Lucas, The (Adorable) Spider

He’s back, and ready for naps. I can relate. Our Summer heatwave is currently topping out at 35°C, (95°F) and all I want to do is keel over and not move until November.

And this is his very own Youtube channel

 

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Prelude XVI

(My previous fifteen adventures into other Realms of Awareness can be read in sequence on their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header, or you can catch up with individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)

-oOo-

For those who have journeyed along with me on these adventures you might’ve gleaned an inkling of what is to come. If you’re new to the story, you might want to start at the beginning.

What is about to happen is not for the faint-of-heart, nor the unprepared.

-oOo-

‘I had found the ‘keystone’  … or rather, the keystone had found me.’

After the finale of the previous episode (XV) I spent the next few days, and nights, in a bit of a daze. Whatever that ‘presence’ was, I knew I would have to thoroughly defeat it in order to continue my Adventures. It wasn’t a friendly or blithe spirit, or even a manifestation of Herself as an Elemental Energy. (Earth, Fire, Air, Water) It wasn’t an Ally with a gift, or a tool, or a weapon. It was my Adversary.

Adversarial energy is that which we, sooner or later in this work, must overcome in order to move forward. It is the manifestation of our shadows, the wounds on our Spirit that are as a result of the actions of others, and/or our own actions that have impacted on the wounds of others.

We all have one. (at least) Buried, perhaps deep down within our Selves in that place that is filled with things we never show anyone else, ever, not even ourselves. (unless were pushed to it) Or we carry it before us, either for all and sundry to see and be turned away, or to be held in reserve then slipped from bondage in order to cause as much harm as possible then swiftly resheathed until next time.

The Adversary is the greatest danger we will ever face. Until the confrontation occurs we have no idea, who, or what, or how it will manifest, but once defeated, which is not an easy thing to do nor is success guaranteed, we are never again in thrall to it.

We will however, always carry the scars. How we choose to carry them is also part of the defeat of the Adversary.

-oOo-

I didn’t set off on this Journey as I had all the others, skipping off from the Physical Realm without any clear idea of what I would be doing or where I would be going. This time my steps, at least at the beginning, needed to be deliberate and clear. Once the Journey itself was underway, all bets were off.

I began by sitting in a different physical place, and not with the usual group of women. I was alone. There was no room for error or the unintentional interruption of someone coughing or sneezing or even shuffling around in their seat.

I created an inviolable Sacred Circle warded by the Four Elements, The Four Directions, The Four Guardians. Never had I needed their grounding and protection more. With loins, and other bits, girded, off into the cosmos I went.

I deliberately started my Journey in the Gap Between The Worlds. (the place where, in my very first Journey, I left the silver ball in the branches of the Moreton Bay fig tree) It looked different this time but fulfilled the same purpose. Journeys already begun, were scribed as giant circles that Journeyers had passed through on their way to whatever Realm of Awareness awaited them.

I stood in the middle of one of these Circles and was joined by a Warrior Woman, Malawatea, and yet, not-Malawatea. She was the manifestation of all the Spirit Warrior Women I had and would meet in all my Journeys, past, present, and future. (The restriction of linear, forward-moving time only has meaning in the physical world)

She dressed me in a tough leather tunic, protective leggings, and handed me my spear. Then, suitably garbed and armed, I passed through the Circle to my destination with the Warrior Woman at my side, where I immediately snapped into high alert mode, back-to-back with the Warrior Woman. Great danger lurked here even though the surrounding forest seemed calm and peaceful.

Nothing immediately manifested or attacked so I relaxed, a little. The trees in one direction parted to reveal a path leading up a gentle slope beside a creek that trilled and chuckled to itself as it merrily rolled over tiny pebbles and rocks.

“After you,” the Warrior Woman said with an un-ironic smile. We both understood how this worked.

“You are too kind,” I said with equal courtesy.

As we walked along the path the untamed elemental energy of the Earth was so strong I could almost see it rising off the water like a heat shimmer.

We came to a natural pool in the flow of the creek where the knee-deep water drifted lazily over a cracked and crumbling seam of ancient basalt.

The shimmering Earth energy focused in the center of the pool, marking it as a doorway, a Portal into another Realm. I thought it a bit odd that I could see through the shimmer to the opposite bank where the path rose up from the water as though the Portal didn’t exist. In my, admittedly limited experience, that wasn’t how Portals worked.

With a mental shrug I waded into the water and through the shimmer. I dashed a quick look over my shoulder where the bank looked exactly as I left it. Also odd.

The bank I was now facing however, had changed significantly. An open mouth of a cave gaped where the path had been. The ordinary light of this Realm wasn’t able to cross its threshold. It looked like an impenetrable gash in the fabric of reality.

My conscious mind began to babble. Thoughts of the day, times of my life, anything to distract me from going into that darkness. The Warrior Woman waited patiently while I got my rebellious mind back on track, taking each thought and acknowledging it and putting it firmly away from me.

“My task was to guide you to this place,” she said as she faded from view. “And make sure you were suitably armed.”

Yep, that was how it worked. I thanked her without taking my eyes off that tear in reality, still not quite ready to wade the rest of the way across the pool and enter it.

A discordant smell started to waft around me. It smelled like … I looked down and my heart sank. There was blood in the water.

“So there is,” a gruff voice next to me sadly agreed. “You’d best turn around and face it.” She pulled me back up onto the bank opposite the cave and took my chilled hands in her own enormous paws and introduced herself.

“I am Ursu. The Great Bear.”

Glad to be momentarily distracted from the blood I chuckled, although it came out sounding more like a lament. “Yeah, I kinda figured that.” Her furry brown shoulder was level with the top of my head.

She looked at me very intently. “You cannot falter here.”

So much for distractions. She handed me a shield to partner to my spear. I put my arm through the straps and snugged them tight.

“Thanks.”

“You will need it.” She wasn’t one to waste words.

“Back to the cave then,” I said, somewhat reluctantly.

Ursu smiled. If you’ve ever been up close and personal with bear fangs you’ll know that her smile was, impressive. “Not to fight,” she said. I breathed a sigh of relief. “Another Ally.”

The more the merrier, I thought, until I peered into the strange darkness that began to writhe as I watched. A cold shiver ran up my spine.

The darkness grew thicker and formed into a long, sinuous shape.  A large triangular head and a flaring hood reared up as though sloughing off the residual darkness and a pair of emerald-ringed, jet-black eyes stared across the stream at me.

I turned to my bear companion. “An Ally?”

“Come,” she said and plunged across the stream. I followed like an errant leaf caught in her wake.

I’d lost count, but this had to be at least the third time I’d passed through the shimmering Portal. I was beginning to feel a little dizzy. Ursu helped me up onto the bank with one arm and gestured to the really, really big, black snake with the other.

“This is Naja,” she said. “A cobra.” It was obvious she wanted to avoid any insult that might’ve come out of my unmindful mouth.

I nodded to the sn … cobra, and she nodded back, blinking slowly and looking me up and down, taking in the spear and shield.

“Good,” Naja said quietly without even a hint of a hiss. “Now we fight.”

Ursu nudged my shoulder. “Turn around again.”

“Again?” I closed my mouth before either of them saw. I’d been turning around all this time without even noticing it. But, could I do it again, this time consciously?

Of course I could.

Only this time the stream and its banks had shifted to one side and I stood at the edge of a small grass covered dell. On the far side of the little clearing was my Enemy. A shadowy form, male, human, covered from head to foot in a foul-smelling slime.

With Ursu on my left and Naja on my right I stepped forward into the glade, as did he.

The slime pooled at his feet as he moved and I saw that he had a wolf skull and pelt, still wet and steaming from its brutal slaughter, covering his face and shoulders. He was a little man, thoroughly and utterly unredeemable. Just being this close to him made my gorge rise in an acid lump. The miasma of corruption clung to him like a shroud.

The cobra, the bear, and I, waited until he drew a short staff, knotted and gnarled with stolen power, out from under the wolf-skin and swung it at me.

I raised my shield and easily deflected the feeble blow. Then it was my turn. I ripped the clubbed staff from his hands and flung it in the stream. It was no match for the puissance of the water and dissolved into nothingness.

He clawed at my shield but the few marks he managed to make I healed with a flick of my will before he could blight it any further. I grew suddenly suspicious. This was too easy.

Just then my awareness shifted and I was outside of my Self, high up and to the left of the conflict. I saw a woman with a shield and a spear. I saw a bear to her left, and a snake to her right. But where was the Enemy?

My heart thudded in the back of my throat. There was only place he could be.

I turned around as a grey mist surrounded me. Ursu and Naja appeared at my side and the mist parted a little to reveal black rain-drenched rocks, topped by a tower built of dark and ragged stone. Here and there protrusions of fungus erupted like some obscene act that could no longer be contained behind the stone veneer.

The three of us swiftly traversed the bleak landscape and reached the door to the tower, a monstrous thing of decaying wood, bound with straps of rusted iron, and barred shut with huge bolts. Ursu dug her claws into it and with a disdainful flick of her wrist wrenched it apart.

Before I could move Naja ducked in front of me and rose up with her hood spread wide, ready to strike a killing blow.

“Wait here!” she commanded, and disappeared into the opening. Ursu and I exchanged glances, yeah, right, no way were we going to let her go in there alone.

As we passed the threshold I heard shrieking and thumping as though a great struggle was taking place, then, silence. I looked down and saw a glistening fluid trickle out of the gloom.

Blood.

A great wail rose up from my throat so loaded with pain I thought it would sear my vocal cords forever.

Ursu roared, a sound to match my pain and made to go in but I held her back. I wasn’t going to lose another Ally. I walked through the shattered opening with Ursu by my side, following the trail of blood.

My feet made no sound on the loose earth. It had a fresh turned fragrance to it that lifted my spirits until I sensed the sweetish iron-tainted taint of spilled blood mixed in with it. This was how he corrupted all things innocent, all things of the Mother. The trail of blood spiraled into a shallow depression in the middle of the space, and there I found my magnificent cobra.

He had taken her dismembered head and stuck it on top of a pike wedged upright among a hastily assembled pile of stones. The Earth having refused to condone such an obscene violation.

I looked up into Naja’s eyes, bereft of life, and I felt a rage build in me, strong enough to destroy worlds, potent enough to enact an armeggedon that would have no equal. I pulled Ursu’s willing spirit into me, joined her rage with mine, her strength with mine.

But first we had a duty to the dead.

I placed my spear on a clean patch of earth then, unclenching my fists with a shake to stop them trembling, I reached up, and as gently as I could, removed Naja’s head from the gore-streaked charnel-pike. I knelt down and laid her next to the spear. It would be her protector now. They both flowed into the earth until nothing of them remained above ground.

I stayed there for a moment, then slowly got to my feet and pulled the pike out from the pile of rocks. Naja’s blood quickly dried on my palms giving me a firm grip on the wood. Even in death she was still with me.

I turned quickly and silently. I knew who it was standing behind me, as if to ambush me, catch me unawares, as he did when I was a child. I swung the pike around in a wide deadly arc like an axe and cut off his head.

His corpse collapsed on the ground.

His head rolled in the dirt.

I walked up to that lifeless thing and gently lifted the poor wolf’s pelt, until I could see his face. What he did to me, to his daughters, to the women and girls I knew as a child, and my rage and shame and anger and fear, almost gagged me, but finally after all the years of silence, I found my Voice. I spoke with a strength and power that started the stone walls crumbling all around me.

“This vile excrescence is the monster who molested me as a child!”

The Bear within screamed, thirsting for vengeance. “TEAR HIS HEART OUT!”

I agreed. He deserved no better.

I punched the pike through bone and muscle and severed the heart from the body, then turned, effortlessly, and walked away as the tower crumbled to dust.

The forest reclaimed the hate-blasted land and healed the aching wounds with its rampant life. The stream offered water to the new growth, and soon only a single patch of bare earth remained. I planted the heart deep within that little plot of land and sat on the soft green grass beside it.

With a huffing sound, Ursu plopped herself behind me and wrapped her giant arms around me as I cried. As I sobbed. As I moaned and wailed and grieved. For all that had been taken from me and for all that I had reclaimed.

She held me in her arms until I had cried my Self clean, then handed me a handkerchief.

“I always carry a spare,” she said with a catch in her voice as she blew her nose on another.

It was a good thing she was sitting behind me because I was so exhausted, so drained that I would’ve fallen over if she hadn’t been. We sat together, waiting, for something, we didn’t know what, but it felt like it might be something good, something hopeful.

The patch of earth shimmered and broke open and out from that tear in reality Naja rose, alive and whole. She had a scar around her neck. A scar she would always carry with honor, for me, for all the women.

-oOo-

From the time I was of an age to understand that the man who was always looming over me, stalking me, was out to hurt me, I’d woven an impenetrable web of Silence about me. The kind of silence children impose on themselves when there is no explanation for the horrors adults inflict on them.

The truth of the matter is that we are never very far away from whatever abyss swallowed us up when we were children. I’ve walked the edge of my ‘Silence abyss’ a few times in my life since I was a child and will walk it a few more before I die and head off to the next great adventure. Because, as any Walker of a Spiritual Path knows, even if the battle is fought but once, the remembering and the scars and our human ability to trip over our feet, are very real and constant companions. However, walking the edge is far different than falling.

-oOo-

Some years later I was retelling this story at a Retreat I was Teaching and someone asked me why didn’t I forgive my abuser rather than having to do battle and carry that wound with me all this time.

I answered thusly: A – it wasn’t my job to forgive him, it was my job (as a shaman) to overcome my Adversary, and then to transform the energy released at his death into something useful, either in that Realm, or this, or both … and… B – by his actions over many years, he had not earned forgiveness. He had a wife and two daughters and every woman and girl child in our valley, including them, had been exposed to his corruption in one way or another … and… C – forgiveness serves no purpose, either here or in the Spirit Realms. It is a construct aimed at controlling the rage of the abuse survivor more than anything else, so those around her/him feel less uncomfortable with the truth about the choices human beings are capable of … and … D – I did not carry the wound any further that this Journey. I carried the scar, which is a completely different kettle of kittens.

I recently had an email exchange with a woman who was debating with herself about whether to out her abusers (who were well known within her particular profession) or not, because they were in ‘ill health’ and ‘what good would it do?’ (her words) I shared my thoughts on the matter and never heard from her again. I hope she made a decision that honoured her Self.

Speaking out is about healing our Selves, in whatever way, whatever Path, we choose.

There Are Days

There are days when this is my lifeline, to sanity, to my community, to an experience of my life that doesn’t include pain and aching bones.

Well, umm ... technically, I am playing a pinball arcade game right now, but the sentiment remains the same

Well, umm … technically, I am playing a pinball arcade game right now, but the sentiment remains the same

Thank you to each and every one of you who drops by, reads my posts, and/or leaves a comment, or engages with my comments on your blog/website. Your words have meaning, give meaning, and my life would be diminished without them.

A Star Is Born, Trailer

I’ve seen every movie iteration of A Star Is Born …

1937 – Starring Janet Gaynor, and Fredrick March. (very melodramatic)

1954 – Starring Judy Garland, and James Mason. (my all-time all-singing, all-dancing, favourite)

1976 – Starring Barbra Streisand, and Kris Kristofferson. (this one I saw in a cinema on opening night – big Barbra fan here) and a very close runner-up to Judy’s version. I’ve always wanted a fireplace like the one in their house.

… and now, there’s another one, Starring Lady Gaga, and Bradley Cooper. (an unlikely paring you could get)

I just watched the trailer … and you know what, it’s not half bad. 🙂 

One (there are many) Of My Favourite Things … Two, If You Read The P.S.’s

It took me a long while to get into on-line comics, not being into them as a child (and the general unavailability of any such reading matter where I grew up) but, as an adult with a certain number of decades under my belt, I’ve come to appreciate them.

Lately I’ve noticed a bit of a trend wherein, for whatever reasons, artists are pulling posts from their archives and re-running them, sometimes with a bit of current commentary. It’s an great way of catching up, without binge-reading.

‘Doonesbury’ is doing it, (with his Monday to Saturday posts being consecutive strips from the archives and Sunday being the only new one) as is with ‘Girls With Slingshots’ and ‘Breaking Cat News’, (which I just discovered recently – it’s a perfect anthro-catly view of life)  just to name a few of my favourites. Which is great because these strips have a long history and it’s fun reading them from the perspective of time.

Best ‘toon’ aggregate site ever? – Go comics.

My absolute favourite, that I’ve been reading for years now (and binge-read from the beginning) is Questionable Content – Go Faye and Bubbles!

So, who’s yours? I’m always on the lookout for new ones.

-oOo-

P.S. I’ve turned into an amateur earthquake-ologist and lava-ologist.

I’ve learned so much from that live-streaming global earthquake channel on Youtube, Dutchsinse that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. He does a weekly Global Earthquake Forecast every Sunday night. Worth a watch, even just once. It has truly boggled my mind how the WHOLE planet is connected. I mean, I knew it was but this really brings it home.

P.P.S. If you’re following along with the on-going volcanic event in Hawai’i, this bloke, Scott, of ApauHawaiiTours has some up-close-and-personal videos that are also for the blowing of the mind. I gather his tour business is on a bit of a hiatus,(on account of lava) so he’s creating what amounts to an archival account of the entire eruption.

Prelude XV

(My previous fourteen adventures into other Realms of Awareness can be read in sequence on their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header, or you can catch up with individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)

-oOo-

Something was afoot. A stirring in the places between the Worlds, the ‘gaps’ between the marbles in my ‘bag of marbles’ analogy. It fadeed a little throughout the week between each Journey, but never completely, and always returned a little bit stronger each week.

I was being prepared for a challenge that, if the training I’d received wasn’t up to scratch, to fail would have dire consequences. (within the Journey)

And it would also be the end of any further adventures.

I wouldn’t be able to any go deeper into these Worlds (safely) that had so enchanted me, taken my heart, and showed me my untold potential. (‘safely’ being a relative term given all the things that had already happened to me!)

The best analogy I can think of is building a stone archway out of individual blocks. The placement of each one on top of the other is very important especially when you get up high enough and start to curve the arch itself. The most important stone is, of course, the keystone at the apex of the arch.

Without it the structure will fail. Adventures can be had on either side of the arch, but none going forward. With the keystone, the arch is complete and can be walked under, through, and over, without fear of it collapsing. The Path can be continued, on into the Unknown.

Each adventure, each Journey, I undertook was tinged with this awareness. Would this one be the ‘keystone’?

-oOo-

The ordinariness of the physical world faded to black, still, quiet.

Tiny pinpricks of light slowly came into existence all around me, and expanded into stars and galaxies, black holes and supernovas. I swayed with the subtle music of the cosmos until I found myself at the very end of the Universe. (or the beginning, depending on your point of view)

(An interwebz search for ‘Hubble images’ brought up this magnificent collection. Go ahead, take a wander through them, I’ll wait … because this is what I saw too)

I drank it all in until my mortal eyes, even in ‘Journey-mode’, were unable to gaze upon it any longer.

I made to turn around but my feet remained in place as though nailed to some cosmic plank of wood. I cursed and swore, and twisted my body, but stuck, they remained.

As I’ve mentioned before this happened regularly and was just as frustrating this time as it had been every other time. I laboriously heaved the entire structure of my Journey around so it was finally in front of me. I plonked it down into place and took a moment, with my hands on my knees, to catch my breath. I was definitely going to have to figure out an easier was to do this.

I straightened up and felt the immensity of the continuous movement of that wondrous living galaxy-spanning entity on the skin of my back. In front of me was the unfathomable expanse at the edge of All Known Things that could only be traversed at the speed of thought … which at that moment, just happened to be blue. A deep rich potent blue.

I chuckled to myself. OK then, off into the wild blue yonder!

I stepped forward and down a little. A soft breeze blew through the blueness, gathering it up and forming tiny crystals that settled at my feet, revealing a flat featureless plain that extended out in all directions.

I picked up a handful of the sand-like crystals and let them drift between my fingers. The breeze carried them through the air until they brushed over something, invisible, to reveal a face laying on top of the plain.

I cast more of the blue dust into the wind and more faces appeared. It was as though a whole race of giants had buried themselves until only their faces remained above the surface.

They had high cheekbones and wide eyes, and mouths that were a twitch away from speaking. But for all that they looked like they were just (blue) stone statues I felt their energy lean hungrily toward me

“It’s your fear they want,” said a voice that came in with the wind.

Up until that moment, as far as I could tell, I wasn’t feeling any fear.

My body clenched up and I broke out in a cold sweat.

“Ah, there it is.”

So, what was I afraid of? If fear, as an emotion, is a warning, it had certainly got my attention. I relaxed my shoulders and let tension slide out of my body and down into the earth, and switched into ‘attention mode’.

The faces themselves didn’t feel dangerous. I glanced sideways around me. Nothing there either.

The wind dropped to stillness and the dust slid off the faces. Although they remained blue I could see through them as though they were glass.

All of a sudden they lifted up from the plain until they were upright and started toward me. Surrounding and almost encircling me before I could move out of the way.

 “No!” I said in a quivery voice, feeling a little freaked out. I held up my hand. “One at a time would be good.” They moved back and formed a ‘V’ shape in front of me.

I stood still as they, each in their turn, came up to me, and by either touching my forehead with their own, or sending their energy in a beam of blue light, gave me a gift of Sight.

At first I could see all around me in all directions, as thought I were in the center of a sphere, and with each touch of energy this sight expanded until I could see the spinning of suns and galaxies. The entire universe that I wasn’t able to encompass at the beginning of my Journey. The sphere of my sight grew larger and larger, expanded beyond my comprehension. And still, the faces came on.

I felt my sense of Self dissipate as it was dragged along with my expanding vision. It was an amazing sensation, like nothing else I’d felt before, to truly be beyond any human, any mortal, sensation or experience. I released every pore, every synapse, every cell, every atom of my essence, into this amaranthine existence.

Some of my brain cells must’ve still been in communication with each other because in a single flash of awareness I knew, with crystal clarity, that this … seduction, was the stuff of madness. And unless I reclaimed my Self, I would be lost to it forever.

I made to gather myself together when a tiny beguiling thought intruded on the process. What if I didn’t go back? Would my physical body, sitting in a chair in a darkened room, just disintegrate and drift away like fairy-dust? Would I re-inhabit my body as though I were sleepwalking, just going through the motions? When compared to this, why would I even want to go back?

Oh, what a pretty seduction it was indeed.

What turned it for me? … … I wasn’t done being human.

One by one I began to close off the visions and pull the ‘sphere’ of my sight inwards, until I was standing on the blueness and the faces had finally receded, along with the flow of their energy. They were still out there though, perhaps waiting for my ‘fear’ to manifest again.

Time for a digression…

… Make no mistake, the other Realms of Awareness are overwhelmingly seductive. They deal in absolutes, archetypes, grand challenges and experiences that leave us breathless with awe and longing. (and so far removed from our daily ‘grinds’ and endless supply of doubts and fears)

I occasionally wonder if the ‘madness’ that some people carry with them stems from not being able to clearly choose which reality to live in, and by not choosing, become stuck with pieces of their Spirit in each one, and destined to wander aimlessly with only the most tenuous of threads connecting them to their physical bodies.

This is why it is so important to have someone with you who knows exactly what it takes to get you back into your body when learning how to do this stuff, and why so many people who undertake such Journeys without either the knowledge of how to do it themselves or someone who does, can have very bad experiences.

Plus … it always helps to have something physical to do once you return, hence the cuppa tea and a biscuit/cookie mentioned elsewhere. Eating something protein-y helps too, it refocuses your energy way from the Spirit Realms and aims it toward your digestion. As does a good orgasm. Sex, really, really, good sex, (either with a partner or alone) is the best thing ever, to ground one back in one’s body. 🙂

And now, on with the adventure …

Something pushed at me from behind. Just hard enough to get my attention.

I was NOT going to go through the whole ‘turning around’ thing again, so I ever so slightly ‘bumped’, back.

A small woman dressed in green tights, tunic and pixie hat bumped my shoulder as she wafted by me. The more she came into focus the smaller she got. The blueness started turning greenish and took on discrete forms and shapes that were almost familiar.

“Got that out of you system, have you?” she chided. “You were supposed to come here first, you know.”

I shrugged. “Sorry.” What else could I say?

“Hmm.” She sounded remarkably unconvinced of the sincerity of my apology, but appeared to accept it on probation. “Well enough of that, it’s time we got a move on.” She drifted closer to my face and looked at me very seriously. “You’re almost there, you know.”

I looked down for a moment. I was standing on a sandy path with sandstone rocks scattered to the side. “Am I ready?” I wondered if I was ready for her answer, whichever way it went.

She patted my cheek with her warm small hand. “Almost.”

I reached for a nearby boulder and sat down abruptly. So, not ready, either way.

I took a deep breath and looked around me at last. I was sitting on a rock at the edge of the world, and spread out before me and below me was the breathtaking vista of the Escarpment in the Blue Mountains, near where I lived as a child. Soaring sandstone cliffs hid dark shadowed gullies with water running through them that tippled over the edge to the river so far beyond me that it had disappeared into the blue haze. (which is caused by the eucalyptus oil in the air, from all the gum trees)

The sun dipped toward the western horizon, the rock underneath me warm from its touch. The little green Deva thoughtfully allowed me a few moments to drink in the vista then ‘tutted’ at me to get a move on.

I’d never been ‘tutted’ at before. It was quite effective.

I walked along the sandstone path that led from my rock and across the face of the cliff. My shoulder brushed against the stone face on one side, and, keeping both eyes on the narrow path, I tried not to look down at the sheer chasm dropping away on the other. As I inched my way around a large boulder sticking out into the path I saw that it branched into two just ahead.

One fork looked enticing. It led up into a small hanging valley and the path itself was covered in soft mosses that would be gentle on my (I only noticed at that moment) bare feet.

The other path continued underneath a waterfall, flowing down from the valley above like a curtain, and along the narrow ledge. At first glance it looked as though it was strewn with sharp rocks, twigs, and thorns, but as I got closer I saw clear spaces, like stepping stones, among the sharp edges and pointy things.

I heard voices urging me to take the easier path. It looked like my little green Deva had company. Sounding distressed, they pointed out that if I had to concentrate on where to put my feet all the time, I’d miss seeing the end of my Journey. In the far distance, at the end of the path, a golden glow shone like a fireworks explosion frozen in time.

I reassured them that I’d take each step slowly and look up at the energy glow between each one. This seemed to be acceptable, so along the crooked path I went. It soon veered away from the cliff edge and into a small woodland grove tucked down inside a gully. The Devas came out of hiding and danced around me. Surrounded by their energies I could feel, with all my senses, physical and otherworldly, how vibrantly alive everything was.

The path drew me on however, until I came to a staircase. The Devas urged me to walk up it. The treads were smooth and the steps shallow, but I was on to their tricks. I continued walking along the path and looked over my shoulder. The staircase went up for a dozen or so steps then finished in mid-air. I flashed the Devas a ‘look’ to let them know I knew what they knew, and they giggled at me. Who knew ‘tuts’ and giggles’ could be so expressive.

Smiling, I walked on until I couldn’t walk any further, literally. My feet wouldn’t move. I froze.

Something, a presence, appeared in the middle of the path.

Without thinking I forced my Self out of the Journey. Tears ran down my face. I wrapped my arms around myself to keep the terror away. I felt a keening grow deep in the back of my throat, “No no nono,” but no sound came out of my mouth.

-oOo-

I had found the ‘keystone’  … or rather, the keystone had found me.

What do you create?

The other evening I watched a video interview where this over-stuffed, over-privileged bloke tried to justify his gazillion dollar salary. He was part of the ‘executive branch’ of a gazillion dollar company that was stuffed to the gills with others of his ilk.

The interviewer was trying to pin down what he actually did to ‘earn’ his salary. He weasled around sprouting phrases like, ‘he was worth what he was being paid’, and ‘market value’ and other double-speak, but he never actually answered the question. (probably had politician genes)

Not that I expected him to, it was far too confronting for him to have to justify his existence to a mere reporter, and a woman at that.

Now, the arrogant execu-bloke and his ‘tude wasn’t a surprise, nor is he the point of this post, but as I watched I realised the interviewer was actually trying to get him to speak to what he created.

And that got me to thinking and remembering…

When I was a young thing and trying to figure out how the world worked and how it didn’t work and how it was supposed to work, I spent some time contemplating the nature of worth: self-worth, societal worth, what was wealth worth, how worth was tied into work, and what ‘work’ actually meant. Things of that nature.

So I did a little social experimenting with friends as accomplices. Every time the question of ‘what do you do’, was about to come up in a conversation, (usually in the getting-to-know-you phase)  we’d ask, “What do you create?” instead.

Answers like, ‘provide a safe haven for my self/kids/spouse/animal companions’, were common, as were vacant stares and ‘what?’s’, but most people got it after a bit of an explanation and interesting conversations ensued…

One in particular was a square blunt woman who had spent her life doing blue-collar jobs for minimum wages, living from paycheck to paycheck. Never waitressing though. (or any other ‘traditional’ women’s job) “Couldn’t stand being indoors.” Which had limited her choices even further.

Her answer was heartbreaking. “Look at me,” she said.

She meant her hands, rough, short nails with grit embedded under them, and her clothes, heavy fabric, loose because she was a ‘big’ woman, and her short gray hair that she ran her fingers through so that it stood out at all angles. (I looked, and I saw a powerful woman, but I didn’t say anything. I knew she wouldn’t hear me)

“I don’t create nothing.” she finished.

We chatted a bit more and just as she got up to leave, (we were, after all, just two women exchanging pleasantries in an outdoor cafe) I noticed that her clothes had patches and mends that were superb bits of sewing craftwomanship. (being a sewer myself I knew greatness when I saw it)

I commented on it and she sat back down. We spent the next couple of hours discussing all things sewing-ly. Over the course of the next few months we became friends and occasional lovers, but eventually drifted apart.

A few years later I received an invitation in the mail (a letter-with-a-stamp-on-it type of mail) to a bit of a fancy-dress ‘do’ with a ‘wear something you’ve created’ tagline. (I went as Bette Middler’s shoemaker – long story)

My sewing-and-occasional-lover-friend, had created her own line of clothing was about to head off for parts European.

She told me my zany ‘socially experimental question’ had saved her life. Not that she’d contemplated killing herself, but that she’d never really thought about the quality of being alive until then. Needless-to-say we both got a bit teary, had altogether too much champers, and … um … yeah.

Last I heard she was still going strong and happily married to the woman of her dreams … and earning squillions of dollars – from something she created.