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  • Sacred Sorrow: Sacred Wound Part Two

    Earthquake Damage
    Earthquake Damage Manchester Street

    Back on 4 September at 04.35 we had a 7.1 earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Media reports tended to focus on the initial rupture and the rescue attempts that followed. Because of the timing of the quake there was no apparent loss of life. Lucky for a quake of this magnitude. Reports focused on serious injury and damage. Buildings damaged irrevocably were demolished in the aftermath. The effects though have been experienced in other ways. The aftershocks have engendered the fears suffered in the initial rupture and have come back to haunt some of us.

    Initially there was an interest in the liquefaction caused by the quake. International scholars flew into Christchurch to experience this firsthand. It seemed as if this was the very earth bleeding once the rupture opened wounds on the surface.

    This sense brings us to the possibility of seeing the earthquake as an opportunity to re-experience a sacredness in some way. Certainly the wounds are visible in the cracks in the earth, the crumbling of walls, the caving-in of ceilings. If we imagine those cracks, that crumbling, that caving-in as occuring within our psyches what might emerge as we begin to rebuild ourselves? Are there elements of ourselves that may have been neglected as our lives have evolved? Can we imagine incorporating these elements as we begin to rebuild? Doing this innerwork develops contact with our deeper selves as long as we keep in mind that once this is done we need to turn our attention outward to the wider community.

    The quake opens a path to reconnection with each other. Checking on their well-being as each aftershock hits. Accommodating and feeding those displaced by the quake. This turning outward extends a hand to life – that whatever or whoever you give a helping hand to is returning that gift. You see in their eyes the very emotion that is going on inside of you. The giving is in the receiving as the receiving is in the giving.

    If the Sacred Sorrow of the Sacred Wound opens us to this opportunity to fully see ourselves in another’s pain then it also allows us to fully experience a Sacred Care. A care that goes beyond even our love for one another and reaches into a space where we have a love for the places we live, homes, environments, fully connected to all those things that involve us as earth-bound creatures.

    It was a couple of weeks prior to the earthquake that I’d set the intention for these posts and the immediate experience I was rewarded with was a beautiful day. I took my time driving to work stopping to take photos when they caught my eye. It seemed odd to have all this beauty arrayed as further consideration of the Sacred Wound. At the same time I received another gift although at first it didn’t seem so.

    Ambivalence may not seem to be great gift and its affect on my disposition was quite strong. Ambivalence is defined as the simultaneous experiencing of opposite emotions. The word itself is a combination of ‘ambi’ meaning both and ‘valence’ which is associated with the charge a particular ion will hold while combined with another in a molecule. The one cancels the other leaving the observer with the impression that either the molecule or the person has a neutral demeanour. I’m guessing that seeing this neutrality can be frustrating to someone wishing to have attention from this other.

    While reading Thomas Moore’s Writing in the Sand I came across his discussion of self-possession in his chapter on Facing the Demon. He describes Jesus as a self-possessed person having the attributes of ‘allowing life to flow through him’, a ‘conduit for the uncertainties that life offers’, ‘not fighting the life that wants to be in you’ and an ‘even temper’ and ‘cool demeamour’. The latter two could be confused and sensed as ambivalence.

    Later I was told that when considered in the light of the enneagram ambivalence can be thought of as an almost normal state of being. That somehow took the curse off it. And it had my mind ticking over.  According to Don Richard Riso in his Understanding the Ennegram, point five or personality type

    Understanding the Enneagram

    five, which he describes as The Thinker, is ambivalently identified with both parents. If this sense of ambivalence has relevance to the sacred wound maybe the different points of the ennegram can hint at and perhaps tell us more about our sacred wounds. Worth exploring in my next post!


  • Sacred Sorrow

    “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”
    – Henry David Thoreau

    I have to say that I’ve been in denial about this post for some time. Avoiding it like the plague. Endeavouring to keep my self safe. I should be happy shouldn’t I?? I felt like taking a restraining order out against my psyche and yet Sacred Sorrow seems to be burning a glowing branding iron into my soul. Encounters with people, places, books, movies, myself keep it in the forefront of my mind.

    I first became aware of this concept about ten tears (freudian slip or what?) years ago when I granted it visitation rights to my soul. It manifested as a poem.

    Keeper of the Sacred Sorrow

    From how many lifetimes

    Has this holy melancholy

    Followed me.

    Where is it taking me,

    Past and future

    Wrapped up in the now?

    I make a vow

    To follow my heart.

    Why has this arrived

    To be reconciled?

    Where will it lead?

    What might it heal

    Without knowledge of the wrong

    Being righted?

    As my soul is laid bare

    I gaze upon its naked form

    With love.

    I see it glowing warm

    With the embers of learning.

    Knowing that as I perceive the love within

    So I can perceive the love without

    In the other who is myself.

    A choice is no choice when I live in fear,

    No choice is a choice when I live with care.

    Within that fear I ask a humble why?

    Care creates unclouded sky.

    This occurred a couple of years after I was gripped by a serious grieving process following the ending of a relationship. I was barely functioning for months. Work at the time was all I could manage. At seemingly random moments I’d be stricken, waves of grief washing up on my shore. Tears arriving from my as yet uncharted depths. Emotions welling up. I’d imagined previously that maybe I’d had some deeper connection to life and here was an indication that perhaps there was an element of superficiality to my existence. It pushed me further into areas I hoped would answer the questions this grief had posed to me. Counselling, psychotherapy, shamanic practices, life-coaching.

    So why at this time have I become acutely aware of sorrow and sadness again? I have narrowed it down to three or four ideas that are present for me: powerlessness, man’s inhumanity to man and his fellow beings; the perception that I’m not in a place or job that is nourishing to my soul’s evolution; and possibly the reopening of what is termed the sacred wound. It is not a grieving process but probably indicative of something amiss in my psyche. Am I once again living at the surface of my psyche rather than exploring the depths.

    Seems a good opportunity to explore those concepts in the following posts.


  • Waitangi Day

    Water Lily
    Water Lily

    The day we commemorate the birth of our blended nation, New Zealand.

    On February 6, 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. For more information.

    The words blended nation set off some insights for me as I thought about these times of blended families. When two divorcees come together to create a family each bringing with them their children. The insights were around the dysfunction that can happen under these circumstances. And the birth of the nation was not much different. There was dysfunction. Two cultures coming together and the expectations that each felt had been inherent in the Treaty had different connotations when considered in the language each was written in. There was the Treaty written in English as well as the Treaty written in Maori, the language of the people native to New Zealand before the English arrived.

    What the Maori interpreted from their translation, was different to what the English interpreted in theirs. Much like the difference in values that might be expected in the joining of two families considering each was originally bought up in a different environment. And it has taken time to get past what has been at times an ugly relationship. War, disease and repression have been manifestations of the misinterpretation of the original spirit of the document. We are still working to iron these out and make reparation for the ignorance and misunderstanding that brought injustice and heartache to the Maori.

    Today I came across this beautiful sculpture prepared by a Maori carver, Riki Manuel, to honour the opening of the new Christchurch Women’s Hospital a few years ago.

    Mother and Child
    Mother and Child

    This aspect shows the child open to the world while the other side depicts a beautiful shyness with the child peeking out from behind the mothers legs.

    That shyness, that innocence is a wonderful way of approaching anything new, without staunchness, without an egoic superiority, but with a coy interest in seeing how another is present in their reality and hoping that will be reciprocated as that other views us in a similar fashion. Through that coy interest we hopefully gain an appreciation for the other without having to change them to fit our world view.

    It is a magnificent day here and I’m experiencing the sense of being led rather than leading and the absolute perfection of what I was led to along the way.

    I returned via my beloved Botanic Gardens and was amazed as I walked across the lawns there my mp3 player going, headphones on, taking in some great Kiwi music. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a woman rocking a baby in her arms seemingly moving to the rhythm of the music that was running through my head. There was sense of disbelief, so I had to check in with the music again and I wasn’t mistaken. A wonderful sense of the oneness of all things in that simple moment. Wish I’d had taken video and added the music to it. But perhaps I’d never have gotten that synchronous moment to come together as it did then.

    Botanic Gardens - Rolleston Avenue lawn
    Botanic Gardens - Rolleston Avenue lawn

    Today has been a great example for me of doing what I love and seeing the perfect unfold through doing that. I spent time this morning going through my email, looking at the site I’ve been working on, feeling uninspired until moved to hop on my cycle and get out enjoying the freshness, the peace, the beauty of how life is manifesting away from the house and neighbourhood.

    Inside the canopy
    Inside the canopy

    I guess this picture encapsulates that feeling – although there are times I enjoy being inside at my computer there are other times when it becomes an obstacle to full enjoyment of life. There’s always a ray of sunshine waiting whether literal or figurative.

    Just to round the day off perfectly for a good Kiwi bloke we have the first day of the IRB Rugby Sevens in Wellington and a One-Day International Cricket Match with our traditional rivals across the Tasman, Australia.

    Absolute Blessings for me and for you.

  • Working with Qualities of the Soul: Vast

    A vast potentiality within. A universe of possibilities to explore as a human. Logos, Moore explains as being the “mysterious, unfathomable nature of soul”.

    I hadn’t imagined that my daughter would want to do a bungy-jump while she was here. I’d thought she had done one before so I was quite honoured when she said she wanted to do it at the same place her brother had.

    It was raining a little on the way on the way to Hanmer and the thought was there that may they wouldn’t jump in the rain. They do it in all weathers. There was no backing out.

    If someone had said to me 25 years ago that a few years from now people would be jumping off bridges on the end of gigantic rubber bands, bouncing, swinging and dangling, I’m not sure I’d have believed them. Now it is a widely accepted adventure activity. It is definitely part of that vast potentiality of wonderful experience.

    And the smile that was on my daughter’s face when she returned to the look-out point where I’d been videoing the jump was testament to the breath-taking nature of experiencing herself as someone who has thrown themselves off a bridge for the sheer thrill. Now I can’t wait to do it myself. I used to wonder why I hadn’t done it before and now I know. I felt absolutely privileged to have been witness to both my son and daughter taking this plunge and I don’t think I’d have fully appreciated the looks that I saw on their faces had I done it prior to them.

    Talking to her afterwards it was if the whole experience had possessed her. I asked if she’d noticed the bus going across while they were preparing her. Absolutely oblivious of the fact. There was just her and the jump. The photographer below had called to her to wave and it was a distraction that her mind didn’t want to comprehend so the wave was a bit hesitant. She was itching to get off the bridge, wanted the countdown 3, 2, 1 to hurry up so she could just do it. She was ready to go on 3. Any hesitation and she knew that her mind would have begun to organise excuses as to why she couldn’t do it. And again that smile attested to the vastness of  committing to something and succeeding.

    Tuesday was one of those days that seemed to have it all. Action, adventure, grace, relatedness, beingness, beauty, love, sadness.

    Following the jump we went a little further into the township of Hanmer which is a geothermal area and noted for its hot pools. We “took the waters” as used to be said of people enjoying the warmth of naturally occuring hot water.

    Moving from hot to cooler, hotter still and then cool, steam rising from the pools in the almost wintry weather. It was raining and though still the middle of summer a little on the cool side. We were chatting all the time and I’m usually a man of few words when in conversation.

    Then it was beer and a basket of fries in the pub. The rain had increased in intensity by this stage and it was one of those great moments sitting in a warm place with hot food and a cold beer just watching rain outside seemingly in unity with the moment.

    We drove back to Christchurch thinking we’d drop in and see my sister. Not home. Granny and Poppa weren’t home either when we called in there. And that was perfect she got to spend some quality time with her brother before we had to head out to the airport to put her on the plane.

    The drive to the airport was quiet and a touch of sadness as I thought about her heading home. In the past it was me going home after I’d spend a weekend with them. It’s always there leaving the children behind. That bond needing to be broken so that I could continue with my life however it turned out. Within the sadness lies the love. The bond between parent and child.

    I won’t call it bittersweet because there’s no bitterness. There is definitely a sweetness within the sadness because of the love I hold for both of them.


  • Working with Aspects of the Soul: Responsibility

    Responsibility. I’m just looking at the mess my desk has become and feeling the need to take care of that. To make my work space clearer. To make me clearer. Responsibility. I’m so responsible I can’t even commit to my blog. I said to myself I’d do it in the morning. It’s now the afternoon of my day of humility and I haven’t even written up responsibility.

    I stink. No I literally stink. I went for a ride on my mountain bike this morning and am still in those clothes. I need to get clean. I got distracted. I did honour a commitment to a friend which came right on the end of cleaning my desk. Helped him set up a blog. I guess I was committed to blogging.

    I saw the way he seemed to be distracted from his purpose. My projection. There were times I felt myself being angry. I know that’s my stuff. Because I’m not being responsible for what I need in my life right now.

    I’m home and back to the blog. My desk is tidy, I’m clean. Beads of water running out of my beard and down my neck.

    Yesterday I felt I was taking responsibility for others and their needs. My need was to have money coming in. That didn’t happen. And yet around all that I was able to be present.

    Being 100% responsible. For everything. Anything that we are or become conscious of. Those ideas were with me yesterday. The book Zero Limits written by Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len tells Dr Len’s story of how he helped heal an entire ward of mentally ill criminals without seeing any of them in a therapeutic setting!

    Beautiful story of seeing what is inside of you. Dr Len while reading the patients files would work on himself. Taking responsibility as he connected the patient’s story to what he was feeling within he would offer the following to the divine, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love”. Over time conditions in the ward began to change. Staff turnover tailed off, patients began to change, and in the end the ward was closed. Powerful. The term he used for the process was cleaning.

    I’m feeling cleaner now, more at home within myself. My head isn’t spinning with doubts about how responsible I am. I needed to blog to become clear. My awareness isn’t in my head but is encompassing my whole being. I’m at peace And hoping that these words will somehow touch another. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And what does it mean for a Creative Mythologer? What is the vision you wish to create for yourself from this point on. What life experience is calling you to take 100% responsibility? Are there areas of your life that need cleaning? The physical – house, office, the yard, your body. The psyche – your thoughts, emotions, soul. Do you have a clear and positive connection with spirit?

    By committing to clean in the physical we change our nonphysical reality.
    By taking responsibility for being clear in our nonphysical, how we view material reality changes.

    Responsibility is an expression of love. Love it all.

    Later today, maybe tomorrow: Humility


  • Living in Soul: Aspects – Part One

    From the writings of Alice A. Bailey we have the features of what a life infused by the soul might hold. Ain’t life fascinating! A little research for some background of Alice A. Bailey and I discover that she was a cook in the American Theosophical headquarters café. A association with my own work as a chef! It was there that she connected with the Master Djwal Khul who she credits with telepathically dictating the works she would produce from 1919 ’til her death in 1949.

    She had some very interesting ideas on a multitude of subjects and it is from The Soul: The Quality of Life that I derived the following material. The italicized sections are quoted from the book. I’ve broken it into three posts and it may be interesting for you to follow the practice I outlined in the previous post.

    Aspects of the Soul

    Love, Responsibility, Humility, Inclusiveness, Joy and Happiness

    Love is the nature of the soul and therefore I make it the first of its characteristics. This isn’t the love of affection, emotion, or sentiment. It is soul love and flows from the inner self. Rather than needing to be projected outwards by one willing it, it radiates touching those that come in contact with it, even on a subtle level. It brings order to chaos and changes pity to compassion.
    There are some affirmations from the work of Alice A. Bailey as regards soul love:
    a. May that soul of mine, whose nature is love and wisdom, direct events, impel to action, and guide my every word and deed.
    b. Let the love of the soul attract, and the light of the soul, direct all whom I seek to help.
    c. Right attachment releases the love of the soul, and only love, consciously, intelligently and deliberately applied, can make for successful work.

    For me responsibility is foremost after love. It brings me into solid connection with my physical existence. By taking responsibility I take ownership of my ‘I AM PRESENCE’ in the here and now. I am 100% responsible for anything that is manifest in my life. My words, my actions, all my thoughts from which I create my life. And if there is negativity manifest in my life then I take responsibility for it. I do not attach blame to anyone or anything exterior to me, but attempt to discover what the thought is that evokes the manifestation of the negativity.

    I went through a series of humbling experiences on my journey to connect with my soul. The Alice A. Bailey writings speak of the concept of Glamour and when I was humbled by life, I was seduced by the glamour of an idea.
    Even though it felt like I had the best of intentions I noticed that in some ways I was stroking my ego. I wasn’t anchored in a soul-based consciousness. I was attracted to working as a therapist but not out of a sense of service to others, but rather the glamour of working in the field.
    It was a reality check. In Overcoming Emotional Chaos authors Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman of HeartMath refer to something similar and call it vanity. Once seduced by this vanity or glamour I was not in a state of being fully present to all my life. These experiences evoked the humility required to exist in a more soul conscious state.
    I had discovered HeartMath a year or so earlier and had committed to their training and a seminar in Australia. Their teachings on heart intelligence are powerful. I was possibly the first person in New Zealand to do their training and excited by the prospect it held. When opportunities didn’t unfold though I marketed the program I sensed the vanity and also the possibility there was more of me to be uncovered. Rather than pushing me to look further outwards for answers these humblings prompted a turning within. Was I denying parts of myself that needed expression? A visit to a person channeling a Persian Mystic invited the idea that I might look at soul retrieval. For some time I had been reading material around the soul, never imagining that I might be missing part of it. Once the shamanic practitioner had taken me through the rite of retrieval and time had been taken to integrate the part there was a greater feeling of unity within. The journey was not yet over but there was a sense that somehow I was more of me. I had less of a feeling of separation from the rest of those in my circles. A previous sense of difference and isolation was being replaced by a feeling that whoever we are we’re all looking to evolve our humanness in our own unique way.

    Bailey describes inclusiveness as…. the outstanding characteristic of the soul, or self, whether it is the soul of man, the sensitive nature of the cosmic Christ, or the anima mundi, the soul of the world. This inclusiveness tends to synthesis.

    Synthesis can be thought of as fusion and for me involves creating the space within my mind and heart to acknowledge that I’m part of all that is. That by virtue of being a guest on Planet Earth I’m intimately connected with all that entails – the rest of humanity, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, the mineral world, and in even a wider sense the rest of the universe. I live with a sense of sacred relationship to all these facets of life I honour each for the gifts they bring.

    Joy and Happiness
    The Bailey work says that happiness is based on the confidence of the God within. I’m not sure I’d describe myself as being a happy person, and acknowledge there have been times in my life when I thought of myself as being depressed but unsure whether it was anything that was affecting my life detrimentally. At times it became a good excuse if things didn’t appear to be going to well. Following the soul retrieval, I came to notice within, not a happiness, rather a feeling of profound contentment.
    The work of Alice Bailey speaks of happiness as a personality reaction and to endeavour to demonstate it. She says joy is a soul quality that is experienced in the mind and advises us to be joyful as it is joy that allows light to bless us. Bliss is described as a nature of the spirit and can only truly be encountered once unity, the ultimate beingness, is realised through the soul.

    ….work not for joy, but towards it; not for reward, but from an inner disposition to serve; not for gratitude but from the urge that comes from having seen the vision and realization of the part you have to play in bringing the vision down to earth.

    May the Blessings of the New Year touch you. Gratitude to all.


    D.K. through Alice A. Bailey
    The Soul The Quality of Life

    Wikipedia: Alice A. Bailey, Dwhal Khul, Anima Mundi