It is early in the day. My sleep was disturbed by a painful leg cramp - one so powerful that I could not talk it down. All the deep breathing and wishing it away had no power - the only relief came when it had spent it’s time with me and then chose to pass, leaving an imprint of it’s memory by the tinge of pain still lingering. I returned to sleep, only to be awakened by the sound of a fax line, some telemarketer somewhere having no awareness that he just sent an early morning solicitation for his customer wanting us have such a small life that we would respond to his unsolicited request. Again, I fell back to sleep.
And then, a voice in my head whispered “It’s your wake up call”. The voice was followed by a visual of small pieces of paper tucked away carefully in the back of books which were then carelessly placed on shelves with no memory of the tucking away, falling out and saying to me “are we really important or can you just throw us away?” My unconscious speaking to me from somewhere in my soul, curious about what I really intend to do with my life.
Leg cramps - ringing fax lines - dreams - all saying the same thing “it’s your wake up call” - get going with your life. And so, the day began at 5:30, before the cat or dog or snoring man began to stir.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and then my five minute writing exercise book and let the words from the early morning flow. For the first time in a very long while, I felt compelled to look into my writing book to discover what the early mornings had been showing me. I then looked into the writing bag and pulled out some quotes that had, at one time or another, meaning for me. Looking outside, I saw the reflections on the lake of the departing moon and felt the pull of my soul to the front room - to the keyboard buried under a pile of crap - to the open Facebook page which has been stealing my time but feeding my brain with resources that I never would have known existed. My room is not pleasing of late - it is a mirror of my mind, wild and chaotic but I am ignoring it by pushing the ‘stuff’ off of my desk and making space for just my note cards and my candle and my coffee cup.
Ritual. Breathing deeply into that word - rituals that ground us and take us back to our own deep self. Carla’s candle, beautifully made at Zena Moon is burning almost out of control. It draws me over from it’s intensity and insistence that I come over and look at it and then I laugh, it is my “I know” candle. Synchronistic noticing: it is a first chakra candle - a grounding candle labeled with affirmations intended to encourage centering. I blow out the wild flame and then trim the wick to a calmer burning. I don’t want to be out of control this morning and burn myself out - I want the peace of the moment to bask in the memories around me and within me and then share them. The label on the candle reads:
I am enough - I matter - I am beautiful - my boundaries - what I know - I am worth the best the world has to offer - I can do anything
I settle into this and consider all the conversations that I have had of late and sit in the belief that all the things on the candle are true and that indeed I know this. What a beautiful affirmation.
Two poems were written out on cards in my writing bag. These were special to me the first time I saw them but today they carry extra weight.
“Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still
and learning to be astonished.”
~Mary Oliver ~ The Messenger
Just imagining that the only thing that really matters is “standing still and learning to be astonished” takes my breath away. It is reflective of what the Shaman said last night - our only work is to heal ourselves and then we help heal the world. When I consider the awesomeness of just taking all the pressure off of myself and living in the knowing of my sacred wisdom, I am overtaken with the tingly feelings of bliss and wonder. “Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?” Is perfect within my reach? Whose perfect? And, would I want it if I could get it if it doesn’t resonate with my soul?
“Perhaps we are alone
A circle of women
holding the dark
crying the eye
of the world.”
~From Lamentation, a poem by Ellen Porter, OSB
Finally, I land where I began this morning. Back to the grounding and back to the fire. “Perhaps we are alone the medicine. A circle of women holding the dark crying eye of the world.” Oh how this grounds me to my core. The power of the Call - the force of the obligation and the happenings around me that make me know this is true and powerful and necessary. Last night, we met at our friend’s home to hold a Fire Circle Ceremony for the Full Moon. Fourteen women - loosely connected - gathered with the purpose of setting some intentions and honoring our Universe. As the moon began to rise somewhere behind the clouds, we gathered in the South Florida sanctuary on blessed land with peace in our hearts and free of expectations. Some came who had never attended such a ceremony and so I imagine, that there was a certain amount of anxiety in the circle as well. Just like our world - our circle carried all types of energy and it was powerful enough to hold it all. We came to just be and to just honor and to offer our requests to the God of our own knowing. In silence we connected ourselves to the land and formed the unity of the circle. Led in ritual, we gave honor and praise to the Four directions and then to The Mother, Earth, and to The Father, Sky, and then, one by one, each woman knelt by the fire, carrying her own message and requests and possibly even lamentations. As I gazed at each woman, I was in a trance, mesmerized by the morphing of women thru the ages showing up in each one and I saw the connection of all women of the world. No longer was I under the belief that each woman stood alone but I was so powerfully aware of the connection to each other. I was transported back to women gathered in tents or around caves, warming themselves and praying for peace, health for their children, abundance for their communities, safety for their male companions who may have been out hunting or gathering, praying to be protected. Mostly, I was aware of the power of ritual; the overtaking of a much larger story when we allow ourselves to join in community and tap into our Universal energy.
I look around my room and see that I have surrounded myself with pictures of women over the world. Some are artists, some are abstracts. Others are dancing and claiming themselves wild and wacky. A Shaman bought in Santa Fe many years ago, stands on a corner shelf with her arms upraised, bringing prayers and blessings into my sacred space. Women who have been helped by FINCA or CARE, staring out at me in gratitude for the strangers across the oceans who are helping them to find their way to financial security and find education. And, I feel humbled and grateful for the reminder of the Fire and the reminder of the grounding rituals and ready to take my Wake UP call and get to work by
“standing still and preparing to be astonished”.