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  • nancy willbern

Updated: Jun 27, 2020


(This post was originally published on June 1, 2018)


I have recently been re-listening to the audible version of Soul Craft by Dr. Bill Plotkin. I highly recommend it if you are interested in exploring the world of the Feminine or finding out more about your Soul’s calling. There is so much in it, but one of the things talked about a lot is how much we can learn from Nature. Whether the insights come as strictly our projections or as some form of literal communion among living things, I couldn’t tell you but I am fascinated with the experience regardless of its real source.

One day last week, I was listening to a chapter which suggests going out into nature and in essence being open to simply observing what you notice, what catches your attention. See if you can set your rational mind aside for a little while and just be there in it, with it and watch. So, that is what I did. I went out on my back porch and sat down at the table which gives a full view of the wild woods that lie just beyond our fence line. I was going to be open and just wait and watch to see what Nature might bring me - a sign, a gift, an insight. “Maybe a painted bunting or a yellow butterfly, maybe an unusual chirp from a courting bird....” I clearly did not completely set aside my very active brain.

As soon as I sat down at the table, I saw a little black rock squirrel eating bird seed that had fallen from the feeder above. I was so excited! I love those rock squirrels. They are very different from their more extroverted tree squirrel cousins. They are timid and careful. They won’t come up into the yard if Dave and I are out there. And they sure won’t come up when TBone, our Golden Retriever is anywhere near. I sat there, feeling so happy, so gifted by this little cherished friend. I watched as he nibbled on the sunflower seeds, meticulously disposing of their shells. I sat and watched and then so did TBone who had come out with me. He spotted him as soon as I did, raised up quietly on all fours and stealthily moved onto point. I saw this and immediately said, “No, TBone,” he’s our friend,” which is the typical language I use whenever we encounter a deer or rabbit on one of our walks. “No, TBone,” I said again as he strengthened his pose. In complete disregard of my warning, TBone charged. The little rock squirrel was caught completely off-guard. And although he scampered towards the fence, TBone was too quick, grabbed him into his teeth and began to shake the little defenseless creature as I ran down the steps, screaming at TBone, “NO! NO!” I grabbed his collar and yelled out, “Release!” TBone let the squirrel go and I pulled him up the stairs and inside the house the whole time yelling “NO! NO! NO!”

I went back to the dying squirrel and watched as he took his last two breaths. I kept telling him, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. He didn’t mean it. He didn’t mean it.” I was instantly caught in an internal struggle. I knew that TBone had been bred to be a hunter. No one had taught him how to go after prey like that. He knew how to do it in every fiber of his body. And the truth is, he had done a good job of it. In all the five years of his life, this was the first time he had ever caught a squirrel. He had chased countless of them, but the tree squirrels have always been too fast for him. This time, this shy one never looked up. He didn’t even hear us come out onto the porch. He had been so unsuspecting. I knew that TBone was not being bad. He’s a really friendly dog. He was not attacking out of anger or meanness. He was being himself. He was being true to his nature, but at the same time, I really like those shy, little rock squirrels. Whenever I happen to see one tentatively poke his nose through the fence, my heart gets happy. I feel so lucky to be there with one of them. It’s such a rare occasion.

After I stroked the rock squirrel’s fur, I went out to the garage and got a couple of plastic bags and a shovel. I carefully placed him in a bag, then went out the back gate, dug him a shallow grave and covered it with dry leaves. I would let Nature take it from there. I went back inside and sat with TBone, talking with him softly to let him know that I understood. I understood him but the truth is, I was left bewildered.

I had gone out to commune with nature, to let it bring me some new awareness. You know to have a few blissful moments of Kumbaya. I was not expecting to witness a brutal murder! What was this? What was I supposed to get from it? I went back to my chair on the covered porch, went inside myself and asked for clarification from an Inner Wisdom. Here is what I got:

Nancy, this was our gift to you. Your being shocked by it exposes the degree to which you still think you know ... you know what life is about, you know what should and should not happen, you know what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. It exposes the extent to which you still live out of assumptions that you label as not only true but of the highest value. Can you widen your lens? What if TBone and the rock squirrel had some sort of karmic contract with each other? What if TBone’s quick kill was more kind than the squirrel’s slow demise? Could it be that the squirrel was sick? Could that be why he didn’t hear your approach or even when you told TBone “No?” Your surprise over the interaction between TBone and the squirrel, your assumption that it should not have happened, your assumption that Loving Wisdom only comes in sweet packages is the gift that the interaction carries with it. You still think you know. Move deeper into Beginner’s Mind, into a deeper space of, “I know nothing, show me.” And Life will bring you many wonders that you could never predict.


Stock image from Pixabay


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  • nancy willbern

Updated: Jun 27, 2020


(This post was originally published on January 21, 2018)


I have recently begun to appreciate the difference between spirit and soul in relation to ego. As I am understanding it when we begin to identify with spirit, we are brought up and out. The goal is to transcend our identification with ego - a separate sense of self that wants desperately to be in charge - and join the One, the All. We get a felt-sense of this when doing classical meditation or centering prayer. Before we sit and close our eyes, we choose a mantra as a focus of our attention. When our mind wanders, we return to that focus. The practice is one of going off into thoughts of the private mind and then gently returning back to the focus. We go off and then return, over and over again. This ancient process trains the mind to return to a sacred space that is collectively shared, rather than that habitually preferred individual space that is self absorbed and self directed. The goal of spiritual practice is to help us transcend the separate self. It is the road to inner peace. We get there through mind training. This is a masculine process.

Getting in touch with the soul also takes us out of identification with the ego, but it takes us down and in. It takes us past the ego to the immanent self within -- the one we were born to be. This aspect of the self is a unique expression of the Divine that is waiting to be discovered. It is connected to one’s life purpose. I like to think of it as each person’s unique set of notes to be played as a part of the harmony of the whole. Each of us is the only one who can play our set of notes. No one can take them from us, but if we don’t play them, the harmony will be missing our vital part. The discovery of the soul’s mission comes through experience and by paying close attention. It is not a function of the mind but of the heart and intuition. It’s like a treasure hunt. Our job is to follow the clues seen and heard in nature or serendipity or intuitive hunches, dreams or guided imagery. We know we are in tune with the soul when we feel a deep sense of satisfaction -- that place where giving and receiving become the same thing or when we feel that A-Ha experience, when something just rings true. We know it, not think it -- but know it from something deep inside, a place of recognition. And here’s the added bonus: Living out our gifts is the greatest gift we can give to the whole. Moving into the Divine through felt-experience is a feminine process.

When we participate in both mind-training and experiential knowing, we are our most loving, balanced, authentic self -- the self the Creative Force breathed into existence. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to have come here and have missed it. xoxo


Alive awake aware hands yn yang free image: Pixy.org


__________________________________________________________________________


Posting Etiquette

It is important to me that this site be one that feels safe and respectful for everyone. To make sure we are all on the same page, please note:

1.) Comments shared in this space, remain in this space. Readers do not have permission to copy or shave off little bits and claim as their own -- anything anyone else has shared on either the Blog Posts or Comments without written permission from the author.

2.) This site may not be used for partisan purposes. Disrespectful or contentious comments will be removed.

3.) The purpose of this site is to expand our awareness and open our hearts. It takes all of us to keep it within its intent.


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  • nancy willbern

Updated: Jun 27, 2020


(This post was originally posted on July 22, 2017)


I have lived through some turbulent times since my birth in the 50‘s -- the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war with Russia, Viet Nam, Watergate and more recently 9/11, wars in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, but I do not remember anytime that I felt more uncertain. Everyday we are bombarded with more unsettling news, sifting sands, a house of cards ready to topple at any moment. We are living in very turbulent times, with little to hold onto that leaves us with a sense of assurance, a clear direction. Our “united we stand” as a nation has become obscured in the face of divisiveness, lack of clarity and a respect for our fellow man. I don’t know about you, but these chaotic times we are living in have become my greatest teacher. They are forcing me to do my daily practice, to return to Center, to trust in that place where we are all connected that runs underneath the rumbling white water on the surface.

I recently ran across a story Jung liked to tell. It spoke to me and reminded me of what is true. It goes like this:


There was a great drought where the missionary Richard Wilhelm lived in China. There had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese said: We will fetch the rain maker. And from another province, a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days. On the fourth day clouds gathered and there was a great snowstorm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rain maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: "They call you the rain maker, will you tell me how you made the snow?" And the little Chinaman said: "I did not make the snow, I am not responsible." "But what have you done these three days?" "Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order, they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I am also not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country. So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao, and then naturally the rain came."

--- From The Nature Writings of C. G. Jung

©2002, North Atlantic Books

The story reminds me that our safety and our peace are not sourced by current politics or the state of the union. Problems are corrected at the level of the problem, not the level of the symptom. Things are made right with the world through our personal alignment with Wholeness, Itself. And thank God, we carry It around with us, our own little quiet huts. All we have to do is to go in, leave the chaos for a while and re-connect with the larger Order. Then we can trust needed rains will come, the snow will fall and make it all clean again. We just have to be careful not to predict what the rains and the snow will look like.


Photo source unknown


__________________________________________________________________________


Posting Etiquette

It is important to me that this site be one that feels safe and respectful for everyone. To make sure we are all on the same page, please note:

1.) Comments shared in this space, remain in this space. Readers do not have permission to copy or shave off little bits and claim as their own -- anything anyone else has shared on either the Blog Posts or Comments without written permission from the author.

2.) This site may not be used for partisan purposes. Disrespectful or contentious comments will be removed.

3.) The purpose of this site is to expand our awareness and open our hearts. It takes all of us to keep it within its intent.


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