Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Keeping Vigil -- Part III -- Light the Fire

I'm sitting in my office on a Tuesday morning, going over an order with a vendor. She asks, "can you hang on a minute?"

I say sure. She puts me on hold. I'm treated to some bland music. I put her on speaker, and turn to check my e-mail. The sun, streaming in over Queens, is beating on my right shoulder through my window on the 43rd floor. The mind-numbing tunes end and my vendor says

"Do you have a tv in your office?"

"Yeah, sure," I reply.

"Better turn it on. Plane crashed into the World Trade."

I zip down to the 42nd floor conference room and turn on the tv. Other people are already beginning to gather as I rotate the set so it's pointing out the glass wall into the office proper. We all watch the second plane hit and the excited "ohmygod what's going on" buzz dies. A second later I think the world just changed , and a second after that I say it out loud into the general silence.

About half the gathered crowd is now turned to look out the south windows. From our perch on East 53rd we can clearly see both towers smoking away. The view is only too good when the towers come down later that morning.

On the Saturday morning following, I set out for the Catskills from my little cottage in Putnam County (1 hour north of NYC). I knew where I was going, but the physical location was less important than the soul-location I was headed towards.

I intended to sit out overnight, deep in the woods, alone and without shelter or food, and simply tend a campfire. My raw soul and cracked heart yearned for deep quiet, and in sitting out all night, I hoped to make space for my anger and sorrow to manifest -- my spirit was too full of both and heavy with the exhaustion of bearing them since Tuesday the 11th 2001. Just before 9 a.m. on that day, the world had lurched and come to a standstill. I needed to sit out on the land and see if I could feel the Earth turning again.

Several summers prior, I had the happy honor of being best man at my friend E's wedding. Disdaining the traditional stripper-bar bachelor party, he wanted to go camping instead. I scouted some locations, finally settling on a not-too-difficult trail not far from Phoenicia, NY, that was secluded enough that our hooting intoxication would be unlikely to disturb anyone with two legs. E and I headed up the trail fairly early that weekend, intending to locate a campsite that everybody could set up at once they arrived. We were about 75 minutes up the trail when we dropped our packs and bushwhacked off to the left, thinking we had found a likely spot. It turned out to be too small for the four tents we were figuring on, although nicely situated near the edge of a precipice looming over the valley down below. The view was lovely, but inebriated revelry that close to a dropoff such as that was not a wise idea. We went back to our packs and continued up, eventually finding our spot another 45 minutes along.

That September Saturday morning, driving up the New York Thruway, I was thinking about the first spot we'd found. And hoping I could find it again.

I had a late lunch at a diner in Kingston, then headed north until I reached the trailhead. I hauled my pack out of the car. It contained a couple of tarps, a blanket my Grandmother Chadima had made me, about six liters of water, some ritual objects and the means to make fire. To it I strapped my drum and beater and headed up. I recognized the spot immediately, but when I hiked off to the left to find the actual site, I convinced myself I was mistaken and got back on the trail. Ten minutes later, I unconvinced myself of my mistake and turned around. Maybe the light was different (it was later in the summer, after all). Second time, I located the spot near the precipice and, shucking my pack off, stood for a few moments taking the place in. It is a cut into the steep, rocky hillside about 15 yards wide. In front, a forty-foot drop. Perhaps ten yards behind me, the mountain began its ascent again. Secluded, lonely, perfect.

I drank a lot of water and set to gathering wood and stones. Wood for the obvious reason, and stones for making a ring to contain the fire. I guessed it was about five o'clock (I don't wear a watch). When I had a large pile of stones, I found one that spoke to me and made it my cornerstone. I then hunted one down that fit nicely into one side of the cornerstone and mated them together. Then I looked until I found one that fit into the other side of the cornerstone and placed it so. Most of the rocks I was working with were pretty flat, and I continued until I had a full ring about four feet across and maybe three inches high. Again, I looked for a stone that spoke to me and, selecting it, searched for where it fit into the first ring. I continued this process (going out to look for a stone when none that I had gathered seemed to fit in the spot I was working) until I finally had a ring of four or five levels about a foot high, fitted together by intuition and sweat. I drank another liter of water, rubbed citronella oil on my clothes, ears and neck until they burned dully and I hawked and spit at the reek (I'm not a big fan of citronella scent -- but even less a fan of commercial repellents). Then I started to crack branches and logs, either with my bare hands, or by leaning them up against large rocks and leaping on them with all of my 200 pounds (only belatedly wishing for a hatchet). When I was satisfied I had a decent supply of firewood, I sat down, drank more water, and...sat.

With the end of all my activity, it got pretty quiet. The sun was going down behind the ridge behind me and so I was already in shadow, although there was still that gray-blue twi-light. Shadows were soft to non-existent. The day animals were hushed, and the night animals were not yet stirring. I wondered if -- today -- I was a day animal or night animal. I set out a tarp and placed my blanket on top for sitting. I set my drum near the blanket, and an amethyst and a crow feather on the stone ring. I put the fire-makers next to the crow feather, and closed my pack and set it off to the side. The hush was getting oppressive.

Without the weight of media saturation that blankets the senses in the City (only augmented by the rage and muted hysteria of those first post-911 days in NYC) or the do-do-do of my first hours on the mountain, the anger and sadness I'd been hauling around began to well up from inside me.

On September 12th, I'd gotten up around 4:30 a.m. (couldn't sleep) and to my girlfriend's astonishment and annoyance I dressed for work. The trains were running, I could get into Manhattan. And I couldn't bear the thought of a day in front of CNN poking through the rubble, physical and otherwise, the attacks had left. I was in the office early enough to watch the sun rise over Queens and the darkened City. Darkened, but still there -- still alive. I walked the halls of the office -- empty desks...missing persons...the dead...their surviving friends and familymygodmygodmygod I broke down in the kitchen trying to make coffee. I could feel the flood behind the first tears and stifled sobs and couldn't bear to let it out there in the cool sterility of the environment. I cleared my throat and growled violently, forcing the softer emotions down and away.

The lid I'd mostly kept on it all week was now off. And it was coming to swallow me as the night was swallowing the day. I bolted.

Back to the trail I went -- as fast as I could through the brush and stepping over fallen trees and the larger stones. Once I reached the trail I turned right and half-ran down the side of the mountain. Wind rolling down the mountain blew in my ears and I felt more than heard the thud-thud-skip of my boot-shod feet skidding down the trail. I was about a half-mile down the trail -- maybe five minutes' flight -- when I misjudged a footfall in the failing light and took a full-length spill onto my hands and knees, sliding five or ten feet until I lay flopped on my face near a curve in the trail. I felt my belly on the earth, dirt on my hands and cheek. I was quivering with energy, panting out breaths that couldn't seem to fill my lungs. I let out a roar.

fear and fear and frustration and self-pity and sadness for everyone the dead the survivors the living the maimed and soul-burnt and parentless children whose motherfathers were now ash or crawling into the bottle and rage rage and rage for all the reasons those wicked desperate men did what they did to the World Trade to all those people to me the world and the next madness would be worse worse worse I roar I Roar I ROAR I ROAR I ROAR I roar...

I coughed and gasped for breath after the initial wind of it had blown through me. The ragged edge of my breath shook me and my vision swam and came back into me. My dirty hands framed a small patch of earth a foot in front of me that I could only just make out -- my thinking mind came back into myself then and I saw the light and dark had switched places. Where before the shadow was merely stretching across the light in the landscape, the night had now come and daylight was only afterglow -- a pale memory of sunlight. Faded as my courage -- thin as my hope for the world which had stopped turning. I heard a line from a song I knew:

"Every day -- you crawl into the night -- a fallen angel with your wings set alight"*

Get up, lad.

I still can't breathe, but I push myself up a bit and fall sideways from my hands and knees and, twisting, land on my ass.

Get up, man. Get back up that hill and light your fire.

I gather my legs, drawing harsh breaths, shaking sweat from my face, and stand. I brush my wild hair back from my eyes, wipe some leaves and dirt from near my eye.

Light that fire.

The voice, accented in soft Scots burr, gets my legs pumping and I start back up. I feel more than see my way into the gloaming. By the time I've retraced my steps it's close to complete dark, but fortune smiles: at the place I'm to leave the trail there is a fallen tree for a landmark, and there is the glimmer of daylight clinging to that spot as the fallen tree has left a hole in the leaf-canopy for the last shreds of light to penetrate. The hundred-odd yards back to my camp is much slower going, tripping and staggering along through the underbrush. I reach the place, though, and am glad I set out my matches and tinder that afternoon. Locating them by feel on the stone ring, I put the matches in my pocket and blindly snap twigs and make a stack I can light with a match. I wait in the dark for a pause in the night-breeze and strike a match, cupping it carefully. I remember feeling the coolness of the earth under my knees sinking through my jeans into my body as I created heat and light with my hands. The match edge hoves up next to a slender twig and its glow dulls before catching. I find more thin sticks and break them into short lengths and add them as the fire begins to grow.

Soon enough, I have a roaring fire. I have no need of its heat, but its light is most welcome. I push fear back thirty feet to the edge of the glow. Into that circle will come my sadness. I have more than enough to fill the space.

I turn a slow circle, surveying what will become my world for the night. The rock-face behind me will guard my back, the trees all around will keep vigil with me, the valley in front of me yawning open: the future to come. I set my blanket closer to the flames, and sitting, gather my drum to me. My eyes, and ears, hands and drum; night-watch by the fire. Tis enough. Eyes fixed on the flames, I lean in, holding my bodhran** against my chest with my left hand. I bring the tipper up in my right, and begin to drum.

(I will conclude the Keeping Vigil series of posts in part IV -- finishing up the tale of that night on the mountain -- as soon as waking life allows.)

* Afro-Celt Sound System / "When You're Falling" -- yes, I know, those aren't ACSS's actual lyrics -- what, Spirit isn't allowed to improvise? [wry smile]

** A bodhran ("boo-rawn") is a simple frame drum of Celtic design. A tipper is the short stick used to strike the bodhran.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keeping Vigil part II -- Trial by Fire

All true initiations are solitary trials. Certainly they may occur in a group or social context (from the common such as a Bar Mitzvah to the more extreme example of the Sun Dance), but in the end an initiatory experience is one that not only expands our understanding, but expands our understanding in a way that changes us . And we don't change in groups. We change one at a time, on the inside.

Mentors and guides appear when we need them and when we're ready to hear their teaching. Keep your eyes peeled every day -- you never know what unlikely character may show up with something to impart. These spirit teachers, and friends/relatives will all be sources of information and guidance. As we incorporate the things we learn we begin to walk our lifepaths in new ways -- indeed as we sharpen our vision with the help of those around us, we see our path more clearly (or for the first time [grin]).

But there is a difference between knowledge and knowing. As Morpheus tells Neo in The Matrix : "there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path."* Eventually, we have to get our knowledge from our head to our heart -- to get out of thinking about what we believe and into living what we believe.

The Medieval Alchemists called it "The Refiner's Fire." In the exoteric (or open) portion of Alchemical philosophy, the Refiner's Fire was that which would remove the impurities from the substance being worked. In the esoteric (hidden) portion, it was the divine force working upon human fallibility or shortcomings to remove impurity or weakness, leaving behind a more divine essence. In other words, when God wanted to help us get closer to Him, he cooked us [grin]. Leaving Medieval philosophy (and its androcentric deity) aside for a moment, let it be enough to say that in initiation we undergo trials that challenge us to overcome doubt, fear and/or the limits of our physical endurance to reach a state of clarity and higher understanding. Just as importantly, if we meet our trials and overcome their adversity, our clarity and understanding *sticks* to our souls in a way such that we cannot live in a manner contrary to it.

To put it another way, under the pressure of an initiatory trial, things we merely know become things we embody -- deep in our bones -- and after we have passed through the trial, we stand on the Earth with new legs, see the world with new eyes, hear the words of others with new ears, touch those around us with new hands...and speak with a new voice.

This is not to say initiation is a pleasant process -- it usually hasn't been for me. Our trials can take the form of learning to stand up to an overbearing parent / boy-girl-friend / spouse / boss, enduring a time of depression, loss of a job, death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship. Of course, it can also take a form we choose -- vision quest, a large creative undertaking, and so forth. But whether or not we choose it, the initiation truly does not begin to occur until spirit turns up the heat and pressure -- and we have to dig into ourselves for courage and strength in ways we never have before. Frankly, if you don't discover something new deep inside yourself, then I doubt it was an initiatory experience at all. And as I see it, any trial we get through using only our own strength is the pale shadow of initiation. In true initiation, we call on strength from outside ourselves. When we ask spirit for help, we get it, and draw closer in relationship to spirit. To paraphrase a Muslim proverb: "When you take a step towards spirit, spirit takes two steps towards you."

In part III, I'll share a tale of my own trial by fire, and my most important solitary spiritual practice.

* For anyone out there who thinks quoting The Matrix is cheesy, well, just ask me about my Shamanic Interpretation of The Matrix sometime...when you have a free hour or three...[smile]

Keeping Vigil Part I -- Into the Dark

"Into the Dark" (2/15/02)

in my dream
we fill a room
two dozen of us
eight candidates for initiation
and for each of us
two mentors -- proud we have come this far and
hopeful what they've taught us
can take us further tonight
when we will travel alone

we twenty-four open the circle
raise the spirit
fill the room with blessings
soon we eight will have need of that juice
for courage and perseverance and
the sharp edge of intellect
to cut our way through
our mental bindings

we twenty-four sing
we twenty-four dance
we twenty-four gather tight
in collective soul-hug
silent, knowing the moment has come

we divide into eight threes
share a few blessing moments
then part
they to await our hopeful return
we eight to go delving deep
then find our hopeful way back

the house has a back porch and
the back porch perches on a cliff
leading down down to darkness and
silent solitude

we eight gather our packs with last
glances, nods, smiles at
they who readied us for this
then step to the edge
each of us grabbing our own rope
leading down down to darkness and
silent solitude and
stepping off the railing
we rappel down

we eight can spy each other in the blackness
around us for a moment or two as we push off
the wall in front and let the rope play out
between our hands

the darkness grows heavy
near-palpable and
we eight lose sight of each other
as we continue down each of us
into the same canyon below each of us
to our own canyon entire each of us
our own trial our
own path

finally my feet strike the canyon floor
in the dark I didn't see it coming up at me
my eyes begin to adjust to the Stygian black
but it will be some time before I can find my way
find my way forward to
find my way back

I recall one mentor's advice to
Be Fierce
and the other's advice to
Open Your Heart
balancing the two
I step into the dark

Monday, June 19, 2006

Naughty Beasties -- or -- Hold the Boundary

Let's start with an entry from my dream journal:

I'm Not on the Menu ( November, 2002)

(towards the end of an afternoon nap in bed next to my then-girlfriend "K")

I'm coming up out of sleep but get to a certain point close to waking and do not rise any further. I can hear sounds but can't open my eyes. In fact I cannot move my body at all. I become aware of a presence close to my energetic body. It is mature, powerful and neither friendly nor inimical. I'm seeing it as anthropomorphic, featureless and a pure matte black in color. There was no physical sensation but energetically it felt as if it was running its hands over my etheric body, trying to find a way in, a way to get *at* me. I'm not afraid, just annoyed that it's trying to mess with me. I fight to move my body but can't -- not even a flicker of an eyelid. At this point, in a dialog without words, we communicate. It tells me it's not letting me move and I get the impression it's trying to scare me. I respond, essentially, by saying I'm not going to frighten, whatever you are. I may be paralyzed, but *you* can't get in, so f*** off. [pause -- it continues looking for an avenue of ingress...my sense of being safe does not waver] F*** OFF! At that moment, K moves next to me in her sleep and her arm brushes against mine. The physical contact breaks the paralysis and I come fully awake and move.

I immediately forgot the entire episode (which is why the entry in my dream journal only has the month and not an exact date). It was several weeks later when I read a thread about psychic attack/energetic vampirism in an online forum that the whole memory of it came swimming back -- intensely so: the sensation of the black entity attempting to get *into* me, my sense of safety snug in my energetic shell, and my righteous anger at the attempted intrusion.

One of my mentors and I had a conversation about the whole thing, and he had two main thoughts: 1) the black entity was attached to K and thought perhaps I'd make an interesting/tasty co-host and/or 2) these sorts of beings are part of the larger ecosystem. They live, travel and feed entirely on an energetic plane. The more aware we are of our energetic body and the attachments thereto, the more likely it is that we'll know when somebody/something is trying to get at us. (And, parenthetically, how interesting that I forgot the whole thing until my memory was jogged. Maybe these sorts of entities can induce us to forget their feedings [the way tick's saliva numbs us while it feeds]. Why would a farmer bar the henhouse door if the fox can make him forget his chickens keep disappearing?)

The first suggestion didn't resonate to me. I'd been intimate with K for months by then and if she'd had something like that glommed onto her (or stopping by regularly for an energy snack) I feel like I'd have sensed it. The second idea seemed likeliest. These beasties are out there, and we're part of their food pyramid. It thought maybe it could get lunch, and if it could scare up a side order of paralytic fear, all the better. But I held my boundary/shield, didn't panic, and I either drove it off or it figured I was more trouble than it was worth.

I offer all this up merely to make a few important points. 1) There are Naughty Beasties out there, and they can be genuinely evil in their motivations/actions or merely look upon us the way we (most of us) look at cows: food. We won't meet them on the streets or at the supermarket, but in dreaming we may cross paths with them. 2) If we can't defend our energetic boundaries, they will take advantage of us. Just think: if your personal boundaries are soft or ill-defined, plain ol' people have a field day running roughshod over you. Do you really think a creature that looks at your energetic body and sees a nice warm bowl of soup has better manners than people? 3) Not every naughty beastie you come across is necessarily dangerous. Many put on fearsome masks and lay on the thunder'n'lightning to fool us into being afraid [see my next point] -- but underneath the bluster they're pipsqueaks trying to trick us into giving away our power. [I once dreamt that a man in a business suit {complete with devil-tail hanging out of the back} had me cornered in a dark passageway, looming over me. In an imperious hiss he said "Everyone's soul belongs to someone and *yours* *belongsssss* *to* *meee!*" For a moment I wavered. Then I reached up and tore his suit in two from side-to-side, leaving him standing in stripedy-hilarious long underwear. I then conjured into my hands a six-foot-long wooden spoon and smacked him right in the ass. He shot about four feet straight up into the air and ran off clutching his heiny. Never got a lecture about who holds the title to my soul from him again...] 4) Courage is of paramount importance. Fear undermines our confidence, drags the mind down to an animal fight/flight state, and saps the energy we would use to defend ourselves. 5) When confronted with a potentially scary situation -- call on the Light, or deity or angels or however you conceive the divine. We all have helpers available 24/7, in dreaming and in waking life. They are there but we have to ask for help. They're ready to help. They *want* to help. That's why they're with us! Get your helpers on the scene for support and get righteous with whatever it is that means you harm. And righteous does *not* mean holier-than-thou -- clearly, when I was trying to get the naughty beastie to scarper off, I was expressing my righteous anger by using the f-word. No points for me in the eloquence category, I guess, but full marks for vehemence! And being safe is far more important than etiquette, no?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Eros / Consciousness / Creativity

Eros, as defined by Wikipedia (an awesome online user-created and maintained encyclopedia) has several meanings. In addition to "romantic or sexual love" it means "the desire to create life" -- it "favors productivity and construction" and "battles against the destructive."

Eros love might best be defined as promoting well-being by affirming that which is valuable or beautiful (Thomas Jay Oord).

I've been thinking about Eros a fair amount lately -- most specifically as it pertains to consciousness and the creative principle. Let's define the creative principle as being the crystallization that occurs at the intersection of consciousness and...well, I was about to write "matter and energy" but since old Einstein proved matter and energy are two aspects of the same thing, I'll say it's the "crystallization that occurs at the intersection of consciousness and energy."

Which is to say, consciousness and energy come together to create everything that is.

Which thought leads me directly into mulling how my consciousness helps to create everything that is. Certainly, my consciousness is merely a drop in a vast sea (consider the Sufi advice "Give up yourself, O drop, and gain the ocean!"), and that vast sea surely a mere drop itself in the vast Sea of Seas. Even so... I'm not trying to steer the entire multiverse from here inside my cranium -- but I do not doubt that the energy of my consciousness interacts with everyone and everything with which I come into contact.

The ancient Celts (and those moderns who are in touch with their spiritual roots) saw the world and everything in it -- animate or not -- as alive. As my kinsman and fellow walker between worlds Frank Mac Eowen writes in his poem "The Old Celtic Way of Seeing": The old Celtic way of seeing / is perceiving and relating / to the world / as a matrix / of living energy." Of course the Celts were hardly alone among the ancients in this basic orientation to the world around them.

In opening my mind to this relationship, the entire world takes on the energy of Eros for me. I consider the world around me as the world considers right back at me. An energetic relationship opens and the more conscious I am of it, the stronger the flow becomes. It becomes an erotic relationship. Not sexual per se, but in the give and take of energy it is an erotic, creative act. If a woman sits naked on a bed in her room alone, she is a naked woman on her bed alone in her room. Put someone who appreciates naked women in the room with her, and !zap! the energy begins to flow. There's no flow until there's someone else in the room. The energy has to travel -- it's not alive and therefore useful until it moves (just like electrical current in a circuit). Without flow, there is no life.

If I consider the world, its stones and streams as inanimate, I am cut off from it. If I look at a tree and see firewood*, or consider birds only when I find their poop on my car's hood, I am divorced from the world. If I disregard the other animals in my neighborhood (skunks, coyotes, deer, bears, possums, foxes and otters to name a very few) then I am living in a world bled of its riches. Consider the poverty of life experienced by zoo animals. Depressing, no? And it is a short, short step from ignoring all this to opting out of any meaningful relationship to the people around me. When all the world's just a resource to be exploited or an annoyance to be shut out, well the people in it become commodities and/or irritants.

No -- to be truly alive is to be aware of all my surroundings and of the creatures therein. True riches are everywhere around me, if I know how to look. To paraphrase the movie "The Abyss": "you have to look with better eyes."

As all that exists is created in observing and being observed, all existence and being consists of an act that is inherently erotic. When we shift our consciousness out of the overstimulated yet mundane world of so-called modern culture and look with the same eyes our ancestors used, we become adepts of erotic consciousness -- lovers of the world and those in it. We become co-creators instead of consumers -- acting in true relationship to the world and those around us, acting in a collaborative way to literally make and re-make the world -- active and not passive: getting into the juice and coming alive instead of letting life happen to us. We move back into our true place in creation -- the place in which we were created to be, in right relation to the world and each other; we return to a place of equilibrium. And as much illness -- physical and psychological -- is created by imbalance, we are healthier for it. And so is the world.

* (with regard to seeing trees as nothing more than firewood) Don't get me wrong: we need to be warm when it's cold outside -- I'm going to spend the weekend felling some trees and making firewood for the Winter. But I'll be keenly aware of the life I'm taking and humbled thereby, which is to say conscious about it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Besides You, Who's in Your Head (Heart, Soul)?

Dreamcrafting is an excellent practice for getting in touch (or staying in touch) with what-all is going on in one's own heart, soul and mind. It opens the way for us to peer into the parts of ourselves that are only too often lost amongst the daily clatter and clutter of our waking hours -- or, even worse, driven so deeply into our unconscious that it's difficult to scry out even when we go looking. When my then-girlfriend gave me a copy of Robert Moss' Conscious Dreaming in 2001 (she herself had just finished it), I decided to start keeping a dream journal. Here's the dream I had that night -- the first dream I wrote into my journal.

"Colony / Free Agents" (April 14, 2001)

I'm being followed around inside my own head by 2 guys who are "free agents" -- they're not a part of my psyche. They have a small studio apartment in my brain where they live when they're not working. Their job is to study my mind and figure out what parts are suitable for colonization by outside entities and/or ideas. If a given part of my mind is not suitable for colonization, they can recondition it to make it habitable by things that are not me. They've been doing this work for a long time -- so much so that until I meet them in this dream, I had no idea they were there.

Well...in the dream, the 2 fellows were not overtly sinister, although as they explained their jobs to me it made me uneasy, of course. I immediately began thinking of advertising and how it attempts to condition us to desire certain products or services, or to feel insecure about our body image and so forth. As I learned more about dreamworking, I undertook the practice of dream re-entry -- using shamanic drumming to bring on a relaxed state similar to dreaming while in a waking state -- so as to go back into this dream, hunt down those 2 working stiffs, and give them the boot. Keeping our mental and energetic boundaries whole is tricky enough without meddlers working to sabotage us from the inside out!

As I said above, active dreaming is an effective way of peering into ourselves to ascertain what exactly is going on in ourselves, and this dream is an excellent example. I spent a fair amount of time over the Summer of '01 delving into the deep parts of my heart, soul and mind to locate and root out "foreign objects" or all sorts -- self-limiting beliefs, old bits of emotional shrapnel bequeathed to me by various people from my past, and so forth. This included a harrowing piece of work to remove an energetic "worm" that was wrapped around my heart-center (not my physical heart, but the place in me that is the wellspring of compassionate thought and feeling) in August '01. That dual-purpose work was both a healing endeavor for myself and my initiation as someone that was to help others do similar healing work. People began to come out of the woodwork (old girlfriends, co-workers) looking for help in doing some piece of healing work for themselves -- most without necessarily knowing why exactly it was me to whom they were turning. Once this pattern became clear to me, I then began to seek out a few others I had wronged, so as to make amends if they'd let me.

So after five months of keeping a dream journal and delving into what the dreaming what leading me to, I was getting back into touch with parts of myself I'd been neglecting or entirely forgotten. At the end of the Summer I had the following dream:

"Power Up!" September 1, 2001

A techie-type employee and I are hanging in the void overlooking a large energy-grid-type network. There are hundreds of cables, some fat, some skinny. They run power to various areas in my psyche -- this is explicit, although we don't discuss it as such. My techie has finished a big job of rewiring various parts of Me, terminating old/useless/redundant/counterproductive feeds and adding new feeds designed to serve my life purpose better. We're admiring his handiwork as he explains how it all functions.

This was a very affirming dream, letting me know I was on the right track and doing important soul-work -- for my own benefit and the benefit of others around me. Not to mention it spurred me to keep on keeping on. After all, what good is juice if you don't put it to use? And when the world shook and changed ten days later, my dreaming got even deeper and more intense. But I was "powered up" and ready.