This week, like the ways in which I envision an actualized "authentic" life, took the shape of a rollercoaster determined to run it's own track. Yet as it followed the coils, ripping through rust at some points while at others gliding across the shiny rails like a freshly zambonied peice of ice, each cart brought with it it's own space in the line. Some brought excitement, some fear, some raging out of control, some completely surrendered into an empty space of peaceful infinities although directionless comforted by some strong sense of purpose.
The idlecy of being in between spaces, having some knowledge of where you come from but not having any clue as to where you are going had officially begun to take it's toll. As an extrovert by nature, four months of cocooning has felt like withdrawing from life leaving me wondering some days if the degree and depth of the emotions that have visted me could be explained by this fact in itself. Yet I must astutely surmise, that this cocooning has been neccessary. It reminds me of a youtube video I saw once by a woman talking about the nature of prescence and suffering in which she gave the example of how an individual could create unneccessary suffering simply laying in bed in the morning. Her message: there was no use in bantering with yourself about how you "should" be getting up when you're not, when in the intelligence of the universe, you know that when it is time for you to get up, you will, and in the time you've wasted bantering about it, you have missed the opportunity to receive it's gifts.
I had a similar conversation with the dude yesterday about the nature of relationships. It has always seemed odd to me, that two people could be brought together, share, cherish, appreciate and love so much of the other while they were in union and than when it comes time for their paths to seperate, in the midst of anger, pain and often times betrayal, they go on to chalk this experience up as one of the mistakes in their lives and leave behind all the gems of learning that could have taken place. When not headed for the finish line, life has a way of bringing forth a bunch of richness and 1000 things to be grateful for that often get taken for granted in the pursuit of going somewhere. Today, I am in reverence of those very little things that have made their way into my life of late and with each new arrival, a little more of my faith in the universe is becoming renewed. I get the feeling I am completeing another circle of growth, heading into the levelling out period, rested and cracked open just enough to leave my uni-verse ready for it's next wave.
ThunderBear, in one of our many tea setting, kitchen table talks about the nature of this journey and what it will demand of the seeker told me a story about a woman he went to visit, on one of his calls for healing. "She had so many questions" he said "and had read many many books. I only told her one thing, don't read anymore books, instead begin practicing what you have learned". His words couldn't have struck a deeper chord as i had floundered around in this existential abyss for the last two years, feeling like a broken tree swung around constantly by a wind that kept changing direction. Once ego-tistical scholar whome presumed to know the truth about the nature of suffering while giving a long list of reasons for it alongside potential remedies to than turned new-age love and light, hippy freak I had no idea what I was in for when I entered that Masters in Aboriginal Social Work. In my entrance interview, sitting in a circle with a professor, the coordinator/creator of the program and who would become my first Indigenous teacher, a gentle petite wise woman that always looked like joy emanated from every pore, I was asked if I was aware that the program was transformative in nature. Naively assuming I knew all about transformation, after my own divorce had rekindled a light inside me and bringing with it a tidal wave of events that although painful brought a lasting peacefulness, I said "yes, of course" confidentently thinking to myself that they had no idea how well versed I was at this already. What's another transformation when youve already had time to familiarize yourself with it's currents? " So, you are aware that you will leave this program with a responsibility and a different knowing that will ultimately marginalize and alienate you from others?" asked Elder Becker. "Already there" I said giggling, again with a surplus of naieve confidence as she laughed gently with me and said "okay, welcome to the program".
As my answers effortlessly rolled off my tongue, I could see the auspicious look in Elder Becker's eyes, that seemed to glimmer a knowing that I had signed up for something I didn't quite understand and the humorous chuckle that I would know in time. I already had some experience with seekers thinking they understand something only to be dropped down into what feels like a pit of never ending hell created only by coming face to face with a self that one had abandoned for so long, they knew not it's infinite source but just the carefully constructed stories they had told themselves about their lives, personalities and states of being when illuminated by conciousness proved more devastating a tale than one could have imagined. But I was sure that in time, Elder Becker would have a chance to know me, to hear my story, the ways in which i had fought from childhood to survive a history of trauma, betrayal and abondonment and ended up on this quest for meaning, an existential hunger that when i finally allowed it to reign realized it had been there probably from the very moment of my birth.
Yet in post-graduate recovery, where the experiences of one single year of sharings circles, sweat lodges, medicine walks and vision quests had hammered me so hard that it demanded yet another year of stillness, most times in the deadening pits of despair, it was true, in that smudge filled peacefulness of that introduction circle, I had no idea what I was getting into.
I did know however what was left. And what was left was a big, gaping existential abyss. The word abyss, was never a word I had chosen conciously to describe it, instead it was the only thing that came into my mind everytime i desperately persused a beautiful array of descriptive adjectives and poetic devices in an effot to somewhere in someway explain to those that intersected my journey what in fact i was experiencing. Finally in a conversation with my friend, whom i will refer to here as earth mother to which i used the word abyss, i was finally asked to define what in fact that word meant. Abyss as defined by the oxford dictionary means "deep chasm, immeasureable depth" and equals apparently "bottomless". Given that definition, it was the most suitable word I had been given to describe the process that I infact had found myself in, a deep chasm of unknowing that called everything I had known to be true into question, leaving what was a well organized, directed and committed fountain of so-called wisdom, directionless, lost and completely unknowable. What my first initiates on the path of divinity has failed to tell me about transformation is that it doesn't stop after one. It continues, continously to infinity in a manner that is best described by my teacher Shadowwalker "as a journey that takes everything from you, leaving nothing in return".
But it had left me something in return. It had taken the identity that i had falsely ascribed to myself yes, but it had left me teachings in it's trail meant to act as a lamppost guiding at least the place i would find myself in, shedding a little direction, maybe only as fleeting as a shadow, but none the less some direction as i made my way into the unknown. But lost within the madness of my intellectual mind that demanded more reasoning on the divide that had occured in my faith between Indigegogy and what was left of the love and lighter, i wanted some sort of reasoning or sound intellectual analysis before dedicating any teaching into action. So as I bounced from days full of deadening despair where i could hardly imagine scraping myself off the pavement to a flurry of desperate attendence in healing circles, medicine teachings and radical acceptance retreats, every time I asked the many questions that whirled within me, I was given slight modifications of the same response. "Put your tobacco down and pray and you will find your way" and remember, in the words of ThunderBear "Walk slowly and breathe deeply, the only mistake you can make is to stop moving".
Finally, I put aside the intellectual debate about what constitutes faith and reality and kneeled humbly on the grass outside my house, placing tobacco on the roots of my Pine Tree. "Creator, God and Goddess, Universal Energy and Divine Light, I will go to British Columbia, I will leave what I need to behind, all I ask is that you open the doors I need to walk through to make this happen for the good and best of all and close the doors that no longer serve me".
Within a week, I had a job that paid more than I had expected in a tiny, ecclectic, nag champa hippy shop, the kind of place I had always longed just to spend time in, as a healing outlet for my soul which started as part-time and in one day moved to an offer of full time. I had found two places to stay in the remaining five weeks of my stay in Ontario in order to pocket some cash and had gotten a call from my day care provider that approved my subsidy until October. My faith in the universe was finally returning, one clumsy step at a time...