“The hero’s journey always begins with the call. One way or another, a guide must come to say, ‘Look, you’re in Sleepy Land. Wake. Come on a trip. There is a whole aspect of your consciousness, your being, that’s not been touched. So you’re at home here? Well, there’s not enough of you there.’ And so it starts.”
― Joseph Campbell
At times it feels like the journey is all I’ve known. A call comes to shake me out of complacency into something new and I follow. Sometimes the call has yanked me from path to path and sometimes because I grew attached to certain aspects of the life I was living, I refused the call only to hear it come louder. Some of my roughest times is when I thought I was ready to leave and eagerly awaited the chance to start life anew only to feel the new adventure hovering above me and feeling a state of stasis, stuck in a time that had grown stale but with no impetus to start something new. Too bad I didn’t know during those times what I now know about responsibility. I would have jumped into a new adventure on my own.
We can be our own guides, our own wake up call. Just grab our bags and head on out the road or perhaps jump down the nearest rabbit hole. Noone has to stay in any place at any time. If you are where you are, you have your reasons for being there. As I have mine.
“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”
― Jim Morrison
Do you know what it is to be frightened by what you feel? To sense the opposite emotions, their shadows, hovering somewhere close behind. New agers hide it by chanting “Love and Light, Love and Light” yet would they be so eager to invoke light if they weren’t put off by darkness. It’s ok to feel and acknowledge fear, anger and sorrow. They do tend to be part of our makeup whether or not we do. By acknowledging it all, by accepting it all, the uneasiness subsides. In pitch dark, the least amount of light shows out almost blindingly. Light casts shadows. Very often we earn our pain and need not fear it. We may have to do without it some day but for now it is ours.
“Our own life has to be our message.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
If I stay still and listen
aware of your presence
your words and your being
than I can receive the message of your life.
With each breath and each choice we reveal ourselves
each moment becomes the midnight
where our masks come undone
yet even our masks show the face underneath
after all are they not how we want the world to perceive us?
That says a great deal
Yet how do I choose
the message of my life?
How can I become a clear channel?
Does my life say what I wish it to
or am I just messaging myself?
“For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I want to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.”
― Carlos Castaneda
How do we make every act count? So much of what we do seems to be either of distraction or necessity. Both of these have their uses for sure but do they count? Well distraction can often feed our spirit and give us a chance to recharge. When we do things out of necessity (as long as they are things that we feel are necessary as opposed to what we are told by others) then we have some investment in them. Perhaps that makes the difference between an act that counts and one that doesn’t. When we do something that we are present and invested in, that we are mindful of than what we are doing counts, whether it is saving a child or reading a comic book. Mindfulness makes the difference.
“Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please—this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time—and squawk for more!
So learn to say No—and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.
(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Years ago I realized that while money comes and money goes, that the main currency we have is our time and our attention. This gets affirmed to me daily when I see people doing anything possible to get money, including spending almost every moment they have. It’s true that money pays for food and shelter and our so called basic needs but any of our other needs such as companionship, love, relaxation, meditation and pursuit of enjoyment it is time that becomes the more valuable commodity. Yet so often we are spendthrift with our time, doling it out to everyone who asks or demands it leaving very little for ourselves. That’s ok if we are living the moments we spend on others and ourself, fulfilling our true selves (in Thelemic terms our true will). But if what we do with our time has no value than we are wasting that currency. We can do better.
“I could not stop talking because now I had started my story, it wanted to be finished. We cannot choose where to start and stop. Our stories are the tellers of us. ”
― Chris Cleave
A new month and a new chapter begins. Like all beginning points it is somewhat arbitrary but the calendar is as good a demarcation as any. May this new month bring a new time of accomplishment, of appreciation for the things we have and an acceptance and transcendence of those things that trouble us. May we appreciate the gifts of the moment and may it buoy us through. I intend that in this month I will find my way through the next several sections of the tarot book and learn a few new techniques to add to my art repertoire. I will care for my partner, my son and the pets and my friends. I will continue to learn new things and add to my practice those that will benefit. I set these intentions forth and may in the long run that be the story that tells me.