I spotted the remains of a Dragon this morning during a jog along the beach. Its tan profile clearly visible just this side of the surf, a long tawny neck showing signs of decay. To many people I’m sure it looked like a half buried tree, its burled roots and bark-stripped body vaguely resembling something pre-historic. But for those of us who know that magic must disguise itself in our world, it was clearly the head and spine of a recently fallen majestic being.
Its been easier for me to notice lifes stunning qualities these days, I’ve been less buried in the stress of life because Terry’s six month checkup gave us some wonderful news: the new protocol she’s been on has been working – read more about her progress on her GoFundMe page. The tide is turning for us, though there is so much more work to do still.
My days are still pretty packed, with a little more room for me-time. I’ve been going through my own whittling down process, letting go of things I can’t sustain, trusting that they’ll come back or die off in the woods as they’re meant to. And sifting, sifting when worry arises. Its a funny process, there’s more of me here and less of what I thought was me at the same time. I have to trust that the soil that remains will be more fertile than anything I’ve yet known.
Whenever Terry, the kids and I walk down to the mailbox, our dog Bella is joined by the big beautiful white Pitbull from down the street I call Big-Love. He is a giantish goofy puppy with a slobbering jaw like a bear trap and sadly sweet albino-blue eyes – he could probably swallow Truly Rose almost whole. He and I have a bromance going that’s pretty strong, Bella gets jealous but so far there’s been no blood. He cows to her like the sweet little boy he is. Its so good to have free love-food like that around – a giant puppy who just barrels his way through life, slobbering everything in his path, reminding me how stupid-beautiful life can be.
We have a treasure trove of family visiting us now. Aunts and cousins and grandmothers fill every crack in the floorboards. Its been a long time since we’ve been this inundated with love and support, it feels really good, like being slobber-loved by Big-Love every day except without the stink and ick-factor. My big brother showed up to party with the little-ones and clear away junk from last years winter. Now Terry’s family is here, and they dragged a wonderful landscaper with them all the way from back east. I hope to post photos soon but the wildlife pond and fire pit area have never looked so good!
The hot Autumn winds have brought massive fires to the wine country, and more recently to the Santa Cruz mountains north of us. The devastation is on a scale only comparable to a war zone. Blocks are wiped off the map, temperatures were so high there is really nothing but dust left of some homes. The air down here feels hurt at times, like a giant bruising is under way. Its been a tremendous lesson in gratitude. Yes we are challenged but we are held.
There are always gifts to be had in life, even when dealing with serious illness. The first gift of this illness for me was unearthing trauma that was buried so deep I’d been unable to engage it in any transformative way (despite years of effort). Months ago it was flying up in my face when I needed it least. I have been able to find soil beneath it, and watch my feelings as they finally dissolved forever. Its felt incredible to be unburdened of this ancient cruft. I’m more grounded now than I have ever been in my life.
Some feelings have persisted, but become teachers. I’ve always had this profound feeling of guilt that shows up like a collection agent, when I least expect it or want it. I offer up familiar excuses to its cause, as if they were rubber checks to keep it at bay: religion, parenting, etc etc etc – yak yak yak. But none of them ever rang true. They all lacked real transformative energy, a real chance to help me. What I’ve discovered this year is that guilt filters in to smother me when I don’t listen to spirit, don’t connect with unity. It has nothing to do with the past, nothing to do with who I am or my history. All I have to do is find my center again, and the guilt evaporates. Since then, guilt has become my helper. I welcome it in as a gentle reminder pointing me back onto my path.
This has been so important for me in showing up for Terry and the kids. Rather than sorting through thoughts – is this worry, is this really useful – I can just find my center and start over again. The last thing anyone needs is for me to add worry to this worrisome situation. They look to me for clarity, that has to be a big part of my job. I’m not great at it, but I think I’m getting better.
I’ve become good at locating where a feeling arises in my body especially if its fear or worry. As my mind runs off, chasing a fear down an endless path I sense into where that feeling first arose in my body. Inevitably its someplace other than my center, the core where I feel the presence of my own spirit most clearly. Having a physical location for where peace resides and where fear arises from makes my job of showing up so much easier! There have been many moments when my brain has felt like scrambled eggs, I’ve gotten easily caught up in trying to evaluate whats real and whats fear. Following the physical sensations totally eliminates the need for more mental processing. I can just sink into whats true. I still return to the mantra I wrote about earlier, patience & trust, patience & trust, a great road block to more worry.
I’ve been working with the spirits as feel called. An animal spirit I visited recently was especially gentle, laying me down with one hove on my chest, he pressed into my heart saying over and over again “peace, peace, peace …” I could feel the weight of his words sinking into my heart, filling my body. There is a physical/spiritual synergy that often happens to me at times like this. I at once feel the sensations in my body and my soul. Everything becomes tangible. I can still feel the powerful resonance of that peace filling me like hot cider on a freezing day.
It really is amazing, I know myself now better than I ever have in my entire life.
And of course our children fill us with love. I know it must sound cliche to many, especially those who haven’t had kids, but the love you invest is returned a hundred fold at least. Not always directly, but in the sureness of their stride, their insistence of cuddling up close when you least expect it, the deep gratification they get from eating my cooking. It all flows back when you need it most.
So I’m officially calling this Autumn our season of magic. Though fires threaten, healing is unfolding and we are surrounded by love and joy. Have I always been this blessed? Have the gifts of my life always been wrapped so tightly around me? Maybe I just needed to be stripped down to feel it all more deeply, to lap it up like Big-Love with no holding back.
May there be friendly Dragons on your path as Samhain approaches, blessings to you and yours.