A View from the Other Side

Observations from the winged dude next door.

Archive for the tag “labels”

Someone To Talk To, Others Like Me

Alone on an ocean cliff

I wish I had someone to talk to about all this.

I don’t mean that I don’t. I have five or maybe six people who understand all this. Who really get it, and, in two other cases, who are even like me. But you have to admit, that’s an incredibly small number. And once we’ve discussed things, well, there’s only so much more discussion that can take place before it eventually just turns into nods of agreement. Or, the other side of the coin is that I start to realize that they’re not as like me as I thought they were, and there’s no point in digging into details if they don’t understand what it is I do, and what I’m fully about.

I guess what I wish for is more people like me to compare notes with. I know they’re out there, but I guess they’re as secretive as we are. The hidden shamans, priests and priestesses, the people who let themselves be taken over by Spirit, the kind souls who trust us enough to let us speak through them. I know they’re out there. I just wish I knew how to find them… how to contact them and learn what they know, and that they would listen to what I know, and together we could find new ways to do all this and help the world.

I’ve been told over and over again that I’m unique. I know I don’t fit into any neat box. I suppose that’s some kind of blessing, to defy labels, but some days it feels more like a curse. It’s difficult to find others like yourself when you don’t have a definitive name for what you are. Language is limitation, but it’s all we have to try and find common ground. And when there’s no words, there’s little chance of common ground and making that connection.

I’m realizing that I keep my blog here, in part, so that others who are like me might stumble on it… or be led to it, which is probably more accurate. I’d thought that by now I would have found many others. The time is here, the bell’s been rung, but… what I’m seeing the most of is not what I was expecting. Something a little bit like what I have with my avatar, but not quite. A lot of the ones I’ve found are whispers in a head, without independent lives of their own, stuck inside a mental city, without the ability to get out and affect the material world at all other than when they push all the others aside and say a few words. I don’t understand a life like that. They feel like echoes or mist. And they’re not like me, so there’s no point in interacting with them. So I move on.

The search continues for others like me.

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Labels Warp the Mind

toe tagIf I were to tell you that I’m a native shaman, and then take you out into the woods and be tough on you, maybe make you split firewood for four hours then make fun of your blisters, and not talk to you for another two hours before making you make dinner and then give you 30 minutes of my wisdom around a campfire, you would probably eat that up.

“Wow,” you would say to yourself, “that guy really taught me a lot about the values of  hard work, listening instead of speaking all the time, and other practical stuff I needed to learn. It was hard, but it was a great experience. I’ve come out the other side of it a new person.”

So how come nobody else gets to be tough on students?

If I were to do the exact same thing, but tell you I’m an angel of God, you wouldn’t understand why I was being such a huge jerk, then you’d ask me where all the free help was, and then you’d tell all your friends not to go to me for help because I’m such a huge jerk about it.

Think I’m making this up?

Nope. It’s happened so many times that I’ve lost count.

Pick your favorite wise person that you look up to. I don’t care if it’s Oprah or the Dalai Lama or your local rabbi. Now, think of that person as a shaman, someone who will teach you in very no-nonsense tough love terms. In your mind, you spend the day with that person as they lead you through various trials, mental and physical, with very little mercy. You end the day tired and maybe in some pain, but you know that you got the straight story without any fluffy bullshit and learned a lot that you wouldn’t have any other way.

Now, do the same thing, with the same person, but think of them as an angel of God.

See how your internal perception and expectations shift? Why?

This is one of the reasons I hate labels.

If you talk to me, if you want lessons from me, it’s going to be a mix of gentle and tough. You are going to experience things you didn’t expect, including what some call “mirror medicine” where you’re essentially forced to take a solid look at yourself and face the truths you find there. Things get broken open, and it’s a messy business. Usually, when that happens, the vitriol start flying in my direction.

If I were a 75-year-old Lakota guy, I really doubt you’d be screaming in my face about how horrible I am for showing you some uncomfortable truths. So why is it okay to rip me a new one?

How about if people suck it up and learn, with patience and humility and strength and grace, no matter who or what the teacher is?

Boxes

bug collectionI don’t do well with boxes and labels. I don’t agree with the rigid hierarchies of beings invented by organized religions. In my experiences, things don’t work like that.

Human beings have a need to categorize and label and segregate and sort. The problem is, when it comes to spirits, it’s a messy business. Some are easy to put labels on. A human being that was canonized by the Catholic church is a saint. Except it also did that with deities of various cultures. Whoops. Okay, let’s try another example. An angel can never become physical and always has two white feathered wings. Oh, except for the older paintings of angels that show lots of wing colors, sometimes even rainbow. And what about the mysterious person who shows up, rescues someone by pulling them out of danger, and then vanishes again?

Not so clean and tidy, is it?

What about the vodou lwa? Many people call them the “holy guardian angels of vodou.” And what about guardians? Are they a team whose members gradually show up over time, or only one per person and assigned at birth? Are they angels, or other kinds of spirits, like ghosts or animal totems? Are they nature spirits? Maybe even rocks that you’re compelled to pick up and listen to? What about devas and archangels and Elohim and Aeons? Where do they fall in the human-created charts?

Which culture’s beliefs are right?

Who Are You?

We were watching the 121212 Concert, which was to raise money to help areas damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. There was a segment about Red Hook, a section of low income housing that, being right next to the water, was severely flooded and damaged.

The stories they showed were of people helping each other. Two young men pulling an elderly woman with hypothermia out of the flooded street. Young and old coming together in the aftermath to become a real community. Anybody who had something would give to those who had nothing in one big cooperative effort. This event changed lives. Some people didn’t survive it. They had a different path this time around. But the ones who did survive have a greater understanding of what a community really is, and will have that outlook for the rest of their lives.

Hurricane Sandy, in the end, will make their lives and futures better. They are better people for it.

A lot of people who go through incredible pain, even beyond death’s door and back again, will become better for it. Stronger. More wise. With a perspective others don’t have. According to a lot of spiritual traditions, you cannot become a shaman or true spiritual leader without having looked into the face of death. Soul trauma remakes a person.

But how? Into what?

That’s up to that person.

To choose their fate from there forward.

You can choose who to be, trauma or not.

You create yourself.

Sure, there’s parameters. If you’re paralyzed, you probably won’t be walking any time soon.

But think about every other decision you make every day. The foods you eat. The clothes you wear and what color they are. What you smell like. Your jewelry. Your shoes. What you buy with the money you have. How you keep your home. Who you associate with. Your job. Where you live. Your car. Your pets. What music you play. Who you vote for. What charities you give to. What you do for other people. What labels you take on and mold yourself with.

Pay special attention to that last one.

What labels have you put on yourself? Do they help or hurt you?

Who are you creating yourself to be?

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