Monday, November 30, 2009

Prayer for Overcoming Indifference

I watch the news, God. I observe it from a comfortable distance. I see people suffering, and I don't lift a finger to help them. I condemn injustice but I do nothing to fight against it. I am pained by the faces of starving children, but I am not moved enough to try to save them. I step over homeless people in the street, I walk past outstretched hands, I avert my eyes, I close my heart.

Forgive me, God, for remaining aloof while others are in need of my assistance.

Wake me up, God; ignite my passion, fill me with outrage. Remind me that I am responsible for Your world. Don't allow me to stand idly by. Inspire me to act. Teach me to believe that I can repair some corner of this world.

When I despair, fill me with hope. When I doubt my strength, fill me with faith. When I am weary, renew my spirit. When I lose direction, show me the way back to meaning, back to compassion, back to You. Amen.

?Rabbi Naomi Levy

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Atonement with the Absent Father

Reflections of an Irish Mythic Storyteller

The Atonement

Until a man learns what went wrong in his father's relationship and finds healing for it, he never arrives at mature manhood. From Wisdom for the Journey by Don Jones.

Advertisers and glossy magazines promote many of the stories we are told today. In one advert you are advised that you don?t have to be a tree hugger to be a man. All that you are required to do is drink a certain brand of whiskey. This is what I call a poisonous story.

I was given a poisonous story fairly early on. It was held within a teaching story of shame. I am still wearing its message in my body even today though in so many ways I do not want it and it no longer serves me.

I was initiated into the hall of shame when I was instructed in no uncertain terms that big boys don?t cry and now I don?t. In my life the grief response to loss has to a great extent been armoured. It has become bio-energically sealed within muscles that have been patterned to hold the grief and not allow it expression. I am stuck.

In this way there is held within the body a pattern of non-letting go. There is a rigidity that holds the pain of the past in the present. The ability to let go is the ability to feel the shame in the present. Most men carry this kind of shame all through their lives. For many it makes a shambles of their lives. Then they do so many things that hurt others and thmselves out of this poisonous story.

This is the poisonous story of the immature masculine. It is not the real story of the spiritual warrior who also knows how to dance. It is not the story of the man who knows that if you haven?t wept deeply then you haven?t really begun to become a true warrior of peace. You have not entered the mature masculine dedicated to the alleviation of suffering. You have not entered the real role of protector of the innocent.

In entering the mature masculine you become a warrior for the alleviation of suffering within yourself, within your family, within your community and within your racial and national consciousness. You become a real story and a true storyteller. Unless you are willing to do this then the result of not being able to process the grief is more grief and more shame.

Without revealing our shame we engage with violence. Some turn this violence inward through some form of addiction and others turn it out unto some kind of scapegoat that has a different label. We shame others with violence in order to feel a disturbed kind of power. This is not real power. It is power over rather than the power to give away the totality of who you are. We do this individually and we do it collectively as a nation state.

Power over is always insecure. It can be overthrown. To maintain it often requires the escalation of violence that tends to cycle into deeper and deeper destruction. Thus we go over to the dark side and align ourselves with the death star that is our shadow side. The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children. The sense of separateness from our love nature is visited upon the soft bodies of our children and other peoples children who we broadly label as other.

Then, we as men, move out into the world with our armour on. We have one clear initiation and that is the code of shame. We have been shamed about what it is to feel vulnerable. Most of us make a commitment out of our experience. This is that we make sure that this doesn?t happen again. Then we often wonder why our relationship with women or our partners is a mess. When we need to be vulnerable in relationship we get stuck.

Out of this men?s code of shame we act in the world. We fight for success, we fight disease, and we fight for our rights, usually over the rights of the less fortunate. We have one approach fits all and this is fighting. We work ourselves into exhaustion but refuse to feel. We give our authority to those who poison our life?s story and we find it hard to connect to the feminine. In the end she often leaves us and we fall into some kind of addiction. Then we turn our anger inward or direct it outward.

This is the story of the allegiance to the death star and the dark immature masculine dynamic that emasculates us. It is not our relationship to Eros. The story of the hero is the one who consciously chooses to answer the call to unity and to the revelation of their love nature. The story of the mature masculine is the story of the knight who would remove that armour and become one who allows the soft animal of their body to love what it loves. This takes courage. It takes commitment. It takes intention and attention and also detachment.

It also takes the commitment to say, ?This violence stops with me.? It takes the commitment to no more shaming. No more of a sham life and no more shambles of a life lived without love. In this way there comes the atonement with the father and the experience of forgiving the wrong. This, also means living the experience of at one ment with those shadow aspects of your self. The dark side comes into the light. You become the one who refuses to abandon the child for any other goal other than love.

Unless this happens there continue to be generation upon generation of lost boys who are walking around in the bodies of grown men doing untold harm to themselves and others. These are the Lost Sons who cannot find the Father Sky. They go off into some kind of addiction that is often approved of by society. They work themselves into exhaustion. They drink themselves into oblivion or loose their identity as an individual in some group that tells them who they should be.

So it takes the son to become the man but where are the teachings to do this. Within all indigenous teachings there were rites of passage. Often these were fairly brutal but now they are brutal in different ways. The old initiation ceremonies gave you a sense of belonging but now there is only a sense of groping in the dark covered in the armour of shame.

This is the role of the storyteller but not just any kind of storyteller. It is the role of the storyteller to hold the shadow ? the shadow of his or her life story. They bring the dark secret into the light and all families have a secret. They invite the telling of this wonder tale of who you are. They invite the shadow from the darkness to the light. This is real entertainment. It is to enter the twixt and the between and bring back to the community the treasure of the sweet moon language that every other eye is longing to hear. This is your unique language as it speaks through a heart absent of shame and sham.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Healing the Family - Part I

A storyteller, and we are all storytellers, honours their family history. This does not mean they have to like their family history but that you give your intention and attention to learning how to create from it. You create from that history something worth honouring, not only for yourself but also through the whole spectrum of the individual to the universal.

In my own family there is a history of a certain kind of disease. It is a disease of the eyes. It is called glaucoma. It is a disease of the eyes that in days of old, and even with today?s medical science ultimately leads to blindness. Genetically, I carry this potential because both my parents had glaucoma that, in the later stages of their lives required medical treatment. Their parents before them carried this genetic code that was created from a resistance to a way of seeing.

As many of you who listen and read the articles I write I am drawn to a certain kind of vision. This is a way of seeing that is the way of a real storyteller, the way of a true bard, the way of a true schanachie. I am interested in my family history for the reason of wholeness and healing. While the sins of the father might be visited upon the children this need not always be the case. If the light of consciousness is brought to that which lives as unease and disease in the psyche then healing happens or can be a happening.

In the best selling book entitled, ?You can heal your life,? by Louise L. Hay she writes about the eye disease called glaucoma in this way.

?Stony unforgiveness. Pressure from longstanding hurts. Overwhelmed by it all.?

Louise Hay tells us in her book that the antidote to this eye disease casual by pressure behind the eyes is to see with love and tenderness. Or as the mystic Hafiz invites to learn to live with a full moon in each eye and to speak from such vision. The antidote is to speak from a vision that will allow others who are longing to be a vision of Love in form to hear what can be a real vision.

Here is something that I as a storyteller, the teller of my personal life story, am directly connected to. I know this connection through the definition give by Louise Hay. I know this connection through the longing for Love and tenderness and the longing to be able to express in this way.

I can see the pressure from long standing hurts and stony unforgiveness mirrored in my father?s life. I can see the over whelmed by it all experience in the life of my mother. So what do you do with this encoded message within one?s personal DNA? Well, you can fight it or you can transform it. When you fight it you are in effect dishonouring it. When you transform it you are in effect honouring the way the story of Love has informed your immediate family. In this way you become a healer and what it means to be a real storyteller.

As a storyteller I start with intention. This is where creation begins to express in form. It is the connecting point between the world of form and the world beyond form. It is the connecting point between time and the timeless. It is where the invisible begins to manifest. It is the invitation to the formless, timeless, infinite possibility to come into being. It is the invitation to the One to become what the mystic Loa Tzu calls, ?the ten thousand things.?

At least for me this word intention invites inner tending and inner tenderness. It is not the get up and go of an often disturbed over accentuated masculine approach to living life. It is more the humble grounded approach of the mature feminine. It is out of this groundedness that healing begins and wholeness can be known and felt. Both the masculine and feminine are needed for wholeness but it is the masculine that serves the feminine.

Each of us stands on the shoulders of everyone who has ever lived in form. This is particularly true of all those family members who have lived in form before we arrived within this time space body. The freedoms we have now are often taken for granted. They have often been won at the expense of deep personal sacrifice. This should not be forgotten. All families have wounds. It is within this wondedness that you have the stuff of wonder. As the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung pointed out, ?The gold is in the shadow.?

The shadow of our family history manifests in disease and as Louise Hay says, and as most wisdom teachers say, disease arises out of the unwillingness to forgive. The disease of my family manifesting as glaucoma arises from the pressure of long standing hurts. Yet it is not the long-standing hurts in themselves that is the problem or is the real problem the unease deepening into disease. It is the pressure from the resistance to letting them go that causes the suffering.

There are so many wondrous stories in books and movies that are available around this issue that is called forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn?t redeem the other person. It redeems you. It sets you free. It takes you out of the prison of separateness that you have allowed yourself to become deeply attached to. There is no judgement here. You are not being blamed but you are being invited. You do not do forgiveness. It is more that you become willing to see the world in a new way and allow that seeing to envisage your life. It is the willingness for something new to be that allows forgiveness to heal you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Finding Real Confidence - Locating the Pool of Wisdom

Tom Cowan writing in ?Yearning for the Wind? writes

?When the beautiful people known as the Tuatha de Danaan learned that another race of humans was about to invade Ireland their seers decided to hide the pool of wisdom. They removed it from ordinary reality so that morals could not find the water and misuse its power.?

This story is not just part of an old Irish story. It is your story and my story. This pool of wisdom is available to each and everyone of us. It is, however, extremely powerful. Most everyone who comes to drink of this pool of grace is transformed by it. It is hidden but there is the promise that those who seek shall find.

Only as one off the world?s greatest drinkers of this pool of wisdom says, ?First you will be troubled, then you will be amazed.? You will be troubled because you will call this wisdom your own and you will, as most everyone does, use it to serve your self-interest. This is what this Irish mystic storyteller has done and in some little way is learning to undo.

When you drink of this wellspring of infinite knowing you will be given what you ask for. You will misuse it. It is a wishing well that you are intended to use for wishing well and not simply for getting everything that you wish for. In such focus of self-interest you will be setting yourself up for trouble. This isn?t a punishment but the universe does not give such power to those who would rush in where angels fear to tread.

You will through the self-serving of the ego lose contact with this wisdom pool that is at your deep harts core. This is the troubling stage. It can last a long time. The wisdom is really cultivated by the work of integrating the understanding that arose from within the depth of your deep hearts core. This is a humbling experience. You come back down to earth with a bump.

The wisdom pool is not a pool that is a bank of knowledge that you acquire. The wisdom poll isn?t like a skills bank. It is a pool of paradox, of riddle or parable and of story. It is a pool that dispels ignorance. It takes you out of the spell you are under when you identify experience with the separate sense of self you call me, myself, I.

The wisdom pool is not a pool of know how. It doesn?t tell you what you should do in this or that circumstance. It is a way of knowing that is free of concepts of time and end results. It isn?t within the realm of thinking about. Thought is not wisdom. Wisdom arises downstream of thought from the silence and majesty of no mind. No mind does not mean absence of a sense of being but the awareness of the vastness of being. Thought is conceptual. Wisdom is boundless.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Fire that Takes no Wood

I went out to the hazel wood
Because a fire was in my head

W.B. Yeats ? The Song of Wandering Aengus

These lines open Yeats? great poem of the hero?s journey. This going to the hazel wood is undertaken by the outsider. This is the outsider who longs for the source of magic and miracle within.

The hazel wood is a place of sanctuary. It is a place of initiation. You are invited to be an initiate of the threshold places of the heart. This often takes you into a dark wood.

The fire in the head is a creative longing. It is the longing to be. To be is to be creative. You cannot not be creative, but you are given the choice in how you will express this creative fire that burns within you.

Many of us have lost the ability to feel the fire that burns within us to express love in action. We may lose it through grief or disappointment or listening to our internal critic rather than the voice of purpose and wisdom within.

Our fire has become the fire of ?doing? our life, where we get burnt out. It is a limited fire that consumes itself. We do not tend at the fire that needs no wood. We have forgotten what it is to sit and feel or creative, to be enveloped in its invisible embrace that warms the heart.

Through spiritual direction and soul friendship you can learn to tend the fire that needs no wood. The fire in your head is the natural call to creative expression as love in action. It never goes out. Except that most of us forget that this every creative potential is available to us if we enter the Deep Hearts Core.

This Irish Mystic Storyteller has a longing. It is the longing to share the invitation to the beauty at the deep hearts core. This is why I have recorded a weekly podcast that is given that name. The Deep Hearts core is the last line from W. B. Yeats? poem entitled The Lake Isle of Innisfree.

In the Deep Hearts Core Podcast this Irish Mystic Storyteller unfolds the invitation, not only from the poetry of W. B. Yeats, but from Irish mythology, Irish folk song and modern day song lyrics. This is an invitation for you to learn to allow your personal song of beauty to be sounded within the world and delight not only you but also others who see you living it.

So if you want a weekly input of inspired invitation to the beauty of who you are simply go to the following link and download the podcasts that interest you or sign up for a regular free subscription.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Story of Global Land Grabbing

John Vidal the Environment Editor of the Guardian writes

?The acquisition of farmland from the worlds poor by rich countries and international corporations is accelerating at an alarming rate, with an area half the size of Europe?s farmland targeted in the last six months, reports from UN officials and agriculture experts say.?

In the Guardian article entitled ?Fears for the world?s poor countries as the rich grab land to grow food? we are told

?Outsourcing food production will ensure food security for investing countries but would leave behind a trail of hunger, starvation and food scarcities for local populations. The environmental tab of highly intensive farming ? devastated soils, dry aquifer, and ruined ecology from chemical infestation ? will be left for the host country to pick up.?

Here we see more of the same by the forces of global capitalism hell bent on ensuring that they maintain their highest levels of return on capital employed. They have used up most all the capital resources that exist in their own countries having devastated the soil and water and now they are moving to countries where they can charge for their chemical quick fix that creates deserts.

As an accountant one of the first principles of sound business management one learns is that you do not erode your capital base. It is out of this base that you earn revenue to sustain your business for the long term future. If you find that you are using capital this is indicative of mismanagement. Not so it appears if the capital base is the soil on which we are all dependant to sustain life.

Return on capital employed is the driving force of corporate life. The higher the better. Chief Executive Officers of large corporations will no longer be Chief Executive Officers if return on capital employed is not increasing and damn the consequences. This increased return is reflected in rising share prices that are the be all and end all of the God called market forces.

Who pays the consequences? In the short term the poor and in the long term every one of us. Why does this happen. In simplistic terms it is because we in the Western world are not prepared to pay the cost of producing food in a way that is sustainable. We have become so used to cheap price food that we no longer accept prices that would reflect the full cost of production.

The result is that food is produced as cheaply as possible and as intensively as possible. When the resources of the land have been burned away through intensive chemical use the corporations move on to buy up other land resources by which they can maintain their one measure of success ? return on capital employed. No one stops to ask what happens when the capital base is fully eroded.

As a storyteller and writer on Irish mythology this fixation on ever increased return on capital employed would be recognised as a poisonous story. In a fairy story this market force would be represented by a poison apple. We are now a global village and this poison is set to come back to us in the West. We have allowed undemocratic forces to use resources that belong to us all in a self interested way.

Due to self interest we have refused to be stewards of the land in the interest of future generations. Sustainable food costs. It costs energy in the form of money. If that energy is not expended in the form of money it costs in other ways. The present system of ever cheaper food production costs lives. The price paid is that of hunger and starvation but not for you or me ? or at least not yet. It costs the lives of the most vulnerable in our global village.

Still the good news is that the FTSE index will in the short term have risen in the knowledge that the God of the market place will be for a little while appeased. At least until the land runs out.

Tony Cuckson

Quotes taken from the Guardian Friday 3 July 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Living the One Glorious Life

How does one as an Irish Mystic Storyteller begin to craft a story. One way is to pay attention to that which excites you and to be faithful to that feeling wherever it invites you to go. It also requires commitment and the ability to trust the process. It means learning to be comfortable with "not knowing."

Sometimes a story will simply happen and you have it down on the page very quickly. At other times the story is a kind of birthing. It will simply happen if you pay attention to simply getting out of the way and not being over anxious. In Zen such and attitude is summed up in the beautiful wisdom saying "Don`t push the river."

Pay attention when ideas keep coming back that you have resisted. Sometimes you will spend time with a story, even work very hard at a story, and it comes to nothing. Actually, what happens is that the story is flowering in a different way and will bloom through another story if you trust the intention.

When you feel excited, more than your head is involved. Excitement is the equivelant of the yellow brick road that takes you to the wonderland of Oz. Follow the yellow brick road. This is a metaphor for the wisdom road within you. It is the invitation to travel the beauty of the real story you are here to share.

Your real story is far more magnificent and more glorious than you might ever imagine. Trust this beauty to express as excitement within the body and live the one glorious life you have come here to be. You are the real wonder tale waiting to be told.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Brings you Alive

This Sunday morning I am planting bulbs that will add colour to the garden during the winter and the spring.

I am also planting seed in the form of inspiration. I have the seed of an idea that I am drawn to manifest. This is a work of appreciation.

I appreciate the work of the Irish poet W.B. Yeats. It is his poetry that speaks to my deep hearts core. It is he who called me to return to my native land. He still keeps calling me to be an invitation to the peace that comes dropping slow.

So I am intending to writ a book. It is a book about an Irish pilgrimage through the poetry of W. B. Yeats. I hope, therefore, to share this journey and invite others to journey to their own deep hearts core.

This journey through the poetry of W.B. Yeats is part of my essential story. It is the essence of who I am becoming. We are all telling a story. In every moment you are radiating the story of your life.

Have you ever asked the question, "What am I radiating?" Most of us radiate a belief that mystics of all traditions and all times tell us is false. This is the idea that we are living as a separate sense of self within time and space and body.

At the deep hearts cores this false identity of the separate sense of self is the core of suffering. Once it is seen, is realized as the illusion it is the life becomes more abundant.

There is less resistance and less grasping but the radiance of who you are is allowed to flow through a body and mind that knows the experience of real peace. This is more than peace that is an absence of conflict. This is the kind of peace that W. B. Yeats tells us comes dropping slow.

David Whyte the English poet and writer of "Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity" is known for the beautiful line that says, "Anyone who does not bring you alive is too small for you."

W. B. Yeats brings me alive. He invites real questions. He invites me to the Quest I am On. This is the call to adventure at the deep hearts core.

Who brings you alive? Do you spend time with them? Do you imbibe their presence? What kind of stories do they invite into your heart?

Most of the stories of our modern day culture are stories that are poisonous. They are imbibed because everyone takes it as normal to be a separate individual living in a body in time and space. Thus you as sleeping beauty have eaten of the poison apple whose core is rotten.

All the mystics of all times and traditions are the ones who know and have lived the life beyond the illusion of separateness from Love. They bring you truly alive.

Except that in the words of another poet Derek Walcott who writes in the poem Love after Love, you have to peel the image of the mirror and feast on your life.

Peeling the image of who you think you are of the mirror of your life situation and a sense of separateness from Love is painful. It involves a deep letting go so that the banquet that you are can be revealed.

This is the banquet that gives you real nourishment. It is a storehouse of revelation. It is not the store at the Mall that simply compensates you for what you are really missing which is the sense of being truly alive to the invitation at the deep hearts core.

Whatever it is that brings you alive then spend time with this. This is quality time. It can lead you to the timelessness of your true nature.

Friday, September 11, 2009

And Peace Comes Dropping Slow - Remembering 9/11

Today is 11th Sept. It is a day of remembrance for people all over the world. For most people it is a day of sorrow and for others a day of celebration.

On this day I like to share a vision of what could be. Sometimes I write this and sometimes I take the writings of others. One writer I love is an American woman called Ganngaji - born Toni Roberson who grew up in Mississippi. Here is an extract from "Choosing Peace" from "A Diamond in Your Pocket - Discovering your True Radiance."

"Unless all of us take the responsibility for our own inner peace, the wars will continue. We cannot wait any longer for someone else to change. We cannot wait for someone else to forgive us so that we can forgive them. We cannot wait for someone else to say they are sorry. Peace cannot be postponed.

Recognize that to whatever degree the war is going on in your own mind, it is based on one thing: the firm belief that you are a separate entity, separate from your parents, your children, your lover, your enemy.

All wars are based upon the ignorance of our true nature and the illusion of separation. When you firmly believe that you are separate from totality, separate from peace, separate from love, you protect yourself. That protection takes many forms involving personal and territorial identification. The horror is that if what you are protecting is the thought of who you are, it does not, in reality, even exist. It is only a thought, and whenever a thought is honestly investigated, it is found to have no inherent reality. Yet this thought of who you are has immeasurable power, because it becomes the filter of all experiences of reality.

As a consious human being, you have the opportunity to discover that never, not even for an instant, is it possible to be separate from Love, from the source of everything, from God. Once you discover this directly, you then brodcast it with every breath you take. Whether you speak of this discovery or you never speak again, you will broadcast it through the natural radiance of your being. In your willingness to take the chance, to accept that invitation, you will naturally share that peace everywhere."

Tell me that is not a most beautiful of invitations. Note that Ganaji says " Once you discover this directly------" This direct discovery is so essential. It is not a question of belief but an experience of radiance. You know it because you are it. Belief requires a believer separate from the experience. A believer is not one who is the experience of direct knowing.

Gangaji also invites each one of us to take responsibility for our own mind. Listen to your mind. On this day of remembrance sit still for 10 minutes and listen to the way your mind is forever on. This is not peace of mind. This is not attunement to the source. This is not stillness knowing that it is Love.  If this is your mind then you have no peace to offer.  You have no still point centre from which radiance happens.

This monkey mind is not your natural radiance of being. You on this day of remembrance can commit to this radiance of being. Then the tragedy of 9/11 can become the invitation to Heaven on Earth. It only happens when you are willing to become the invitation to the radiance at your deep hearts core.

Today share this invitation. Share this invitation tomorrow. Share it everyday in whatever way you are called to be the radiant pressence of Love in form. Then when you know directly that you are the living presence of eternal Love you need have no fear. Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death you will fear no evil.  Then you become a beacon of hope in a fear filled world.  Then you become the invitation in New York Harbour of a woman welcoming all that mass of separateness from Love.  You liberate others from their sense of separateness from Love.

Peace of the Infinite Peace to You.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Moonchild and the Sacred Contract

It?s a marvellous
Night for a moon dance.

Van Morrison ? Moondance

Before a fire that burns no wood sits an old hawkeyed seanachie. Around his feet lie hungry ghosts. They have come to hear a story. A story of shadow and light that might break their chains of memory and free them to be the dance they have come here to be. So when the deep silence of sanctuary fills this place at the edge of nowhere the storyteller begins to tell a tale of wonder.

In a soft voice of invitation to the powers beyond time he begins.

Once upon a time not so very long ago there lived a King and Queen of the Vale of Flowers. They each had a secret that was never said. This was the secret of the Sacred Contract. This contract was written in blood and renewed every seven days.

Every seven days the Sacred Contract was placed on the age-old table with its scars and scratches of longing and wounding. Each week the Queen was made to sign with her life?s blood. When the contract was signed the King left the room. It was then, and only then, in the secret place of her heart that the Queen of the Vale of Flowers sat down and wept.

Unknown to the King and Queen of the Vale of Flowers there was a witness to this seven-day renewal of the Sacred Contract. It was their daughter. It was the daughter to whom they gave the beautiful name Unity. This child was, as all children are, curious.

One day - it always happens on that one day - curiosity got the better of Unity. They say that curiosity killed the cat. Unity wasn?t killed though. However, reading the Sacred Contract made her blind. What was in the Sacred Contract was read only once and was never read again. Not only was she made blind all reference to the Sacred Contract was erased from her memory. All that was left within the heart of Unity was a hungry ghost without a name.

One day the Prince of Trumpeting, who was called Bottom, came and swept the blind girl off her feet. He and Unity were married only they did not quite live happily ever after. This might have been sad except for one thing. Unity gave birth to a golden child and they called her Moondancer.

She was the fairest of children and for a time Unity and the Prince of Trumpeting loved this beautiful Moondancer. This love might have been all the light that the moonchild needed except for one thing. The ghost without a name came to haunt the memory of Unity and her blindness deepened and darkened.

On nights when the moon was full the moonchild would dance. How she would dance. The dance and the moonchild were one. In this dance there were no steps in time. The moon and the child of the moon were taken on a magic swirling trip of delight. The delight was from the light of the moon that loved this child forever beyond ghosts and secrets unsaid.

The ritual of the Sacred Contract was enacted every seven days until the dying day of the King and Queen of the Vale of Flowers. Then it was fed into the heart of Unity who signed it with her own life?s blood and vowed to keep the secret that was never to be said. So the Sacred Contract bled into the life of Moondancer. It is said it still bleeds into her life. Such is the power of the Sacred Contract to live beyond time.

Is there any hope for this beautiful dance of the moon? Those who have met with the secret unsaid tell that there is a journey to be taken. This is a journey to a nowhere place. There, at this nowhere place, is the nowhere man. He is the one that tells of secrets unsaid. It is told that he is burned beyond recognition. He, they say, is a holy fool and laughs at nothing.

It is said that once he too was made blind by the Sacred Contract but has now become a Seer of Secrets. This seer of beyond will tell you that the dance is never lost. It is only forgotten.

This nowhere man tells all hungry ghosts they are moon dancers who have forgotten who they are. There are those who dance other ocean love songs. They live at threshold places of wonder guarded by the Eye of the Hawk. Theirs is a different way of seeing. Theirs is lifeblood no longer poisoned by secrets unsaid.

?Remember this,? this nowhere man will tell you. ?It?s always a marvellous night for a moondance. Do you remember? Will you remember? Will you come dancing the dance you have come here to be? This is the promise beyond those secrets unsaid. Will you come to the dance??

In that place where the fire burns no wood you can hear the chains of memory being loosened. You can watch within that sanctuary of silence as hungry ghosts feed from the light of the moon and go dancing. One sings an old Irish rock anthem.

It?s a marvellous night for a moon dance.

The old seanachie sits back on his stool while watching hungry ghosts feed from the light. He thinks about the moonchild born of Unity and the Prince of Trumpeting. His memory goes back to the Vale of Flowers. Strange to say, but he never found it to be a Vale of Flowers at all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spiritual Warriorship - Real Irish Sovereignty

There are times when one opens one’s heart to the magnitude of the suffering in this world and one would weep. This is appropriate to the situation. What is not appropriate to the situation is despair.

One of the greatest workers for the invitation to Love in form was St. Francis of Assisi. The longer this Irish mystic storyteller lives the more he is drawn into this man’s resonance. In my homeland of Northern Ireland he would have been referred to as “a sound man.” This means a man of integrity and a man of Oneness.

He left a prayer. This is a great prayer. Even the politician Margaret Thatcher quoted from it on the steps of 10 Downing Street following her election victory. The sound of her voice when reading it, however, had little of the humility the prayer evokes when rendered from the heart.

Many of you know me as a storyteller. I adapt stories of old for modern times and modern minds. There are storytellers who will tell you stories of old but there is no heart connection to the story. I often resist the call of my heart to some stories. This is because of my conditioned upbringing in the past. I was brought up as a Protestant in Northern Ireland during the period known as the troubles.

Because of this fact I am sometimes reluctant to allow stories connected to what are called the Fianna to enter my heart. Yet I know that what I resist persists. The story of the Fianna is a story that my heart is being drawn to share and to tell in a very different way. It is the way of unity rather than the way of division. It is the way of true sovereignty rather than the way of allegiance to tribal identity.

In this Irish mythic story the Fianna are a band of warriors who it is said will arise from their underground cave when Ireland needs them and her sovereignty is threatened from forces without. Most political parties in the land of Ireland take their name in part from this story of myth and legend. There are the two major political parties, Fianna Fail and Fianna Gael.

Ireland, at this present time of writing, is on the edge of financial bankruptcy. The people have eaten the Celtic Tiger. I suspect this is in a little way a collective response to the trauma of the famine years some centuries earlier. Added to this is the greed promoted by the fear that one needs to get as much of the cake as one can while the going is good.

For this Irish storyteller, however, the Fianna is not simply a band of soldiers willing to protect the sovereignty of a land. They are, as all mythic stories invite you into the realisation of, the spiritual warrior within you. This is the dynamic of the protector of what is sovereign and not that which is separate. This is the true role of the masculine energy in the world of form. It is allegiance of the heart to the protection of that which is the timelessness of Love. This was, and is, the invitation from all warriors of spirit such as Jesus and the Buddha.

The Fianna, for this Irish mystic storyteller, are not nationalistic. They are not one tribe aligned against another. This, however, is not how political parties that bear in part, their name and thus their invitation, promote them.

In Northern Ireland when you say that someone is a Fenian (identified with the Fainna) you are using a term that is a term of hatred. You are, in effect, calling someone a Roman Catholic. Except that it is said in a tone that depersonalises the person and makes them an object. You are making them one of a tribe separate from your tribe that tends to be Protestant. This isn’t just a Northern Ireland issue. It happens all over the world and it happens within your world and my world.

The mythical story of the Fianna is not about Irish Nationalism. It is the story about a state of mind. It is your state of mind just as it is mine. Ireland is in trouble as we are all in trouble. She is not only financially bankrupt but also spiritually bankrupt. She, in part, calls herself a ‘free state’ but her people are enslaved. They are not enslaved by the landlordism of old. It is a new kind of landlordism. It is called the consumer society. It is an insane invitation to death through consuming ourselves to death because we feel spiritually empty.

In the story of the Fianna these warriors are hidden below ground waiting a time when the people of Ireland call to them to rise and free them from tyranny. This is not just a myth. This is not a fairy story of old. This is my story. It is your story whether you are Irish or not. You and I are the Fianna in waiting. That is unless we remain enslaved to a value system of separateness from Love – the consumer society.

The real problem is that you and I in each moment drive the power of the spiritual warrior within us underground. In the mythic story of the Fianna, Ireland isn’t just a symbol for a land that exists between the UK and the USA. Ireland in this story represents the universal sense of Self. That is what is meant by sovereignty. No spiritual warrior of any state serves national boundaries. They serve the Universal. They serve the timeless values of sacred unity and Love.

Irish politicians of all persuasions are tethered to what is called the nation state. This is true of most politicians. The nation state has sovereignty. Only the sovereignty of the nation state does not take, and can never take, precedence over that of the state of the timeless and the universal. Those who align themselves to the nation tend not to be visionaries. When the leaders have no vision the people die.

The Fianna represent that state of mind that is sovereign and whole and holy. It is not aligned to any political or religious affiliation. It has no hierarchy. It is the flow of the spirit of sacred unity through the heart of the individual who has had the courage to surrender to Love. This is spiritual warriorship. Those in power aren’t practicing it. But you and I can.

This sovereignty doesn’t belong to the Irish. It isn’t Roman Catholic. It isn’t nationalistic. It isn’t separate from one who is a Protestant. It isn’t absent from a Democrat or a Republican. Except it is when any one of identifies solely with a separate sense of self and thus absents themselves from such sacred sovereignty.

If you despair about the state of the world then become a spiritual warrior. This doesn’t mean you become a fundamentalist, which is no fun at all. If you are intent on being a spiritual warrior who honours the sovereignty beyond the limits of time and space and all attachment to ideas about who you are and who you think you are, then what will be revealed is true sovereignty. You become, not a revolutionary, but a revelation.

Such sovereignty is the true state of heart and mind. It brings true peace. If this is your intention then you will be called to be one of the Fianna. You do not have to give this invitation to such a call this name. You will be called through your hearts invitation to you own myth that you are intended to live and honour and share. In the USA this could be the symbol of Lady liberty. Each country has its own myths that invite universal consiousness to be the true state.

The Fianna are not interested in rising to save such a limited idea as Irish Nationalism or any nationalism for that matter. The Fianna are the heart energies that know their connection to the universe. They will arise in you (under whatever name) when you are intent in realising the sacred unity within your heart and within your brother and sisters heart.

When you feel this connection to that state of mind and heart then you will have no need of despair. You will be called to serve that which is timeless, that which is sovereign and that which is Love. Anything less means that the spiritual power in you will remain underground in the cave of the separate sense of self.

Choose well because your Life and our life on this beautiful planet depends on it.

© Tony Cuckson 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Restless Traveller

Talk to me in a sailors tongue,
I’ll wake you up in the morning.
Truth will run under different skies.
You and me restless travellers.
You and me restless travellers.

Restless Travellers by Raymond Frogget.

From the Album Tramps and Thieves

I have in my life been a restless traveller. I have travelled in different lands seeking the diamond in my pocket. I have travelled under different skies and sometimes, although very rarely, I would awake. Sometimes such awakening would only last a moments but it always felt as if it would last forever.

I have met with sailors who would talk to me in tongues of flame. Often I would become afraid that I would be burned away to nothing – like a moth drawn to a flame. Often these people who have sailed a different kind of ocean stand there with a light in their eyes and a fire in their head.

Sailors who talk to you don’t always appear as sailors. They often appear quite ordinary in many ways. If you meet with them and you are ready then they will set you alight. If you are not ready then they tend to simply pass by on the other side of the street. Maybe they will smile and sometimes they will stand on their heads. One cannot really predict what these voyagers to that other shore might do.

These sailors have sailed, have voyaged under many different skies. You could follow them and learn much from them. However, there is one sky under which they have sailed and it is not for the faint of heart.

There is a sun in this sky. It is brighter than the brightest star in our galaxy. It is a million times brighter than our own Sun. When you sit on this Sun and not want for water once then you can wake up in the morning. When you wake up on that morning you will never quite be such a restless traveller again.

Except that you will leave this tomorrows sky. Most everyone does who has ventured to that ocean beneath the sky where only a few ever go. And then you will come back to this shore. It is the shore we call time and you will be a restless traveller in a very different way. You will want to sit again on the Sun and never want for water once. And when you return from this ocean beneath that vast sky you will be one who sets others afire with the light of one million Suns.

There will come a time when you will ask a stranger, “Talk to me in a sailors tongue.” A certain kind of storyteller has asked that question. I have asked that question of a stranger. Let me tell you this. When you ask a stranger to talk to you in a tongue of a faraway land you will hear something very different. You will not like it because it reminds you of what you have forgotten.

This language of the sailors tongue has not been spoken to you for time out of mind. Be aware of two things. Firstly it will take you out of time and secondly it will take you out of your mind. It will take you into the place that those who have set on the Sun and not wanted water once call no mind. They have no mind at all.

Storytellers talk in funny ways. They talk to you in a sailors tongue. They are and have been and continue to be voyagers under very different skies. They go to lands that are full of magic and fully of mystery. They sail on different rivers. One such river is the mystic river where they travel to a different kind of ocean.

These storytellers who know that secret tongue do not sail in boats. No no that is for those who are afraid of real adventure. The storyteller becomes a wave on the ocean. Not only that but they and the ocean become one. These storytellers walk around with the ocean inside themselves and if you are willing they will pour it into you.

If you listen very quietly then they may talk to you in a sailors tongue. Then you might wake up. This isn’t waking up from sleep. This is where you take a giant leap and you wake up from a giant sleep. It is as if you have been under a spell. It is as if you had been listening to the words of a language that keeps you feeling deeply sleepy.

Then beyond the words of the sailors tongue there is the twixt and in between place. Now you have to get really quiet. I mean so quite that you might think that you have disappeared. An in a magical way you are getting ready to do exactly that. Listen and you will hear the ocean inside. It is singing.

All the songs of this ocean are love songs. They are heart songs. If you listen closely, very closely and you get still and quiet you can hear the ocean call you by your name. This is not the name you were given at birth. Your birth name may be beautiful name but the name that you are given by the Ocean of Love is more beautiful still.

The song you will hear is your song. This is a unique song. It is the song that only you can sing in this world. This does not mean that you must be a good singer. It doesn’t mean that you have to sing at all. It does mean that you have to allow the Ocean of Love to sing this song through your heart.

So remember. There will come a time when you will be aflame with a different kind of wish. You will be wishing that the Ocean of Love would sing a song through you. You will be wishing that any song will do. People will laugh at you. They will think that you might be a little bit crazy. You will think that you are a little bit crazy. But if you trust this well wishing then you will meet with a stranger.

This is the stranger who has been to that other shore and talks in a strange tongue that your heart knows. They will if you allow them to wake you up. You will walk beneath different skies. You will become a wave disappearing into an ocean Love song.

Until that happens to you, you and me are restless travellers, you and me restless travellers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Children have Wings

You were born with potentialYou were born with goodness and trustYou were born with ideals and dreams
You were born with greatness
You were born with wings
You were not meant for crawling so don't You have wings Learn to use them and fly


At the beginning of many of our storytelling sessions with children we begin with this poem by the mystic poet Jellaludun Rumi. When my partner Bee stands up and begins to recite the above poem sometimes there is giggling when she says the first line. That is until she begins to point to individual children.

When she points directly to a child and says, "You were born with goodness and trust" it is as if they have been suddenly woken up. In the room there is silence and the children begin to pay rapt attention. This is a short story with deep power and vision. It is an invitation and an invocation for our children to remember who they are and why they are.

We have a culture that educates our children by filling them full of information that we say is necessary for them to live full and productive lives. The emphasis, however, tends to be on the productive rather than the full. The emphasis tends to be on the more the better rather than the fullness of living. Rumi invites the children into the fullness of what is potential within them without judgement.

This is the role of a storyteller. It is remind children and others that at the heart of who they are is the ability to fly. What is needed is imagination and the building of confidence in the potential that they as children have arrived with in this world. To invite this confidence to take wing is the true role of a teacher. A teacher is not the same as an educator. A teacher unfolds. An educator often binds the wings so that the child can be safe and not go flying.

Another storyteller who invites such remembrance is the wonderful singer songwriter David Grey when he writes and sings in his song entitled Silver Lining

You were born with eyes wide open
so alive outspoken,
Tell me why, down in the darkest deep
Know there`s a light don`t sleep.

In this world where we hear stories of violence, disaster, dispair and fear it is important to remind our children what is at the core of human existance. This is not some fairy tale notion that we find in tales of old. This is the story and language of the heart that is known within all cultures and all traditions which education is supposed to "bring out" rather than to blot out with more and more information that keeps us in form and earth bound unable to take wing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meeting on the Shore

“A child's hand in yours what
tenderness and power arouses.
You are instantly the very touchstone
of wisdom and strength.
~ Marjorie Holmes

She said, “Children are for sharing. Not everyone can have one.”

We never did. So it is a delight to share time with these creatures of being. They are still connected to their original face. They still play in the garden of eternity.

His name sounds as Finn. He has beautiful blue eyes and the blondest of blond hair. He shares his name with Fionn Mac Cumhail. This is frequently anglicised as Finn Mac Cool. Finn Mac Cool is one of the most celebrated heroes in Irish myth.

Little Finn will be tall and beautiful. Now he is small and beautiful. He is learning to talk. He is learning to put distance between his immediacy. There will be a time when he thinks about his life rather than allow it to flow. He will learn to dance rather than be the dance.

Being around children reminds me that they feel their experience moment to moment. When they look they see what is before them. They do not judge their experience. They are their experience. This is why they are so delightful even if sometimes they behave as if this world belonged to them and them alone. They know this world belongs to them until they are told differently. This is their real understanding of this world. It is we who have forgotten. They are there to help us remember.

I am standing at the edge of Lough Allen. I have come to visit Corry Strand.

This is where I meet this giant among toddlers. My partner Barbara has met this child before. His Mum had come to hear a concert or play at the Glen Centre in Manorhamilton. While Mum watched the play Barbara minded child. When he became fractious and upset she walked him down the main street. She held him close in her arms and sang Gershwin. He settled at the sound of this melody sang softly into his shell like ear.

He quickly learned my name. He quickly gave me the gift of his trusting heart. It came as a delightful surprise to find him placing his little hand in mine. He had decided he and I would take a stroll along the sand. We walked and came to sit by the remains of a campfire. He told me stories. These were one-word stories.

These were one word stories facilitated by finger pointing. He reminded me of the old Zen Master who tells his student “I am only the finger pointing at the moon.” Here is my little Zen master teaching me the simplicity of seeing.

One story is “stone.” The other story is “dog.” Each is direct and immediate. There is no sense of fear. There is only the continued pointing of the finger. He makes the stones come alive. He sees them before ever they have labels.

Too soon there will come a time when he lives in labels. Too soon he will think he knows what a “stone” is. Soon he will forget how he once saw the wonder of that “stone” and that “dog.” He will swap wonder for knowledge. He will swap what is partial for what is holy. He will become a rational person rather than the mysterious little being he is.

He reminds me of Yoda in Star Wars. The force is with him. He is a wise little being with a hand that shows art in every gesture. He shows me the gladness of the ever-present moment. He is selfish as all children are. This is their world. However, they love to share it with you. This world is their playground and they want you to play here too.

On this shore of Lough Allen he reminds me of that other shore. This is the one we seekers long to sail for. It takes us to that timeless shore where we are forever young. My work is to do what Finn does best. I spend time patiently allowing myself to enter this mystery of life. He is still held within it. I am the amateur and he is the pro-fessional of presence.

He is a fount of wisdom. He does not have the words. He only has his finger. He uses this to conduct dialogues with this mystery of life. He allows the music of life to play through his little body. I am only a part of the orchestra and too often I feel apart from the music. He plays all parts expertly and is the music.

Time will be when he will forget he is the play of God. Time will wrap around him and he will be taught to “do life.” He will be taught that life has to be earned. He will be advised that it is more important to earn a living rather than be alive to love. He will be taught his creativity does not fit with economics. He will become productive and competitive rather than celebratory and abundant. He will give up his wondrousness for acceptance.

He will forget that he is forever enough. If he is lucky he will meet with other wise men and women who will tell him to risk all for love. He will forget that love is all he needs. He will turn from love in action to love of activity. His is the fall from the grace of being to the non-grace of persona. We are all destined to fall from this grace. He will be loved but he will feel separate from all that is.

When he is older he will, I hope, take another hand. He will stand on another shore.
He will remember to look at the beauty of what is without labels. He will no longer see it the way that we lost in social consciousness see it. He will, I hope, one day see again via his heart. The way he sees now. When this happens he will be a giant among men. He will be Finn. He will be fair of face and fair of hair.

Thank you Finn for your instruction. I am blessed to have shared your wisdom. You are already a giant among men. You are a child of the Universe. Never forget little one. May the force be forever with you and may you stay forever young in that little heart that you are so ready to share.

Heading for a Strange Shore

I am engaged to tell a story at a Tibetan Buddhist Centre for their children’s weekend festival. I have been asked to connect the story to the image of a boat. This is because the children will be helping to build a boat over that weekend.
St Brendan - Edward Reginald Frampton
I tend to write stories for individual occasions rather than tell stories that other people have written and told. Each story I write has to work on various levels. The story has to entertain and invite both children and adults into a remembrance of their multi dimensional nature. This is the purpose of storytelling. It isn’t just entertainment but an invitation and an invocation to what is essential, meaning that which is of the essence.

So I take the theme of a boat and I am drawn to remember the song by the Waterboys called “Strange Boat.” I remember also the lines from a Leonard Cohen song called Suzanne that begins,

“Suzanne takes you down to her place by the river.
You can hear the boats go by you can spend the night beside her.”

I am also reminded that meditation is like sitting on the bank of a river watching the boats go by. The boats are a metaphor for our thoughts. Sometimes, in fact, more times than we care to admit, we climb into the boat and are carried down river and sometimes down the rapids. We get caught up in the drama and the trauma of our lives. In preparing to write this story these are ideas that immediately spring to mind.

Then there is the requirement of the audience to whom the story will be told. The story should include aspects that make the children choose a course of action. This is usually a course between playing safe or following the call of their heart. The call of the heart often takes them into those places of threshold that the rational mind says, “Don’t go there.” Such places are the dark wood, the enchanted forest, and the door in the back of the wardrobe.

So I take the lines from the Waterboy`s song Strange Boat which begins

We’re sailing in a strange boat,
We’re headed for a strange shore.
We’re sailing in a strange boat
We’re headed for a strange shore
Carrying the strangest cargo
Ever hauled aboard.

Here you have a beginning idea for a story. A story about a strange boat going somewhere strange and carrying a strange cargo. Children like strange. This is a metaphor for your life and for my life.

The strange boat can be considered our relationship to our body. The strange shore can be considered the shore of the timeless and our connection to Love. The strange cargo can be the beauty we radiate from within our hearts. For to many of us we have become estranged from our unique heartsong. We call our body strange because it is the wrong shape. We call ourselves strange because our sexuality doesn’t fit. We stay on the shore of time and space and we become alienated from the timeless beauty we are here to share.

A story can be a heartsong. It has to be a story that speaks to your heart and the longing of your heart. It is a kind of story that pulls you deeper than maybe your rational mind wants to go. This is the purpose of parable, riddle and mythic stories. They aren’t simply old stories they are timeless stories related to the journey of consciousness in form.

Such stories inform you but are not more information. They reach in and touch the vastness of your hearts potential to know and feel your connection with your timeless nature. This is, if you will allow it, your holy longing. It is your longing to remember the place where your heart knows its true homeplace. The purpose of the story is to remind you in the lines of the Derek Walcott poem.

You will meet again the one
Who has loved you all your life
The one who you give up for another.

Love after Love.
Derek Walcott.

Storytelling is there to invite you to come home to the one you think is stranger than strange but who has been given up for an image in the mirror that is more acceptable to the world. This is the image you call “little me” and by contrast to the vastness of who you are it really is so little. You are after all Love incarnate.