Monday, January 26, 2015

Finding Purpose

There are times when I feel really overwhelmed by the world.  There is too much news from too many sources.  There are too many people with too much drama who aren't really interested in solving their own problems.  I find myself wishing for retreat, whether physically leaving town to go into nature, or to go into meditation.  And when I am feeling this way, overwhelmed, it seems that the meditation becomes more difficult, because my chattering brain wants to keep talking instead of getting still.  There's so much to do!  So many appointments to remember!  Friends to worry about!  Global warming!  Oil spills!  Extinctions!  And then, I find it impossible to paint or write poetry, because I can't get in touch with that part of my being when the noise of the world is so intrusive.

In the midst of all this, last week, I was asked by a mentor to say, in one simple word or phrase, what it is that I "do".  I had a lot of trouble thinking.  I have always used the word "facilitator," as in "someone who makes things easier".  I have used the term, "compassionate witness," because the majority of what I do for people is listen to them -- to the literal words, the underlying meaning, and what the body tells me.  But I also teach, write, paint, channel, and do ceremony. 

My mentor disliked the word "facilitator" because it carries the connotation for everyday people of conferences and someone who doesn't "do" much except organize events.  She wanted me to engage in another way of accessing what I do that encompasses all of the things I do in service to the community and to the world at large.  So what she told me to do was to light the sahumerio and ask the smoke for guidance and wisdom.
sahumerios in action
 I was feeling still very uncertain about that, being somewhat out of sorts with my intuitive side.  So to avoid "going deep," I instead asked people on Facebook to give me their ideas.  The word facilitator came up again, as did the words intuitive, love, soul, peace, spiritual guidance, and finally an old friend suggested the word, "awakener."  I really liked that one, because it seemed to have an overarching theme that might touch on many aspects of my work.  However, in doing this asking, I felt as though I had cheated, because I hadn't gone into my own spiritual space to discover my own essence and purpose.

Finally, I felt ready to ask the smoke.  And the answer came very quickly:  I am someone who opens the way.

Wow.  That fits on every level.  I do not have to clear the way, I do not have to show the way, I do not have to guide people on the way.  I open the way, and then each person then gets to own their own part of their journey, to choose whether or not to step up and enter the way that is opened to them.  Whether it is through bodywork, pl├ítica (heart to heart open discussion), intuitive channels, teachings, or art and poetry, I get to do my part and anyone who interacts with me then also gets to do their part.

I believe it is deeply important that each person find for themselves what their life purpose is.  For some people, that knowledge comes early; for others like myself, it comes later.  But it can only come when we can have space and time and desire to know, as well as the willingness to go deeply within and let go of all the chatter of surface level anxieties, to-do lists, and the "shoulds" of our lives.  This requires that we do our own work to feel safe with change, safe with ourselves.  It may require a willingness to put everything on the altar as a sacrifice, and see what remains for you;  in other words, a willingness to understand that everything in your life is something you could ultimately choose to walk away from.  It can be very frightening to think of losing your comfortable rut, but I don't think change ever comes from staying comfortable. 

Every person has to discern their own desires for comfort, for change, and for growth, and to balance those needs with patience for the process and the unfolding of your own personal wisdom. 

Here is a great link to a page that explains the meanings of the 4 directions.  When I meditate, I always ask each of the directions, plus sky, earth, and my own heart for guidance.  Aztec Medicine Wheel

Many blessings.