Brigit Anna McNeill’s Prose on “Winter”

“We are approaching the threshold of winter.

Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.

And we as natural human animaljessicaboehmanearthpic.jpgs are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.

But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.

This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.

This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back & chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.

A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.

A period of reconnecting, relearning & reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.

This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food and consumerism.

And yet the natural tug to go inwards as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet soft way towards our inner self, towards the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.

She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, & face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing & light without going into overwhelm.

Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire & light to our hearth.”

  • illustration by Jessica Boehman
  • words Brigit Anna McNeill
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The River of Feelings

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“There is a river of feelings within us, and every drop of water in that river is a feeling. To observe our feelings, we sit on the bank of the river and identify each feeling as it flows by. It may be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. One feeling lasts for a while, and then another comes. Meditation is to be aware of each feeling. Recognize it, smile to it, look deeply into it, and embrace it with all our heart. If we continue to look deeply, we discover the true nature of that feeling, and we are no longer afraid, even of a painful feeling. We know we are more than our feelings, and we are able to embrace each feeling and take good care of it.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh
Photo: © Yvonne D. Williams

For some reason this Thich Nhat Hanh quote stuck in my head when I read it because I know what he is referring to—I’ve felt it myself—the stepping out of intense feeling, no matter how painful it may be, and simply watching it flow over us as we remain sitting on the bank in silence before the enormity of the water passing through on its journey elsewhere.

If you aren’t sitting a part from it on the bank, that “River of Feelings” is a flow we continually ride—sometimes in a kayak gliding above the water and sometimes in an inner-tube with half our body immersed into it.kayakriverswirl67.jpg

So for us to say that we do not “feel” something emotionally is to say that we are riding the kayak as we skim the waves while still feeling the froth of turbulence. We may bob around a bit with emotion, but we’ve elevated our heads above the water and as long as we remain upright, we know that we won’t drown.

Inversely, when we are immersed in the feeling, we become the feeling and may struggle for our lives; clinging tightly to our inner-tube to keep our heads above water—for fear it drowns us with wave after wave of intense, gut-clenching emotion.

tube on river67Grief is an inner-tube type feeling. So is rage. It’s easy to be swamped when you immerse yourself in those feelings.

Some would say depression is such a feeling, but I believe that depression isn’t really a feeling as much as it is the result of losing the inner-tube completely and accumulating body fatigue from continually treading water without relief in sight.

So what is the difference between riding the kayak and sitting on the bank?

The kayak provides an experiential option for riding the feelings we naturally have during the course of our lives. It gives us buoyancy and distance from the worst of the emotional waves sloshing about us.

The bank is an entirely different perspective on emotional impaction. From the bank you do not participate in the feeling, you only observe it as it comes and goes, and try not to judge its rightness or wrongness; its power or onriverbank45.jpgaffectation on you.  You acknowledge it as it impacts you and note what is being felt, but you let it go—you let it move on and away without clinging to it—without wallowing in it or calling it back to re-experience, over and over.

It’s not easy sitting on the bank and observing your own river of feelings; and sometimes it’s hard to even find a kayak from which to navigate the powerful river of emotions that we feel.  At times when life takes a tumultuous turn for us, we feel fortunate enough to simply have that inner-tube to help keep our heads above the overwhelming waves.

What I think Thick Nhat Hanh was saying in this quote is that observing from the bank (meditation) is the far safer option for dealing with intense feelings, because it allows the greatest perspective on the river of emotion itself that we must experience over the course of our lives.

As humans, we will have good days and bad ones—people will come to us and then leave us through disagreements, grievances or death.

During the course of our lives, we make efforts to achieve or acquire what we do not have, and those efforts are sometimes successful and sometimes not.

We love and we lose love.

We agree and disagree with others, and feel both great joy and great fear at many aspects of life, including our own mortality.

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But during the course of our lives, that river of feelings flows on and on, over familiar ground or new ground—but it keeps moving onward until we individually feel no more and merge again with the Great Ocean of Consciousness that logs “all feelings” as simply a part of the living experience.

So keep your inner-tube always handy, and find a kayak when you can do so to keep your head higher above the waves; but if possible, try instead the view from the bank for its safer, broader perspective, and simply allow that emotional river to flow on by without judgment or clinging.

I know—easier said than done—but it IS possible to do it. Trust me on this one.

 

Eckhart Tolle on “The Dark Night of the Soul” Experience

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mpybTfz6rU

tollemictalk.jpgIn this short video, the questioner asks about his personal experience with ‘the dark night of the soul’ (which I thought was the most powerful part of this video and the main reason that I listed it here) and his sudden spiritual awakening because of that complete reality break.

The questioner then asks Eckhart about that ‘merging into Allness’ experience that he was suddenly immersed in where he lost his sense of identity and watched himself and his thoughts as they arose, as though they were separate from him.  Eckhart briefly mentions his own DNOS experience and then comments on the aspect of mind expansion into Allness and total awareness.

Eckhart then comments with a well-used quote on the nature of awareness itself: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.”

Awareness is indescribable, incomprehensible.  We experience only minute portions of the pool of total awareness.  Our personal comprehension of awareness pertains mainly to sensing our own life experience—how we perceive the world around us and ourselves in relationship to that world and to all the aspects of it, living and non.mysssarknightquote653

The thoughts we have about our personal experience are only our ego trying to make sense of its existence within the matrix portion of awareness that our human sense-making organ (our individual mind) can comprehend.  When we surpass our personal boundaries and tap into the Greater Awareness, we no longer THINK—we simply observe and ride the flow wherever it goes.  We don’t compare experiences for goodness or badness. We simply observe them as they arise.

We input without judgment or expectation or anticipation or attempts to define anything.

It can be an amazing experience of peacefulness and lovingness.  And it can also make you feel like you are losing it completely.spiritawaken67

So I like to temper my descriptions of the spiritual awakening or the Kundalini awakening experience with bits of how disruptive it can also be to your normal daily affairs and relationships.  If you listen to Eckhart, it took him years to come back to our mutual-consensus reality, and even then it was never fully back to the life that he once knew.  He was forever changed—for the better maybe, but let me tell you from my own experience, getting to that BETTER may not be an easy slog.

So be careful with your own spiritual awakening practices. Make sure you have a support team around to help you back from your space launch so you don’t burn up in the atmosphere on reentry.  Yes, some ‘dark nights of the soul’ (if they don’t kill you) can lead to kundalini awakening and reunion with the Oneness and Allness from which we emerged. But they can also be grueling, gauntlet-running, sanity-testing, limits-of-your-endurance experiences that are handled best if not faced alone.  ramdassdark night.jpg

I think in today’s world the hazards of sudden spiritual awakening are more broadly understood than a few decades ago, but there are few who have not personally experienced it for themselves who will ever relate to how bad it can get before it gets better. So if you are going through your own ‘dark night of the soul,’ look for others who can best help you through it.

That’s why I’m writing about it now.

 

Multiple Realities within Reality

Been listening to the one astrologer that I do listen to, Kaypacha, kaypachelescher4.jpgthis morning.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_cXUPpJr24&feature=share )  I rarely miss his weekly energy report to help me understand ‘what the heck’ is going on around me—especially when everything seems to be so chaotic, like it is now.

When things get crazy in the world I can often feel the energy instability vibrating within me—like I am a tuning fork that starts sympathetically vibrating to the tone of another one near.  It’s very hard to hold your own vibration when such powerful disruptions are toning all around you.  So I like to hear if he is picking up the same thing with an astrological reason for it, or if it is just my own sensors that are being triggered by my immediate environment.

This morning he confirmed that it’s a pretty disruptive energy time for all of us; and then maxresdefault.jpghe talked about a subject that I’ve mentioned prior about how each of us perceives, reacts to, and lives our own version of reality that is slightly skewed from the collective reality the group agrees to adopt.

To be specific, late in the video he talks about how individually we create our own subjective reality which is then at times in conflict with our group shared reality. Then he asked ‘Which reality is more real, and which is less real?’  Good questions.

If YOU are feeling a particular version of REALITY, how can that NOT be real for you, eh?  Exactly.

Well those simple but complex questions were fairly pertinent to what I personally had been experiencing lately, both in my own life and with my friends’ concept of reality veering slightly from my personal version.  percep-vs-reality

When you have friends who also are energy sensitive and are into various forms of energy work themselves, then gathering together with them and discussing THAT group’s shared reality can be quite a trip. It can be hard to even agree on the parameters of that group’s reality experience because each of us has slightly different sensing abilities (clairaudient, clairvoyant, clairsentient, natural medium, …etc.)

Our group discussions make for an interesting afternoon, for sure.

But the one question I had at our last gathering is still bothering me, because when “reality” becomes so fluid and malleable for someone that they begin to drastically differ from the group version—especially THAT group’s version, is it cause to be concerned for that person?

To this question I would say unequivocally, YES.  I had, and still have, a concern for one of our group members at our last gathering.psychotic-break-poster-300-dpi.jpg

It is possible to get so “out there” in one’s concept of reality that one can break completely from the collective reality.  And it can be extremely traumatic for the person experiencing that break—which is often called a “psychotic break.”  And that traumatic break is cause for concern, and often requires a medical professional’s help.

Here’s the definition of psychotic break from the online medical dictionary: “Psychosis is a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality.”

That “objective reality” is the group agreed-upon version.

To continue: “Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. It usually includes: Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is. Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.”

Well, when you are psychically gifted like many of my friends are, you often see things and hear things that many folks don’t.  So there is such a fine line between recognizing your innate psychic gifts and not veering too far out into the ‘realm of all possibilities,’ because that realm does exist.

Right now, in these energies and this astrological time, it is hard for all of us to maintain balloons_4a971c333935a_hires.jpgour bearings. It’s hard to stay tethered to solid land when your personal reality balloon starts lifting away into the ethers.

So if you, dear reader, are feeling untethered to land right now, or if you are feeling extremely depressed, or possibly even feeling suicidal, then recognize that it may be necessary to reach out to others who can help you get through this difficult time in your life.  You aren’t alone in what you are feeling—not at all.  It’s a tough time right now to stay tethered to this group reality when it’s so unpleasant to be here. But we all have to find a way to tough it out until the energies change for the better. And they will change.

To reach out for help from others doesn’t mean you are weak or unstable, it just means that sometimes we need a bit of help to make sure that we can reel ourselves back in and dock safely back on earth for the remainder of our stay here.

Hang in there. It will get better.

And if your reality is making you question your sanity or question whether or not you You-are-not-alone.jpgwish to stay in this mutually-agreed-upon reality, then don’t be shy, ask for help to make sense of what you may be experiencing.  You likely aren’t alone in the questions that you might be having.  Especially now.

 

Such a Strange Time

Much of our lives we live in a state of relativity.  One moment often slips by unnoticed to the next moment until we start to gauge our happiness or unhappiness by how long that strangetime8.jpgfeeling lingers for us.  Our comfort or discomfort levels with life are often relative to how long the situation lasts and how prepared we are to endure it.

But this time in which we now live is actually quite strange in itself—it is the epitome of global uncertainty with an epicenter in total chaos served up for our breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Bon appetite!  But be prepared for gastronomic distress.

Even the energies in general of this time period are disruptive and pot-stirring.  Example bullshitcoin.jpgbeing: You can’t watch two world-class crazies who have been vehemently threatening to eliminate all of mankind with nuclear war for the past year, suddenly flip positions and now meet in a well-guarded luxury location for the main purpose of photo-ops and media coverage pretending that it is for “world peace,”… and not feel a bit surreal about the situation that you are witnessing.

Not to mention that their key negotiation point seems to be: Who is going to pay the hotel bill at the 5-star in Singapore?

Or watch the President of the United States give the finger to our strongest allies yesterday at the G7 while encouraging Russia to “come on back and make it the G8 again, merkeltrumparmscrossed.jpgbecause we miss you.”  Never mind that you invaded a neighboring country, seized their land and main sea port, and killed thousands of their people, not to mention you shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine, all the while tampering with the elections of the entire rest of the free world for the last three years. No problem, Vlad.  Donnie says come home—all is forgiven.

If novelists and playwrights wrote this stuff no one would read it or watch the show—it’s just too unhinged from reality.

Good guys and bad guys are all starting to blend together when you can’t tell where one begins and the other ends without a program; but the programs are provided by the good guys/bad guys themselves so you know that you can’t even trust their “prepared truth” to be actually truthful.

I mean even FOX NEWS viewers are purportedly getting media fatigue from all the blatant, never-ending lies and constant yammering about conspiracy theories and perpetual, presidential victimhood.

I know I’m getting a headache from shaking my head so frequently at what constitutes for NEWS in general these days. Seems the less I watch it the better mood I’m in. That’s simply ridiculous!newsin blue.jpg

What’s wrong with this picture???!!!

The NEWS itself has become nothing more than a propaganda factory of distortion and lies.  Even talking about the open-floodgate of lies penetrating the airwaves at present, only enhances them.

This isn’t just shaky ground we are trying to stand on my friends—this is murky, liquidy, never-setting JELLO we’ve found ourselves imbedded in like little pineapple chunks and cottage cheese in your grandmothers old lime-gelatin mold.

It’s not a good feeling nor will it be a palatable outcome no matter how long that mess refrigerates.

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“YOU Are the YOU-niverse”

With all the weekend precipitation received here I wish that I could say I had at least enjoyed the intense reading that this “quality inside time” allowed me.

diamondimage6.jpgInstead I can say I waded through two books that have long been sitting by my recliner. And the best thing I can say about both of them is that they can now be shelved away in my reference bookcase for future culling to Goodwill.

I love books, and I usually love good psychology/spirituality writers;  AND… I don’t like giving out bad reviews because any book critique is subjective and personally biased, BUT……..I think I want my money back from these two.

The first was A.H. Almaas book about the ‘Diamond Approach’ that he championed in psychology circles a few decades ago.

His book is called ESSENCE WITH THE ELIXIR OF ENLIGHTENMENT: The Diamond Approach to Inner Realization, …which sounded like something almaasbookessenceI’d love to read doesn’t it?  Yeah, that’s what I thought when I bought it.  Here we are defining reality and the unpinnings of the human experience: What is reality? What is spirituality? How does a human actually experience both?  What does it MEAN to do so?

Well maybe the copyright date of 1986 had more to do with this book’s pioneering appeal to introducing spirituality into psychology’s mental health approach in the early 1990’s than what it meant to me in the now, but I had to speed-read through it forcing myself to complete it.  Perhaps long ago in the newly-birthed spiritual movement in clinical psychology this book was considered influential and enlightening, but it did little for me in 2018, and THAT is what my review of it means for the present.

The other book I read was by one of the better-known spirituality writers of the last century: Deepak Chopra.  I can honestly say that I’ve read most books by Deepak, with chopragreenback.jpegsome books being better than others.  I still follow him on Facebook to hear his latest thoughts on our present-day situations.  I even commented on one of his articles awhile back (Nov. 22, 2017 – “How to Reset the Mind”) where he titled his article “Does the Human Mind Need a Fresh Start?”  I stated then that I thought his article was lengthy and involved, and sounded a bit “Buckminster Fullerish” where he tried to be so all inclusive and over-encompassing that it lacked focus and clarity.

Well, imagine him writing an entire 263-page book that same way explaining modern psychics and the latest Grand Unified Theory of Everything—the QUANTUM of life-as-we-know -it experience from his learned medical/spiritual perspective along with an astrophysicist, Dr. Menas Kafatos.  They call their new theory the “Qualia” Paradigm. It basically explains that the universe that we perceive is purely subjective and dependent on human perception to exist. Ok. We create our own reality—I do buy that part.

However in this book, it is goodbye string theory, adios to the Planck’s Quantum theory era with your waves and particles.

Here is all you ever thought you might want to know about the developmental history and modern theories of the Science of Physics and how to view/understand the world around us. Wow! What an undertaking, you might think. And it read just like that: What an undertaking to read this book.

The book is called: YOU ARE THE UNIVERSE: DISCOVERING YOUR COSMIC SELF AND youareuniversebook.jpgWHY IT MATTERS, by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.   The best I can say about it is that at least I actually have a few penciled underlines in this one, whereas the Almaas book is crystal clear.

And I hate to fault Deepak for simply being Deepak. He tries so hard to explain spirituality against the more difficult aspects of modern physics and how to relate the spiritual experience into all of that equation-/math-dependent, empirical research environment that we define as the “scientific approach.”

He really tries to explain the nearly unexplainable about our present world; and I’m sure that I’ve gained a greater understanding about historical attitudes and approaches to the “What is life?” question that the scientific community has considered for centuries, ever since the overpowering Church institution relinquished its death-grip on “enlightened secular thinking.”

kafatosshoprapic.jpgBut Deepak being Deepak, gets wordy and lengthy and anecdotal and then one simile follows another simile, followed by analogies, followed by more similes and analogies because this stuff is hard to fathom any other way for those of us who are NOT into “physics” explanations and equations.

I’m glad he tried to dumb-it-down for those of us who might never have comprehended the basics of the physics theories any other way, but…. he doesn’t really convince this reader on his somewhat extrapolated theories other than I already believe what he’s trying to write. He doesn’t have to convince me.

And I don’t think his qualia principles and accompanying explanations are quitetimespacematterchopra.jpg the end-product of his own subjective, deductive logic.  But, again, good try Deepak.

On to the dusty bookshelf they both go.

Yearning for Normalcy

 

I think we’ve reached a point in our personal/group evolution where we are nearly overwhelmed at the constant chaos in every aspect of our lives and yearn for something more stable and calming.choasmess

That calming influence could mean shutting off media sources or isolating ourselves from the masses; or it could mean simply saying “No,” to attempts to constantly disrupt us. I personally am thankful for the mute button on my TV control.

If you are sick of listening to lies, then stop listening. Meditate, sit in nature, exercise, listen to music, watch inspirational channels or videos that help you reach a deeper part of who you really are.

We always have a choice in what we do and what (or whom) we allow into our lives.

I often talk about how environmental energies are always affecting us, like the energy ocean we swim in daily—the unseen effects of rampant emotions and deliberately sown discord, not to mention the cosmic or solar energies that bombard us 24/7.  Those energies are still strong at present—powerfully disruptive, and they can take a toll on us if we rainbow fractalswirl.jpglet them.

It is documented that full moon energies affect people in strange ways, as do solar flares flood us with higher potency frequencies that disrupt more than radio transmissions. We are all tiny wavelets in a massive ocean of electromagnetic frequencies that ripple about our own little centers while affecting all others nearest to us. When the solar winds whip up, that energy ocean can get pretty choppy.

And yes, in truth we are tired of being so disharmoniously affected by everything we experience. We yearn for homeostasis—a state of equilibrium—a more soothing sense of normalcy.mlkquote normalcy.jpg

However, and there is always a however, what we are daily experiencing is NOT genuine normalcy unless you consider chaos to be the NEW normal, which I refuse to allow as my state of normalcy.

So if you likewise refuse to accept constant chaos in your life, then make the necessary changes in your environment and in your relationships to create for yourself a more stable sense of normalcy. Create a routine that nourishes you, that calms you, that satisfies your need for greater stability. Strategize a plan to provide the creativity from chaosvery feelings and more enjoyable specifics that are presently missing in your life.

Don’t be so acceptant of how chaotic things are at present. Instead, CREATE your life the way you wish it to be.

You have the potential and the ability to do that very thing. You are the main creator here in your life. Those powers are up to you to use or to ignore, but don’t blame others for your lack of something when YOU have the creative juices to produce it for yourself.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Be that person who creates the life she desires.creatorofyourlife

Be the force for good—the force for sanity—the force for peaceful coexistence with your neighbors.

BE the NEW NORMAL!

And others will follow you.