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.