Journey Inward: Swan Dive

Quietly, like a maiden sneaking through the woods to meet her lover, I lifted my skirts to Tree Goddesstip toe over twigs and stones following an unmarked path. I gingerly jumped over brooks and streams to stay mostly dry. Coming to the edge of my forest again, I was suddenly disoriented and high above my usual perch, looking out over the familiar pool of crystal clear turquoise water.

“How did I get up here?” I wondered, looking down a bit nervously as somewhere inside me I knew I’d come here to dive and this height was way beyond my comfort zone. Then his voice sliced easily through my memory, its tone and the words he spoke, seeping into my head. “No thinking; no projecting.”

“Okay.” I said, “okay, I hear you.”

Swan flyingAnd without hesitation, I dove, like a swan face upward toward the heavens, arms spread, breast bone pulling the rest of my body out into the middle of space above the pool.

In no time at all, I glided out to a place where I tilted my wings and rolled my body slightly left. Naturally, automatically, my feathers folded and lay along side this body; the velocity increased, parting the surface waters with every nearing inch. I spiraled head first into the pool, and once under the protection of the water and cradled in its warmth, I was a dolphin undulating and weaving between the rays of sunshine that penetrated its depths.Dolphin fantasy

Upward again to the surface, nose first, standing on my tail, I launched into the air. I wanted to flip, yet my fins became arms as I reached for the sky and I floated untethered for a while.

Still no time passed as I hung in the ethers, my fingertips feeling for raindrops inside the clouds. The white gown I wore fluttered in the wind like a sail in mid tack. I was light and full simultaneously, consumed by amazement and joy. My eyes had softened and relaxed, deepening back into my brain. I floated there, just trusting, looking at the edges of the rocky beach surrounding the turquoise pool. There were hundreds of people there circling the rim, applauding my dance!

In a breath, I was walking down a tree-lined path with my Indian friend. He held my elbow as though I needed a crutch and I kept looking over my shoulder to see where I’d come from.

“Was it real? Did I really dance in the water, fly through the air? Was I there, or not; and was I truly so free?” I wondered this all to myself, though my Indian friend answered.

“You’ve been a Queen,” he said, “yet here, you feel the energetic weight and the awkward, crumbling bones of a crone. Never forget though, you can soar inside your soul anytime you like, becoming the maiden once more, or forever, if that’s what you desire.”

“How trite,” I thought, feeling really gypped. “He’s mumbling inanities.” Unable to contain my sudden frustration, the truth of my disappointment leaked out and I shriveled down, ever more helplessly overwhelmed by the sudden onset of old age. I felt like a china doll crashing to the floor, dropped by a careless child.

So caught up in the shock of it all, I barely noticed when he lifted this old bag of bones up to his heart. I felt like a babe when he kissed my forehead and threw me out as though returning a bird of prey to the airwaves, freeing my mind yet again. I flapped once and then flew. Wind washed my face and the sun’s warmth penetrated the spaces between the bones of my feathers.

Quickly passing familiar landmarks, staring down at the crystal clear turquoise pool, I Earthnoticed how tiny even my dream world seemed from here. Ranging higher and further, rising fast on an endless thermal, the Earth’s whole blue-green body came into view and then faded away. It was a black dot, then a pinpoint, soon disappearing completely as I caught my next ride on the pulsing currents of the galactic waves.

Journey Inward: At the Edge of the Forest

Life is a sacred journey; we need only go within. This is the first in a series of inner world, shamanic journeys.

The Pathway In

The Pathway In

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.

Pick-Up Sticks: Parables from Many Dimensions

Paraphrased From the Bible:

A teacher is walking through the desert, his students all around him. Suddenly, a horse jumps  gallantly off a nearby outcropping onto the path in front of the group. The man sitting astride is enthusiastic to find the teacher. “You must come teacher. Your friend is dying!” The teacher keeps walking. “Teacher, the family said you are a friend and their brother needs help. He is dying!” The teacher looks up at the man on the horse with gratitude for the information. His students are baffled by his non-challance, gossiping amongst themselves, yet the teacher continues to walk in the same direction away from his friend. Later, about three days later to be almost exact, the teacher arrives at his friend’s tomb and begins to invoke the divine, bringing him back to life in front of a large group of people.

Paraphrased From “She, Understanding Feminine Psychology,” part of the triad: “He,” “She” & “We,” by Robert A. Johnson.

A woman on her last legs to enlightenment crosses paths with a bent and tired old man carrying a bundle of wood on his back. She watches as the man loses his balance, all the wood falling to the ground. It’s her choice, her final test, whether to stay and help him pick up the wood or to walk on.

Taken From Life:

A mentor asks a student to live in her studio while they train together. The student uses all the mentor’s supplies and resources, though she has enough of her own untapped resources to share with the mentor. The student doesn’t know that she and her mentor are actually equals in this way, though the mentor sees the truth. This is the only real difference between the student and the mentor.

One day, after the student’s resources were as fully cultivated in this environment as they ever would be, the mentor asks the student to leave, giving the student very short notice. The student can’t believe it. “I love it here,” she cries out. “I don’t want to leave; this is my home now!” The mentor has no sympathy and pretends not to care. “You aren’t the right person to continue here. I am looking for someone who can be truly present in this place,” the mentor replies. Of course this angers the student and she stomps off, never to look back; well almost never. The student becomes very successful and soon surpasses the mentor, though she is grateful and humble.

Taken From Life:

A student was happily living her life after a trip to see family for one month. One day after she’d returned to her home, she received a call about her father being ill in the hospital. She was in communication with each member of her family, every day. No matter how many times she contacted them about the status of her father, no one returned her calls.

Extended family and long-time family friends started calling to ask her what was going on and why she wasn’t “home” with her father.  In fact, two of the women in her brother’s family, who lived down the street from her parents, called ranting about a lack of communication and wanted the student to make it better for them. 

One of the women raged at the student, “It’s your job! You should be here to take care of your mother while your father is ill. Your brother is stressed and now I have to handle all this for you!”

“What can I possibly do,” the student asked. “I can’t get any more information than you and I live 1500 miles away.”

Fear and guilt immediately pulsed through her body and her mind started roiling. Reactively she wondered, “should I go back and do my job?” This was her typical response and normally she would have fallen into the obligation she’d carried her whole life.

This time, she did not act. Instead, she waited for the emotions to pass, eventually sending a message to the two women. ”I no longer pick up sticks!”

Caretaking 101

Sara awakened from her dream that morning earlier than usual. It must have been the 7pm bedtime the night before. Oft recited words ran through her mind like a cursed mantra that almost blocked the images she wanted to savor. Remembering the dreams was a key part of Sara’s ability to survive in the world. They were her personal messengers of light, the only messages that allowed Sara to know herself like she’d always wanted others to know her.

“It’s better to give than to receive.” The words resonated as though it was 1960 again. Sara’s Mother taught her early on to be considerate of others, drumming that golden rule into every cell of her body. She wasn’t allowed to be an individual with her own thoughts and ideas, nor was she given many opportunities to speak or show that she had any of her own gifts, as she was busy making other people feel more comfortable.

Sara knew the words and the beliefs she developed from those words were a lie all along. She just couldn’t separate them from herself long enough to find the truth. At some point along the way they were so entangled with her sense of self, it became incredibly challenging to move them out of her head. So she just left them there and tried to overcome these “prickers” that grew like weeds on her lifeline.

___________________________________________

Last night’s dream was very pointed and simple. It’s amazing that at first she thought the dirty dinginess was hers. Amazing, yet not surprising, as the wiring of old was tenacious in spite of its fraying ends.

A house. It was a small house on the main street of town; a town that Sara loved and missed now that she’d been away for nearly 20 years. The walls inside the house were clean and white, even the kitchen was all white. The furniture and other accoutrements were sparse, orderly and arranged nicely. There was nothing on the walls. Sara stood in the middle of the main room, feeling enthusiastic about creating life in her new home, a place she’d definitely been before.

 When she began to place her things on the kitchen shelves, she found a cupboard that had not been emptied. “Oh, I guess the old tenant forgot some things,” Sara didn’t give it another thought and began to clear it out into a box to give the landlord.

 “This is strange,” Sara said to herself, her arm immersed up to her shoulder, wading through things in what seemed to be an endlessly deep hole in the wall. “Why can’t I finish? I’ll never have time to make-up my bedroom and unpack my clothes.”

 As she spoke to herself in her dream, she looked up and saw an open window. Walking through an opening in the wall, she went to that window to close it. “I think it’s going to rain, I’d better shut this.” As she slid the window closed, she looked around and found she was in a large open living space with many doorways at all the directionals. The place was a mess with furniture, overflowing boxes of junk and smelly old clothes. The floors were filthy and the table lamps were on.

 As Sara made her way to all the doorways, she switched off a lamp or two and looked into the bedrooms. “What a mess! My God, the tenants have left this place a total wreck and I had no idea it was so huge!” Sara scratched her head, looking around in shock, wondering what she’d gotten herself into and how she was going to clean out all the junk. “What exactly am I going to do with all these extra rooms? I had no idea they were part of the deal.”

 All the windows were open just a crack; all the lights were on–all but those she’d closed or switched off. And as Sara took inventory of this place, she slowly stepped back to get a wider view, realizing this was not her job.

 “Oh,” she said it matter-of-factly, “I don’t have to handle this mess.” She turned the lights back on and reopened the windows.

 In a flash, she was up in the air someplace looking down. For the first time ever, in that moment, she saw the dividing line between her little white home and the other dark shambles. The houses were close together, but they weren’t overlapping; they weren’t even touching. She knew right then what was true.

 None of this was her job to manage in anyway, it never was. From her vantage point on the ground, the line was never clear to Sara. Wherever that command had come from, she always took on the work as if it was her own.

 “Never again,” she said. “Never again. 

When Sara awakened that morning, life was different. As she went on with her day, she found herself deeply saddened, intermittently crying, feeling lonely, lost and unworthy, as if some larger part of her was missing. It felt as though all her connections to life outside herself were suddenly severed.

This is an excerpt from one chapter of a novel.

All rights reserved. Copyrighted 2012 The Energetic Connection

Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns

I adore Ireland; it’s in my heart, and my soul is just another tree, blade of grass, or one of the whispers of an Irish breeze. I long for that land’s misty climes, its green rolling landscapes and all its taunting and unseen inhabitants. I feel at home there and one day will mostly likely live there, at least part time. I loved Ireland even before I visited my first time, yet it wasn’t an easy relationship in the beginning, no sir-ree, not a bit! So when I read Tanis Helliwell’s new book, “Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns,” I laughed and cried and felt nothing but empathy for each of her true-life characters.

Imagine traveling to Ireland for the first time with great expectations that the country was filled only with love and a thousand welcomes. Isn’t that what slainte means? Imagine believing you would miraculously find yourself in some castle ruin and that this little stormy island would open it’s arms to embrace and carry you, like a long lost child of nature, beyond the veils of the otherworld, to a place of incredible beauty. Imagine expecting to find immediate work, to meet wonderful new friends and even a romantic soul mate.

Ha! Instead, you meet a bi-polar escapee from a mental hospital in the North. Turns out you are a total fool, setting yourself up as bait, good pickins’ for the little people’s antics. During the first week your fantasy turns into the rainiest, grumpiest, most confrontational inner journey you’ve ever taken, and until this moment, you had no interest in learning about your shadow either! Spirituality was only a lofty and serene place high above the clouds, beyond the galaxy we know.

The rental car company, without notice, deducts three times the price of the quoted rate from your teeny tiny available credit card balance; you have crazy dreams and feel lonelier than you’ve ever been; you are fearful and lost, blaming the locals for giving bad directions and generally resenting their bright-eyed snickers as you drive away in some unknown direction. There are parking tickets, stolen hubcaps, and fights with the authorities about all of it. You are in a constant state of complaint as there is no internet connection; the truth is, you plain and simply just wanted to experience something fantastical, staying home and reading about someone else’s travels.

With what little money remains on your already bulging plastic ticket to a faeryland adventure, you eat potatoes, cabbage and carrots for five weeks straight, wandering around like a victim of the famine, at the effect of almost everything Irish. The brogue is so alien, it might as well have been Russian or Japanese. You look sheepishly and obviously, very American. Then one day the sun peeks out from behind the clouds and you finally find your inner Craic, your flow and your ability to meet the energies of this land which exist in a constant state of time warp and novelty.

This is my story, and now, 15 years later, I’ve been to Ireland many times, expecting nothing and coming home with everything. You get the picture. My own story, like many others, is similar to the tale Tanis Helliwell tells in her recently released, “Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns.” Different people, same sites. Different experiences, same lessons.

Eleven days on a bus with 30 people from varying levels of spiritual knowledge and even religious backgrounds; a matching number of journeyers who came specifically for the elemental experience, and those who doubted almost completely; at least 30 taunting elementals including goblins, trolls, brownies, faeries and leprechauns, all laughing while stirring the cauldron of inner growth; a stubborn bus driver who refuses access to the on-board toilet; a grumpy tour guide who is a self-touted expert and author writing about faeries yet doesn’t want to meet them, ever; and three different versions of a sacred site tour itinerary, planned 18 months in advance, all magnified by the tensions running between the three leaders who were attached to them!

Yet, as dramatic as this seems, this is quite like a typical trip to Ireland, filled with trip-ups and misfires, when tourists meet up with the local Craic.The superficial definition of Craic is a joke, an adventure, or a good time, an identifier known as something quintessentially Irish. And while it’s all done in good fun, the Craic these tourists in “Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns” experienced together was much more than a visit to a local pub and a sharp poke in the ribs.

At the very least, the Craic challenged everyone’s attachments and expectations. Some had physical manifestations, others more emotional and psychological experiences as a result of their own tightly held patterns and states of mind. The elementals were there “to help” each one of the participants get over themselves! In the end of course, some did and some didn’t learn to laugh at the inevitable reflections.

In “Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns,” Tanis Helliwell describes the Craic as akin to the Tao, or The Way.

The Tao is a life path; it is the meridians and other energy channels inside us that also weave through the planet and all its creations. Because it is nature, the Craic, like the Tao, offers a constant growth stimulus demanding surrender or else! Naturally occurring, there is darkness and light, balance and chaos living within each human and every little blade of green Irish grass. It’s all about the little streams and gentle currents, yet it is also the rushing rivers of change within every living being; that which we see and that we don’t see quite so easily.

Unless we drop our roles, surrendering to the ebb and flows of something much grander than we are, we get caught up in the whirlpools, knocking about underneath the surface and only coming up for air when the water spins around a rock or bubbles up, just because. We are choking, bruised and battered by our own resistance to this thing we see outside ourselves called nature.

In a time when the news is all pretty discouraging at best, “Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns” inspires us to be trusting and accepting without blinders. It’s an adventure story, a story of humans co-habitating with elementals; it’s about life lessons. It is told with humility and grace, a nod and a twinkle, and absolutely filled with Craic. Entertaining, insightful and provocative, I read it in an evening lying on the couch and am now working on my psychic transport skills. I’d like to smell the peat fires burning, to feel the wind and soak up the dew on my skin. I’d like to walk on that dark rich soil of Ireland again soon.

“Pilgrimage with the Leprechauns” is available at Tanis Helliwell’s website or at Amazon.com.

Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power

Carved into the Biblical mountains near Moab, sits an ancient Jordanian city named Petra. From the depths of one woman’s soul and the soft red stone of the middle east, emerges an energetic link to the past and many future conversations with the Goddess.

Little did Dorothy Atalla know when she first visited this mystical place while on a family vacation in the 1970’s, that her travels had only just begun. Seven years after returning home from that trip, she experienced her first encounter with the Goddess while meditating, beginning an inner journey that transformed her life and empowered her both physically and spiritually.

Recently released, Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power, is the first in a series of books about Dorothy’s dialogues as well as the connection every woman has with the divine feminine. Moving between present day and ancient times, we are launched on a spiritual journey to seek answers that potentially free us all from inner conflict, encouraging awakening women the world over to embrace the prominent roles they will play in the evolution of humankind.

As the story unfolds, Dorothy evolves, and her interpretations about being female shift rather dramatically. She embraces the fact that her body is not separate from spirit and recognizes that her place within the spiritual intentions of our planet are vast, spanning the expansive time line of Earth’s evolution. With this re-membering, she invites readers to understand what it means to be part of the universal story of the divine feminine which continues to weave through us all in our daily lives.

“There will be a new global spirituality in which great numbers of people will experience me directly. Peoples’ thinking will change. When thinking changes, society changes,” says the Goddess in Dorothy’s journey. This is what we have known, what we have been awaiting for thousands of years. It is a time of balancing the masculine and feminine archetypes by honoring the divine feminine in all human beings.

And Dorothy herself says, “My hope for the readers of “Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power,” is that they feel they are experiencing the voice of the Goddess. Every woman is part of Her Story, emerging in our times, a story which includes affirmation of women’s wisdom and the spiritual power of the feminine.”

Conversations with the Goddess: Encounter at Petra, Place of Power is available at Amazon.com.

Feel free to visit Dorothy Atalla’s website too for more information on her programs and writings.

Little Brother

Every time Sara thought of her little brother, she wept with a depth she’d never felt for anyone else.

She loved her little brother.

And she was always responsible for everything he did wrong.

Constantly confused with someone who didn’t love anyone, her heart was often distracted with projections of heartless-ness.

“WHYyyyyy!?” Sara screamed it into the mirror so no one else would be harmed by her rage.

Even today, no one really understood how deeply Sara loved. At least that’s how it felt to Sara.

Not even her brother for whom she cried everyday could see past his own dark and heavy need for love. No, her brother couldn’t see her at all. She went to war with the devil for him as a baby, she stood for him as a tortured little boy growing up. She took risks with everyone in her family for her brother–the man who was willing to sell his soul again and again because he was desperately seeking recognition by those around him, anyone.

And Sara recognized him no matter how far down he went.

Even when the demons took over his body, she always saw her little brother’s soul, lost behind the glaring red eyes and pointed teeth, lost under the decaying skin of beings no one should ever have to see. She saw Gerard even when he blamed her for everything that went wrong in his life.

“It’s just the demons in him, that’s who’s talking.” Sara continued to believe, even after a lifetime of the same grueling hopeless fight, to find the light in him.

She didn’t want to believe it, but in her heart she knew it was over the day he met Diana. If even one bit of his soul had survived the first 50 years of his life, he’d be hard pressed to save himself now.

Two weeks later while in England her niece Kaitlin called to report that her Father had abused her. She was so frightened she ran down the street to her younger sister’s school to call their Mother. Sara wasn’t surprised, but her chest cracked from the weight of Kaitlin’s emotions.

Six months later, Diana spat in Sara’s face from the altar at her wedding to Gerard. her face was like a beautiful maiden’s on one side. On the other, that familiar disintegration was happening and only Sara saw it. Everyone else in the congregation that night sat staring in unconscious bliss. Even the minister’s skin was decaying.

“She’s got control over him,” Sara felt her own bones turning to dust under her skin. “And now she’s going after  my parents and the girls.”