Practices and Changes

Some years ago I wrote about how much I loved practicing the 8 Key Breaths, the Five Tibetan Rites and Flying Crane Chi Gung.  I’d turned to those three for their combined impacts on opening energy flow, building energy and balancing energy.

After faithfully practicing for 5 or 6 years, I started slowly moving into doing kundalini yoga more and always sliding in some sets of my flowing body work.  I’ve never dropped the energy practices, but I’ve rarely done all three.  I’m probably most faithful about the 8 Key Breaths, which I have loved since I first learned them in 1990, with the 5 Rites landing in second place.

Tuesday I felt really drawn to do the three for the first time in ages.  Not only did it feel amazing, but because of the opening unfolding in my body, I could feel energy moving through places I’ve not felt it before. And the fullness and flow of energy in the hara, or sea of chi,… wow… amazing.  It’s been one of the most thrilling things about the slow healing of the many issues in my muscles:  revisiting practices after time gaps and feeling the energy of it.

While I’ve always felt energy build in that area during tai chi or qigong practice, I’ve also been aware the energy wasn’t as full as it should be, nor did flow through the whole area.  So the sense of the bigness of the energy and how well it flowed through both second (where hara is located) and third chakras was a big eye-opener for how much progress my muscles have made.

Much of the super tight core in my face that’s unwinding now is connected into patterns going all the way down my body, so each time a knot or two opens, I feel impacts all the way down.  This was the most intense moment of realizing what this opening means for the flow of energy.  Wow.

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Women’s Issues: How We Treat Each Other

In my last post, I talked about women and the “right to be sexy”. The sexy issue ties in with the issue I think looms largest for us, which is the degree to which women are so immersed in the patriarchal culture–and the “romance” fantasy that serves it so well–we don’t treat one another as equal to men.   If we women don’t see one another or ourselves as equals, how can we expect men to?

When we favor men over women

The realm of dating/romance is where I see this problem most clearly.  Since my college days I’ve scratched my head over the norm in which most women will dump a plan with a woman to go on a date with a man in a blink.  There’s no hesitation, the dump is generally conducted with the unspoken assumption doing something with a man always trumps any plan a “girl” has with anyone female.  With a wink and a “you understand” both women collude in placing any time with a man in a category of “above” or “better than” any time spent with a woman.

Doesn’t matter if the woman has been your stalwart friend for years, held your hair while you puked, shared your secrets, stood up for you against the guy who broke your heart, if some man you barely know asks you on a date for the same night as your plan for dinner and a movie with a woman friend, you dump the woman — wink, wink because we all understand the man is better.  Any man, no matter how little known or how bad he may turn out to be is just more important.

I can’t quite decide whether I feel more disturbed by the women who dump their women friends so readily or by the friends who accept it as natural and right to be dumped any time there’s a chance to do anything with a man. (I will admit I never demurred–knowing it was a losing battle–but the women who did it to me got put at arm’s length and went way down my list of trusted people…; I don’t take kindly to be treated as less valuable than a man)

I told many men, back in the years when I was serial dating, that I had a plan on the night he asked about, could we choose another night.  Never once did a guy say no to a different day.  So I got to enjoy the plans with my girlfriends and then enjoy the date.  No good reason to discard the girls’ night in favor of the man.  Except maybe you don’t think women are as worthy of your time.

I know few women who would say this out loud or even admit they feel that way.  The behavior says otherwise.  I’ve known strong, independent women with impressive jobs who would flake out on a plan with me in a heartbeat if any man whatsoever asked them out on a date.  I’ve known women with amazing resumes who’ve turned on me snarling at the suggestion that women shouldn’t treat one another that way.  “Stop being childish” or “you’re just being naive”.

I’ve never said I think shifting that mentality would be easy.  The fairy-tale-happy-ending fantasy has become a deeply rooted delusion of our culture.  Issues about men and women and romance are usually complexly tied to unresolved issues about Mom and Dad, so generally get into the heart of our deepest wounds and issues in the world.  Add in the deep cultural undercurrents about men being stronger, smarter, faster, more capable, better at leadership, etc. and you have a formula for women putting men and romantic relationships with them before all else, in many cases unaware of the degree to which they’re doing it.

Nor am I saying you need to hate men or eschew marriage.  I’m not sure why so many women put this extreme interpretation on any efforts to get them to shift their behavior and offer more esteem to women, but I think there’s a middle ground.  You can love a man — hopefully one who admires and respects you and treats you as his equal — and still love the women you know and give both types of relationship equal weight.

I make no claim about how we shift all these intertwining issues.  Or that it will be easy.  But as long as women are treating one another as second class citizens and refuse to even acknowledge it’s what they’re doing or the fact it’s a problem we need to address, I don’t see how we imagine men will ever treat us as equals.  We have to feel like equals and treat one another that way first.

When we don’t see our own worth

I’ve also been looking around at studies on the pay gap and the low numbers of women in upper level positions of business and government.  I was interested but not surprised to see besides gender discrimination, many bosses report women are less likely to demand a raise or promotion and studies found women are also far more reticent about putting themselves forward.  (Probably not helped by the general male attitude that any woman who does push for advancement is a bitch…)

In a society where women are raised as less than, often told their main jobs are cleaning and child rearing, so many of us lack the kind of confidence and self-esteem most men take for granted.  Most of us are so entangled in the world view of a society that values men over women it is hard for us to feel confident and worthy.

Some inner searching and working on raising our sense of worthiness are so important if we want to break out of our web of male privilege and achieve real equality.

When we stand together

Our best hope, I think, of stepping outside the patriarchy and insisting upon equality is to support one another.  To help one another heal the issues keeping us in thrall of romance, the issues of low self-worth and confidence, the habit of valuing men over one another, etc.  Together we heal.  Standing together we are a force.

Women’s Rights and Issues and choosing the battle

Back when I got to college in 1970, the women’s movement was in full swing and all the women I knew were on the bandwagon.  We took off our bras and spoke out on politics and women’s rights, applied for graduate programs in law and medicine and business in record numbers and moved into many fields and positions traditionally dominated by men.

In spite of our high hopes, things turned in such a different direction, I’m watching the #MeToo movement with a mixture of delight and skepticism. I saw Meryl Streep proclaim in an interview “there’s no going back now” and I questioned it, because we all thought there was no going back in the 70’s and then…  we quit going forward and in my opinion a portion of women went backwards.

We assumed the sisters coming along after us would continue progressing and accomplish equal pay, breaking glass ceilings, and achieving an equal rights amendment.  So when we hit the late 80’s and I realized I didn’t hear much about any of that and accomplishments seemed to have stopped, I was stunned to realize the main thing I started seeing women standing up for was their right to be sexy.  Necklines dropped, skirts and shorts were raised, and by the 90’s into the 2000’s a fashion for hooker clothes — and even dressing their very young daughters that way — was growing.

Somehow the right to be sexy issue has become so bound up with a “rape culture” argument that my efforts in social media to suggest women drop that one are met with outcries of condoning rape based on the “she asked for it” mindset.  I’m not sure how so many women became so clueless but the right to dress however you want without being raped is a completely different issue than what it means to dress in ways — sexy– that support the masculine view we’re only worthy as sex objects.

In the 70’s we understood that and were very conscious of wanting to be viewed as more and not labeled as arm candy, trophies or sex objects.  I’m not sure what happened, but the move from standing up for being recognized as smart and capable and talented, etc. to standing up for wandering around with our busts and butts hanging out as the sole issue of interest is baffling to me.

Get Real About Where We Are

The truth at this moment in time is that far too many men [I’d argue a majority but can find zero studies that specifically question how men see women — not how they feel about the gender gap or inequality, but what they believe about women — in a male-dominated research world I found that interesting)] see women mainly as sex objects.  I’m not talking about the political correctness many of them babble in public, I’m talking about how they really feel and act.  There are men who were changed by the movement and sons who have been raised to respect women (though I may be arguing in another post that they nonetheless are part of a male privilege culture and disrespect women in subtle ways), but way too many men still see women as put on earth solely to serve and pleasure them.

We’re good for sex and possibly for cooking and changing diapers (although no longer sexy once the latter two are our roles…) but not good enough to be paid the same, to advance into equal numbers of managerial positions, to hold as many seats on Boards or to preside over important elective positions.  THAT is the current state of affairs.

To me, the insistence on the “right to be sexy” colludes with the male attitude that it’s all we’re good for and plays right into their sense of superiority and right to power.  How nice for them that in a world where they just want us to be sex playthings there’s a whole segment of the female population that wants to be nothing more than a sex object.  Good for the men maybe.  In what universe can any woman consider that to be good for us?

I’ve seen a number of these “sex as power” advocates claiming it’s empowering.  I call bullshit.  Empowering as to what?  It certainly doesn’t add anything to inner power, confidence or self-worth.  It’s only powerful as to men and some odd (and I’d say sick) sense of having power because you can turn a man on.  I hate to tell you, but most of them are turned on all the time anyway and some are known to have been turned on by sheep, so it’s a pretty low bar.  Not much power in being able to do that…

The ability to make men want sex from you objectifies you and maintains their image of a world in which they do what they want, get what they want and we are here only to serve them and their desires.

How did we stop demanding to be seen as smart, capable, skilled, talented, powerful, worthy, creative and EQUAL?  Why are so many women not fighting to change the male power balance and instead fighting only to validate men’s belief we’re only on earth to satisfy their need for sex?

#MeToo and Moving Forward

I’m glad to see the #MeToo movement; it’s beyond time to call men out for their sexist behavior.  But it concerns me a little that so much  is focused on the issue of being sexually harassed instead of being focused on the many other things we are, the many talents and abilities for which we should be recognized.

While we need to address the serious problem of men seeing us as sex objects, I think it’s even more important to address our right to be equal under the law, equal in pay, equally represented in boardrooms and management positions and elective offices, etc.  There’s a whole conversation about men respecting women beyond just telling them not to harass, molest and/or rape us that needs to be had.

There may be a time down the road when a conversation about our right to wear whatever we want is timely.  I suspect though, when we have achieved a change of attitude in which men see us as creative, talented, skilled, smart, capable, etc. and treat us as equals, and, more importantly when we see OURSELVES that way, we won’t need to argue about what we have a right to wear…  Let’s address the right issues first.

Further Reading:

Note:  this is a little off my usual beat, but I find the need to bring forth the divine feminine so important, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the issues we face.  So I don’t think I’m done 🙂

Still here… mostly :-)

314px-facial_muscles

I haven’t meant to disappear but the unwinding in my face has been very intense the last couple of weeks, going on sometimes 16 or 20 hours, interfering with sleep, etc.  So I’ve been kind of flattened — doing well to manage groceries and laundry, etc.  When it’s not too crazy I’m trying to keep up with reading your blogs, but I’m not even doing that as well as usual.

In many ways it feels like there is so little left, but the core pieces are still part of a complex pattern that still has some very tight pieces.  I keep being puzzled as I try to sort out what is twisted up with what– I can study pics of the muscles and this core chunk is still so confusingly complicated  I can’t figure out what all the specific ones still involved are.

The orbicularis oculi and orbicularis oris are heavily involved and some of the muscles down the cheek that connect them plus one or more of the ones that go from the front of the eye on back into the head.  But a few pieces are still being pulled far enough off course I wind up scratching my head and giving up when I try to sort it out.

I know, TMI… Anyway, I’m still here and one of these days I will actually write posts 🙂

The fine line: spiritual bypass vs. always something wrong

Over the course of 30+ years on this path I’ve landed in many places where I questioned whether digging or uplifting would be the better answer.  There are proponents of digging deep who also imply you can never stop.  There are proponents of positive thinking, doing uplifting practices, etc. who imply the “uplifting” thoughts and actions will shift away the underlying issues with no need to dig.  Personally I’ve found we need both.  But there’s a fine line between and I find it a great challenge to decide which side suits any given moment.

I started off in some New Age stuff that I eventually realized invited people to do a “spiritual bypass” wherein they stuffed issues even farther down in favor of pretending to be upbeat all the time.  The excitement of this new path brought me some good successes for a while and I arrogantly decided I didn’t need more therapy or any other digging through issues.  Later I also met lots of people who studied established traditions like Buddhism and Sufism and realized you can do a spiritual bypass on any path if you choose to avoid your issues…

Higher consciousness (mine? the Universe? who knows) pretty quickly slammed me into a wall of my own limiting beliefs and I wound up doing the extensive excavation work required by my late friend Ellen Margron’s version of the Fisher Hoffman Process.  Although I moved mountains of material in the nine months my group spent doing the process work and set off kundalini after one particularly huge release, I knew pretty soon after finishing that I wasn’t done.

I’ve used the process many times since and also wound up in several forms of body work that delve into emotional patterns and issues as well as setting off on an exploration of ancestral issues deep in my DNA.  All these things have, in my opinion, been necessary to open pathways and channels that blocked my ability to expand into higher consciousness or even a new version of myself.

However, in the last couple of years I’ve been feeling increasingly that it’s time to concentrate more on shifting thought patterns from negative to positive and raising energy to higher vibrational levels.  In 2017 I really devoted the year to positive thinking and practices to uplift.  The first thing I noticed was how much more impact I felt from these things after having released so much material that had been in the way.  My experience in doing guided meditations or saying affirmations or singing chants, etc. became one of feeling energy moving vitally throughout my body in a way I’d never felt in the early days — before releasing.

Once the New Age movement evolved to embrace the idea of exploring issues, an entire industry seemed to grow up with teachers and “schools” and body work therapies all designed to help people retrieve repressed memories and “release the past”.  And — what a surprise — many of them believe you never finish this work.

Up to a point, I believe that – you’re unlikely to hit every hidden issue in a short space of time and issues tend to recur.  I question, though, that you have to focus your life around discovering issues for the rest of your days.  And I worry that the central, usually unconscious, belief at the core of all the digging and searching can be “there’s something wrong with me” and/or “I’m not good enough as I am”.

These are core issues for me, so I began to worry about the constant probing through my psyche for hidden issues perpetuates the core self-doubt and self-worth issues.  Adding that worry to my growing belief there’s a point when the digging needs to stop to allow building to begin, I felt I needed to shift my focus from releasing the past to creating a different future.

Opposed to those who think we must excavate for life, there are also spiritual teachers/leaders who believe we don’t need to dig at all.  Using a little of “What the Bleep’s” science, when you create a new positive neural net, the old one starts dismantling.  Or, looked at another way, when you raise the energy vibration, the lower vibrations begin to shift upward.

I think that happens too, I just think it is stymied if you are full of repressed memories and unresolved issues and your plan is never to look.  Even in the “just raise the vibe” theory, whatever is blocking or contradicting tends to rise to the surface.  One way or another I do believe you have to confront at least some of your issues.  I have also had the sense of unknown things falling away as I’ve progressed, so I don’t think you have to consciously deal with every single issue.  But I do believe you have to be willing to look deep within.

For me, there was much transformation resulting from releasing.  And there has also been profound change in the last year as I have changed my focus to building instead of dismantling.  Some look doubtful when I say I want to stop constantly searching for what’s wrong and needs to be fixed.  Some agree there’s a time to shift the focus.

Not only has it been in my thoughts a lot, but lately I’ve had several off and on conversations going about this.  And I know lots of you in this blogging community have probably looked at this issue.  I’m very interested in your thoughts and experiences.

Between worlds… and learning what it means to me

A month or so ago I had a partial epiphany moment — one of those AHA’s where it feels like a giant leap and then you wonder if you really understand what it means.  During a Steve Nobel meditation in which he talked about our current transition into 5D and how everything moves faster and easier there, I suddenly realized I’ve operated from that level occasionally for a long time, but a lot of teachings and beliefs around me have kept me doubting my experiences.

Many spiritual teachers –including some friends of mine– have deep beliefs about the need to “do something”.  Doing, for them, is never about prayers or visualizing or holding a space; instead it is about action and plans and, in many cases, some sure-fire series of steps you must take.  According to them you can’t manifest anything without completing such a program.

Now in my experience, every great manifestation story I have to tell involves no planning, not taking steps, and doing nothing but visualizing and/or creating affirmations concerning my goal.  Sometimes no more than a passing thought holding a strong desire.

One of my best stories goes back to my first years out of law school, when I’d moved back to Chicago (where my school wasn’t known well and I didn’t have legal connections) and wound up working a series of temp law gigs and volunteering for a legal nonprofit.  Another temp job was about to end and I started affirming that the perfect permanent job for me would show up.  Within a couple of weeks a place with which I’d interviewed a year before found me at my latest job (not where I’d been working when interviewed), set up another interview and hired me.

All the wisdom about getting such a job said I needed to send a new resume and then follow up with a phone call and possibly also put out feelers through mutual acquaintances.  I did NONE of those things (although I was in process of updating the resume).  I actually got a job as a lawyer with the Governor’s Office by saying an affirmation and assuming it would come true (and probably being at least a little impressive the first time I interviewed 🙂 ).

The most amazingly impossible tale involves my left leg, twisted from knee to ankle since birth.  While composing a “treasure map” (similar to the current vision board idea), I saw a photo of an athlete with strong straight legs and, wondering if that could happen, added it to the map.  I said an affirmation about straight, healthy legs and forgot about it.

Some months later at a workshop on channeling, a fellow who’d come to learn how to use his newly-awakened healing abilities “saw” the pattern underneath and started doing hands-on healing on my leg every day. At the end of the week my leg suddenly jerked and snapped and the tibia moved into place.

No plan, in a world that still would say the straightened leg was impossible to do without a plan and the plan would have to include surgery.  But there wasn’t a plan or a doctor or surgery and voila straight leg.

In spite of these and other successes, I lacked confidence and felt pressured by the “make a plan” people, so I worried I was doing it wrong.  All those programs where you have to sit down and make a list and create a scheme, etc. make my stomach tighten and my eyes roll back in my head, but the “must do” crowd had me convinced this was a flaw in me.

Trying to do it “right”, I’ve tried the plotting and planning method.  It really isn’t how I operate so it’s always uncomfortable and pretty much always leads to… nothing… and going nowhere…  With my understanding about energy and how it works growing exponentially in recent years I was ripe to hear a message about 5D, where you have a thought and it comes to be.

Ding!  Flashes of my past successes (it’s a pretty long list) danced through my head and I knew I’d long been able to operate from that place.  I just didn’t trust my own abilities and instincts enough to believe.  A short step brought me to memories from 18 or so years ago when I studied for a few years with a Hopi elder.

After a talk on “borderland people” one day, she pulled me aside and asked if I knew I was a borderland person.  Having recognized myself in most of her description, I nodded enthusiastically, happy to explain some mysterious aspects of myself with this concept.  Borderland people, you see, stand with a foot in both worlds:  one foot in this world, one foot in the spirit or dream world.

Although “the 5D” and “spirit” worlds are often discussed in separate places and as if the concepts are not the same, I’m seeing them as the same idea described with different words.  And understanding that I jumped ahead into operating from a more 5D place a long time ago.  Now I’m wondering if those authoritative people with the plans might understand less than I do instead of more?  [I do think the plans often work for those who believe in plans; not because of the  plan but because of the belief in it.]

I’ve known since I was fairly young that I often march to a different drummer but until now that has been both a badge of honor and a source of great struggle and doubt.  On this spiritual path I’ve grown ever more out of step with the mainstream.  I’m seeing there are many teachers on this path who are still so influenced by 3D thinking, their teaching is out of step for me; no more thinking the problem is with me.

I don’t mean to sound arrogant or superior.  I make no claim to have achieved enlightenment or to have reached some perfected state of Higher Consciousness or even that I spend a significant portion of my time in “5D”.  But something shifted with these realizations and I understand more of who I am, how I operate and what it means to be a borderland person.  Instead of anticipating the arrival of 5D with trepidation for the unknown, I am instead excited about moving into a time when I feel more comfortable because the world has shifted into a mode in which I fit.

I’m still exploring how I feel in this new paradigm for me and what all the stuff about 5D means…. you know, since we haven’t completed the transition and can only speculate about a dimension we’ve not actively experienced.  But I feel myself shifting into a new space as I accept operating on a different plane and with a different set of beliefs about how the world works…

Transition? Limbo?

Lately, besides the usual sluggishness from muscles, headaches, unwinding, etc. I feel like I’m swirling through some kind of transition.  Lots of articles inform me that many of us are experiencing symptoms from ringing ears to sleeplessness to sleeping too much to colds…  Since much of that is part of my norm, I can’t always tell 🙂

Whether it’s another phase of the long healing process or part of some larger transition of energies in the universe, I have been feeling pretty out of it and kind of floating in limbo.  Most days if I try to work on a post I just feel like I don’t really know what to say and that some elusive truth will soon be revealed but now is not the time.

Every now and then in the midst of the floating and coping with symptoms, an epiphany has arisen and in the past few days I’ve hit two of those moments.  The first has to do with me holding a vision of the future.  I’ve been doing it for a long time but, given the long, long-term health issues, there has been a problem for me in seeing myself in the vision as a healthy, energetic person.  It’s been so long, I literally have trouble remembering what it feels like.

But the other day I brought the vision to mind and suddenly, like a cool breeze blew through and changed everything, I saw myself in that future life, healthy.  And finally it seemed real that I could step into a future in which I live my vision and live it as a person of vitality and good health.

Then I started doing some genealogy research again and, after unsuccessfully working on a puzzle regarding my Lightfoot ancestors from Virginia, I started thinking about some of my amazing finds in this effort to fill in my family tree.

For some time I’ve been receiving advice from different directions about calling on my ancestors for help.  As I’ve unearthed a lot of issues I inherited from my ancestors, I’ve been reluctant to do that.  Doing Steve Nobel’s meditation on releasing ancestral issues periodically has really helped.

As I sat there running over the Lightfoots and many other previously-unknown names I’ve uncovered, I suddenly felt this softness come over me and a certainty that they could and would help and I called upon all my ancestors to help me finish untangling these long-held family threads.  Then felt them fill the room with their loving energy.

I don’t know where all this leads but as I sit here with muscles tugging, ears ringing and energy buzzing through me, I feel the winds of change …  again…