Saturday, April 16, 2011
The Bridge from here to there...
I've lived in British Columbia for nine months now. A single mother that made the decision to move on welfare with no concrete options in sight, somehow managed to make it out here, unravel a bunch of trauma, clear away a bunch of anchored emotional debris, dis-engage from many self-destructive patterns, continue to search for a direction, get lost in falling debris, re-surface again. Things are generally peaceful when compared to the rough and wide tides of home in ontario, sure there is dark and lonliness, moments of isolation and feelings of being buried in a cave that was supposed to be wrought with waves of openness, excitement and discovery. But, there is a larger prescence within of being able to face and hold space for the unravellings of each new day, than there was back home, there is never feelings of homesickness or longing for the places of yesterday, just a bit of unpatience in how i want my current reality to unfold, a true opportunity to begin walking with the rythyms, or learning the spirit of the waters, which the ancestors told me would be held in the rattle i just made for White Bone.
I've managed to solidify a home, re-cover christmas homelessness, build a few relationships that sustain the pressing needs. I've stabalized my parenting, madison continues to grow more beautifully expansive and independant everyday, she makes more room for me and i for her, we too have found a rythym to our relationship. Mary jane has become an occassional visitor rather than a best friend and i seem to be really growing in areas of self-nurturance and respect and less dependant on external fillers. Within it all, there are hundreds of baby steps, all really important to the process of growth, recognition of personal truth, healing cyclical patterns, opening (safely) dense imprinted wounds. Yet in the troughs of the everyday shuffle and many times incredible struggle, the blue linings of my dreams remain, the crystal clear waters of which i am fearlessly surfing against the hot hot sun, a log cabin, perhaps a hippy store filled with all things cultural, beautiful and expansive, with some healing rooms alongside. A place where i sink into comfort, medicine for the soul, surrounded by everything that is beautiful to me and contains the very ingredients for outpouring everything that is beautiful within me as my own unique contribution to the world's healing. Sometimes the far away realities of those visions fill the present day with an emptiness, a head full of self slandering insults and a dreariness that makes it hard to get out of bed. But somewhere in there, there needs to be a bridge. Reclaiming the spirit is an incredibly lost and almost absent part of the puzzle, but amidst all our cravings when first re-acquainted to get completely lost in there, remains the truth of the walk back into a wholistic being, that it remains a part and just as the medicine wheels of virtually every indigenous culture on earth suggests, there are four components/faculties to our being, where our job often involves strengthening and nurturing the parts within these components that are broken, spliced or gaping and bringing it back into the whole, continuing to tend to the circle as it continues to turn and expose more and more blind spots.
The last few months, i have been visited by many crows. Almost every morning they would awaken me, sitting on the lamppost outside my suite, cawing their message. I see them everywhere and each time something important to my spiritual life has taken place in the last few weeks, one is near. When i made my drum and went for the initiation, Angela told me, that the attunement showed bird medicine and initiation.
An initiation, on the path of shamanism, is an event that challenges us in different areas that need to grow/heal with the purpose of calling us into our power and moving closer to our individual paths of truth and authenticity, unique to the experiences, patterns and conditions from which we are here to walk. Christmas homelessness was one of those initiations..would at the first sign of trouble on foreign soil run home to safety, let it serve as proof that the risk was not true to my path, or would i realize i had the power to walk through it powerfully and independantly, would i be able to take each painstaking step of anxious shame and desperation or would i run back to the way things used to be. Angela has said her theory of these initiations is that we can choose to respond as we would ordinarily do or we could rise up to meet the pattern in a new way, kiss it goodbye and release it onward. I arose.
But the bird medicine..well there were the crows yes...then there is the fact that my spirit name is White Owl and i am now only for the first time according to ThunderBear (the bearer of the name) inhabiting it's power now. Then of course there was the reminder by Lori at it's revelation that of course in my first class of shaman, i spoke about a journey where there were birds everywhere. Then there was a call from SeaBIRD Island band, an indigenous social work position, asking me to come in for an interview and provide two presentations to a panel in a social work ministry office. I was terrified, even intimidated..so much of what has comprised my traumas, my feelings of inadequacy, my fears of having a strong advocacy voice only to be silenced by a bunch of suits embedded in their ego-driven dramas of success and survival. Then of course there were the shames of my whiteness, evidence of my extreme privelege occupying yet another space of power where an indigenous face should be. Not to mention the very first prospect i was faced with a green ticket out of poverty row, a chance at a pension, a priveleged income, benefits, opportunities. There was the terror of course of meeting the interview, soon followed by the terror of what it would mean to do the job and concluding with the terror at what a life free of poverty might look like. First of all what would it mean for me not to have to beg for everything i had but perhaps even give back and secondly would accepting it mean i was throwing in the towel for everything i have claimed to stand for, for more than half of my life.
After some paralysis and adrenaline rushing, some contemplations of good excuses to back out, 5 very long conversations with people close to me, some seeking from those more knowledgeable then me, i set out amidst 36 hours of sleeplessness and mommying in between to prepare for the demands of those presentations. I had to break through several layers of buried knowledge to access the parts of me that knew how to work this process, re-cover some language and theoretical analysis that i was almost certain i had lost for good. After a couple breakdowns, some more paralysis and a little more breakdown, i began to put things down on paper. Throughout the process, after returning from a smoke, a little person spirit for the first time revealed itself to me with crystal clarity, only for a moment before running back to a room and evaporating into the silence. Was this a child you will help? suggested my mom, or perhaps one of your helpers. I was tooe exhausted to be as afraid as i usually am, another sign of the importance of this initiation.
Interview day came, i became nervous and wanted to cry again, as i bustled to get madison to school, ensure i had all my materials and make last minute corrections. On the drive over, my heart palpitations intensified, i wanted to back out, instead i turned the music down and talked aloud to the traffic, to the silent car, to the pretend audience that was hearing why i was qualified. It seemed to calm me and give me a little more grounding. I hit grid locked traffic, continued to talk, arrived at the ministry office, and as some panic and old resnetful feelings began to rise to the surface i took a deep breath, gathered my things and walked in. I would wait ten minutes before being introduced to the panel, four women, all white except one. I began by speaking from my heart, before confidently settling into my power, speaking with a sense of power, knowing and authority on the matters i spoke about, answering their questions with an authentic truthfullness but a sense of confidence, relaying my presentation earned of 36 hours of sleeplessness that never got a voice. I left the meeting feeling i had met the challenge before moving on to the second interview with the literacy council, completely unprepared but having compassion on myself for it and feeling as if i almost most definately blew that interview.
Another week of crazy anticipation passed. Midway, the ministry called to ask a few more questions and to double check references, 2 painstaking days later i heard from the references they had been called and gave exquisite responses. I knew i had the job in the bag, friday morning while anticipating their call, i went easter shopping for madison and as i confidently walked along my morning in the burning warm sun, began to dream up all the ways the newfound spring of wealth would be used, all of them productively of course and in recognition of the things given to me, all of it acting as a bridge from here to there. Until of course within 30 minutes i was informed i didnt get the position..that it was a "dragrace and i lost only by a hair" but with a request to forward on my resume a genuine beleif in my gifts and the skills i brought to the table. I called mom immediately and had a little cry, before ten minutes later being contacted by interview number two to be informed that position i had gotten.
A crack in the foundation opened up and i had fallen in, self-depreciating thoughts ran wild again, energy drained from my body like a vortex magnetically pulling it into the earth. I was lifeless and sad, despite the recognition i had another position for the interim, one that initially i was more interested in, or the comfort of cosmic's package that had brought me a wellspring of joyful emotion just a few short moments before. I was confused by all the synchronicities that had visited with this call and all the ways it intersected with my initiations, did i once again misread? I had so much to be grateful for how could i feel so devastated?
It was a sunny day, but i couldnt face her. I pre-occupied madison, had a visit with maryjane, ate some mcdonalds and turned to the usual coping mechanism, movies in bed, the perfect distraction from everything that for the moment i just couldnt face.
This morning when i awoke, i still didnt feel like facing the day. I called mom and gave her a brunt of my frustration at constantly being poor. She listened, just like i needed her to. So yes, i did meet the initiation by interacting with this ministry that once tore me down and that once i gave my power too with a sense of self-assured but still truthful power and confidence and for the very first time was recieved gracefully for. But this initiation also opened up a bunch more conflicts, questions long standing dilemmas. My friend michelle reminded me through this process, how this process was very much about the process and not the outcome, which appears to be true, not only on the level that it happened but also in the way of what it opened up as a result.
Is this the time, i interface with my sense of poverty conciousness? Is the work at this part of the journey to realize that at the root of my poverty which up until now has been seen as a radical revolt against all the things in the world that seek to destroy us and the great mother, really resisntantly so an intersection of self worth tied up with a bunch of fear about stepping out in my power, in ways that will ultimately also give me more power in navigating through this world, retaining the things i need and bridging the here to there. Brdiging the poor, optionless, waiting for self care handouts, to having the ability to attend to these needs and ultimately move toward that inner vision that continues to burn but is always so far from my reach. What always stands in the middle... money.
But what would that mean for my principles, my values, my radical and somewhat anarchist political stances against the system, the rape of the world, the disposeable attitude toward humanity, the injustices in almost everything we do and in the ways that we do it. Wouldnt me going through the motions for a time in an effort to bridge these divides make me no different than the people i have resented for the dammage they have created? Or does it remain a key part of my lessons, growth and opportunities for actually creating what i need to create in the world? If i go forward will i lose myself there? will i become too passionate again at the expense of what is the founding aim? Will i create more dammage along the way and will i be able to live with myself?
These are the questions my life is beckoning be lived at present, again, i need to search for the right answers with the best place being in the ways that help me see more clearly the inside...