Holding Center in the Midst of Change / Chaos / Life
Once again, I find myself at a crossroads in my life. A great change. It was not unanticipated, and I’ve become accustomed to change that rattles my foundations. And this rattling is yet another reminder that what I consider ‘proper alignment’ in my life is something for which I am not fully prepared. Are we ever? I often speak of the existential, of the mystical, of the miraculous, of the unconscious trajectories of our lives – mainly as a means to process my own thoughts and feelings. I try to better understand that I am not always in the driver’s seat. If ever. Nope. Nada.
Alignment of the important aspects of my life; spiritual practice, belief systems, work, family, relationships, health & wellbeing, etc. is indeed vital – but not fully grasped. Learning to navigate this life – these changes – is particularly important in the midst of the attendant, perceived chaos. The Great Masters all tell us that the real work is not to be done in sublime isolation on the top of the mountain – but in our day-to-day world. The renunciate path may be available to a few – or even in our twilight years (neo-sannyasin) – but the path of a ‘householder’ is where the real work lies for most of us.
I go through episodes of depression, loneliness, beating myself up, elation, questioning my self-worth, questioning my worth in our society, relief, etc. And this extreme ‘waveform’ of experience shows no sign of abating. However, there is a ‘remembering’ that I can access from time-to-time. And it is this remembering that provides an important lifeline.
I miss my Great Teacher, Richard Bachrach. I miss my Great Ally, Lefty. These Great Beings were instrumental in my life over the last decade. To have Beings such as these to ‘check-in’ with on a regular basis was the greatest blessing of my life. To lose them both in a short span of time was an impossible, crushing blow. But the greater lesson was for me to ‘step-up.’ That it was (is) time for me to carry-on. To pick-up the proverbial baton and move forward – and perhaps pass it on when the time comes.
I recently had the Great Honor of attending and supporting the Dakota Tipi Sundance (Wiwang Wacipi) at Carberry, Manitoba, Canada. As many of you know, it has been an important aspect of my life to witness and appreciate the Sacred Rites of many different Peoples and Cultures. I have been Honored to witness and/or participate in many Sacred Rites from Great Maha Mrityunjaya Homams in magnificent temples in India, to incredible healing ceremonies in the Peruvian Amazon, to Great Pujas in the astonishing temples in Bali, to chanting the Great Hanuman Chalisa in various yoga studios, to the ‘cornerstone’ of my spiritual practice of roaming Nature in solitude – walking in a Sacred Manner. I hope to continue in this, my ‘tradition’ for the rest of my life – opening myself up to ever more Sacred Rites and Spiritual Practices of many peoples – all over this planet, our Great Mother Earth.
I am not a simple ‘collector’ or ‘skimmer on the surface’ of these things. I attempt, with great humility and respect, to connect with these ancient Rites and Practices from the place where ‘All is One’ – as we’ve been taught by all the Great Religions and Indigenous ‘Cosmo-Visions.’ It is my way. It may very well not be yours. I am restricted by a Sacred Covenant from talking about the specific details many of these things. The Sacred cannot be described or labeled. Once you do that, the experience has been lost. Language does not convey meaning and experience of the Sacred. It is yours, and yours alone – which is why my words often make little to no sense whatsoever!
There is an aspect of all these Sacred Rites that does bare explanation – or at least simple observation. There is always a liminal space – a Sacred Space – in which participants and practitioners perform Sacred Rituals. And there is always a ‘demarcation’ of that Sacred Space where observers – oftentimes beneficiaries – act as ‘witnesses.’ Priests, Pundits, Holy Men/Women, Medicine People, Shamans, Curanderos, Helpers, Dancers, Intercessors, etc. all perform a vital function – to ‘transmit’ what comes-through in Sacred Space – inside the liminal space – to those ‘outside’ the liminal or Sacred Space. This, in my observation and experience, is the primary function – to Bless the People and Our Great Mother Earth and All Her Beings (All Our Relations). Bless your family, your loved ones, your worldly endeavors, the Earth, and you. This is usually accompanied by reciprocity in Sacred, Blessed offerings. Prayers exchanged in physical – and not-physical forms.
How do these things relate to the headline of this post? It has been my experience that ‘holding center’ is akin to holding space. And this holding space is an exercise in holding the place between the liminal and the demarcation of the day-to-day world(s). And this practice immediately connects me to the remembering of all these Sacred Rites and Rituals – and the immense, profound beauty and LOVE that they represent and convey. Connecting to this ‘center’ (middle?) is how we are able to truly navigate our lives in ways that transcend the mundane – and even suffering. To be able to allow change, chaos, and our lives to simply swirl around us as we are still like the eye of the hurricane.
I continue to Pray for the Great Strength to hold all these things; my loved ones, my family, my responsibilities, my circumstances, Our Great Mother Earth, and myself. I continue to pray for the ‘remembering’ of what is truly important. I continue to Pray for the Great Strength to be a humble Servant to All that I love – as I have been LOVED, as I have been so magnificently held and Served.