Posted on:  Jun 5, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork

Enlightenment as a Verb: The Process of Becoming Lighter

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I know enlightenment as a verb is grammatically incorrect. Enlightenment is a noun that, in a spiritual context, indicates an egoless, awakened end state. It is an ideal attained by the very few, the masters, mystics and gurus in our midst. Therein lies its problem.

Re-vision your spiritual work as a process of lighten your soul’s load, becoming enlightened, through little steps of clearing the inner debris that weighs you down.

Enlightenment as a noun is beyond the reach of most of us who travel a sincere path of spiritual healing and evolution. If we think we have reached a state of enlightenment, the very act of naming and claiming it indicates the presence of ego, and ego is the antithesis of enlightenment. If we want to reach this state but can’t get there, we are probably short changing our spiritual accomplishments.

Either way enlightenment can inflate or deflate your spiritual process.

Though this may sound like blasphemy, I think enlightenment is a red herring that can distract us from the very important business of healing our own soul. Each of us comes into this life with soul work to do. For the vast majority, this work is to heal and to grow. For the very, very few, it is to achieve the rarified state of enlightenment. All of this spiritual work is essential to the greater healing of our humanity, and the only piece we can claim is our own.

This brings us back to enlightenment as a verb. My suggestion is that you think of enlightenment, or its verb form of enlighten, as the process of becoming lighter.

Imagine your soul being buried under the accumulated debris of your old stories and habituations of beliefs, thoughts and life choices. What your soul fervently desires is a free-flowing alignment between your deep inner self and your outer life. But this is only possible if you lighten your soul’s load by cleaning out and healing the debris that weighs you down.

An Exercise in Re-Visioning Your Spiritual Work

For this exercise, I invite you to re-vision your spiritual work as a process of becoming lighter/enlightened through little steps and small moments of cleaning out and healing those things that weigh you down, and allowing your soul to shine forth in your everyday life.

1. Start with a small event or exchange in the recent past where you were challenged or you experienced positive change.

Look for instances where you acted with courage or shifted something inside of you. It doesn’t have to be anything momentous or even visible from an outside perspective. Maybe it was allowing yourself to feel something you usually repress, or to speak your truth, or to seek out help, or to stop doing a negative behavior, or to say yes to something new, or no to something that doesn’t serve you.

Journal the details of what happened and how you dealt with it.

…read more

Posted on:  May 29, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork

Riding the Edge of Transformative Change: Making an Ally of Your Fears

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An edge marks a jumping off point, a cliff’s edge, or a moment of irreversible change.  It’s also a border place, where one thing ends and another begins.

Transformative change is an edge where your soul’s desires intersect with your fears; it’s a place of power, if you know how to navigate its conflicting directives.

Transformative change is an edge. When you heed your soul’s desire to heal and grow in alignment with your deep, beautiful Self, you awaken powerful forces that will take your life in new, empowering directions.

It’s like jumping off a cliff, leaving behind the things that you know and opening yourself to what else is true and possible. And once you wake up to your soul’s desire and make this jump, you can never go back to sleep.

This edge of transformative change can be messy and confusing. The jump you make is really a leap of faith into a border place where the new has yet to take form and the old still has a hold on you. The very desires that push you to change also activate potent fears that want to freeze you in your tracks.

Your soul’s desire knows the parts of your beauty and wounding that are the keys to your deepest healing and evolution. They hold your secret longings that push you to claim a life in alignment with your deep, beautiful Self, and your best gifts and qualities.

Your fears are experts on your trigger buttons, and the inner and outer voices that order and control your life. From this mastery, they can deliver well-targeted, ‘what if’ poison darts that can paralyze your impulses to take your life in new directions: what if I lose my job?; my partner?; my sanity?; what if my mother never talks to me again?.

The push and pull of these competing forces may make you feel crazy, and cast doubts on your commitment and ability to heal and change your life. But the opposite is actually true. Strong fears indicate that you are truly riding your edge of transformative change, and getting somewhere new. This is a place of immense power if you know how to navigate its conflicting directives.

The trick is to listen to both of these forces, desire and fear, and to make an ally of your fear. Your desires show you how to change your life. Your fears tell you why this is a bad idea, inadvertently sharing essential information that can help you wisely and successfully bring positive transformation to your life.

These ideas are best understood by trying them out for yourself. Here is what that process can look like.

Making an Ally of Your Fears

For this exercise, work with something from your own transformative edge: what do you want to change in your life right now?

…read more

Posted on:  May 21, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer, Pathwork

Pagan Dreamer: Storytellers and Stewards of Her Beauty

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Our primal, natural place in the great weaving of life on this planet is not dominion, but sacred communion and protection. Of all of the Earth’s life forms, we have been given the gift of creative expression to give voice to the beauty and wonders of this world.

Open to Nature. See what speaks to your wonder. Give this communion your complete attention. You’re the storyteller and steward of Her beauty, the Earth, our home.

This is what my deep dreaming tells me.

I wake up in the early hours of the morning, still half in my dreamscape. In my dream, I am writing about the country walk I had taken with my partner the night before.

I record the sensual minutia of the natural world: the slow track of a jet-black snail, with a thin band of shiny, silver slime marking its passage; the nuanced scents of the surrounding forest and farmland with hints of resin, flowers, and sun-warmed earth; the gun-smoke gray of the twilight sky juxtaposed against the rich chestnut of a horse’s coat; and a weighty silence that marks the fading of day into night.

As I slowly emerge from this dreaming, I bring with me a fierce, full-body love and awe that speak to my primal communion with the living landscape, and inspire the writing flowing from my heart onto the blank page.

And I see, with the soulful clarity that sometimes slips through from the dreaming to the waking world, that we humans are the storytellers and stewards of the beauty and wonder of this place, the Earth, we call home.

I invite you into my dream world to experience this fierce, full-body truth for yourself.

Go for a walk or spend a quiet hour in a favorite natural setting close to your home. This can be a park, trail, or green space in an urban setting — anywhere you feel a strong heart connection to Nature.

Bring a journal or sketchbook with you, whichever is your preferred form of creative expression.

Anchor yourself in your body with a few deep, full breathes. Quiet your mind and be fully present to the landscape around you. Take in the sensual details of the wild world: the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of Nature. See what draws your attention and speaks to your wonder. Give this communion your complete attention.

You are sacred witness and storyteller to this moment. The wild world is gifting you with its beauty. Show your gratitude for this gift by expressing and recording what is before you.

Widen your awareness, open your heart and your body, and then write, draw, or record, in whatever way is free-flowing for you, the beauty before you.

Keep your mind and interpretations out of this. This moment is not about you, but about your capacity to storytell, in words or images, the beauty and wonders of this living, breathing Earth.

When this communion feels complete, put down your journal or sketchbook. Let go of words and images. Sink into your energetic connection to the natural world, your living body to its living body. Take in the sensations and emotions that arise in you, the raw love, joy, and awe that infuse your primal communion with the beauty and wonders of this world.

Breathe this connection into your body; imprint it in your memories; let it change you.

You are the storyteller and steward of Her beauty, the Earth, our home.

Photo Credit: Jared Erondu on Unsplash

Posted on:  May 15, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: Reinveinting Your Worldly Toolkit

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Everything we are, everything we’ve experienced, learned, and suffered can be used in service of the healing and transformation of ourselves and our world. What matters is not so much who we are, or what has happened to us, but what we do with what we’ve been given. We can choose to reinvent our worldly toolkit, and make beauty with the good and the bad of our life.

You have the power to do beautiful things with what life has given you in your worldly toolkit. From both the good and the bad, you can create positive change.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have been socialized to see the world through the black and white lens of good and bad. Good things come about through the best sides of our humanity and personal nature; bad things through our worst instincts and the shadowy, nasty places in our collective humanity.

We apply this dichotomous lens not only to the world around us, but also to our personal history and characteristics. There are parts of ourselves that we embrace as good and positive, and other parts that we reject as bad and negative.

As we embark on a journey of healing and transformation, we may think that positive change will only come about if we can somehow get rid of or transcend the bad parts of ourselves. This is a destructive premise that is more likely to block, rather than enhance, our personal work. 

Instead I offer a different perspective: within each of us is the power to do beautiful things with what life has given us. From both the good and the bad, we can create beauty and positive change.

Our life story brings us the things we need to heal, grow and change, and whatever we have gathered in our worldly toolkit in the form of knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics can be used to bring about positive, beautiful change in ourselves and our greater environment. It all comes down to personal choice: what we do with what we’ve been given.

A Personal Story: A Witch with an MBA

This insight came to me in the midst of a crisis on my island home. A small corporation had bought a huge tract of land in the southern portion of our island and began to clearcut the forests, leaving a swath of devastation in its wake that threatened the environmental and economic fabric of our community.
…read more

Posted on:  Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer, Pathwork

To Wake, Perchance to Dream: Communing With Your Dreambody

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Dreaming has been diminished in our modern Western society, relegated to a flat, limited version of its true, vast potential. We have been taught that dreaming is an activity reserved for the dark of night and the oblivion of sleep. Sometimes we remember snippets of our dreams, but even these we barely pay attention to in the rush of our demanding lives.

There’s no separation between your dreams and waking life; awake or asleep, it's all one dreambody communion that can guide your personal growth and life journey.

Half of our humanity — the part that connects us to our soul and the spiritual mysteries that underlie everyday reality — is lost in this truncated conception of dreaming.

Yet dreaming is what it is, no matter how we conceive or engage it. What is lost can be refound. It is as simple, and as difficult, as replacing one way of understanding dreaming with another.

Let me offer you a different conception of dreaming: there is no separation between your dreams and your waking life; awake or asleep, it is all one dream that can guide your personal growth and life journey.
The Wide, Wild World of Dreaming

You dream at night where the laws of physical reality slip away and open you to the unbound adventures of the realm of spirit.

You dream when you meditate, work magic or engage in other practices that shift you into an altered state of consciousness.

You dream when you go about the business of your daily life, drawing events and situations to you, especially those that are unusual, significant or emotionally charged.

This wider, wilder conception of dreaming invites you to broaden your awareness to include the workings of your soul and the spiritual mysteries that infuse and inform your life.

It teaches you that your life is not random. The things that come your way from your daytime and sleep-time dreams, be they profound or profane, joyful or painful, spiritual or mundane, are the stuff of your personal growth and evolution.
The Dreambody

Dreaming is literally second nature. We have a physical body for engaging the material world and a dreambody for the wide, wild world of dreaming.

In our sleep-time dreams, where our mind and the laws of physical reality are turned off, our dreambody reigns supreme. In our daytime dreams, our dreambody is a guiding presence that helps us engage the soul-based energies and spiritual mysteries that direct our outer life.

These powerful dreaming capacities reside within us all, but for many they have atrophied through lack of attention and use.

At the beginning of my spiritual journey, I didn’t remember my sleep-time dreams nor understand the importance of dreaming in my waking life. Now my dreambody connection is as natural and ever present to me as breathing. How did I make this profound shift? First, and most essential, I fell in love with my dreambody.

The foundation of becoming a masterful dreamer is to establish and cultivate a deep, respectful and passionate relationship with your dreambody. Like all good relationships, it takes strong desire and focused attention to court and cultivate a bond of love, communion and trust with your dreambody.  
Communing With Your Dreambody

Here is an exercise for reaching out to your dreambody with the intention of starting or deepening your relationship. …read more