May we in these times turn our gaze toward Mother Earth, to the roots of the lilies, where they as we will return to rest. May we tune our hearts toward her. Star gazers, Earth lovers.
30 June 2010
Remember experimenting with magnets in school by holding one under a piece of paper then placing metal filings atop the paper. Remember how the filings would collect around the magnet?
I’ve been thinking about fear lately in relation to that magnet. When the fear magnet runs ever so slightly beneath our awareness (the paper), we attract little filings of fear. I didn’t just randomly start thinking about this; I’ve had several days during which my energy mysteriously vanished and I've been grumpy and controlling until I finally broke down and had the proverbial break through.
Suddenly Monday evening I found myself crying, weeping uncontrollably as I scrubbed gummy residue from the hummingbird feeders. We initially had 7-8 hummingbirds vying for three feeders. In the past two weeks, one came around but seldom stayed to eat.
At the sink Monday night, I realized the residue was cooking oil, cooking oil I had lightly rubbed on the wires and hooks from which the feeders hang in an attempt to keep the ants away. Oil did not deter the ants, they trekked through it ensuring they got sugar water and the feeders got a coating of oil. I burst into tears of fear that I had not only kept the hummingbirds away but had harmed them unintentionally. I, someone who often feels like a mother to nature, cried and scrubbed. I then refilled and hung the feeders all the while asking aloud that the hummingbirds forgive me.
Afterwards I sat down, opened my journal and began to list the many fear-related burdens I had taken on over the prior days, fears I didn’t even realize I carried until they showed up on paper.
Over the weekend, I looked out a side window and saw a small black snake sunning at the threshold of the front door. This birthed two fears. What if I step on the little snake and accidentally kill it? (This fear replaced: What if I step on the little toad living at the front door?) I had no concern as to the snakes harming me. I was more fascinated by the fact that it was yet another animal showing up around my home and the symbolism of it being at the front door.
For days I feared the toad would end up in the watering can and not be able to escape. Now I had two animals to be concerned with when I walked out the door, a snake and a toad unless the snake ate the toad which was actually the second fear birthed in that moment.
Around this same time, I found three ticks crawling on my clothing. Ticks on myself can be removed. That did not bother me. Ticks on Mystery and Bogy my two dear cats, well that’s another story. They’re indoor cats and certainly aren’t prone to letting me check them for ticks. This mental filing: What if I bring a tick into the house that kills one of my cats? went straight to the big fear magnet.
I had just learned of the toxins we unknowingly bring into our homes thanks to an excellent CNN documentary about the chemicals on furniture and rugs as well as pesticides, etc on our shoes. I had been leaving my shoes at the door to decrease the risk of tracking things in that would harm Mystery or Bogey. (My floors are much cleaner too.) The thought of being a conveyor of ticks and potential death to my cats increased my burden. I did not want to trade my outdoor clothing for indoor clothing every time I entered the house.
Last but not least I’ve been trying to get the squirrels out of my bird feeders as they have found ways to move beyond the obstructions intended to keep them away. The most recent attempt has involved a hot sauce made from habanera peppers and soy bean oil that’s stirred into the seed and guaranteed not to harm the birds. I’ve compulsively watched the feeders fearing I’ll harm the birds anyway. The squirrels have stayed away but not the ants. They’ve swarmed one particular feeder stirring fear, my fear that the birds will be harmed from eating a ‘hot’ ant.
After noting the assorted feelings or filings involving ticks, ants, snakes, toads, birds and cats, I suddenly realized when the big magnet, the mother of all my fears, got activated and started attracting these other fears.
Last Thursday only one block into my usual morning trek, I noticed a bright red truck in the middle of the street. It wasn’t until I heard the noise that I realized what it was doing. A rope tied to its bumper was pulling a large evergreen shrub from the front of a neighbor’s home. The tearing sound sickened me. Condescending thoughts rained down in my mind toward the three young guys doing their job. The side of their truck read: We’ll do just about anything in your yard. I suspect they found this amusing. I was disgusted.
Much of my walk involved asking forgiveness for my judgment while feeling sad for the shrub and wishing someone could have been present to bear witness to its passing. I came to a place of peace with what I had seen until wouldn’t you know it thirty minutes later as I’m nearly home I arrive at the same house where the same truck is again in the street.
This time I know what is about to happen. I’m getting a do-over. I get to bear witness. Instead I glance at the second shrub, glare again at the men and walk into the street avoiding their ritual. Yes, I walked into the street as far from the shrub as I could get rather than do what I wanted.
I walked on in judgment, not of the men, but of myself for in that moment I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk to the shrub, place my open heart and hands before it and say, “I am so sorry. Thank you for your presence. I bless you and ask that you let go with ease.” This is the very thing I have been doing in my prayers and meditations on the Gulf. I envision the animals, marshes and life there that is dying there, passing with ease. Doing this hidden in the quiet of my home is different from doing so in public on my street.
I was so upset with myself for not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. I knew what I wanted to do. Why did I walk on?
In that moment I feared ridicule. I feared being called ‘that crazy lady.’ The slogan on the truck read: “Will do just about anything in your yard” and I was not willing to do the one thing I really wanted to do which was be myself. Instead I not only ignored the little shrub, I betrayed and ignored me.
I hurriedly told Jerry at lunch how horrible I felt then I barred this event from my mind until Monday night as I made the list of fears.
This simple act of personally ignoring who I am had major consequences. It activated the big magnet beneath my paper thin sub-conscious setting me up to attract a myriad of mental filings, the feelings of fear in the days that followed. Living became a burden as worry consumed me and grumpiness became my mode. Allowing fear to prevent me from taking a risk in front of strangers caused me to temporarily forget who I am.
When I forget my magnet is love, compassion and presence, I loose my power. I loose energy for I am unplugged from my personal power source. I begin to live on auto-pilot and can literally feel a barrier go up between me and life.
Chronically ignoring who we really are leads to a forgetting, an ongoing amnesia so that we betray ourselves repeatedly and don’t even realize it. This amnesia causes us to forget our relatedness to our insides and our outsides, everything around us in the natural environment, our community and wider world.
This forgetting of the power of our true selves and relatedness culminates in big events like the Gulf oil spill, sex trafficking of children and the objectification of animals in agribusiness as well as ongoing daily missed opportunities to love, offer a hand, share a smile or yes, help another being, plant, animal or person, to let go and move on.
The moment on the sidewalk was a missed opportunity that I’m sure will come around again. In the meantime, I’ve a myriad of animals, toad, snake, ticks, birds, ants, cats as well as those two dear shrubs reminding me of who I really am.
May we use the present events in the Gulf and in these times as opportunities to remember in a deeper, potent, profound way who we really are, magnets for love.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 17, June 2010
P.S. On this morning’s walk along the same stretch of sidewalk near my home, I came upon a dead squirrel, a bumble bee that appeared to be dying and the wing of a mourning dove. I stopped, moved each gently to the grass and ensured the squirrel and wing were covered with leaves. I returned home and began to finish this story only to realize the beauty of the message in the morning’s dying things. Unlike the weekend when I was bound by fear, trying to control the loss of things I hold dear, this morning’s squirrel, dove and bee remind me I cannot control death. My only task is to be aware and present, to honor the life that was lived be it plant, animal or human and to honor the love that is within me.