Archive for November, 2006

Learning to land

November 26, 2006

flyingI was given this cartoon recently. I so often dream I can fly. I really want to be able to, it seems so ridiculous that I can’t. Like Peggy’s daughter I almost expect to just take off sometimes. Maybe it’s because I fly in planes at least every couple of weeks, it’s getting into my blood. Maybe it’s a metaphor for my stage of life, the way my career is really taking off and my work is so exciting and liberating.

Once I tried to fly too high too fast. The sun melted the wax holding the feathers on and I crashed to the ground. Hard. It really really hurt, and took me about two years to fully recover.

I’ve learned that Jungians think that we have a soul, which sits in between our spiritual self (which is our connection to the divine), and our instinctual self (which is our connection to the physical world). The soul is uniquely us, and has to walk the middle path between those two worlds, never getting too far from either. If we loose our connection to the spirit we have no life force, and we die. If we loose our connection to our bodies and the earthly world we float away (well, I have no idea what happens but that sounds about right).

During Meeting last week a six year old girl came and put this picture on my knee. The creatures are horses that can fly. The baby one can’t fly yet because its wings aren’t big enough. I love the lightness of their dragon fly wings along with the sturdy, muscular earthy sureness that horses invoke.

So I want to learn to land. To be firmly grounded in the world, present with things earthy, solid, and visceral. To be ‘in’ this body, this life, this land. Of course my motivation for wanting to do this so I can safely fly even higher, but hey, it’s a start.

From beneath you it empowers

November 18, 2006

From which direction does the spirit come? Does the living force of the universe fill us from above, or does it come up from underneath us?

I’ve been discussing healing energies with a friend recently. Reiki, chakra healing, and a number of others are all healing methods from different traditions that involve the practitioner holding their hands just above a person’s skin. The practitioner intentionally channels energy through their hands into the person’s body. They often ‘feel’ where the healing is needed by getting a sense of hotter zones from the patient’s body. The patient often feels a deep heat radiating from the practioner’s hands. I’ve had this done to me several times and the feeling is amazing, a  kind of resonant, buzzy heat that feels very very good.

In yoga there are several techniques which involve scooping energy from the ground, and pouring it into your head (or crown chakra). In aikido your energy comes from your ‘hara’ your centre of gravity, about four centimetres below your tummy button, but it requires that you are ‘grounded’, that your centre is closer to the earth than it would be when standing normally. 

The name Reiki derives from ‘rei’ (meaning ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’) and ki (meaning breath or ‘life force energy’). Some schools teach that Reiki energy enters the practitioner through the crown chakra, some that Reiki energy enters through the root chakra at the base of the spine, before becoming centered in the heart chakra, and flowing out through the practitioner’s hands. Regardless of which direction it comes from this living energy “knows what to do” and goes “where it is needed the most.”

In the 7th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the ‘big bad’ they have to deal with is the ‘First Evil’, the most primal and original essence of evil. The Buffyverse is deliberately theistically vague and doesn’t say much about god or the devil. The First though is very very bad. It starts appearing in dreams in the forms of deceased people delivering the message “from beneath you it devours”, or to two of the characters who are in Mexico and so have to translate the message “it eats you starting with your bottom”.

In conventional Christianity we have this notion of bad things coming from underneath (hell) and good things coming from up above (heaven). The eastern traditions seem to place more emphasis on energy from the earth, on being grounded and connected to that underfoot. It makes some sense, it’s where all our food comes from, and therefore our life energy. Of course the energy that makes our food comes from the sun. So maybe we need to reach and connect both up and down.

I don’t know the answer to my question, but I do think it’s worth exploring. I do like the notion of the ‘living force’, something that surrounds us and flows through us. That we are projections of this living energy that chooses to collect and arrange some atoms in such a way that we can move and act in the world. That we can be conduits for good.

Builder dust and willow snow

November 3, 2006

The Resident Friend’s flat and accommodation at George Fox House in Wellington is undergoing renovation. I haven’t seen the changes yet, but Anna’s been describing the process to me:

“I have a new wall now but no door in it which means the dust just blows back in from the hole in the ceiling & floor”

Given how familiar the place has become for me it’ll be strange to have it changed. Renovations are such a violent process, walls are rent, plaster ripped, joists and beams hewn. Things that have been solid, immutable for many years all of a sudden have openings cut through them. What was certain, a fixed boundary, is now open to light and air. And all around is ‘builder dust’, and precious things must be covered in sheets to keep them from being covered in the detritus and building blood of change.
Sometimes changes in our minds, our lives, need to be like that. Wrenching, profound, what was fixed for years ripped open within a day or two, and new light let in. It can be uncomfortable, painful, but nevertheless the only way.

Yesterday I was running around the river. The air was thick with ‘willow snow’, the light fluffy balls that carry willow seeds floating on the air. The willow snow collected in drifts on the grass verges of the footpath. To the touch it was as one who’s never seen snow before might naively imagine it to feel, soft, warm and fluffy. The willow trees, so pliant and patient, that yield and break before the wild winds and yet are ever growing. To them change is slow, and steady, almost imperceptible. They grow gently, softly and beautifully.

And sometimes that is the way it is with us.