Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Grounded Ascent

I find myself (rather suddenly) in what might be described as a rite of passage - while away for 3 months both parents were hospitalized my mother passed and my father has now been admitted to extended care with dementia. I now find myself participating in the preparation of their home (the house I grew up in) to be sold. I see this as a sacred undertaking - ripe with opportunity for healing and transformation and therefore I am walking through this process with honouring and reverence.

I resume the crafting of this blog post after returning to what previously was two pages, reduced now to the opening paragraph. I specifically remember "saving" more than once, however, I must admit I don't know all the intricacies of this an online medium. So after wrestling with indignation over my lost work and ushering a reluctant peace with the unlikelihood of reproducing the previous content - I am left with the conclusion that perhaps the Universe was calling for a rewrite and the synchronicity of the need to let go of outcome, embrace again and more deeply impermanence perhaps can be no better demonstrated to me than to experience losing all the previously written material discussing aspects of that very thing.

I have asked to be the vessel through which creation itself flows and expresses - as this journey continues I am reckoning with that part or parts of myself that stand in the way: of "being written." Those attention seeking, accolade yearning, won't you please notice me and tell me of my greatness aspects that can mold what is written and become more about image management than truth. What if I were to just be greatness and express as though it was true, as though greatness and I were one and the same. I can tell you in this very moment I am moved to tears with the even brief embodiment of this. It's as though some part of me is over the moon with jubilation - exalting "I wondered when it would be that you would decide to allow yourself to be seen, first and foremost to yourself and then to express the unadulterated truth that is you."

I can say that I have a general sense that my writing will profoundly change. Gone would be the underlying approval seeking that feeds the drive to be entertaining. The self satisfaction of mental gymnastics could then be replaced with directness and authenticity. Self-censoring and an over-zealous concern for political correctness will give way to allowing what is coming through my heart, a voice.

Back now then, to the rite of passage which lies directly in front of me. The first time I walked into my family home it already began for me to have an otherness about it. Everything was as it would be had my parents just gone "out" for the afternoon, there was however already a disembodied presence about it. What had been my home was already undergoing the transformation into "a house." My eyes swept the front room and came to rest upon the chair which was where my mom regularly sat when she wasn't in the kitchen. The chair was still adorned with the crocheted throw rug, folded over the arm was a blanket that she increasingly relied upon for warmth as her declining health insisted on escalating inactivity. The chair was a daunting presence in it's emptiness - I was overcome with emotion as the permanence began to take up residence within me, rather than just visit. As I said I was out of town during her passing. I actually spoke to her on the phone on the day that she made her transition. I did my utmost to say everything that had been left unsaid. Gone were my life long stories I am grateful for some rare emotional honesty in my relating to her and being afforded this last "conversation." I didn't know at the time she would pass hours later, but at the same time recognized the absoluteness held within the statement, "if not now - when?"

Still the emptiness of the chair, coupled with the absence of my dad - now residing in an extended care facility, admitted with the onset of dementia, drove home the stark reality that I knew so very little about both my parents as people and I was now likely to know very little more. What a stew of emotions presenting, grateful for the healing work I have undertaken, the truth and reconciliation process involving my family, while at the same time grief for the present loss, unexpressed regret and remorse for years spent in disconnect. Though I never considered the idea that I would assume "ownership" of this house - I never really considered the impact of no longer having access.  I have never left Victoria as a place of residence and visited this house quite frequently - nothing thus far had animated the energies and memories of all the years spent living there like now being there alone with all of it.

I began the process of preparing the house to be listed by attending to the yard. I had taken on the care of the garden beds and lawns the year previous - so what was required was a post-winter cleanup. The yard and gardens were once kept pristine. The once large vegetable garden had been seeded and had become lawn. Evidence of my dad's increasing needs for order and ease had the perimeter garden beds covered with landscaping paper and white "ornamental rock" regular spaced concrete slabs then displayed potted plants. Nature was in the process of reclaiming these attempts at control and repression - numerous large weeds were now growing right through the landscaping paper. I reflected on the futility of trying to claim dominion over nature and felt for myself some sense of ease as I knew that finally this year - the weeds and unwanted growth would not be subject to the frontal attack of my dad "the round-up terminator." Equally futile was my trying to impress upon him the toxicity of the products he so freely welcomed in his arsenal.

I knelt below the imposing presence of the massive Garry Oak tree that is on their front lawn. It wasn't long ago that my dad showed me an old picture of the property about the time they first purchased it - fifty odd years ago, the tree was a virtual sapling at that time. During my youth I spent many hours perched high in the canopy of that tree which was roughly the height of the lower hydro lines. Still from that vantage point I felt as though I could see the entire world, the tree was a companion to me, most certainly a place of refuge. It now towered over the highest wires and filled the yard. There was no love loss between my dad and that tree - he hated it! He tried unsuccessfully to get the municipality to cut it down. Every year he would lament the workload "it" created - particularly in autumn when then leaves and acorns fell and high winds littered the front lawn and with twigs and debris from the tree. Eventually the combination of his decreased stamina and increased angst toward the municipality and "their tree" his battle cry became "the hell with them - it's on municipal property let them come and clean up after it."

Meanwhile I'm on my knees which is frequently the case with gardening, I realized that allows for frequent and ongoing prayers which seemed to me to be a necessary inclusion in my process and a right and true reflection of my relationship to nature. From that vantage point I could feel deeply my connection to nature and see all around me, in and through me, life expressing. I know very little about astrology I do know my birth sign to be Virgo and earth sign, I certainly can vouch for it being deeply "grounding" upon my knees upon the ground. The embrace of the great earth mother was palpable as I freely allowed my emotions to present themselves. In no particular order there was shock, awe, grief/loss, regret, gratitude, rage, bewilderment, fear, freedom, hope and curiosity. It was deeply moving and fully engaging this working with the land - there were moments of joy and satisfaction, it was very fulfilling to be of service, to care and nurture the earth and in doing so seemingly receiving the same nurturing for myself.

It is a fairly recent awareness for me to come to know of my "Celtic" ancestry, though only vague in scope I am aware that oak trees hold a place of reverence and prominence in the "old teachings" of my ancestry - so as a child I seemingly knew of this kinship without "knowing." It occurred to me that it was an honour to be of service to the tree - I spoke directly to the tree and asked that it impart on me the wisdom it embodies. I was reminded that nature cares not about manicured lawns - which of course were introduced well after the tree had been established. Though seemingly alone, this tree was in fact connected to others of it's kind located in yards up the block. These remaining sentinels held the history of a Garry oak meadow that was encroached upon to become this subdivision. Nature had no quarrel with humans - though humans have spent and continue to spend excessive energy attempting to demonstrate their superiority.

I will say that as my connection and reverence for nature have become awakened I have found the portal through which I can gain relief from the incessant illusion and mistaken belief that I am disconnected. Nature has demonstrated for me my true nature where that is concerned - we are indeed one. I felt the truth of this as I knelt below the mighty oak - my heart swelled with gratitude and my emotions now conveyed and produced tears of joy as I felt held and comforted in my aloneness, sadness and loss.

While still on my knees and cleaning out a small garden bed containing an azalea beginning to bloom I discovered a small oak tree which had begun to grow from one of the fallen acorns. I knew instantaneously that I was being gifted with a direct ancestor from the tree of my youth. I carefully dug around it in order to preserve all of it's life sustaining roots and transplanted it into a pot. The small tree is now on the balcony of my condo and has grown already. I will allow it to teach me how to best continue to nurture it, I will remain open to it's teachings while it's in my company and feel confident I will know when the time comes what the future holds for this young tree. Not much thought went into the collection and transplanting of this small tree - the "idea" was immediate and I followed through without question. This relationship represents that which I have felt has been missing for me most of my life a connection with and knowing of my ancestry. It occurs to me that though I may have had know intellectual knowledge of this heritage life itself and the powers present in this heritage have pushed and pulled throughout my life in order that we meet face to face when the time was right. "Children of the oak" the idea has presented to me since bring the young tree home or perhaps more accurately the young tree is bringing me home. I don't know what that phrase means, since it's arrival I swim in delight as I consider the possibility that it calls to me with a resonance eons old. Perhaps it means nothing to anyone else, that doesn't actually matter, it's not a phrase that has been part of my consciousness previously and yet now it presents. Could be that it might have meaning to me and me only - thank you to the unseen yet every present creative intelligence that has shown up in my life to impress upon me something new or old, either way, new to me. What is the place in a "modern world" for the teaching of "old" are they lost for ever due to not being written down? I suggest much that has been deemed progress is largely only on one plane of existence and while not entirely inherently bad, a myopic framework cannot possibly consider the "whole." Nature constantly demonstrates the very "nature" of symbiotic relationships - though humans innately are subject to the same laws of homeostasis they are consistently ignored - though they are the very nature of our existence. These are not laws imbued with human egoic qualities such as "justice" read vengeance, self-righteousness, capriciousness, punitive or petty still ignoring them does invite a equalizing response that is the very nature of the law it does so without judgment - plain and simple it is just the law being what the law is. I believe nature continually reflects this - humans can embrace it and align with it or choose to ignore it neither denies or affirms it's existence nor will it be "overcome." It can't be selectively applied or interacted with,  any more than to fully embrace an eagle is to be awestruck by the magnificence of it in flight and yet the perception of "cruelty" when witnessing the raw power and efficiency with which it kills it's prey, carries it off and devours it, as an rationalization to eradicate them. This is the full expression of nature through the unique representation of an eagle being completely what an eagle is. My judgment is not going to change that nor am I (nor thousands of my kind) going to change the laws of nature but just as if I could get close enough to an eagle to stick my finger in its face I could likely expect a nasty bite, perhaps the loss of finger so I suspect is the predictability of a tangible result in response to a more widespread ignoring of natures laws.

So think the "old" ways aren't about ignoring technical advancement but they would include a more mindful approach which considers the entire web of life versus arbitrary acceptable levels of collateral damage as long as financial gain can be demonstrated. I believe strongly they absolutely have relevance right now - I also don't believe they should have been abandoned entirely nor are they lost entirely because they weren't written down. They have seemingly been "lost" because they principals were no longer seen as a priority so the listening was abandoned. The "source" of the teaching is still alive and well, it's a bit like doing what is necessary to pick up the radio or cell phone signals, those frequencies are bouncing around out there all the time, but without the correct receiver there is no reception. It is not necessary to resume all cultural practices of ancient peoples but nor is it prudent to throw the baby out with the bath water and presume economic considerations will exclusively address the needs of the web of life - which includes us and that everything they knew and lived was backward and outdated.

I believe that my personal story and journey is about "clearing the channels" to become a better listener. It's about examining my relationships comprehensively and honestly, those with God, self and others. All my relationships can be reduced to how I relate to and within myself. Therefore this rite of passage involving my family is of paramount importance. It's no longer about blame, it's about taking full responsibility for how I carry myself in the world, the beliefs I hold, conscious and unconscious were first created by me in relationship to my family, nonetheless I created them - how I relate to the world and the people and all of life then, are projections of those beliefs.

There is so much "external static" and distraction that it can be very challenging to listen to what life is trying to say. It is further challenging to discern through the interference what is external & what is installed in me, the receiver. I believe nature/life itself provides the mechanism through which we each can tune in more clearly and once we reach and familiarize ourselves with our personal frequency - the hardware is installed, my current journey is about creating optimal conditions within for listening so that distortions no longer continue. I am grateful that my life teachers are infinitely wise and unconditionally loving - thankful today that conditions came about in my life that helped me recognize my own blindness. As the fog lifts I don't claim a constant state of humility but I am constantly humbled by the vast array of teachers that are right there once I can say "I don't know can you please show me?"

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