Life is a sacred journey; we need only go within. This is the first in a series of inner world, shamanic journeys.
At the Edge of the Forest
“Who do you want to be–you or some accommodated version of another person’s projection you believe is a true reflection of you?”
I sat on my stump at the edge of the forested path, contemplating his question, looking out at the rounded landscape embroidered with the last vestiges of Spring’s wildflowers. They were almost impressionistic, maybe like the surreality of Monet’s inner world.
Trying to make it all feel less like a dream, and avoiding my own inner world, I searched for the sea beyond the fog. As always, in the Summer months, it was there, just beyond my vision, at the edge of the hills behind a fluffy yet formidable white wall. If I touched the fog in my dream, it would dissipate and I would find my answers lying out there lifting with the swells in one moment and lost in the troughs the next. Right now though, I wasn’t ready to see.
He was standing nearby, one foot on his own stump, breathing down on me like the wind and towering above me like a giant tree god. His skin was the same rusty color as the local redwood bark, his hair polished, long and black. Almost like the searing and burnished charcoal wounds inside the remains of a fire-gutted trunk, I’m certain lightening had struck his foliage many times too. Even his gaze matched the lifelong scars of courage and resilience on those gigantic trunks, his formidable stature was powerfully duplicated in each of his subtle bodies.
As age rings on a tree claim another year of growth and wisdom, each layer of his energy was individuated and clear. The golden threads of connection sewing the memories together synergistically, and like the volunteers growing from dismembered stumps into a circular fortress of new growth, he was also immortal. When he glanced down at me, his eyes contradicted this mystery. One blue, one green, each reflected a picture window to all souls. In them, I could view the history of the Universe, if I chose to see it.
“Are you searching for acceptance?” He prodded me again.
“Yes,” I said. “From myself.” Then I became whiny. “Why do people feel so put off by me…as if I have an expectation of them?”
“Because you carry pictures in your field as you work through the old energy,” he was still standing on one foot, gazing into the forest in the opposite direction of my outward view. “As it is scraped from the marrow of your bones, its dust covered gumminess begins to surface. Eventually the rain washes it away. Because you don’t hide it, you expose it. Because they don’t want to deal with their own lack of acceptance, you light them up in ways they don’t want to acknowledge…ways they feel they are superior to you. Just by doing your own housecleaning they are shown the dirty corners of their lives they believe they’ve already cleared. You show them their lies,” he sounded as though this all came from a place higher than the tree tops.
“Maybe they’ve already completed those lessons and they have no tolerance for someone like me who is just now getting to that sticky stuff,” I was so willing to dismiss myself and my progress.
He stood there for a moment, the precise triangular corners of his eyes looked at me with one eyebrow lifted, seemingly debating whether or not to give me any more input. I could tell he wondered why, in these moments, he even wasted his time. It was his usual response when I disrespected myself, yet this time he showed me some mercy. “No. They are projecting onto you so you not only do your work, you also hold their secrets. Why would you want to carry all that?” This was a constant question. Why would I want to carry all that?
“If you believe you aren’t equal to them, if you give them your power and recoil, you also allow them to lord their illusion over you like an invisible ceiling.” I turned away from my fog bank to look up at him. He’d definitely used the right words. I was suddenly and totally present.
“Unconsciously they want you to believe you are the cause of the upset inside them. What you expose in yourself uncovers and mirrors the secrets they try desperately to hold in place. If you anchor your truth in your belly and your feet on the ground, their lies will ultimately be revealed to their own consciousness and they will no longer stomach the energy as it rushes upward giving them a big nauseating headache. One day they will spontaneously throw-up when you aren’t around, projecting this delusion onto themselves. That’s when they’ll know.”
My eyes were closed through the last bit; I wanted to envision this part of the story. Then I swiveled around, slowly lifting my lids to the wild flowers looking through my eyelashes at the golden hills. And turning the rest of the way around, I looked out wide-eyed at the ocean. It was calm and flat, like glass, the still pool of true reflection.