Archive for the gratitude Category

A good day’s work…

Posted in gardening, gratitude, Spirituality, sweat lodge, yard work on April 14, 2016 by Standing West

Canvas tarp cleaned and patched,  blankets washed, rose bush planted, yard mulched, fence posts chain-sawed and chucked, post office run complete….It’s been a productive day.

Guess I’ll back up to the tarp and blankets for a minute.  Yesterday I went to Maryland to do some yardwork for Grandmother Martha, the widow of Grandfather Eddie, our Elder who recently walked on.  After I weed-whacked the Medicine Wheel, I fired up the walk-behind and the cable that engages the cutting-blade snapped.

I looked around for something else to work on and saw that the sweat lodge had partially collapsed.  I talked with Grandmother about the lodge and she said she’d rather I laid it to rest privately. Rather than recount the ceremony, I’ll just say that the tarp and blankets came from Eddie’s sweat lodge and will serve as the covering and doors of the healing lodge we’re putting up in the backyard later this year.

Finances have been a bit dodgy since leaving my day job, but Spirit always seems to provide what’s needed.  Unexpected tax refund, tarp and blankets for the lodge; these are just a couple of examples.

My hands are dirty from pulling weeds as I type this.  The need to write came upon me unexpectedly; sort of a “Eureka!” moment, and so I went with it.  There’ve been a lot of those lately.  It’s good to get off my ass and hit the keys again…

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So…life stuff…

Posted in gratitude, Healing, prayer, Spirituality on April 8, 2016 by Standing West

I’ve been spending a lot more time outside lately.  Replaced some old fence panels, and set up a small grape arbor.  Mulched and weeded.  Cleaned up the herb bed, and fine-tuned the Sweetgum tree in the front yard.

It’s taken a little while for me to fall into this lifestyle – or perhaps just to realize that I’ve fallen into it.

Sometimes the tightrope seems as wide as a two-lane; sometimes it’s narrow as a thread.  But truth be told, it’s wonderful being here.  I’ve let go of some things, and glimpsed the depths of my faith.

There’s been sadness along the way. We recently lost an Elder (the man who taught me most about the sweat lodge and the sacred pipe; and married us in the Medicine Wheel on his property).  We loved him dearly, and came to look upon him and his wife as our parents.  We’ve dealt with family health issues and the challenges of our own spiritual work; but there’s also been some joy bubbling up between the cracks.

In short, it’s been a time of moving balance.

If I say that my prayers have been answered, that would imply that I’ve imposed an outcome upon the things I’ve prayed for.  Instead, let me just say that allowing things to be as they are and being grateful for that has taught me how to become a contented man.

My teacher asked me something the other day that blew me out of the water.  Towards the end of our session, he sat back in his chair with a grin on his face and said, “Are you really ready to let go completely, or do you need a bigger God?”  After I chewed on the question a bit, I heard myself answer, “Yeah…” as if something deep within me had already resigned itself to the prospect.

Doors have closed, and doors have opened.  I’m certain of little other than the fact that they’re not the last to do so. Regrets have vanished like smoke on a morning breeze.  And the earth feels cold but yielding in my hands.

Although recent weather may try to fool us into believing otherwise, green things stir from their slumber in the soil.  They push their curious faces skyward, perhaps shivering a bit, and stretch to greet the sunlight of another season…

Checking In…

Posted in Autumn, gratitude, Healing, Shamanism, Spirituality on October 2, 2015 by Standing West

The rains have gotten colder. The tomatoes are putting out the last of their fruit, but the mums are having hell of a good time for themselves. Even though we’re busier than we have been for quite some time, the hours and minutes don’t seem to carry as much weight as they used to.

I spent the morning painting miniatures and listening to the rain come down…a nice reward after a week of appointments and last night’s talk on shamanism at a local studio.

Tonight my wife and I will be catching up with some friends we haven’t seen for many months. And tomorrow afternoon we’re off to lunch with a dear friend who’s visiting from Ireland. She’s an amazing harpist and a powerful healer. We’ve worked together a couple of times, combining the harp and the frame drum; but tomorrow it’s bar food, a couple of pints, and some well-anticipated laughter.

I’ll round out the weekend with a day of teaching for a couple of advanced students on Sunday.

I like this life.

In between the healing and the ceremonial work, there’s time for a home life and all the things that go with it. We’re learning to live on faith these days, and allowing the path to shape us – instead of the other way around. Bits and pieces fall away; opening space for new things.

We head into Autumn not really knowing what it’ll bring. More and more our focus is on the present. It’s been a struggle to get to this place. And while there’s still a good deal of work to be done, it’s also good to take stock of how far we’ve come and to sit with that for a while, breathing it in…breathing it out…simply letting the current carry us forward…

So lately…

Posted in gratitude, Healing, Initiation on August 19, 2015 by Standing West

…life has been very, very good to me. Most particularly so since my day job went tets-up in May and left me free to throw myself completely into my practice. There’s a calling here, and straddling both that and the nine to five world had left me feeling like I was standing on two drifting logs in the middle of a river and needing to leap firmly to one or drown.

Then, with little input from yours truly, Spirit made the decision, and that was that.

Soon afterwards, we set the home office up and two studios jumped in to offer use of their space at a very reasonable rate… In short, the fuse was lit and there was no blowing it out. Nor, to be honest, is there even a desire to.

Money’s a little tighter these days, but the Spiritual abundance is amazing; and Obamacare and savings spackle the cracks.

I’ll also add that entirely absent from the equation is a sense of worry about the future which, given the way things were, would’ve absolutely crippled me had these circumstances arisen a couple of years ago.

As I sit here typing this in my office at 11:24 on a Wednesday morning listening to Van Morrison, the joy of that fact is not lost on me. My wife has taken her mother out for the day and soon I’ll be up to my armpits in paperwork…my paperwork. There’s filing to do and preparations to make for a 7 o’clock appointment. Should time permit, I might even go a couple of rounds with the crab grass…or throw myself into a video game and chill out for a while until my wife comes home.

It seems these days the possibilities are endless…

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