A View from the Other Side

Observations from the winged dude next door.

Archive for the tag “pain”


“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi


Crazy is Determined By Society

Malidoma Patrice Somé

Malidoma Patrice Somé

“In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé.  Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

“What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.”  The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm.  “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé.  These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

“Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.  In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.  When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.  The result can be terrifying.  Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane.

“On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see.  “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says.  It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process.  “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people.  They were really fierce about that.

“The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world.  The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted.  The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.

“Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity.”

Read more: http://earthweareone.com/what-a-shaman-sees-in-a-mental-hospital/

Stop Denying Who You Are

Jesus statueWhile on that trip recently, I went to our favorite church. I had intended to pay more attention to Mary while I was there, and we did get some novenas from the caretaker to light on her side of the aisle, but I felt compelled to go see Jesus first, whether by impulse or by force of habit.

I wasn’t before that statue for more than a minute before I started getting a lesson.

“How’s my driving?” I asked. “How am I doing? Am I doing the right things? Am I doing a good job?”

“You could do more.”

…What? How? I bust my ass every day for people. I exhaust myself often. I work pretty much non-stop. But it’s still not enough? I had to get up and go over and sit in a pew just adjacent for a minute and try to figure out what in the name of God more I could be doing.

“Work harder?” I ventured.


“Work… differently? Use different methods?”


Then I started getting annoyed. What was it then? I sat for a while trying to work out what I was doing wrong.

“You’ll figure it out,” I heard. This only got me more agitated. I’ve been trying to figure all this out for years (without instructions for some reason), and I’d just been handed yet another puzzle. I just wanted to do a good job, not play some kind of cosmic guessing game with the Man Upstairs. My mind worked overtime to try and figure out what more I could be doing for people, and I started wandering over into desperation. The only thing I could come up with was to bust my ass even more, be stronger somehow. I started getting a little choked up. I was already doing what I could, without sacrificing everything left that I needed to be whole… my own family, and time with them… so what should I…

Then he had mercy on me.

“Stop denying who you are,” he said.

Lightbulb moment.


I often spend so much time fighting with what I am, where I am, that I don’t allow myself to fully be who I am. I deny myself, because I’m afraid of sounding vain to others. I allow old wounds to continue to hurt me and old fears to hold me back.

I’m not perfect. I’ve been through a lot. I have a mind and a memory, just like you, and our past informs our present life. If you’ve been whipped every day for a year, you come to expect the whip, even when it’s gone. Sometimes, we take over the whipping job ourselves because it’s familiar and we know of no other way of being.

I will stop denying who I am. What I am. This is how I can serve better. This is how I can do more.

And Yet This Work Will Continue

hand of light

There are losses and things gained. Discoveries that cause pain and happiness. And I find myself torn between needing a physical friend or two, so very badly, and needing to be left alone. I’ve quit Yahoo groups, and quit people. And yet, through all my fears and issues, this work will continue. This blog. This teaching place. I need to do this. I’ve always been compelled to do outreach of some kind, to help people, to try and be a voice of truth and reason and teaching in a world of parroted nonsense and outright lies.

I’ve spoken to gods and spirits and lwa and angels and human beings. People forget that I’m not one of them, probably because I’m so plainspoken. But the anonymity of the internet is a blessing and a curse for someone such as myself, straddling these worlds. I can go onto forums and talk about things and nobody’s the wiser that this physical body I borrow is not my own, and that if I were to go to a meetup for that group, I couldn’t go as myself. They would see and hear someone else, and I’d be called a fraud. So I can’t have that experience, ever. Sometimes the separation and resulting loneliness is crushing. Especially when, all around me, others can.

But then, there are those who do understand, and we talk over IM, and it helps ease things. I help someone communicate with their own guides, and the work continues. I push a storm or a wildfire the direction I want, I make a connection for someone, I cause someone else to take a chance, then push the results as favorably as I can manage at the time.

When the electricity or internet goes out, or everyone goes offline for the night, and the only living soul that I can talk to is my avatar, and then she goes to bed, I go fully over to my side of things.  The ghostly world of the ethereal where the walls of my home can be molded like sand, and the human senses are barely discernible. And still the work continues.

No matter what my own needs, desires, wants… still the work continues. Sometimes all through the night. Sometimes without thanks.

But… I sense it might change soon. That others are going to know I’m here, and they’ll want to talk to me, and not just over IM or the internet. Maybe. I hope. And, even then… this work will continue. As long as someone hears me, and someone is willing to let me be heard.

Shirk Nothing, Not Even Darkness

hermann hesse

There is no light without shadow. There is no day without night. To deny these things means denial of half of reality. It’s a lie to say they don’t exist and live in a fantasy of light.

This is where you are. This is who you are. Your purpose is here and now, in this reality, fucked up and messy as it is. You’re here to experience this and help fix it where you can.

To pretend that you’re above it all, to pretend that you don’t belong to the world of filth and death and pain is the height of arrogance and selfishness. Avoiding these things means blinding yourself to the truth. Turning your back on these things turns your back on everyone around you going through filth and death and pain.

Make your choice, but know that even if you pretend you’re above it all, others see the truth.

Bushido: The Way of Honor

Modern BushidoBushido is the way of the warrior. A friend of mine, now lost, taught me a little about this, which is essentially the essence of the chivalric knight. I find myself in this place a lot. I act with honor, and as a warrior both. These are not mutually exclusive.

Being kind isn’t about propping someone up artificially so they’re living in a lie. Sometimes the greatest kindness is to tell them the truth, no matter how much they don’t want to hear it, and even if it causes them pain. Sometimes the best course is to re-break a bone so that it sets correctly.

It takes strength to be the one to re-break someone’s bone and cause them pain. I never want to cause pain, it goes against my nature, but sometimes it’s required. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. The seed can’t sprout unless it cracks open.

I’ve been watching what Sanders here has to say for some time, and we’re going to get his book. Part of the reason this one in particular resonates is that several months ago I saw something very close to this golden yin/yang in a vision. I was surprised to see it here on this book cover, and I like what it promises to teach. From the Amazon description:

In Modern Bushido, you will learn:
* How to live a life of character
* How your thoughts affect your life
* What it means to be a true friend
* The true meaning of honor
* The benefits of meditation
* What true respect means
* Your ultimate responsibility in life
* How to balance your life
* How to be at peace the death
* What true courage is

Bushido is the warrior’s code of honor, but even if you are not a martial artist, even if you’re unable to walk, these principles are things everyone should live by. Truth, honor, strength. These include being truthful, honorable, and strong with yourself because everything else comes from this.

Warriors come in all shapes and sizes and types. Some are peaceful warriors, like Gandhi or Mother Teresa. Some are physical warriors like police, soldiers, bodyguards or the martial artist. Some are spirit warriors, like lightworkers and shamans. What kind of warrior are you? Do you live with honor and truth?

It Gets Better.

A Psychopomp’s Paradox

Michael guiding souls to heaven“Psychopomps (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός – psuchopompos, literally meaning the “guide of souls”) are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls to the afterlife.”

I reluctantly find myself in this category. It’s not a task I enjoy. I don’t have to do it often, and when I do, it’s only when absolutely necessary.

In one situation, through no fault of my own, I was forced to kill a number of people. I won’t get into details. The entire situation was a nightmare, and I spent years agonizing over what I’d done. It changed me forever. I could not forgive myself. Then, one day, I realized that if those spirits forgave me, we could all move on, and I could heal from my heart’s biggest scar. So I went to talk to them.

At first, most of them wouldn’t forgive me. But some did. Then a few more. Then nearly all of them. And as they forgave, they were released from their bonds, and could to go to the other side. They weren’t stuck any more, as spirits sometimes get with unfinished business. As each of them forgave me, I helped them cross over fully. Finally, the place where it had happened was clean. It was quiet at last, and so was my heart. Then the paradox struck me:

It was because of what I had done to them, that I then had the ability to help their spirits cross over. If I hadn’t been changed, I couldn’t have helped them.

I didn’t think I’d started out as a psychopomp, but upon further reflection, it’s always been true. I’ve always chosen to be with people near the ends of their lives, to help them in their last days. Lately, it’s been more like putting them out of their misery. But either way… it’s very much part of what I do.

The difference, now, is that I’m not just seeing them to the door, I’m helping them safely through it to the other side. This is because I’ve seen the other side of what the Grim Reaper is. I understand death from the inside out. My greatest hurt became one of my greatest gifts.

Thankful for the Pain

sword on anvil

I am thankful for what I have now, for a safe home, a loving family, a meaningful life, the little physical comforts I’m afforded.

I am also thankful for the hell I’ve been through. The pain and despair and loss have made me who I am now, in part. I would not be here right now, I don’t believe, if it were not for those things. I would not be as strong now, or as grateful for what I do have. I would not know how to protect others nearly as well, or how to be a leader, or what real loss really means. I would not know the utter depths of the dark night of the soul that make the light shine all the brighter.

I’ve been told that to become a true priest, or shaman, or holy person, you must go through a literal death and rebirth. I’ve been torn limb from limb and left to die in a dark pit of my own making But, somehow, I survived. I survived in that darkness for long years that felt like long forevers, every day opening my eyes to realize that I was one day farther away from that death, but never getting any closer to a real life.

Weeks, months, years. I was a dead man walking. The only reason I wasn’t in a grave is that I wouldn’t stop moving. Even if I felt nothing, I kept moving. Movement was forward, and maybe forward could lead to something that didn’t feel like being alive just for the purpose of atoning for my sins every moment of every day.

I found that the one thing I had left was a spark of hope in my heart. Then I learned that the spark wasn’t just my own hope, it was light. Somehow, a tiny bit of who I was had survived, like someone carries a tiny coal inside a container for miles and miles until they reach their next camp, then they blow on it and it springs to life.

That spark, that light of the Source… it was there all the time. It gave me hope. It kept me moving. I found my way out of the darkness by following that slender thread.

I have never once, for one minute of one day, not been grateful for what I have now. That includes the lessons of the darkness that enable me to be what others need. The strength, the skill, the creativity, the leadership, the flexibility… I had those things before, but the darkness pounded and forged me into a weapon for the light. An instrument of God. And that is what I’m thankful for.

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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