Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Lessons From Lily Dale,


In Order To be Caught, You Must First Let Go.

August 23, 2015

The past six months have been very difficult.

I lost my way somewhere and became distracted by health challenges and the pressure to meet other people’s expectations regarding the direction my life should take.

I realized that my body language had become closed, shuttered, drawn-in, and that I was walking like a worn-out old woman.

That’s what I had become.

And then I returned to Lily Dale.

And initially I was disappointed by my experience. Last year, when I visited the Dale, I felt this rush of energy as I passed through the gates, experienced a rush of deep emotions releasing themselves after the healing service, and felt deeply in touch with parts of my soul that I had lost sight of for quite a long time.

I missed that this year. And I thought – mistakenly – that because I wasn’t feeling the HUGE sensations, I was missing something, or that I was not “getting it” this year.

Oh, how wrong I was.

This year, the transformation was much more subtle, but also much more substantive in nature. For this year, I stopped resisting.

The lesson that the Dale had for me this year was that in order to be caught, you must first let go. Think of a trapeze act. In order for the daring feats to be completed, the actors must be willing to let go of their hold and have deep trust and faith that their partner will be there to catch them. And then comes the roar of applause – AFTER the catch.

Last year, Lily Dale was preparing me for what was to come. I had to be opened to the idea that there was something more that I was missing. I had to be literally shocked into awareness, so my reactions were writ large in emotion and energy.

This year, the Dale knew I was ready.

This year, her messages were subtle, but powerful.

As we walked through the grounds on Friday afternoon, I kept catching brief glimpses of a pileated woodpecker in flight, just a flash of black, white, and red fleeting across the sky into the dense branches overhead. I was teased by their song and the sound of their drilling. And I was frustrated, for I really wanted to SEE them clearly.

And then in the evening workshop, John White brought a spirit message to me, saying “I see a crown of golden energy above your head,” recognized my multiple degrees and that academia had not been kind to me, but promised me that “things are going to get better, and soon.”
I smiled, but didn’t believe him. I was still closed off. It was even mirrored in my body language. I sat in the workshops, armed crossed in front of me, hunched in, looking like a cross old lady. In fact, one of my presenters called me on my body language, saying “your body language is all closed off, so I just open that your mind is more open.”

I spent much of Friday night reflecting, even in my sleep, as I breathed in the cool, crisp air and drank in the peaceful stillness that wafted through my open window. And I begged Lily Dale to shock me again, like it had last year.

I awoke early on Saturday morning, on a mission to get in a good walk of the grounds and take photographs to remember my visit. As I made my way to the lake, I passed another woman, who greeting me slowly and said “My, you’ve got purpose this morning! You’re walking fast!”

I laughed, and said “Yes, I’m on a mission this morning,” meaning my photography.

But I did have a deeper mission in store – the one of discovering the power of Lily Dale’s messages.

The lake was blanketed in a thick mist, rising from its surface, encasing it in a mystical cloud that shimmered with energy. It reminded me of the mythical village of Brigadoon that only emerges from the mist periodically, to share its magic briefly and then disappear back into the air.

I said a silent prayer of gratitude to the beauty and stillness of the mist-shrouded lake before turning back to the path to make my way into the woods.

And just as I turned, a pair of pileated woodpeckers swooped down to the tree not 50 feet in front of me, and began to engage in a titillating tango around the trunk. I stopped, not wanting to startle them, and raised my camera to my face. The pair circled and frolicked, dancing like children around a May pole, while I snapped photos. I held my breath, and did not move, not wanting to scare them away.

The pair entertained me for a good five minutes or so, imprinting on me a very strong vibration, before being startled into flight by another walker coming down the path.

And suddenly, I knew that Lily Dale had been sending me messages all along.

This was not the two-by-four of energy that had been necessary last year. This was a velvet touch of an idea, planting seeds in my soul that would be nurtured into growth long after I had physically left the grounds.

And I began to walk upright.

As I continued my walk, I spent time communing with the old growth trees, touching their trunks, feeling the power and life force that emanated from them, snapping photographs that resonate with their energy.

And when I finally left the Lily Dale grounds behind me, that energy that had seemed so calm, so reserved, during my stay, began to vibrate into life.

About halfway home, I noticed a Buck come out of the woods alongside the freeway a couple car lengths ahead of me. He stopped and watched the traffic passing by, until he saw my car. He seemed to stare right at me as I sped past, and as I looked in the rearview mirror, I saw him turn tail and head back into the shelter of the trees. It was as if he had been waiting for me.

So, pileated woodpeckers and a buck, each apparently with an important message to convey to me.

When I got home, I researched the totem meanings of each of these animals, anxious to see what they might be trying to tell me.
At the top of the informational page about woodpeckers was this quotation, “Keep hammering away at your current project. Success is at hand!” Immediately, it struck me that woodpeckers represent opportunity knocking. And since the pileated is about the largest woodpecker around, I figured that it must mean a pretty large opportunity.

And sure enough, when I opened my email, there was an invitation to accept a rather large project starting very soon. Opportunity truly was knocking, and I was quick to open the door.

But my time at Lily Dale this year also told me that there is a more foundational change that I am undergoing that transcends the mundane work world. So I kept reading about the woodpecker.

Another lesson of the woodpecker is that you should listen more clearly to subtle energies, because there is a message that only your intuition can interpret. The woodpecker’s tapping is also indicative of Earth’s heartbeat, bringing life to new projects and activities.
I remembered how disappointed I was that I missed the big clanging energies and messages of last year’s trip, and realized that the pair of pileated woodpeckers were telling me to pay attention and open up to the minute sensations, in order to make them feel large.

So what of my friend, the buck?

I have been struggling with the psychic aspect of my self lately, trying to balance being true to my self with the pressures of meeting outward expectations of behavior and beliefs. I have been closing myself off to my true self even as I said that I was going to explore it more.

And the buck calls us to use or develop our sensitivity at various levels in our lives, guiding us to refine our intuition and psychic abilities.

In other words, the buck was telling me to let go, so that I can be caught.

As I meditated on the lessons of my trip to Lily Dale, I concluded that the time is now for me to come into my true self and accept my gifts for what they are, letting go of the expectations and assumptions that have guided my life to date, and trusting that I will be safely caught by my Spirit Guides as they help me complete my predestined ‘routine’.

And by letting go, and not fretting over direction or purpose or expectations, I will be free to soar in the necessary direction to be
safely – and spectacularly – caught.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Pot Full Of Beans

A Pot Full Of Beans


I realized, as I stood and stirred the bubbling pot of baked beans that had been simmering on the stove for hours, that my emotions were mimicking its actions, as they threatened to burst through the surface after months of being supressed.

Absently, I moved my spoon through the thick mass of molasses-colored manna, as I let my mind wander freely over recent events.
“How did I get to this place?” I asked myself. “How could my life be so different from what I imagined it would be, just six short years ago?”

The molten mass of beans chose that moment to spit hot lava onto my hand, startling me back to reality.
I moved, quickly, to the sink, to thrust my burnt fingers beneath a rush of icy water, breathing fast and hard to fight the pain of the burn.

Once the throbbing had begun to subside, I returned to my post in front of the stovetop, picking up my spoon like a weapon and brandishing it before the still-tempermentally bubbling pot. This time, I gingerly pushed the beans from the bottom of the pot, being sure to move them away from my body to avoid a repeat performance.

As I let myself slide into reflection once again, a myriad of emotions began to make themselves felt, pushing against the restraints that had so carefully tied them down for so long.

Longing, regret, desire, sadness, melancholy, loneliness – each emotion thrust its head to the surface, as if it were a dolphin gasping for air before plunging back to the depths once more.

I realized that somewhere along the way, I got lazy and let go of the daily minding of my life. Somehow, overwhelmed by the many challenges that were thrown unexpectedly in my path, I forgot that the greatest challenge – and indeed, the most important one – was to take care of myself. In the chaotic jumble that became my new life, somehow my own person was lost in the shuffle. I struggled to take care of others, to be available to family and friends, while somehow scrambling to pull together enough money to pay my bills, and left my soul unattended by the wayside.

I realized that I had become someone I no longer recognized, allowing myself to be pushed around by the needs and desires of others, without standing up and recognizing what I truly needed to do for my own health.

I smiled, ironically, thinking of the rush of cold water I had just poured over my heated skin moments before. Life-giving, soul-feeding, energy-filled water, the source of my truest self. And yet, I pondered, when was the last time I had been to the lake? Or walked by the creek? Or just swam in a pool? For years, I had a weekly commitment to swimming that nourished me body and soul, building up the store of energy that was so quickly depleted when others came to suck it from the well of my nurturing. But now, while they still come, the well is not replenished, and I feel that it will soon run dry.

I pondered about the word regret, too, and corrected myself. I do not have regrets, for I am who I am precisely because of what has come before. Choices and circumstances all combined to create the individual that I have become, and I do not regret that. Perhaps, if I could redo my life, I might make some different selections along the way, but I don’t think of them as regrets.

Perhaps it’s the historian in me, who knows that we cannot change the past, making the great “what if” questions irrelevant.

A pop from the pot startles me back to attention. I stir more carefully now, as the beans are cooking down to a hearty, thick mass that smells of brown sugar and worchestershire sauce. My stomach growls, and I laugh and chastise it with the admonishment that dinner is still hours off.

And I think about how to be true to myself, to find the ways to create a whole being, while also juggling the needs and expectations of others. In the past, I have put those expectations first; I realize now that I must not sacrifice myself to satisfy those around me. There must be a balance; for I cannot help those around me if I am depleted myself.

The conservation of energy governs the universe, and I cannot continue to give out energy when I receive none in return. I must find the sources to replenish the well that others are pumping dry.

And so my mind turns to Lily Dale, and my impending trip there. A fellow visitor posted photos of the Dale to Facebook the other day, and as I flipped through the images, my entire body began to tingle with the energy I could see in the photos, making me even more anxious to make my pilgrimage there in a couple of weeks.

It’s time to free the abilities that have been stuffed down in hiding for most of my life. It’s time to recognize that I have powers that others might fear. And it’s time to bring home those longings and desires that I have left unfulfilled for far too long.

Like the pot of beans before me on the stove top, my abilities have been simmering, aging, and preparing themselves for just the right moment to be presented to the world. And I think that day is quickly drawing near.

Watch out world, here comes Christiana.