Projection, Perception and Possible Realities

After being diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy I was  bombarded with questions about “Why” and “How could this have happened to YOU”.  . . So let’s explore projection, perception and possible realities. . .Notice what comes up for you from my previous posts. . .and what comes up for you when you see this pictrure (Yes those are accupuncture needles in my ear and cheek)…

Receiving Accupunture Treatment for my Bell’s Palsy

PROJECTION happens when we interpret reality through the filter of our own unexpressed thoughts and feelings—our fears, desires and unconscious reactions are projected onto another person or situation.

Here is one of my favorite projection / assumptions about ‘why’ I have Bell’s Palsy–Someone was honest enough to ask: ”Was it because you are sabotaging yourself?”  Answer: No. That is not my experience.

Worry seems to have been a favorite projection of several people in my sphere. . . Since I am not worried, it was easy to detect as a projection.  The process has taught me to translate “worry” into an expression of someone’s love (compassion) instead of implying “I should be worried” too.

I invite you to note your own projections, interpretations and assumptions.  Explore what they mean to you (about you). That is what projection is for. Projection helps us get to know ourselves—through the mirror of an ‘other’–if we are willing to look inside instead of only outside ourselves.

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PERCEPTION is the capacity to simply observe.  To see, hear and sense impressions, as they are.

The quick answer as to “why” based on simple observation. .extended dental work and compression on my cranial nerves inflamed the nerves and triggered the Bell’s Palsy

This is what I observed: 5 hours of dental work with mouth pryed open– starting with 3 hours, with a small mouth (so I am told), not enough lidocaine and adding more lidocaine after 1 hour of work; tensing muscles in anticipation while receiving treatment–and a 2 hour follow up before my nerves had a chance to fully recover from the first proceedure. . . All this  compressed and inflamed the cranial nerves. . .The second proceedure moved from inflamation to infection.

I researched my hunch based on my perception of a possible relationship between dental work and Bells Palsy

While this does not always happen for everyone, of course. .. this is what happened for me after my dental proceedure: Compression led to inflamation.  Inflamation turned into infection in less than 24 hours after the second session. Inflamation released a virus that lays dormant on the nerves for anyone who has ever had a cold sore. The virus appears to have  infected 3 of my cranial nerves –facial nerve 7 (that created the facial palsy); the vestibular nerve in the inner ear( created dizzy-ness); and the glossopherngyl nerve 9, (which created challenges with eating, speaking, swooshng after brushing my teeth and all kinds of interesting effects).  I will be seeing an ENT for assessment in late August to confirm this.

I am improving steadily in every area.  Though I still tire easily, I am enjoying letting my body’s energy lead my activity level.. . . AND it is truly awe inspiring to watch the body heal so gradually to its greater capacities. Our bodies are walking miracles creating homes for our limitless spirits.

 

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REALITY—now that one is a true mystery.

Years back, many people were bandying about the idea “You create reality” . . .how we ‘create’ reality is through the CONTEXT we create to hold the experiences of our lives.  See my earlier blog SEVEN SECRETS of Spiritual Integration and Liberation

The “C” in secret is “create a context” based on your perceptions reather than your projections. My context for what ever Life brings is curiosity, learning and liberation.  What is yours?

The challenge is to become conscious of your triggers—positive and negative—and to create a context for your own health, healing and wholeness—independent of life’s circumstances.

Please feel free to share if you were triggered. . .and what you have learned . . .I am curious. . .we have so many possible realities!

 

Is healing a Marathon or a Sprint . . . or maybe something else?

I am beginning to round into month 3 of Bells Palsy.  Love, sympathy, prayers, drives to doctors, acupuncture, homeopathy and gifts of aroma therapy, crystals, nourishing smoothies and soups poured in from my community. . . As news made its way through to my colleagues, friends and family I received so much support and love—including many stories of others in our circle who had experienced Bell’s and completely recovered. The shortest recovery was 2 weeks. Most said their symptoms were gone after about a month.  So many suggestions, opinions, options, treatments and ways to heal from this condition. . .

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Our condition evokes our conditioning, which becomes expectations—belief about how things are; and interpreting how things should be (now and in the future).  For example, in our society of instant access we have new expectations about how fast (or slow) things should happen. That is a trigger too. . .

When an expectation goes unmet, it  becomes a trigger.  Expectations that remain unconscious can create greater suffering. When triggered they can block us from experiencing a connection with our own true nature, which resides deep within us, beyond expectations, conditions and conditioning.

Triggers, once we become aware of them, invite us to reconnect to and embody our Self.  Then we are free to discover what the circumstances we face bring to us. Whether expectations come from within oneself, from friends, family, culture and social conditioning—it is possible to be free, to be and become even more ourselves– independent of our circumstances.   I will speak more about knowing your triggers in my May 10th Facebook Chat—about some of the universal triggers that cut us off from being true to our Self and true to each other.

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As I round my way into month 3 it occurred to me yesterday that my journey is a marathon not a two week or 30 day sprint.  When we sprint, we put a bit of a push into it—to get to the finish line.  A marathon is about pacing.  This circumstance is asking me to practice deep listening- to listen to my body’s energy. My body is my guide, coaching me when to take space, when to reach out, when to engage with others and be active; its telling me to pace myself and to pay attention to what boosts and drains my body’s energy, and to follow my body’s lead.

Today, I am thinking, instead of a marathon. . .maybe it is a walk along the path of life. . .

Maybe unexpected circumstances like this one slow us down long enough to smell the roses—to take time to breathe in the subtle, sweet fragrance of our true nature and become inspired by an unseen potential that rests deep within every moment.  Taking time to be with it, discover and experience what is happening right now more deeply.  This can give us the juice to go forward—into the mystery of the unknown.

Paralysis, Bell’s Palsy and me – Rediscovering my Self again and again

The next few blogs I will be sharing a bit about the catalyst that offered me an opportunity to go deep within myself instead of writing blog entries. . . My continuing recovery from Bell’s Palsy – which brought me a temporary paralysis of the left side of my face that began about two months ago –

The timing of this event (just before my  “Know Your Trigger’s” Facebook chat originally scheduled in March) seemed more than coincidental. There are numerous ways we block ourselves (and feel blocked internally and externally) from expressing and being our Self. Unexpected events, illness, judgements (our own and other’s) all have a way of challenging us to go deeper into Self awareness and unwind the barriers – to liberate ourselves to be and embodied our true nature more and more under any (and ultimately all) circumstances.

My inner nature is awakened through Self-observation. . .and I am so grateful to discover that my Observing Self is present (at least this time) even in an emergency. . . like unexpected, sudden paralysis of my face.

Eclipse . . . Time to Transmute. . .

What is the Eclipse of light illuminating within you?   Transformation uses the tension of opposites to catapult us into a new form. . . . like a coiled spring growing tighter until it propels us to spring forwardto take the leap in consciousness and growWe are being transformed; and the final form is not yet clear.

Transmutation, on the other hand, is about containing opposites and becoming something that is greater than either pole.  It is about becoming big enough to hold both poles, without collapsing into either one. For example, what is happening now in the world is bigger than US politics and presidential elections– it points to an evolutionary leap that has been in the making for centuries–for eons of time–transforming and transmuting us.

Our biological instincts are driven by fears, greed-and always needing more, territoriality, ritual and worship to protect what we have. These instincts are wired into our brain-stem, also known as the ‘reptilian brain’.  That’s the brain which instinctively seeks to destroy whatever appears weak.  AND, it is NOT our only brain. The drama being played out in the sociopolitical economic world right now–seeing each other through the lens of ‘weak and needy’ vs ‘strong and entitled’; protecting the territory of the wealthy, middle class, poor classes by way of nationalistic, religious and racist and economic divisions creates a shadow of darkness that eclipses who and what we are.

We are human animals (all of us) in the process of becoming humane beings.

Instead of NEEDING more to be Okay–step into the MORE you ARE–right now.

There is MORE to us than instinctive reactions.  Containing all of who we are, shadow and light–turns the lead into Gold. Choose to transmute into your whole self–animal, and spirit and so much more.

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Many of us have realized we are more than our fears and reactions already–and it inspires us  to accept our own and others vulnerabilities; to give more of who we are, and to share what we have instead of hoard;

. . . and to tame the fears, and say ‘stop’ to the aggressive instinct when it shows up within us and in our interactions with others.

 

In the mean time, I ask you. . .

How are you experiencing transformation and transmutation?              

For me, I aim, more and more, every day, to do one small thing that is a demonstration and expression of humanitarianism. . .I am choosing to embody speaking to myself and others more humanely, compassionately. . .

. . .to the best of my ability/ in all my vulnerable/ and flawed humanness/to continue with self-care/and Self-care/and be the example/ as much as possible

/ In my lonely, helpless moments / I reach out in out / to those loving sources within me / and those loving who place loving arms around me /

I allow myself to cry / I allow myself to dream / I take peaceful action / and plant seeds / in the soil of shattered dreams. . . / knowing / that the soul of the human spirit / and the spirit within me  /is being fertilized

SEVEN SECRETS of Self- Healing

S-SHIFT;  E-EXPLORE;  C-CREATE;  R-RELEASE;  E-EXPECT RESISTANCE; T-TRUST;  S-START AGAIN.

I created this acronym 30 years ago, to help steady my heart and relax my body when I was in the midst of my own accelerated personal transformative journey.

I notice that I am using this again now as I interface with the intensity of world conditions–especially, as it is magnified and amplified now through the US Presidential Election.  I remind myself that I am required to continue to do my own inner work, so as not to get caught in the vortex of the evolving collective consciousness–which is in the early phase of the death-birth transformative process.

There are three distinct processes: TRANSFORM – TRANSMUTE – TRANSCEND – and I will discuss that in a future blog.  I Developed the T-R-U-S-T to help with the energy of transformation (Death-rebirth). . . I will discuss EGO DEATH AND THE HUMAN STRESS RESPONSE in my next Facebook LIVE CHAT on OCTOBER 26.

But for today . . . let’s look at the SECRETS that help us to TRANSMUTE the energy of the collective, so we do not fall into a psychic death (even if it does lead to renewal and rebirth).stones-on-water

Transmutation comes with experience of holding the shadow in ourselves and containing both the dark and bright shadow elements in ourselves–instead of projecting them onto others.  For example, I had several interesting dreams last night that were evoking blame and distracting chaos.  No doubt evoked from watching the US Presidential debate.  Here is a quick sketch of what I did (and continue to do as part of my spiritual practice).

  1. SHIFT–shift attention to the Witness, and Observe. My dream (which is too long to put into the blog) revealed to me that I was experiencing an increase in judgmental attitudes and emotional reactivity.
  1. EXPLORE–I felt a pulling in of the energy in my body, and a heaviness pulling down on my heart. I noticed I felt emotionally sad. I perceived the tangles of an ancestral condition of feelings of oppression, self-righteous indignation and many thoughts that justified those feelings.  I recognized this pattern in our politics, in myself, and in my ancestral lineage–my parents, and their parents who were immigrants who left their homelands due to Pogroms.
  1. CREATE–Create a context that can contain the energy. (This is key to transmutation). I realized that I am a psychically sensitive human being–impacted by the collective energy because I am part of the collective.  I am in the midst of the next level of psychic / spiritual opening.  I commit to doing my work in service of myself and the collective.  To do this work I asked my inner resources “What are the gifts of my ancestors . . . how do I embrace their gifts and blessings so I may bring that into the world–and bring healing to them, as well as me and our world at this time in history.”
  1. RELEASE–I release the negative through the breath as I become aware of it; and, release into the Creative. I do this by recognizing the gifts I receive from my ancestors– the gifts of being a healer, teacher, and artist dedicated to recognizing that we are all One, and One with all of Life–I release myself into ‘Listening’ to the ‘Call’ of Spirit and the Great Mystery of Life as part of my spiritual practice.
  1. EXPECT RESISTANCE–Now when the negative energy arises (in myself as judgments or in others)–I realize that I am transmuting it. I work with my experience of collective transition -death-rebirth by recognize this work is not only for my own transformation. I am transmuting the poisons of the past into healing medicine for now and future generations by– containing what I call positive and negative energies at the same time, instead of only polarizing into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ‘life or death’.
  1. T-R-U-S-T–I turn inward to discover the deeper truth within me. I relax and receive guidance. I use the tools I have–body felt-sense, heart, mind, perceptions and synchronicities to ‘LISTEN’ and guide me.  I ask for guidance and share what I learn.  I take a Stand . . . and I take action.

S–START AGAIN–I continue to SHIFT, EXPLORE, CREATE, RELEASE, EXPECT RESISTANCE, TRUST. . .

Trauma Induced Spiritual Awakenings

 

Trauma or the pain of confronting unexpected radical changes is the bitter medicine of our current day and age.  It requires us to continually grow and evolve–to find the Source of Creativity that supports inner stability amidst an ever changing, unpredictable external landscape of unexpected challenges.
I found myself challenged today by unexpected changes while composing and editing this blog.  I am ‘on the road’ traveling right now.  I stopped and settled into a hotel with the intent to write. . . Suddenly I discovered I have no computer access.  The hotel’s business centre’s one lonely computer is also not giving me the ‘access’ I need.  With frustration mounting. . . And after a few deep breaths. . . I decided to type this blog post with my thumbs on my ‘Smartphone’.

Adapting to change is only part of the story.

The bigger questions arise when we are confronted with changes so deep, so radical that we are truly required to stop and do some serious soul-searching.  Then, Life’s tragedies have the power to initiate something that I call a ‘Trauma Induced Spiritual Awakening’.

How do you cope with the stress of unexpected changes–the small ones, like no computer access, and the big ones that shatter your world?  Personal disasters like abuse, neglect, or a life threatening health crisis and loss?. . . Or political betrayals and economic or environmental disasters?  This is the stuff of a breakdown that may lead to a breakthrough, what I call a ‘trauma induced spiritual awakening’.
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The idea of ‘Awakening’ to our ‘True Self’ through soul tests and challenges is not a new concept at all.  Ancient and indigenous cultures talk about these kinds of experiences as ‘sacred rites of passage’  Psychology describes it as post traumatic growth (PTG).  I think of it as a psychic and spiritual awakening that leads to greater embodied awareness.

I will be talking about this more in my next FACEBOOK LIVE Chat on Wednesday September 28 at 11:00 pacific time / 2:00 Eastern. . . and I hope you can join me, and share your thoughts, questions and comments and questions in real time with our international community.

Maybe you would like to share a bit about how the school of hard knocks has been a valuable spiritual teacher for you?  I’d love to hear. . .

Being ‘Awake’ While Dying

The ancient mystery teachings suggest that there are two ways by which we die—the death of the body and the death of the soul—and the greater mystery is the death of the soul—how we Awaken after a psychic death, while we are still alive in our body.

Death of the body, it is said, is the lesser mystery. . . We cannot help but Awaken to our spiritual nature—to finally realize that there IS more to life than just material reality. . .Sometimes it is easier to realize this after we are released from our physical body with all its appetites and attachments.

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I had originally intended to share with you in this blog, my learnings about “Trauma Induced Spiritual Awakenings” as an example of this mystery of psychic death and spiritual renewal. . .

However, in light of my last 10 days, I would like to share some of my own Awakenings while witnessing Marg’s dying—her showing me and others how to be ‘Awake’ while she was dying. . .

No one, of course, can predict ‘when’ someone will depart from this world any more than we can predict when a spirit enters our world as a baby at the time of birth.  On Thursday, Marg told Ann, “I am tired of dying”.  Although I did not know when, I knew it would not be long. . . . at 11:00 pm on Thursday night, Marg’s pain apparently began to increase to the degree that the nursing staff gave her Ativan and morphine on Thursday night.  After my blog went out, I received an email that our friend had died that day (Friday), attended by her friend Margarita, who stayed with her throughout the night.

Our North American culture seems to have forgotten how to usher loved ones into the other world, and so I am sharing here with you some of what I did while I was with Marg during her final days.  I am not listing everything, because it would make this post too long. . . though I know there are many, many traditions that have not forgotten. . . and I invite you to consider how you might help yourself and others when the time and opportunity comes upon you.

I recall a teaching from the Dalai Lama, who suggested that we can assist someone when they are dying to have a good birth next lifetime by helping them clear their mind as they transition.  He recommended the use of prayer, chanting and ritual.  I went to visit my friend with that intent; and I feel honoured that Marg gave me permission to chant to her during some of her very last days here on earth.

Every evening that I was with Marg, in between our brief conversations and giving her sips of water or attending to other needs, I asked for permission from Marg to chant to her.  Once permission was granted, I performed various transition rituals.

The chanting seemed to soothe Marg, like a lullaby soothes us when we are young—like chanting Om mani padme hum for a few hours.  Sometimes I was drawn to chant the Sikh Kirtan kriya SA-TA-NA-MA (which translates as ‘Infinity-Life-Death-Rebirth.)  Or I would usher her to sleep with Dream Yoga chants to seed the deep knowing of how to ‘Awaken’ in her dreams.

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I also felt moved to chant the Hebrew prayer called the Shema. .  .“Listen”.  When I was 12 years old, I was taught to recite this prayer on my deathbed. . . so, I was told, “our final thought in this world is remembering our Oneness with the Creator and all of creation.”  I frequently followed the Shema with chanting the  13 attributes of the Eternal, a prayer that is chanted on the holiest day of the year. . . before we enter the ‘holy of holies.’

Adonai, Adonai, El rakhum v’khanun, erekh apai-yim v’rav khesed v’emet. No-tzayr khesed la-a-lafim, nosay avon vafesha v’khata’a v’nakay.

Yod-Hey-Vav-hay, Compassion and Tenderness, Patience, Forbearance, Kindness, Awareness.  Bearing love from age to age, lifting guilt and mistakes and making us free.              

(Transliteration and translation, from the Aquarian Minyan Makhzor)

Once, when I chanted the 13 attributes of the Eternal, Marg opened her eyes. With her 80 year old eyes full of sparks of love, she beamed her toothless smile at me as I continued chanting; both of us gazing at each other for some time while I was chanting. . . And I suddenly realized. . . “Marg is emanating each of the 13 attributes of the Eternal. . .

. . . She is looking at me with. . .

. . . Compassion. . . Tenderness. . . Patience. . . Forbearance. . . Kindness. . . Awareness. . . unconditional Love. . . carried forward from Age to Age. . .”  I saw her as completely released from guilt and mistakes. . . she was already Free in that moment.

I felt liberated too. . . I experienced the Eternal. . . within her. . . within me. . . And, when passing the Nursing station I saw the Eternal in each of us. . . within and beyond the stories of our lives.

As I walked from the Hospice to my car at 1:00 am in the warm, Texas summer’s night’s air. . . I experienced the Eternal within the trees, and night’s sky. . . and all of existence.

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In essence we are all free.  Though we live in a world of forgetfulness, we have within us this ability to remember our essential nature.

Before leaving Marg for the last time, the final ritual I performed, I invited Marg and Ann to join me in a traditional forgiveness ceremony. Marg’s last words to me as I left her room on my way to the airport were, “I love you.”

And although I may forget from time to time Marg’s final teachings while I live amidst and within the paradoxes of our ordinary world, I will also remember—and I will remember her. She remains with me in the secret chambers of the heart where souls touch and embrace in eternal-love-age-after-age.