Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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A Galloping Flame

I am gifted with a dream of the one place where my Self is fully at home, on the Finca, the farm of my childhood in Colombia. I find myself walking in a verdant field on the mountainside, surrounded by lush forest, reveling in its vibrant energy, when I see a flash of movement among the trees. I don’t have time to think before I see a small, but magnificent horse in the shaggiest burnt-orange coat racing across the field in my direction.

I don’t recognize this creature that makes me think of prehistoric horses, or the  ones from the Tibetan mountains, because of its thick, long coat that waves in the wind like a flame streaking towards me.  I am thrilled by the sight of it, and tremulous.

I know horses. They are like people. Some of them are gentle and kind, warmhearted. And some are ornery, and mean. And I don’t know which of them this one is, I only know it is wild, of a wild species that has never been domesticated. Perhaps I should take cover.

But the flame gallops past me without even acknowledging my presence, and, before my unbelieving eyes, races to the other edge of the field and right up the trunk of a tree, onto a thick, sturdy branch, standing in brilliant splendor among the leaves.  My mind struggles to accommodate what it knows is impossible, but cannot deny is occurring.

When I awake enough to remember that I was dreaming, to feel the joy of having traveled to the place I always miss when I am away, I feel a new thrill. I have written before that horses in my dreams are portentous. When I dream of them, I am left with a solemn sense of awe and bottomless gratitude, a feeling of having been somehow bestowed.

Horses often symbolize my True Self in my dreams, my untamed nature. Only in this dream, that symbol is, in fact, wild and untamed, and doing the impossible!

I welcome this energy into my waking life, keeping my senses alert for signs of it, opportunities to experience it, as I move through my day.

Photo by Funky Tee on Flickr.com

Photo by Funky Tee on Flickr.com

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A Reminder

Even though I work this way with others, I have not gone into retreat for a long, long time. I am inspired by the effect of retreating on those for whom I am companion and guide. But I forget how vital this work is for me.

I determine that it is time again, to go into retreat, in preparation for the turn of the year. As is to be expected, this feels inconvenient to do now, hard to find time for, requiring too much from me.  Still, I persevere, and sequester myself in silence, light my candles and bring out my rattle.

The past year floats under the glare of my gaze, and I rescue forgotten blessings, feel my heart tighten with unresolved pains and fears.  I honor all of the energies I find, witness them wholly.

In the smoke of the incense, I release what does not serve me, and feel lightened, heartened.

Then I remember, one last thing.

This year, too often, I have felt disconnected; disconnected from Nature, from the cycles of the year and my body, from awe and from what is sacred in my daily doings.  As this recognition comes to me, along with the question of how to release this large, heavy energy, a movement outside my window catches my eye.

It is a great bird, with powerful wings, gently coasting past, and my mind is slow to grasp, to process, to return to me: owl.  The bird alights in the high branches of a towering tree, the tree that I gaze on as I do my daily practices, the one that reminds me that trees are also my relations.

It can’t be an owl, I think. This is the city. It is broad daylight. Could it be?  The bird is still, imposing, enormous, unblinking. It is indisputably an owl.

My mind is startled into stillness. I remember the thought of disconnection and, immediately, a new thought arises: I could never be disconnected from Nature, from what is sacred, from my Self.

No sooner does this thought rise in my awareness, as the great owl takes flight and coasts away into the white sky, disappears from my view.

I could never be disconnected from my Self; Owl has come to remind me of it.

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons


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Self-betrayal

Self-betrayal is the ways that I turn my back on my Self and refuse to honor Who I Am.

It is when I don’t wait for clarity, but jump into things because that feels easier, more comfortable. It is saying “yes” when I already know I can’t follow through or don’t want to with my full Self. It is also saying “no” because yes means peering into dark corners of my Self.

Self-betrayal is turning away from the nibbling of knowledge at the edge of my consciousness because turning towards it means seeing, right behind it, a cavernous black hole that threatens to suck me in.  It is setting a course and following it, regardless of the signs along the way that direct me to go a different direction.

Most of all, Self-betrayal is allowing my heart to be padded, protected, numbed even  to those I hold dear.

Ease, comfort, oblivion… they tempt me away from honoring my Self.

I breathe deep, I straighten my back and lift my chin. In the spirit of the Reiki Principles, I tell myself: Just for today… I will align myself with the highest energy of my Self, and look where I fear, feel what I would not risk, know what is present, and honor my Self in each moment.

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström


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Remembering to Listen

This is one of the spaces I have consciously created for reflection, for listening to my Deepest Knowing and to explore what otherwise would find no outlet. I created it as a space for play, in the sense that it nourishes me and I lose my sense of time when I am in it.

Along the way, I learned that I have to show up regularly, that the inspiration to write rarely comes over uninvited, and often hides under many layers of “shoulds” and apparent urgencies.

I learned that I could write many, diverse reflections in one small burst of time, and I could begin many reflections that never really went anywhere more than a tight circle.

Lately, I have been forgetting that this is supposed to be play, fun, nourishment. I have been telling myself “I HAVE to blog,” and I sit down with a pout, my inner adolescent ever ready to stake a claim for independence. I have been in a power struggle with my inner Taskmaster, as one of my clients calls the ego.

Only when I catch myself, realize this and decide to let go, step back, hold up my hands in resignation; only in surrender can I begin to find my way back to the purpose, to listening, truly, and opening up.

Now, I do. I come back and sit down with joy and curiosity, with the excitement of discovery: what does True Self have to say?

All that I can feel is my heart unfolding open, like a book.  I find no certainties, no assurances, nothing to grasp. And yet, this is real: I am alive, in the energy that vibrates out of the center of my chest, and courage to be present in this moment courses powerfully through my veins. I am alive, I am present, I am Love.

Photo by Andreas Krappweis

Photo by Andreas Krappweis


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Intending Alignment

I know that when I am in alignment, my energy pulls in tight, powerful, so that anything I propose to myself unfolds with sharp clarity and flows with grace. When I am in alignment, even the obstacles in my path are shaped like guideposts that show me the way.

So I set aligning with the highest version of my Self as my intention, knowing in a quietly solid way that this intention will serve me well. It springs from that place, that essence of mine that I intuit, sometimes glimpse, but cannot even find a proper name for.

But how do I set about fulfilling such an intention?

I admire grit and determination. There is a beautiful, graceful and inspiring example in the life of my children right now. But I am aware, as well, that, if I am careless and lazy, it can turn against me, alienate me from the very thing I am seeking to achieve, becoming a forbidding taskmaster. So I know that it is not through single-mindedness that I can align.

I like to hold my intentions gently, like hummingbirds that nestle in the palm of my hand. But, again, if I am lazy and careless, they startle and fly away from me so fast that I cannot remember the feel of their shape. So I know that it is not simply by opening my hands that I can align.

There is a careful balance in it. It requires attentiveness. And quiet. And I dare not set my mind to achieving just that.

Instead, I make soup. I sit at the table with my family and laugh with my son as he jokes, relishing the sparkle of his eyes. And I hold the flavor of this moment, without anticipating the next.

 

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com


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Clearing Old Energies

I don’t know exactly when I learned it, or why, but I remember, as a schoolgirl, knowing clearly and unmistakably that I had to temper my Self, tone down my light, lower my voice, hold myself back. I could let loose a little bit in some classes where the teacher shared my enthusiasm for stories, or where she held a vice-like grip on the students so no one dared breathe out of turn.  But even then, there would be a price to pay, later, in the hallway or on the school bus.

I was too proud, too obstinate, too focused on the unfairness of it all to shut myself off completely; and my Self was too present to accept that.  Instead, I took on my own version of a tough girl mask and turned every hurtful comment and each rejection into a barb that turned away from me and back to its speaker. It took deep courage and strength to keep that face of bravado, that patina of self-approval, but I did.

At the same time that I was monitoring how much of my essence I could expose at my school, I was also looking around at the people who I thought of as my peers, the kids who were in the “advanced” classes, and knew that I didn’t really belong with them.  They, unlike me, were naturally good at every thing, whereas I was just pretending —that was what I was good at.  And even that was not enough. I couldn’t even pretend my way into the advanced science and math classes.  I was just not good enough.  So I hid my shame behind my squared shoulders and my head held high.

That all happened long, long ago, in such a different time and place, I thought I grew out of it all as soon as I stepped out into the wider world and found so many places, so many people where I fit with ease.  But… those energies of fear and shame, of feeling too bright, and also not good enough… they left their mark somewhere in my energetic anatomy because I ran into them again today, while working on another matter, apparently completely unrelated.  But related enough to bring them up!

I am full of gratitude for my trusted energy tools, which teach me to recognize and work with these old energies. I celebrate the realization that I can invite them to continue to reside in me, or I can accept the gifts they bring, and dispel them with one swift, soft, metaphorical: Boo!

Photo by Palmer on RGBstock.com

Photo by Palmer on RGBstock.com


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A Willingness to Lie to Myself

I have been listening to The Story, and the woman is speaking of living in a community built around a nuclear plant, her complicated relationship with her memories and what she knows about the harm done to people there. She tells us it is not simple, there were no evil people, rather, really good people in specific circumstances. I know what she means.

I often reflect on fear and how it keeps us from moving. Today, I think about the risks we are willing to take and our willingness to lie to ourselves, to believe whatever we tell ourselves, rather than facing what we know.

Just a short time ago, at a crossroads, needing to make choices, I sat terrified that I could not tell apart what I wished for, from what was.  I recognize my temptation to cover the sun with a finger, I’ve attempted it before. I know my own power to fool myself.

But experience has left me with new wisdom. At least, now, I know what I am capable of.  So, I asked people I trust. I wrote my options down, pretending to look at someone else’s life. I tapped out my fear of wrong choices and failure.

Finally, I sat alone among the prairie grasses and the dragonflies, looking into a still pond, breathing, until my energy mirrored its quietude, until I could sense the shape of my core, until I felt my Self. And then, no illusion could withstand that light, then I had a clarity, like grace, cutting, true.

Photo Credit: Colleen Benelli at www.ReikiLifestyle.com

Photo Credit: Colleen Benelli at http://www.ReikiLifestyle.com