A Ball of String

Trying to pin down this information of a spiritual journey is like catching snowflakes on your tongue. There are plenty of flakes everywhere, but sometimes it is hard to capture one. My thoughts are like that.

However, there is a spiritual principle in Shamanism that might explain this: All times being as one.

I think of it as that ball of string that Grandmother Martin used to have, tying on more bits as they came into her life. It was wound tightly and contained a variety of strings.

In Shamanism, and Shamanic Journeys in particular, we drill down through space and time, as if we were drilling down through that ball of string. We are able to get to different places in time and space quickly, often mysteriously.

We will spend quite a bit of time on Shamanic Journeys in the course of our Kindergarten. But for now, understand that shamanism is not a linear nor a logical process. Study astro physics if you want to get a more intellectual idea of what I’m talking about.

And so my posts will also not follow a clear linear outline. All times being as one. It won’t matter in the end.

Whale Mugging

Alaskan humpback whales migrate every year to the warm, calm, preditor free waters of Hawaii to mate and to give birth. These magestic creatures continue to excite me. That they allow us to be near is one of those mysteries.

Their brains are almost four times larger than ours or about 10 pounds. How do they use their brains? We’ve been told that they sing a song, which changes from year to year in some small measure. All the humpbacks, regardless of location, sing the same song. I find that amazing, and encouraging.

Instead of killing these mammals, we now travel in boats large and small to get as close as the protective rules allow. Our favorite whale watch boat is Maui Adventure Cruises, Slip 11 out of Lahaina. They are fast, small, inflatable boats. We have never been disappointed and year after year our experience exceeds the previous.

A whale watch is a time for me to pray to the spirit of the whale. I thank them for allowing us into their world. I tell them we mean no harm.

Over the years we have had babies give us a thirty minute show of breaches and whale tail slaps of pure joy. Others have decided to rest beneath our little boat so that a masked head looking down into the water can see eye to eye with a whale. And often, they swim near and around us so that as we bob with engine shut down, even I with a small cell phone can get a phenomenal photo.

End of March is pushing the end of the season for whales. Some are still here, but in the interest of full disclosure, the photo was from a previous visit.

I loved being mugged by a whale.

Turtle Meditation

Kalani Honua, one of our favorite places to stay on the Big Island of Hawaii, has changed over the years. They now have electricity, but it still has rustic feel of shared community. The showers of the small cabins have large plants growing beyond the screen for limited privacy. I love it.

Yoga and other types of spiritual retreats are continually hosted at Kalani. The opportunity for individual retreats is also offered. I made my first lauhala bracelet there and I bring it with me on each return visit.

One of my favorite forms of mediation at Kalani is to cross the street to a small patch of land. It appears that other souls have carted sand to cushion the sharp lava here. On this small promentory, high above the crashing waves there is nothing but ocean to see. There is no other land of any sort until the west coast of the United States is reached.

Here is where I commune with the sea turtles. It feels a miracle that I can even see their heads surface for air. They are like coconuts bobbing in the surf. Very little effort is expended on their part to remain free from the razor shore.

Flow with the currents.

Losing my Way in the Lava Field

On the Big Island of Hawaii is Volcanos National Park. Lava flows in a constant, living, changing river of molten energy.

This kind of energy one can feel in your body. It is my favorite of all the islands, less developed in the part that we visit.

Kilani Honua is a small echo-resort on the eastern most tip. It is close to where Kalapana USED to be. The road ends abruptly to a black craggy lava field from the massive eruption in 1990. Plants exert their power here, ready to spend a century or more breaking down the rock into soil.

On one visit, our leader offered a sunset viewing of the lava flowing into the ocean. The path was different than today and access has changed. We grouped into pods of six to eight with a “leader” in each.

A lava field is a moonscape of undulating hills of sharp rock, crevices, and hidden lava tubes where active lava might still be flowing. We stopped for snacks on the way since our excursion would have us missing dinner.

Were we advised to wear hiking boots, take an adequate supply of water and nourishment? I don’t recall the instructions, only the need afterwards. Yes, the hike of perhaps a couple of miles was arduous, but well worth it when we perched high above the shoreline to see the steam and glow of the molten rock hitting the ocean.

Then the sun set. Our local guide told of spending the night out in this blackness on a moonless night when she had lost her way. Even with a weak flashlight there were no landmarks. Each step was treacherous. Believing myself in a spiritual place, I prayed. I have never prayed for my own survival in such a way. Our guide had vanished into the darkness as well as our fellow travelers.

I believe in the Mystery which brought us safely out.

I love the Sea

My mediation and Buddhism teacher recently tried to explain the concept of non-beingness to me. Like a wave, our minds sometimes crest, and then flow away like the dip in the wave. But always the wave is water.

Is it because I am made of water that I feel so connected to it? I love water aerobics. I am still one of the kids who loves to swim in the pool and in the ocean.

I know that the attraction of the Hawaiian Islands is the surrounding water. Friends who live there know the power of the water, respect it, as well as revel in it. I am spoiled to visit it during its calmer seasons.

But given the opportunity, I can sit on the shore, or in a boat, knowing that my survival is not at risk, and love the sound, the smell, and the feel of the ocean in the air.

Hawaiian Energy

footprint in the sand

My thoughts on energy divert to islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — Hawaii. These islands capture the imagination, particularly for a Midwestern girl like me. I had read Mitchner’s opus when young, cheered and mourned for the natives, and related to the missionaries in ways I wish I could not claim.

My first visit was a long twelve hour journey from Minnesota. I escaped winter and exited the plane to a sunny day with a fine mist in the air. Ah, I could breathe in a way that I could not, in the dry super-heated home from which I came.

The Aloha spirit was also in the air. This was not just the Department of Tourism promoting this spirit. The people were exceptionally friendly and helpful, to the point of offering us the “locals’” discount card at the grocery store.

Who could not fall in love with such a place. In addition I was on my honeymoon. On our last day, we hoped for one last treat — a helicoptor tour of the island. Ah, the time share people dangled this tidbit before our eyes with a 50% discount.

I was raised to be thrifty. We were knowleagable and sophisticated people. We could survive the sales pitch. Ah, naive rubes that we were. The place was a small six story beach front with a long stretch of beach to walk. A whale breached in front as we registered. The salesperson was so laid back we were encouraging him to drink the coffee.

It was the best and worst investment of our life. The market plunged while we traveled home and we lost much more than what we had paid. It was a silly purchase, but it has gotten us to Hawaii more years than not, sharing the second bedroom with friends and family. Hawaii’s sand is definitely in our sandals.

Feeling the Chakras

Healers of all varieties are aware that blocked energy causes illness. We cannot have spiritual understanding if our root chakra is blocked. Or, when we have writers’ block, a blockage in the energy of the fifth chakra may be the cause.
For Shaman Kindergarten, the goal is to be able to feel the chakras in ourselves and others.
HOMEWORK: Once again using the palm of your hand, scan your body up and down the center. See if you can notice energy bumps where the chakras exert their presence. I find it helpful to close my eyes so that I can “see” better.
Next find a friend or partner who is willing to have you experience on feeling their chakras. Have the person lie on the floor, put a cushion under their knees for comfort. Now, move the palm of your hand over where you might expect a chakra to be. See if you can find it.
How did that experiment work for you? I’d love to know successes and failures.

The Body’s Energy Field

The body’s energy field has been studied for thousands of years. Many traditions use the chakra system, and so does Shamanism. Reiki healers, chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists use the energy fields in the body to heal. There is an abundance of resources and information on the internet and in books on chakras. I encourage you to explore for a deeper understanding.
My basic explanation follows the illustration, starting at the bottom and working up.

  • The Root Chakra is located among that tripod of bones upon which we sit. It is instinct and survival and security.
  • The Second Chakra is located in the abdomen. This is the center for emotion, sexual energy, and creativity.

  • The Third Chakra is located in the solar plexus, or the gut. Mental functioning, power, control, and freedom to be oneself are located here.
  • The Fourth Chakra is the heart chakra. Love, balance and compassion reside here.

  • The Fifth Chakra is the throat chakra for speech and self expression.
  • The Sixth Chakra, often called the Third Eye, is located in the middle of the forehead. Here Intuition, psychic abilities, and imagination reside.

  • The Seventh Chakra is known as the Crown Chakra, located at the top of the head. It is known for spiritual understanding and connection.
  • One Year to Live

    spirit cloud

    Life is so interesting. Thank you for subscribing to my blog.

    Spirit Rock Meditation Center has been a place of calm and meditation for Chuck and I since we moved here. We have both taken week-long retreats on The Spirituality of Aging.

    Now we are involved in a year long study of One Year to Live, based on Stephen Levine’s book. We met this morning.

    We were given a handout of questions for reflection. With today’s meditation it became clear to me that I have been listening to well meaning voices that are not serving me well.

    1. My books are important to me. Set 4000 years ago they are still a woman’s struggle with living up to family expectatons, the mores of society, the accepting of one’s gifts, and the developing of wisdom as one ages. They are my story as well as Sarai’s.
    2. I do not need to be famous.
    3. I do not need to develop a following.
    4. I do not need anyone to listen to my blathering.
    5. Search Engine Optimization is not how I want to spend my energy nor are web site metrics.

    Sigh. So there you have it. Breath in, breath out.

    Knowing that I will die, how do I want to live differently.
    I send my love to you and all beings. May we be free from fear and anxiety. May we find peace.

    Feeling the Difference

    As we began to feel the energy in our hands, we may also begin to sense that everything has its own energy, its own vibration. Those with special instruments can prove this up scientifically, but shamans have known this for a long time.
    Our eyes often confuse us. We think we understand our reality, believe in its fixed view. But by closing our eyes we can see differently, and by closing our eyes we can FEEL differently. I am talking about sensing, not emoting.

    I love this experiment best in nature because its vibration is so strong. But if you want to do this at your desk, find four objects: one of wood, one of metal, one of stone, one of any other material. Have them about the same size. Close you eyes and then do the “shell game” with them to “confuse yourself.” Without opening your eyes, place the palm of your hand over these objects. Let it hover a few inches above them. See if you notice a difference. No? Activate your hands again by rubbing them together and try again.