"Your path is to be shared...It will be called The Golden Thread Road"
~White Buffalo Calf Woman

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coyote Beautiful

I was going to start this with, "It's been an interesting few months," but then I started wondering, "What few months in my life aren't interesting?"  So what is the flavor of this season's dose of interesting?  It has been a season of Firsts. Besides including my first trip to a gay/lesbian bar and my first ever overdraft at the bank (these events being totally unrelated to the other),  I experienced my first ever trip to the emergency room.

Going back a few weeks earlier, I had tweaked my leg, but at the time didn't think much of it, assuming it would just get better.  And it did seem to be improving until a couple weeks later when it began to get more painful and harder to walk or stand on.  I decided it was time to pay my Naturopath a visit.  It seemed by all accounts that I may have torn a ligament in my knee, and we set out accordingly to heal it in the best way possible, and hoping I wouldn't need surgery. 

Back in the summer between 8th Grade and High School, I was diagnosed with Kyphosis, similar to Scoliosis but the curvature of the spine instead of being from side to side is front to back -- in other words I was a bit hump-backed at the top and sway-backed at the bottom of my spine.  And just in time for my debut as an insecure, dorky, high school freshman, I had to begin wearing a back-brace. 

This was not a life-threatening condition, but surgery was a real possibility.  And, still unbelievably to me when I look back in hindsight, here I was a 12 or 13 year old kid and people are constantly telling me how much back surgery hurts.  "I knew this bear of a man, and after his back surgery he cried like a baby!"  ...Not helpful.  But my point, and I do have one, is back then I went from having a back curvature of, I believe, 93 degrees to one of 54 degrees -- no surgery necessary.  It really was a miracle, especially to the Mayo Clinic doctors who were positive at the beginning that I would require some sort of surgery to correct my spine.  So, long story short, I have in the past already experienced miraculous healing and the power of prayer -- and Boy-Howdee did I pray!

So as I nursed my leg, keeping it elevated and iced, and taking some time off of work to stay off of it for awhile, I asked for reiki healing from a number of friends, and continually administered reiki myself.  I watched, a couple times, my DVDs The Secret and Loiuse L Hay's You Can Heal Your Life -- programs (I highly recommend) about how our thoughts and beliefs create the reality we experience, which always helps me refocus and remember what's really real.  And as I continued to pray and reaffirm the healing and wholeness of my leg, it continued to improve.  I knew I wouldn't need surgery. 

By the time I got to the MRI my naturopath wanted me to get, most of the swelling had already disappeared, and I was able to walk and stand longer every day, so I was expecting the results to come back and my doctor to tell me everything looked fine and was almost healed.  That's not what happened.

That same afternoon I received a voice mail from my naturopath's office saying they had already made an appointment for me, which was set only 45 minutes after I got the message, at some other clinic, though at the time I didn't understand what that clinic was for.  Vascular something or other?  At first I resisted, thinking I really shouldn't take anymore time off of work, but then it sank in that this could be serious. I went right over.

At the clinic they did an ultrasound and found a blood-clot in my leg.  Well they didn't tell me at first cuz from the moment I got there I was anxiously babbling about how nervous I was, especially after seeing all the info hanging on the office walls about clots, etc, and how dangerous they could be.  Instead the woman quietly excused herself to call my doctor to let her know what they found, and then my doctor had her put me on the phone so she could tell me personally what was going on.  They put me in a wheelchair (another first) and took me right down to the emergency room.

I was pretty freaked out and began recognizing some feeling and thought patterns left over from my panic attack days.  But despite that, and the 'second shoe' feeling of an axe hanging over my head ready to drop at any moment, at the same time it did not take me over and I was able to maintain somewhat of a perspective.  Among the thoughts like, "What will happen to my kitties if something happens to me?" and, "Crap! My apartment is a mess! What will people think when they come in to clean it up?" were such realizations as, "I'm going to be grateful for this experience some day" and, "At least this means I don't need surgery."

The ironic thing was that I was probably more at risk during the previous few weeks, the time I spent coming to a point of serenity and surrender and trusting in my wholeness and healing, than I was  while being treated in the emergency room, when my anxiety level increased exponentially.  The surrender and trust I'd so recently reached just shattered, and it's taken me a couple more weeks to let go of that buzz of fear and uncertainty. 

What finally helped me release those fears and doubts occurred about a week ago.  This particular Friday night I thought I was going to a drum circle at a local metaphysical store with a couple friends.  It's the same place that holds a weekly Native American pipe ceremony that I attend sometimes, and on the way there I was musing at how healing it would be to get to smoke the pipe. The Chanupa (peace pipe) has become a powerful vehicle for me to reconnect with Goddess, particularly in the guise of my adoptive spirit mother, White Buffalo Calf Woman who originally introduced the pipe to the native peoples.  When I got there I discovered it was actually an Autumn Equinox ceremony, which just happened to include the chanupa. YES!!!

The woman putting on the ceremony explained the Native view on this point of the year, at this point on the medicine wheel, and how we were moving from Summer, which is the domain of Shawnodese (Coyote), into Autumn, which is the domain of Mudjekeewis*(Bear).  I almost started laughing and crying at the same time.  Coyote! Of course! 

The pieces just fell into place.  Everything I'd just experienced -- Everything! -- was the handiwork of Coyote, the eternal trickster, with whom I am well aquainted. The whole facing-death-thing, and the panicky feelings, and the fear for my mortality.  It was all me, the Coyote in me, taking for real a set of thoughts and beliefs that had no truth to them -- picture Wile E Coyote running smack into one of his paintings on a cliff wall.  All the fears and anxieties were illusions, and rather than facing them and recognizing them for what they were, I let them run away with me.  But no matter what happened -- even if a clot found it's way to my brain or lungs, ending this particular incarnation -- everything was okay.  Everything would be okay.  Death is not a failure.  Nothing that happens can threaten who I truly am.  And I can still trust the Universe to unfold in perfect harmony, as well as trusting that I am always in the right place at the right time. 

And now when those thoughts and anxieties begin to raise their heads, I can just thank Coyote for visiting, remind myself these things are not true, and watch Coyote disappear over the edge of the cliff, sign in hand...

*Originally I couldn't quite make out the name she was using for bear, but it flashed me back to high school Spanish class when our teacher told us about watching Parkay commercials in Spanish -- You know, the ones arguing with the tub of margarine: "Parkay!" "Butter!" -- because it sounded like "Mantequilla!"  ..."Par-Kay-ay!"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Fine Moose

This past season has been rougher for me than most.  Lots of shifts, and initiations, and shamanic deaths.  Just when I thought I had weathered them all and was once more regaining my strength and the confidence that I could trust the twists and turns of my path, my path twisted again. 

Just over a week ago I received news of a life-altering, and potentially life-threatening, situation.  After a minor leg injury a few weeks earlier, I had developed a blood clot (the details of which I plan on posting more about soon), but over the course of this past week conditions continued to improve considerably.  Ironically, it seems that by the time I found out I was in danger, steps had already been taken to neutralize that danger.

At the beginning of last week, after a pair of medical appointments that indicated everything moving in a positive direction, and thus feeling a bit more reassured and centered, I felt the call to journey on this experience.  So on my way home from my Naturopath, I stopped at one of my favorite parks and walked down to this semi-secret magickal spot a friend had shown me years ago, down through the trees on the bank of this burbling, crystal river. 

I reclined on some rocks overlooking the water and asked myself why I don't come here more often?  Four salmon, swimming in a diamond shape, swam up river past me, and I realized it'd been about a year since last I visited this sacred spot because the salmon were swimming then too.  I thanked the salmon folk for appearing to me, instantly recognizing their message that I too was on my way home - that I could trust my inner compass to get me there.

I leaned back a bit further and closed my eyes.  I didn't have my drum with me, so I pulled out the bottle of ibuprofen that I keep in my book bag, and began to shake it softly.  An impromptu rattle for an impromptu journey.  Soon I felt the shift when my consciousness clicks into place and begins to ride the 'wind-horse' into the other realms... 

I expected to meet Nathaniel, my reindeer guide, and though the first thing I spotted was a fuzzy nose, I soon found out it wasn't his. As has happened often in the recent past, a huge bull moose stepped into view.  Moose medicine is about self-esteem, and his constant vigil with me has been all about stepping into my power. 
So I asked him how that fit into this latest experience, since I felt less powerful and less safe than I had in a very long time.  Instantly he showed me the image of a newborn moose, still wet from birth and with legs so wobbly that he could not stand up on them yet.  The picture expanded and  I realized the babe's mother was lying there with him, sheltering him and licking him to clean his shiny coat.  The message sank in even as Moose voiced it in my mind, "It is when you feel at your weakest and most vulnerable that you are most cared for, nurtured, and cradled by the Universe." Ah! This was a birth, duh! 
Moose went on to tell me I would find my legs and embrace my power.  And despite having the power to plow a trail anywhere, I would walk nimbly and gently upon the earth, because by just standing in my power I would see my path open up before me.  There is no need to push or force my way.

I felt it was time to return to my body sitting on the rocks, so I thanked the moose and bid him farewell. I slowly opened my eyes and took a deep appreciative breath.  For a few moments I drank in the warm sunlight along with the surrounding peace of this scene, then I smiled down on the burbling water. 

"Alright.  I will stop pushing the river."

Making Tracks

I'm feeling long overdue for a blog post, which becomes a vicious circle because so much has happened since the previous post that I get emotionally bogged down with trying to figure out where to start. Do I need to fill in everything up to this point before writing about current happenings or just plow in to what is unfolding at the moment? I have so many things to write about (and I have 3 or 4 drafts of different posts started that I haven't finished yet) and the weight of all these things makes it difficult to even start.

Then this morning an image popped into my mind.  In my life, on my path, wherever I express myself, whether in my comics, or art, or poetry, or this blog, or facebook, or the stories I tell my friends and family, I leave "tracks."  Sometimes these tracks are on harder ground, and don't leave as good a trace, and other times they are on softer ground, such as my blog, where they make more of an impression and stick around longer. 

It's important for me to be where I am, so when I'm posting in my blog, I need to write about where I am in that moment, leaving tracks where I am stepping, and not 'back-tracking,' constantly going backwards to make sure everyone else knows every step I took to get to where I am.  If I do that then I never actually arrive, am never present, and am more concerned about everyone else knowing where I've been and what I've done, that I am not really garnering the lessons, the ground gained by those steps, myself.  If these lessons are not anchored in my own experience, then they are no good to anyone else. As I've heard from one of my greatest teachers, the best teachers teach from their own experiences, and there-by inspire others to live their own experiences.

Of course, in any moment I may be musing about past occurrences as pieces of the whole puzzle of which led me to be standing in my current tracks.  That's different from back-tracking.

It is a simple realization that no one other than me will ever have the complete picture of my life.  No one else will ever see all my tracks.  If it interests anyone to get a bigger picture of my life, they will have to track me over various grounds.  Even then, there is the space between the tracks, and it is that space where the magick happens, where the individual has to fill in the gaps with their own guess-work and intuition as to what propelled the next step.  In other words, I am not responsible for filling anyone in, or for explaining or justifying myself to anyone.  How freeing is that?!

My path has woven with and crossed the tracks of many others, all of which which I have benefited from, my own steps becoming stronger and more sure.  And if by walking my path and gaining the insights of every step, continuously moving forward and leaving the impression of those steps where they may fall, someone else can gain insights to discover their own direction and make their own tracks, I am simply thrilled with the honor.

So if you catch traces of my tracks in the mossy forest floor, and my path resonates with yours -- we seem to be going the same direction -- then I am honored to have your company.  Walk with me.  Let's make tracks.