W.O.R.D.S.: Divine (or why do the crickets sing)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

Divinity humming in the trees and throbbing

In the mud;

Vibrating through earth’s veins and pulsing

In my blood.

No one, no thing is apart from deity,

Every life is a part of the whole entity.

Di/De= root meaning “apart” or “separate”/”off” or “from”
Div/Dei= root from deus, meaning “god” or “god-like”
Divine/Deity = “god,” “god-like” or to perceive by intuition (not sight)
In = root meaning “not”
Therefore… Individual = NOT divine, not god, apart from god or not being able to perceive through intuition.
Jung’s concept of Individuation = psychological integration, i.e. the bringing together of divided parts of ourselves, all our senses, memories, disassociated parts of self (due to trauma or cultural training), and our conscious, unconscious, and higher and collective conscious.

Without going into Jungian psychology (that’s a rabbit hole I’m not fully capable of scaling), I’m going to briefly share my understanding of divinity, which I am still questioning and tweaking as I go along.

The very language we speak reflects the separateness of “god-ness.” But our language originated in cultures that also separated mind from body, men from women, the mortals from immortals, and humans from nature.

But this concept of Otherness has not always been in the human consciousness.

At one time, Earth and Nature was the only consciousness. Her rhythms, her vibrations, and her energy in the form of the seasons, the life-death cycles, the very workings of our body and the bodies of every creature and oxygen-breathing form was what brought the All together as one. The idea of “apart” did not exist.The All was a Whole of which All were parts.

Earth hasn’t changed, only our story of how it works has. Let’s change that story.

Like an orchestra playing a symphony, each instrument produces its own vibration, which when played together create a perfectly cohesive sound: one tune as a sum of its parts.

It has been found that every single thing on this planet (nay, in the universe) emits its own vibration (and we can entrain to the rhythm of others, both human and otherwise). This is its inDIVidual energy.

But all those energetic vibrations pulsing together make up the DIVine – the “god-experience” which we sometimes can tap into. You know, those “mountain-top” moments of transcending Self, when we suddenly know that we are not alone and that all is one.

All world religions acknowledge that one must transcend to know/experience “god.” It is no coincidence that drumming, chanting, singing, intoning, dancing, and other rhythmic/vibrational activities have been used as ways to access the sacred, i.e. to integrate that which has been apart from us.

To be inDIVidualized in the process of inDIViduation is to bring together in harmony all the parts of our Self that have caused us personal dissonance. And once we are in tune (intuition?) with our whole self, we can get in tune with the All: transcend ego and connect with a higher consciousness.

The Divine/Deity is the energy/life-force with which we all vibrate and sing, like a symphony of crickets.

Cricket Symphony

Prompt: I acknowledge divinity in myself…

~~~
*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

Advertisements

Please do surrender to your nature! (Or Life, Photoshopped)

I’m usually not one to jump on a bandwagon. If everyone’s doing it I tend to turn the other way. But this one could not be ignored. I, as other angry men and women already have, must respond to a certain backward-thinking op-ed article. (A particularly good response is here.)

I recently read Suzanne Venker’s article: The War on Men in which the author blames us liberated women for upsetting the “proper” way of the world by forcing men to compete with us instead of doing what they all prefer, which is, apparently, look after us incompetent creatures. Apparently we’re just not womanly enough anymore and – poor guys – they’re so confused. But, the author, happily concludes: “there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.”

OK, so here’s what I say to that: YES, LET’S! Let us all surrender to our nature!

Our natural nature… not a societal, cultural, patriarchal version of it. (Note: Patriarchy does not mean Men. It is a hierarchical, dualistic system that has hurt men as individuals as well as women – and nature and anything else that is considered the “Other” of the moment.)

Feminism, even with its rough patches, has done one very important thing: allowed women to see there is another way of being – their own way. Women are looking inside and asking themselves what they want, what they can do, what their own dreams are, where their talents can take them. And while 1970’s feminism dismissed the possibility that any woman would want to be chained to the kitchen sink and having babies, and ostracized those who did, modern feminism is slowly accepting a more holistic view of “equality.” We can be and do what our hearts tell us we can. For one woman that might be becoming an astronaut, for another it is raising her children (after flying to the moon first – if she chooses.)

And the same applies to men. They too have to stop living by the script society has written for them. Macho Smacho. Being a real man means just that – be REAL! Dance, draw, heal people, stay home with the kids, cry, collaborate… be whatever youare and quit hiding behind this whole Manly Competitor/Hunter Image Thing. Guess what? That Image thang ain’t real; it’s Life, Photoshopped.

I recently read a quote that went something like this, referring to Adam and Eve: You’ve got to know that when you try to make a women out of a man, there’ll be trouble. And it’s true. Which is why I put equal in quotes above. The truth is we should be striving for equity, not just equality. Women are not men, can’t be men, and neither is a man a woman. We are biologically and psychologically different – NOT better or worse, just different. We are two sides of a what should be a balanced equation, not a hierarchy as patriarchy would have us believe. What we are searching for is, yes, equal rights, but also equitable rights.

Equality means treating everyone the same without needing to know their personal story. Equity means hearing their story so you can treat them according to their needs. This means we have to get to know each other and ourselves – our true selves – and our needs by listening to each others’ and telling our own stories.

So PLEASE do surrender to your nature, in whatever form that takes. Listen to yourself, to your emotions, your body – who are you? Really? Once we as a culture can fully embrace both the feminine and masculine energies in us all by accepting and using ALL of our talents, integrating ALL our emotions, and understanding our full capacity for love, we will have finally ended the war on, not just women or men, but on Humans.

Authentic Voice Project: U is for Union

For redefinition, I was thrown back to myself, to my inner knowing… Marilyn Sewell, Cries of the Spirit

The Authentic Voice Project: Week 22 (New Moon)

U is for Union

Union = bring together, connect, to make one

Yoga = from sanskrit word meaning union

Religion = from Latin root ligare, meaning to bind together, a union

Spirit = from Latin root spirare, meaning to breathe (the act of which brings psyche and soma (mind-body) together as one)

Modern religion, based on hierarchical and dualistic paradigms, fosters the exact opposite of its root meaning. God over Man, Man over Woman and Nature, Mind over Matter (Body). Spirit vs. Flesh, Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil. True Union – Oneness – cannot be achieved in this concertized pyramid.

But this is not the nature of nature – human or mother. The world – the earth – is not a pyramid; it is a circle. It has no edge, or top or bottom, left or right. It is a delicate balance of all. There are only interconnected circles of existence, continuums of being, webs of connection between nature, all humans, all cells.

There is Union between continents when the tides inhale on one shore and exhale on the opposite. There is Connection between peoples when we feel sadness draping over our communal shoulders in the aftermath of disaster. There is Oneness when a man and a woman come  together in sacred union. There is Religion when, standing atop a mountain or in a dense forest, the body seems so small yet so big, and the air is your spirit, your breath is the air, and you are One with it all.

True Religion is Spirit. It is the connection between all the things. It is the oxygen that you take in, the same oxygen breathed by every creature and plant surrounding you. It is the breath bringing life to all cells, all organs so your mind-body may operate in balanced harmony with itself. It is the vibration of one entity’s life force resonating against another, like a drum pulsing with the beat of another. A web’s every strand shimmying in the breeze.

Religion = Union with the Divine, with the divinity within each of us, the “God Within” – the Self that is our whole, holy, unified mind-body, fully in spirit with Mother Earth.

I drove through sadness

I drove through sadness today.

Tears from clouds and tears in ravaged river banks.

Tears, rips, and gashes. Gutted, graded and gored. Rutted, raked and ruined.

As I drove along Route 107 between Pittsfield and Bethel, Vermont for the first time since Tropical Storm Irene, I cried for my home state. Yes, I had seen the seemingly endless stream of pictures of devastation in the immediate aftermath, and I wept for Vermont then. But six months later, despite mind-blowing road and bridge repairs, to see the land so… so…wounded – it hurts.

It is raw. Scoured. The land torn open in gaping welts. And not even a new, white bandage of snow to cover its wounds. The pain of the land and its people exposed. Mud where trees should be, rocks where there should be grass. Houses once in a field teeter on the edge of cliffs. Or crumpled in a ditch. Farms grow nothing but silt and stones. Hillsides are mudslides. Trees are tangled masses of sticks. And the river…

The river runs through it all as if nothing is amiss. Barely restrained and rambling wildly in places, serenely in others, it is like a temperamental child, unaware and uncaring of the chaos it leaves in its wake.

And there, on his newly river-fronted property, a man standing alone, gazing over the water. What is he thinking, I wonder? Cursing God or Mother Nature? Thanking them for saving him and his home? Maybe he was feeling as small as I against the awesome power of nature, attacking so suddenly and so violently. But I believe he was crying for this land – I felt his sadness. It hangs in the air and descends with the cold rain.

—-

P.S. Strength comes in the wake of a storm: “I do matter.”

Natural Wisdom – in verse

These poems were written by a participant in one of my recent workshops, Natural Wisdom: Writing as Spiritual Voice. They are Alphapoems written in response to prompts while listening to sounds from nature. As you will read, not all are directly related to nature, but this is an example of the wonder and power of expressive writing: If you open yourself to the writing process, what wants/needs to be expressed will be. The author remarked that she was not expecting these words to come out, “they just kinda did!”

Thank you for your generosity for sharing them with us!

Poems by Gwendoline James

THE STORM

Dark skies releasing themselves of pent-up heat,

Inspired by Thor;  continual rumblings then stomach-churning crashes.

Straight rain falling to earth with relentless power,

Threatening all beneath its touch without regard,

Analogy for washing clean, washing away,

Never heeding any demands to stop.

Clean, so clean, until it hits earth, rivers, fields, then mud and torrents and flood and devastation.

Eternal rain……… or so it seems at this moment.

MOTHER LOST

Gone before I knew you, like the

Wind, blowing through and leaving

Emptiness, which I

Never recognized until the need to know you became

Dominant  in my later life.

Open my heart to the memories I do not have.  I want to hear you

Laugh, cry, talk ……why did

Illness take you away so that I

Never knew you, felt your warmth, heard your voice, fed off your

Energy, which was all spent by the time you gave me life.

SIDMOUTH

Soothing my fears, calming my thoughts, in this

Idyllic place.

Damp seaweed gently sweeping between my toes, the

Mouth of the river opening itself into the

Ocean.  What powerful secrets lie

Under your white crests;  your dark teal depths reflecting the

Turmoil of my mind before I came to stand in awe at your edge

Happy for the seagulls overhead and for your cleansing, incessant water to wash over my feet and

recede again into itself.

— Gwendoline James