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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

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A neighbor is freaked out. There are rats in his roof. He blames it on the wood pile next to our house, even though the rats have had homes on the hill behind our homes long before we both lived here. I look at the news. My heart saddens seeing the devastation in the streets of Syria, a ruin of broken buildings and people. I watch a video about a gay teen suicide and cry. I am in a coffee shop in a new town, chatter, chatter, noise, jazz, and espresso machines hissing.

In the midst of the chaos I become a tree. I feel roots growing out of my feet, breaking out of my boots into the rich, moist earth. I feel the earth energy flowing up my trunk, into my branches that bust out of the walls and roof reaching for the aquamarine sky. My branches burst into fragrant blossoms, vibrant green leaves unfurl.

In the midst of the chaos, I can root myself. I can use my imagination. I can be a tree. I can imagine releasing excess energy through my feet into the earth. By doing this I can come back to myself. I can find my center.

When we feel ourselves pulled or drawn into emotional drama, or anxious it is a sign. We can shift things instantly by using our imagination, by becoming a tree, or remembering nature. It is easy for me to imagine being out in the woods, or imagine feeling the rain falling lightly on my cheeks. I can imagine tasting the rain on my tongue, and smelling the freshness of the air and feeling the aliveness of the grass, earth, trees, and leaves all around me.

If I am at home I can go into the garden, stand on the earth, or near a tree, or sink my hands into a pot of earth and sing. I don’t have to get frazzled, caught up in the drama. I don’t have to shrink, instead, I can choose to be more of who I am and who I am becoming.

I wonder how much easier life and chaos can be to navigate when we find our grounding? What would our lives be like if we could each discover what our grounding is? The questions to ask are: “What brings me home to myself in the midst of chaos? What empowers me? What grounds me to myself and to my center?”

Being able to find our grounding doesn’t mean we never lose our center, maybe in some ways it is good that we do, so that we know what it is like to lose our center and to be in chaos. Chaos comes with all change, with all acts of creation.

What helps you ground and center in the midst of chaos? When you know, you can empower yourself. So when you are in the midst of chaos, or when you feel the hooks of drama dig into you,  use the energy as a flag. You can say to yourself, “I’ll be a tree, I’ll remember walking in the woods, and I will root, ground, center, align with more of me, and from this place I will be a light in the chaos.

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It’s still raining! We woke up this morning to the sound of rain and rejoiced. As many know California Governor Brown has alerted us that the California drought had reached unprecedented levels. Photos on the Internet show cracked earth in dried up reservoirs and brown grassy hills. Many fear that a drought could last many years.

When my friend and I went for a walk a few weeks ago she stopped to sing to a small pool of water. Nearby was a dried creek where there is usually a waterfall flowing this time of year. My friend told me of how she always sings to water to honor it. I believe the Celts and other cultures followed a similar tradition.

When the drought first started, people talked about praying to water, sending it gratitude and healing. Water is universal – it doesn’t matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are we all need it, and we can all appreciate it.

With the concern of the drought and its long-term impact in our hearts and minds, Theodore, my husband and I started to be more conscious of how we use water and how to conserve it. We also went to water sources took photos and sang to them.

When we first started singing to water and more consciously appreciating it, it didn’t rain magically the next day, but we still continued to thank and bless water. Then last night, we decided to go visit a sacred place with a dried up waterfall during the twilight time. To our great delight, there was no one out walking but us.

As it got darker, we found a spot to sit and I started to sing. Magik our Corgi of course thought that was a good time to find the remnants of bay nuts and snack. I sang and danced to the Undines, the water spirits. I sang gratitude, and I sang hope. I sang imagining that all over the world people stopped what they were doing and started to sing to water, appreciating it, thanking it, loving it. I sang until my heart felt like it released a deep longing into realization, then we walked home. As the woods got darker, I felt a calm and reassurance. We rounded the bend, crossed a bridge and entered a mist. I felt moisture press against my cheeks for a moment then we walked through what felt like a veil and headed back home.

To our delight, this morning we woke up to the rain falling, and after we got up it still continued to rain! We decided to go walk in the rain and celebrate. We weren’t the only ones. Others had a similar idea. We saw families, and friends, dogs and their keepers, salamanders and birds, all enjoying and celebrating the rain in their own, unique ways. I don’t want to always wait for the absence of something to feel gratitude for it, but I won’t miss the opportunity to deepen my gratitude and appreciation for water again.

copyright 2014 Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved.

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La Luna

The people of the village use their torches to light up the dark bog and together they remove the heavy boulder off of Mother Moon. Her radiant face shines with such beauty she touches the hearts and minds of all the villagers and fills the bog with illumination. She lifts into the sky and fills the village and the world with light.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes goes on to talk about her insights into the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. She talks about how the bog in the story represents emotional wounds both in us personally and in our world. She suggests that the way to work with our wounding is not to avoid it, but rather go into it, feel it, be in the center of it metaphorically and meditatively. While being in the center of the wound, feeling with intensity, we can find the light, even if it is just a flicker. We grab that light and fill ourselves with it, we can come back into our lives and into our world being that light for others and ourselves.

After I finished listening to this second cd of “Theatre of the Imagination”, I checked my Facebook page. A friend had posted a story about a man who had gone to a school where there was a tragedy and he stood in front of the school as a bodyguard, helping everyone feel safer. He came everyday to stand as a bodyguard. No one asked him to. No one paid him. He went right into the center of that wound in that school and in that town, and he was a light.

How can we be a light to each other, our world, and ourselves?

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Photograph copyright Theodore Herzberg

Saturday, I went to a storytelling workshop by Ruth Strotter, founder of the Dominican College Storytelling Program, who is also a folklorist and international storyteller and teacher. Seven storytellers gathered. We learned new techniques and hopped right into telling stories. As the day flowed and undulated with the sounds and movement of the telling of tales, I experienced the magic and mystery of the oral tradition.

There’s something about the oral tradition and the alchemy of symbol and metaphor as elixir for the soul. It engages the imagination, yes. But there is something more that happens. Something I can’t quite put words too. But there is a shift, a change that happens, people are renewed. You can feel the spell, a real sense that magic is happening. You can’t see it but you can feel it. Mystery is engaged.

After the experience I wanted more, so I listened to Clarissa Pinkola Estes Volume One CD’s of “Theatre of the Imagination”. I listened to the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. Mother Moon is lured from the sky into a dark bog, trying to help a lost old man, but she is tricked, beaten, hurt and shoved deep down into the bog, covered by a heavy boulder.  The people have to work together as a community, creating light together to help rescue Mother Moon.  

The telling in it self is enough to start creating movement in thought and feeling, but then Clarissa enriches the telling with insights and more stories. Mother Moon is wounded in the story, and Clarissa talks about how the origin of the word “wound” is related to wonder. And later talks about how within a wound there is a door. If we go sit in the center of a wound, we can open a door. We can be the light that walks through that door, a light for others.

In the words of a dear friend, “there is magic in the telling”. 

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Red Rock is a huge outcrop of red jasper rock amidst trails and hills. It’s a place I go to sound heal. The walk there allows me to think and feel, releasing my thoughts and feelings, aware of my breath, and slowly letting myself attune to and align with the beauty around me. 

There is a trail of crushed red jasper that circles the Red Rock. Before I enter the space I always take a moment to feel the reverence of this place and think of the people who have passed this way before me, days, weeks, years, or lifetimes. My corgi, Magik usually beats me to the slab of stone that makes a comfy seat. Magik settle’s in, ears pricked up at the slightest sound, bird or hiker. I look out to swaying grasses, shadowed hills with secret stories and white billowy clouds in an aquamarine sky. 

Connected to the land, one hand on the red jasper, one on my heart I close my eyes and sing. The wind kicks up, a whir of wings, the sun comes out from behind clouds and illuminates my voice. The earth stirs and I feel the presence of an ancient, Native woman, sitting on this spirit rock, rocking in rhythm to my singing. Our communion is in song. Our communion is with the oneness of the sky, the earth, the fire of the sun and the water deep in the crevices of the earth.

I sing, moving my hands like prayers in the wind. The old Native woman smiles. I hear a hiker walk by, Magik woofs, and I am back in the present moment, only the wind and the crunch of stones remain. The sun radiates its warmth in me. I sigh and sit in silence, breathing in the elements, feeling the oneness and the joy.

Before I leave, I thank this place and I breathe the experience deep into me, so that when I am away from nature or feel stressed out I can come visit this place in my imagination. Imagine the sun filling me with its reassuring warmth, the red rock, sturdy, steady and grounding beneath me, the old Native woman smiling, as I sing to the beat of birds wings and the swaying of the tall grasses. No sooner do I touch, taste, feel and smell this place in my imagination than I am there, feeling the harmony and peace.

The presence and alliance with nature holds many gifts and empowerments. 

Red Rock Blessings, 

Vlatka

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