For Mariela, in preparation for Women’s Day…

Namasté…

There are photographs you may have seen with a water droplet that has splashed and rippled a watery blue surface, while above all the movement another drop hovers in time, isolated and intact. The sweet, brilliant architect and inventor, Buckminster Fuller, described the Feminine as wave, begetting wave, begetting wave, and the Masculine as represented by that singular drop of water.

This explains so very much.

The feminine principle in each one of us is about Connection to All Our Relations: to our Human Family, our Earth Family, including the animals, plants and minerals, and to all other Beings in the multiverse. Waves upon waves radiate in concentric circles of reality, ripples in the Ocean of Existence.

The masculine principle is concerned about our individual identities – who am I and how am I different and special? Humanity has come through a long and painful period of defining the value of an individual in terms of power and dominion. Physical strength, intellectual prowess, moral superiority – whatever sets us above others and separate from them – has been identified by our cultures and societies as a positive, and masculine, trait. Being a Real Man has been defined as having some kind of power over someone. The antipode of this has been the powerlessness that our cultures and traditions have taught us is the state of a Natural Woman.

Those of us who choose to identify primarily with the feminine aspects of ourselves have a calling to honour and nourish the Earth and all Beings with whom we feel connection. Particularly when we become parents, it takes deeply encrusted judgements and prejudices to suppress the hard, physical fact that everyone is somebody’s child.

Those still struggling with the desire for power and dominance are having to work harder to justify and maintain their positions of superiority, for their time has passed. What I am seeing is that our value is more likely now to be judged in terms of the degree of our alignment with an individual Mission or Truth that is not imposed by any external authority but is rather the unfolding of our own, sovereign selves. As the dignity and integrity of the masculine principle is resuscitated in this way, the feminine is freed to blossom as well.

Peace, harmony, love, self-realisation – these all arise from an awareness of connection – of Oneness with All that Is. Anchored in this awareness and aligned with our individual Light, our individual Truth, we walk in balance and in beauty – in service to the World.

Blessèd Be!

water drop ripples

 

 

 

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Collateral Damage: the Culture of Christianity

Written in October, 2010, first titled: “Duality and Sexuality: The Law of the Jungle”

(This text may have been written based on my experiences in Costa Rica and Quebec, but it pertains equally well to any cultural and religious context that has its foundation in the suppression of the Feminine)

Over the past 2 weeks, I have had the honour of touching so many people here in Costa Rica, their lives and stories filling my heart and belly with the history of this land that I love so much.

I am told that someone has decided on the basis of statistics that Latin Americans are the most sexually well-adjusted people on the planet. Oh dear…Perhaps this mess is a harbinger of “the only way out is up”, and Costa Rica – along with all the other places on earth where the Catholic Church has cut its wide swath – are at the forefront of a shift in the way we live and love. Let’s hope….

Catholic men and women have historically been taught that sexuality was a bestial necessity of the need to go forth and multiply, and The Church had the foresight to co-opt Motherhood as the guardian of Family morality, convincing women that God would still love them long after their husbands had left them to go out and do more multiplying. Trading therefore the pure love of God and the assurance of a cozy afterlife in His care for the temporal carnality of – ugh! – sex with their husbands, the righteous Founding Mothers of this country left a legacy of shame and repression that still resonates its complicated patterns in every cell of each indoctrinated body.

But this is not the whole story, it seems. While the Founding Fathers here in Costa Rica – the white men who “broke” the land- were out conquering the jungle with roads and railways and the indigenous people with guns, money and semen, it seems that a goodly number of the Founding Mothers, perhaps tired of being civilised and doing needlepoint and such – maybe it had something to do with the wildness of the Life busily replicating itself around them – decided to divert their creative energy elsewhere. I am told, in tones strangely hushed for these modern times, that familial traits often pop up in the darn’dest places – the nose and eyes of an old and respected family appearing, for example, under another name….Children here, in the social strata where properties and genetic material are carefully hybridised, grafted and cultivated, carry the family names of both parents.

Class differences are as marked in Costa Rica as elsewhere in Latin America, but at least here the poor feel they are equal citizens of the land. Here, Ticos unencumbered by material possessions will look you in the eye when they speak to you, call you “Mi Amor” or “Mi Reina” and dispatch God to accompany you with the confidence of those who are still on intimate terms with the Divine.

The first time I came to Costa Rica, not quite 20 years ago, I stayed with my young family in a beach house near Esterillos on the Pacific coast. On our first trip into town for food and sundries, I was surprised at the tight clothes, over-the-top makeup, stiletto heels and general come-hither looks of dozens of beautiful young women strolling the main street. When I commented on the high number of prostitutes for such a small place, our host, a transplanted Quebecois, informed me that these were actually the upstanding young ladies of the town, from good Catholic families, advertising their availability to potential marriage partners – strutting their stuff. For poor families the world over, a beautiful daughter can be a precious commodity, possibly attracting a man of better standing, or even a foreigner. Although marriage is the preferred outcome, the men with power and money here in Latin America are notoriously generous with their…attentions.

Once you have had children, in or out of wedlock, you do everything in your power to keep the father around. You ignore his peccadillos and the abuse of whatever sort might come your way and you make sure you “get your body back” as soon as possible. You get a nanny if you can afford it, and get back as soon as possible to the business of keeping your man. The thing is that within the mythical constellation of Catholicism, once you become a mother you are set up for the role of Madonna – you become unsulliable – the Mother to the man who is supposed to be your mate. The obvious solution for the male is to find another sexual partner: The Mistress – The Whore. We see this everywhere in the world, different cultures with differing degrees of acceptance of the arrangement. A logical way off this Mary-go-round would be to be gay – if the Holy Mother Church only had less hold on the privates of the people. The other option that leaves one perhaps in the best of all possible circumstances is to be a moneyed widow: power, freedom and the moral high road in one neat package.

“This is the way it works – this is just the way it is”….and yet….Men I have spoken to here seem to be divided into two camps as well. Some of them seem bound to the responsibilities and privileges of a monogamous family relationship, expressing mostly an incredulous “Who has the time and energy for anything else?”  These are fathers who are involved with their children, often not wanting them to have to experience the pain that they did at having absent fathers. The other men have simply replicated the time-worn stereotype of the Latin macho man, sometimes with a sense of a kind of addictive inevitability – of not being able to stop themselves though they might want to on some level. Others are just proudly/defensively certain that “men are made this way”.

Both wives and mistresses are often left to care alone for their children, but there is always the chance that he might pick YOU and not HER….Competition amongst women is furious and largely unacknowledged. I see women exhausting their energy, finances and morale attempting varying proportions of Madonna and Whore – the Virgin and the Magdalene. Plumpness in the wealthy class is a point of shame and ridicule; “fat” is an epithet, spat out with disgust and pity. About 50% of the women I have seen have breast implants….

An elderly women stopped on the beach once to admire my children, especially the blond curls and green eyes of the youngest. She took my hand and with a toothless smile of complicity, stared into me and said,” But you are a brown woman (una morena), like me”. She was acknowledging what seems a global fact of life: lighter skin is perceived as a sign of elegance, civilisation and respectability. Dark-skinned women are for pleasure, and hard work; women throughout the world have told me of being labelled as ugly (and therefore worthless) because of where they landed in this hierarchy of hue. The old woman on the beach was in her thirties – the same age as I – and had already had ten children. She put my hand to her belly to show me the beginning swell of the 11th with a familiar mixture of sadness and joy – I have seen this and felt this myself, so many times….

Beautiful, juicy women attract the most wealthy, powerful men. If you do not believe that you are beautiful, you need to be smart; here in Costa Rica, there are plenty of smart women. Lawyers, architects, doctors, business women, artists, psychologists, biologists…. The country is being run more and more by women fueled by their insecurity as women, who have either decided to make the changes they can in the traditional patriarchal hierarchies or have become one of the guys themselves.

Women still throw themselves into motherhood as an escape from the dangers of being sexual women. Sacrifice and devotion are the by-words here: “My mother was a Saint” usually means that she put up with all manner of activity on the part of her spouse. Women who pull their energies out of their sexuality – out of their bellies and into their morals  – make themselves less or not at all available to their men, and put their daughters at risk. Incest is as rampant here as in Quebec, but is socially still much more of a source of shame – a dirty family secret. Children who have experienced incest pull their own energies out of their sexuality, but learn that they have a secret and dangerous power that they can be easily tempted to employ. Young women who learn they can be sexy to survive and have potential access to money and power are subject to ever more exploitation and abuse.

Arriving in San Jose’s Juan Santamaría Airport, standing in line amongst the eco-tourists with their backpacks, the Business Class with smart-phones and briefcases and the pleasure-seekers of all manner and mien, an official notice – posted as the last thing you read before passing through Customs and entering the country – warns:  In Costa Rica, it is illegal to have sexual relations with a minor. Offenders will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I think I remember a prison term and a fine being mentioned. One is left to ponder the realities that precipitated this bluntness.

Women who choose to escape into maleness or motherhood teach their daughters either to never be dependent on anyone, especially not a man, or that they need to be smarter and sexier than their moms; they become men in women’s bodies in the first case or the classic seductive woman in the latter. Sons of deserted or dominated mothers learn not to be like their dads in order to be loved by their mothers; they learn how to keep mommy happy and acquire power by being “mama’s boys”, later morphing into seductive – or gay – men. Those who rebel become “just like your Father”.

Younger men who have witnessed and experienced consequences of their fathers’ transgressions often cut themselves off from their own fertility. Young women who have watched their mothers become slaves to their families do the same, and infertility plagues the land. Fertility clinics have had a rocky path to legitimacy in Costa Rica; couples who could afford to have until recently gone abroad to attempt to become parents, undergoing difficult clinical procedures that they don’t want to even think about afterward. All the humiliation and exertion can be mostly erased if the procedures are successful and they return with a pregnancy that holds to term. After all – someone has to inherit the wealth.

I have been bleeding for several days now – hot dark clumps of suffering flowing from my body, as I cry and cry and cry….

 

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Winter Solstice Meditation…Méditation pour le Solstice d’hiver

winter solstice graphic

http://heartroot.com/teachings/

Blessings to All…Bénédictions à Tous…

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Reflections on the Winter Solstice

winter solstice graphic

HEARTROOT                                                                    Approaching the Winter  Solstice

Here we are again, in the last days and hours of our annual descent into Darkness.

The darkness is so very deep here at Heartroot, under clouded skies, cloaking the still snow-less fields. Even our donkey-friend, Arthur, has stopped his nightly neighbour-rousing ruckus. The porch, the rocking-chair and I are enveloped in the kind of atmospheric blackness reserved for foreshadowing tales of horror and ill omens… or being lost at sea. I know Attila is beside me only because I can hear him whimpering as he chases a marmotte or a skunk in his dreams….

Yet…I feel radiant with a disconcerting, cellular peace.

We’ve learned to be so frightened of the Dark – the unseen, unknown…. Ce qu’on ne peut pas saisir – what we can’t see and grab hold of…what we can’t dominate with our muscles, judgements or rationale. Is this not the genesis of our concepts of Evil and Good? Can we not find, in our relationship with the Dark, the foundation for our fear of The Other?

What is not familiar (from “family”) – what our eyes and brains have not registered over and over until we adopt an attitude of lazy insouciance – makes us alert. The hormonal cocktail served in the face of the Unseen/Unknown is laced with adrenaline and testosterone – we are suspicious, ready to pounce or flee.  We are Hunter or the Hunted….

The religions of the northern hemisphere run on solar-powered Sons. We have focussed on these darkening times as a test of our Faith that the Light will indeed return.

But…what if we were to not experience Darkness – or being Light, winter druid symbols imageincarnate in a material body; or the powerful, uncomfortable emotions that arise from these bodies – as something to escape? What if we instead found within the black, velvety Void, the Source of all potential – the Womb of Creation – and revelled in this opportunity to become conscious Creators of our destiny?

Children under the age of three who have near-death experiences do not see the infamous brilliant white Light, but rather an enveloping black fire that does not burn (see the work of PMH Atwater), well-known to Kabbalists, Buddhists, Sufis…to mystics of all stripes through space and time.

We are aware now of the Zero Point unlimited potential of not-yet-manifest Reality – and then there was Light!  Perhaps when we learn to become very externally still, allowing ourselves the adventuring exhilaration of the inner voyage, the darkness outside loses its power to terrify.

When we stop running around filling every nook and crevice of our lives with Stuff to do and acquire, and allow ourselves the natural process of releasing what no long serves, fear-fed demons rise from the depths where we have kept them chained. All the things we have learned and believed about ourselves that we’ve hidden in our bellies – in our cellular memories – with shame (I will never be Enough; I am unlovable; I will always be alone….), scramble to the surface of our consciousness. I believe we are able now to choose to bless our wounding, and let it go.

On the level of the collective unconscious of humanity, we can clearly see all that has been suppressed, all that has been ignored and denied, rising into manifestation in perfect parallel to the process in our individual lives and bodies. Apocalyptic visions of every tint and texture swirl through and around us. Our challenge, I believe, is to let them go as well. Duality and destruction, strange as it may seem to some, are a question of personal choice – of free will.

hare moon winterI am startled to realise that this deep peace that has flowered in me was seeded in the dark. It seems so obvious, now that I …see it! Although I know that at some point soon the Light will return and grow, I’m not waiting for it.

Mmmmmmm. I hum to resonate every cell in my being. I see and feel a pillar of crystalline energy joining the Heart of Gaia and the Heart of the Multiverse through my human Heart.  In this place of neither Light nor Dark, I dissolve into Peace….

 

Blessèd Solstice….

Blessèd Be….

This was first posted on December 19, 2015. My husky-friend, Attila, recently died, but his Spirit is still here by my side…

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Walking the Talk

For those readers who have never studied with me, please be aware that this is a description of an internal process of spiritual self-analysis, based on the understanding that we call situations and people to ourselves in order to better understand what is otherwise suppressed and somatized. If you want to more fully understand this process, you can check out the e-book, “Through Duality to Oneness: Healing the Wounds of Gender”  – or come see me!

The true identity of the person who had my husky killed the day before I came home is neither the wounded child nor the spiteful sadist who have shared just about equal airtime in my head this past week.

The sadist has made several memorable appearances over the years, so as the facts came, drop by poisonous drop – an IV of arsenic – motivations of jealousy, spite and arrogance seemed the only logical conclusion.

I’ve had to coax the hurting child out of hiding, with only my faith in his existence as justification for the effort. Like a quantum physicist who has the mathematics to show that a phenomenon exists but can’t see the damn thing, I unpacked dusty boxes of memories looking for crumbs of proof. A suddenly-childlike tone of voice, stories with big chunks left out, hints from relatives….

My mind kept wanting to believe in the sadist – turning back to him and leafing through myriad twisted possibilities of intention. I waded into oceans of pain, battered by each new wave of realization and its potential interpretations. Surely this was not all mine?
“Women will always be abandoned and betrayed” Damn.

Once I saw the belief that was anchored in my bones, I recognised my part in this drama.
And he had confirmed to himself what he had learned as well, that he will never be Enough – will always be a disappointment. I’d found the hurting child.
It was easier now for me to see the woundedness in both of us that had called this situation into being.

How many generations of gendered humans have had these beliefs engraved in our bodies, hovering in the marrow of our bones – the unconscious foundation and justification for every hiccough in every relationship we’ve ever had?

Our bodies are like any other war zone on the body of Mother Earth, land-mined , waiting to blow the limbs off any tender step toward Love, Harmony, Peace, and all those other words we use to mean Oneness.
There is so much socio-cultural validation, floating juuuuust under varying thicknesses of political correctness, for the belief that men are angry, selfish, emotionally illiterate, irresponsible fuck-ups, and that women have to simply deal with it. It seeps into almost every conversation among women, but, like racism, it’s not acceptable in polite company.

I’m told that Councils of Grandmothers are being set up once again in northern Canadian communities to determine and manage their leadership. More and more women are winning positions of power in governing bodies around the planet.

But I’ve experienced the desire for power of women who’ve been subjugated all their lives – the 180 degree flip from Victim to Dominator that is oh-so-tempting when we’ve bought the idea that having Power Over someone/something/anything is the only way of accruing personal value.

A magazine editor (I’m imagining a 30-something hipster) recently implied that she certainly didn’t come from a cultural context that idolized the masculine.
Indeed.
We may have learned that individual men suck. But give Us the (masculine-defined) Power Over Everything that They’ve had all along, and we’ll fix the world, right?

I’m afraid not, Ladies.
The only true power any of us,  of whatever gender, possesses is to be in alignment with our Essence, our true identity, which is Love/Oneness/Compassion.

It seems to me it’s time to resist the whole concept of wresting power from anyone so we can wield it ourselves. In the Circle, all contribute the best of themselves, because that is what is seen and honoured.
We probably also need to work our darnedest to stay out of the trap of judging men to hell, and the half-sinking, half-smug “I knew it” feeling when, the way we see it, they’re messing up big time.

I’m working on it…
Blessed Be…

 

 

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ONCE A VICTIM….Take 2

This was first published in “The Heretic” magazine in November, 2012, and then again on this site at the end of 2013. Although the historical context was different, it is still pertinent – perhaps even more so than before.

On this side of the Pond, where feverish electoral competition reigns over the airwaves, billboards and kitchen tables throughout all three countries of North America, it is hard to ignore the renewed communal debate with respect to victims in general…

Women like me, “of a certain age”, look at each other in disbelief – we thought we’d already fought and won these battles ages ago! And yet…perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised…

A growing refugee population forms waves of nomadic humanity fleeing the violence of nature or society – wherever they land, these people are generally faced with hardship and xenophobia.

University students have historically been a major force for change within society, reminding their elders of their tarnished idealism and mortgaged dreams. I imagine that the propaganda machines elsewhere in the world – in Chile, or Spain or China – put in as much overtime as it did here in Quebec, slandering the motivation of the student movement and reacting with disproportionate violence and the hurried crafting of unconstitutional laws to suppress and contain their potential for social transformation. Broken bones, bloodied faces and brutal arrests were absolutely justified, according to popular (well-controlled) media, in order to teach the insurgents a lesson…

The “Occupy” movement that spread around the world was and still is protesting the manipulation and ruination of the global economy and resources by the elite “1%” of the population who rule from Wall Street and other financial power centres. This movement was successfully spun as a bunch of dirty lazy hippies – or spoilt children of privilege – who should get out and get jobs… This legitimate protest also saw police violence and hasty juggling of laws and ordinances to suppress and discourage it.

Indigenous people from the Amazon to Kenya to Tibet to northern Quebec are being massacred, forced from their tribal lands and into physical and spiritual starvation. Global outcry and petitions signed by concerned millions are largely ignored.

Recently, on CBC Radio, I heard E. L. James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, say that it should be self-evident to anyone who has read her books that the Submissive (woman) clearly has the power and control in the relationship she writes about. While James herself seemed to regard the rampant success of her books as a curiosity and took some exception to it being called “mommy porn”, the academic who was called upon to comment in this broadcast said that it was a logical expression of women in general being tired of having to be in control all the time and fantasising of being able to simply be submissive and follow orders.

Although in much of the West it has been considered politically incorrect to “blame the victim” since at least the 70s, it is still the cultural norm in much of the world to punish rape and sexual assault victims for the crimes committed against them.

The upper and middle classes have learned to separate themselves from victims by pitying them – one had to be poor, non-white, naive, ill-educated, unlucky…or just plain women…to be a victim. They couldn’t possibly be like Us, or We would no longer be able to believe that hard work and a steady climb up the ladder would ensure security and protection from the vicissitudes so obviously present in other people’s lives… Pop! There goes an illusion… Given the current times and state of the world, we never know who is going to be hit with the next massacre, earthquake, oil leak in the back yard, mining or gas company with rights to your land, or stalker with strange intent… Twenty-five million women and children are trafficked and sold into slavery each year. I remember when the whole population of Canada was twenty million!

Is victimization really random? In what seems to me an ironic twist of affairs, the spiritual community is largely in accord with the far right in believing that we suffer terrible fates because of nasty things that we ourselves have done – errors we have committed – the two groups only differing as to whether these things were done in this life or previous ones! (Although I do suppose that believing that one’s impoverishment is due to a previous history of misusing wealth is fundamentally different – and a whole lot less attractive to the righteously wealthy – than the belief that the poor just don’t work hard enough…!)

These are times when all stones are being turned over and the slimy stuff is crawling out from underneath, exposed for all to see… What we have not been sufficiently aware of, perhaps, is the persistent undercurrent of guilt, blame and shame that whirls around aggression (of all kinds) and the believed causes of its provocation. We are now revisiting what was swept under a variety of prettily-coloured and intricately-woven arguments for a few decades – people’s viscera seem to be speaking now more than social niceties… The lace gloves have been whipped off and the switchblades pulled out…

In occidental culture, the role of the sainted, religiously-inspired Martyr shifted historically to that of the Victim, who also got a lot of good press for a while… Crisis centres and compensation programs were set up – money was to be had… Then these Victims of circumstances and ill-will became Survivors – those who have struggled mightily with something horrible and managed to come out the other side – and marches, support groups and self-help books formed the next social phenomenon.

(Another image also arises, though, of wounded veterans, survivors of anonymous wars, showing off scars and recounting the stories of how they became debilitated as a way of it all making some kind of sense – of it having been worth something in the end… Like Holocaust survivors, we tell ourselves that we must remember to prevent the reoccurrence of such things ever again.)

Defining ourselves as survivors means that the scars still hurt – the wounding is still painful – but most importantly, a survivor, defined by her scars and what happened to her, is still under the power of the perpetrator(s) of the survived deeds. In an illicit and moving interview, again on CBC Radio, dissident artist-activist Ai Wei Wei, under the pressure and restrictions of house arrest in China, was asked what he would want to say to his deceased father, also a dissident and a great poet. His voice full of emotion, he replied, “I’m still alive.”

The victim/survivor also gets the opportunity to look at the aggressor from a higher moral ground, to decide that maybe he didn’t know any better, that he did the best he could given his upbringing, and that his errors and shortcomings can be forgiven out of magnanimity. Even those who do not feel able to forgive mostly believe that this is nonetheless what they should strive for, as forgiveness will bring them peace of mind.

Peace of mind, perhaps, but that of the righteously superior, secure in a whiter-than-white goodness that is achieved through the grand geste of letting the perpetrator off the hook – of not seeking the revenge that is believed due – the punishment that should, according to all that is upright and correct, be meted out, thereby giving the satisfaction of “just rewards”….The moral domination of one who has been given the right to Judge is the power of the Victim –“I may forgive, but I will never ever forget…”

Here, we haven’t healed anything – we’ve simply switched the rules of dominance and redefined the power struggle. Duality has once again been played out to perfection, as the aggressor-perpetrator becomes the victim…the lower guy on the totem pole of a newly-defined moral hierarchy…Aggression has to be seen as being the action of deviant individuals, because this is not the norm in Our Society.

Fault-finding and the application of punishment are necessary so that eyes are not turned toward what is inherently imbalanced in our social structure…

Best we keep the emotions highly tuned against rapists, paedophiles, loose men and women who steal spouses from their socially-acceptable lives… “Abuser!”, hissed through clenched teeth, has become the “Infidel!”, or “Heretic!” of old…

Perhaps the list of aggressors has just got too long and encompassed too many of us for comfort: we are once again looking at the victim with suspicion, doomed to bounce between polarities of blame until we finally grow up and stop pointing fingers. Blaming the victim is just the flip side of a society needing to lay culpability in someone’s lap.

The forgiveness that so many seek to cultivate in their hearts is therefore just not enough – it’s another facet of the scramble for survival through dominance that is NOT the best we can do as a species. Mere survival just doesn’t cut it anymore.

We’re beginning to understand the importance of the stories that we heard about our families – our People – in determining who we believe we are. Intergenerational trauma is finally being taken seriously as a template for individual and communal suffering, helping us to the understanding that all of us are responsible, and no one is to blame

There is a point in the centre of the seesaw that doesn’t move. You can spin it around forming a circle of all the varying hues of duality – the point at its centre is a place of stillness. This is the now-famous Zero Point of all potentials and unlimited energy, and THIS is where we must begin to focus our attention, our consciousness, our time and resources.

This is the sweet spot of the marriage of polarities – a place of inclusiveness…of Oneness – and it is where we will one day find peace.

Blessings….

Dawn

 

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Magic, Mystery and Perfection…

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It may be time to remind ourselves that all Life is woven of shimmering threads of Magic, Mystery and Perfection. Those of us who are holding frequencies of wonder and gratitude are being buffeted by waves of serendipity, synchronicity… let’s settle on describing it as Grace.

There is such immense clearing and expansion going on inside us all as ancient wounds unwind, unfurl and transform. Our passions arise from our wounding – walking through our pain we discover our unique brilliance, our individual manifestations of divinity, on the other side.

The path through our suffering is not necessarily clearly marked. Many of us wander around inside it and end up kind of enjoying the scenery, the dramas…the familiarity of it all. We often really believe that this is who we are. This is My Identity, and if it was good enough for my mom and dad and all the rest of my bloodline, well it’s bloody well good enough for me!

But this has been an uncommonly glorious Autumn in Quebec. Few hearts have been able to resist surges of joy and gratitude when confronted with the magnificence of Nature this year, and when we vibrate with these physical frequencies, we get a taste of who we really are.

Recently, I had the honour of assisting two births and a baptism within a very short time span.  Driving back to Heartroot after it all, I found myself pulled toward the Abbey of St. Benoit-du-Lac. It had been decades since I was there last, and I had no idea why I was being called there this time. As I walked from the parking lot to the main building that houses the abbey church and monastery, a very elderly nun approached as if she had been expecting me, smiled a greeting and continued on her way. I felt that I’d been blessed.

My feet took me to the Abbey church. Romanian-born Dan Hanganu (very recently deceased) created an architecture of beauteous simplicity, ultra-modern, but with a feeling of the old Cistercian monasteries (http://www.hanganu.com/index.php/en/projects/38-projets/institutionnel/1995/143-egliseabbatialedesaintbenoitdulac-en). Visitors learn that the original monastic community had arrived, exiled from the Benedictine Abbey of St. Wandrille, Normandy, by way of Belgium in 1912. When the monks who had remained in Belgium were able to return to Normandy in 1924, the monastery at St. Benoit-du-Lac became a separate priory and later an abbey.  I realised that we’d passed by St. Wandrille while exploring Normandy last year.

The sign indicating the way to the Abbey Boutique reminded me that the monks make excellent cheese! Down a flight of stairs, one passes through an area with an alcove of religious items – rosaries, CDs of religious music and the like, before getting to the food section. My eye was caught by a tiny glass-doored closet in the corner past a display of icons. In it were six cassocks and a variety of sashes – a tiny label told me these were liturgical vestments. They had price tags pinned to them, the prices written in pencil, like you find at church bake sales. No one was looking – I slid open the door, my hands went straight to a white wool cassock with embroidery that to me looked like the phases of the moon, and my heart exploded. The wool was hand-woven, the garment was hand-sewn – a deep, soft energy flowed from it and filled me. I closed the door and dazedly went and bought some cheese. The cashier confirmed with a superior that the vestments were really for sale, and anyone could buy them.

During the week that followed, I spoke of this experience to a few people. Growing in me was the realisation that one of the things that brings me the most joy is being a celebrant, assisting in the creation of meaningful rituals. The people who have asked me to help them have usually come from strong spiritual traditions with which they no longer completely resonate, but they don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, rejecting spirituality altogether. I experience my role as that of a midwife to their sovereign spiritual selves, helping birth their ability to connect with Source on their own terms.

I was offered the vestment as an early birthday gift. Although there was a chance that it could have been sold in the interim, I wasn’t surprised to find it waiting… There was something very special in the air when I made the purchase – the two cashiers and I were all crying – happily! – as the cassock was carefully folded, packaged and placed gently in my hands with their blessings. I was told that one of the resident monks had made it himself, and worn it….

As I stepped across the threshold and out into the world, the Abbey bells began to chime….

Blessèd Be….

 

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