Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012 - What does it mean to "Love Well"?

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a Solstice Celebration Ceremony by a new friend.  The celebration was out of town with people that I did not know.  I found myself a little nervous and excited as the time got closer.  I have to set the background first...

A few days before solstice I became extremely anxious about the recent turn of events in my life.  The anxiety showed up in the form of major self doubt and a loud critical voice inside my head asking me if I have really found myself and if I was living fully into my unique gifts in this world.  My negative self talk hasn't been this loud in a really long time.  There was really only one way to deal with it, sitting with those thoughts and sharing them with close friends.  Not looking for others to take care of me or tell me how wonderful I am, but to become vulnerable with the doubts I was having about myself and my life.  I'm truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life that can hold me in my struggles.

I became even more concerned about going to this solstice celebration because of the voices in my head just prior to the event.  I was pulling out of my anxiety as December 21 came upon me and still really wanted to go, so off I went.  The car ride over was in torrential rain downpours and 50 MPH winds which told me this anxiety was washing away, only if I let it.  I was travelling with a woman whose father was leading the ceremony and became curious about the family that I was invited into and asked her a lot of questions about herself and the family I was walking into.  I was so intrigued...

We arrived and I was dropped off 4 hours early as my friend drove off to visit one of his friends.  I settled in and spoke with the family, getting to know them and the other people that were there.  I was welcomed into their home with open arms, offered something to eat/drink and engaged in wonderful conversation where I asked about the family to get some more history.  I was becoming part of the family the more I stayed engaged with everyone learning their stories.  As more and more people arrived, about 21 total, it became more clear that I entered into a space where people were committed to having loving relationships and keeping their heart open, working through conflict inside themselves and within their personal relationships.  I was completely in awe...and communicated that to the elders there.  I was ready for ceremony...

Ceremony began promptly at 8pm.  Rituals commenced around the fire, the directions and honoring the planetary placement we are in at this time.  Everyone was on their own "nest" in a large room while the journey took place.  Silence was asked of everyone except during times of "toning".  Sitting with myself during the silence brought up many thoughts ranging from my own self doubt, my inner critic and also knowing the amazing quantity of love that I have to bring into this world.  

THERE WAS A CHOICE TO BE MADE!!  

I was not going to get caught up in the negative self talk like I was in the past few days, not now, no fucking way!!  Determined, I was going to enjoy the space I was in, relishing the love in this family I was so warmly welcomed into and to honor the love that I have to offer this world...so the question arose in my head...why am I making life so difficult for myself?  My self protection mechanism was/is/can be so powerfully strong that, little did I know, I needed this ceremony to help me see through it somehow....this is what showed up...

I AM THE ONLY ONE MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO CONTINUE TO LOVE WELL.  Nobody/no one is getting in the way of allowing my heart to remain open and to love well.  The stories that I have been given by my family of origin telling me that I'm not good enough, that I will eventually be abandoned, lead to the thoughts that I'm not getting what I want or need in my life and my relationships.  These needs/wants/wishes/desires coupled with my negative self talk have the potential of feeding my ego which wants to keep me safe when it knows that I'm potentially not getting what I want.  By keeping me safe, ego wants to keep me separated from others and, therefore, away from intimacy, away from loving.

When my ego is getting fed, separation then commences and take many forms.  In the forms of isolation, negative self talk, taking a "right" position, embracing the "lack" in my life, depression/anxiety and closing my heart to being hurt.  What the fuck?  Why would I want to close my heart and love offerings, and from receiving others'?  Let my ego run the show to keep me safe from being hurt from something that I crave the most of, intimacy and connection?  How nice of him to be doing that, he loves me so.  Except, a big problem, is that in order to love myself and others I put myself at risk to be hurt or I will never be able to experience the beauty of love and intimacy.  Do I want to stay in self protection mode in order to not be hurt and keep the love that I am to myself and keep from receiving others love?  Seems like a redundant question with only one answer to me.  Transcend and include the ego.

Transcending the ego means the realization I have a higher self that is not separated from anything else. It means that I no longer see my identity as simply an individual consciousness, but rather that I am the consciousness that moves through all things.  This is not ego death, which would be psychotic.  Liberation is found by complete immersion...immersion in the commitment to loving well.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LOVE WELL?
When I'm getting caught up in thoughts like, I'm not good enough, I'm going to be abandoned or feeling I'm not getting what I want/need/desire in my life then I am limiting myself to being open to other possibilities and, therefore, preventing myself from LOVING WELL. Getting passed all the ego (or the small self) wants/wishes/desires and to remain open to just what is and all other possibilities in the moment is LOVING WELL.

What does "Loving Well" mean to you?

My thanks go out to the family who welcomed me into their life and their winter solstice journey 2012.  I'm so incredibly grateful to L.N. and P.T. who held a wonderful space and beautiful ceremony and to P.P. for the invitation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eros and Psyche - A story of a girl named Psyche and her adventures with the god Eros.

One day on Mount Olympus, Aphrodite decided she had become fed up with the beauty of Psyche, the maiden.  Psyche was very beautiful and was often complimented for her beauty.   Aphrodite wanted to set her straight.  So she called her son, Eros, to shoot one of his arrows, which poisoned immortal and mortal alike with love, at Psyche, while she was sleeping.  "What is the point of shooting an arrow at her when she is asleep?" asked Eros.

     "When she wakes up," replied Aphrodite "I will be sure to supply her with someone like the castle dwarf, or maybe a donkey.  Yes, that's a possibility."

     "That is a cruel trick," said Eros.

     "It is meant to be cruel. Now go and obey your mother," replied Aphrodite. 

     When Eros was above the sleeping Psyche, he took out an arrow and prepared to shoot it. But he accidentally poked himself with the arrow, and all of a sudden Psyche was the most valuable and wonderful thing the earth had ever created. He loved Psyche more than anyone or anything in the world.  He flew back to Mount Olympus, leaving Psyche unaffected.

     Aphrodite was furious at Eros for not complying with her orders.  The fight that followed was one of the worst Olympus, or for that matter, the world, had ever seen.  While Eros was sulking, no one fell in love and Aphrodite began to wither. So eventually Aphrodite saw that Eros must have his way. "What is it you wish?" she asked him.

     "The girl," replied Eros.

     "You shall have her," said Aphrodite.

     So Aphrodite had Zephyr, the west wind, come and bring Psyche to Eros.   But Eros could not be seen by Psyche for a little while after their marriage.   When Psyche's sisters visited her, they convinced Psyche that her invisible husband was a monster.  Psyche, curious, brought a candle into her husband's bedchamber and looked at him.  It was Eros, the god of love.  In her shock, Psyche let a drop of candle wax drip from the candle. Eros awoke with a start and became very angry with Psyche.  "Yes, I am love itself, and I cannot live where I am not believed."  Then Eros left.

     But eventually Eros forgave Psyche and invited her back to live with him, and Psyche was made immortal upon Eros' request. Psyche is now the goddess of the soul, and that is where we get the prefix "pysch-", as in psycho, psychology, and psychiatrist.