Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.).
“Divisive? Please, not on a Sunday.”
“Why not? What’s so special about Sunday?”
“It’s my day of rest. There are six other days of the week in which to consider and debate the chaotic nature of the world and I just don’t want to go there today. Is nothing sacred?”
“But why Sunday? What’s so special about this day? Why not Wednesday, or Thursday?”
“I remember when Sunday was the official day of rest. Stores and businesses were closed. Many people turned their thoughts to God and renewed their spirits for the week. Sunday offered a break from the wear and tear of the work-a-day week. It was a collective sigh of relief before beginning the weekly grind all over again. Now, every day runs into the next. Most people don’t rest and they’re burning out because the grind just keeps going. Sunday has become just another day of doing. I refuse to be caught up in it. I want this day to be one of being; of peace and quiet ~ to read a good book; take a walk in nature; to meditate and consider my blessings. So, I am not going to get involved in a divisive argument with you or anyone else about this or that or the other. If you wish to be thus engaged it’s best you find someone else who doesn’t mind corrupting the sanctity of this peaceful day with a pointless debate that could easily wait until tomorrow.”
“Alright then, no need to get your knickers in a knot.”
My heart leaps. What could this exotic woodland gypsy possibly mean?
She doesn’t stop to explain, but continues her slow march through an archway of Sumac and into the thicket with the noble Chiron by her side.
This twist in our encounter intrigues me. My power to resist squelched. Chiron has shot his golden arrow into my heart and hit a bullseye. I am hooked. Whatever medicine the Wounded Healer has to offer is worth my curiosity.
So, I follow.
The walk becomes a meditation. I don’t know where we are going. I lose all track of time becoming acutely and, perhaps, even primitively aware of my surroundings. Not in a fearful flight and fight way, but with a feeling of wonder. Shards of late afternoon sunlight flash warmly through the trees. Leaves and twigs crunch underfoot along the grassy trail leading I don’t know where. Squirrels scurry in the branches overhead while crows caw their eerie cries somewhere off in the distance.
And still I follow deeper into the woods, the legion of maples and ash and pines standing sentry-like, protective and true. Finally, we enter a large circular clearing ~ a small meadow, perhaps ~ which appears almost as if carved out for a purpose. The gypsy and her noble companion stop in the centre of the circle and turn to face me. I stand my ground some 20 feet away. A shaft of light illuminates her countenance in an ethereal, angelic way I find astonishing. I sense empathy there. Tears well. I dam them.
Chiron stands quietly beside her, his tail relaxed and brushing away the flies that dare to alight upon his muscled rump. He, too, is aglow with an energy which, though it comforts me I find difficult to comprehend. I feel a lump in my throat, and then hear the gypsy speak.
“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”
I hesitate. Confused. Why is she talking to me as if we’ve never spoken before?
“I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”
Still I hesitate.
She sees my confusion and responds.
“We are now in the Sacred Circle of Chiron, the Place of Hidden Wisdom. Out of respect it is customary to introduce ourselves to each other, and thus this sacred place, before we begin. Please … ” she repeats again, ” … I am Erzebet. This is Chiron. What is your name?”
I swallow once in an attempt to clear the lump from my throat. “Grace,” I finally choke out with a degree of reluctance and then repeat for clarity … “Grace.”
“Greetings, beautiful Grace. You are welcome in this Sacred Circle where the healing powers of love and truth are gifted to you inasmuch as you are able to receive them.”
“Whose love? Whose truth?” I ask, confused.
Erzebet looks at me quizzically.
“Why yours … of course.”
She smiles and nods her head gently in my direction to acknowledge our connection and steps away from Chiron toward the edge of the circle.
For a moment confusion continues to reign. While the horse stands quietly but for the occasional toss of his head to disarm the flies my heart beats profoundly against my rib cage as though it might burst through. I gasp for breath.
“Breathe, dear Grace,” the beautiful gypsy bids as she glides calmly toward me in a cloud of lavender perfume. “You must breathe, deeply. In through your nose to the full capacity of your lungs and out through your mouth to a complete exhale. It is the first step to healing. Come … breathe with me.”
Erzebet stops a few feet away and begins to breathe in a way that compels me to follow her lead. Her intonation is that of a soothing chant. “In … through … your … nose … breathe … into … your … heart … release …” And as we proceed and after a few of these deep, clarifying breaths my body begins to fill with an unfamiliar warmth. My feet feel heavy and glued to Mother Earth. I am grounded. My eyes closed. Feeling.
“Send your awareness to your feeling,” the gypsy directs. “Where do you feel? What do you feel? What is it telling you?”
For a moment I’m unsure what she means. I hesitate and then offer, “My jaw feels tight for some reason.”
“Good. Now,” she continues, “this tightness in your jaw … it brings with it a message, yes?”
“Focus gently … this pressure in your jaw has a message. It is your heart’s desire for you, in this moment. Speak it … please.”
The notion of listening to my heart through my jaw seems strange at first. How is such a thing possible?
“Do not judge, dear Grace. Let the mind go so your heart may speak freely.”
With another deep breath I make the conscious effort to clear my head and focus on this tightness in my jaw. I am impatient, I can feel that too, but again, that is my mind getting in the way. Another breath, the prison of thought cleared, a moment of peace and then … dare I speak it?
“Go on, Grace … you have something to say, I think. Please, you are safe in this place. With me. With Chiron.”
Chiron is close behind me now. I feel the warmth of his breath against the back of my neck, comforting somehow, as I exhale deeply. “I want to be able to speak freely and without judgement … that is self-judgement.” Tears mist my eyes. I choke them back. Not even these are free.
“Thank you, Grace,” assures Erzebet. “Now … we meet with Chiron. He waits.”
You asked, I delivered … here is Part II of a free writing piece started last week courtesy of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.
I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now …
“I didn’t understand because I couldn’t understand, I wasn’t ready, Joe.” So said Magnolia as she gazed absently out the window trying to explain her life to me.
“For a time in our lives are eyes are not open wide enough to see what really matters. Our vision is narrowed by the prejudices and the illusions with which others, chiefly our family because they are the ones who first influence us, endow us. We learn to see the world their way, and for most of us the view is disconnected. They have a need to be validated through our eyes” She pauses. ” Still, if their ways are harmful, should we then perpetuate their dysfunctional view just to seek their approval?”
It’s a good question, purely rhetorical, but I answer anyway.
“What’s this got to do with me?” I respond, my ignorance laid bare. She doesn’t miss a beat.
“You are in danger of remaining a slave to the beliefs of those who have come before; of those who have patterned your life,” she says, convinced of her truth. “You are angry all the time, as displayed by your need to curse at the slightest provocation. You criticize where none is warranted. You are defensive to the point of being hostile. You hurt the people who matter most, including yourself, but don’t see it. You do not see it because you are not ready to understand there is another way.”
I suppose I could get defensive as I stand here in Magnolia’s glow. But I can’t, because that’s just it. She is glowing. She is so serene I feel something I don’t know I’ve ever felt before … a sense of peace.
Could she be right?
Could it be that my hostile way of dealing with life is due to an inability to see my Self beyond the programming of my forebears?
“It can be undone … to a degree,” she says, as if reading my mind. “But you must be willing to become self-aware; to explore the rooms of your soul that are darkest and frighten you the most. You must shed light in them, rummage through the crowded closets of negative thought and empty them of everything that clouds your ability to see your own truth. Everything that makes you unhappy.”
“But how will I know what I am looking for?” I ask, somewhat bewildered.
“You will know it when you feel it.” She says, again with a confidence that creates a longing in me for my own. “It’s really quite simple when you consider the thoughts, ideas, experiences, people, places and anything else that makes you unhappy, miserable, sad, angry, devalued, diminished, distraught and all other manner of negative emotion. These are the things that need to be explored; that need to be made peace with so you can release them and make room for something new and more life affirming.”
“Like what?” I ask.
She turns to me and smiles.
“Make peace with yourself and you make peace with the world. You promote peace around you, Joe. Everything that makes you truly happy; that brings you such joy you can’t wait to share it with everyone; that causes your heart to heal and overflow with love. When you no longer feel the desire to express yourself through expletives or defend yourself all the time; when there is no need for attention at any price. The price of your dignity; your self-worth; your Self.”
She ponders for a moment.
“Where there is hatred, Joe, there can never be peace. If it is not peace you feel inside, what is it? You must decide your fate ~ to deteriorate in the face of hatred or grow in the heart of peace.”
Perhaps it’s just where I am in my life right now but for some reason this is making sense. I am middle-aged and exhausted in the wake of my reactionary existence.
I see how my life has been misguided, and possibly sabotaged, by the belief systems of people who knew no better than to influence me with their own dysfunction.
I’m beginning to see that what there is, what I have experienced, is not all.
I did not understand this before, but I understand it now.
And when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Hmmmm … interesting where the free writing process will take us.
All topics that hover at a rather deep, and uncomfortable, level for me.
In my blog Eyes to Heart I tackled the subject of “abandoned” as far as I dare take it.
A couple of days ago in this blog I started writing about the “Twilight Zone” but couldn’t finish. Maybe I will as the week (or year) progresses and I can find a way to reconcile the many heavy themes that popped out of the ether and onto the page.
With this free writing challenge it appears the bewilderment of being abandoned and standing in that twilight zone have come to the fore.
This is written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words. It started as a free writing exercise, calling upon the memory of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago, an experience in a restaurant where you eat in the dark and years of therapy.
As adrenal fatigue storms inside me my experience of life is small.
Socializing is not part of my matrix at the moment, and as the party month proceeds, I am confined to a few moments of jollity among friends separated by days of healing isolation. I must measure every encounter. Leave buffer zones between events. Learn to be my own best friend; to take care of myself appropriately as this lengthy storm passes through.
The storms bluster manifests within 12 hours of any over-stimulating event. Doesn’t matter if it’s fun or stressful. To my body it’s all the same. It must surge. Headaches, nausea, vomiting on and off for 12 hours batter this boat, my system expelling stress it cannot hold.
There is light on the horizon. I can see it. But for now, I must surrender to the healing storm, batten down the hatches, and hang on until it passes.
(This image is so full of meaning for me I hardly know where to begin.)
There are no coincidences. This is something in which I have firmly believed for some time. For good, or ill, life gives us what we need to learn and develop as spiritual beings in a mortal experience. It also makes available the tools we need to negotiate each challenge. It is up to us to be open of mind and heart so we can recognize them when they appear.
Here’s an example from my own life.
As all who follow this blog will know I have a horse whose registered name is “Shakespeare.” This is a beautiful and meaningful name in its own way, however it’s a bit cumbersome as an every day name at the barn.
So, while I was waiting for him to come home for the first time nearly eight years ago, I spent a bit of time noodling over what name I could give him that would evoke his larger than life personality, cuddly nature and solid physical form.
The name “Bear” came to mind fairly quickly. My home is populated with several collectible bears, and “Bear” includes a letter formulation of “ShakespEARe.” On the surface it made perfect sense, so I soon decided this was going to be his barn name.
Still, I had no idea of the deeper meaning to be held here.
During my trauma-filled childhood I comforted myself with stuffed bears. I’ve always had them around me. I guess they are, and always have been, a totem of some kind.
A couple of months after Bear came home and while I was studying natural horsemanship, I was introduced to the idea of the bear’s spiritual meaning. When I considered the trajectory of my life and the healing that was already in progress, things began to make sense.
The bear has several meanings that will inspire those who have this animal as totem:
The primary meaning of the bear spirit animal is strength and confidence
Standing against adversity; taking action and leadership
The spirit of the the bear indicates it’s time for healing or using healing abilities to help self or others
The bear medicine emphasizes the importance of solitude, quiet time, rest
The spirit of the bear provides strong grounding forces
Let’s look at the list again and how it relates to my experience.
The advent of my horse, Bear, acknowledged a significant time of healing in my life (no. 3). A time where I’ve had to go to ground (no. 5) and practice solitude and get rest (no. 4). Doing this has brought a greater sense of self-awareness and helped me to reclaim my life. Mr. Bear, as he is often called, has helped me to find the strength I need (no. 1) to smile in the face of adversity (no. 2) as I take action to manage, and heal from, the traumas released by therapy. And he’s helped me to find the confidence (no. 1) I need to move into a new and exciting phase of personal growth.
Bear is an incredible catalyst for positive change. I throw my arms around his neck and thank him every day for the beautiful healing role he plays in my life.
Is it a coincidence my beautiful dream-come-true should attract a name that represents healing on so many levels? I think not.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, our passion ~ whether it’s golf, sailing, horses, knitting, music or whatever ~ is our teacher. At a deeper level it speaks a language that touches our hearts and can heal us. All we need to do is choose to listen and respond in ways that lift us up, not tear us, or our passion, down.
My teacher, my catalyst for positive change is my horse ~ my Spirit Bear.
I am blessed.
This is my response to this week’s free writing challenge with Kellie Elmore. Slightly off the beaten track, but I don’t question these things in a free writing format. 😉