Saturday, September 23, 2017

Of Two-Way Streets and Enriching Dichotomies

Our world of apparent duality offers a wealth of disguised enrichment opportunities. Consider:

A cyber buddy who currently lives creatively without residence wondered why a stranger would open her home and heart to her. She emailed, "I don't understand why she's being so amazingly generous. I keep telling her she just blows me away."

I responded, "You never know what her own journey is…she may have needed to serve someone in exactly this way, and you are providing a golden opportunity, so it is a mutuality."

This is the way energy works. When my lifelong friend Ellie fell and broke her hip at 96, requiring a lengthy convalescence in a rehabilitation center and later at home, I initially despaired about why Spirit didn't simply call her Home.

Then I had a flash of insight: the enforced passivity enabled my fiercely independent friend to learn to receive, and blessed those who assisted her with the joy of service. I told her, "You would never have allowed it otherwise." With wonder and her trademark humility, Ellie exclaimed, "Amara, you're right!"

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

What appears adverse can be advantageous. I needed to park my car on a different street due to an upcoming festival, and planned to be out of town the following week. I gave the young man who acts as my "car surrogate" the spare key, and asked him to please move the car back once the festival was over.

Unbeknownst to me, a road crew was about to repave the street; tow-away signs went up the day after I left. If the festival hadn't been scheduled (and, therefore, if I hadn't given Danny my spare key) my car would have been parked in its normal spot — and towed during the week I was away!

More profoundly: A dear friend was in a near-fatal motorcycle crash earlier this year. After a month in the ICU, he learned he'd need a walker once out of bed, and would have only minimal use of his right hand for the rest of his life (he's a southpaw, but still…). Eight months later, Rick says, "The accident was the best thing that ever happened to me."

During his convalescence he lost seventy pounds, and began exercising several hours a day as part of his physical therapy program; the combination reversed his adult-onset diabetes. He's grateful every day for the gift of life, and more open than he's ever been. He says, "I cry if I'm happy, I cry if I'm sad.

"And you know what? It feels amazing. I have nothing to hide now; what others think of me is no longer my concern. I can be emotionally honest. I feel like this is another piece of the silver lining surrounding that terrible trauma."

Sustained by his new outlook and the outpouring of love and support from friends and family, Rick's regained almost full use of his right hand, and returned to work — as a practicing physician. Practice makes perfect.

Once you've been through the fire, you're recast as pure essence; the superficial no longer holds sway in your life.

How Your Light Is Spent

Milton's sonnet, When I Consider How My Light is Spent, exemplifies the nature of life's dichotomies, and how we choose to interpret our time here. The full text reads:

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

"Apprehension" means both anxiety ­and understanding. If you apprehend the meaning behind Milton's final line, you will understand that simply being is what matters most.

Whoever or whatever your messenger is, listen deeply. Once you apprehend the message, invite yourself to let go, so that you may embrace this wisdom farther along life's spiral. Allow yourself to be amused by the alchemical nature of any apparent dichotomy that shows up in your life. And know there's an invisible cosmic trampoline beneath you, so you can rebound from pain's mirage, spread your wings, and fly.

© Copyright September 2017 by Amara Rose. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Lammas: Now the Dying Must Begin

August 1-2 marks the mid-point between summer and fall. Known as Lammas, or Lughnasadh (LOO-ne-sah), it's one of the 8 "Cross Quarter Days" on the Wheel of the Year (the others are the Summer and Winter Solstices, Spring and Fall Equinoxes, Candlemas {Feb. 2}, Beltane {May 1} and Hallomas/Samhain {October 31}). Lammas is a celebration of abundance, the time of the harvest, and a potent moment to bring ourselves back into alignment with the natural world. Although it appears to occur at the peak of summer, in truth it's the first day of fall, and a time to embrace the dark.

An evocative description of this turning comes from a comprehensive mythology site with the delightful double-entendre title, Myth*ing Links, an annotated and illustrated collection of worldwide links to mythologies, fairytales and folklore, sacred arts and sacred traditions, loving compiled and updated by Kathleen Jenks, PhD.

" a hot, lazy, delicious time of the year. Bees buzz in the heat of the day, the air is still, and the force of the sun remains strong, even though its sway over the earth is slowly diminishing day by day. In the cooler nighttime, frogs and crickets keep us company. It is here, in the gloaming, when so many rituals begin...

"This is when the powerful gods of the grain harvests are honored. They are in their prime, sometimes generous, sometimes quixotic, and always aware with a bittersweet pleasure that their time will wane, as it always does, and they will die, as they always do, and yet nevertheless they will return to another delicious summer next year, as they always do, and have, and will, for this is the endlessly circling Wheel of the Year, and they ride it proudly.

"Yet there is a darker nuance, one that surprised me, for I had thought that this was a purely masculine god's festival. I learned however of Lugh's touching and loving devotion to his foster-mother, the royal Tailtiu, whose fate may be even more intimately woven into this season than his..."

Jenks quotes Parabola magazine author Mara Freeman on the further genesis of Lammas:

"...Lugh dedicated this festival to his foster-mother, Tailtiu, the last queen of the Fir Bolg, who died from exhaustion after clearing a great forest so that the land could be cultivated. When the men of Ireland gathered at her death- bed, she told them to hold funeral games in her honor. As long as they were held, she prophesied Ireland would not be without song. Tailtiu’s name is from Old Celtic Talantiu, 'The Great One of the Earth,' suggesting she may originally have been a personification of the land itself, like so many Irish goddesses. In fact, Lughnasadh has an older name, Brón Trogain, which refers to the painful labor of childbirth. For at this time of year, the earth gives birth to her first fruits so that her children might live..."

Dying to the Old

What needs to "die" so that the new can be born in your life?

Canadian astrologer and tarot reader Tara Greene says that Lugh's festival points Southwest, and resonates to the element Air. "Southwest represents the Place of Healing, of the Dreamer and the Dream. It is the place of both your Personal Dream and the Sacred Dream of the Planet. What is your Personal Dream? What is your Sacred Dream? The Sacred Dream is your Highest Spiritual Dream."

This August 1st, especially if you've never honored Lammas before, remember your relationship with the Earth and her cycles. Give thanks for the abundance of beauty, harmony, peace, love, healing, grace and balance you are inviting into your life and into the collective, and image-in your Sacred Dream.

The quintessential song for invoking Gaia's healing Sacred Dream came through John Lennon. Feeling deeply into these words now, there is a cellular resonance I've not been conscious of before, although I've heard the song hundreds of times:


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Art of Awareness

As we move into the next phase of our global renaissance, copious creativity is the axis on which our elevation will turn. How deeply are we willing to tap our inner reservoirs? Can we expand our perception of what constitutes "art"?

Jose Argüelles, who adapted the evolutionary secrets of the Mayan Calendar for the Western mind, saw art as the unifying field, a path to help us move "from biospheric waste to artistic regeneration," by attuning ourselves to a natural time frequency expressed as an equation: T(E) = Art. Energy (E) factored by time (T) equals Art. Energy is essence: a rock, a flower, a star, a human being. Time is a frequency. When we use our energy in concert with natural time cycles, we are living creativity. In other words, Time is Art…not the clock on the wall or the cash in your wallet.

Eye of the Beholder

What this means in terms of cross-cultural energy exchange opens unimagined doors. A woman traveled from Denmark to the tiny West African country The Gambia, toting numerous colorful plastic bags — prized by Gambian women as symbols of status and respect — to use as barter. (Women of The Gambia also recycle worn or ripped plastic bags into one-of-a-kind purses).

In the marketplace, she discovered a hand-carved figure of an African goddess and, through gestures, opened negotiations to purchase the stunning piece.

But the indigenous artist had no interest in money. She wanted plastic bags. The Danish visitor tried to give her all the bags she'd brought, explaining that there was a surplus of these in her country. The Gambian sculptor accepted three, and each woman felt she'd enjoyed the better bargain. Plastic bags or a unique woodcarving: equally sacred art in the eye of the beholder.

Then there is the children's book that became a collaboration between two Jewish translators, a Protestant editor, a Muslim painter and a non-profit publisher in the deep South. It was a collective endeavor all the way, explained one rabbinical writer: "An Arabic Sufi tale (originally penned in what is now Iraq) translated by a rabbi into Hebrew in the Middle Ages and translated by us (into 21st century language and sensibility), with a Sufi publisher and a Pakistani artist." The subject matter — animals protesting their treatment by humans — transcended all ethnic, cultural, and religious boundaries.

The Art in our DNA

The universal urge toward the aesthetic is coded in our cells. Theologian and author Thomas Moore writes, in Care of the Soul, "Children paint every day and love to show their works on walls and refrigerator doors. But as we become adults, we abandon this important soul task of childhood." When we relinquish this soul expression to professional artists, "we are left with mere rational reasons for our lives, feelings of emptiness and confusion, and a compulsive attachment to pseudo images, such as shallow television programs. When our own images no longer have a home, a personal museum, we drown our sense of loss in pale substitutes, trashy novels or formulaic movies."

Because art arrests our attention, living "artfully" might require of us something as simple as pausing: taking the time to shift from acquire to inquire, to let go of buying more in favor of being more. This is what honoring our collective creative impulse can do for humanity: restore us to wholeness, holiness, health. "Whole", "holy" and "heal" all spring from the same root. To be whole is to be balanced and harmonious in body, mind, soul and spirit.

It's this level of awareness that will characterize the coming Psychozoic ("spirit life") era, says Argüelles, when, having rediscovered who we are, we can create a culture based on the three virtues of true time: autonomy, equality, and loyalty to the truth in every moment. These are strikingly similar to the Three Commitments delineated by The Reconnections: stay free, stay present, follow the energy.

We already have fusion food: a culinary blending of cultures to delight the palate. Now we're primed to feed our deeper hunger, to fuse mind and heart into healing art, and reawaken the sacred dimension in daily life.

And if we make a subtle shift — move the "h" in heart from the start of the word to the end — we create "Earth". We live in a heart circle. Earth heart. The beat goes on.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Imagine Nation

"If I could tell the world one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair…"

~ Jewel, Hands

Here in the Great Turning, the predominant emotion is often fear — the same energy as excitement. What we feel is a matter of interpretation.

It's a time of incredible expansion, according to every cosmic weather report I've seen: an opportunity to compost our "harrumphitude" concerning Trumpelstiltskin (thanks to "mythic news" weaver of context Caroline Casey for these deLightfully winnovative words). If you have skin in the game vis-à-vis Trumpelstiltskin, this is the ripe moment to play your Trump card.

A Subtle Shift Makes the Diff

The key is our collective readiness and willingness to segue from living in Alien Nation to co-creating a global heart community, Imagine Nation. The shifts are subtle yet substantial: from thinking we're alone to realizing we're all one.  

In Alien Nation, self-flagellation is popular. "I'm the only one I know who can blackball myself in my own community," a woman despaired recently, explaining how, in angrily speaking her mind about an issue vital to her, she piqued the one person who might have proven most helpful, had she spoken with Spirit Tongue. I empathized, as I've often carried my own whips, too. Practicing self-love is the hardest task most of us will ever master.

Yet it's so apparent that everything is vibration: while food shopping in a happy frame of mind at my local organic grocery, trading quips from old Monty Python routines with the customer in front of me at check-out, I was bowled over when the young cashier offered, "Would you like me to burn you a CD of their skits?"

True Happy Hour

A New Yorker cartoon shows a man standing in front of a sandwich board outside a bar. READ MORE