Herbal Ezine --  Wise Woman Wisdom
April 2005
Volume 5 Number 4
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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...


Wise Woman Wisdom ...
Finding yourself no matter where you are
by Christine Thomas

Finding yourself no matter where you are
by Christine Thomas

A few years ago I was in a training session learning how to operate a hand held GPS (Global Positioning System) unit. The instructor told us that as soon as you turn the unit on it spends a few seconds connecting with the satellites, locating true north, and then, bingo, it’s locked in and you can know exactly where you are.

Wow, I thought and even said out loud, “That’s fantastic, to always know within seconds where you are and the direction of your true north!” A chuckle or two from some classmates let me know that someone else was seeing this as a metaphor, too. How splendid to have a tool to use to find yourself no matter the situation you’re in, no matter where you are. I definitely wanted one of those.

Enchanted Art by Jessica GalbrethThe desire to have such an inbuilt way of knowing where I am along my path has never left me. I’ve made it part of my life’s work to help myself and others find such easily accessible, unerring orienting mechanisms. I’ve left myself some cairns, some markers, on my journey of discovery that I’d like to share with you.

The starting place, the ground on which you stand at the beginning of each day, is key. I’ve learned to start my days greeting the spirits of the directions. It seems right to me to start the day with praise and thanks, honoring the spirits of the four directions and the above, here and below. This not only opens my heart to spirit all around me, it locates me as one part of the glorious whole.

The energy of intention feels right, too, when I begin the day in a sacred manner, with joyous praise. And, if later on I’m asking for help, I know I didn’t just start out saying please, please, please. The beginning point on the map, on my journey of the day, is a place of gratitude, awe, praise, love, wonder, and joy. This is the ground I stand on from the beginning and is where I wish to return.

Then as I move out about my work for the day I want my internal reference points tuned to what has most meaning for me. I trust if I could only know what Goddess wants of me then I would surely know my path and my destination. One form of meditation that I’ve been practicing is what I call stepping into the arms of Goddess. I light my candle for the Goddess Brigid, she of the sacred flame and holy well. As I hold her image in my mind I gaze into the flame.

I feel the flame of her love in the candle and burning in me. I envision her ablaze in golden light, like the candle flame. I see her opening her arms and I step into them, into her golden light of love. I feel her loving embrace. I hold onto this sense of being with her for as long as I can. Then, from this place of her embrace, I let what I desire for the day come into my mind. I set the intention that I want my desire, my will, to be aligned with her will. From this place of feeling her loving embrace I trust my heart to know my next steps.

Even before I might say my prayers for my loved ones or for the world I want to first be connected with her. Even if my logical mind is unsure, I trust my connection with her and I move out into the day from that place of connection. I also call on my allies, the ones who will help me through the day, who will help me to remember this connection, to give me what I need to do my work in the world, and to appreciate this magical journey.

I choose to connect with Brigid because she is the face of the Divine that is my doorway to that which is more than words can say. You can feel the embrace of Goddess by getting to know her by any of her 10,000 names. When you find the one who calls to you and get to know her by being with her, you will have a fiercely strong inner reference point. And if you just open your heart you will notice her all around you, you will see her in the faces of the women you meet, you will feel her loving presence as a most trustworthy reference point.

Then, throughout the day I have other guides or reference points, my own satellite-beacons, to keep me on track. One of them is the natural world. Or maybe I should call this the web of millions of reference points. Tasting the wind, hearing the birds, smelling the snow, watching the clouds, feeling the dirt, sensing the tides, worshipping the moon – all help me to get out of my head and into my animal self, the part of me that instinctively knows where I am, internally and externally.

Even if we have been removed from the natural world by domestication we still know this – as evidenced by our fascination with the Weather Channel. Not just to know if we need our umbrellas or not, we feel some security in knowing what is happening in Nature. And when we no longer trust our senses we turn on the TV. I say we can quickly re-access our animal wisdom by opening our senses to the natural world.

Just the other day I was struggling with making a decision about a project to get involved with or not. My mind was thinking in dollars and timelines, risks and responsibilities. I was feeling unsure and uncomfortable so I stepped outside for a breather. Within moments I forgot what had been worrying me – I saw a pair of kestrels, the small falcons, doing their courtship thing. I heard a meadowlark singing. I noticed a bank of tumultuous spring storm clouds moving in.

In those brief moments outside I remembered the basics of life and death, of joy and possibilities. I didn’t have to think at all about the decision or how to make it. I just allowed myself to remember the magic all around me. When I went inside I knew what was most important for me to consider is this decision.

Being in my head too much is a sure recipe for disorientation. Not to knock my fantastic logical mind – it’s great at many forms of problem solving and daily life. It does, though, get distracted easily, convincing me that my body is just a work-horse, just here to do the heavy lifting. Not so! Getting back into my body is a sure way to remember where I am and where I want to be. When I allow my body to orient me I am almost always rewarded with a huge “you are here” sign.

When I notice my breathing is shallow or my shoulders tensed, I can check to see what track I’m on. When I pay attention to my belly – not just to stuff it with some junk food but to find out what it really wants – I am reminded of what I need for deep nourishment of body and soul. And when I tune in to how flexible and fluid I am (or not) I get a sense of how I am responding to the flow of energy around me. Am I just caught up in the rapids or am I steering my own canoe? The wisdom of our animal bodies is sure and strong. We can trust it to show us the way.

I get my mind on board with this orientation process by reminding it to keep me in touch with my values. In life coaching we talk a lot about our personal values – those intangible ideas that inform who we are. Values can be compared to the key points in the owner’s manual that I often wished would have come with me when I was born. (That is until my teens when I would have chucked it, only to be desperately wondering in my 30s where on earth I put it.) I’m not talking about the idealist shopping list of Girl Scout type values like freedom, integrity, honesty and the like.

Enchanted Art by Jessica GalbrethWe all like to think those admirable qualities are important to us. And they may be, but knowing them as words from a list is not the same as knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in your bones, that you have personal power that feels like “running with wild horses in the moonlight”, or honesty that feels like “soul’s truth shining in your eyes, baring all”.

It takes some reflection and attention to be crystal clear about the handful of values that must be present in our lives, but when we’ve done that we then have Stonehenge-size markers to follow on our path. Checking in each day or in different situations to see how we are living our core values is an awesome orienting tool.

A personal joy meter is another handy tool for orienting yourself. Keeping my joy meter pinging on the high side is a way of knowing I’m on the right road. You know - the follow your bliss advice. You need a meter to see if you are doing just that – moving with the flow of joy. Marks on my joy meter measure how quickly I am moved to sing or laugh, how easily I can let things roll off my back, how often I am in awe, and how generous I am with my smiles.

When I forget my essential nature and my life’s purpose I get stuck in loops of fear, worry and despair. I get unhappy, confused, and lost. Riding on the fairy wings of joy gently and shamelessly nudges me back in the direction of my heart’s true north.

It’s helpful, too, to end my day’s journey in the same way I started it – with gratitude and praise. Before the candle flame I once again connect with Goddess for she has blessed me in more ways than I can ever number. I give thanks to all the allies who have aided me on my path this day. I can drift into dreamland, falling back into the arms of Goddess, comforted in knowing I can find my way there and back.

by Christine Thomas, Personal Life Coach, Visionary, Midwife of Dreams
I love to work with women on a spiritual path. Check out my monthly phone circle of women coming together to support each other in living our connection to Earth and Goddess at www.hawkview.net


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