Ciao and Sacred Sunday :
Recently I had a conversation with a good friend. We were reminiscing about a time when our sons were young. At that particular juncture we planned a coming-of-age Native American sweat lodge ceremony for them.
We had met and become friends and students of a Navajo elder who was teaching his Hopi relative how to construct a sweat lodge; perform the cleansing ceremony, including what types of rocks to use, how to prepare the fire, perform the dance, what prayers and songs of blessings to sing and, of course, how to ensure safety for the participants.
The elders constructed the sweat lodge in my friend’s backyard.
On the evening of the ceremony, she and I prepared a meal to share, as was tradition, at the conclusion of the healing event.
It was a powerful and beautiful way to commemorate our young boys moving into a new phase of their lives.
We all felt honored and privileged to be allowed to participate in this sacred rite. To this day it is remembered with gratitude and meaning.
Besides sharing this random event in my life with you, there’s a point I want to make in addition to the potency of intentional ritual.
The sweat lodge could be seen over the fence by the neighbors that lived next door. The following day, while walking her dog, my friend was approached by her neighbor who exclaimed, “we heard and saw the boys last night, it looked like a fun birthday party.”
Now, there was a fire roaring with the distinct fragrance of sweetgrass and sage filling the air. Native elders dancing in full ceremonial dress, drumming, singing and chanting – with a sweat lodge hut in the yard!
Clearly it was not a birthday party. Yet, the neighbor saw what he needed to see.
Seeing what you “need” to see is a defense mechanism that we all have used, and probably still do at times, in order to keep us feeling safe.
Something’s happening out of our comfort zone. Someone different is approaching us and we become afraid. So, we pretend we don’t see them. Instead of curiosity we turn away or we make up stories in our head.
We’re blinded by our bias and allow our fears to construct a scenario in our brain that our egos can handle.
The thing is, ultimately, it doesn’t keep you safe. It only succeeds in building a wall. Yes, that damn wall metaphor again.
We construct walls around our hearts in order to protect our heart’s fragility. But trust me, it doesn’t work.
💖Our hearts are both fragile and resilient
💖Our hearts are supposed to take the risk of letting people in
💖Our hearts are meant to help our ego defensives create openings, bridges and healthy boundaries
💖Our hearts are meant to align with our higher self, our legacy self
So, that we can awaken to a new level of humanity.
One that is inclusive and just and joyful.
We often need guidance in deconstructing the defensives we’ve put into place that no longer serve us.
We need help “seeing” our own blind spots – that’s why they’re called blind. We can’t see what we can’t see.
We need support welcoming in what frightens us, so those scary monsters loosen their death grip on our spirits.
I’m so grateful for the many teachers and mentors in my life that have helped me to unveil my old worn-out defense actions.
I’m not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But I am committed to continuing this journey of self-actualization.
Why, when it is work, do I stay with the process of personal evolution?
For me there is no choice.
It feels much like the poem written by Anaïs Nin:
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
If you’re feeling ready to stand in your courage and take the risk of blossoming, please set aside your fears, take a breath and set up a call with me. We can design a program that fits your needs.
With love and appreciation, xoxo Paulette