard, which to be honest is not a very broad sample) mentioned was the supposed end of the world. I know there were folks out there who did interpret this 2012 stuff as an apocalypse prophecy, and also those who tried to scam the former group into buying doomsday condos in the remote Caucasus mountains or whatever it was. But this seemed like a fringe element to me. Far fewer people seemed to REALLY expect huge disasters than, say, at the time of the whole Y2K thing. That’s just my observation.

In my actual life, I know a lot of people who were and remain strongly invested in the concept of 2012, not as the end of the world, but as the end of an era. Or, as they might put it better, the beginning of something new. Most people I know who took the idea of something happening on 12/21/12 (and/or 12/12/12) seriously thought it would be something like an infusion of new energies into our spiritual bodies or the planet, or an evolutionary advance in the spiritual plane for some or all beings on Earth. Some also thought of it as a dramatic shift in the values or priorities of our culture(s). This shift might be a smooth and easy experience of raised energy leading to better choices, or civilizations might be forced to change their ways through difficult trials and suffering brought by the many errors of our previous ways. So in that sense some would say there could be some events that might actually seem “apocalyptic,” but they are really opportunities for humanity to realize the damage it’s doing. Imagine if the media actually reported on and discussed that! What a different tone that would be, and what possibilities for national self-examination that would bring!

Not that I have ever witnessed, at least, the US observing that the difficulties or tragedies it’s experiencing are the direct results of harm it’s done in the world and been moved to become different or better. That’s one reason I’m skeptical about all of these predictions. And I’m also skeptical of predictions that are very tied to specific dates. (Calendars change all the time. We’ve only had our since 1582. And not everyone in the world follows the same calendar.) And anything that gives an extremely specific description of something metaphysical, like the exact minutes during which the cosmic energies will be pouring in, or the precise language with which to address angels — it just feels uncompelling to me, like someone trying to insist their style is the only true aesthetic that everyone should follow. Faced with claims like these, I become a militant agnostic: you know, “I don’t know, and you don’t either.”

Still, I like the idea that maybe we have collectively reached a spiritual growth spurt, or that we are now receiving an extra potent dose of support from the Universe, or that enough humans have turned away from the dominant greed-based worldview to effect a change in outcomes. I would like to see the world at that place, and I also welcome the nudge toward personal growth and change for the better. In my more positive agnostic moments I say something more like, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s something.”

For myself, what I noticed on 12/21/12 was an immediate resurgence of personal issues (or as some would say, character defects) that I thought I had more or less licked!  First thing that morning, I dealt with an emotional meltdown, then had a few more in the next week.  I there are still rooms in my house that need to be cleaned out (which shouldn’t come as a surprise!).  I would think the message from the Universe will be different for everybody, but for me I get the sense that Spirit is letting me know what are the most pressing issues for me to work on, the biggest things currently separating me from a peaceful and harmonious existence.  I’ll be honest, this does not sound like a picnic to me — in fact it stirs a lot of fears about living without the old familiar (though harmful) coping mechanisms — but I feel willing to go there … hopefully without too much kicking and screaming.

Some things to let go of (again … and again):

  • Attachment
  • Jealousy
  • Control
  • Selfishness
  • Complaining

Some things to cultivate:

  • Generosity
  • Acceptance
  • Confidence
  • Appreciation
  • Lightheartedness
  • Friendship
  • Service

In 2013, I ask for guidance about how best to serve and help the world.  I want my life to add positive, tangible good to the balance of existence on this planet.  It is my intention to bring my life into greater alignment with the Highest Good.

Happy New Year everybody!  Love and blessings to you all!

Don’t Worry!

I just drew this angel card:

BLESSING IN DISGUISE

“What appears to be a problem is actually part of your answered prayer.  You’ll understand the reasons behind your present situation as everything resolves.  Trust in heaven’s protection and infinite wisdom to answer your prayer in the best way.”

This was in response to a request for information about the overall lesson I’m supposed to be working on through all of this upheaval, the bigger picture.  Oh, those angels.

I must believe this on some level, because I say it all the time, and it comes out easily, like something I believe.  I especially say it in regard to my spouse’s future.  I know it will come out all right — I know his star is headed up — that he’s moving on to something that’s a better match for him (though I don’t know what that may be).  I noticed I don’t say it as much in reference to myself, my own future.  A major era is coming to an end for me in ways that are totally unrelated to Hawk’s job.  It’s time for me to be moving from “student” to “professional” as I finish grad school and massage school within the next month.  I’ve been freaking out for the last couple of days about all the change … worrying. 

I think some of what I’m experiencing is just natural grief as some important things pass out of my life — a part of life’s cycles, the dying of each moment into the next.  And another big part of what’s been getting me down is worry, the irritation and distress at not knowing what’s coming next, not being able to control or predict it, not knowing what to do in the meantime to ensure a positive outcome.  Being afraid that whatever happens it’s going to be painful for me and there’s not going to be much reward at the end of it.  I.e., experiencing (unnecessarily) the imagined painfulness before it happens — if it’s even destined to happen at all.

Friday I had a whole mini-lesson on this very topic.  I say “mini” because it was only one day compared to the months-long transitional period we’re in, but it made a dramatic impression on me (and it did seem to go on for the entire day, repeating the theme across multiple contexts).  This was a day I’d been planning for the past week — a “fun day” in St. Louis.  Hawk was going to drive out to meet me in the middle of a weekend I’d be spending there for school; we’d use some free movie tickets I’d acquired to go see the new Star Trek movie, spend the night at my friend’s and generally make a day of it.  A city date.  And, I thought, we really MUST go to the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis — we definitely had to before leaving the state, and this would be one of the best times of year to see it, early May.  So I planned this whole day around us going to the gardens, searching online for places to eat, routes to different movie theaters, gay places in the same area to go dancing after the movie.  It was an elaborate itinerary and it kicked off with the Gardens and so damn it, we must have a good start!  Everything must go well!  With all the stress we’d been under (individually and as a couple), I thought, we really needed  this day of fun.

(I hope that from my exclamation points, capitals, and italics you can gather a sense of the pressure I put on myself about this day.)

Hawk was supposed to meet me at one, after my anatomy class let out.  This class begins at 9 a.m.  For at least five hours straight, I kid you not, from the time I woke up in the morning until fifteen minutes after one p.m. it poured down rain in a five-hour thunderstorm.  It thundered and lightninged the whole time.  The sky was dark gray and the rain was pounding on the patio roof.  I was sitting there for the entire class thinking, F, f, f!  How can we possibly go to the Botanical Gardens in this?  The whole day is going to be RUINED!!!

Well, I reluctantly patched together some backup plans.  Someone told me we could still go to the Climatron (I was bemoaning this situation to several of my classmates who knew the city better).  I was like, Yeah, okay, sure.  We’ll do that and it will be okay.  It’s sure not May flowers, though.

Well, at 1:10 I was waiting for Hawk to show up.  (It’s a two-hour drive from Columbia and he’d gotten a late start.)  I had to stand behind the door of my school and look out because the rain was blowing so hard horizontally into the porch. 

At 1:13 it seemed like the rain might be letting up enough to actually go out to my truck without getting totally soaked.

At 1:15 the rain stopped entirely.

By about 1:30 it was completely sunny with a few fluffy white clouds, seventy degrees, with a cool, gentle post-shower breeze.

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We had a fantastic time at the Botanical Gardens.  It really was awesome — with all kinds of spring flowers in bloom.  And we had a very fun time together.  And it wasn’t hard for me to get the point of this story (you might say it was like a blinding ray of light):  When you (I said to myself) are sitting there wrinnging your hands and saying Oh no, oh no, this is going to be bad, stop worrying!  The very outcome you have been hoping for might be just about to explode into being — even when NO signs suggest it could even be possible.  That’s the way Spirit works, that’s the way miracles work.

And I don’t want to take away the message that I am always going to get exactly what I want, that things will always turn out exactly like I plan them, regardless of the weather at any given moment.  It’s more that — I’m to be reassured that things will be all right.  That something even better than I can imagine is coming.  And that worrying about what the future’s going to bring in the way of badness is not only unhelpful — it’s frequently irrelevant. 

So — yeah.  You can call me on this.  Cause I don’t have it down yet.

Peace to all,

H.S.

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Shiva

Last weekend, my kirtan-leading friend invited me out to her place to join her for a fire ceremony on the morning after the New Moon — a time, traditionally, favorable to new beginnings.  It was cool.  This time she gave me a booklet so I could chant along with her toward the end.  That’s my favorite part, of course. 

Around the middle of the ceremony we were singing “Om Namah Shivaya,” and she casually mentioned that chanting Om Namah Shivaya would be a good practice for me this month.  I was like, Hm.  Interesting.  She knew a tiny bit about my partner’s job, just that something stressful was going on.  I was certainly thinking about it that morning, and really looking for signs, guidance about what to do, how to be, when I was feeling like I was about to fall apart.  So I took the suggestion to heart.

She also said something about her practice of doing the  fire ceremony on the full moon — that it didn’t matter what the practice was, it was just making the commitment to do something with a certain specific regularity.  So since then, I have been thinking about committing to chant Om Namah Shivaya a certain number of times every day for a month.  (Apparently the standard number of times is 108; I just looked it up.)  So, no more half-assing.  I hereby commit to chanting Om Namah Shivaya 108 times each day for the next 31 days.  Anyway, I have been doing it a little each day, when I thought about it; and so I was also wondering as I did it, Why this?  My friend quoted Babaji as saying that the power of Om Namah Shivaya could stop an atomic bomb.  But I thought there must be some reason why this suggestion had come to me, something about Shiva that I needed to learn.

Well, tonight Hawk went to bed before me so on a whim I got out a copy of Toward the One (a Sufi journal) that I’ve been working on reading since last October.  I opened it up to a random page, and what did I find?  That’s right, a whole 17-page article about the various aspects and qualities of Shiva!  Aw yeah!  Okay, I get excited about synchronicity.

Then, of course, the first quote at the top of the first page explained a great deal.  I’d had the vague idea that Shiva was some sort of god of destruction (my impression was, the breaking down of the old and dead to make space for the new and lively).  This quote said, “All pain is significant of change; all that changes for better or worse must cause a certain amount of pain, for change is at once birth and death.”  Wow, man, that knocked my socks off.

The pain of change is exactly what’s been getting me down, on all sorts of levels at once, conscious and unconscious, big and small.  Hawk’s firing and the uncertainty it throws us into about where and how we’re going to live after this summer has definitely been rattling my sense of security, my general orientation in the world.  It’s made me feel very powerless, out of control (in good ways, I guess, for my personal growth, but it has NOT been fun); like I’m waiting to find out what aspects of my life I’m going to lose, what I’m going to have to replace.  I’ve been on the pessimistic side a bit.  I have not been graceful about surrendering control (or the illusion of control that I cling to foolishly).  I haven’t been open to the cycle of change/pain/birth/death, the endless destruction and regeneration of life. 

But it’s not just that situation; I think there’s also an element of this panic of change hanging around my thoughts of finishing massage school at the end of May, and defending my dissertation (if all goes well) in June.  I’m a little freaked about what I’m going to do when those two events are over.  It’s pretty much a blank after that. 

I guess part of the message is that I can’t let myself get psyched out by this stuff.  According to the article I’m reading, Shiva’s devotees have the practice of “acting contrary to their nature for the purpose of acquiring mastery over themselves,” and thus experiencing the liberation of their souls.  Acting contrary to my nature, in this case, would be gracefully surrendering to the flow of life, not resisting, and thus not causing myself needless pain.  “Shiva the liberator,” the author continues, “is often represented as an archer” whose arrows frighten awake “those who feel comfortable in their peaceful and superficially virtuous life” (Nirtan Ekaterina Pasnak 53-54).  But Shiva is also described as extremely compassionate, repeatedly taking on harm or pain to himself to spare humans or gods from suffering (55). 

Compassion in gods of destruction is comforting to me.  It reassures me that whatever the outcome, there’s really no way for me to do it “wrong.”  Having the intention to let my higher self take the reins as much as possible in my life right now couldn’t hurt.  But when I am feeling like a big screw-up, it’s nice to know a god is not there to judge me or rate me, but merely to assist me.  And then I do feel supported and guided.  I start acting a little nicer to myself.  I repeat to myself, I surrender.  I tell myself slogans — Let Go and Let God.  And maybe, a little bit, I start to really release and relax, to ease up on the death grip I try to put on life.  Then, a little bit at a time, spaces open up where miracles can enter in.

Peace and love to all,

H.S.