Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Loving Yourself Through the Seasons of Your Life April 5, 2013

balloonrideApril 3, 2013. Dream #4422. Fear of Heights.
I’m in a vehicle traveling up a steep mountain on a narrow road. The mountain is on my right, a sheer drop-off is to my left.  I don’t want to look down or feel anxious so I close my eyes. When I open them the right side of my vision is filled with mountain; the left, with sky.

As we round a curve I see a light brown cigar box-shaped object with a half-open lid that seems to float in the sky. I think it must be anchored to the top of the mountain like a billboard supported by slender poles. I wonder what it is. A viewing facility? An art object? Maybe I’ll find out when we arrive at our destination.

The vehicle stops. To our left a wooden deck is connected to the mountain by a narrow walkway. People are out there preparing a balloon for flight. Someone opens the vehicle door and a small, gray curly-haired dog hops out and trots fearlessly down the walkway. A fluffy white cat is perched regally on the front seat. I understand we’re to take a balloon ride and look forward to it. But I’m worried about the narrow walkway and the cat. I wish it wasn’t with us. It’s my responsibility to hold it and I tell the others, “I’m afraid the cat will leap out of my arms!” It’s not really the height I’m afraid of; it’s the precariousness of this situation, the cat’s vulnerability, and my ability to restrain it. I don’t want this concern to spoil the pleasure of our ride.

I’m writing this three days before the Wilbur Award banquet. The heights could be a metaphor for receiving this award, and Dream Mother could be showing me some anxiety I have about this event. So why the anxiety? I couldn’t figure it out so I called my best friend Ann, a Jungian therapist. When she asked what I’ve been worrying about, I was embarrassed to tell her I’ve been stressing over how I’ll look at the awards ceremony! Am I too fat for my dress?  I hate my hair! Should I wear it up or down? Do I have the right shoes? Makeup? Jewelry?

The odd object in the sky is an important clue to the meaning of this dream. It looked exactly like one of those Hav-a-Tampa cigar boxes I grew up with in the Cigar City. As a teenager I put my jewelry in one. Why was it in the sky? Well, when I lived in Tampa an iconic image on its skyline was a bottle-shaped water tower advertising whisky. It was supported by slender poles. To me, these macho images of a mid-century southern town suggest an issue that originated there in my formative years, an era when Miss America pageants ruled, southern girls dominated them, and masculine values ran the whole show!

cigarboxFor half my life I’ve struggled to break free of gender stereotypes; travel comfortably in my own space between mountain and air, matter and spirit; and write about my journey to heal my sacred divides. And now that I’m about to receive a wonderful acknowledgement of my life’s work, I’m possessed by a teen-aged girl whose trepidations about the prom are conjuring up a scenario of potential disaster! Seriously?

My instinctual masculine side (dog) is full of confidence and ready to go. My instinctual feminine side (cat) is, in typical cat fashion, serenely above it all. But my ego has been beset by a stubborn “woman-as-beautiful-object” stereotype that refuses to die a peaceful death.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look attractive, but there is something wrong when it impairs your ability to love yourself gracefully through the seasons of your life regardless of gender, looks or age!  With Ann’s help, this issue already feels less problematic. My talk with her left me laughing at myself, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be smiling all the way to Indianapolis this Saturday and soaring home on Sunday.

See the water tower in the upper left corner?

See the water tower in the upper left corner?

You can find Healing the Sacred Divide at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

Incarnating the Divine March 1, 2013

The Wilbur Award

The Wilbur Award

I’m writing this a day after receiving word that I’ve won the Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council for the best non-fiction book about religion for 2013. As you can imagine, I’m over the moon, bursting with joy, gratitude, love for everyone and everything, well-being, affirmation, and an extraordinarily comforting feeling of closure on a project I worked on for 19 years without knowing if anyone else would ever read or benefit from it!

Since today is the only time I have to write the next post if it is to be published at its usual time, and since I tend to be a stickler about meeting deadlines, I’ve struggled all morning to write. My intention was to wrap up my series about gender wounds, but I just couldn’t do it. I reviewed the last several posts and went through my notes in search of ideas, but my heart wasn’t in it and nothing came.

Recognizing the symptoms of an ego determined to ignore a blocked stream of energy because it believes it knows a better way, I lit the candle on my desk, rested my hands on my lap, closed my eyes, focused on my breathing, and waited for guidance. Instantly, a technique recommended by Martha Beck, author of Finding Your Way In a Wild New World, came to mind. Beck explains how focusing on your body drops you into a state of heightened receptivity she calls Wordlessness. So I lifted my hands in front of me, palms outward, and concentrated on feeling the life in them. As soon as I felt the tingling, a familiar shivery wave started at the back of my neck and spasmed down my back.

findingyourwayI’ve felt this same shivery spasm since the early 70’s. I tell this story in my book so won’t repeat it here, but what happened is that after weeks of seeking help for a troubling period of religious doubt, I experienced a mind-blowing spiritual awakening that convinced me of the physical reality and presence of the Divine. After that I often felt the shiver in church and associated it with the supernatural God of my religion. Now I know that what we often think of as supernatural is as natural as heartbeat and breath.

Fast-forward forty years. Symbol Alert! According to The Herder Dictionary of Symbols forty is the number for “expectation, preparation, penitence, fasting, and punishment.” The flood flowed for forty days and forty nights, Jesus was tempted for forty days in the wilderness, the Jews wandered for forty years in the desert, and I discover to my amazement and delight that it took forty years of preparation before I was ready to produce the book I consider my magnum opus!

Today I’m filled with the joy of having this work recognized. This is what wants to come out, what I want to celebrate with every breath, beat of my heart, and cell in my body. This morning my ego was saying:  Stick to the topic at hand. If you write about the award it might sound like bragging! And so I experienced a writer’s block, which is simply a resistance to expressing the soul’s truth. The moment I returned to the present by focusing on the life in my body, the block dissolved and the energy came through with a physical rush that felt like a tidal wave surging down my spine.

Here’s the song I want to sing: God isn’t only to be found in a church, synagogue or mosque.  Sacred life-giving energy indwells our bodies and every atom of the physical universe. And all we need to do to connect with it is get out of our heads and return to our bodies where the Divine is incarnated in us.

You can find Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link or at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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