"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Two Wolves Within

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice…

“Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It’s like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”

“I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr12.22.82 - 04.23.00art by Johanna Pieterman

Jeffrey Dwaine Buckalew, Jr
12.22.82 – 04.23.00
art by Johanna Pieterman

But…the other wolf… ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.”

“Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

— — A Native American tale told many times around the Sacred Fire

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the shore with some of my favorite people, my family. After a long night of fishing we sat together on the beach talking and enjoying breakfast in the morning sun.

Alexandria quietly played in the sand at our feet. She used a small piece of wood to scrape the sand smooth, like a blank canvas, and then made fingerprints, foot prints and bumble bee prints with a plastic bumble bee we found on the beach. Sometimes she coaxed one of us to make prints, too. Every so often she picked up the board and wiped the area clean to start again.

BE

If you could summarize the purpose of your life with one word, what would it be?

Our conversation shifted into wondering aloud about why we are here or what our purpose is in life. I shared that I had heard from different places that our individual purpose in life can be summarized with one solitary WORD. And that we can find clues to what that word might be in some of our most challenging moments or life patterns.

For example, for someone who is overly critical of everything that is “different” from their perception of what “should” be, the word might be ACCEPTANCE. Being overly critical and always finding something wrong or something to complain about feeds the negative energies of hate and intolerance. It also indicates a rejection of one’s own SELF. It attracts and brings more situations to complain about … often over and over and over again.

So, for this person, what is required is to become aware of the pattern of rejection. Then to make the conscious choice to evolve from the energies of hate into those of LOVE – to make the shift into being more accepting. That choosing to shift the energy from hate to love requires practicing ACCEPTANCE, beginning with accepting the SELF … over and over and over again as life brings its challenges. And life will bring challenges to practice on!

We were quiet for a few moments and then began sharing around the circle what our greatest challenges were and what we each thought our word might be. After everyone had a turn speaking it was again quiet for a few moments … Alexandria, still looking down and playing in the sand said, “I think my word is be …” and the rest of what she said was cut off by a loud noise from somewhere else. I asked “What did you say, Alex? Your word is be happy?” She looked up at me, right into my eyes, and with the perfect certainty and wisdom of a four year old said, “No, my word is BE. Just BE.”

no words …

~LM

Listening to my “Willing to Grow” playlist on my iPod while I’m working. This song by Jann Arden really speaks to me today …

“…follow your voice back home…”

A Perfect Day by Jann Arden

You can do it I know you can, I know you will

You can make it I know you can, get up the hill
You can be anyone you want, just close your eyes
You can picture a perfect day inside your mind

You’ve gotta pull your head up, stand your ground and face it all
You’ve gotta hold your heart out to the universe
If you believe in who you are my shining star
If you believe in who you are my shining star

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love

Shine On!

If you believe in who you are my shining star …

You’ll be fine, you’ll see when the morning comes

You’ve gotta hold your head up, throw your shoulders through the wall
You’ve gotta count your blessings, count your lucky days
You’ll never know unless you try, until you risk it all
If you believe in who you are my shining star

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love
You’ll be fine, you’ll see when the morning comes

All you weary, all of you on your own
Listen clearly, follow your voice back home
All you broken, all of you without love
You’ll be fine

Yesterday afternoon I experienced one of those precious moments of life that are so sweet, so heart-warming, so divine that it made me wish I could package it up in a pretty purple box and tie it up with a gold ribbon and a big bow so that I may open the gift again and again and again.

Jeff was feeding bees and putting mouse guards in the hives while I was in the garden gathering, bundling, collecting and preparing for winter. Our granddaughter Alexandria was back and forth between us, assisting, asking questions and just being her happy little 4-year-old self.

It had been sprinkling on and off all afternoon until a point came where it seemed like it was going to be more on than off. As I started packing my harvest into the truck I called to Alex to gather her things and come sit in the truck with me to wait for the rain to pass.

“I not wet Gairma!” she said, as she trotted off and disappeared behind the garden shed. (she calls me Gairma instead of Grandma – “Gair” sounds like “Hair”) As I was putting things away I noticed that she was purposefully going up and down the garden rows, stopping occasionally, and then continuing on.

We’ve had a few really cold nights so most of the garden has wilted, however Alex is rarely without a fistful of flowers of some sort and this day was no exception. We climbed into the truck to watch the rain. As we talked she opened her little hand and laid an assortment of flowers out on the console.

Her collection contained flowers of viola, anise hyssop, lavender, white snake root, stevia and borage. We talked about each of them in turn, noting the colors, the scents and the size of the flower petals. When we got to stevia we tasted the leaves. Her face lit up at the sweetness and she quickly asked for another. After talking about each flower and before moving on to the next she would declare it her favorite. “Viola is my favorite!” When we shared about anise hyssop before moving on to the lavender she said, “Anise hyssop is my favorite!” and so on through all of the flowers.

I observed, “You really love flowers don’t you?”

She nodded her head and said “Yes … they pick up me when I fall.” I think I may have held my breath at that moment, wanting to stop time right there in the divinity of what she had just said and how it made me feel. She started to explain “When I fall down … ” and she spread her hands down toward the floor “they pick up me” and she brought her hands back up and crossed her arms over her heart.

I love flowers. They pick up me when I fall. Alexandria Jordan Buckalew - Age 4I said, “So they make you feel better?”

“Yes” she said, nodding her head again. She selected a beautiful geranium blossom she had brought with her from Pop-pop’s house, brought it to her face and said, “They give me a kiss.” Her angelic little face glowing in refection of the pink-orange petals, she puckered her lips, closed her eyes and kissed the flower. “See?”

With 48 autumns, winters, springs and summers behind me, today I begin the journey of my 49th year of life on this earth. My birthday wish for others is usually shared as “Enjoy an incredible day celebrating YOU!” so today, as I make a wish for myself, it is the perfect day to explore what it feels like to enjoy an incredible day celebrating me.

Lisa's 49th BirthdayCelebrating me means that I am required to acknowledge my own gifts … things that I am or that I bring to the world that are worthy of celebration. One way to do this is to reflect on how much I have grown. To look back one week, one month, one year, ten years ago … and see and acknowledge all of the positive steps forward I have made.

I feel that the biggest gift of my life, a gift that continues to bestow blessings on me every day, has been that of my awakening. There was a point several years back where I began listening to the small, still voice inside me whispering “Wake up, Lisa!”

I wish sometimes that waking up happened all at once … apparently it does happen overnight for some, but for me, waking up has been happening continuously over the past several years. When I think back and count them, they total nearly seven. Seven years of day-by-day increasing awareness. What does increasing awareness mean?

Back in the early stages it meant that I was re-awakening to me. I began hearing the whisper of my own spirit, re-connecting to my passions, my purpose and the essence of my Self as a woman. Then a bit later the perspective widened to include the awareness of what’s happening in the world. There’s a saying “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” and I woke up to see a rodent-dominated world that my sleeping self could not see. I was too numb.

What numbed me?  Pain, grief, guilt, fear …. all assisting in keeping me asleep. Asleep I am easy to be led. When preoccupied with my internal pain and my attempts to numb it I became like a sheep. As a sheep I was easily herded to follow along with the rest of the flock.

I started dreaming of flocks of sheep. White sheep, black sheep and silver sheep. In my dreams the black and silver sheep were lifting their heads up out of the flock or standing up on hind feet to get a different perspective on where they were being led. The silver sheep wandered back and forth between the white sheep and the black sheep not saying much at all. The black sheep would call out to the other sheep, “Wake up! Don’t go that way, go this way!” but the white sheep would continue on following the path they were told to choose … right to the slaughterhouse.

The grazing areas the sheep were led to were certainly green, the chemical companies saw to that. The White and Black Sheepsheep became excited seeing the vibrant color and anticipated how great it would be to gobble it all up. The first few bites were juicy and delicious, but the pasture, although lush and green, somehow lacked the nutrients the sheep needed to feel satisfied inside. Although they watched their bodies grow fat, they were far from healthy and felt slow, sluggish and still ravenously hungry. They yearned for green pasture that would not only be pleasing to the eye, but that would also satisfy the hunger.

As I started noticing what was going on in the world I began to see how a entire populations of people are being herded like sheep through one lush green pasture after another not even realizing that they are ultimately being led to the slaughterhouse.

I recently read a quote that said, “The truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off.” As I awakened to the truth of what was happening while I slept I became angry and I quickly disassociated myself with my life as a white sheep. I identified deeply with the black sheep, rejecting my former white sheep self completely. I raged against the machine of manipulation that had kept me asleep for so long. I refused to follow along blindly any further.

Once the anger passed, I quickly realized that separating myself from the flock called attention to me in a way that was not conducive to continued life among the flock. I realized that if I became a “management problem” I would be culled. Problem solved.

I also realized that while my life as a white sheep was primarily spent in a hypnotic state of following along, there were a lot of wonderful things about that life that I was not ready to walk away from. This was when the silver sheep started speaking.

Like my inner voice, the silver sheep whispers softly which requires me to be in a space of quiet peace so that I may hear the words. Her words were few and were delivered simply as “Love. Courage. Essence.” Reflecting on the silver sheep and the words she shared, I began to notice that her fleece was not silver at all but was made up of individual black and white strands that twined around each other so tightly that it gave the appearance of being made up of a single strands of shimmering silver. In her fleece she displayed the perfectly balanced blend of black and white – the gray, or in my view, the silver space in between.

This was when I began to understand that life was not meant to be about choosing sides but was meant to be lived in honor of both the black and the white. This is also when I began to see the numbers 1+1=3. I did not understand it at first as I know that mathematically 1+1=2 but the silver sheep kept showing me examples of how two things, two people, two events coming together in collaboration create a third thing that could not have been created without the initial two things AND that the third thing appears as greater than the sum of the contributing parts.

Most recently the silver sheep has been whispering “Love. Accept. Forgive.” And then “Start with you. Begin now. I love you.” “Start with you” means that I am meant to love, accept and forgive myself first. “Begin now” means that at any moment of any day if I discover that I am not acting in a loving, accepting and forgiving way toward myself I can choose to begin again. The great thing about this is although the choice is made to begin again, I am not starting at the beginning each time, but I am continuing to build on prior investments in learning how to honor myself.

“I love you.” To me, I love you represents my higher self or my spiritual self reminding my physical self of what I came here to do and who I came here to be. It reminds me that the journey is and always has been primarily about Love. It carries with it, “I believe in you” and “I support you” which when combined with 1+1=3 translates to me to mean I believe in us, I support us, I love us.

I have been blessed with being an aware participant in my own magical awakening, understanding that when I allow both the dark and light parts of myself, as well as both the physical and spiritual parts of myself I am actively collaborating in the creation of something that is so much more than the sum of the parts. Integrating one part into another can be an intense and emotional experience, but with the right tools to assist with the integration, Wooooo Hoooooo!!! I am so totally enjoying the ride!

I have always found it so much easier to celebrate the gifts of others than to celebrate myself and my own gifts. I feel this may be due to how we are conditioned to not feel too good about ourselves so that our ego remains in check. When we do get “too full of ourselves” there’s always someone out there waiting to bring us back down a notch or two.

The trick is, or more accurately, the gift in that is we get to choose what to celebrate regardless of what anyone else may think or feel. Each and every day brings the gifts of a birth-day where, if we wish to, we can choose to be re-born into the true Essence of our Self. On this day, my 49th birthday, I choose to celebrate the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of me and I honor the Love, Courage, Essence, Acceptance and Forgiveness that are alive and thriving inside of you.

Happy Re-Birth day to ME, to YOU and to US! Woooo Hoooo!!! Enjoying the ride!

Today marks a Full Blue Moon. A Blue Moon is the name for the second full moon in a given calendar month. We will not experience another blue moon until July 2015.  Blue Moon symbolizes a “rare opportunity” or a “chance of a life time”. We often hear the term “once in a blue moon” to define something that happens very infrequently.

A black rabbit has chosen to make a home, or at least a temporary safe haven, under our backyard shed. Shortly after Easter we had a note taped to our door regarding our neighbors losing a baby black rabbit. Black Rabbit Eating CloverWe didn’t see the rabbit until about mid-July, so it must be about 6 months old by now. It’s often feeding on the clover in the middle of the yard, and sometimes, there’s a smaller gold-colored rabbit with it. We decided that she’d been out wild long enough that maybe it would be better to leave her wild. I’m not sure how old rabbits have to be to make babies but she may have already mated with a wild rabbit, hence the smaller, gold-colored rabbit who is too timid to come fully into the yard.

She seems to disappear for a few days at a time. While she’s gone I wonder if she’s fallen prey to neighborhood cats or perhaps the red tail hawks who have been preying on another neighbors birds at the feeders. Just when I think she must have completed her circle of life, she shows up again, hopping around the back yard, munching on clover.

She doesn’t seem to mind the presence of the dogs. Angel is getting on in her years and it takes her a while to spot the rabbit. Once she does, she’s off and running with the beagle bray that screams “I found it! It’s here!” Magnus sees it, watches for a while and often leaves it alone. Sometimes he gives chase and the rabbit always makes it to cover, either under the shed or in the stuff piled under the garage roof. This has been a great opportunity to practice the “Off!” and “Leave it!” commands with Magnus. He’s done pretty good with it, stopping mid-stride and turning back to me more than half the time. I’ve got to get a bit better at keeping my eye on him. He seems to wait until I’m distracted before making a play for the rabbit.

This morning as I was watching the rabbit hop around the yard I wondered … if everything is energy then what might the energy of a black rabbit mean to me? Perhaps there is a Universal message for me being delivered by the rabbit. I could dismiss the rabbit and its presence in my life as “one of those things” but what if I choose to honor the rabbit and whatever energetic message it might bring?

Blue Moon - Image Credit NASAWhat do I know about rabbits? I know they are a symbol of fertility. They breed frequently and can produce a new litter of 3 to 6 babies every 28 days. 28 days is connected to the lunar cycle, so perhaps there is a connection to the power 28 day creative cycles in my own life.

Rabbits are generally associated with spring time, a time of renewal and new birth. There is a pagan goddess, Eostre, who symbolizes renewal and fertility and who was celebrated with a festival at the spring equinox. Her name is translated as “radiant dawn” which was probably exactly what spring felt like to those who had just been through a long, hard winter.

Fertility, at this point in my life, is probably not going to be about babies yet it could be about other seeds that I’ve planted. They are kind of like babies to me. Seeds of thought, seeds of intention, seeds of hope, seeds of inspiration, flower and vegetable seeds … It could also represent an abundance that comes in quick succession with little time to wait in between.

Rabbits hop and leap and may symbolize the ability to hop or jump over obstacles in life. They are fast runners over short distances. When running from dogs they will make a wide circle away from their starting point but will return back to it. Knowing the rabbit will return to where it started, the hunter waits there while the dogs chase the rabbit around it’s loop.

The rabbit visiting my yard is black, which symbolizes all color. All color could symbolize accepting all things, all people, all situations. We are all one. Black can also represent the shadow side of life or fears that are required to be worked through. Perhaps the rabbit is encouraging me to face my own fears with compassion and a gentle acceptance of my Self.

Rabbits eat greens and this one really seems to love the clover in our yard. I’ve been transitioning my diet into eating “rabbit food” as well as studying about how wild plants, such as clover, are also medicine. Perhaps the rabbit is encouraging and affirming my choices to “eat my greens” and to learn about wise woman medicine wisdom.

Rabbits are able to freeze as still as a statue while they assess perceived danger. I have noticed that after the threat of a braying beagle is removed the rabbit in my yard comes back out of hiding almost immediately and then ventures, pretty surprisingly, closer to me than she had been before. The message in that could be related to how I respond to fear. To not allow fear to keep me in hiding. That yes, if there is a reason to run, by all means run, however don’t stay hidden or frozen when the threat is gone, thereby missing opportunities for feasting on yummy green clover. And really, for me, how much is there to really fear? Really? When I think about it, most threats are more in my mind than they are in my everyday life.

Perhaps a black rabbit on a blue moon symbolizes that I am being given a rare opportunity at creation or rebirth. I’m being encouraged to recognize 28 day cycles of creation, to nurture myself with fresh, green food,  to face my fears with gentle compassion and to learn to leap over obstacles in my life.  Perhaps honoring the message of the rabbit can assist to attract the abundance of spring time energy into my life no matter what time of year it is.

Listen to your heart …

Each whisper from your heart is a potential boarding pass for the next leg of the journey that is your life. Where will you fly to next?

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