12/13/2011

Kundalini Rising



I Love. Several years ago, I took up the challenge of defining my life’s purpose with a mission statement. My personal mantra since then has been “Embody Love”. As part of the challenge of living my way into that beautiful dream, I have been practicing yoga, meditation, tai chi, qigong, reiki, and feng shui.

The common thread throughout has been my desire to become a clearer channel for Universal Love, for the life energy we call chi (or ki or qi) that flows through us and around us on levels we are seldom aware of during our daily lives. My ultimate intention is to live in full awareness of my connection to and embodiment of Creator/Source/Spirit/God/Goddess.

About three months ago, I reached some sort of spiritual/bio-energetic
critical mass with these practices. I experienced something infinitely, intimately powerful that I am now coming to identify as a physical/emotional/mental/spiritual experience of kundalini energy rising within me.

Normally, this energetic potential hibernates at the base of the spine. There are those who meditate for years, preparing themselves and praying for this experience. Ironically, I had never made the connection that any of the energy practices I was engaged in would interact synergistically,even exponentially with one another.

The explosion of energy knocked me into next Tuesday. I felt like large, electrically charged snakes were crawling up my spine,buzzing with potential. My first thought was that I had simply gone insane.

When I could gather myself a bit, I began the ongoing quest to figure out what was going on that would affect body mind soul and spirit so radically and with such a bizarre, shifting galaxy of physical symptoms. This was mostly an internet
search at first, since I was afraid that almost anyone I talked to would be frightened for me and/or of me. Trusting this information to anyone else was really hard and embarassing.

Kundalini by most accounts is not at all subtle when it rises. It give you two options, really: say “yes” to the experience and hang on for dear life as everthing you "know" and rely on is thrown into chaos, or get metaphysically “bucked off” in ways that range from terribly confusing to devastating.

Some people who have experienced kundalini rising have gone on to become mystics, enlightened beings, saints, priests, healers, psychics, artists, writers, gurus and spiritual guides. To even picture myself in that kind of company is incredibly humbling.

Other people who have the process go sideways on them have become predators, charlatans, sociopaths, addicts, wannabe medicine people, schizophrenics, or just deeply and permanently detached from their moorings. To even picture myself in that kind of company is frankly terrifying.

My sense of humor has been a saving grace, and as long as I can hang onto it I know I will be alright. I laughed out loud when I realized that my past few posts have dealt with metamorphosis. I have been so fascinated with cicadas and snakes and butterflies all my life, especially recently, that I suspect my innermost knowing saw this coming long ago. There is also a fun element to serendipity/synchronicity now that I am grateful to have be more a part of my life now, even when it is hard sometimes to to let others in on why I am finding something so funny.

As I am getting a better grip on this “butterfly reality”, there is still a free-floating cloud of old bits of caterpillar thinking and behavior that no longer apply to be cleared out of my energy fields. Whole concepts no longer make sense to me, like fault and guilt and blame. The integration/cleansing process happens in fits and starts. By most accounts it will be months to years before things settle down, and then there is also the possibility that another metamorphosis will occur before the bigger one when I shed this human form.

I am more aware now of the increasing numbers of people going through something profoundly life-changing at this time. If it is not kundalini rising, it may be something similar. Some people are calling this the Shift, while others are not making the connection (yet), while others are waiting for more physical, global or religious manifestations. It is certainly Shifting me in the here and now.

At this time of maximal cold and darkness in this part of the world, I want to make an offering to the returning sunlight by sharing some of the things that are changing/changed within me. Although the symbols we call language seem less adequate than ever for communicating this kind of experience, I want to practice my newfound coherence.

This experience crosses all cultures and all ages, and I want to touch on the universality of it. I also desire to share what I am learning about the bio-energetic interface system we call chakras, and the ways in which the kundalini rising is affecting me on all the levels I am conscious of as it passes through each one.

It has been my very great fortune in the past couple of years to connect with four people who, unbeknownst to me at the time, have also been through the expereince of their kundalini rising. When I reached out to them, they were there in very timely and specific ways, ahead of me on the path, in a way that no one else I knew could have been. To my dear friends and mentors, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am likewise so very blessed with good friends and family who have not shunned or abandoned me in the midst of all this chaos, but have been kind-hearted, loving, helpful, listenable, and have kept their sense of humor and patience throughout alternating periods of clinginess and need for space. I am humbled, I am grateful, and I owe so much of my current well-being to your nurturing and support. For loving me through this even when you don’t necessarily know what I am talking about, whether or not any it makes sense to you in the here and now, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And to all of you everywhere who are going through challenging and life-changing events of your own right now, I feel for you. I hope you make the time to enjoy the pretty lights, the warmth of your loved ones, and that you are able to side-step Babylon's consumer frenzy as much as possible.

At this time of Earth’s renewal may we all feel just how continually we are blessed. May we experience consciouness of a deep, strong, intimate sense of the Infinite Ocean of Light and Love surrounding us, permeating every aspect of our being, connecting us even across time and space to all those we hold dear.


1/29/2011

Transformation



I Love. Now in the impossibly warm air of a late-January thaw, I love to picture my cicada friends biding their time below the iron ground, and I begin to dream of summer. One of my greatest pleasures during warm summers nights is to indulge my inner naturalist by prowling through the trees with flashlights hunting for cicadas. By day, I love to attempt to lure them to me, to watch them change direction in mid flight or mid-crawl by snapping my fingers in imitation of the female wing-flicks. The mating songs of the males delight me so much that I must pause in order to let the sound of summer shimmer over me when I hear them. But most of all, I love the story of their profound and secret transformation.

It begins in the summer. After mating, a female annual cicada uses a dagger-like ovipositor to cut slits into the bark or a tree branch and then stitch them full of eggs in lines as neat and perfect as fine crewel work. Once they hatch, the rice-sized young fearlessly bail over the side of the twig into free fall, landing softly on the earth and immediately digging downwards into the earth until they encounter a good root for them to feed from. They excavate a small lair adjacent to that root, which they defend with the ferocity of teensy territorial dragons from all other organism, large or small, that dares to encroach. Baring mishaps with moles, they remain here gorging themselves for a year, or two, or four (and up to seventeen years for the periodical cicadas), molting several times to accommodate growth spurts and the fat that they will be living from later. Finally, when conditions are almost perfect, they construct a tunnel to the surface and carefully clean it from any debris that falls in, sometimes forming a small chimney, biding their time and gathering their strength.

On the perfect summer evening, between the prime feeding time of their daytime and night-time predators, the thumb-sized, dark nymphs clamber out, often synchronizing with many of their siblings to improve their odds of success for what is to follow. Sometimes they spiral out away from the hole as they get their bearings, sometimes they march directly to the nearest tree or sometimes fence (or even unwary human) to begin the urgent upward climb. They may stop a foot off the ground or twice the height of a woman, and the perfect spot allows them to securely set the pinchers of their large, strong fore claws into the bark so that they are not easily dislodged. Their flexible exoskeleton dries quickly and becomes quite brittle. Their dark backs begin to bulge, and along the midline just below their heads, a precise split zips open to admit the wing buds, the square head with two bulging eyes on the corners and three tiny ruby red proto-eyes in the front. The legs pull from their gummy sheaths, and are held carefully out in the air to dry. The emerging cicadas work their way further out of their former skins by periodic subtle undulations of the thorax and abdomen, and the rumpled wing buds begin to pulse with green ichor.

When experimental tapping lends confidence that the legs are sufficiently hardened, the eclosing cicadas reach out and securely grasp the front of the shell that only twenty minutes previously was the exoskeleton of their head and thorax. Then they wriggle their abdomens the rest of the way out of the confining, chitinous girdles. Already their shiny plump bodies look too large to have emerged from the hairy, papery husks.

Clinging there at an angle perpendicular to the ground, the veins pump and wings unfurl in minutes from crumpled cellophane to a flat, celadon-veined, opalescent splendor. Luminous fairies by moonlight or flashlight, they brave the night at their most vulnerable as their new wings and skins harden and their distinctive tattoos first brighten into their most colorful and then darken slightly into opacity. Then they fold their wings over their backs and climb higher in search of the friendly leaf cover that would have impeded their eclosure an hour earlier.



In their adult form, cicadas do not eat. Their stiletto straw mouthpart enables them to sip sap from twigs and thus remain hydrated. The tree sugars may give them some quick energy, but for the most part they are now dependent on fat stored during their years under the earth.

Males seek specific heights in certain trees and vegetation, and begin their first adolescent croaks in just a few days. Very soon their full-throated song of passion emerges, a distinct one for each of the many type of cicada. These are the very sounds of summer. The females respond with wing flips, crawling or flying towards the irresistible throbbing of the singing. The males seek out the source of the wing flips, the sweetest sound in the world, homing in between each chorus until they find the females. They are so fanatic in their quest that they may be lured in by snapping one’s fingers in a certain way, Their passionate embrace may last for hours, locked tightly to one another, oblivious to all else. Finally, the males move on to advertize for more females, while the females begin the hunt for the perfect branches on which to ovideposit.

Every June, my ears are straining for the thrill of hearing the first cicada of the summer’s chorus. Though certain types come out earlier or later in the summer, a couple of weeks to a couple of months is all the time a cicada has above the ground before the hour comes to give back to the earth. . Song is life for male cicadas, even thought they risk death with every chorus. They will continue to sing and even attempt to mate after losing their abdomens to predators or fungus. They will continue to sing as they lie dying on their backs. The song is All.

As the weeks pass, they wind down like pocket-wateches, their songs becoming briefer, more querulous, deeper in tone, until finally their energy is completely spent and their bodies simply cease to move.

The next great change is more profound. It is the inevitable incorporation of their adult forms into the bodies of squirrel, bird, tree, sow bug, soil organism or raccoon. This is the ultimate transformation, into something utterly other, the great comingling through which we are ultimately all related.

They are never really gone. Their great song outlives them. Even now I can hear them singing in my mind at night. I smile, picturing them in their tiny underground caves. I pull the covers up in the snug winter's nest of my bed and go back to dreaming of the balmy nights of early summer and transformations to come.

11/14/2009

Symbiosis



Symbiosis

I Love. A lifelong passion for flowers has inevitably evolved into a fond regard for the insects that tend them. I am moved by the endless symbiotic pairings between beings so fundamentally different from one another.

White-lined sphinx moths the size of hummingbirds probe the giant white trumpets of moonflower vines each evening, unfurling questing tongues nearly twice the length of their gaudy, furry bodies.

In the daytime, tiny painted schinia moths visit the indian blanketflowers. Their wings so perfectly match the red-and-yellow ray flowers as they settle to sample the central cone that they effectively hide in plain sight.

Small black ants flock to the sweetness of the peony buds, their under-petal quest for nectar helping to open the heavy, heavenly, honey-scented blossoms.

The pudgy caterpillars of the black swallowtail butterfly feast on the dill, eating it down to the nubs only to have it spring up anew, fluffy and resplendent from the pruning. The adult butterflies migrate a few yards to sip nectar and pollinate the riotous neon zinnias, skipping amid red-orange, royal purple, loud pink and sun-kissed yellow blooms.

Cowboy ants zealously guard grazing aphids on the tender young okra buds, the better to milk them for their sweet honeydew. When one leaf suffers, they move them to greener pastures on the next one.

Sawfly larvae move in and skeletonize the leaves of the black-eyed susans. Their feeding session is intense but brief, thinning the chocolate and golden blooms out just enough to safe-guard them from the mildew that otherwise claims them in wetter years.

The intricate dance between cicadas and their trees is so much more complex than the others. Only this past summer have I have begun to gain insight into what I have been seeing with shallower vision all of my life. When they are not actively courting among the branches and tall grasses, or laying eggs, cicadas are not simply gone, or dormant. They are in larval form through several instars, feeding for years from the roots of trees. Although cicadas are considered parasites of trees, I suspect this view may be short-sighted. The root-feeding is not really a robbery, but a loan, and one which the cicadas will repay with interest.

Sooner or later cicadas become food for trees, birds, mammals, fish, other insects, even people in some parts of the world. The birds and squirrels will grow fat on them and process them into nuggets of fertilizer for the trees and plants. Even the not-so-lucky cicada hunters will be fertilizing the trees as they camp out there in search of a tasty meal.

Squirrels, opossums and raccoons will also carry off nuts and seeds in their cheeks or guts, planting new trees and shrubs. Specialists such as the yellow-billed cuckoo will raise bumper crops of young in the years when cicadas are the most abundant.

Ants and other insect scavengers will gut and carry off vulnerable cicadas, sometimes before the new tenerals can even emerge from their exuvia. Ecstatic with the rich store of fat with which to feed their queens or their young, ants leave scent trails in trees the nymphs favor most. In the process of transporting and patrolling, the ant tunnels help to loosen and aerate the soil, helping the trees to thrive.

Cicada-killer wasps sting cicadas and leave them alive but paralyzed in a burrow along with a wasp egg, to be the perfect food for the hatchling, still fresh when they hatch. Intuiting the gender of the eggs, the mothers leave one cicada for the males, two for the females. Whatever nutrients are left from their feeding will go back to the soil for the benefit of plants and trees. It is a matter of life begetting life.

Now, during the final dying of the insects for this season, the knowledge that I have already heard the last cicada song this year fills me with wistfulness. Although I listened and savored and treasured their music all summer, I am already awaiting their next season like an eager concert ticket holder.

It has been one of the summer’s biggest blessings to learn about and to listen to the annual cicadas, and to gain a more an intuitive grasp for the cycles within cycles. In the complexity of symbiotic relationships, pulling on just this one thread leads me deeper into the web of life, where every thread is precious and crucial to the others.

8/29/2009

Abundance


I Love. I am loved. I am lifted up and swept out into a rainbow sea of the most abundant summer so far. The freakishly warm and capricious winds that marked the early summer have settled into a comforting rhythm of caressing breezes and gentle rainfall. The summer’s cool temperatures have transmuted the grounds and gardens around my little home into a lush, almost tropical paradise. Wandering through with eyes of wonder, I am graced with myriads of brilliant flowers, many of which were gifts of love from beloved family and treasured friends.

Here inside the limestone blocks encircling the kitchen garden, in concentric rings arise the lush heirloom tomato vines, okra, squash and melons. Here also blooms an exuberant fiesta of zinnias surrounded by orange cosmos and lemon marigolds. A network of sky blue, magenta, and deep violet morning glories trade places with the white trumpets of moonflower vines in the early evening. Brilliant red sparks of cardinal creeper and tiny golden flowers of the sunflower vines punctuate the raspberries and herbs. There is a space in the center for viewing shooting stars, for basking in the sun, for private moments undisturbed by the rest of the world.

In the rock garden, blue spires of meadow sage punctuate the billows of silver sage and the blue-gray mounds of santolina. The green and white leaves of the three yuccas have sent their white-flowered spires skyward already. Huge goldenrods are budding in front of a lacy black elderberry, preparing a feast for the butterflies just beginning their long journeys. An ancient buffalo skull is returning to the earth here.

The meditation garden offers four kinds of happiness. A comfortable hand-made red-cedar bench with a rustic fence at its back and a wren house on either side is gathered by the flowing texture of emerald green and yellow-green false-cypress. Overhead arches the sturdy shelter of ancient twin burr oaks. Across the smooth, weather limestone path and tiny river rocks, a ring of japanese forest grass and a tiny pool of water forms a ring of serenity beneath the deep burgundy stars of a japanese maple. Dragonflies and other insects fly in to bask here. Small birds, toads, frogs, salamanders, lizards and snakes share this bounty with Serena the cat, but only while she is drowsing.

A glider below the eaves of the house is sheltered from the elements and offers both rocking motion and arousing color. The startling blue blossoms of the butterfly tree, neon pink roses, white mandevilla trumpets and blazing crimson passionflowers dance in the slightest breeze to the major key melody of the wind ciimes. A view through the open gate extends over a field of alfalfa to a distant oak, with fields of gold beyond.

Opposite the glider drifts a forest green porch swing, with old fashioned, comfortable curves. It reminds me of the one my parents courted on at my mother’s parents home. Sweetly scented by potted jasmines, with occasional wafts of honeysuckle and mimosa drifting over the roof from other side, it gives the best view of the tangerine/fuschia bracts of the bougainvilleas along the fence. Tibetan prayer flags stir above the red front door.

From indoors, the beauty of this garden is enframed by the norfolk island pines before the picture window, where I can enjoy it year round.

All is in motion among the trees in the yard. Cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, robins, finches, and hummingbirds have all nested and raised young, some having more than one brood this year. The younger sets are still sporting their protective drab feathers, the older ones growing bright patches as they practice songs and show off for their siblings. The baltimore orioles bring their babies to the nectar feeders outside the kitchen window to show them how to feed, as do the black-chinned hummingbirds. The ruby-throated hummers are just appearing again now after summering farther north.

By mid-morning, iridescent green june beetles careen through the pink silks of the mimosas. By early evening, the white-lined sphinx moths take over the white rose-of-sharons, darting in and out, dipping with their long tongues. Small bats come out, swooping between the trees, and the night sparkles with fireflies. The balmy air is filled with the passion of annual cicadas, drowning out the crickets and all but the loudest of katydids. They speak to me.

To embody love I must open myself wholly, give a new shape and my unique vibratory signature to the abundance streaming in through my senses and my body. As long as I am living in the now, I am in an utterly new world. Written in my physical form are ancient cycles, and yet how very precious each new breath tastes. What will I sing with my life?

3/15/2009

Harbingers



I love. I so relish hibernating through the winter in the loving embrace of Earth, warmed by the loving gifts of Sky. Throughout this time of regeneration I have had visits from friends and have been blessed by angels. It seems that so often they are one and the same, a discovery that lends a special anticipation to making new friends.

I have also spent days in complete solitude. I have relearned to love it, and to embrace it. I recognize it now as a vital part of recharging and learning more about myself and my relationship to all that is.

Sometimes, most times, my chi is abundant and my aura is filled, and I am a vessel for light and love living in an ocean of light and love. But once in awhile I still feel the wound in the back of my heart center, and feel the cold whistling up my spine. However, as I spend time blissfully soaking in the increasing solar radiance, small arroyos of depression are farther between. The best remedy still is to remind myself of how truly and continually I am blessed.

Grape hyacinths sent up their grass-like leaves last fall, and they are winter-burned to spirals at the tips. Crocuses are late. The harbingers of spring this year are teeny blue irises by the native limestone that serves as my front walk. Called “Harmony,” they stand just four inches high, as much flower as stalk. They are two weeks later than usual, but all the more welcome for it. I see the tips of the other hyacinths just peeking out of the ground, a few brave tulip leaves, and daffodils that budded up right around our last hard freeze but then decided to bide their time.

Robins have been back for three weeks, ring-neck turtle doves have returned, and still-drab sprinklings of finches jostle impossibly red cardinals at the feeders. Flocks of redwing blackbirds come through, sing their whirring watersongs for a day, and travel on. House wrens are warbling their purest love, more music than bird, and scouting for nest sites.

Occasional balmy breezes bring rivulets of soil aromas. The scent of rain no longer hints at snow. I inhale and feel stronger and more alive with each breath. The sweet throbbing of life surfacing again in such abundance is my wakeup call. Embody love. Be ready.

1/21/2009

Tree Light


I love. When I come in shivering from the icy wind, I love the mesmerizing radiance of the wood stove. Such a fire is a wonderful companion. Fire knows how to love fiercely, but also tenderly in the right setting.

There is a ritual satisfaction in birthing a fire. I wipe the soot from the inside of the glass, and polish the cathedral doors of the fire church to perfect clarity so the fire and I can see one another clearly.

Once I have laid up the wood, the sulfury rasp of a wooden match kisses up a cheerful blaze. It unburdens me of old news, old cedar shingles, and bits of house no longer relevant, As it licks up the arms of mulberry and oak, it breathes on its own and begins the shining dance.

Tree light talks, it whistles, pops, and never sings the same tune twice, but one which is precious and rare. It responds to music, to vibration, to the sound of my voice, re-patterning.

The warmth is magnetic to my cat, Serena. Although the first time I lit up the wood stove, she gave me one quisical look, a second terrified look, and then fled the house, now she will not willingly leave the hearth rug or my lap while a fire is going. She, too, can stare into it for hours, purring meditatively.

Each new fire evokes other fires I have known: camp fires, sacred fires, wood stove fires, forest fires, candle flames. The smokey scent adds to the romance of the element, with its promise of comfort and survival. Gazing deeper into its heart I look for fire kachinas dancing, spinning and touching down so lightly. I search for salamanders slithering about unburnt. I remember the Yoruba priestess reading embers to know the future, fortelling that I would have a daughter as well as a son. I was warmed by the promise, though the rest of the prophecy was clouded.

The dancing light and shadow is is soothing. Star light delayed by the leaves, frozen for a lifetime in the trees finally delivers the sun's message. I am synchronizing with pulsations of star love, tree love, air love. I feel it in my heart, absorb it into my soul. They have gifted me with an extension of my little life in the middle of the dark and frozen prairie. I am grateful for the blessings of my little home, and my larger Earth home, tonight.

Photo and video courtesy of www.thelope.com.

10/26/2008

In-Gathering


I love. I love this time of year. The spiral of seasons elicits not only a special warmth in my heart for my family, friends and angels, but also for the lifesongs of the plants, green beings who support my life and partner with me in earning my livelihood. Their inherent green-ness, so soothingly beautiful to the spirit, the dazzling jewels of their flowers, the richness and complexity of their scents, the textures from fuzzy through satin through prickly, their wind-music. Farewell to the taste of raspberries and dew on my tongue, the healing qualities of the freshest herbs, the individual personalities of the green ones, their joy and recognition as I water them and see them straighten up and respond. They feed my soul in a way that nothing else can.

Most of my green friends go to ground tonight. They pull back into their secret roots the last of the precious life-force they will require to endure the cold and emerge in spring. The skeletons of the plants give up their seeds (magical, potent, effervescent in my hand) to gravity, to the wind, and to our small winter birds. The final few flowers give up the last few sweetest sips of nectar to the few painted lady butterflies who have found shelter these past few cold nights. The trees, the standing-people, feel the final passion of cicada song in their leaves. All will fall to the ground with the snow, a feast for the creatures in the ground, a sweet welcome home into the bosom of the Mother of us all.

I have gathered in already as many tropical vines and succulents as will fit, layering them into the solar south bay of my little heated barn. They are weaving themselves into a kaleidescopic community of bloom, a Polynesian paradise for me to shelter in on the grayest of days and dream of spring. The last four red-throated yellow hibiscus that would not fit in the barn are safely tucked in behind the picture windows at Jennifer’s art studio, echoing the boldness and exuberence of her big paintings.

I have gathered in all the green tomatoes, peppers, acorn squash, collards, figs, and herbs I can use or give away for the next couple of months, mulched the beautiful red chard, and bid farewell to the impossibly blue morning glories and the incandescent cardinal vine.


Tonight I will tune in to the ecstatic in-gathering of life in the turning of this cycle, the transformation of water to ice, the shimmering violin strings in dog-whistle pitches. Little colored sparks of love will shoot from my heart to the spirits of the plants I have touched this growing season.

I am well and truly blessed. I have gathered in to my heart this year a bumper crop of friends, family and angels. You will be keeping me as warm as my woodstove this winter as I relish this time of reconnecting our hearths and homes, of going deep with the special people in my life. May your hearts grow wings and your spirits burn brightly! I love you all.

Sharon