goodbye to my elemental friend

I think my relationship with the elemental is officially over.

I went down to their forest today, as I have every few days since I’ve been home. I stood there, gazing into the quiet shaded green, trying to sense anything at all that would show that they weren’t gone. Even just for the sensation of being watched. But I felt nothing.

As I stood there, puzzled and missing them, I asked God why I couldn’t sense them anymore. “Because you have me in your heart, there is no room for anything else,” he answered.

That wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear and I fought him on it. Shouldn’t having him lodged in my heart allow me to have more room for others, not less?

He clarified that I didn’t have that aching hole in my heart anymore. I wasn’t reaching out to the elemental to satisfy my spiritual longing anymore. And then it struck me, like finally understanding a foreign language: he was the one who had brought the elemental to me in the first place.

At the time, I was lonely and not getting the companionship I craved. I was also spiritually starved, but my hatred of the church was keeping me from filling that need, too. I was stuck in limbo, and that spirit proved to be just the kind of friend I needed.

A lump rose in my throat and tears came to my eyes. I still miss my friend, but I am more grateful than ever for the time we had together. Wherever they are now and whatever they’re up to, I wish them nothing but the deepest blessings. And while I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again, I’ll keep an eye open, just in case.

Planning Your Way to Enlightenment

I’ve been trying to manage God.

I want enlightenment so badly. I want to merge and disappear into the Holy Spirit so much it’s almost a physical ache. So I had been trying to plan out how to achieve that, keeping a strict eye on the horizon to make sure that I’m staying on course and that I’m progressing fast enough. As though developing a relationship was as simple and linear as reading a book. But it isn’t.

The only way to achieve intimacy and enlightenment is to do as that old Christian song says and let Jesus/the Holy Spirit drive the car.

The only way to take the next step is to let go. We are finite and we don’t know the path to enlightenment. God does, and he wants us to reach it even more than we want to reach it ourselves.

So do what you know is good for you (ex. pray, meditate, learn, practice), but do it without keeping an eye on your progress.

Trust that if you go where God leads, he will lead you where you are meant to go.

Loose Lips Sink Ships (Mainly Yours)

Words have the frighteningly strong power to change our reality.

I didn’t used to believe this, and so I used to speak more flippantly. But recently, I’ve been curbing what I allow myself to think and say, because I’ve seen what harm a loose mind and lips cause.

The reason for this probably has many layers. There may be a spiritual layer, of course, of us putting out whatever energy is moving through us at the time and letting whatever’s strongest ping back (usually negative, honestly).

But another reason our words and their root thought patterns are so important to control is because, most of the time, we haven’t made up our mind yet on how we feel and we wait for our words to solidify it.

We receive stimuli all day. It comes in, and then our brain must make sense of it. Some of it is obvious. “I haven’t eaten, therefore I’m hungry.” But other times, it isn’t as cut and dry. Most things in life are nuanced.

For example, maybe someone at your office never greets you in the morning when they walk past your desk. There could be many reasons for this and while a small part of your brain is a little irritated over it, the rest of it is reserving judgement for when you have time to decide whether this continual breach of etiquette makes your coworker a “bad” person or not.

Your irritation makes you want to complain about their behavior, but here’s the catch: the moment you complain, your brain makes its mind up, because words are inherently concrete. We can’t really express a half-baked thought through words.  The moment they’re spoken, that etherial thought takes form.

In this context, your brain decides to follow your words and suddenly, your whole being has decided that, yes, your coworker is a bad person for not greeting you. Which then determines your behavior and attitude towards them.

Instead, if you catch this irritation early enough, you can choose to give them the benefit of the doubt, or to even just decide it isn’t important and reserve judgment indefinitely.

Mental and emotional flabbiness are dangerous to entertain. When we give in to speaking negativity on a regular basis, it hurts us most of all.

 

Your Body Knows

Last night I had a chocolatey treat that I haven’t had for almost half a year: a single-serving brownie in a cup with melted chocolate chips.

I used to eat these almost every day, but when I went to Japan, the supplies for them were either extremely expensive or nonexistent, so I stopped.

Now, having it again, it’s too much for me. Like, WAY too much for me. Too much chocolate, too much sugar, too large a serving. I started to feel bloated and headachy and in the end, I wasn’t able to finish it.

As I washed out my brownie mug, I realized that I used to feel this way more often than I do now. I just never registered that maybe it wasn’t a natural way to feel.

Our bodies know instinctively what is good for them and what isn’t. But sometimes their sensors get warped from being flooded with toxins (too much of a good thing is bad, but too much of a bad thing is worse). More often, we hear the alarm but we just don’t listen to it.

I believe our spirits have the same alarm system. We just have to know what to listen for.

 

 

Brief but Meaningful

The elemental in the far woods (see this post) has not spoken to me since I’ve been back home.

I’ve visited their forest several times, listening for them, but I don’t even feel them anymore. And I don’t know enough about spirits to know why, or what might be going on.

Did they leave? Have they gone dormant for a bit? Has something changed in our relationship that makes them not want to reach out to me? Or has something changed in me that is preventing me from sensing them?

It’s frustrating and a little sad, but I’ve decided not to dwell on it.

For all I know, maybe our relationship wasn’t supposed to last forever. Maybe they had some knowledge to impart to me and now that I have received it, they have moved on to do something else, somewhere else.

I hope they come back, of course, but only if it is what is best. Sometimes things are only meant to last for a short time.

Religion vs. Spirituality

It seems to me that, while religion and spirituality go hand in hand, they are not the same thing.

Spirituality, in the broadest term, is the conscious recognition that things exist in this world. Whether you believe in a spiritual realm or whether you believe that the physical is all that exists, everyone has their own spirituality. Everyone understands that the world has many facets and that these facets work in a specific way.

Religion, then, is the practical application of this understanding. What do we do with this knowledge? What is the healthiest way to live, taking all of reality into consideration? What is the balance of discipline and relaxation that best allows a person to live to the fullest?

That is the real question. There are probably a few objectively right answers in there, but not nearly as many as people think.

Guardians and the Unguarded

We have guests staying in our house and at the same time, my sister is on a long weekend trip to the beach. Because of this, I get to sleep alone in her room for a few nights.

My sister is a very spiritually sensitive, spiritually active person. She has worked with guardian spirits in the past and even had one standing guard in her doorway for a while.

There were a few nights when I think it came into my room to investigate me. I had odd, disturbing dreams, and for a few nights in a row, I was woken up by the distinct feeling that something was charging at me, rushing at my face. However, eventually it decided I wasn’t a threat, calmed down, and left me alone.

But I haven’t been home for several months. I didn’t know if it was still around, if it had followed my sister to the beach, if it had stayed behind to guard her room, or if it even remembered me. I was concerned that it might see me as an intruder in her space.

Last night was my first night alone in her room, and I made a point to make peace with the guardian, on the off chance that it was still in her room.

I reintroduced myself, let it know what was going on, and told it that my sister had given me permission to stay in her room. I welcomed it to reach out to me if it needed further clarification or inspection, but asked it to be civil about it, since I didn’t have any intention of causing harm. I asked God to protect me as well.

As I was going to sleep, something thumped hard on the computer desk by my head. But nothing else happened. Not even nightmares.

I’m not sure if it’s even still in the room. Nonetheless, I feel better and I don’t anticipate any scary encounters tonight.

 

When everyone’s special..

“When everyone’s special, no one is.” –Syndrome, The Incredibles

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately and specifically how it captures the spirit of a recent trend: the need to out-special everyone around us.

I see it everywhere, as people take on more and more labels that separate them from “normal” society, ranging from reasonable to completely fabricated, wearing them like badges of honor.

I used to do this too, but as I’ve experienced more of life and people, I’ve taken on an increasingly “who cares?” worldview about it all.

At the end of the day, we are all just chunks of incarnated spirit, and we will succeed or fail based only on how we take care of that.

We work so hard to prove to people and to ourselves how great we are but deep down we suspect that we are actually uninteresting and useless. We are afraid of being basic.

The thing is, though, we can’t truly know who we are inside until we strip off all our decorations and disclaimers. When we do, we’ll find that, while our core really is small and quiet, it holds more life than anything we tried to cover it up with.

It’s acceptance of that core that resonates with other people, and it’s that acceptance that allows us to love and enjoy ourselves.

Stop Improving and Just Listen

My town was hit with a magnificent thunderstorm yesterday.

I watched it with the window open as I sat at my desk doing my homework.

Storms are the perfect time for cleansing and healing spells, so I set my little chunk of rose quartz and a cone of nag champa incense on my desk by the window. I asked God to bless them and use them to further his work, filling them with intention.

However, I soon realized that the scent of the incense was drowning out the gritty cleansing scent of the rain. I quickly put my incense away and left the stone by itself on the desk.

As a human, my first thought in any situation is how to make it better. But instead, my first thought should be to listen. It’s a difficult habit to break, but one I must work on if I want to start dismantling that wall between myself and nature.

Barn Cats

I grew up on a farm in the country where we had a large population of barn cats: cats that lived outside, caught mice, and generally managed themselves.

If barn cats are good at one thing, it is multiplying. There were always kittens around, who then grew up into adult cats, who then had their own kittens.

You’d think we would have eventually been overrun with cats, but we never were. And the reason awes me even to this day.

The cats would go through seasons of increase. Kittens were born, cats were living to old age, and the population was climbing. But then, when the population reached a certain number, there would come a season of decrease. Cats would die from sickness, get hit on the road, die from freak accidents, or just disappear altogether.

I don’t know why births and deaths didn’t just happen alongside each other: for every kitten born, an older cat dies. But they didn’t. They happened in seasons.

Nature is governed by seasons. In the summer, grass grows and fruit ripens. In the winter, everything dies, clearing the path for new growth.

Life seems to work this way as well.

I don’t know why it’s this way, and sometimes I wish it wasn’t. Especially when I’m in the season of death and clearing.

But I know that once the clearing is finished, there will be new growth in its place. And eventually, that new growth will become old and another season of clearing will commence, to make way for new new growth.

And in that way, nature manages itself. In that way, there is balance.