My last post encouraged you to contemplate about what is your own ‘secret of true freedom.’ I was overjoyed to hear from one reader, my dear cousin Anne, who is an amazing artist. The picture and quote above is from Anne—her response to the post from her artwork.
It is ironic—or divine inspiration—as I shared with Anne, that her image is that of a bluebird, because unbeknownst to her, a Bluebird has long been, for me, a special sign: a harbinger of everything being okay; herald of being watched over and loved.
Many years ago I had a vision upon waking: I looked up and saw this six-foot tall Blue Bird—with a blue macaw body and a farseeing, knowing look—standing at a skylight window over my bed, though I did not physically have a skylight window. The Blue Bird was protecting me like a Guardian Spirit, an image of my inner spiritual Guide. Ever since, I take special notice and feel deeply grateful whenever a Bluebird appears in my life; whether it be a bird in nature or appearing as a special ‘waking dream’ sign such as my cousin Anne’s beautiful artwork.
So I want to acknowledge not just the Blue Bird totem but also Anne’s wise haiku, the secret of true freedom she shares with us:
“Freedom Lies in Me To Choose Again and Again Landing on My Feet.” – Anne Lyon
I have had a blog post written on this title for nearly two weeks, but I have not felt inspired to share what I had written. Instead, this morning a poetic lyric came back into my mind from a song I wrote many moons ago, around 1978:
Between the inflow and the outflow, the inspiration and the letting go, there are changes; there are changes in the Wind.
I do not know why these lyrics, which have been with me all day today, have resurfaced. If I am correct about when I wrote them initially, that song was written within a year of a huge change in my life, a Big Move from East to West that certainly redirected the trajectory of this lifetime ever since. So why now? I am not planning any major change and have been more in a settling in mode since my third move in as many years now, over a year ago already.
I feel the answer as to why these lyrics have resurfaced relates to the original title I have planned to write about here: the secret of freedom. This was a topic discussed in a spiritual MeetUp recently that I found motivating. I was going to share about how, for me, cultivating and relying on inner guidance (or inner counsel) is a key to freedom in my life; then I was going to ask you (and will) to reflect about what your own secret to freedom is. But these lyrics speak to the theme quite well, for me. Repeating:
Between the inflow and the outflow, the inspiration and the letting go…
So this is where true freedom arises: allowing information or external influences IN, yet then reflecting deeply, exploring the realm of possibilities before: choosing, acting, manifesting–whether that be manifesting change or stability. Right action flows from right discrimination or discernment. I realize for me this is not so much about being Mindful as being “Mind-less”! That is, transcending the mind’s habitual grooves by diving deeply before acting.
The more I contemplate this lyric–between the inflow and the outflow–the more centered I feel and my sense is this is where ‘higher awareness’ itself may be situated or accessible to my human senses. So, take a deep breath when considering a matter: breathe in, rest deeply before breathing out, expressing the next word or action.
****** Better Endings Story Seed: The Secret of Freedom
What is the secret, for you, of ‘true freedom?’ I invite you to remember and to reflect upon how you have been able to act or think freely in your life. Share with a loved one or write about your thoughts.
I believe in inner guidance and have relied on it quite a bit in my life. Whether through dreams, clear nudges, or sometimes in direct contemplation or lucid visions, answers to questions I am pondering often provide clear direction for my growth and development. Reliance on inner guidance is not an abdication of personal responsibility and agency; it is simply a matter of developing and utilizing our innate human potential for connecting with our own higher viewpoint or spiritual awareness that is available to anyone at any time.
Last week I was walking with my dog Sophie for our daily exercise around the neighborhood. I heard the voice of a man calling out:
“Stay to the side of the road! Watch for cars!”
When I looked to where the voice was coming from, I saw a small boy, maybe five or six, riding on a little bicycle out from his driveway, followed by a man with a slightly greyed beard whom I presumed was the boy’s father or perhaps his grandfather. Then I saw the boy’s bicycle was equipped with training wheels. His mentor was coaching from behind the young boy, helping him learn to ride a bike.
I watched the man and boy as they rode up the road, side by side up to an intersection where they turned off into the same performing arts parking lot that Sophie and I were heading to for our daily walk.
A bit later while Sophie and I were still moving about at the arts center, I saw the boy come racing out on his training bike from the box office area; I mean, really fast for a little boy learning to feel comfortable on a bike.
“Very good! Now, put on your brake! Be careful!”
The boy did as instructed and applied his brakes gently but firmly; he came to a definite but not too hard of a stop. Then father and son continued back toward their home again, with the father following in the rear, allowing the boy to be in the lead yet knowing he could rely on his mentor’s guidance as needed.
Watching the boy learning to ride a bike reminded me of how my Dad taught me to swim. We had a backyard pool. He had the hose filling it for the season, but he brought me into the pool when it was maybe three or four feet deep. First, he just held me up and gently let me go, telling me to use my arms to stay afloat. Next, Dad pulled a few feet away from where I was holding onto one side of the pool, and he asked me to swim to him. Then, he pulled further away and further, each time asking me to swim to him. If I was too afraid to try, he would move closer that round. Finally, he was at the opposite side of the pool and I was able to cross the great waters to reach him!
This is how inner guidance generally works with me. It lets me do all I can on my own, but when I need help, I know I can always call on what I perceive as my inner Guides for support, protection and guidance.
As I have been reflecting on this gift of inner guidance after watching the boy learn to ride a bike, I realize how a good part of working with inner guidance involves developing self-reflexive awareness. We learn to look at ourselves as a mentor, guide or Master might look at us; so we maintain a higher viewpoint and can self-correct as well as receive direct inner guidance as needed. This can help us build self discipline and somewhat of a more objective viewpoint about our own attitudes or actions.
Please note that I have added a new feature to the blog in the right column. You are invited to engage with the journaling prompts in the Better Endings SEED STORY prompts. Enjoy!
Some four to five years ago as I was just beginning to consider the prospects of retirement and relocation, I decided to set a private sign that I would see if I was meant to relocate. I chose pink flamingoes as my token sign because this image was not very common where I was living then in Colorado. I have used this approach one other time and it was very effective then, so I made my inner postulate to see pink flamingos as an affirmation it was time to leave and hopefully with some indication then of where I should move to after my retirement.
I did start seeing pink flamingos more frequently than I had noticed them before, and sometimes at odd times. Not that this sign was a major impetus for retiring relatively early, but it did help buttress my resolve. This sign seemed also to show up in ads and such in a way that suggested a certain direction of movement: back East rather than, let’s say, to Florida (though that was not out of the question for me and is where pink flamingos might be more expected).
I retired except for part-time online teaching in 2018 and relocated to New York state, near to where one of my sisters lives and at the time near where my mother was in a nursing home. This was home turf for me since I had moved Out West from Buffalo, NY over forty years earlier. I first moved to one town I had researched online, Ithaca, for about 9 months. It was nice and I was happy to be able to continue teaching there part-time, but I soon realized it was not my final retirement destination. I started seeing pink flamingoes again when I thought about moving elsewhere, and that next move was to a lakeside community in Canandaigua, still in the Finger Lakes, translated from Iroquois as “the chosen place.”
My second move was also good, and I enjoyed lakeside living for a year and a half in a small, nestled community of largely retired folks like myself. But when the pandemic struck, I started feeling restless again, and isolated in my remote little patio home, and I realized that this was still not my deeply sought destination. I started visiting and thinking about my original, high school hometown two hours away, a quaint but active community centered around a performing arts center and nestled near a river and a lake, just across the border from Canada. I sold my lake house, packed up and moved with my pets again, to rent the house where we are living now.
I am Back Home (at least in the physical world sense), and it is exactly where I want to be.
A few weeks ago, I went for breakfast at a great little diner up the road a bit from my new home. Although the diner is in the countryside and not very near to any body of water, I realized the theme in all the pictures on the wall was pink flamingoes! This time the sign felt like a confirmation: that this is where I was meant to be moving to, all along. Since then, I have been seeing pink flamingoes quite a lot in my little hometown: at stores, in peoples’ yards, and lately, filling the screen when I turn on my desktop computer.
I haven’t always thought that this practice of setting up a personal sign and paying attention when you see it works. I have had other friends who have used it effectively for themselves through the years, and now the two times I have used the approach, it has worked very well for me too.
But why? The practice of choosing a private sign is I think a way of working with your own inner guidance or with your higher/ superconscious awareness. It sets up a suggestion that lets your unconscious mind and your spiritual consciousness work together in tandem; it can align you with your deeper Self, with your own inner compass, helping guide you to find your own North Star.
Preparing to make (yet another) Big Move is a daunting experience. Cleaning house, staging for showings, vacating the premises with my pet family, waiting. A rental house is already waiting at my next destination, with deposit and first month’s rent paid.
Lessons abound: accepting change, having faith in my own reasons for making this move; that everything will be okay, that I can be of service and will enjoy my and my pets’ new lifestyle in the once beloved hometown I am returning to after nearly 48 years.
I am learning about trust, about patience, and about graceful acceptance of change. At every turn, I find reinforcement and support through kind words of friends and family and even relative strangers I meet along the way. “Change Is Good!” is the affirmation I have arrived at that is helping me after months of preparations, searching and missteps to break through to the new departure.
Under one month now and the movers will arrive to move the furniture. Two prospective buyers at my current house though as yet no contract; hopefully this next week will bring one or both forward.
Making this move during a global pandemic has its own stresses and uncertainties. I find I am learning more and more to rely on my inner guidance.
For example, around a week ago, worried about not having a solid offer on the house yet, I asked inwardly for a sign that I was taking the right steps. I asked to see pink flamingos; not a common site here in the Finger Lakes. Just when I thought I would not see any, suddenly for the next evening and the following morning, whole flocks of pink flamingos seemed to show up everywhere! Twice on tv, and on lawns I drove past, pink flamingos were abundant, then after I gratefully accepted the gift, I have not seen any since.
“Everything will work out,” family and even a stranger have been stating outright to me; not in response to anything I had been talking about, but basically “out of the blue.” My sister-in-law, whom I do not often hear from directly, texts me that “It will be alright about the house and even if it doesn’t (work out immediately as you’re hoping for), it will still be all right.”
And it will be all right. I have taken the leap of faith to pay a deposit and first month’s rent, and with that decisive movement forward everything seems to be flowing in a positive direction.
But let me bridge to a more general discussion about how “Change Is Good” on a collective level rather than just in my personal life, and how listening for and acting in response to Inner Guidance can help us move forward as needed.
Recently I was at a car repair place having my car’s oil changed and all systems checked before the Big Move. I wore my mask and went early. A man entered with his wife, daughter, and their dog, decidedly and it seemed defiantly choosing not to mask; this on the very day an American president had been diagnosed with the pandemic virus.
I walked decidedly out of the business, into the safe, fresh air. While sitting outside to wait on a bench, the unmasked man came out and walked right over to where I was sitting. Still unmasked, he coughed at me then went back indoors!
People are so stressed these days, and society has become divided along political or ideological edges. We cannot account for anybody else’s behavior, but we can hold true to our own values. Certainly in times like these, Change can be Good! I truly hope we can find our way forward, individually and together, to a more balanced, compassionate and mutually caring future.
A waking dream about my monthly question of ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ comes from watching a Saturday television documentary on a channel I have never watched before. This was a biographical story about a farmer named Jason which got me thinking about the difference or the relationship as well between miracles and magical thinking.
Jason had been a professional football player, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. You might think this was his dream come true, but no; Jason’s ‘better endings’ story came from asking inwardly for guidance to find his real calling. The answer to his prayerful question was that he should become a farmer. A man of deep spiritual faith, Jason quit his day job and found the farm of his dreams to which to move his family. Having made this choice, a long sequence of miraculous seeming opportunities unfolded, which Jason regards as acts of divine intervention.
The farm Jason ended up buying was not even on sale when he saw it first, but in an indirect way he was redirected to ask and the owners agreed to sell. Jason named his farm “First Fruits,” gifting not just the first season’s crops but indeed all crops for the next several years to anybody in his community in need of produce or food donations. Gratitude poured back from all directions; farmhands, a new tractor, roosters that appeared by a roadside when he was thinking about wanting to find some roosters, and even a donkey that was gifted exactly when he was worried about how to protect some goats against predator coyotes: all were gifted just as the need arose.
images are from pixabay.com
Jason’s story reminds me of a similar sort of autobiographical story described in the interesting book, Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered. There, too, Machaelle Wright tells how she followed her inner guidance despite in her case drastic abuses and obstacles, emerging with an uncanny ability to conjure forth the slightest need–such as manifesting physical tools in her hands during contemplations–to aid her very positive farming enterprise.
So what is the difference or the relationship between miracles and magical thinking? The latter is generally regarded as a matter of frivolous or selfish, wishful thinking; that one should be able, figuratively speaking, to twitch their nose or wave a magic wand to satisfy their or others’ material needs. Some prayer, I would aver, is really a matter of magical thinking being projected onto a concept of divinity in service to selfish desires. As if divinity or the universal good–however you might comprehend that–doesn’t know what one ‘needs’ until It is petitioned, or doesn’t know as well as some mere human what is needed or most beneficial to the highest good or needs of all concerned.
I find in my own practice that true prayer–which I would relabel as contemplative communication with Spirit or the universal good–involves listening TO and FOR the divine principle and being receptive to ITS moment to moment guidance, which can lead to definitely ‘miraculous’ daily events! I comprehend this as enjoining a TANDEM relationship with spiritual guidance and oversight, as it were. It is like riding a two-seated bicycle with Spirit, sometimes on the front driver’s seat and sometimes taking up the rear to allow the guiding wisdom of Spirit to lead the way toward well considered, worthy aims or solutions.
What Difference Does It Make? The reality of a positive, tandem relationship with Spirit or the Universe proves in every daily miracle acknowledged or acted upon that the smallest pursuit DOES matter, CAN matter for fulfilling “the greatest interests of all concerned,” so long as that is the intended result of one’s most humble inner quest.
For Week Two of our monthly Better Endings process this year, I ask you to reflect on your dreams or inner guidance with respect to a monthly personal question or quest.
I have been dreaming a lot this past two weeks since posing the question, “What Then?” In one dream a friend standing behind me introduces me to a couple of potential new friends in a new location. As I am in transition already, moving gradually to my new home in a new town for me, this seems quite likely! I took note of the appearance of the two potential new friends so I might recognize them when or if this comes about outwardly.
Another dream shows me (from my dream journal): “approaching a space, like a hole on a white membrane, that if I were to enter, it ‘would go on forever… like a wormhole’.” It felt like a purification portal of some sort–I woke up wondering what it would mean to enter into that space and sensed it would be “transformative” and that it indicates a passage to embracing or becoming/ joining with “all that IS.”
images are from pixabay.com
These two dreams taken together both are positive indicators that the new direction I have already embarked upon is a forward motion, advancing into new potentials. A step into an apparent void, perhaps, yet clearly full of positive potentials. The wormhole-like image felt as though to enter would be like a death or a near-death experience. Yet it was placed before me as what is next, something I must enter into, a natural passage of spiritual development even though it is a mysterious movement into a void or the Unknown.
Ready, Set, I Accept!
What are YOUR dreams telling you this week or month about some deep personal question you are contemplating? I encourage you to keep a dream journal and to review it at least once a week. I had forgotten the “wormhole” dream until reviewing my dream journal. (Interesting, though, how I used a wormhole picture in last week’s blog post when I first established my monthly quest for understanding.)
Welcome to the new year at Better Endings! Each month I shall be inviting you to explore and contemplate a question related to your own personal growth. Week One you can pose the question. Week Two I invite you to work with your dreams to find messages relating to your query. Week Three you can further pursue outer signs and ideas to arrive at some solutions and practices you can use, and Week Four I will invite you to journal about or write a Better Endings envisioning that reveals your movement forward with regard to your question that month (see Monthly Topics page).
I will be modeling the process week by week with excerpts from my own experience/ questions, and I invite you to keep a journal of your own self-exploration process. I welcome any stories you might wish to share either in the Comments area or you can send me pieces to post between the weekly sessions (see Share Your Story page).
For myself I will be pursuing a general question for the whole year, with individual monthly questions that are part of the overall inquiry for personal growth and development. I am asking: How can I establish true Happiness, outwardly as well as inwardly, from my present and developing circumstances after having recently retired and relocated across country ‘alone’ though with my dear pet companions Emily (cat) and Sophie (Shorkie dog).
For January, I pose for myself a more specific question: How am I to revitalize my writing and related public service activities despite the busy life I have taken on in my new location?
When I first arrived at the idea for this yearly process for the blog this year (last week), I was at a restaurant having breakfast. The waitress seated me in a half-booth directly facing a painting on the back wall that captured my attention. The picture was a colorful carnival scene. A young woman riding in the air on an airplane carousel ride was waving down to a younger, nondescript figure of a younger person who was riding on a merry-go-round and waving up at the woman from below.
I recognized this picture as a waking dream about the very process of personal growth I hope we can achieve with the blog this year for all who partake of the weekly journaling and contemplation approach. The picture represents communication between Soul or one’s Higher Self and Self (one’s outward, temporal personhood).
While the younger Self rides along with the ups and downs of the carousel ride of life, s/he can take heart to know that their Higher Self looks on!
I realized how the Ups and Downs of life are both equally important, both balanced by an overview perspective of inner guidance and personal reflection and growth. One dips and then resurfaces; rises and then returns to balance along the learning curve of a life of challenging experience and joy.
images are from pixabay.com
So with regard to my personal first question for this month, I see an initial clue in this painting. I have been in the doldrums for the past six weeks about my writing goals, allowing myself to be so busy outwardly with other activities that my writing process has been put to the side. This picture tells me to keep looking UP, to communicate with my Higher Self and inner guidance in order to see more of the Bigger Picture. Outer activities are preparing the way for further unfoldment to come.
Spirituality is one of my core Life Themes. All of my life it has been a motivating force to my thoughts, questioning, and adventures.
Spirituality brings depth to any experience. It frames experience as gifts and as lessons to grow by. It provides guidance and protection as a source of inner guidance. It illuminates the meaning and purpose of life events and relationships. It nourishes and supports one, always.
To map the Theme of Spirituality over the life course can be revealing. One of my earliest “shaping events” based on what I would come to understand as Spiritual was that when I was around 7 or 8 I recognized a “blue man” in my conscious awareness. Somewhat like an invisible friend, the Blue Man was with me always, in my thoughts as well as my actions. I could pose questions to him and he would help me understand things generally. Because of him, I for awhile believed that all adults, not just him, could read my thoughts and knew everything about me; I even thought animals, though choosing not to speak, could do the same.
I remember as well when I was around twelve I stayed home from school one day. I was shy and for some reason wanted to avoid going in that day, though really I was only “faking” being ill. For some reason that day my mother was angry with me; I do not remember why but I do recall feeling guilty, perhaps for malingering. I went to my room an wrote in my diary. I remember writing a lot, painfully confronting that maybe the Devil had sent me to this world, but even so I chose instead to be a vehicle for God! When I discovered this little diary several decades later and found that diary entry I was surprised; the entire entry was about one sentence long! But that was a Turning Point for me. From then forth I have always sought to be a positive agent to be of spiritual value in the world.
images are from pixabay.com
What about YOU? What are some early ‘shaping events’ involving spirituality in your life? How have these affected your sojourn through life to Now? What lessons do you take forward from these?
Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.
Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.
What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance?
On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.
“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind. Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good. That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.
This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams. If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance. Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams. Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.
Meditation, contemplation, active imagination, walking solo in Nature, non-directive prayer: all of these are excellent modalities for tuning in to your own inner guidance and for tapping your feelings and insights about life events and decisions. Some form of listening to your Self—in all its archetypal complexity and integration—is absolutely necessary if you desire to go “forward” in a mindful, conscious direction.
Is this different from “going with the Flow”? Not at all, so long as the Flow is an internal one, springing up from your deep inner resources rather than being primarily reacting or responding to external stimuli.
Just after writing the above paragraph, I took my dog Sophie for a walk. We are visiting at my sister’s in rural New York state and it is such a beautiful area for walking. While meandering in the neighborhood of a Catholic church we like to walk around, I noticed a road sign for the first time. “Maybee Alley” was the name of the little pathway leading toward the Church property.
It was interesting that this sign caught my attention today. It was a “waking dream,” a significant outer confirmation about a decision I was posed with last night via email. Maybe this or maybe something else instead if something even better comes along (re. potential publishers for my book that is currently circulating for review).
So I guess I am meandering in MAYBE ALLEY right now. I would sure like to turn the bend to CERTAINTY (A)VENUE!
Being a Communicator is a fundamental capacity of being human. As we learn about how best to communicate, or also how worst to express ourselves, we develop and cultivate a “Voice” which is distinctly our own yet which may represent as well a style of communicating which feels natural or effective. That part of you which has the ROLE of being The Communicator is a member of your Archetypal ensemble cast of personae that together comprise your personal Self. This month, I invite you to explore and celebrate your own COMMUNICATOR nature.
What have been some of your most significant positive (Strength mode) and negative (Shadow mode) role models for developing your Communicator persona? What characteristics have you learned from them that are embedded in your own Communicator part-of-self? For example, from a high school English teacher mentor, Mr. Scelsa, I learned alot about communicating as a teacher: asking good questions and listening from the heart to help students progress from wherever they are at to a next level that suits their own interests or needs. From a graduate school mentor, Betsy, I learned about how to simplify academic writing in order to reach a broad interdisciplinary audience.
From blogging I am learning how to use common language and very open prose to communicate with a public readership. I highly recommend blogging to all writers and artists! Also from a friend, Jan, I learned many years ago and continue to try to develop the art of sharing feelings and engaging deeply in friendship. Yet, I have also observed in myself and others communication faux pas‘s and miscommunication, usually involving generalized mistrust; these are ways of communicating that I prefer to avoid.
Communicating about what matters to you, and listening from the heart to what matters to others, is important in and of itself, always. Communication allows you to exteriorize your thoughts and feelings. Often it is best to start that process inwardly, though, or by means of journal writing.
One technique you can use to increase your facility with communicating about what matters to you is to have a conversation, either in active contemplation/meditation or in writing, with your own Inner Guide or higher consciousness.Just this afternoon, for example, while waiting for food at a restaurant, I journalled an internal dialogue about something I have been worrying over in the form of a conversation with my spiritual Guide (I call him Zee). It worked wonders! He helped me envision more flexibly about some future concerns, and said: “Do not let externals determine your level of happiness or fulfillment.”Thanks, Zee!
images are from pixabay.com
So try it, you might like it. Just start a conversation on paper, and allow it to proceed naturally, perhaps in question and answer mode. Let it continue until you have arrived at some insights that help you progress in a positive way with your thoughts or concerns.
In the opening post this month it came through that the Mystic archetype is that which is able to “find the Gold and bring it up” to the surface of your awareness. This is a part of you that sees through surfaces to what lies beneath; that perceives the true and the good—or their opposites—despite outer appearances. Such a valuable Ally!
It is important to pay attention to this Seer side of you. How can you tune in when your “inner tuition” is trying to alert you or draw your attention to something your conscious mind might be denying or blind to? You must be willing to connect with this ‘deep’ facet of your awareness in order to follow its promptings or to accept and acknowledge its truths.
People are often afraid of their own Mystic potentials. Perhaps it will reveal to you something you would rather ignore, like the actual state of a relationship or even an opportunity for significant change that will require that you take a step forward in a direction you may not yet feel ready to take.
So remember to pause, to ask, to LISTEN to what your Mystic Guide wants you to realize or understand. It may appear to you in a DREAM manifestation, as a Dream Guide or an elder Wizard or Teacher. Keep a dream journal and write in it often, then also review your dream entries on a regular basis to reflect on patterns and themes showing up in your unconscious dream promptings. Then once you acknowledge and understand your inner guidance, contemplate how you can ACT. I would encourage you to act in tandem with your inner Mystic, to allow it to guide your actions forward. It will lead you according to your deepest sense of truth and value, so it is unlikely to ever steer you wrong.
Archetypes appear often in their purest forms within our nightly dreams, where they can bypass the conscious mind to deliver important messages. Here’s a significant dream I feel fortunate to have experienced involving my own Dream Master:
I have been hiking (in the dreamscape) in a mountain region with a small group of fellow travelers. We have come to a level plain in view of our destination, which is a spiritual Temple perched atop the mountain we are ascending. We are accompanied by a Guide whom I recognize as a spiritual Teacher.
The Teacher steps center to address us. He tells us there are two pathways by which we can make our final ascent to reach the Temple at the top of the mountain. One path, off to his right as he addresses us, is a wide, long and winding trail that leads eventually to the apex by a slow, easy trek. The other approach, he points out, would be by the canyon wall just beside the open area where we are standing. There is a redrock canyon spire wall that leads right up to the Temple. It is our choice which way we choose to take.
The group of hikers splits, as the majority head off to take the long and winding trail. I notice that these folks are middle aged or more senior, like me. The other group is a couple, a young man and woman who take one look at the canyon wall and, one-two-three, they have clambered up the cliff and they have already reached the Temple! Well, in my younger days I hiked often in redrock canyons in Arizona, so that is the way I want to get to the top of the mountain, too.
I approach the canyon wall and start up. I get just three or four footholds upwards when I get stuck! I cannot see a way upward that I can reach from where I’m at, but I can’t see a way to get safely back down, either.
I look down to the clearing below and I see the Master there, looking up at me. He is wearing the colors of Superman, with a blue suit and even a small red cape!
images are from pixabay.com
“Master, can you help me?” I ask.
The Master immediately directs me with his hand, pointing to where I could step down to. He coaches, “No, not quite; just a little further down, now to the right.”
My foot finds the foothold he is directing me to, and quickly I am back down in the clearing. I step toward my Dream Teacher and thank him.
“I have the ability to watch,” my Teacher says.
That message is Golden to me. My Teacher ‘has the ability to watch,’ and He is always there, ready to help if I will but remember to ask.
As I awaken I know I will be going over to the wide, winding pathway upward, grateful for the lesson and humbled by the ordeal.
Have you had similar dreams with your own Dream Teacher? What key lessons has he or she imparted?
You can always ASK before going to bed or in an active imagination form of contemplation any question for which you seek deeper understanding. ASK your Inner Teacher, then pay attention! Listen for outer “waking dream” events that offer serendipitous answers to your question. And ask before going t sleep to remember your dream that provides insights about your question. Imagine your Dream Teacher with you in your dream. For remember, your inner Teacher “has the ability to Watch.”
Life is a Golden Opportunity! And engaging in Descent can help you discover the vein of gold that could lead you to fulfill many of those opportunities. So consider how you might descend into this golden reservoir to mine your own golden nature.
I invite you to an active imagination self-discovery Tool; let us call this:
“Mining Your Vein of Gold”
Imagine you enter a mine shaft that has your name etched roughly into a wooden plank over the door. There is a mine cart on rails; you climb onto the cart and press down on the iron lever that propels the cart forward along the rails. Down and up, down and up, you pump the lever and pick up speed. The cart rounds a corner and descends DOWNWARD into the deep recesses of the mine shaft. Coasting now, as you look around see the veins of gold shining brightly as you pass, as yet untapped yet full of deep potential.
As you reach the deepest level of your mine, the cart slows as it levels, and you apply the brake. You are in a large cavern, lit by blue fluorescent lights mounted near the ceilings. In this light you see a wide band of gold shining along the east wall. There is a pail and a pickaxe hanging on an iron peg in the wall you are near. Take this to the Vein of Gold and you can chip into the rock just above the vein to loosen some of the gold and then slice into the gold, letting a nice segment drop into your pail. You can take this back to the cart and pump the mine cart to return to the surface. You can wash the gold from your pail at a water pump near the shaft entrance.
Now then, you can sit on a boulder to inspect the gold you have retrieved from your own vein of gold. Ask yourself or your inner guidance:
What part of my Self does this Gold represent?
What can you use this precious quality to attain in your life; how can you best utilize your Treasure?
This week I have had two dreams, the second of which this morning was clearly a blog gift dream for this month’s theme of partnering with your Lover archetype Ally to Live Your Dream, Now!
A little backstory first: I have been waiting for nearly three months on a stipend check from an international university, for service I have given on a Masters committee for one of their students. Lately there has been some angst on my part because their financial office is telling me I need a “swift code” for my bank in order for them to complete the transaction, and my bank does not use swift codes.
So the first dream, which I had a few days ago after having sent a rather stressed out email to the international university’s staff who had informed me about the glitch mentioned above, presented me as being too demanding and overbearing, standing at a banker’s window. I was making the clerk there very nervous. He sirred me (I get that sometimes because I have a low voice and might interact in a “masculine” manner just from being a professor): “Excuse, Sir!” (My retort: “I am a woman!”) then the clerk turns the whole matter over to a superior, who does not seem at all inclined to be helpful.
I woke from this dream aware that I had better ease up on this guy by email. So I sent another email, this one thanking him and simply expressing my concern over the situation.
Second dream then, this morning:
Someone who is a student I am working with in the dream is taking fencing lessons from me. (I was a competitive foil fencer in college and for many years after.) An older person says to the student:
“Follow your Teacher’s (my) famous words, “Vinci cum Amor!”
I woke with that fine phrase turning over and over in my mind:
“Victory with Love!” (or, ‘Conquer with Love’)… Vinci Cum Amor.
When I looked up the Latin word for ‘love’ today to try to be accurate in sharing (Amor? Amore?), online I found this site (click here), about Virgil’s very similar famous line:
“Amor Vincit Omnia,” “love conquers all things.”
And so it does. Victory with love; approach your goal with love. Sometimes we must compete or act assertively, but we can—I can—do so with impersonal, detached Love instead of aggression.
In fencing I found that loving the sport, bouting for the sheer joy of heartful competition–to hone and gracefully engage my abilities–was always more successful than ‘fighting’… because it issued from and expressed a mindful Balance! Sword-play trumped a ‘battle of wills’—or, blades—any day.
Besides, it was so much more fun!
How can you apply the credo of VINCI CUM AMOR in your own life?
I believe in paying attention to and learning from my dreams; this allows me to work in tandem with Spirit and my Inner Guidance according to my own higher consciousness…with support from my Archetype Allies! Today while reflecting on this dream theme, I read a signpost along the roadside that said: “WE FLY WITH YOU!” THANKS, inner Guides and Archetype Allies!!! I fly with and for you, too!
There’s a principle referred to in many meditative traditions called “Dying Daily.” This means that every day as you practice contemplation or meditation you SURRENDER. In a way you are surrendering your ‘old self’ to be reborn to the ‘new’, daily.
So, here’s a thought. Remember to DREAM daily. By this I mean, envision your Life Dream every day, knowing that your Present exists in relationship with this desired future condition! Then every day you are living INTO your “dream come true.”
Many years ago I made a huge transition when I moved from Buffalo, New York (a lifelong Easterner til then) to Phoenix, Arizona (Out West). Every night for the year preceding this big move, I contemplated and asked questions inwardly about this momentous turning point. I work spiritually as many do with an Inner Guide figure, which helps me to focus on gaining higher awareness. And every night, my question would be answered in a dream. One night, I woke with an actual song jingle and melody:
“I’m leaving, but there are a few doors left to close before I get over there.”
For the rest of the six months or so before my Great Adventure West, I sang this song frequently every day. Meanwhile I also taped pictures from SEDONA LIFE Magazine, a wonderful photojournalist sort of magazine depicting the amazing red rocks and canyons of Sedona, Arizona onto my office wall.
I was PREPARING, both outwardly and inwardly; orienting toward the new life I was about to assume with this trip upon which I was about to embark. The song lyric helped me realize every day that every action I was taking was movng me in the direction of this transformational life experience.
My move from Buffalo to Phoenix was indeed transformational! I became an anthropologist and experienced the Southwest and Native American cultures like I never could even have imagined as an Easterner.
So, what is YOUR DREAM around the horizon of some major departure? IMAGINE it daily; place PICTURES of your destination in your mind … and on your walls. LIVE your dream now, in your imagination. Contemplate it, meditate about it. Surrender to its amazing potentials.
Now as I approach returning ‘back East’ for transitioning into the next stage of my life in 3 years, on my computer desktop I have a sepia postcard of the lake I will relocate near. Along the right of my screen is the lakeside shoreline, winding up and around toward a clock tower that represents the very town I will be moving to. So, I have copied and pasted a little rowboat icon onto the base of this shoreline. Now every time I take some action in my daily life that moves me somehow closer to realizing this Big Move, I move the rowboat icon up the shoreline just a bit, closer to my Dream destination.
What are you doing or what might you do to ENVISION your future Dream come true? I welcome your insights and stories!
Last week I wrote about Johnny Appleseed as an example of the archetype of the Nourisher. Some seeds scatter to the winds, but some seeds take root in rich soils, where they can germinate and grow. Now I invite you to apply this concept of planting and nourishing seeds to the practice of SEEDING YOUR DREAM.
First then, what is your Life Dream? Remember, this can be a value statement rather than a concrete objective. Five years from now or whatever time frame feels approporiate for you to envision your “dream come true,” what do you wish for your life to be LIKE? Maybe that means you want to have achieved a sense of contentment or happiness, or perhaps you can envision living in or visiting at an ideal sort of environment for you or you can plant a seed of finding and manifesting an ideal set of relationships or work or service conditions. Now then, contemplate ways that you can SEED your Dream.
At my office personal computer at work, I have placed a desktop image which is an old postcard photo of the lake I aim to retire near in three years. Recently I have added a small picture icon of a rowboat. The lake image has a shoreline that winds around toward a clock tower that marks the historic significance of this lakeside region, near Chautauqua Institute in New York state. From now until the time I reach retirement, with every positive step I take in life toward realizing my Dream, I will very gradually move the rowboat along the bends of the shoreline until it reaches that tower. This is SEEDING my Dream.
How can you seed YOUR Dream?
I recognize and can fully appreciate that not all of you reading this blog will feel the desire or the immediate need to focus so directly on manifesting a specific Life Dream such as I am modeling here. That’s okay! I encourage everyone, myself foremost, to build flexibility into any future envisioning. Still, your current Vision as it pertains to continually realizing your most positive, fulfilling life–whether it is the life you are living Now or some future conditions based on how you would like your current life to unfold into an ideal future–carries the SEED of your potentials. It reveals something about your highest values, deepest ambitions, and your most purposeful sense of mission or cause. My lakeside future represents, for instance, a freedom to pursue my ambitions of writing and service in a beautiful, peaceful environment. I believe I know where that will be, but if the universe provides a somewhat different actuality down the road or along the shoreline, that’s fine, too!
I appreciate the viewpoint of Anne Archer Butcher, author of an inspiring recent book called Inner Guidance. She reminds us we can ASK for what we most deeply wish to receive or achieve in our lives. “This, or something GREATER,” Anne asks of her own Inner Guide. Maybe our current vision is not broad enpugh or we are not yet aware enough to know what specifically to ask for. So ask for “This, or something Greater,” knowing and trusting that Spirit or the Universe will bring into your life that which is of the highest order to support your greatest growth and unfoldment.
Did you open and read your “message in a bottle” from Tuesday’s self-development tool at this blog (see A Message in a Bottle for You)? When I used this tool myself this week I found it to be surprising and extremely helpful. The message-in-a-bottle came to me via an active imagination or contemplation mode as a non-verbal but clear awareness. It helped me see something about my own recent behavior that I had not recognized before. I realized how I had invited myself to a situation with someone else (my agent!) in a way that revealed me as trying to control or manipulate a process that is really up to someone else to advance.
So, my message-in-a-bottle exposed me to a “secret” that my unconscious COMMUNICATOR was able to deliver; a secret which otherwise I would have remained in DENIAL about.
There is more to my story, too. A few weeks ago a trusted friend jokingly called me a “control freak”. This was in relation to my writing advertisements for some spiritual events which I coordinate here in my local community. I didn’t understand why she would say that; no one has ever described me that way before and I definitely have never thought of myself that way. Now in retrospect, her statement was a waking call in itself, something that might be called “golden tongued wisdom” or a waking dream that presaged the message in a bottle insight.
Maybe my inner COMMUNICATOR has been trying to get my attention for a while now!
As I like to practice taking an active role in responding to my own dream images, unconscious promptings and inner spiritual guidance, I responded this week by honestly contacting—by email—the person I had been overly ‘controlling’ toward. Whatever follows, so it goes.
It is often helpful to respond actively to inner promptings. It can help you to make progress in your life as well as to remain open to further promptings and dream insights. Acting in tandem with your inner Archetype Allies or inner guidance that you trust in any form and paying attention to dream and waking dream messages can provide the inner steering you may seek, even when it leads you to insights and awareness that challenges your complacency or your own longstanding ideas about yourself.
As a follow up from Tuesday’s post inviting you to state a question for which you would like to receive a sign, I applied this tool myself this week to amazing results. I wrote out my question, stating that I would be looking for either a clear Yes or No as a sign. I then typed the question itself into the Google search bar and guess what came up? A website that offers a Yes/No Oracle! I posed the question there and got the answer I would have hoped for; then I cross-checked with a second question and the site gave an appropriate answer to that. I then typed another related question into the Google search bar and it brought up new information I have needed that further corroborated the “oracle” responses. This is a set of questions I have been pondering about for several months, so it is certainly interesting how this exercise unfolded. Sometimes all we have to do is Ask so that spirit or the universe can meet us halfway. Whatever happens, I received what I needed Now in order to proceed with a major project with greater confidence.
On a related note, in addition to signs that can appear to answer your questions, what of the inner nudges you receive? Have you experienced a time when you received an inner nudge but didn’t follow it? How might things have turned out differently if you had? Even the slightest nudge to take a new way home from work or to say something meaningful to a loved one could bring unanticipated, positive results. I once had a nudge while returning from a road trip that told me to go back to a spot I had just passed where a dead rabbit was in the road. It was a strong nudge, so I followed it. When I got there, a couple was parked. They were taking pictures of the scenic beauty. They watched as I carefully removed the rabbit’s body off from the road. Then as I drove on again, guess what? I witnessed a bear cub crossing the road right in front of my car; a rare beauty! I had asked inwardly before the trip to see a bear. So following this nudge put me in precisely the right place at the right time. Only seconds would have made a difference.
What has happened for you when you followed a clear nudge? Of course we can all think of times when a split second decision could be the difference of meeting a spouse, or not, or something of that magnitude.
Can you distinguish between a clear inner nudge and just a random impulse? How can you best tune in to recognize your nudges? Any form of regular contemplative practice can help you to remain aware and attentive to your inner nudges. You can develop a knack for sensing which ones to follow. I think it helps to add non-habitual activities to your life when you can. Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY offers a great tool that she calls “weekly artist’s dates.” She invites you to practice doing something different and fun at least once a week. Exercising fresh pathways can open your creative wellspring to gush to the surface so you can remain open and flexible when those creative nudges arise.