• Tag Archives addiction
  • Sacred Sorrow: Powerlessness 1

    “Did you come here for forgiveness,

    Did you come to raise the dead,

    Did you come here to play Jesus

    to the lepers in your head?”



    This morning before I got up I entered into a shamanic meditation, a guided meditation to my medicine place. A place of spiritual solace gifted by the Creator, however you perceive him to be. A place to receive guidance, to connect with teachers and guides

    Over the past months I have neglected this source being too focused on the tasks in front of me as a Catering Manager. Whenever I have entered the space it has only been experienced superficially – no real depth to the communications within. And again this morning this was so. No depth of experience. While two of my guides were present I felt largely ignored by them, something that I have patently been doing to them.

    One of the stimuli for this exploration of Sacred Sorrow was a dream a few weeks ago. In it I had found a piece of land I felt I wanted to buy on a corner in my old neighbourhood. It was an empty section with mounds here and there and hedges in the middle and the surrounds. I went away to source the finance. When I came back there was a bohemian couple living on it. I felt aggrieved that I’d missed out on this property. Not only that but the man came up to me and reached into my pocket and removed a shiny glass ornament, dripping wet, from my pocket with a red and blue symbol embedded in its centre. At the same time a piece of pounamo (jade, greenstone) with crocheted wings flew out of another pocket and alighted on the nearby hedge. I was noticing a sense of deep sadness within me as this unfolded. Underlying the sense these items were being taken away from me was another feeling of them being still present.

    There’s a sense of powerlessness in some of the imagery. I know I’ve not been doing myself any favours in other areas of my life. Allowing my addictions a greater hold – TV, computer games, cigarettes, email, coffee. I feel powerlessness as I consider them and the ways I can break the habits.

    As I ponder the last thought I see that by transferring that sense of powerlessness on to the objects themselves there are ways to divert myself from the sense of addiction. Seeing the objects as powerless diminishes their hold on me and my sense of personal power grows stronger.

    Addictions are certainly manifestations of the “lepers in my head”. The verse in “One” those words come from also include references to forgiveness and raising the dead. By playing Jesus to the lepers in our heads we’re able bring to life that which may lie dead or sleeping within our psyches. Unable to forgive my own faults how can I expect to forgive the faults of others.

    How often in the silence of my mind do the lepers take up residence and I hear myself saying I should do this, I should do that, I should have done this, I should have done that!? It occurs typically when feeling a need to confront my addictive ways. I have heard it described as “the tyranny of shoulds” or “shoulding all over myself”. There is a sense of doing things on a whim when should is mentioned. Powerlessness kicks in when I add have to the mix. I missed an opportunity. Poor me and into a downward spiral!

    And yet “ONE” holds a positive message as well. As I consider it from a point of powerlessness I see the lyrics pointing towards an impotence in relationship not only with another but also with the world itself. Perhaps the “raising of the dead” can be acknowledged as we work with those parts of ourselves that we have left for dead in the aftermath of shoulds. Can I forgive myself for not standing up and being definitive in the path of a storm of shoulds? Can I hear myself saying I AM or I WILL when a “should” is like looking on the face of the Medusa, poisonous serpents flailing about her head, threatening to turn me to stone.

    One love, One blood

    One life, you got to do what you should

    One life with each other

    Sisters, Brothers

    One life, but we’re not the same

    We got to carry each other, carry each other

    Can I find the power within to help myself in turn offering the same to others struggling.


    Going Home to Your Medicine Place Guided Meditation. Academy of Shamanic Studies

    ( http://www.shamanic.ac.nz/index.html )
    Click on Products in left sidebar then navigation bar on page.

  • Bless you Ellen Burstyn

    A new wind has blown through my reading habits. Prior to finding Ellen Burstyn’s “Lessons in Becoming Myself”. I had been trawling through myriad self help books gaining some insights here and there but without finding much that touched my soul. I seem to find the books that connect me to something deeper on the bargain tables in book stores and it happened again. There was something in me that just had to read this.

    As in “UP” here was a shining example of what I like to think of as Creative Mythology. On the first page there was a reference to Mnemosyne, the Greek Goddess of Memory, mother of the 9 Muses fathered by Zeus. Somehow fitting as each of them seemed to touch her life in some way. Music, dancing, history, love, comedy, tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, and astronomy were all under the governance of the Muses.

    The book worked on different levels. Ellen appears to follow a couple of perspectives, that of her spiritual journey and also her journey as an actress. Both combine to evoke a profound life. Simply read as autobiography it gave wonderful insight into Ellen Burstyn and if I’d been unaware of who she is I might have thought I was reading a novel.

    Ellen models beautifully the way to craft a life, showing the way to follow a dream, of letting go of the riverbank and moving into the flow. Sure, along the river there are rapids where the ride holds peril and Ellen’s story is not short of those. There are stretches where the river slows and the flow is gentle, allowing her be more conscious of how life is unfolding and she recounts these with keen attention.

    I was moved by her struggles with addictions and relationships and how they mirror my own. She spoke of them with detachment observing them from the writers perspective seeing how she was touched by them at that time but now no longer. I’d like to say that for the me that’s still working with them.

    I was enchanted by her life. So much so that I had to read it a second time. I noted passages and pages that spoke to me. The one that is sitting with me now is one I didn’t note. She talks about working with and being mentored by Lee Strasberg of the Actor’s Studio. The feeling I got from the passage was that what is happening in the moment whether part of the performance or not, is perfect not only for the performance but also perhaps for the actor’s life outside of her art. And so it is for all of us being able to perceive the perfection in the present moment. That was brought home for me as I watched the trees from the kitchen window seeing them in the early morning light noticing a nuance I hadn’t seen before and reflecting on Ellen’s perceptiveness as she notices the nuances of characters as her roles evolved.

    In another profound passage she tells of being drawn into learning through doing crossword puzzles and as she discovered new words she was initiated into study. I can imagine there was a sort of a family tree evolving as she was led from a reference in one book to seek out another. Looking always for what might be the ultimate truth, that truth that will allow us to live fully in the present. And being aware, as Sartre said, of a “God-shaped hole in my heart.” Wow.

    Ellen confronts her fears and has epiphanies on her journey. She meets some of the 20th century’s more famous people outside of the acting fraternity and is touched by these encounters.

    Her strong connection with Sufism as a spiritual path because it honours the wisdom of all religious traditions again mirrors my own experience.

    Ellen never shys away from seeking help in understanding herself when confronted by an aspect of her psyche with which she was uncomfortable and thence taking another step to becoming fully alive, fully present.

    The photos from her personal collection show Ellen’s evolving radiant beauty while her roles show the diversity of characters she played.

    The latter stages of her path were spent without companionship. It was a beautiful ending to find her under the auspices of the god Eros.


  • Lost the Blogging Mojo……

    Forgive me Father for I have sinned! Sinned against the writers motto. “Never a day without a line”. I fell in love with instant access internet and now it is no more at least for the moment. No longer am I able to retreat to my desk and put together my thoughts, embed youtube and photos to illustrate my experience. Shame on me.

    I had the title for this post in my head for a few days aware of how I’d allowed my blog to take a backseat while I found myself in a new job with limited internet. It wasn’t about the blogging really. It was plain laziness using the challenges of the area as an excuse! It was other habits pulling up chairs round the table that is me and saying we’re still here!!! And of course me, being the person I am said, have a beer, stay for a while. Ok, so they may have overstayed their welcome. It’s time to be getting back to what I enjoy. Writing with the added bonus of putting it in a blog. Complete with the odd photo.

    I’ve continued taking photos when I’ve been moved by the scenery, seeing that in some way these have deepened my thoughts about what I’m creating in that moment. So I’m still being moved by my inner yearning to experience a beautiful world. And yet I find I’m out of the habit of putting words to these feelings because circumstances have changed.

    I still have a computer, I still have the writers paraphenalia – pens, notebooks. I have no excuses. I notice that other habits are filling the space I used to have for blogging – food, nicotine, television. There seems to be something habitual about the way I’m approaching these things at present. Though I am able to remain detached in my thoughts as I see these habits present themselves there is something a little frightening in seeing them become more firmly embedded.

    Is it an oral fixation, a hangover from childhood? Perhaps my being able to articulate my world view through blogging led to a freedom from feeling the pull of addiction. It was certainly there in the background but not as strong as it is now. The feeling of having a positive effect on others through this internet medium seemed to soften the winds of addiction to a gentle breeze rather than the storm that seems to brewing at present.

    I’m also feeling the stress of having to give a presentation later this week and what better way to not only clarify my thoughts but also to give you, my readers some food for thought.

    I’ve been asked to speak at The Forum, outling my book Life’s a Banquet and leading a guided meditation.

    Life’s a Banquet grew out of my career as a chef and an ongoing relationship with personal growth. I took on studies in counselling, psychotherapy, life-coaching and shamanism without seeing any of them through to a diploma. Self directed study in mythology, the soul and motivational tools also added flavour to the mix. One of the elements of the mythological Hero/Heroine’s journey was particularly enlightening and I began to see how it was tied in to what I was doing as a chef. I revisited the elements of my training and saw how I could put together a personalised coaching program through adhering to the precepts of the chef’s training.

    Considering the criteria for marking on our practical exams I found the following would be useful for putting together a coaching program. Skills, Personal Presentation, Workplan, Efficiency, Cleanliness, Wastage, Group Areas.

    Whatever your background you’ll have skills relevant for creating a coaching program for yourself. Your personal presentation, having a workplan, being efficient, adopting an attitude of cleanliness and orderliness, being aware of how you may waste time or resources, being aware of how you work with others; all these are relevant to creating the life that is a fitting extension of who you are at a deeper level.

    From motivational theory we have the concepts of gratitude and appreciation, clarifying vision, being directed from within, passion, action, letting go of attachment to outcomes, and becoming aware of our unconscious recipes. Follow these and adopt an attitude of seeing beauty and good in all. Life will return the gift. Look more deeply into the multiplicity of who and where you are right now, and find your soul being nurtured in ways you never imagined it was.

    road sign at night
    Road Sign at Night

    Blessings, and beware of signs stepping in front of your camera at night.

  • Plagued: A Call to Conscious Evolution

    A thought arrived in my consciousness yesterday and started building a home“. With those words I began the post Haunted by the Future. It feels like I’m beginning to move some furniture in.

    The trip to Auckland and the meeting with the sculpted Moses returns me to his story and the plagues that were experienced in Egypt at that time.

    There were 10 plagues according to the Old Testament. The first was the Nile turning to blood followed by frogs, gnats, flies, livestock disease, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of first born children.

    Plagues of Egypt in Wikipedia gives a possible scenario on how these plagues may have occured naturally. It makes for interesting reading.

    It got me considering how history might look back at the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Are there experiences that might be thought of as plague-like by future historians? Will a certain mythology arise from this seemingly transitional time we are going through?

    What are our modern plagues? After I had Googled modern plague I found I needed to first define plague. What was at the top of the list had to do with biological disease. Another definition is… any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil, esp. one regarded as a direct punishment by God: a plague of war and desolation.

    What came to mind for me personally were the following:

    Consumerism/Debt, Deforestation, Addiction, Poverty, Celebrity, Climate Change, Female Infanticide – for each of these I’ve supplied links in the resources below.

    The other plagues that came to mind were:

    • Politics: I haven’t included a link here as politics is such a complex subject suffice it to say that it comes from the Greek word “polis” meaning state or city. “Politikos” concerns anything regarding the state or city affairs. These days we can include any forms of governance within corporate, religious, and academic institutions as having a political base. My personal slant is that I see those in power as being at times held to ransom by people with money. I see an us and them mentality that concerns itself with ideologies the average guy probably has no concept of. International politics seems to be a game of oneupmanship oblivious the needs of the common people and the Earth on which we live. And I’m also sure there are many politicians who have a good heart as well.
    • Suicide: This is very close to my heart at present. One of my cousins has recently lost a son to suicide. I’m not sure whether I’d describe it as an epidemic, though that is the way a friend saw it. It is certainly a tragedy that Adam found it necessary to take away the most precious gift he had, his life. I heard it described as a “coward’s way out” and I’m not sure I believe that either. When I try to imagine what it might be like to reach that point I get the feeling that it is the most courageous act left to the person who feels they need to take that final step. I’m sure they are fully conscious that this is the only way. And finally –
    • War/Terrorism.

    I imagine that the law of attraction is bringing this to us all for a reason. Zero LimitsI’m reminded of the book Zero Limits, a collaboration between Dr. Joe Vitale and his Hawaiian mentor Dr Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. In it Dr Hew Len asks that we consider that it we need to be responsible not only for what physically manifests that we in our lives but anything that enters our consciousness, anything that we become mindful of. Dr Len is the man who cured a ward of the criminally insane without seeing them in a therapeutic setting. By working on himself as he read through their records the environment around him began to change. He used a “mantra” as he encountered the space within triggered by what he was reading. The mantra – “I’m sorry… Please forgive me… Thank you… I love you”. He took responsibility for what was arriving in his consciousness and offered the “mantra” or prayer to the Divine. He acknowledged that to the Divine all was perfect and was taking responsibility for imperfectness of our human experience.

    The way I understand it is to see that there is a perceived imperfection in the human condition and by becoming conscious of the places our imperfection manifests we are able to improve on them. We are only able to change that which we become conscious of.

    I’m not surprised by synchronicities that occur as I continue to make posts on this blog. Only today I received an email from a friend that she’d forwarded on. An answer to the questions posed by these Modern Plagues?  A Call to Conscious Evolution. If what you read resonates there is a link at the bottom of the page where you can pledge your support.

    And another synchronicity finding this quote at the beginning of the Zeitgeist: Addendum Movie…

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

    J. Krishnamurti



    Lest we forget beauty…..

    Clarendon Building

  • Working with Aspects of the Soul: Perfect Poise

    It was a day of struggling to find the presence of perfect poise. I only felt it momentarily a couple of times. That moment  of first connecting with it was long past and the necessities of life seemed to be battering at the door. Find employment, let go of your addictions, follow your dreams, find your passion, open yourself to beauty, be grateful for all that you have now.

    As has been the pattern for the last few weeks I began by posting. I wasn’t sure if it was my best that I was giving. I had in the back of my mind a movie I was wanting to reconnect with on Sky. They were playing Scent of a Woman, one of my all time favourite movies. The plot summary is at the link. Al Pacino is brilliant in the character of Lt Col. Frank Slade. Chris O’Donnell is very accomplished as Charles Sims who has taken the job of looking after him over Thanksgiving weekend. Slade takes Sims with him to New York on what he’s planning will be his last hurrah. He plans to commit suicide after allowing himself a few last indulgences.

    There are many wonderful moments when you’re touched by the soul of the characters, in particular Frank. Beneath his tough exterior there is the softness of a soul that has experienced moments of bliss and these are rendered even more exquisite by the fact that he is blind.

    Charlie shows his mettle when confronted with Slade preparing himself to take his final step. Charlie is also struggling with a demon of his own unsure of what to do in the circumstance.

    As Charlie has saved Frank, so Frank takes Charlie’s side in the film’s final showdown.

    That’s the power of perfect poise. Allowing integrity to be your guide. That scene always brings tears to my eyes.  I’m moved by it. I wonder where that place might be in me. The power to change my life. Have I yet to reach that low point where I say enough is enough? That depth from where power finally comes in such potent fashion. I’m in awe of the sight of someone standing in their magnificence.

    I’m at a crossroads, in fact each conscious moment is a crossroads where I can choose to stand in my power or shrink away. Frank says he always knew the right path but never took it because it was too hard. It seems this is a mirror for my own life. Each time the right path becomes clear and I’m asked to choose it, I have shrunk away from it. And yet life will keep offering the right path to me maybe unto death. Each time the circumstances seem more difficult not to take it. It’s like life is saying to me, “What are you going to do now, pal”.

    Ok. I receive your message. It’s loud and clear. Life wants me to expand my conception of who I really am. It’s as if the waves of the big bang are still expanding the universe and everything in it and we can’t help by being carried along with it. The line “Get busy livin or get busy dyin” from The Shawshank Redemption comes in here as well. What am I doing when I feel most alive?

    Having said that there is stuff going on the background moving me forward. Paths taken. I know I’ll get there. Those around me are assisting in however I experience them.

    On my way to the Gnostic seminar late in the afternoon I had a loop going on in my mind about everything being bullshit, illusion. That maybe those proponents of being in the light are increasing the amount of darkness we experience. After all is not the world always in harmony? Is it not always seeking balance? The feeling I get from these Gnosticians is a sense of this balance without a need to create or bring more light to the world. They are there with what is.

    In the seminar they were speaking about their Creation Myth. In their experience the path is the divine finding its way downward into Man and then once established within, Man then projects this sense of divinity outward into life itself. Part of that experience they call The Being. The way it was written up I imagined it was an entity. As I contemplated it further and connected with it as a quality and sensed again the wonder of perfect poise.

    Before I arose this morning I read a little of the The Serpent Grail. It made reference to the Gnostics and their relationship with the snake in the form of Ouroboros (the snake with its tail in its mouth) which to them symbolises eternity and the world soul. And again the coiled snake loops back to the labyrinth I was speaking of yesterday, the journey within.

    The labyrinth was also likened to the way our brains are unfolded within the skull. I was present to a conversation yesterday discussing enlightenment by having the corpus callosum severed. I googled it this morning and while this particular excerpt didn’t mention enlightenment within this context it did say that people that had undergone this procedure could do some things seemingly impossible.

    Wheels within wheels within wheels…..


  • The Wasteland

    Depleted Azeri Oilfield

    One of the ways a Creative Mythologer works is by acknowledging and working with what is in the foreground of his life at any moment. What am I attracted to? What is calling to me? I’d been looking at lending the OilCrash Movie “A Crude Awakening” for a few weeks. The video store had it on a shelf of staff picks so I imagined it would be interesting.

    In the movie I was struck by the images of oilfields and the ugliness that goes along with them. There is a busyness and excitement when they’re productive and when the resource runs out there is an emptiness, a wasteland. How can we devastate what is beautiful and then leave it ugly without repairing what we’ve done?

    The narrator called our attachment to the possibilities of petroleum an addiction. Alcoholism on wheels. Its not only ourselves we are damaging with this addiction. We are affecting our landscapes. Climate change is another affect. One of the people interviewed in the movie referred to oil as a magnet for war. The movie is a sobering reminder. A reminder that any addiction sucks away our spirit.

    I look at the ways I’m addicted. I look at my uses of power and control. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I see the slavery to substance, to feeling, to mood, the habit of thought, the habit of devotion. I see them and understand them because I have experienced them first hand. And when a narrator in a movie refers to our oil usage as an addiction also, I wonder how much am I addicted to the lifestyle I am living at the moment.

    I notice when I am without work I begin to have withdrawal symptoms even though I’ve told myself that it’s a lifestyle choice. Fear comes up and I lose a sense of being supported, until I finally get some news that there is work, or that I have a client. I have debts to service and these can also create a sense of being enslaved. That somehow this addiction to certain standard of lifestyle wrought a financial commitment that I don’t have the freedom to walk away from. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing as I need to see even debt in a different light.

    The images of the wasteland have me looking again at the Grail Mythology. In the search for the Holy Grail the knights needed to quest with pure heart in order to heal the king and find the Grail. The Grail symbolizes the principle of wholeness and is the source of everything we ask for. What am I not Being in order to feel Whole. If I don’t ask the question “to whom does the grail serve” I remain in the wasteland. If in my life I’m not lead by a pure heart I continue struggling in the wasteland.

    It seems that the questions I pose to life itself create the results that materialize for me. If I don’t feel whole I need to understand and clarify my questioning process. Are the questions I’m asking coming from my unconscious habitual ways of thinking or are they lucid questions emanating from an awakened consciousness. As my life changes I need to perhaps change the questions I’m posing.

    Grail Myths: http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian_legend/grail/fisher/