The Open Door
I have lived on the side of a hill, a small mountain, in Woodstock, New York for the last several years. This home has held me, nurtured me, and grounded me during years of intense work and travel. It was where I went home to be in solitude, quiet, and to be close to nature... But as 2018 closed, I knew it was time to let it go, to move on. What at one time had been a gift was now becoming my own small box of time holding me back from embodying the new.
At the end of December, I also had the blessing of a friend's visit–Cara–to help me see through the transition of leaving and to simply witness and be present as I packed, chose what to store away, what to take with me. I am in awe still of her presence and help–the profound understanding that the best way we can help someone at times is to simply witness, to be present. And during our daily meditation, it was a gift to be able to share the energy and presence of this land with her. On New Years, we stood on the ledge looking out over the Hudson Valley and we raised our arms to the setting sun, to the releasing of the old and the welcoming of the new, offering our intentions, our invitations up to be graced with acknowledgment.
If I thought that 2018 was a year of tremendous transition–leaving my academic and administrative career behind after nearly 20 years–2019 was asking already to take that transition to an even deeper level of Being. And so I and Ruby are journeying across the country to the west coast. We woke up this morning in Lexington, VA. after our first day of travel. The sun up and the chill air made getting out for a walk with Ruby both invigorating and challenging. But the one message that came through so very loudly was, "This is the last leg of a journey you've been on for a few years now. You will understand after this, the true nature of your work." And the thing is, nothing feels more true than this brief missive. And while I have moments of fear and trepidation, there is a greater certainty I am doing the right thing.
It's hard to believe what I've been shown already on this one day old journey....
But first, here's another truth: as we expand energetically more fully into the truth of who and what we are as a Soul being in human form, what has been and what we've done to make our way in the world no longer matches, aligns, with who we are becoming energetically–in the true size of our being. What we've manifested before in form no longer matches who we are becoming, and we either shed it easily or wrestle it off like a long worn constricted sweater. So, periods of transition. Periods in which we need to be willing to exist in the unknowing or not-knowing–the letting go more deeply of what was in order for the new to come into expression. And yes, sometimes more easily said than done....
Yesterday, as Ruby and I left the Hudson Valley, left Woodstock, I was visited by two profound images:
a. A first nation young warrior, leader, standing in the middle of all these objects–
objects of a life lived, a way of life that had been dismantled through both
violence and at other times thoughtfulness. He stood amidst these many
sacred objects of our ordinary lives and picked up one object at a time and held
it up to the Universe to hear its voice–to know if it was still aligned with the day,
and to know it in its new weight. To experience his face, his expression, his
reverence as he lifted these to the sky listening for their trueness, their value,
their utility in the new world... As I drove down I 87.... to feel this... to hear,
"Here....here is the first greeting of the day...weigh these objects, these
meanings, these endeavors of your life...."
b. The second was of Kubat–dear friend–from Kyrgyzstan. I met Kubat Jusubaliev
through his daughter, Jamby. She and I had become fast friends at the
American University of Central Asia. Kubat was, is, a deeply regarded Kyrgyz
writer--his work banned by Soviets for years and only recently resurfacing,
receiving the recognition it has long deserved.
Kubat spoke few words of English, and in truth, my Russian was as poverty-
enriched as his English. But we still shared such deep heart-based, soul-based,
communication. Having endured rejection, alcoholism, isolation and more for
many years Kubat retreated to the Pamir Alai in southern Kyrgyzstan, into a
remote village. There, he built and found a new life–practiced yoga, meditated,
devoted his life to understanding what it means to be human and to love and
be aligned with nature–he has become revered all over Central Asia, as well as
become a dear friend of the Dalai Lama. Jamby and I visited him whenever we
could–she too so loves the village life, the environment there, the life both
quickly and slowly disappearing. To her, I owe much gratitude for including me.
All day, the smell of Kubat's home and kitchen kept wafting through the car as
Ruby and I began to make our way south. A smell I associate only with him and
the distinct traditions of his kitchen and village. It is a sweet smell, a smell of
lived life, of the nuts and fruits drying, the oils used to cook–all of it intermingled
with smoke and having lived intimately in a space and known it through tea
and coffee and the remnants of a day spread 'round. All day, I found myself
saying to Kubat, "Yes. Ok. Finally, I am choosing the path you saw there all along
in front of me–my true Being in the world." Even as I write these words, the
sweet smell comes through, and his eyes, the knowing communication between
us, the quiet, and the walking barefoot through the orchard he planted . The
intimacy of spirit, of the most compassionate heart garnered through having
lived and found one's way to one's true nature. He is one of the few people who
has carried the deepest and longest sense of 'home' to me–that deep, deep
connection to Source, to love...
So all day, as we traveled south from the Hudson Valley, down through New York City, down through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the smell, the life of hiking with Kubat and Jamby in the Pamir Alai stayed with me. The life I had been invited into... the spirit of the place....of living in harmony with the earth, with the rhythms of the day. My heart swelled and ached as the hours and miles breathed into view, and then a beautiful joy began to break through the discombobulated tiredness, disbelief, and numbness of the early morning hours. I felt like I got my first glimpse into why I was driving across the country, why I was making this journey. For months, I had simply felt in a state of not understanding or not knowing why I needed to do this. I only knew I needed to, had to. Kubat, highly educated, literary, philosophical, deeply connected to the divine in the most ordinary moments of life, and so profoundly practical and connected to the land he believes in, is a living embodiment of Soul, a truly Human person, something I have begun to commit myself to more deeply.
These many years later, in some ways, I see he knew more about me than I knew about myself then... about the truth of who I am in expression....
I would like to say that was all of the 'extraordinary' of yesterday, but there is one more knowing that cannot be left out. Tecumseh.
In late 2017, I was in Costa Rica on a retreat with Lee Harris, what he calls a Soul Magic experience. I had been mentoring with Lee in the late summer, early fall. In fact, I can't imagine having gone through 2018 without his and his team's loving energies. Lee helped me lay the groundwork, to begin to understand what the transition from my career was going to look like, feel like, as I traversed that terrain emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and how to be with it–be in it without moving into trauma, despair, but instead, allowing myself to find my way through it with my heart instead of my head, to allow the intelligence of my heart take lead, to begin to trust it once more after so many years of following primarily my head. To have the insight of someone who'd taken the journey on their own path was incredibly invaluable. And that is not to say there were not many days of being a 'puddle on the floor' over the next year as I grieved the loss, the giving up of work that I had truly loved but simply knew it was time to let it go... We grieve the passing, the release of what we love as well as those those losses brought upon us. To release something is to truly know it in all its dimensions–its pains, joys, pride, suffering, greeds, expectations, etc..–and then to set it down, to put it down with the same honor one picked it up with. And all we can do in this process is the best we can, knowing there will be layers and layers of letting go, releasing.
The Soul Magic Retreat in Costa Rica was a glimpse into the world in a fundamentally different way–a world which I was inviting myself into, a way of being in which I knew I could be in direct communication with the true nature of myself and the universe–the dimensions of reality which we so much want to ignore out of fear and eons limiting beliefs–in a much more authentic way. My time there was opening to seeing just how connected and expansive the world is that we live in, that we are never alone, that we are living connected to so many lives already lived, energetic aids that can guide us in furthering our human conscious evolution, and that we need not be afraid.
Walking the beach in Nosara, I kept having a vision: I would literally see a native man on a horse and tribes and tribes behind him–all of them lined up on the beach. These peoples along with the many others I was seeing around our workshop space were simply there, eager to know us, eager to speak, eager to support our presence. Finally, I did speak to him, actually allowed myself to acknowledge the reality of the sight and he actually told me who he was–Tecumseh. I couldn't quite understand the name, so the letters literally appeared as if right in front of my forehead: T-E-C-U-M-S-E-H And then I realized he, they, really wanted me, someone, to know who he was, to know they were all there ready to aid us, guide us, to show us what we didn't need to do again and again in repeating history...that there is so much here for us on the planet.
Mostly, for the days in Costa Rica, I sat quietly as the workshops, retreat, progressed. I sat quietly present to the other attendees and to the presence of so much life that was there supporting us in another realm of being–felt and saw their presences, something I know I'd been aware of in my life before but refused to acknowledge in my lived daily life... But to live and be with others who authentically acknowledged this in their lives was a beautiful gift. Smart, brilliant, reliable, sane people whom my family would invite home to dinner. To allow and just breathe into this expanded consciousness was such a gift, an allowance of being without constriction.... Eventually, I understood that I was given this 'visual' experience so that I would more readily trust the auditory channeling experiences that lay ahead.
Days later, I looked up the name Tecumseh on Google to see what I could learn, if indeed it were even real.
Tecumseh. Tecumseh is among the celebrated Native American leaders and was known as a strong and eloquent orator who promoted tribal unity. He grew up during the American Revolution and the Northwest Indian War. He strived to create a unified tribal confederation and fought for native lands that he promoted no man owned. "The land simply is' he said... 'No man owns it...we're simply stewards of what was here before us and what will remain after us..." And so he strived to protect a way of life, a world-view that included an expansive multidimensional understanding of being human in nature. He directed the energies of the inter-tribal wars into resistance.
Somehow his presence is healing into compassion and love, support for those awaking into the conscious reality that real change is upon us. His energies and drive are like a white rod of support–one deepened by the wisdom of time.
And so as I am lying on the bed in a Best Western just outside of Lexington, VA that will accept dogs, suddenly there I am standing on the beach at Nosara, Costa Rica. This young warrior chief on horseback sitting there so forthright and staring directly at me...and the presence of him is as real as my skin.
It turns out, after looking into Tecumseh more at the Washington and Lee Library in Lexington, I am following a path, a trail, Tecumseh had journeyed many times in his life as a warrior, a marauder, a brother, an orator, and eventually as a chief who formed a confederation of tribes to resist the further pressure of, and the land loss to, the white colonists. He became a unifier of peoples, of tribes, of nations. He advocated and called for harmony and collaboration between the tribes rather than battle and disappearance... And what he seemed to be saying, asking, "Is how long must the earth endure the witness of our violence, greed, death... how long must it bear witness....how long must we all bear witness to this..."
Had I mapped this out with direct intention, I could not have chosen a route across the U.S. that is more aligned with the numerous and constant traveling he made as he visited the south to align more nations into a single unified effort.... I have no idea why he's become a presence in my life and how I truly cross his path or did...but what I have come to understand is this: If we could allow ourselves to see, literally see and feel, all the lives and timelines that we are each so intimately connected to, we could never look at each other and say, "Not you..." We could never choose violence towards another...never choose 'us' over them... We could never not know the expansive nature of who and what we truly are....and how beautiful all of it is...how beautiful we all are...even those of us still striving to move forward consciously through fear and control, through lack. Engaging someone operating in fear does not mean we are not connected, not a part of the same fabric of being.
Tecumseh lost his brother in a battle outside of Nashville, TN. Less than five miles from where I had planned weeks ago to stay this evening. The truth is, I had forgotten about Tecumseh and my experiences of him in Costa Rica for some time–he had simply become 'one of the tribal visions I'd experienced'. And lest anyone surmise otherwise, no, there were no drugs, plant medicines involved. He was simply there on the beach and I had forgotten him in the midst of so much other change this last year. I had assumed my visions of Tecumseh and the native tribes I'd witnessed in vision in Costa Rica were simply a moment in passing. Now here, they lead me across the land as I drive with the light coming up over the hills and mountains, as I drive with the light settling into the western arms of the day....as I drive knowing, as I knew in Costa Rica, that I am doing the right thing though at moments the fear and uncertainty looms....but my heart swells too... and my sense of the divine knows no bounds.... We are each of us steeped in its blessings, its energies...right here on this earth we walk. Right here as Ruby and I travel I 81. We need only allow, open ourselves to it...
I don't know who all is reading this. But I want to say "Thank you" and hope you will continue this journey with me and Ruby. Already, there's much more as the hours unfold across the land. Ruby is swimming her way through the states, river after river....