It’s been on my heart to write about the teaching and learning community for some time, but I haven’t quite known how to address it. In a dream-therapy session, it came to me, after an exorcism of sorts (story for another time), that now is the time-just before the Equinox, and while the fire of Aries is still cuspily tempered by watery, old-soul Pisces.
It’s been a long time since I stood up with my voice in public, taking some high roads and silencing my thoughts on the matter of what happens when clashes occur. What happens in an insular community, especially a spiritual one, is that occasionally folks get irritable when a leader doesn’t fulfill their expectations. Folks get triggered into their wounds about how a leader “should respond” to their needs, the needs of the community, or how one “should act”. They bring their projections to the confrontation table, and a leader who is not in her strength is at risk of crumbling. Sometimes these projections have to do with who didn’t take care of them properly a long time ago. But whole containers have been dismantled by a teacher, a student, or a colleague in a dark place, and so it’s worth trying to shed a little light on, I think.
I cut my teeth on shamanism with a maverick wisewoman who was, and still is, a profoundly gifted healer. I was nurtured to life by a clan of wolfsisters for a decade, and in reflection, the thing I keep coming back to, as a result of my experiences, is that I belong to no one, no religion, no prescription, no set of rules which someone else thinks I should follow. Brings new meaning to the term “raised by wolves”, eh? The nice way of talking about what some of us heathens do is to say that we walk an “integrated” path. The truer way of positing it is to acknowledge that we are all complex creatures with abilities and curiosities which span many cultures and lifetimes. I think when we give our personal power away to a so-called ideology or belief, and follow one prescribed method, we become subservient to it, and possibly dominant in our masculine aspect. I think that this is a limited way of doing life and spirituality, and I personally prefer a more fluid and feminine approach to learning, as well as teaching. This doesn’t always go over well with the patriarchal types, or with those masculine-dominant folk who think I should be doing things their way or no way at all. Pretty sure I’m not alone here.
The dilemma with dogma is that it boxes the mind and spirit in. Especially a multicultural, multiethnic one. It leaves little room for the entirety of one’s cosmology, the vastness of one’s many experiences and lifetimes of walking this road. This approach to matters of the spirit might be, at its simplest and perhaps worst, a fantasy, and is most certainly arrogant. I think this is what I dislike most, and turn quickly away from when I’m confronted by it. That this hubristic constituency exists seems to shut down the voices of many. This is a terrible loss.
As long as we, the people, keep operating from the black and whitesville of One Right Way to Do Things-spirit, eternity, parenting, ritual, ceremony, the afterlife, we divide ourselves into factions or (gah!) isms. The notion of “beliefs” is limiting, and of course, judgement will be stirred, over time, causing more division.
I’m often asked what my beliefs are, as if they will qualify me for a special prize if I fit the category. I never quite know how to answer this question, and I never win the prize. What I can tell anyone who asks, is about what I practice. What I find sacred. What I honor. What I love. Who I play well with. If I believe anything, it’s that solutions lie beyond the ordinary physical realm of suffering, and that we can address these dis-eases as individuals, as communities, and as a world culture, with our dazzling array of gifts and tools starting right now.
If anyone questions your faith, and your walk, and you know yourself to be of sound mind and heart, I’ll tell you what I was told and I hope you’ll hold it close: You have nothing to defend.