My intent was to write of the Way of Light on Solstice Eve. Instead I ended up in tears, lying on Mother Earth railing at God and every Angelic Being I could name and the ones I couldn't name over my having come to Earth and being the brunt of a cosmic joke. This was after one computer died last week (after 11 years it was time) and another crashed yesterday. With these two interesting computer events, along with a pattern of getting overwhelmed (and not from the societally induced, commercialized Christmas craziness), I thought I should be writing of the Way of Trust. I warned Jerry I knew I was a potential bitch (a word I never use). My warning didn't prevent me from crying in the yard an hour later.
This event may or may not ultimately weave its way into the Sixth Way but now here I sit, three days before Christmas with six Ways to go and I am worn out. So I'll give myself permission to take as many days as I need and will start where I am, Here and Now using the 'old' laptop that's been around for years.
For the Sixth Way of Christmas, the Season gave to me Light in Darkness.
I thought of this Way while listening to Handel's "Messiah" presented last week by the Nashville Symphony Chorus. Although I lip synched the Hallelujah chorus in college, I had never heard the entire Messiah. (Yes, due to nervousness I somehow got separated from the sopranos and ended up mixed in with the altos as they walked out on stage. I don't recall anyone ever saying anything to me although at the time I must have been mortified. This has since become one of a handful of what I call my Lucy moments.)
Last week as I listened, I pondered the times surrounding Jesus birth. Here was this child whose birth was responsible for the deaths of so many male babies at the time. How is it this child was such a threat? Yet the one simple line in the piece that really got my attention was "His burden is light." The prior line "His yoke is easy' suggested light meant not heavy. What I heard was his burden is Light, as in carrying Light, the noun.
Jesus burden was Light.
I thought of this Way and this line when I saw the "Gun Show" signs in the country town where I often visit weekends.
My first thought was, 'What?!*#@!?'
My second thought was 'This is perfect. Of course there would be a gun show on Solstice in the time of Winter's darkest night in this the Season of Light.'
My third thought was, 'Do the people of this small town where there are two churches on every corner get how this is contrary to the message of the Prince of Peace whose birth we celebrate in this time. He would not only not own a gun but more than likely would be turning over tables at the gun show.'
This year my burden has been Light as I've wrestled with how to respond when outraged. How do I respond, not react, to events in these times whether it's the Gun Show a few miles away or the wolf derbies set to begin the day after Christmas in Idaho where those who kill the largest wolves are rewarded and even children ages 10-14 get in on the action. This makes the usually peaceful me want to torture people who hope to kill these beautiful animals I hold dear.
Yet I know Jesus nor the spirit of the Wolf would not want me to do this. I am not to drain and dim my light by fighting people. I am to hold them in Love's Light. In this way it is a joy to hold Light. In this way, Jesus burden was light - as in not heavy.
And yet closer to home and what happened Friday night, there I lay feeling alone, mad and sad. For the three Christmases prior, Jerry and I have had the same misunderstanding which for people who really fight wouldn't look like a fight.
In less than an hour of warning him, I made a judgment-laced comment implying he was a "careless man" which caused him to comment back. I had no idea what he said, all I felt was the angry energy behind the comment resulting in my crying to the Universe.
We determined that both our reactions grew out of disappointment yet I still railed and wailed about the wolves as well as my having failed the do-over I was presented to avoid hurt feelings. In moments, I felt what the Bible might call the "peace that passes understanding." Lying outside, I felt what I can best describe as being held by the stars and Earth. I felt at home. I knew I could continue on and Love being here on Earth.
On Solstice Night as the winds howled I read that this season deepens the feeling life, the Inner Light is kindled in spite of outer darkness and the feminine energies are stirred in all life upon the planet. We've the opportunity for healing.
Healing was what I needed last night as I wrote that last line and I didn't know where to find it.
The truth is I didn't want to be writing The Twelve Ways of Christmas. I just wanted to listen. I just wanted to receive. So I turned off the computer and did so, right?
No, I turned off the computer and quietly judged myself for having not completed this story, for having failed in what felt like my do-over. I felt I had ruined Solstice so I went to bed.
This morning things had not shifted within me. I awoke weary, exhausted and internally throwing a tantrum. The inner me was flailing about shouting, "I just want to listen. I just want to receive."
I didn't want to write about a gun show down the road!
As soon as I penned this line in my journal, I received what I know but easily forget.
Earth is a magical energetic orb of energy - Light.
We are Light Beings that come here to have experiences through physical bodies.
How do I get so far from my Light?
For me, it is simple and subtle. Self-judgment took me down a gradually darkening path away from my Light. In realizing this I also knew what I really want to write about is Redbud, the kitten who found me in August.
Jerry and I were having dinner at Cheekwood and seeing Bruce Munro's "Light"exhibit when my phone rang on a Friday evening. My neighbor was calling to report that the yowling kitten heard by most everyone on our dead end street that morning had been found in the top of a red bud tree. When I arrived home later, I joined Jo the neighbor who found this tiny black and white bean about twenty feet up in another neighbor's front yard.
We coaxed, called, put out tuna and sardines before finally coming inside around 1:30. Since Jo's a night owl, she agreed to check the humane trap around 2:30 and I agreed to check it at daybreak to see if the kitten had come down.
Two thirty arrived and I thought before going to bed, I'd check on Jo and the cat. Jo ironically had fallen asleep and there sat a pair of glowing eyes beside the trap as I stood thirty feet away. Every forward step I took caused the eyes to move in reverse.
Finally I hid at the end of my neighbor's driveway and began to mentally vibe the owner of those eyes into the trap. In minutes, I heard the door close and found the fiercest little frightened, hissing ball of fur inside the trap which I placed in the truck. In all my sitting under the tree, I assumed Jo would catch the cat. I hadn't thought of what would happen afterwards.
I took Mystery and Bogeysattvah's large carrier to my office and filled it with towels then brought the trap indoors. I still recall shining a light on this little cat's face and gasping as I exclaimed, "It's YOU!"
Just days prior, I had a vision in which I saw a little animals face in the stars. This was the most distressed, frightened, sad little face but it was made of light in the dark universe. I immediately recognized that face in the trap.
I could hardly sleep that night.
It took three days for Redbud to come around. I had never been around a wild kitten. At first when I put food in the carrier, the towel he hid under would move to the food and hoover. I would hear eating sounds then the towel would return to the corner. On the third day, I put on two sweatshirts and a coat and Jerry's seldom used, extremely thick winter gloves. Protected I held and stroked the towel for quite awhile. By the end of that day, Redbud was eating from my hand and by the week's end, he had his photo taken and placed on-line where he received many 'likes' from the Cat Shoppe followers but there were no takers.
Quietly I was glad because I would sit and weep at the thought of giving Redbud away.
I took him to Animal House that week, a place I had heard good things about but had never been to because of its distance from my house. I still recall the vet walking in and asking, "Where did you get this cat?" Thinking she implied I had stolen him, I defensively responded, "From a neighbor's red bud tree. Do you know his owner?" I learned the feral cat group in town had brought Redbud in the week prior (when I saw him in the vision) to be neutered with other cats. Out of all the vets in Nashville I could have chosen, I brought him to the one that had tagged his ear the week prior. (I thought the dried blood on his little clipped ear was from my somehow cutting him in the trap.)
This cat and I had met for a reason. That reason began to unfold.
Redbud ended up a week later in our spare room and I hadn't a clue as to what was going to happen with him. I didn't really want a third cat, nor did Mystery or Bogey, yet the thought of giving this little being who I had seen in the stars away was unbearable.
I had two curious potential owners who couldn't agree to keeping him indoors so that ended those negotiations but still I would just weep at the thought of giving him away to just anyone.
And though I loved this cat, I was feeling worn caring for three cats amidst all in my life and having not yet discovered hormones or thyroid medicine yet.
This is when I discovered Redbud is a Messenger Cat. I was debating going to Jerry's mothers in late August. I really wanted to stay at home and rest but she was in Iowa and only a couple of hours from the weekend home of Also Leopold in Baraboo, Wisconsin. A month prior I had cried through "Green Fire," a documentary on Leopold. I felt like I was to make this trip but wondered how I would do it being exhausted and not wanting to leave home.
That's when I walked into Redbud's room and saw the message. He had found a manilla folder of travel brochures in 'his' room, a folder I had forgotten about and didnt' even know was in there. In the middle of the floor was one newspaper. The headline read: "Earth Odyssey." I knew I was to make the trip.
The next day, in case I had any doubts, I opened Leopold's book "Sand County Almanac" to a reference to the Odyssey. Since the Hand that Guides All knows I've such mistrust, as we drove out of Nashville the following day Jerry used a word I've never heard him use in twenty years. As we drove from Nashville he said, "Let the Odyssey begin."
Here I was having felt physically worn out, riding from Nashville without the least bit of exhaustion. I was feeling Light, following Light, being Light.
Redbud's messages continued. We arrived home and within a month were possibly going to the Grand Canyon. For sometime Jerry had wanted to hike the canyon from the North Rim to the South Rim before he turned sixty. That birthday was on his heels. I faxed a request for camping reservations a month prior to our trip and found of course there were no openings. These spots are scooped up months in advance.
I quietly wondered how we would do this. We didn't have reservations. I was procrastinating finding the number for other lodging options. We hadn't trained. I had hardly been walking because night sweats and low thyroid had left me exhausted yet we continued to talk of making the trip and felt like we were suppose to.
Then I walked into Redbud's room one day and saw in the middle of the floor another message. This was a paper from three years ago from, of course, the Grand Canyon. Inside were all the numbers I needed to pursue further lodging and camping options. We were also trying to determine what to do the remaining three days of our trip. Redbud the following day confirmed what we were thinking. That day I walked into the room and a booklet for Sedona was in the middle of the floor.
My Earth Odyssey was continuing and I was being asked to trust in a big way. The day prior to leaving I secured a female dorm room on the bottom of the canyon for myself for three consecutive nights and a male room for Jerry for one night. We flew to Phoenix trusting this was part of our Odyssey and whatever unfolded. On the drive North, I happened to read the fine print in an email that I needed to confirm our reservations for Phantom Ranch a day prior. I called to check-in by phone and just happened to ask if there were any more male rooms available. Two other nights had opened up in the male dorm. We had a place to lay our heads three nights in a row.
I still didn't know how I personally was going to make this trek. I awakened the day before leaving with a sore throat and horrible cold. I began filling myself with oregano and was grateful I had packed five days in advance something I've only done one time in my life prior. We made it to the South Rim and the following morning at 7:00 am took a van to the North Rim.
On the morning of the Autumn Equinox when day and night, dark and Light are balanced, the clock sounded at 4:00 and I realized I was alright. I was still blowing my nose but overall felt so much better. I was ecstatic to get on the trail. Layered in every piece of clothing we had for the trek, we left our room under the light of the moon as winds howled, the temperature was in the thirties and flurries were expected but never came.
We had our photo taken in dim light at the trail head and began. I who had never really had knee problems began what became a most uncomfortable trek. On the very first step down, my right knee felt strange. Actually it hurt and my insides fell. For most of 14.8 miles down, my knees hurt and I shuffled often sideways down the Grand Canyon's North Rim. I was devastated not just for myself but for Jerry who had looked forward to this for three years. Around the fourth mile I told him of my pain. At one point he carried my pack. There were times that the only thing that kept me going was knowing I had three cats at home that needed me. That and my mantra: I am open and willing.
Truthfully I felt betrayed by God and all my Guides. I was devastated and enraged yet I kept walking and repeating I am open and willing.
We got to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in twelve hours. At check-in Jerry asked if they had any cabins for two available for the following night. They wouldn't know until in the morning. I happened to ask about that night and can still feel the joy upon hearing, "Yes, we have one for tonight."
We had the sweetest cabin with bunk beds. I wailed my disappointment out after dinner in one of those beds then pulled open the curtain and fell asleep only to be awakened by moonlight in the night. I went outside to find the Pleiades and Sirius above me. I laid my body, that had never hurt like this, on a bench outside the door and felt such joy under these stars that I'm accustomed to seeing in Tennessee on winter nights.
The next day we took a short walk which turned into a longer one unexpectedly ending up at Native American ruins by the Colorado River. Standing by the stone remains of structures these ancient people lived in I heard myself sing a song, something that just came from me. As I finished honoring these people, I felt every ache leave my body. The people and this land were honoring me as I honored them. Although my leg muscles still hurt some I never felt sick again and when it came time to hike ten miles up and out to the South Rim, I could not be stopped. My heart never raced. My legs never ached. And the only time my knees hurt was when we stopped for lunch and sat for an hour without moving.
What do Redbud, Aldo Leopold and the Grand Canyon have to do with the Way of Light?
Earth is a magical place, a place of profound energy and light. This is why we come here. We come to Earth knowing this and knowing we are Light Beings. Just like Redbud's face in the stars, we are made of Light yet early on in this Earth Odyssey we begin to experience events that cause us to forget our light. Disappointments and negative messages present themselves. We take them on, believe them and get further from Being Light.
We are like Redbud, Beings of Light, and we are like Redbud was in that cage, fierce and fighting when we're really afraid. We need gentle folks with thick gloves to hold us and let us know we are safe. We are safe.
I am repeatedly reminded of Earth's Light energy when I allow self-judgment and disappointment to become part of my heaviness. I usually have experiences like those in the Grand Canyon or in my own back yard in which I feel Earth taking that heaviness and returning me to Being Light.
Remember how when I first saw Redbud in the trap and cried out "It's you" when I recognized him from the stars. This is how I want to be in relation to the people at the gun show down the road or the ones killing the wolves. I want to see who they really are and with excitement feel "It's YOU! I remember you. We agreed to come here at this time and show up to be part of the Mystery that's unfolding."
Likewise I want to do that in my relationship with Jerry especially when we're at odds. To see him and say, "It's YOU. You are here to teach me how to not betray myself, how to be honest even when I'm afraid and to give myself more fully over to love knowing one day I will loose you on this physical plane."
I imagine this is what happened to Leopold when he killed the mother Wolf. An avid hunter, he looked in her eyes and saw what he called the "Green Fire." I imagine him looking into her eyes and having the experience of "It's You." Though he continued to be a hunter, his opinions as to hunting dramatically changed. He would not be hunting wolves today.
Remember my mantra in the canyon? I am open and willing. I find I can face something external like backpacking twenty miles much more easily than facing the internal, being open and willing to show up and be vulnerable and invite another human to do the same. In this way, I am not unlike the patriarchy about which I complain, conquering the external and controling the internal.
And yet when I remember that I am a Light Being joining with other Light Beings here on this Earth Odyssey I am truly open and willing, joyful and Light as in not heavy and as in Light!
As for Redbud, I've intuitively known that my reflecting on and writing his story as I've just done will bring his forever home and people closer. And yet he continues to a Messenger Cat.
As I was writing yesterday about Light on Solstice, I was thinking of how we are glass. We are Light made of glass. Then I heard the clanging of glass in the adjacent room. For a moment I froze. I took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen. Redbud sat on the counter trying to reach the wall clock. In pursuit of the swinging pendelum he had tipped over all the old glass bottles on the counter. They lay propped on the artificial White Rose and the clay, heart-shaped vagina.
It was no accident they lay where they did. The white rose is a Solstice symbol for purity and Love as a great force in this time. The Season of Light in the long nights is the time of feminine energies being stirred and felt on Earth. What represents the feminine better than the clay of Mother Earth shaped into the heart and the vagina, the place of birth?
It is no accident none of those bottles were broken. Just like so many of our souls, they are old, they are strong and they are ultimately unbroken. We are old. We are strong and we are ultimately unbroken.
For this the Sixth Way of Christmas, the Season, Redbud, Mother Earth, the Stars, the wolf hunters, the gun buyers down the road and the man I love and grow with in my home gave to me the gift of remembrance. And by giving myself permission to write from where I was - exhausted and worn out- I am now where I am, rested and at peace feeling I am a Light Being be-ing Love, Joy, Tuned In, Open, Honest, at times Afraid and Angry but always Light on this beautiful, amazing Earth Odyseey.
For this the Sixth Way of Christmas, the Season of Light and I offer you the remembrance of your own Light, a courageous spirit looking within and the trust that is so often necessary so you may be willing and open during your Earth Odyssey.
To Ponder about Light -
1. How do you experience Light within yourself?
2. How does your Light get dimmed? How do you allow this?
3. How do you dim the Light of another consciously or unconsciously?
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 22 December 2013