Stepping into Sovereignty

In Jhenah Telyndru’s book “Avalon Within” she defines Sovereignty as “a self that makes fully conscious life decisions based in wholeness and right action, rather than from a reactionary place of unconscious motivations.” This is the best definition that I have found to describe what it means to be sovereign.

If you have followed along on this blog or even if you know me you will know that the one thing I repeat over and over when someone is care-taking for another is that you have to take care of yourself first. This was something that I held closely to me when I was caring for Mike during his dying process.

Yet, what I have found since his death, is that we are always care-takers whether we are caring for others or ourselves. We need to always keep our well being in the forefront. If we do not take care of ourselves then we cannot be there for others. So many times we forget to get enough sleep, eat right, check in with our bodies to see what it needs as well as checking in with our emotions to see where we are and whether we are stable enough to continue on.

Let’s face it, we get wrapped up in life and when chaos hits we just react. We don’t stop until it is all over and by that point we are just a mess. We do not stop to consciously make decisions we just react. Obviously, in a life or death situation this is necessary but all to often we live in a state of fight or flight because we react to situations without pausing. We very seldom stop and think about what it is we are doing because ultimately we just want to help.

As a healer and as someone who walks a shamanic path my life purpose seems to be to teach, deal with death and help those that need healing. This is who I am and it is what I strive to do. There have been very few times that I could not find a way to help whether it was just being present or to listen. I have always gone out of my way to help if possible. I have never said “No, I won’t help.” Until now.

To make a very long, sordid story short in 1988 I left my abusive husband. During the extremely nasty divorce that followed I lost custody of my three sons. I cannot begin to tell you the heartache I felt then and the pain that has been carried over the last thirty years. It has literally affected my whole life. Regardless, I held out hope that when my son’s were old enough to make their own decisions they would want to know their mother. They are old enough and that has not happened. For years they have been told that I was a useless human being.

The few times I have had time with them there was always interference, even as adults. It has come to the point that one quit talking to me, according to what he said to me personally, because he did not want his new wife to be caught up in the drama, even though I was not the drama. Another quit talking to me because my ex daughter in law brought my granddaughters to visit me and he felt that it was a slap in the face to his brother. The third one has sporadic communication with me and I was thrilled to get to go visit him and meet my grandchildren a few years ago.

In April of this year their father’s wife died suddenly. Their step mother. It was unexpected and I am sure difficult for all of them. I know one of the hardest texts I have ever had to send was to tell my son I was sorry for the loss of his mother. It was the last communication we had. I referred to her as his mom because that is how he referred to her when he wrote about it. On the one hand I understood but on the other my heart was breaking because he is my son and I should never have had to refer to another woman as his mother. I think that day was the day that I began to just let this whole situation go.

With that said my world was rocked when my phone rang and it was my ex husband. I have changed my number twice in the last three years so he would not have it and somehow he still gets it. I literally went into a panic attack. I could not answer and it took me a good thirty minutes to be able to breath normally and think straight. Yes, the abuse that I suffered at his hands still haunts me and I avoid him at all costs so seeing his name just really threw me. I didn’t answer. Instead I sought out a sibling to make sure that all was well with his family and my adults kids. Nothing was wrong with anyone but what it boiled down to was he is having a difficult time dealing with the death of his wife and somehow I may be able to help.

I sat with that for a long while. I sat with the grief that this man has caused in my life over the last thirty years. I sat with the terror I lived when he would hit me. I sat with all of the feelings and hurt that this one man had caused in my life. I decided not to return his call. He hadn’t left a message so I did not feel that I needed to respond. Just another missed call.

Then I really sat and thought about it all. I remember when Mike died he called me. He wanted to express his sympathy. He had never seen or spoke to Mike but he felt the need to call. One of the last things he said to me was “when you are done mourning give me a call maybe we can work things out.” Umm no!

After really thinking about it I became very angry. I kept thinking “The Audacity!” You literally used my son’s as a weapon for thirty years and now you want me to help you?! I sat with that for about a month. It was literally making sick. I just couldn’t let go of that anger. Then a beautiful friend of mine gave me a healing session with an energy healer and I was able to release that anger.

Well last night my phone rang again. This time he left a message. Believe me when I tell you that I understand the pain of loss. When my only daughter died I became so angry at God for not only taking my son’s away but also taking my daughter away. My life changed because of that anger and I found the path that I have walked for 27 years. When my husband died I felt that my world had come to an end. All of my dreams had died with him. If it weren’t for our son I probably would not be here. I have dealt with an enormous amount of grief for the last thirty years. I have had a great support group, my family. I have had great friends that helped me get through some of the hard times but ultimately it was my pain to heal and my pain to deal with.

My first thought on hearing his voice message was “just no.” Then I started to feel guilty. Am I not a healer? Is this not my job? Is this not why I am here? I started questioning myself. Then the thoughts of “if I do this maybe things will change and my son’s will come around.” To say that I didn’t sleep much last night is the understatement. Even this morning when I woke up I was still unsure of what I “should” do. I had posted on facebook without giving details and had so many telling me to protect myself, not to do it.

Then a fellow sister caught me on messenger. We discussed the particulars of what has been going on and she helped me see that saying no is really alright. During our conversation it was as though a light bulb came on. I realized that I was not obligated to help my ex husband. I realized that my son’s have made their choices. I have realized that they can no longer be used as weapons. They have chosen to not be a part of my life and therefore they are no longer weapons. I can’t lose what I have not had in the last thirty years! But most importantly I realized that I had to take care of me first. I had to put my well being before anyone else’s.

Helping him would only put me in a situation that is not healthy. It would once again have me reliving all of the pain and torment. It would not be healthy for me.

So many of my thoughts fell into place all at once. I felt the anger I have carried for so long disappear. I felt the strength of stepping into my own sovereignty coarse through my veins and I knew that even healers have to say no every once in a while. I knew that the past can no longer hold me hostage. I knew that this battle has been fought for to long yet I have survived. I knew that I had stepped into my own sovereignty and that is where I needed to be all along.

In Her Service,

Sage

 

 

 

Widow – Another Label

According to websters A “widow” is defined as “a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.”

I really dislike this word. I mean really! There seems to be a stigma attached to the word “widow.” When someone uses the word you can see the connotation of sympathy in their eyes and yet somehow it feels more like they look at you as though you are helpless.

I am a lot of things, helpless is not one of them. I am stubborn. I am ornery. I am intelligent. I am funny. I am beautiful in ways that shock people. I am sad. I am happy. I am many things but helpless is not one of them. Not yet anyway. There are definitely things I need help with. I am a human. We all need help with something.

Our society has the weirdest ways of seeing things. We have to label everything. Single, married, divorced, widowed. All labels. All carry their own meaning. Why? Why can’t we just base things on the individual. Why do we have to define people by their marital or lack of marital status? It isn’t just your marital status you are labeled with it is your sexual orientation, color, religion, political views, the list is endless. It is how we define ourselves as well as others. Why?

I have no answers. I only know that I really dislike labels and out of all of the labels I have carried in my life “widow” is the one I dislike the most.

When Mike died I changed my status on facebook to widow. It seemed appropriate at the time. I had never been a widow and had no clue how that label would affect me. After a year of being a widow I decided that if I were going to be labeled I would prefer to be labeled as single. Why? Because I don’t like the way people look at me when they are told I am a widow. I am not helpless. I am a capable, intelligent, woman who is getting through life the best way she knows how.

There are many labels I have carried in this life. During my training the shaman I worked with explained that most of these labels are roles we choose to step into. The role/label of wife, daughter, sister, auntie, mom, grandma. The role/label of friend and foe. We label everything. We step into and out of the roles that these labels portray daily. How many of us are conscious of the choice of stepping into them and out of them? How many of us see them as ways we define ourselves as well as how others define us?

When you own your story. When you are able to take responsibility for who you are and stand in your own truth you no longer have to take the labels of the society you live within. You can create your own if you feel like it. For me I choose not to be a widow. It isn’t who I am. Yes, my husband died and no I am not remarried but ultimately that makes me a woman standing on my own two feet. Living life on my terms and being who I am. Finding my strength and weaknesses and embracing them all. I do not need another person in my life to define me yet I will choose to love someone else when it shows up. I do not need to be married to be complete but if I choose to remarry it will be because I want to be with that person for the rest of my life. They will be my best friend. I will need them in many ways but I will not need them to define me.

I will step into my roles when I choose to and today and every day after I choose to never step into the role of widow again. I am not helpless and it is alright to always just be a woman whose husband died without the label.

How many labels do you carry? Are you conscious of how they affect your life? Do you choose what labels you wear? Are you aware when you step into a role that is labeled? Do you know why you choose to wear the label? Do you know why you choose to step into the role that is given to you? All things to think about. All things to knowingly be conscious of. Are you choosing or are you allowing the world to choose for you? Are you defining yourself or are others defining you and you just go along with it? Be aware. Choose. Step into your roles with full awareness. It not only will shift your perspective it will make you more aware of the people around you and how you view them. Step into your own sovereignty and love who you are.

In Her Service,

Sage

Emergence

As I stated in my “about me” section I follow two paths, they intersect and I am integrating them, quite beautifully, together.  On one path I follow the path to Avalon through the Sisterhood of Avalon.  On the other I follow a shamanic path that is based on Peruvian/Andean teachings.  I can see their wheels together and they are very similar in many ways. One is sunwise and one is moonwise.  Yet both have the similar healing’s and although different symbols are used they take you to the same yet different places in your own sovereignty.

Right now, in the Sisterhood, we are working on the cycle of Emergence. Descent, Confrontation and now Emergence have all been intense for me this year.  Some days I have wondered if I would survive this cycle, emotionally.  I didn’t consciously work the cycle this time.  In fact, I quite consciously, decided to “take a break” because of all of the turmoil in my life.  The funny thing is though that when you walk this path there is no such thing as “taking a break.”

The cycle works whether you engage in it or not.  It is funny when you realize this.  When you can see that your Descent was one of the deepest and darkest you have incurred in all of the years you have walked this path.  When you can see that your Confrontation was brutal beyond words.  When you want to breathe a sigh of relief because you are coming into Emergence yet you know that it is far from over, there is still healing that needs to be done.  When you realize that the cycle is working you instead of you working it.  It is amazing.  It is beautiful.  It is heart wrenching.  It is painful.  It is worth it.

Integrating two paths together is extremely intense.  I was having a conversation last night with a beautiful soul that is interested in learning about Shamanism. One of the things I have learned walking both of these paths is that once you are called you cannot just walk away.  They take hold of you, they rule who you are becoming and they rule every little thing in your life at all times.  There is no walking away.  There is no choice to not engage.  You are here, you are doing the work and you are living the work no matter what you are doing in life.

It becomes a part of your being and you can run but you can’t hide.  Spirit rules. These paths are not for the faint of heart.  They are demanding.  They are fulfilling. They are exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.  They are why you wake up in the morning and know that somehow, some way, you are standing in your sovereignty, yet, your life is not your own.

What do I mean by “your life is not your own?” Here is the thing, when you start walking either of these paths you have been called.  There is no saying no.  I guess you could just walk away but you will always have that yearning and Spirit will always bring you right back to where you are being called to, no matter where else you look or what else you choose to study.

When you first start out in the Sisterhood you begin by learning the Holy Days, you integrate them.  Then you go on and learn the landscape in which your soul walks.  Lastly, you begin working with the Goddesses of the path.  In this particular path you get to know Rhiannon, Cerridwen, Bloudewedd, Arianrhod and Branwen.

During this work you will have connections.  One holy day will usually become your favorite.  One piece of the landscape will call your name no matter where you live.  One Goddess will resonate louder than the others.  For me the Goddess who chose me was Cerridwen.  She can be one of the most difficult Goddesses to please, yet, She is also one of the most giving and loving Goddesses I have ever worked with.  Of course this is just my view and experience. Other Sisters may see it differently. That is the beauty of this path, everything is based on your own perspective. Your personal experiences are validated by your work and most often others have experienced similar things at the same time.

When I started my Shamans training I was taught about the animal symbols and what they represented.  In my path it is Snake, Jaguar, Hummingbird, Condor/Eagle.  The Sun God Inti Tayta, The Earth Goddess Pachamama.  I can say that much of my training was working with these entities as well as learning the tools to heal.  Much like the Sisterhood your perspective begins to change when you develop a personal connection with all of these beings. Life becomes more beautiful yet it also becomes more challenging. Especially when you do not follow where you are led.

As I said earlier, right now in the Sisterhood we are working through Emergence. The equivalent to this in my Peruvian path is the Hummingbird.  The Hummingbird brings you the sweet nectar of life.

Emergence is when you begin to come out of the darkness and can look back at the healing that has occurred.  The issues you have faced and the changes within that have occurred.  It gives you a chance to see the shift in your perspective.  It allows you to look in the mirror and see the woman you now are while seeing the woman you were. You allow yourself to acknowledge that you may not have healed all of you but you healed some of the layers that needed it.

You know that there is more.  You know that the next cycle will bring forth more healing, but for now, in this moment, the pain is not so intense, the anger is not so engulfing, the hurt is not so overwhelming and you have changed.  It is a good thing.  Your life is yours and you have healed, even if it isn’t completely healed, it is complete. You can enjoy the sweet nectar of life with the you that you have become by allowing yourself to be alright with where you are at this moment in time.

Emergence allows you to step into your sovereignty and be the woman that you are suppose to be.  When you are aware that you have survived and you are stronger for it. Your perspective has changed because you have changed. You know that life is good.  You can stand in your truth.  Live unapologetically.

As Emergence takes hold in my life I know that I stand firm.  I know that whether I truly decide to engage or not Spirit is working within and without.  I know that life is changing and I am working on embracing those changes.  Never discount the beauty of the path you walk.  When you embrace it you emerge a new person, changed forever but changed for the better.  Life is beautiful, now go live it.

In Her Service,

Sage