Monday, May 23, 2011

Rested Rambling

The house itself was a charmer. It was a cedar-sided 1920's summer cottage, with all the requisite add-ons and lean-to's; the inside walls painted a pristine beachy cream, with sage green accents. Someone had put a lot of thought and love into the updating, from the vintage-looking linoleum flooring to the old claw-foot tub (NOT a reproduction) to the absolutely amazing '60's range in the kitchen. The place was spotless, cheery and supremely welcoming, due in part to not being weighed down by 21st-century "must-haves" like granite counter tops, high-tech lighting and exotic hardwood flooring. The minute I walked through the door, it felt like home.

And, boy…was it quiet. A resort town on weekdays during the off-season is more ghost town than boom town. Even though those summer houses are built nearly on top of each other, there is only about 25% occupancy mid-week non-summer. I could nod and smile at the few folks I encountered on my daily walks with the dog, rather than fending off an overdose of human interaction by keeping my hood up and my eyes on the sidewalk. Mandatory socialization with large groups of people was right there on top of the list of things I was on holiday from, so that worked out perfectly for me.

I basked in the little luxuries in which I have not had time to guiltlessly indulge for ages. Composing an outfit, rather than throwing on whatever had floated to the top of the clean laundry pile. Paging through a magazine while nibbling my leisurely breakfast, instead of scarfing down a piece of bacon and a few swallows of yogurt in a vain effort to provide my body with enough protein to keep me on my feet for the next twelve hours. Strolling down the aisles at the grocery store, dropping things into my cart as the inspiration struck me. Not fretting about the needs of the cats or the dog or the husband or the restaurant or the customers. Just…me. It was paradise. Perhaps the Rapture had happened after all. Oh, yeah…I forgot. I'm not invited to that particular party.

Speaking of which…I would like to report that I spent hours and hours engaged in voracious spiritual research. But that wouldn't be entirely truthful. I brought a couple of books, read exactly one chapter. Still, I think the time was productively spent, because I needed a few days to just…empty myself. Throw away the junk, some of which had to be ripped from its moorings, and then take time to let the wounds heal. This change of mind, heart, spirit and direction is not something that is going to allow itself to be scheduled and formulated. So saying, "I have five days to get as much done on this as I can" is not exactly the way it's done.

I read, I contemplated, I began to open myself. Which, as it turns out, is kind of like opening a live clam: a lot harder than it looks, and not best done with a hammer, a screwdriver and a stop-watch. It's easy to get frustrated; easy to say, "This is just too much. I can't worry about this right now." But, I think, once you've made the commitment, once the Universe has taken note that you are yearning for it, it doesn't leave you alone.

One of the things with which I have been concerned lately is animal spirits. I feel so drawn to shamanism, animalism, call it what you want. I find it impossible to believe that the Universe put all these non-human creatures on this earth just for us to look at, dominate or destroy as the mood strikes us. It's not such a stretch for me to consider that animals, possibly because they lack what we think of as powers of higher thought, have maintained a close connection to the Almighty which humans long ago rejected in favor of their own machinations.

I believe that animals can speak to us—not using our limited human language, but in ways we forgot long ago. And that if we sincerely seek them out, they will walk with us, even guide us, between the real and spiritual worlds. I've given a lot of thought to power animals, and made some timid, half-hearted moves in the direction of finding my power animal. Trust me, this is a difficult transition for one who was raised in traditional western religion, and has only lately come to see the folly therein. Even so, I think the Almighty is gently coaching me in the right direction. Though I didn't necessarily apply myself to in-depth spiritual research during my "retreat" week, I nevertheless believe the Universe was trying to show me something.

I came to notice that, during the entire week, I walked with crows. Crows were on the beach. They were in the neighborhoods where I walked. They swooped and perched along the roadsides where I drove. Images of crows were everywhere—even in the shops I visited on my touristy buying sprees. I'm beginning to think the Universe is doing the spiritual version of hitting me in the head with a brick. It's got my attention, anyway…

Which brings me back to the thing that didn't happen over the weekend—the "Rapture." Thirty years ago, when I was wrapped up in all that "born again Christian" stuff, we had folks in the church that were absolutely fanatic about "End Times" scripture. They pored over it, they analyzed it, they contemporized it (one of the creatures John mentions in the Book of Revelation is a giant locust…it was the opinion of our resident End Times scholars that this was how a first-century observer would describe a helicopter…) All this analyzation and obsession was directed toward convincing everyone that the End Times were here and that Jesus would be back any day now, so we'd better look sharp.

I'm sorry. Not to dis anyone else's beliefs—if that's what causes you to live a "good" life and harm no one, who am I to argue; but my spirit just does not bear witness to that whole idea. I think it's the ultimate in blind human egotism to believe that the Almighty would destroy the entire planet and everything on it simply because It decided to bring an end to the experiment of human habitation thereon. We don't own this planet. We are intrinsically a part of it, as it is part of us…but it isn't ours.

I don't know what the future holds for human beings and the planet to which we are connected. I know we are currently engaged in aggressively fouling our nest, and if we don't change our ways, something pretty dire is likely to transpire. But I don't think "the Rapture" is it. I can't think of any human beings that are so spiritually pure that they would be whisked away to safety while the planet roils and tears itself apart beneath the rest of us. And if there were such people, I'm pretty sure they would not be fundamentalist Christians. Way too much negative spiritual baggage there, I'm afraid…

For me, the answer is to reconnect with the planet and the spirit from which I was brought forth. And though I don't believe in evangelizing my personal choice, I will say that it wouldn't be a bad thing if more people pointed themselves in that direction.


  1. I think it was George Carlin who said, in one of his routines, that human beings are capable destroying human life on earth - but the earth and what it is composed of, is greater then we are and so while human life might be destroyed by our bad actions the world will continue and lice will continue, in some form.

    So, I while imam not a follower of shamanism, I do understand what you are saying.

  2. I've believed for a long time that God (if he wants to wipe us out)could do it without harming the rest of the planet or the rest of Creation. But, if there's one thing some of these groups are good at is arrogance. Hey, I've got my salvation, the heck with the rest of you.

    Crows are good. We've had one hanging out in the dogwood the last few days. It's a scoldy little character and Bandit just loves to watch it. "That's a really, really big bird and I want to get it, I think."

  3. And it's wonderful that you had such a great time. I'm happy for you.