As I was making my leave-to-the-dark-to-make-room-for-the-New-Light list, one of the things I decided I’d like to create in my life is a more positive attitude. Within two hours after I completed my ritual, my entire shadow, around why I can’t be more positive, erupted. The excuses are good ones, valid, but they are rooted in an old context, a context that is keeping me locked in a pattern of behavior that at one time was clearly instrumental to my survival. What I had to face, what I was willing to face, was that this pattern of behavior, consciously chosen some years back, was no longer beneficial; if anything it was going to strangle me. I know change is in order when I find myself finding fault with everyone and everything and I am so resentful bitter tastes like honey. When this is on me, and that is exactly what it feels like, like I’m being ridden and crop nudged into screaming, frothing at the mouth insanity, I say, ‘oh dear darling, you’re very upset today. What’s wrong honey bun?’ If I’m working I tend to scoot the monster into the cage ( just for a little while darling I say) and if I’m not working I do what I do when I take the monster out of the cage namely cry, wail, bitch, moan, feel the powerless, feel the envy, etc. When it’s all out my body, and that can take as long as it takes, I’ll sit down and get to whatever “it” is. For me it’s not about fixing, I am not in the least bit interested in fixing myself or being fixed, and it’s not about getting something over and done with and closing doors. For me, it’s about opening doors to the not-so-pretty and the not-so-sweet. I am ever curious about who I am, why I am the way I am, and why I’m here. I am ever curious about my evolution and my ever-evolving, tangible understanding of what it means to be a sacred person. These are not intellectual exercises for me; yes intellect is involved but equally important are the feelings. The old mystery school axiom, “Know Self,” is as intrinsic to my life as gravity and oxygen.
Context is multi-layered, an ever shifting combination of experience, socialization, and programming; I make my decisions based on my context. All perception is rooted in context, it’s the soil out which perception grows, if you don’t change the context you can’t really change the perception. When I was raising my son, in order to survive I had to put my armor on every morning before striking out into the day.. There is no question life was a battle during this time and I lived on red alert for many years. Periodically, in my workshops, I bump into an un-initiated newbie who has read one to may Louise Hay books and tells me I should have chosen love. I tell her quietly but firmly that I did indeed choose love. I chose self and soul, I chose to say no, I chose to fight back, and I chose to learn how to set my boundaries. Setting boundaries for me meant I had to actually acknowledge I had needs and that those needs had never been met. I also had to acknowledge that I was projecting those needs outwards onto others and expecting them to meet them. Of course the people I was projecting the needs outwards onto were just like my parents (badly wounded, narcissistic, and controlling) and in this way I was recreating the exact emotional home I grew up in. Bottom line is I had no context for what it was like to have my needs recognized, much less satisfied, and the idea of actually having my needs recognized was so terrifying that I would simply call people who couldn’t possibly help me to keep the world as I knew it intact. This is where I was twenty-five years ago; unconscious of the wounds and unable to see the connection between the wounds and the behavior. All I knew was I was devastatingly unhappy and that was not the way I wanted to live. I dove into the self-help books, which worked for awhile, but life experience has shown most of the information to be little more than piece-meal truths oblivious to the influence and play of shadow.
When you really take a look at your belief system, when you bump into your lack of self worth, insecurity, self-loathing, and powerlessness, it’s agony. When I started to accept the pain and rage that grew out of this twisted, steaming stew, one of the hardest things to learn was to trace both back to their original source, rather than turning someone into “the other,” by projecting it onto them. You see I was taught to rise above someone’s bad behavior rather than say, ‘stop that.’ If I had said, “stop that,” as a child I would have been destroyed, this is not an exaggeration, so when I actually began to say, “stop that,” in my mid thirties my anxiety level hit the stratosphere. Of course it did, by asserting myself I was quite literally blowing up the foundation out which all that was me in the world grew. I had no context for this, I had no idea what the results would be. All I knew was wherever I was going had to be better than where I was. What I didn’t know then was the uncovering, discovery, and re-discovery of self is an eternal process and that I would be blowing up belief systems, and on the flip side creating new belief systems, for pretty much the rest of my life. Do this for over twenty-five years and believe me you will end up with a context for change, namely if you stay with it, stay with the feelings no matter how hard, take the actions no matter how gut-wrenching, you will come through no matter how narrow the opening. Sometimes it will be graceful and sometimes you‘ll feel like a chew toy for a big black dog. It will never, however, be boring and if you stick with it you can count on a new dawn, which is ever so much better than riding off into the sunset, and hope will once again spring eternal.
What I know of change is it is gradual, painful, life altering, absolutely worth it, and a constant. What I know is if I refuse to change there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell I will be able to live a conscious, authentic, happy life. To live consciously is to not be controlled by the wounding; the wounding creates the context out which the dysfunctional belief patterns grow. Wounds are eternal, you just get better at working with them, you get better at taking their power away and using that power to your benefit. This is psychic alchemy, this is the Great Work, this is the work of the adept. It is ultimately transformative and the province of the Dark Goddess. I was introduced to the Dark Goddess by a psychic. ‘Oh you’re a daughter of the Dark Goddess,’ she said and chills ran up my back and down and lightening hit the tower. By the time I got home I was so shook I had to go to bed and when I awoke the next day it felt like my entire cellular system had been re-arranged. At that point my path took on the kind of synchronicity that comes with living your myth. I found the right and perfect therapist, I found my sacred path, and I started to write. Synchronicity does not mean that all of a sudden everything is sunshine lollipops, far, far from it, if anything the ups, downs, and challenges intensify and there were days, and still are, days too numerous to count, when I know for fact that no one would consciously choose to get conscious, or start down the path of the Wise Woman/Mage, because if they really knew what it involved, and that once you started there was no turning back, they’d never do it. At the same time there is no other way I’d rather live.
Daily I ask and hold the two most important questions; who am I and how deeply can I love myself. Daily I know an all-pervasive gratitude, not the band-aid kind, but the context kind that comes with the experience of grace. To live consciously takes an emotional courage that cannot be measured. What it takes to get out from under, to free one’s self-esteem, from the cultural and familial paradigm cannot be charted and graphed. I, like so many others, am often too quick to dismiss my progress because my world, and I, don’t look like what I think my world, and I, ‘should,’ look like at this stage of my life. It’s been particularly bad this Christmas, kind of like drowning in a morass of grief and hopelessness. I’m feeling my losses and I’m tired of life as it is and there is no question I am undergoing some kind of huge, inner change and psychic re-alignment brought on by my Yule Ritual or the sensations of loss and the battle fatigue wouldn’t be quite so overwhelming. To be more positive in my approach is to lay down my battle mentality, a mentality that made me strong in the areas where I was laughingly weak; time management, planning, strategy, organization, showing up, setting boundary, and standing up for myself. A mentality that was not only key to my survival but intrinsic to my becoming conscious and living consciously. Intuitively, instinctively I knew it was time to release this dear and trusted friend to the dark of the Samhain season; intuitively, instinctively I knew I was going to have to give up the belief that in order to survive I had to be continually plotting my next move. My battle mentality had served it’s purpose, the foundation is secure, the learning was finished, and now it was time for something new.
So in the dark before the dawn of Yule I blessed and released the battle and as the first molten rays of the new light cracked through the cloud cover I set my intentions. (then Jena Luna and I ran around the car screaming ‘Wheeeeeee!’ like the little pig in the geico commercial) Naturally a few hours later my shadow erupted and all the reasons why I “shouldn’t” and why I “couldn‘t“ give up my battle mentality came up. I have a frame of reference for this however; every time I take an action that is life-altering and astoundingly good for me my shadow erupts and when it feels like Pompeii, experience has shown me I am on the right path. I have no context for this next phase of my life, I have no idea what it’s going to look like, or where I am going to end up. The intentions I set are of the heart and the truest and purest expression of my desires. They are about me, not another person, they are for me, not someone else, and I’m busy with coming up with new affirmations to support this change. There’s nothing like an affirmation to re-wire the psyche. The full moon of solstice was not a gentle full moon for me but a hard moon, there’s a-huge-opportunity-for-radical- change-here-kind of moon. I am not alone in this experience, my nearest and dearest felt it the same way; the details of our lives may be different but the themes are the same.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan
writings for the soul....writings from the journey...writings for whole being...experience, strength, and hope..of love, by love, for love.