Archive for the Inspirational Category

A line from the cave…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Inspirational, Media, Spirituality on November 16, 2015 by Standing West

As some may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately. To be honest, it hasn’t really dawned on me that I’ve had anything worthwhile to say. Not because I’m down on myself or don’t value my own opinion; those of you who know me personally know that I happen to value my own opinion a great deal and generally don’t mind sharing when the opportunity arises.

Lately however, things have been moving along at an increasingly intense clip. Since my job folded some six months ago I’ve been focused primarily on the workings of my own household: spending time with my wife, developing my healing practice, fostering my students, playing in the dirt…

Paring down financially and socially has really begun to help me see what’s important in my life. And this has led to an almost complete unplugging from mass media and all that goes along with it. Yes, I’m aware of the situation in Paris. I’m also aware, depending on what you choose to read, that aliens walk among us, Monsanto is the devil, chemtrails are dumbing us down, and that the Georgia Guide Stones spell out the directives by which some uber-secret organization plans to almost completely depopulate the world and control the survivors.

Oh, and then there’s the Masons…

At any rate, my official awakening some years back was something very akin to that of Neo in the matrix. (”They had good noodles…”) The main difference being, however, that while Neo went on to fight the system, I, like many I’ve seen, chose instead to bitch about it under the guise of “waking people up”. This has led me on a deeply introspective journey. And it has also shown me that one can either wage some type of war against the things one hates, or one can serve the greater good by promoting the things one loves.

And therein lies the tricky part.

As a teacher of mine once put it, “every time you make a purchase your foot is on the throat of someone else.” Wear cotton clothing to protect the environment? Somebody picked it. Buy running shoes? Chances are a child labored in a sweatshop to make them. Use a plastic toothbrush? Petroleum products and their pollution made it possible. The list goes on and on.

So what do we do? How do we continue to exist in the world without bringing pain and suffering to others? How do we wander through the hall of mirrors without becoming blinded and yet still interact compassionately with those who have?

I don’t claim to have an answer to this yet. I do, however believe that there’s a good chance that answer might be found in a life of service. Not in some arbitrarily adopted lifestyle chosen simply because someone you’ve been trained to worship has done the same. I’m talking about a life based upon the realization and utilization of whatever gifts one possesses for the greater good of others. Not everyone can be Gandhi, Mother Theresa, or Jesus Christ. Yet the volunteer who holds the hand of a dying hospice patient is no less important.

I’ll tip my hat to the mad prophets of the world. The David Ickes, Alex Joneses, et al who scream from their mountain tops about the evils lurking among us. They serve, in a way, as alarm clocks, stirring those who’ll listen from their socially ingrained slumber and sending them on their way. Yet, like with the nagging wail of an alarm clock, those who refuse to listen can simply ignore it or turn it off. And those who are awake no longer need it.

There are many out there whose paths of service are multilane highways paved in prominence: earthshaking individuals meeting with heads of state and boards of directors, deciding policies with global repercussions. For my own part, I‘ve no desire to, and seen no indication that I’ll ever become one of them. So I’ve backed away from the global issues and chosen instead to serve in my own small way; one person at a time.

It’s a much simpler path, and allows me to throw my efforts into places where they’re more effective. . .

Posted in Healing, Initiation, Inspirational, Spirituality on August 12, 2015 by Standing West

As we wrapped up the Medicine Wheel the other night, people started thanking me.  Rolling through my mind came the question, “What have I done?”

Without hesitation, in words clear as day came the simple answer, “You said ‘Yes’…”

Tuesday…

Posted in Compassion, Healing, Initiation, Inspirational, poetry, Spirituality on April 7, 2015 by Standing West

And so it is:
golds and browns
giving way to sleepy greens
and grays tinged with blue.

On days like this
even the rain is meditation.

We’re called to these things.

And as we rise to meet them,
they become us;
or rather,
they fold us into themselves,
so that after a while one fails to notice
the difference
between the service
and the one who serves…

The challenge of love…

Posted in Initiation, Inspirational, Spirituality, sweat lodge with tags on November 20, 2014 by Standing West

Many years ago, I was speaking with a cousin of mine whom I deeply respected and loved as an older brother. He was the father of two children and was telling me his views on parenthood. “My job,” he said, “is to draw a circle around my kids. As they come up to the edge of it, I push them back into the center until I see that they’re strong enough to step outside of it. When they do, I welcome them into their new world and repeat the process all over again.” Even though I may not remember the words he said 100% verbatim, I have never forgotten the gist of what he told me.

While sitting in a particularly difficult sweat lodge this past weekend, I found myself at odds with the heat. Suddenly, my cousin’s words came back to me and my suffering broke into a moment of realization. The difficulties we face in life are simply the arms of God wrapped around us in order that we might push against them and find the strength to grow beyond the space that they allow us.

This does not mean that Spirit is a cruel and sadistic entity who repeatedly confines us to a place of suffering for his own amusement. On the contrary; it implies that Spirit not only provides us the challenges we need to grow, but embraces us completely throughout the process

Spark. . .

Posted in Inspirational, prayer, Shamanism, Spirituality, visions on August 29, 2013 by Standing West

“There is a light that never goes out…”

-Morrissey

I have to admit that yesterday this whole issue with Syria had me feeling more than a little outgunned – no pun intended.  And while I’ve heard all the words before about “labor pains” and “shift of the Ages”; and said them to others countless times, it all got to be just a little too much to take.  We’re standing on the brink of World War III, the media seems to be changing its focus from “IF” to “WHEN”, and the biggest concerns of the day appear to be what Miley Cyrus did on the MTV Awards, and why Ben Affleck shouldn’t be cast as the new Batman.

So, yeah…let’s just say I wasn’t in the greatest of moods by the time I got home last night.

I typically work late on Wednesdays, so there’s not a lot of time for much of anything besides catching up with my wife and crawling into bed.  Last night, however, I decided to soak in the tub and read a bit first.  My mom was a firm believer in the fact that a hot bath could cure just about anything, and thankfully, she passed that belief onto me.

I got about 20 pages into Gregg Braden’s “The Isaiah Effect” – my second reading of the book in preparation for my Master’s Thesis – when I  felt the need to set the book aside to pray for a while.  I began to pray about the situation in Syria, and as I mentioned the word “darkness”, the power suddenly went out due to a heavy thunder storm that was passing through.  I sat there completely unfazed by the absence of light.  I continued to pray, and asked for a sign that the light of clarity would be brought to leaders of the world during these difficult times. Immediately my prayers were interrupted by a knock at the door, and my wife came in carrying a lit candle and a flashlight with a bright blue beam.

As she stopped to talk, the scenario took on a deeper meaning.

There is no need to fear the darkness of these times.  We must remain calm and centered, and allow  the Divine Feminine to re-enlighten us; to bring balance to the overly masculine tendencies of our culture, as represented by the blue light – the color of Father Sky and the Divine Masculine.

The answers are there for us if we’re open to receiving them.  In order to transcend these times, we must find the courage to walk through the darkness.  And we must also remember that no matter what happens, as long as one of us is willing to carry Spirit’s light, it will never go out. . .

In My Element(s)…

Posted in gardening, Inspirational, prayer, Shamanism, Spirituality, yard work with tags on April 22, 2013 by Standing West

A bit of an update, as it’s been a while. We’ve been quite busy lately with healing, work, and various social obligations, but this past Friday presented us with a few brief hours of respite, and gave me a chance to put my hands into the Earth again after what seemed like an eternity.

I love working in the garden.

What to some people may seem like just a few square yards of questionable soil surrounded by chicken wire and weeds is, for me, both Sanctuary and a connection to Pachamama’s greater Mystery.

I picked up the lettuce, spinach, onions, and tomatoes at the Lowe’s down the street from us, and I threw myself into the rototilling. After turning over the soil – a precarious mix of Jersey sand, hard pan clay, topsoil, and organic compost – I stood silently for a few moments, drew a small pinch of tobacco from my pouch, and offered a prayer of thanks to the Great Spirit and the seven directions before sprinkling the tobacco over the freshly tilled earth.

Soon the tomatoes and the leafy greens were in. The onions had been soaking for a while, and so I set to work placing them into their new home. Is I drew the loose soil around the last of the onions, I thought about watering them a bit before I mulched them. I remarked to myself that the first water that touched them should be rain. At that precise moment, a small raindrop splashed the back of my hand. I laughed, and thanked Creator and the Thunder Beings for their gift. I noticed that a very fine mist had formed, and reached down to find that that the lawn was soaking wet. In my absorption with the Garden, I’d failed to notice the almost imperceptible rain that had been my constant companion.

As I stood up to stretch, the sky, which had until that time been heavily overcast, parted to reveal a brilliant patch of blue, and the sun poked through for the very first time that morning.

I went to the hose to wash my hands, and a gust of wind nearly blew my hat away. As I headed to the garage for a couple of tools, something suddenly dawned on me. The Earth of the garden, the Water of the rain, the Fire of the Sun, and the warm Breath of the wind had all come to supervise my meager project, bringing with them the blessings of the Elementals and the reassurance that life is life, and that in the Creator’s eyes, all life is sacred…

One little push. . .

Posted in dreams, Healing, Inspirational, prayer, Shamanism, Spirituality, visions on February 28, 2013 by Standing West

It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least, balancing a full-time day job along with a marriage, healing practice, online education, and the usual assortment of life-stuff. To be blunt, for most of the last year and a half, there were many times when I felt as if I were literally being drawn and quartered. Some of it was my increasing mundane workload playing against the rapid spiritual changes I’ve been experiencing; but a good deal of it can be chalked up to the cluttered conditions of my own personal head-space.

Eventually, predicaments like this generally end up working themselves out. It’s a matter of muddling through and treading water until the tension breaks. For me, that moment came the other night.

I was blowing off steam about my situation for the hundredth time to my wife (I fully acknowledge how difficult this particular stretch has been for her, and I also realize how blessed I am to have found a partner who, even while facing her own questions about where to go with life, is willing to simply listen and be supportive.) In the midst of it all, I looked up and said, “I’m not asking for much here. I don’t want to hit the lottery. I don’t need to know how it’s all going to work out. I just need a little push. Just a little sign to show me where I’m headed; something so clear that I can’t possibly miss it.”

Tired and frustrated, I went to bed shortly afterwards, and the answers came that very night in the following dream.

I‘m standing in front of a Doctoral level math class, which I’m expected to teach despite my being an English major. Behind me stands an older professor taking notes on my performance. Then I remember that before the class can begin, I need to lead them in a song. I fumble through a hymnal, and before I can find something appropriate, a group of women in the class begins to sing. I attempt to sing with them, and they all fall silent.

I have no clue as to what I’m supposed to lecture the class about, and everyone in the room begins to sense this.

Suddenly, an idea hits me. “What were the problems you covered in the last class?” I ask.

The professor smiles, nods, and starts to write something down on his clipboard.

The class begins to answer, and everything they say goes completely over my head.

The professor steps up to the board, draws a diagram, and begins to explain it to me as if I’m fully versed in what he’s showing me.

This scene fades, and I’m standing in a mall. Ahead of me are the Math professor, a security guard, and a rustically beautiful woman with olive skin and a short boyish haircut. I’m aware that she and I have very strong romantic feelings for one another, but up to this point, we’ve really only flirted.

As I approach the group, the professor and the security guard turn to leave. The woman walks over to me and we embrace. We turn to walk through the mall, our arms around the small of each other’s backs, and she turns toward me and kisses me very lovingly. I return the kiss, and then I feel myself wanting to be more forceful. As I try to kiss her more passionately, I’m aware at my sense of disappointment at how gentle she’s being. With that, the dream shifts, and I’m staring at a bathtub drain with a stopper covering it. I grab the chain, and then I wake-up.

Looking back on it all, the first part of the dream reflects recent changes in my work environment. Due to shifts in the official structure, I now find myself surrounded by highly technical people. I’m often amazed – and not a little bit humbled – by their knowledge. This often leaves me feeling like an outsider. And yet, because of my Training position, there’s often an assumed level of knowledge on my part. Being a non-technical person by nature, it’s ironic to find myself in the position of IT Trainer, and the people around me sometimes don’t quite know how to take me.

The second part of the dream speaks to one of the central issues I’ve been facing since I began seriously walking this path. The woman, a beautiful and earthy balance of masculine and feminine qualities, clearly represents my calling to a life of healing work. I know that should I completely devote myself to it, the practicality and security of my daytime job – as represented by the Math professor and security guard – will completely go away. That being said however, I know that there will eventually come a time where in order to fully serve my Creator and All My Relations, that this is exactly the step that I must take. And yet, as her reactions to my advances in the dream clearly demonstrate, I must be patient, and come to this gently. Otherwise, as the somewhat obvious third part of the dream suggests, I’ll pull too hard, and everything will go down the drain.

Since the dream I’ve had a better perspective on things. The duties of my job are starting to change, and falling more in line with what I’d originally envisioned them to be. My sense of dedication to my healing work has also been renewed. I’ve come to know a deeper sense of peace with myself and my surroundings. And I have been shown, yet again, that the Creator turns no deaf ear to the words of those in need. . .

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