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Purpose is in the present

Despondency has stalked me since January when I completed the Inka Medicine Wheel and returned to mundane reality—the physical realm where consciousness has solidified into form. (What does that even mean, you ask? It means that our beliefs create our conditions and become self-perpetuating because reality reflects our beliefs back to us. For example, believing that life is a struggle and that one must work hard to get ahead, life becomes a struggle, reinforcing my belief. A thousand instances where life is easy and effortless—breathing, my beating heart, digesting my food, the beauty that surrounds me—are overlooked because they are anomalous to my belief.)

For most people, as in my own personal case, the consensual reality holds in place beliefs and conditions that no longer serve anyone. They’re simply in place, reinforcing their own perpetuation. In my case that means a household of people marginally employed, doubting their purpose; unsure why they’re here; wondering why the financial means of existence are so difficult to sustain; and why they seem to encounter so much resistance to any but incremental strategies for change.

In the larger community, consensual reality holds the abhorrent facts of a culture committed to violence, inequality, exploitation, war, and environmental degradation. The challenges seem enormous and, alone, my powers of perception and shape-shifting seem puny in comparison. It feels as if I can’t afford to spend any time in the physical; that the forces we’re up against require a 24-hour commitment to the spiritual. And yet I have bills to pay; an income to earn. How do I combine the two?

Moreover, my spiritual practice feels weak and ineffectual. I recall the energy we generated as a tribe our last day of the Medicine Wheel, when we drummed and rattled and sang our stones back from the Upper World into our mesas. The Council House in which we sat fairly thrummed with our vibration. Though we sat physically earthbound, our energy was definitely levitating.

By contrast, my solo practice feels ineffectual. I rush through it, my “to-do list” on my mind. The physical world, I tell myself, is where work actually gets done. This, of course, is backwards according to my shamanic training; my habitual mind, however, remains unschooled. As a result, I’ve spent my days frantically rushing through my “to-do list,” cutting short spiritual practice, feeling unsatisfied at the end of each day and awaking in the middle of each night filled with angst and self-recrimination: Why? Why was life so difficult? Was my marriage intolerable? My living situation? My clients? Did I need to sell my possessions and run away to the Amazon? What could I do to restore the balance?

My husband has been feeling the same way: why continue with the daily grind of existence if we’re not fulfilling our purpose? If we’re not being of service? If we’re not meeting a need anyone seems to require?

We made a pact to put our creative/spiritual commitments first and to see whether that shifted the energy in our lives. I made a commitment to satisfy my own longing for the greater energy of my tribe by extending an invitation to meet three Mondays/month at my house, in between our monthly meetings at our tribe leader’s residence. Whether or not anyone joins me, I took responsibility for creating the space.

Yesterday, I worked in my garden in lieu of going to church. Both are aspects of spiritual practice, to be sure, but yesterday it felt better to ground myself in my own space, to honor my own medicine by creating beauty where I live.

I sat with my mesa and reviewed the messages each of my stones—my kuyas—had brought me from the Upper World. How wise they were! How much wisdom I already possessed!

The egg-shaped stone from the South reminded me: “Be still and know!”

My red stone from the West told me, “Speak the truth! Which isn’t always sweet!”

My time-travel stone from the North, which previously had represented my love of physical travel, said, “The freedom you seek, the freedom you must embrace, cannot be attained by maintaining the status quo.” How true that is. Which is why I’d installed a huaca, the wild unharnessed energy of pure creation, in my garden and in my life. If I seek freedom, I must be willing to abandon the status quo.

My ruby and green hummingbird stone from the East brought me this: “The time you spend in the Spirit World is ten times more productive IN THE PHYSICAL REALM than the time you spend in the physical. DO NOT FORGET. Transform physical conditions in the spiritual realm if you want “more time” in the physical world.”  (Obviously, I’m a master of forgetting.)

My lineage stone reminded me of my meeting in the Upper World with Dons Pedro, Nasario, and Ysidro, who told me, “Do your work, Sister. Do not doubt yourself or your ability. It’s not ‘yours’ anyway. We are always here for you when you visit or call. The circle is unbroken. There is no space or time. Be well!” (How could I be anything else with a reminder like that? Somehow I find a way.)

My small, pinched-looking white stone from the South said, “Don’t forget the dream time. Put me under your pillow. Small, white, glowing answers will come to you in your dreams. You will remember.” Oh yeah.

A large yellow stone from the West said, “Effortless ease. It is all in flow. There is no ‘effort’ involved; no struggle; no strain. Cha-ching!” (An inside joke.)

My large clear crystal from the North reminded me: “Everyone and everything has its own destiny. You cannot change that. You can only change our own destiny and trust in ayni, that is, right relationship. Trust in yapa, the spirit of creation.”

A large amethyst crystal from the East told me: “Don’t try to ‘know.’ You will limit what is possible. Spirit has a far greater idea, involving many more people and strands of the tapestry of life. Trust spirit.”

My round white stone from the South said, “Remember the water and the spirit of the waters. Honor the water when you come to a new place. In that way water will honor you. In that way, waters will be healed.” Amen.

My large black stone from the West said, “Don’t be afraid of your power! Power is a good thing when used for good.” YES.

My blue secret-keeping stone from the North said, “Just because you have forgotten, doesn’t mean that forces are not at work. What you set in motion stays in motion until it achieves its intended result. All that you have initiated will be completed and fulfilled. Doubt is your own form of suffering. You can drop it at any time. The invisible world is invisible, not inexistent.”

Wow. Thank you.

Finally, my red stone from the West, my Grandmother Peggy stone, my stone which embodied, “Don’t be afraid to burn the house down,” went missing. Its message now became: “Seize the day. Opportunities don’t sit around waiting for you to take action. Take action when prompted, or miss the opportunity.”

Last night, I finally slept through the night. This morning, reading Nan Corwin and David Moss’s book on Weather Shamanism, I paused and noticed the light shining in the window onto the colored patterns of the bed quilt. I took to heart the notion that all aspects of the weather respond to human emotions and vibrations—just as plants, animals, and other humans do—and realized, again, for the thousandth time, that the purpose of life is fulfilled—or not fulfilled—in each and every moment. The awareness and love with which we seed the unified field is our purpose. The recognition and gratitude with which we greet the dawn, the birds, each cloud and flower are knots we tie in the magnificent tapestry that is life. The care and concern with which we interact with others—from our most beloved children to our most annoying Verizon customer service representative—are ripples we create in the unified field. I have to have faith that these actions, these ripples, this awareness, will have their intended effect. I have to trust that the ripple I initiate will wash up on another shore through actions I cannot be aware of in the physical—although if I am fortunate, I may catch a glimpse of them in the spiritual. I have to trust that a greater intelligence than I possess alone is at work and that, as Don Pedro shouted at me three times so that I would get it:

“Everything is in order! Everything is in order! Everything is in order!”

And so it is.  


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