Keep the wild elder small ?

  
 

Walking through the airport, shops everywhere, images everywhere, of what?

Did I see one woman above the age of 22? Ok maybe 32 if she was modelling anti ageing cream! What’s wrong with my ageing skin, my wrinkles, I’m proud of them! 

Slim line bikinis? What about something to swim in? 

No the older woman doesn’t need a costume, didn’t you know she swims naked! Of course!

No, please don’t squirt me with that awful smelling liquid you call Beauty, my husband would never forgive me. 

He asked me once, ‘What perfume do you like?’ I answered ‘You, my dear, after a hard days work, your animal, your sweet, sweat my dear’ he laughed and knew then I did not fall for wasted corporate nonsense!

And I thought, why is there an attempt to keep that wild and wise elder woman even just a little subdued about her weight, her arse, her chin, her skin…so boring!

Sexy will never equate to power, no matter how much we try to mask it up, make it look good, or try to give it life. It is under the skin that matters!

Yet there is a madness, a very clever controlling madness behind it all, this artificial make believe of femininity!

They know, too well, they know what lies in the old maturing bones and skin of the woman who knows herself, who likes herself as she is, who knows the inner journey of self release and soul returning home.

Do show me images of ‘that’ woman if you dare.
But what do you choose and why?

Keep the wise women small, by making her feel inadequate, inferior, too fat, too old, too wrinkly?

Shower her with images of what a real woman looks like – slim and young with perfect skin, toned and well proportioned, nice hair because she uses the right shampoo?

A flat belly that has never created, or nourished herself with a passion?

Keep the wise and powerful woman small by making her believe she doesn’t smell right and needs bottled aromas that dull her senses?

Dress her suited and booted however and deaden her creative ability to choose her own style, of leaves and feathers donning her hair instead of grips and sticky sprays?

Give her a mask to wear so her primal animal features show no more and skin is buried beneath a new product, idea, whose idea?

Keep the powerful and threatening to corporate world of materialism wild self realised ageing woman small by robing her of the mirror of her own sisterhood?

You find it ugly! Really?

So prevent her speaking out because her age shows that there is strength and endurance and ability far out reaching.

Keep the elder woman small because she is that very threat to changing the world ! The world that is hell bent on a profit.

Keep that wild elder woman, the primal instinctual being small and inhibited?

Never!!!

  

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Love Endures


He lies there
wings wrapped around his lover
protecting in their grief
and loss
he guides her to the upper worlds of ceremony
yet reminds her
always
of the middle world
where broken bones
and wounds
must endure
a timely resonance with the earth
and all it brings with it
the grounding force of having to be here
in this world
as well as the next

 

Caroline Carey

 

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Stepping onto this path…


Stepping onto this path you are changed
For there are creatures at your side
And your hat holds a feather or two
And your clothes wreak of the earth and the fire
and your own hot blooded sweat
Mud lines the hem of your trousers
And you speak of empowerment and dreams and journeys
with those that others can’t see
Your voice has changed and a song or two
or a poem or even foreign language emits from your lips.
Others will think you gone mad, but you know the truth
Others will ask you to return
Your old self was the one They loved
So familiar so nice so comfortable

You do your best to tell them
love still remains
you are who you are,
just a little taller
more outspoken
With things that really matter

Stepping onto this path you are changed
And others will fear this
They won’t understand

No matter, you are changed and cannot go back
When leaves fall from the knots in your hair
and paws and claws make that sudden appearance
reminding you where you have been
And the sound of the drum sings out your tune
Take heed and know
Your soul your innocence is returning
The time is now, it cannot be … undone

Caroline Carey

Journey of Empowerment 2016

www.alchemyinmovement.com

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Swan Song

Some time ago Ben and I found a dead and decaying swan. It wasn’t in our own country I hasten to add, before anyone alerts the queen! (as we know all swans in England belong to the queen!) In fact we found two dead swans and on further examination we realised they had been shot. We were quite mortified that this could have happened and deeply saddened by it. We sat there and drummed and spoke with the swans, offering our support for their continued soul journey.

Why on earth would anyone shoot such beautiful creatures and then leave them on the ground? This has puzzled us immensely, but then I only have to look around at our human race regards animals and birds to know we are pretty ignorant in that department. But what to do in this moment? Back in England it was very customary of us to pick up road kill and any findings we had and honoring the animal or bird by giving new life to it through shamanic ritual and ceremony. We often keep wings or skin or bones with the deepest respect to the animal, inviting its medicine into our hearts and home.swans

So our new found meeting would be the same, but only one set of wings as our suitcase was not of the largest kind. To cut a long story and traveling experience short, we arrived back home with a beautiful set of wings that were treated and decorated in a most special way. On route we also discovered the bullet that had killed her as it hit the vein in her neck. I made a small pouch for it, wanting to also in some way honor the way she had died. I wore this small bullet in the pouch around my own neck.

It then came a time to take these wings to ceremony where we would be dancing and honoring our own dreams. The wings came with me and lay in the center of the room, representing ether, and the journey from earth to sky, from the south to the north.

As time went on, I met with part of my own journey within the dance. A moment where I had to question a story from my past. A time of being locked away, because I was ‘too’ much for my mother. Screaming and shouting as a four year old, wanting her own way, I stretched up for the golden door handle that I could not reach. My arms not long enough to take that door knob in my hand and release myself from that cold bedroom where I felt so alone.

I began to turn that energy in on myself, afraid of being locked away if i was at all unreasonable, if I dared to be different, outspoken or becoming unmanageable, I chose to be introverted and shy, nervous of speaking out particularly in groups of people. I knew that that needed to change and it did over the years, as I became a teacher of what I loved and began to share it with others, creating my own business, Alchemy In Movement, and stepping up into a leadership role. But I always knew there was more!

There is always more work to be done, no matter who, where or how we are in our life. I knew there was so much more in me and I was acting on around 46% of the energy I really had in my work and my ability. My childhood trauma was able to keep that in place and I knew there was a tough journey ahead to fully step up and move on.

And then something did happen, in that ceremony, that moment of being asked to call the part of ourselves that had the ability to destroy. ‘Destroy what?’ I remember thinking. Then I was called to look at that old story of 50 years ago, and suddenly the energy that had been held within my body, since those very early days shifted and as I stood amongst my peers, with all my heart, I spoke out some of the words I had never dared speak before. I felt like a bullet, searing through thin air, as my muscles contracted and that enormous energy was born into the atmosphere that I had created all around me. A moment in time so profound it almost knocked me over. My own wings expanded and I felt reborn. I touched that little pouch that I wore around my neck, my throat, the bullet that some how reflected this shift in my own energy and I thanked that swan medicine for supporting me and guiding me.

Later during our ceremony, I had the desire to sing a song that had found its way to me once while sitting in nature, as I danced in that ceremony its last verse dropped in,  it was a verse for the swan, the words very clearly sang through me, “Sacred Swan, help me sing the song that I was born to bring to earth”  and I stepped up to do so, but time was short and I was losing my will to give my voice that space. Suddenly from the area where I had been sitting, my song-stick, the one that traveled with me as I wrote my songs, fell or moved, I don’t know how and dropped next to a lighted candle, it began to burn before it was rescued by a dear fellow dancer. I knew in that moment I had to sing, for that song-stick reminded me, ‘sing or burn, sing or burn’….I found my voice, I sang my song I called that swan to sing through me with my own energy, the energy I was born to bring to earth.

And not until later did I realise that of course, the swan only sings when it dies!! I had let go of an old story, something had died inside me and I was singing the song of its passing. It had surely died and I was ready now to step up and claim the rest of the 54% of my own energy, to empower what was true for me and not to allow this old story to hold me back any more.

I reached for that golden knob of a door handle, stretching my body my heart and my spirit, I reached for that golden ball of light and called back the soul-part that had been hidden away, filling myself with its light, I was covered in warmth, sensuality and a strong sense of belonging. My song, my voice was here in its fullness…. By the will of nature, the medicine of grace and knowing, I was reborn.

Caroline Carey

www.alchemyinmovement.com

Alchemy – mentoring&coaching

 

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Learning from a dancing doctor

I’ve been an ecstatic dancer most of my life. Even in ballet classes I couldn’t wait till the teacher gave us a few minutes of release, of dancing freely away from the structure of ballet steps and poses. I liked both however, the structure and the no-structure. I danced in my bedroom as a child and continued in my life, in my kitchen in my living room, with and without my children, at parties and festivals. It has always been the passion deep in my bones and now is the main focus of my work in the world.

The experience of dance that has captivated me the most is what some people might find quite boring, but to me it holds immense power. And that is the movement of repetition, of steadily held monotonous movements of the body to the same beat.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to go with my husband Ben and a small group of dancers and anthropologists to Namibia where we connected with tribesmen in the Kalahari who shared their kind of dance with us. The bushmen appear to use ecstatic dance to generate energy for healing and during their ceremonies they invited us to take part. Here was the same beat, the same timing and beats per minute that I was used to in parts of our ecstatic dance practice, whether Movement Medicine or 5 Rhythms, but what they were doing was quite different, even subtly so.

We are aware of a particular kind of ‘shaking medicine’ that is used within our dance practice, which releases us, shaking out tension, washing away or burning off residue of past story, it is effective and certainly supports the body to let go. I loved to shake my body and allow this release to happen. But as I journeyed with the dance and sought empowerment through it, I began to discover something else, which the bushmen dancing doctors taught me.

I danced in the ceremony as we each did, meeting each other and sharing energy between us, they put our hands onto each other so the same energy could flow through our vibrating bodies. We vibrated, we fell, we got up, we sweated, we danced more and more, we fell again, losing ourselves into the trance of rhythm. Women stood in a semi-circle singing and clapping their hands, this was the only music and it was strong, repetitive and felt like it entered every cell of my body.

I noticed that the ‘doctors’ or shamans moved their hips in a very particular way that caused the rest of the body to shake. I became fascinated with this, still finding myself doing my own shaking thing with the dance I had become used to. In a conversation we had in-between our ceremonies one of the doctors asked me if I wished to carry their medicine alongside my own dancing medicine which they seemed to see quite clearly. I said ‘yes!’ What would it mean? What would I experience?

We danced again in ceremony, a long time through the night and as I followed my own dance I felt the doctors attention on me. I could sense a part of me resisting something! I knew there was nothing to resist and I am never one to resist dance in fact its unheard of in me! The dance went on and on, and something was happening to me where my own dance was meeting their dance, we were some what out of sync, but gradually as time passed and many dances danced their way through us, something happened to me as the doctor and I connected, where all resistance dropped away and I remember the thought that said ‘oh, go on then’ and suddenly my hips began to move in exactly the same way as his and we stood side by side shaking. He cheered euphorically and I laughed. According to him he had ‘put the arrows of my medicine and the arrows of his medicine’ side by side. I could relate to this as an image and have spent time learning about it and understanding it, honoring it and respecting it. This is a small moment in time, I was not on these landscapes for long, as many travelers are, but this moment was and has been very precious to me.

Since this time in the bush, I have noticed how it has affected my own dance. So used to the kind of floppy rag like quality of shaking out the body, I have come to understand the need to literally ‘fuel the body’ with shaking medicine. It is like fueling the tank through strong vibration in the hips which in turn gives power and force to what ever it is we are wanting to leverage in our lives, to literally empower our body, our psyche, our mind and our passion! It creates tension in the body, not the kind of tension that is caused by stress and gets stuck in our shoulders etc, but the tension that builds in the muscles from shear energy filling us up and enhances the psyche into action.  From my own observance, the doctors seemed to use this energy for healing and creating a power and relationship with the fire, to work their magic as healers by doing extraction medicine and soul retrieval. This is becoming an integral part of my own offering in workshops around the world. I do not profess to know a huge amount about the bushmans dance, but it is with me for sure and I wish to honor it for I have come to recognize the impact this kind of dance can have on our psyche to manifest what we need, whether that is in our healing abilities, our voice, our desire or simply by the determination to say ‘yes’ to our own lives. It’s all in the muscle, quite literally! We can all make significant changes in our lives by simply dancing for it!

I shared a little of this at my recent workshop, Passion Unlimited, where we learn to understand how we are the driving force behind our own lives and passions and I will be offering my own experiences and interpretations of this medicine during ‘The Journey Of Empowerment.Particularly with how it fits with our more modern day dance of ecstacy where there is a big need to empty out the old, dysfunctional self.

Till I return once more to the bush, which I hope is not too far away, I will keep honoring the bushmen and women that I met and look forward to that time with them again.

Caroline Carey    www.alchemyinmovement.com

Journey Of Empowerment ~ Dance your own journey into empowerment…beginning in March http://www.alchemyinmovement.com/index.php/event/journey-of-empowerment-uk

Photos by Ben Cole, cinematographer.

 

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To learn from an addict ?

When we think of the addict, what do we see? A poor beggar on the street, a homeless man? Do we see drunk teenagers or young people partying, or a crazy woman shut in her home consuming bottle after bottle of gin? What do we see of the addict in our society? It can be so easy to pass judgement on some one who seems so out of control, so hell bent on destruction and of sabotaging him or herself. But if we look more closely we get to realise that we are all addicts in one way or another and to really deal with that addiction means that we have to let go and let go of a lot!

It is not just alcohol or drugs that create the addiction story in us, for there are many kinds of addiction. And the greatest addiction amongst the human race, is the one of having more possessions and the need for more oil to manufacture our goods and superficial needs, the need of never quite managing to have enough. We are immense consumers, looking for more and more. This is the nature of addiction in our society and it seems we are not able to stop!

Part of that addiction is created because of the sense of loss. Something is missing, there is an emptiness that cannot be filled no matter how hard we try. In my own view this is a spiritual loss, a loss of the divinity within us. Instead we have made the divinity something that can be obtained from what is around us.

I notice when I am not embodying my ecstatic dance, when I am not praying or meditating and having conversations with spirit, then my own addictions start to seep inwards into my life. They are not obvious, In fact very subtle and in no ways causing drama or sabotaging my life. But none the less they are there.earth drinker

Who better than to learn from about the dangers of addiction than the alcoholics, the drug users, the over eaters and those with love and sex addictions? Are they not great teachers of our times about how easy it is to rape and pillage our lands, to abuse and steal from the Mother Earth. It might be a crazy notion, but do we understand the nature of addiction, really, in ourselves and society? Once we become more conscious about our addictions, we have taken that first step.

Is addiction a gift to learn from?

I know I have been that mother, I know the feeling of being taken from, because of his addiction, I know the pain in my heart and the absolute longing for his peace as well as my own. And this has brought me closer to God to Spirit than anything else. That one prayer has been my savor, my grace and my sanity. When I was able to turn around and speak those tremendous words ‘my sons addiction is a gift’ was the day that my trust and connection to spirit grew a thousand fold. And I never could have believed I would have ever uttered those words, not in a million years. And how many times have I heard the same from those afflicted by the most horrendous of journeys into the darkest solitude, the loneliness and the crazy, crazy benders and tragedy after tragedy actually say in the end they would not change it, it has been a gift! For all the heartache, the soul searching, the pain and loss, it was meant to be and it is meant to be. For once they find Spirit, they know exactly why they had to endure that journey. They had to meet with that hell, that breaking apart, that deathly meeting with their own mind.

Yes, they have told me it has been a gift, the ones who survived, and many of course do not! It is a powerful journey that not all can make to the other side. And when some do it is only to replace one addiction with another that keeps them a little saner and less aggrieved,

I can only really write as a mother of one who has suffered this way. But by walking this path, I see addiction in myself and in many more forms than just his. We, as a whole human race are addicts.

This path has shown me my own addictions and the need to surrender myself to the most impossible moments of the deepest dread. I have come to believe that addiction is a spiritual illness, a loss of soul, where entity finds its way through, fixing itself to the murky layers of shadow that we surround ourselves with, the entity covers over the light body, sucking substance and sustenance for its own need. As soon as the user tries to do without, that entity goes to work, calling out from its starving belly, “Feed me, feed me, you know that you must for it is my need you must fulfill!”

We are addicted that is for sure, I am addicted and those users who fall into the dreaded path of drunkenness and horrid abuse of the body are showing us just what it is we are doing to life on Earth. We have become that addictive illness on our planet. We are the virus, the cancer growth that is using up all of its resource, scourging the body for more until once used it prepares to leave and find another vessel to cling its monstrous claws to.

We are hungry for sustenance, hungry for pleasure, hungry for possessions, hungry for that one more fix as the thirst dries us completely and we are unable to say ‘no.’ No, to the purchase, no to the packaging, the need to buy, the need to accumulate.

I am not free of this, I watch it happen to me. When I feel down or despondent, I can quite easily shop or eat or long for my lover, my man. I can be desperate for a phone call, a connection or to satisfy myself by finding something to bring home. As a little girl, I ‘needed’ something; usually something of my mothers, a trinket to take to school and I was not able to go without it, it was like an addiction that would send me into turmoil if it was not there. As an adult of course this is controlled but I can still notice those times where that need reappears, and I have to feel into my heart for what it is I am longing for.

Can we be willing to see the addict as our teacher? To allow ourselves, instead of judging and criticising him or her, to see ourselves in that mirror, no matter how hard that might be and acknowledge we too have a problem that is out of control?

The human race is out of control! Our incredible need is stealing, raping, pillaging and throwing the garbage of it whereever we wish to, without any thought or feeling.

The very realisation of what we are doing to our planet shows that there is great potential for change. Once we realise this, we know we have to make change, we have to open our eyes and our hearts and demand that we turn things around. Yet it is only when things become so dangerous, when we hit that ‘rock bottom,’ where chaos ensues, can we be so utterly sick of what we are creating that no matter how much it takes we begin our own journey to sobriety, for are we not drunk on the idea of possession and wealth and the ownership of what is not really ours?

If we have to hit rock bottom before we turn this around, what kind of devastation will that mean? It could actually be the reality of our human race. The only way we will realise how desperate our situation is, is by being the same as that addict, getting to that pitiful place where all hope is lost. Chaos will ensue, and at that center of chaos life will emerge, just like the Phoenix from the flames, emerging stronger and brighter with all its many colours. And then like the addict we can only turn to God, to Spirit or that higher power to be saved.

We will need our sobriety, we will need our humility, we will need to be able to say I/we got it wrong, for at the center of chaos lies creativity. New birth. But that mighty orgasmic conception as the Yin and Yang and the fire of creativity join together, as the Vesicus Piscis of wisdom erupts and shakes us to the very core of our being, when the Mandorla of existence recognises our own split and forces us together to join forces, that spiritual force will be right at that center reminding us who we really are. And our humbleness will be our savor. Without it we cannot move on.

The Mandorla, the Vesicus Piscis, the Rose and The Thorn, Magic of Mandorla generic.jpgthe Areola is the meeting of our opposites. When this mighty force plunges us into the chasm of despair, of pain and darkness, only then will we see the light shining through. And it will take time before we can see it because our eyes will need to open a little wider and we will need to learn to see with our whole being, not just the ego part of ourselves but our whole self, the most intimate parts of ourselves at the very core of our humanity.

Caroline Carey

please visit our blog ‘Creatively Addicted’ to learn more about the film/documentary we making on addiction  https://creativelyaddicted.wordpress.com/

 

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What is personal empowerment?

What does it mean to be empowered? What does that word conjure up for you?
Personally and many years ago I had associated it as filling oneself with powerful feelings, being higher than…, being in authority, even wealthy! 
But that was a long while ago and now I find a different perspective and interpretation of it. 

None of those things I mentioned previously are necessarily wrong, but they don’t to me represent true empowerment and the feelings that go with it. It might seem that those in authority and those very wealthy with high position jobs are empowered, but I don’t believe that. If we need monetary wealth or position to sustain our power, then is it true empowerment?

I’m interested to hear how it is for you….
And for me….I know I am empowered when I feel good in myself, within my own skin. It often comes when I am fulfilled by something creative I have done, or doing, something that has been important to me. When I share what I love with others and find ways to do this through the challenges and difficulties that arise. I feel that empowerment when I am strongly connected to my moving, dancing body and my heart is open and feeling emotionally. 
I feel empowered when I know viscerally that I am connected to a higher power, a universal energy and my connection to spirit, to my allies, to all that supports me is flowing through my body.
I feel empowered when I look at the beauty of my children with all they create and when I can serve another in their own fulfilment and potential. Wether that is a friend, a student or client. I feel empowered when my husband and I create together in unison. 
It is not about how others see or feel about me, but how I see and feel about myself.  When I can say ‘yes’ to my own dreams for the future and my own desires without fear of judgement or ridicule.    

I feel the simplicity of empowerment when nothing material outside myself makes any difference to who I am. Only me, in my simplicity can truly feel what it is to be fulfilled.
I am empowered when I am free enough to speak my truth and not be afraid of what others might think. I am empowered when I can share my story, my wounds and not feel ashamed of my past history.

I’m empowered when I am free to be myself in any situation for I know when I am at my most loving and creative, poetic, theatrical, ritualising and creating ceremony, doing the work I love, feeling inspired, I am in my own power.

Caroline

  

The Journey of Empowerment

http://www.alchemyinmovement.com/index.php/event/journey-of-empowerment-uk/?instance_id=209

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falling in love

“The soul and ego need each other; they need to fall in love. The soul is the dreamer, the one that lives within the mystery. The ego becomes the hands of the soul as it falls deeper and deeper into this connection. Without the ego, the soul has no hands; it is not able to manifest the dream into the world. Ego without soul has no journey to go on; it simply creates for the sake of personal possession, for self-gratification. There is no sense of service to others or community and most certainly not to the world. Until the ego meets with the soul, true love cannot be born.”

Owl and earth

From Reclaimed Innocence, Caroline Carey ©

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Motherhood as spiritual practice

In a Bill Plotkin workshop many years ago, I recall him saying that ” there are two kinds of spiritual practice, one is parenting and the other is everything else!” It took me a while to understand what he meant. But then I got it.

As a mum of six children now adults, I recognise the parts of me touched where no other spiritual practice could come near. The main context of this ‘practice’ that isnt even really a practice, is namely ‘surrender.’

Surrendering to what cannot be controlled, i.e. the life of another human being. Surrendering to the pain this can inflict on our hearts because we just cannot make it right for another or force them into safety for our own needs. We cannot blame another for our feelings or how our life is because of them. We surrender to the deepest of fears and fears of loss, betrayal, insignificance and the fear of not being the most important person in anothers life.

We learn to let go, let be, be present, be detached, love unconditionally and trust deeper than any experience could possibly allow. Our very soul can be trembling and we are forced into a realm of anxiety and inner criticism. Wondering if we have done our best, could have done better, been different, got it wrong, it goes on and on. 

  

I am just talking about motherhood here, fathers have their journey too, but I cannot speak for them, I can only assume it is quite the similar!

Spiritual practice asks us to be present. Try and not be present for a screaming child, baby, one who is hungry or just plain upset and you’ve no idea why! Try and not be present through endless needs and wants and demands, for what can seem the most futile of missions. Walking along narrow walls for the twentieth time, run up and down a garden and play bat and ball when your body aches to sit and relax or even go to the loo! Another story from the favourite book, again and again and again! Off to the park again and again because there is no rest until this is done, and question after question must be answered, and we do it through love and pleasure, because we want to and we give our all, and then those moments wave over us, please go to sleep for a moment, please let me rest for a moment. Bed time and Ahhh, relief, I can now sit and there is time for ME!

My own discipline when my children were small, when it got to the evenings I knew if I sat down, I would not get up again. I made sure I kept on my feet until each one was in bed and asleep. Then I could simply go to bed, too tired to do anything else for the ME. But that was lush and gorgeous, the feeling of just having that ‘me’ to myself. At least until the first waking moment and night time is punctuated by breastfeeding, fetching drinks of water, or that needed cuddle because of a bad dream.

I love/loved my little ones, so much, loved being with them, playing with them, teaching them and sharing our worlds together, I would not change it for anything. And I know what it taught me in the world of patience and grounding. Having to remain centered and together in myself, it was not a time to fall apart, there was always work to be done. I was surrendered in service to the growing up of my little family with all of its challenges, dysfunctions and heart aches. But we loved each other, they loved each other, we were a family that despite everything, the children shared a lovely deep connection. I felt blessed with this.

And babyhood and childhood changes to the grown up kids and the teenagers, where all hell breaks lose and we meet with the rebel, knowing this rebel needs its time to grow to learn about him or herself. To begin that detatchment from the parent, to find out who they are as a seperate being. Surrender, I had to. With each one I had to. To step back and witness this person who I felt I barely knew. What were they becomming?

Surrender and let go, I told myself over and over, they must go through this, they must detatch and find their own way. I have to let go, for sure we hold certain boundaries, but let go at the same time. If we ever try to control a teenager, then for sure we are creating a volcano that is preparing to erupt right in our face, and most definitley in our hearts. Let them go and let them grow!

Let them find their own way into adulthood, because they will return to you much more easily if they are given the freedom to find their own way and walk their own path. Making space for your loved ones, creating space between you takes courage, it takes trust and the most profound and liberating thing, for myself and my children was to say “I trust you to find your own way” Handing over the reins, the control, and the staff of wisdom and knowledge is returned to you and they walk freely, into the unknown territories into the mystery of their life, that is only for them to unfold!

We gasp and hold our breath, breath that is so full of fear, but if we have done our job well, there can only be trust. I did not do my job as well as I would have liked, I knew this. But at the time and with the knowledge that I had at such a young age, to begin with a mere teenager myself, I did the best I could. So the guilt and shame emerged time and time again, it scourged my bones and rubbed my belly raw with anxiety. It taught me to breath deeper, to remind myself this was their journey and now it had nothing to do with me. All that was to do with me was to love them unconditionally still, and to surrender and witness them on their  journey. To let go!

And then the adult journey can begin. As they steal that key, as in the tale of Iron John ( Robert Blye ) from under mothers pillow, no matter how she frets, the deed is done and now it is their own personal journey to take and any mature mother knows this, her job is done, but it does not take away the anxiety, the gut wrenching pain as she worries about the little child within her grown man or woman. For the mother still sees that young being despite the pride she feels for the adult walking their path.

Again our work is to surrender, to learn to trust even more deeply. To meditate on our own pain and detachment, to walk our own path and keep letting go.

And I find myself in one of those places, focusing on my own work giving attention to the ‘other’ part of my spiritual practice, yes my work, my offering to the world of my own journey, now holding a space for others. The phone call comes the distress is there and I am in a place far away from the ability to hug, to comfort to try anything to soften some of the blows that life presents. Is it a good thing that mother cannot be there at this time, so the adult can grow and find his or her own way with this? Must I melt into my own abandoned feelings of despair and relinquish any ability to be useful? I feel my redundancy, I feel my stomach churn, I know it is my dance to be danced and I must find that inner freedom for myself by giving them their freedom for themselves.

I switch of the phone with dread and I focus on what I must do. I dance with my own challenge and I learn once more to be totally present with what is in front of me. I am surrenderd to the ‘what ifs’ I am present and held within my own circle of strength and support. And I teach from this very place, my wounded-healer place and we learn and grow together.

And then all is well, no harm is done and I hand over more and more the responsibilty to them, to thier own hearts knowing that the greatest love is there, always, will never be lost no matter what. It is always there. This is my spiritual practice, to surrender, to let go of control, to be present, to love unconditionally, and what better teacher for this than to be a mother to my wonderful children. They have their journey as we all do, they have their challenges and suffering as we all do. And none of us are perfect in this world, least not myself. We simply become more humble and carry our own humility within our own circles and do the best we can.

My experience with my chldren has been my greatest spiritual teaching, I have no doubt of that. Watching them grow with such pride in my heart is an immense and beautiful thing. And it continues, with every day that passes. We are growing together and apart continually, we are learning to let each other go and lose that co-dependancy that lingers. Deepening love, maturity and a sense of spiritual belonging, learning surrender, humility and compassionatly witnessing who we each are.

Caroline Carey

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How do we reclaim our soul?

Do you ever remember a time, even some time long ago, when you felt that gut wrenching vibration filling your body, as if some mighty hand reached in and pulled at every muscle within you?  It took you far into the cosmos and you followed, but forgot that your body was there on the ground. And the body had become numb, it had frozen in time. Its heart beat had become a slight murmur, barely audible and the breath nothing but a shallow whisper, if that even. There is total numbness from the pain, the fear, the shock, or the humiliation or worse still the deeply ridden shame that did not want to live, in this way, that had to flee as quickly as it could. Suddenly remembering that experience that shook us to the core, that we had to forget lest it rip us apart and send us into a state of utter madness.
In that moment we chose death to be our companion but death did not come, because it was not our time. Instead part of our soul departed, leaving us a little less human on this planet, not fully ourselves and not fully alive or even seeking to be. Still as part of that body we continue in the only way we can possibly know, in a mundane state of dissociation and powerlessness.

Maybe we get a sense of soul-loss? Feeling as if part of us just isn’t present, that we are missing something in our lives, causing depression, illness and suffering.
We begin to get the idea that part of us really is missing and that we need to reclaim that part of us back and we notice a sequence of events begin to take place. We learn that the soul part more than likely left us because of trauma, meaning that it is likely to not be a hugely pleasurable experience. But still we persevere!

We learn from most traditions, that it was the shaman who was called forth to assist in our soul retrieval. The one who is connected to the spirit world and is able to send out his/her soul to assist in calling in what is lost. That shaman knows the territory like no other, where its own soul has journeyed many times.
We know to embark on this journey, it is our calling, and it is such a strong calling we know we cannot refuse. We ask for guidance and support. Often finding someone to hold the space for us, a a guide we trust, one who knows this journey. We find safety and a trust that reflects this. We know they will be there for us in the aftermath.

Deep in our bones and right into the very cells of our body we remember the history and the techniques of ecstasy. We know how it lives within is from deep in our ancestry. Our body calls out for the ‘ecstatic field of energetics,’ remembering that many crafts will take us into the worldly blissful realms of our ecstatic nature.Cc soul retrieval

Old and new crafts, ancient and modern, from many societies and cultures. The drum, the dance, the wise women of our western lineage, the machi, the mamas, the healers, the poets, the mystics, the priestess, all with an ability to reach to those spiritual highs, to find the connection to the landscapes of soul, the spiritual realms, the upper and lower worlds and all the places in-between.

We are the seeker, looking for something that simply cannot be found on this human dimension, but he seeking is so strong, we cannot let it go and on we search responding to this calling and even within resistance it becomes an obsession!

Events begin to happen, we have strong memories, we visit places of our childhood or teenage years. Our dreams are recurring and repetitive patterns or habits keep visiting us over and over again. We try to stop them, or even ignore these irritating behaviours, but not so easy to put the ignoring into practice, we become extremely challenged, desperately finding ourselves wanting to change something, but still it persists.

The only way through it is to get fully into it! We know this through the resistance. We have no choice we hear ourselves saying with disbelief!

Crazy though it might seem, we delve into these patterns, paying attention to them, being curious about them. Following them, allowing ourselves to be creative with them. What are they trying to tell us?
Where did they originate? We might even dance with them and look into how they form themselves and what kind of energy they attract.

And as we do this, we begin to uncover the story, the place where we first lost that soul-part.
We learn to build a strong ‘container’ a circle as we call it in the shamanic world. Our innate protection and support that has always been with us, surrounding us, forming this protection, it appears to us in any way we want. Maybe as a garden, a circle of fire, ring of stones or just a simple membrane. Our imaginations run loose, our circles become what ever feels comfortable and safe for us.
We learn to trust our circle, to hold it dear to us and we begin our journey to soul-retrieval with all that can support us, like power animals and guardians, nature spirits and the spirit of each of the elements.

We continue the journey, lighting a candle or the fire for more creative support, asking this flame for guidance. We set our intention, remembering just how important it is to do this on any shamanic journey, whether it is a healing, soul retrieval or just in seeking knowledge from our spirit guides.

We continue and allow ourselves to become more and more curious, if we are dancing then we dance ‘with’ all the new information we are gathering, concentrating deeply within our circle and focusing on images and thoughts that appear, that drop in through the ether.
Listening to the beat of the drum, 180 beats per minute fast beat focused beat, allowing us to drop deeper into meditation, into the trance, into no-mind, except for any particular thoughts that drop in just like a dream.
For some it is not a dance, but a simple repetitive movement, the bones and muscles engaged with the rhythm, whether we are in our own room or on the dance floor, we are focusing our attention, making it as simple as possible. Repeat repeat, repeat, a sway of the hips, a movement of the hand, stomping of the feet and gradually bringing the whole body into the motion, the repetition, the momentum of rhythm. No need to make it a big movement, it is the focus and concentration we are seeking.
Even when it is not possible to move the body, we can lie in nature with the drum, or anything else that helps us to stay focused.

We drop deeper, beginning to call to us those soul parts, asking for what needs to be received. Calling it in as a golden light, a sphere heading towards us. Becoming a begging bowl for spiritual wisdom, asking for that soul part to be returned to us.
We keep focusing on any images and thoughts, any feelings and we open our heart to receive.

Sometimes we learn to send out other parts of our soul to help call the other home. And we know how important it is to have a really strong connection to our circle and to our body because of this. We do not wish to space-out or get lost! There is no place for this on the path of reclaiming. We keep reaching outwards, remembering this soul part does not come without weight. We prepare ourselves to receive that weight, to hold it to us, it is not a time to fall, no matter how heavy.

And we call in the soul, reminding it we are here, ready to receive, knowing it means we must work on ourselves and our lives. It is not unknown to us that it is very likely the trauma that happened in our earlier life will be brought to our attention and many feelings may be felt that are uncomfortable. We know we may feel a lot of emotion. We know we may have painful memories. But we learn to recognize that this is actually a good thing, we learn to trust that this is so, because it means that we really are doing our work and we need to remain as positive as we can be, reminding ourselves, any memories that hide away in the shadows create dysfunction, causing unhealthy behaviours and patterns. This we cannot allow if we are to heal fully.

So we say to ourselves ‘”Here is another memory, it needs expression and that is good because it means I have another opportunity for the light to show through and it means yet another gateway to freedom. I know in the long run its going to free me up even more, so I have to welcome those memories!”

We do not take our Soul retrieval lightly, we know it is not an easy calling, it is not an easy journey, because we know too well, even if a little unclear, why the soul had to leave in the first place, it was not safe to stay, we know it means having to face the trauma and expressing what was not released at that time. And as we experience that ‘dark night of the soul’ we keep reminding ourselves what it really means to become our whole-self-reborn.
And as we recognize the gifts that we were born with, that find their way back to the heart, the body, the mind and the hands of our creative being, we bring to life the treasures that need to flow through us.

We begin to remember those gifts, we awaken them. Often by simply following our own creativity, and we find their rituals, marking that territory, its rite of passage that may have been forgotten about by others, even ourselves, when it was at an appropriate time of our life and for sure, no one told us how necessary it was.

So we ritualize this returning, giving gratitude and honoring what has passed and we hold ceremony to find its celebration.

Living now with the new found creativity, creating imagery, poetry, art work, writing, we bring the soul part to earth, doing ordinary day to day tasks, and helping the soul become grounded and ‘in-body.’

The ecstatic spirit lives on in us, once known we never forget its medicine and ability to transform our lives.
It touches us, moving through us in its divine intervention, altering our states of consciousness as we rebirth ourselves time and time again, triggered into these states, mind altering, body vibrating, we are hollowed and filled in one fell swoop.
The mystic within or at our side, humbles us to let go and breath that catalytic source of inspiration deep within us, knowing it will fill us to the core and return us to ourselves and the beloved.
Ecstasy is the turning point of our lives, there can be no going back, our heart is opened and those insights that come with us induce the love of God, our connection to Spirit, the Divine. No matter the darkness it will propel us forward, into the arms of heaven.

Life lives through us, we become the memory of who we are right now.

Caroline Carey

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