Not Xena

I pass this on because I believe being true to our nature is as necessary at this time as it is at any other, in linking our strengths together to build a strong community..

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I am currently listening to the audio book version of The Game of Thrones, and have come to like Samwell Tarly, the self-confessed coward whose finer qualities his Lord father would not acknowledge as valuable. Sam is a philosopher, perceptive and sensitive. I am identifying with him. I’m afraid of violent encounters, too.

Remember seeing the student stand defiantly before the tanks in Tiennanmen Square? As soon as I watched that, I wondered what would propel me to do such a courageous thing. To protect my child, yes, certainly. Would I rush out to defy violence for a less crucial and immediate threat?

As it turns out, years later I watched myself answer that question, amazed. I was in a class at the Omega Institute. An angry student kept up a barrage of complaints against the arrogant teacher, who wasn’t having it. Neither was giving in. Arrows were flying and I was getting more and more anxious. Fear flooded me, my heart raced, and I needed this to stop.

Suddenly my body pushed herself up from my chair and rushed out into the center of the room. I really hadn’t seen that coming but had to follow through. My fear immediately coalesced into righteous determination. I shot what felt like a commanding glance at the Red Queen at the front of the room, and she reined in. The arrows stopped in mid-air and fell just short of my back. I turned fully toward the other class participant, a stranger made intimate in that moment, and said as quietly as I could, “You know, this is hopeless. She’s not going to listen to you. Let’s go outside and talk.”

Another nearby participant voiced his support, and the three of us walked out to the porch. After a brief parley, the angry participant left. The other one and I walked back in to the class and resumed focusing on what we had come to learn from this famous teacher.

Every time I think of that unplanned intervention, I am astounded. So, check mark, I’m not, to use George R.R. Martin’s evocative adjective, craven. But I am no warrior. My Xena Warrior Princess refrigerator magnet reminds me of how much I admire people who can be.

I walked in anti-war marches in the 60s and rode the high, charged energy with confidence. But I don’t march now. My gut quakes when I consider how hysteria can turn a crowd into a mob. Whenever I went to the races in Saratoga Springs, I avoided the area where people milled around watching the race on monitors, waiting to see if their wagers would succeed. The sound of their urgent murmurings made me uneasy.

And since the day after the election, I have awakened nervous every morning, my solar plexus quivering. So two days ago, I finally sat in meditation and sent my perplexed longing into the higher realm of being, that realm that I call the divine, from which I have received helpful teachings and all those illuminating, nourishing downloads.

They’ve tumbled into my head in a variety of language styles, which I have transcribed as accurately as possible, leaving literary judgment and theological preference at the door. The message has always conveyed the same idea: that I am a conduit of love, a messenger of hope, and that my nourishment comes from focusing on possibilities that vibrate with those qualities.

Take heart. Don’t give up. We/you/ are here/there. We are with you, the same as you, forever and ever, we are one in creation. It is only the separation brought about by apparent material necessity which creates the illusion of separation. Blessed is the one life in which we all swim.

Your dreams are our help as well. Take it either way, both are true.

We love you. Sister of souls past, lover of the divine love within, seek the directions where love is most evident, leave behind the clutter of hardened memories for others, iron-clad, to ponder. Not for you is the battle field with its terror of meanness, but more to the sunlight and souls in flower. The balance is well fed. The times to wander in are those which nourish, not challenge, thy soul. The cow that gives the sweetest milk is she who has grazed in the sweetest fields resplendent with lush flowers thriving under the rays our lord sun and the gentle mists and baths of Lhiekhe (pronounced /lye-kee/).

Peace to you and to all those who nourish thee, sweet sister, lover divine, and mother of hopes. We have missed your kind company and long for your recognition of our dwelling places, so we can communicate on a more conscious level with thee.

So when I ask for guidance, I am not surprised when I am encouraged to take the road that offers the least resistance.But I am always ready to hear that I must put on whatever armor I can create and stand against an onslaught. I did once receive firm marching orders to plow into a very scary obstacle in my life, told that there was no way around, above, or under, but that through was the only possibility. I jumped down the rabbit hole and was there for eight years, and the beauty of the world into which I emerged within and without was worth the dark journey.

Two days ago, I didn’t ask how I could help others or for advice I should pass on to others. I didn’t ask what I could do to be of the most help to my country or the world. I asked what I needed to do to fortify myself, to be the person I came here to be most fully at this time. What came in response has helped me see how I can fit into this time.

On the blank page of each unfolding minute, find the direction in which the tiniest mote moves along the subtlest current. Close your eyes and sense the flow under the turbulence of the fray. There you will find the sweetness seeking its outlet far along the course of current events. Place yourself there, in the sweetness under the ice, in the quiet far from the roistering crowds.

Your role is to tread water in this flood, staying put in your center. Your moving arms will be fins in the water, moving the sweetness and the calm that is the Earth’s nourishing milk. Those who can pause long enough to discern the scent will find their way to it and will find strength and calm.

You do not need to be the spasmodic body in the birth throes of this time. The midwife does not feel the mother’s agony, but remains cognizant of what the mother needs. She remains focused on the laboring being, offering hope, directions, clean cloths, water and soothing liquids, massaging and caressing, urging the mother’s well-being and encouraging the baby to emerge.

Soul groups also emerge now from warm nests of soft undergrowth, from under the rock ledges along all the waterways of the world. Under the layers of turmoil, the Earth shelters pods of tender blessing, curled and waiting to be called from sleep when the tribal unrest above them strikes the nerve that is the awakening bell for each of them.

Take the long view.

A number of my good friends are more able than I to grapple with anger, and some find it energizing. In the face of their calls to action, I often feel cowardly and inadequate. But I trust my process and the life pattern I have built with it, and so I trust that the guidance I received in answer to my question yesterday is authentic, and not just wish fulfillment, because it does, of course, occur to me that this all might just be wish fulfillment, just as everything I believe and everything I see might all be in my head.

We often say that — “it’s all in your head” — as a joke, black humor, indeed, as so many women, particularly, have heard this from their doctors or their impatient, unsympathetic intimates. But I’m being serious, knowing all along that my bringing it up at the end of the last paragraph may have cued a smile.I have great respect for imagination. It’s the beginning of creation. “Oh, it’s just your  imagination” is probably one of the least useful sentences one can say, unless to quell a ravaged heart from further fear.

From a page in the online community called the Joseph Campbell Foundation comes this simple description: “Vishnu is pictured as the divine dreamer of the world dream. Vishnu sleeps on a great serpent, whose name is Ananta, which means “Endless.” The serpent floats on the universal ocean, called the Milky Ocean. But this Milky Ocean and the Serpent and the sleeping God: these are all the same thing. They are three inflections of the same thing,, and that thing can be thought of also as the subtle substance that the wind of the mind stirs into action when the universe of all these shifting forms is brought into being. Vishnu, the God, sleeps, and the activity of his mind stuff creates dreams, and we are all his dream: the world is Vishnu’s dream. And just as, in your dreams, all the images that you behold and all the people who appear are really manifestations of your own dreaming power, so are we all manifestations of Vishnu’s dreaming power. We are no more independent entities than the dream figures in our own dreams.” (http://www.hinduwisdom.info/articles_hinduism/12.htm)

OK, you say, but Vishnu is a god. Yes, and we are gods in training, created “in the image” of a Creator. Created to be creators, with no limits but our finite minds, and we’re working on that.

I don’t understand how or why reality comes into being. Fortunately, I don’t have to. I just have to stay as healthy as I can, act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. So I go to the gym, take walks in the forest, examine my thoughts, care for my heart, my community, my friends and those I love, send as much money as I can to the several organizations which do battle on the fronts I care about, and write letters to powerful office holders begging and commanding them to take actions I think need to be taken to create a more just America and a more compassionate, safer world.

I pass this on because I believe being true to our nature  — being true to the authentic selves we came here to be, as opposed to whatever kind of role-playing self we may have given into believing we should be — is especially necessary at this time. Taking the long view, the last advice I received two days ago,  implies an ability to be patient, to know that what is in front of us now will be behind us later, and that being impatient to create a specific  “later” sooner than later is not “taking the long view.” But it does not mean that I — or anyone else who resonates with the guidance I received — should do nothing while taking the long view.We can link our strengths together to build a strong community only if we, ourselves, can be strong links. Marching with banners is one way. Writing impassioned letters and posts on social media is another. For me and probably for many others, staying out of the public fray while plying our skills to create the world we want is another.

In my heart of hearts, I know Xena and Samwell have each other’s backs.

Author: Leiah Bowden

I was born and raised in Schenectady, NY. Lived in New York City for three years to see what kind of grown up I was, traveled around the world, and moved back to Schenectady, where I lived for the next 44 years. I stayed because Mom was still here, on the planet, in this small city where she had lived all her life. When I was 60, she told me I should leave, because she knew I'd wanted to go someplace where the intuitive work I did would make sense to more than a few people, and the yearning I had to be among my kind -- wherever that might be -- would find release. I stayed because I preferred to stay rather than go and then have to come back when she would eventually need me. She died in 2010. My only child became a father in 2012. I retired, put my house on the market to live near my beloveds and be an active Nana and once more, an active mother to my grown-up son and his wife. When the house finally sold in the summer of 2015, I said a tearful goodbye to my close friends of more than 40 years and drove West. I felt nervous and excited and free and extremely, gratefully, privileged to be able to live this fabulous life. And now I am in love with my new community, am welcomed by new friends, and set myself to the task of being not only Nana, but my self, my Self: artist, writer, she who raises arms and heart and mind and opens as completely as possible to the divine

5 thoughts on “Not Xena”

  1. Delicious and wise as I’m growing accustomed to with this blog. Gratefully, we’re not all warriors for if we were, where would be the helpers, where would be the nurturers, the tear-dryers, the ones making the soup, those minding the children, those holding the dream. “It” takes all kinds.

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  2. HI Leiah,

    I started my day with your blog site. Much food for thought, spirit, mind, body, & the unknowable rest…..

    When you said “It could just be my imagination” you echoed what many of my clients have said before experiencing my imaginal work.

    I recall one New Yorker who had a growth in her uterus we were about to explore, expressing that whatever happened would be her imagination.

    In the middle of the session I asked, “Is this your imagination?” and she responded (in awe) “oh no!”

    As you so eloquently stated:; it is ALL imagination – or the Dream you describe in the Indian quotes.

    We ourselves are being dreamed by the ONE…..and as we dream so we are……(sayest thou)

    Thank you for sharing your imaginal realm with us.

    love, & blessings on all planes….
    Batja

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    1. Thank you, Batja. The first time I came into contact with the concept of the importance of the imagination was through Edgar Cayce’s teaching that “thought are things.” And of course, way back, Jesus is quoted as saying that whatever we think, it’s as if we actually did that thought. And there are probably other, older traditions in addition to Hinduism that teach that as well.

      Here’s to pleasant dreams for everyone!

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