Category: Living Outside the Lines Page 2 of 6

Clearing the Fear in Capricorn Season

I have a practice of consistent self reflection inspired by astrology, aka archetypes informed by celestial bodies and attributed characteristics, and it’s been fruitful for personal growth. This process has plugged me in to the collective growth, too.

Beaching it in Baja

I started writing this in January—Capricorn season. The end of December (around the time of the winter solstice) till the end of January is governed by Capricorn, an archetype that is governed by Saturn. Capricorn implores structure, authority, and (a reckoning of) consequence of actions. It’s a sign that is connected to Earth, which makes the overtone of Capricorn season one that encourages level-headedness that comes from being rooted in structure, authority, responsibility.

Capricorn season is the time of the year that I have struggled the most. I had a lot of fear come up in prior years. Fear of my level of self responsibility (as a solopreneur)–if I don’t hustle my work, I don’t have an employer who will fill in the gaps. It’s a risky business venture. And, my identity as a successful solopreneur is intimately connected to my identity an independent woman in the business world. If I am not successful as a solopreneur, am I less successful as a woman?

As I navigated the yoga of this relationship (woman, responsibility, fear), I had a a major breakthrough: I learned that my individual identity as a successful solopreneur woman is intimately connected to the collective identity of women that is an uprising of the divine feminine. It’s not about being equal to men. It’s about being able to handle ourselves as women, honoring the explorations and vocations that feel good to us. The Capricorn in all of us asks us to build, and what we build is a combination of individual and collective efforts.

Archetypes of the zodiac

I’ve previously written about my determination to support myself as a solopreneur. This year’s round of reflections were done while I was on a sabbatical in Mexico. The ability to do this (take time and be in a foreign place) mirrored the gifts of self employment: I have time and location flexibility. I decided to take the month of January to do minimal work. I focused on light writing projects rather than heavier editing ones. It wasn’t vacation; it was simply a time of working at minimal capacity. This ease in workload would be rejuvenative.  I went to a location that allowed me to be close to the land and water, which I also found rejuvenative, and camp in my truck with solar equipment. All of this was purchased with the financial gain from my successful labor as a solopreneur. As I traveled down the Baja peninsula to the beach, people asked me: How can you afford this traveling lifestyle? And: Where is your husband? Who supports you? I always replied that I work as I travel. I am location independent.  And I ignored the other question. Women don’t need men to support them financially (or give them permission to do what they want to do).

As I sat on the beach, I found my thoughts taking me back to a memory: When I was in eighth grade, a few neighborhood girls and I were hanging out. They wore makeup and made out with boys and didn’t spend their afternoons doing homework. I liked them. They were fun to me. They accepted me. One afternoon, bored with talking about bands and eating Ritz crackers with icing (our regular afterschool activities), we needed something else to do. I’m not sure how we came up with the idea, but we decided to use a pin, a pen (to make an ink mark), and card to pierce our belly buttons. The next day at school, I was pulled aside by several teachers and told that if I hung out with “those girls”—it was a bad thing for me. I was told that there had been an incident, and that one of “those girls” had pierced her belly button—”A dangerous stunt,” said the woman teacher. “You’re a straight-laced, straight A student, you are a good influence for those girls. Do you know anything about the incident?” the teacher asked. “No,” I lied. “Oh, good,” she said. “I knew you were too smart to do something stupid.” If only the teachers had asked me to lift my shirt, they would have seen that I too had pierced myself. It was boredom. It was rebellion. It was pre-teen angst. At the time, I was just happy to not be in trouble, but that transaction stayed with me.

As I was on the beach reflecting on Capricorn, the structures we inherit, I wrote: Who the fuck gets to define what a good girl does? Good girls don’t rebel? I asked rhetorically. And what else don’t they do?

I realized that’s part of the reason why Capricorn tweaks me

Good girls don’t strike out on their own financial/career path.

Good girls don’t challenge the existing structure of things.

Good girls don’t define their trajectories because there is already a trajectory defined for them.

I’m all about breaking that outdated structure.

Thing is, I’m not looking for equality with men; I’m looking for solvency. I think the highest expression of empowered womanhood is the ability to chart your own course and break even there. Thrive through those relative circumstances.

As I sat on the beach, I realized how this reflection took me under the hood of the relationship I have with the Capricorn archetype. It was me melting my fear, one that told me I can’t handle this vocation. Me realizing that I can, and I’m doing well at it, even if other people still question or judge. Me realizing that I embody some of the old and outdated patriarchal standards, and I need to offload them.

EVOLving is meeting all parts of your experience with LOVE. Then let them go.

I wrote declarations in my journal:  I’m not in business as a female solopreneur to prove a point. I am in this occupation because this is the lifestyle that I want to have. I’m interested in meeting other women who honor the urges they follow. It’s about achieving my goals as an independent person. It’s about achieving our goals to be women who define our own roles.

A month later, upon writing and offering this blog, I feel clearer than ever on my  relationship to Capricorn and the structures that be. I feel more rooted in my true self. I feel convinced that the collective women uprising will create the structures that will allow women to be whatever girls they choose to be.

 

Welcome to my Tron-world

When I wanted to explore my relationship to energy work, I knew that what I learned would change my world. But I didn’t know just how much the lines of space and time would blur.

Can you read between the lines?

I decided to stay during fall in the southern California desert because I was attracted by the emptiness and isolation—it felt like the place to process and integrate a year full of abstract spiritual learnings. It was also the perfect controlled environment for a self experiment. I intended to explore my relationship to energy work (an offshoot of my spiritual learnings), and I knew that meant going to the fundamental bits—the quantum-level—of myself. I needed to go to where I was just information.

As part of my experiment, I arranged for energy healing and spiritual guidance from Atasiea, a reiki master and spiritual guidance counselor whom I had met in Guatemala during an ecstatic dance retreat in January. He had facilitated an energy-infused dance session there that helped me go deep into my own body and high into my mind to let go of toxic thought patterns that were controlling me. It was the dissolution of those toxic patterns that allowed me to become ready for a new phase of spiritual growth.

Atasiea, whose chosen spiritual  name means “one-ness”

Hold that thought.

I was in the library one afternoon in November, months after Guatemala. I was reading over an essay that I have been working on for almost (literally) 3 years.  I was practicing going in and out of the words in the essay–shifting my awareness of them, moving from words to shapes to symbols of language and back. I wanted to connect with the words in the essay. I set the intention—the fundamental of establishing an energetic connection. I did a subtle plug-in (feet on the ground, focus on my breathing), and I felt my visual perception shift into Tron-mode—my field of vision starts to look like the 1980s Tron movie. The boring bookshelves turned into cases full of neon beams of light, and the books on them became crystals. I felt a bit like I was in The Library of Babel (a place created by Borges, the Argentinian writer’s concept of a hexagonal, bee-hive shaped infinity library). The idea of the interconnectedness of all of the ideas, writers, and me to them was so immediately apparent and (good kind of) overwhelming. It was a connection that had been previously blocked. And I felt like I was a part of this vast network that, through the act of writing, pull ether into material and with that, create our world because information is our world. I felt a deep sense of satisfaction, too, because this was part of the energy work that I offer. I help people expand their sense of selves and worldviews using language, story telling, and information. Turn worlds inside out for all to see. Words are sacred, as is the space they come from.

Hold that thought.

I had asked Atasiea before the trip to Guatemala ended if he was interested in taking me on as a student, conveying to me the way he was able to facilitate sacred space for energy work, the way he had done during the retreat. He agreed that he would be when the time was right.

And in the desert, that alignment happened.

My sessions happened with Atasiea happened over the phone. They usually entailed me lying down on my bed, surrounded by my crystals and journal, speaker phone on. I was physically in the desert; he in LA, his base. But through our conscious co-establishing of a connection on a quantum level, the time and space between us became irrelevant. We started each session with a grounding, connecting our being to the skies and the Earth, invocations and prayers, and then, a full hour and a half in what I call “sacred space.” We created it, and within it, worked through reiki (prana—life force exchange) and channeling (receipt and transmission of knowledge from a higher dimension). It was like being connected to a library of myself, one that contained memories, data, emotions, and all possibilities.

Information flowing in bits

Using imagination-intuition-the liminal sacred space is really trippy. I said, “Whoa, WTF?” a lot, often to a chuckle by Atasiea. “I know, right?” he usually replied with his soft California accent. “This fifth dimension stuff is legit.”

Sometimes it felt like I was deep inside my body, and other times it felt like I was out of my head and somewhere, another time and space completely different, somewhere else. Information exchanged. I relived scenes from years ago by remembering things that I had forgotten or stuffed inside. I re-collected energy that was stuck in that time and space.  I talked out declarations of power and sovereignty over thick karmic patterns that kept me from making conscious, co-creating choices. For all the times that I shoulda-woulda-coulda, I did–at least, through words, in sacred space.

Sacred space feels like it’s in a dimension apart from this heavy, 3D one. The truth is that sacred space can be everywhere, even in the non-space of data transmission happening over phone lines.

The after effects, how I felt post-healing sessions: tired. Bone tired. I spent hours afterward resting in the camper, full 360-degrees of vast open desert space, mountains, isolation. I wrote a lot about it, too, in my notebooks since documenting and sharing has become part of my core body of work, part of what I am doing here on this blog. The details of the sessions are important only to me. But their evidence is the change in the way that I am; a change in my patterning—a break in toxic patterns that felt embedded at my core. The was I felt after the entire experiment: changed, and lighter somehow.

I believe my ability to turn on Tron-mode (which is what my field of vision looks like when I am in sacred space) is the result of energy work that I did with Atasiea.

Scene from “Tron” (1982)

Now let’s combine some thoughts.

What do fundamental bits mean anyway? Where do words come from? What does quantum level mean? Western science says it’s where particles that create our physical reality are. The particles can connect instantly, as in, they operate outside the flow of time as we understand it at other levels. Quantum level is atomic. And there’s a theory that DNA molecules—the building blocks of our physical reality—are held together by entanglement at the quantum level. These ideas hold up to Eastern philosophy, providing belief systems that expound the interconnectedness of all things; that our separations between objects are illusions created by our limited physical methods of perception. Frontier research in fields like parapsychology shows that we are moving toward an entanglement of Western science with Eastern philosophy as we continue to generate data that support a worldview that includes the conscious interaction of mind, body, and spirit.

Before Guatemala, my worldview on energy work was that it was powerful but weird. It was woo woo. I felt like it was something that I should be doing but just couldn’t. It was as if I had lacked some kind of permission by myself to practice energy work freely (and it’s possible that a lot of this was inherited ancestral memory—stuff I inherited but didn’t actually create). I had bad information inside. Toxic patterns that held me back. But by engaging healing at the quantum level, I was able to go into the core and metaphorically switch the disk.

It’s just that my vision of sacred space looks like an 80s movie. Welcome to my Tron-world.

Acting out consciousness expansion

They say the desert makes characters, and at a recent performance art workshop in Joshua Tree National Park, I felt myself becoming one.

Bashir and Shamu at Cap Rock for Artists’ Tea

Part of living in the Southern California desert area includes allowing lots of travel time to make it across the long distances of sand and rock. I still hadn’t embodied this as I raced along the roads in 29 Palms, then into Joshua Tree National Park. I hoped my cell service didn’t cut out before my Google navigation app brought me to Cap Rock, the location of the Sunday morning program Artists’ Tea, where artists give talks on their work and process, and presenters and attendees are provided tea and snacks. That Sunday morning’s program included Bashir Naim and Shamu Azizam, performance and experiential artists who live in Twentynine Palms (the same town I am living in during my desert sabbatical).

I had eyeballed the map online last night and thought “Twenty minutes at best,” but nearly forty-five minutes later (and fifteen minutes past the scheduled start of the workshop), I was anxious and feeling silly for not having left earlier and mentally sussing out the person who schedules events deep in the Park at 9am on a Sunday morning.

I arrived, got out of my truck, and approached the group of ten people who sat in folding chairs in front of a giant, sand-colored boulder.

“Am I in the right place? Is this Artists’ Tea?” I asked.

“You sure are!” said a friendly, soft spoken man. He stood at the propane camp stove that set on a pop-up table. He was heating water. He asked me, “Would you like some tea? Cookies? They’re vegan and homemade. Also, grab any open seat you like. My name is Doug.”

I realized the workshop hadn’t started, so I relaxed a bit as I looked around at the small butterfly chairs and camp stools arranged in a semicircle on the hard sand. A few Joshua Trees and weirdly shaped granite boulders dotted the otherwise empty landscape. I didn’t see the workshop leaders (whose picture for the event on Facebook showed them wearing bright red masks with horns).

Bashir and Shamu in masks

“Our artists haven’t arrived yet,” said Doug from his position at the camp stove. He didn’t seem too phased about the lateness on my part (or theirs).

So I sat down. And waited. There was some friendly back and forth banter among the group, and I could tell that they were locals, resident creative types. I wasn’t quite awake (I had rushed to get there and didn’t have my morning coffee) and I wasn’t quite self assured (although I had been in the area for two months, I still felt very much like a tourist, so part of my daily interaction involved a huge amount of distance and observation before interaction).

It took me a few minutes of sitting down to realize that the sun was blazing. I had sunglasses but not a hat. My head was on fire. I occupied myself with trying to find the right angle of shade from a nearby Joshua Tree, but that wasn’t happening. The trunk’s branches sprouted spiky leaves in tufts. It didn’t make shade. I knew there was a beach umbrella in the back of my truck, a bright rainbow-colored one, and I thought twice about drawing attention to myself by using it—but I didn’t want to be uncomfortable so I went to get it. I sat down on the mini-fold-up stool with my oversized shade maker. A few people looked at me and smiled. I felt like a crazed New Yorker in the desert surrounded by chilled-out Californians.

Around half past nine, a small, four-door car pulled into the parking lot.

“Here they are!” said Doug.

I turned, watched two young-ish looking people get out of the car, one holding a duffel bag. As they walked up and through the semicircle, they introduced themselves as Bashir and Shamu. Their voices were soft and sweet. They didn’t look like the event picture, but what could I have expected? They were wearing masks in it.

They helped each other unload the contents of the bag onto the picnic table: a latex spike collar, a gold lame piece of fabric, the red horned mask. Additional pieces of costumes from their drag acts. Then they looked at the group, thanked us for coming, and briefly spoke about their backgrounds in dance and performance art.

I couldn’t believe the difference in the demeanor of their arrival versus mine.

“Oh, right,” Bashir said. “We should do introductions. But I don’t want you to tell me who you are. Announce your presence here by making a sound or noise.”

I thought it was a cute and unique direction. There were some chuckles around the group, but everyone did just that. I made a scratchy noise. I’m not sure where it came from; it just seemed to come out of me.

The mood of the group was already light, but then it turned jovial. I suddenly felt like I was in an adult play group.

As I sat and listened to their vision for the workshop (to encourage us to create characters based on landscape in the desert), I felt myself mentally sliding into the role I occupied at that time: a wound and cranky tourist with a huge and showy umbrella, sitting in the serene desert on a sunny Sunday morning. I thought, “What would this character need to overcome the situation?” and immediately I knew:  confidence and self assuredness in their actions.

I shifted my gaze to the props on the table, so I’m not sure who (Bashir or Shamu) said, “Performance is consciousness expanding. We get to be that person (or have a role or act through whatever we desire) to have the experience we desire.” I started to drift into the heart of the statement, felt myself vibing with what he was saying. He continued, his words melding with my growing enthusiasm. He was saying something like Create a persona that is powerful. Put that on. Own it. And once you have that memory, it enriches who you are. That expands your consciousness.

Props on the table

I straightened up in my fold-up stool. I straightened my bright, showy umbrella. I made my name-noise quietly to myself. I noticed that I felt less anxious than when I had arrived.

We were invited to come up to the table, pick up a prop, connect with it, see what it made us want to do, and then, perform it out. I found myself drawn to the spiked collar which, when I connected with it, wanted to be put on my thigh (not neck). I felt myself wanting to move, and I explored that. My motions were sharp and jarring, like the leaves on the Joshua Tree. And when it came time to perform¸ I felt my heart start to race. I almost passed the opportunity because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself—but the character I assumed in the desert is one who was as unapologetic as blaring sun and bleak, sprawling landscape. I stood, did my jerky-inspired motion—and much to my surprise—dropped down to the earth. I did a series of backward rolls, rubbed my hands all over the ground and kicked up dust, shook my booted foot violently then got up and gracefully, calmly, smoothly sauntered back to my pop-up camp stool. Yes, I meant to do all of that.

A few members of the group clapped. As I sat down, I felt proud. I re-grabbed the umbrella, which felt smaller, less ostentatious, (I realized)  was actually kind of perfect. I wondered why I had made such a fuss. And as I watched the next group member perform, my inspiration grew.

Moral of this post’s story: go for it.

The more I reflect, the more I realize how silly the anxiety made me think. Beach umbrellas are MADE for sandy environments and bright skies. I believe it was simply the act of holding the oversized umbrella that made me janksy. (I eventually found a way to wedge the pole in the grill behind me, so I wasn’t holding it the hole time.) But this a great opportunity to deconstruct anxiety, notice how it influences our thoughts, and acts as a sort of anti-imagination: it makes us think small versus BIG.

I encourage this type of reflection & exploration during during EVOL ceremonies. Sometimes the guided meditation prompt will allow-ask-explore you to be different versions of yourself. I say that that can be the you who has successfully manifested your desire—“What would your life look like then?” Sometimes I say to simply imagine a different scenario, and I do this because the faculty of imagination wanes in our adult years. It’s as if we lose the ability if we don’t use it. It’s as if acting, performing, just going for it are shamed. What I’m encouraging here is to find spaces to also perform what you’re imagining. Go for it. Take the person/vision/character you work with a guided meditation and be it. Have the experience that is tugging at your emotional body. Then embody it.

And if more people did, we would help others, too. Expand consciousness. It’s infectious. The experiences grow and we grow.

 

Post photo credits: Artists’ Tea Facebook event.

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