Temenos Journal II

November 2, 2012

A Purple Funeral, of course

Purple Casket

Why do we wait until someone’s memorial service to gather in their honor?

They say when a loved one dies, either you are glad you spent quality time with them recently… or you regret that you didn’t spend more time together.

Why not make that phone call to someone with whom you’ve had a disconnect.  Give ten minutes of your time to invest in extending love… Reach out and show someone you’re ready to see them as innocent and give them a clean slate. Someone you have been avoiding because they remind you of… something in yourself that has not yet healed.

You can choose to heal. You can grow. You can let go.

Model forgiveness and acceptance, like Jesus and our Mother Mary.

Let it go.

October 11, 2012

Knowing something by heart

To know something by heart is to be confident that you have memorized the technicalities of a thing… whether it is the lyrics to a song, the words to a script, the rules of the road, the words to a prayer, etc.

If I know a song by heart, then I can trust my ego to get out of the way and let authentic soulfulness be expressed, through my instrument, which is my whole body. Sometimes I accompany myself with a guitar.

If I know a prayer by heart, then I can let my thinking fall away and let authentic soulfulness be expressed by my openness to what is Real.


July 29, 2011

an Attitude of Gratitude… for Life

Universal Symbol for Gratitude

When I was in my 30s, I was in the hospital recuperating from emergency abdominal surgery. This was caused by a misdiagnosed ruptured appendix that had become abscessed and was speading like lava to other parts of my body.

I thought I was in hell. I rarely ever even caught a cold, and now I found myself immobilized with an open rotten belly (they didn’t stitch me up for five days), with needles in my arms and tubes down my nose and up my crotch.

Boy was I bitchy. I was in a room with two other ladies. One was in her 60s and was having trouble holding the enema they kept giving her for diabetes testing. There was crap everywhere. I could have endured this for one day, but the second day of flying crap when you’re immobilized began to grate on my nerves. The poor lady, by the way, was also suffering greatly, and she was so embarrassed and very apologetic.

The other lady in the room had to be 90-something and she, too, was miserable. She continually cried and moaned and yelled for the bed pan. The poor thing was having a lot of false alarms, so it seemed as though the nurses were now paying less attention to her calls for the bed pan. Of course, it was inevitable that there would be accidents, with all the confusion going on.

So I was trapped in an environment of random flying crap on both sides of me. I thought that being in that particular hospital room at that particular time was the worst luck in the world. Being one of those people with an acute sense of smell, I thought this must be what hell is like.

There was no privacy. Some of the nurses were rude and obviously hated their jobs. Some of the doctors would pat you on the knee in a condescending way and ask, “And how are we today?”

I wanted to say, “I’m fucking MISERABLE!” and I don’t even swear. I wanted to choke his stupid neck and slap him around, but of course I’m too polite to do that.

That is, I was polite until I started feeling stronger… about the 5th or 6th day after surgery. I started asking each doctor who came in, “When can I get out of here?” and their answer would always be some version of “not yet.”

This scenario went on day after day until one day I got quite belligerent and demanded that I be released from the hospital. I was miserable in this place and I wanted to recuperate at home. And another thing, take me off these horrible drugs — they are making me sick to my stomach and they’re making me hallucinate!

I will never forget my surgeon’s response to my demand.

“Now you listen to me. You are damn lucky to be alive. Your appendix was abscessed and had turned gangrenous. Your belly was so infected that we do not want to take any chances removing the IVs before we know that the infection is under control. You are healing quite satisfactorily, but we cannot rush these things. Do you understand?”

He didn’t holler at me, but he was stern. Of course I understood. I felt chastised, but, given the circumstances… that was the least of my worries.

The day before, a friend had brought me a copy of Louise Hay’s book, A Garden of Thoughts: My Affirmation Journal. The first page I opened had this affirmation:

I allow the love from my own heart to wash through me and cleanse and heal every part of my body and my emotions.

This touched me. Something opened up, like when your ears pop after being plugged by an altitude change. Well this was an attitude change, like Scrooge in the last scene of A Christmas Carol.

I smiled at the lady next to me, and appreciated the sweet person she really was. I even smiled at the next doctor who visited — I was healing! I caught a glimpse outside the hospital window of green leaves on a tree branch against the gray Cleveland sky and I thought it was the most beautiful nature scene I had ever seen. I was no longer irritated when the old lady began her hollering for the bed pan — at least I was alive and could hear her hollering! I could smell!

I was getting better, wasn’t I? I could stand it here for a few more days. I’m healing. Now the world took on more of a golden glow, and even the crap on the walls became more humorous than horrifying.

I believe I experienced, as they say, a spiritual awakening. I grew up a bit.

Since that day many years ago, the feeling of gratitude has continued to permeate every corner of my world. Gratitude has become my way of life.

So sometimes I seem less than sympathetic when a parent focuses on their child’s hyperactive nature as if it were a catastrophe. (The child is alive and healthy! Would you rather have a listless child with no spunk?)

Or you might think I’m callous if I don’t think it’s the end of the world because your son is skipping a year of college to travel across Europe with his girlfriend. (What a great adventure! How fortunate that he has the means and the health to do it! He can always return to college.)

And I may not sympathize when you complain about never having enough money, when you live in a 3-bedroom house, with two cars, multiple TVs, central heating and air conditioning… and a swimming pool!

A dear friend of mine used to talk about the “lottery of life.” We loved each other and he used to ask, “What are the odds that of all the millions of people in the world, you and I would meet? How lucky are we to have been born in the U.S., where there is an abundance of food and clean water and where we are free to do just about whatever we want to do? We are the winners in the Lottery of Life!”

What are the odds that of all the doctors in the world, that I would get one who would chew me out and change my whole perspective on life at the same time?  I feel like I won the lottery! (Although I didn’t even know it at the time.)

July 2, 2011

On Kali, Goddess of Destruction

Sooner or later, we come to understand Kali, the goddess of destruction and purification.

Like most women, I have resisted getting to know the energy of Kali because I was, and wanted to be… “nice.” Kali is not always nice, but she is always effective.

The first time I looked unwaveringly straight into the face of Kali — the first time I did not run to avoid the intensity of her energy — was at a gathering of twelve women at a spiritual retreat. It was called the “Women’s Wisdom Council” and we all had the opportunity to move beyond our limited perceptions of wisdom during that weekend (and hopefully beyond).

One of the women at the gathering insisted on recognizing and expressing the Kali energy present in the group. Leah was intense. Since I already knew Leah well, I trusted her wisdom in this matter, both from my experience with her good judgment and from my gut feeling. A lot of the other women were not so trusting.

Leah is a black woman, and she wanted the rest of us (all whites) to look at and acknowledge the rage within some of our black sisters. She described it as Kali energy, and tried to help us understand that it was ultimately purging and ultimately loving — necessary for the transformation of our society.

About three of the women in the group were openly opposed to allowing Leah’s open expression. They were offended that the “niceness” of the weekend was being threatened. They would rather keep things light and wanted to drop the topic.

Leah held her ground and refused to be dismissed, no matter how indignant and skillfully articulate the opposition became. I stepped forward to support Leah’s position and another woman joined us.

Three of us wanted to allow Leah to tell her story, and three were vehemently opposed. The remaining six women were noncommittal.

So here we were, a group of women on a spiritual retreat, at which one of the objectives was to build community among us… and we were bitterly divided. All because most of us were uncomfortable with Kali-type energy.

Unfortunately, there was no resolution by the end of the weekend. Many of the women grumbled that the retreat had been ruined for them. They had felt uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, was rejoicing because I had a breakthrough in understanding the energy of Kali. I finally “got it.” She is the loving destroyer. She is necessary for transformation.

It is easy to accept the concept of a goddess as a nurturer, a healer, or one of the muses of nature. It’s not so easy to accept a goddess as a destroyer.

Most of us live removed from nature, cut off from the experiences that constantly remind us that every act of creation is also an act of aggression. To plant a garden, you must dig out the weeds, crush the snails, thin the seedlings as they reach towards the light… Creation postulates change; and any change destroys what went before.  (Starhawk)

Until a woman is comfortable with and understands Kali energy, she is handicapped in fulfilling her potential. Because “nice” does not always survive. And we want to stay in the game. Even a dolphin is not always “nice,” and will kill when required (see On The Strategy of the Dolphin).

Gut-level anger can be a good thing. However, it can be scary because we associate anger with violence. Again, some wisdom from Starhawk:

It is a survival emotion, a warning that something in our environment is being threatened. Danger triggers a physical, psychic, and emotional response that mobilizes our energy to change the situation… Anger becomes a connecting force that spurs honest confrontations and communications…

Anger is not to be confused with temper. Anger is an honest emotion, even if we’re not always angry for the reason we think we are; temper is childish and often manipulative. Nor should Kali energy be confused with senseless acts of violence — that is unleashed fear. Kali’s energy comes from a necessity to transform. “This has got to go,” she says, and makes good on her promise.

Mother Nature is intimate with Kali and depends on her energy when radical change is required. Kali’s energy is behind earthquakes, floods, volcanoes… all transformative earth changes. “You’re out of balance,” she warns. “We need to make adjustments, fast.” We don’t always understand the necessity behind Kali’s destruction. But surely, Mother Nature must know how to heal herself, and we’ve got to respect that.

I called upon Kali when it was time to close my business after 13 years of being a slave to it. It was not going to die naturally. It had developed a life of its own. So I had to kill it. This act of destruction was against my nature… Kill something I had created out of nothing? I needed help.

So I called upon the spirit of Kali. I trained my mind to be brave and think in a new way. learned how to be effective, while not necessarily being “nice”… totally removed from my comfort zone.  But I got it done… I killed my business in order to make space for my transformation into an artist. It was the right thing to do for my soul.

Sometimes things can evolve gradually and predictably — as in the leaves on the trees that change through the seasons. But sometimes a leap in evolution is required. That’s where Kali comes in.

Kali is involved when a flash of insight occurs, shattering some tightly-held familiar beliefs. “Can we get past this?” she asks, “Or would you like to continue getting pounded on the head until you wake up?” You can choose to ride the wave of transformative energy, or stay stuck in resistance and rutsville.

I’ve made friends with Kali and the dolphins, and I’m glad they’re in my corner!

UPDATE: Here is an excellent article on Kali energy with relation to US elections https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/kali-takes-america-im-with-her-vera-de-chalambert/