Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Wake-Up Call: Part II

The Attunement

 Years ago I developed The Re-Membering Process, a model of spiritual evolution, and identified the first phase as Sparking.

Sparking is what awakens us from sleep and an unconscious life…We all live within a container of some sort and are in a stupor to some extent…It’s part of the human condition. The questions are:  how deep is the sleep? How big does the spark to awaken us have to be?  What will jostle us out of the daily shuffle?  What will cause our heads, bent over so intently eying our shoes, to rise up?                                                           —Excerpted from The Questions We Live By

Bali Temple Figure I

Bali Temple Figure I
©2007 Carla Woody

We usually enter Sparking through crisis of some sort. That was true in my case. In my late twenties I encountered a serious health issue that took me out of my stupor and caused me to determine that I wasn’t on track. I wasn’t astute enough to recognize it on my own; all was so foggy. I was clueless. Something—certainly much greater—took over and led the way. I just feel fortunate that I didn’t balk at that point but reached my hand into the fog in trust.

If I’d had a guide solidly present that I could look in the eye…or if I’d been more connected then to receive all the inaudible messages I’m quite sure were coming my way…if I’d recognized my own intuitive abilities…then perhaps the journey through the Re-Membering Process could have been greatly truncated the first time around.

But that wasn’t my path. Those ‘ifs’ I note above didn’t happen for some years yet. Mine was a journey of learning all the twists and turns, the double back, the two-steps-forward and three-steps-back, the intricacies and nuances that have led to a visceral knowledge: how to side-step, leap over, move through…what creates limitation. And to simply recognize the signals calling for evolution—or revolution—in a way that honors and allows.

And…it’s not necessary to endure a crisis. Why undergo the intense pain and confusion that comes with it?

I’m a great believer in prevention. There are three things necessary to avoid the crisis and create movement when the Sparking calls.

Bali Temple Figure II

Bali Temple Figure II
©2007 Carla Woody

1)    Presence. You’ve got to have a way of coming to stillness—regularly—to create a buffer from all the internal and external input bombarding us every day. Meditation was the practice that chose me all those years ago. I can’t say I knew what I was doing then but I did keep at it. Here I am some thirty years later and it’s still my daily saving grace.

2)    Awareness. Stillness allows you to get in touch with what’s truly going on that you might otherwise block in daily life. You become aware of bodily-felt sensations, internal voices, and imagery that presents itself to answer the questions: Where am I? What am I feeling? What am I lacking?

3)    Acknowledgement. If you are truly present and allow awareness, there’s honesty to what you’re shown. At this point, simple acknowledgement is all that is necessary to open a doorway to answer the questions in the phase that follows.

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Categories: Healing, Meditation, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

The Wake-Up Call: Part I

Time for A Change

The Wake-up Call

The Wake-up Call
©2011 Carla Woody

Something has been running beneath my skin; not pain or real discomfort, more something urging change–an eager part of me pulling away, separating out, wanting to rip the bandage off. What I’d made familiar, through my own intent, attraction and careful placement has become–to an extent–mundane. I am a creature who relishes evolution, really revolution. Looking back over the last few years, I discovered that I’d gotten lazy. I’d become a prisoner of the status quo, a resting place ordinarily quite distasteful to me.

So this energy has been humming, making waves beneath my skin, in readiness. But toward what? To where? It’s been a mystery. There’s only been a glimmer. My eyes refused to focus, there being nothing solid they could land on.

When I’m in creation mode my mind has a strategy, somewhat like unconscious storyboarding. Ideas get filed away on post-it notes hanging out in space. Some are more visible, some completely obscured. There’s a time they collect in the ether, simply shimmering in the breeze. When the time is right the truly valid piece parts are attracted to each other and swoop down and join. The puzzle comes together. The image may be seen in its totality. I’ve learned to have patience with the process.

But when there are distractions, as there have been lately, when there’s so much drawing on my attention, it can be like an internal tornado where everything gets caught up and whirled together, making the process longer than necessary.

The Breakthrough

The Breakthrough
©2001 Carla Woody

I’ve been in Ireland on vacation. This time it took jet lag, being awake in the middle of the night with no hope of returning to sleep. There’s a several hour time difference from my home in the US. The urge to boot up the computer to check email wasn’t there. I had no Internet access. The phone wasn’t ringing; no cats demanded breakfast, nothing to get up and clean. All was taken out of my hands. There was no external “noise.” I was given an invitation: to be–only–fully present.

And that’s when it all began to come together: the answer to the question running beneath my skin.

What do I want now?

 What more do I want to create?


Go here to read The Wake-Up Call: Part II – The Attunement.

Categories: Creativity Strategies, Meditation, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Edge of Limitation

For years I led a meditation group. A good number of folks were faithful to this weekly gathering, a quite important factor because every one of them extended their self-intent to the group as a whole through presence and commitment. Consequently, when we came together we were able to dive deeply—immediately.


The Resistance
Photo: Carla Woody

We always opened with breathing together, to leave the day behind and connect with each other energetically. Then I would open the circle for sharing before we moved on to guided meditations. One time during the open frame a long-time participant asked a question.

What is the edge of limitation?

It was an astounding question, one I’m not sure I adequately answered in that moment. It was a question that—over time—framed a journey of my own, an odyssey into self-inquiry and the nature of a spiritual journey. I went on to write an entire chapter on this question in Standing Stark and, in the process, generated other queries to further define the question. Some of them are below.

Where is the meeting point between complacency and possibility?

Where is the meeting point between pain and healing?

Where is the meeting point between control and surrender?



The Invitation
Photo: Carla Woody

Recently I was camping in Utah with friends. When we get together we’re in the habit of exploring such territory. So, sitting around an evening campfire, I brought up the question originally posed to me. Thoughtful discussion unfolded. We may have had different words for that edge—but we all recognized it. With their permission I’m sharing excerpts of our conversation.

  • …the duel…as one decides or is compelled to take the risk of expansiveness or remain stuck…
  • …looking from the inside, fear is as far as I can go—the limitation…from the outside, I cross the “edge of limitation” as I conquer the fear.
  • …a balance point between growth and fear, then maybe as the high tide mark—which moves and shifts—between those two.

Clearly, the edge of limitation is something you lead up tounless you’re merely fantasizing. New considerations will open to places that are unfamiliar. I use a variety of metaphors to describe that state. Perhaps it’s a dark forest where the path isn’t visible. Maybe it’s a membrane you bump up against; to break through the sheathing involves an identity level shift: how you are in the world. Or it’s a threshold, the precipice where a decision is made to retreat or move forward. So the edge of limitation is the pinpoint in thought, time and space before Separation from the old self of status quo.


The Fulfillment
Photo: Carla Woody

One time I asked retreatants to do an exercise I drew from NLP. They chose an area of their lives where they experienced a block. Then I invited them to choose two spaces along a line they imagined on the floor. The first had to do with the edge that, if they moved beyond it, would take them through the threshold to freedom. Second, they chose a space along the line, prior to the first space, that signified their degree of resistance regarding the issue. The farther back they stood, the greater the degree of discomfort or blockage. Some had their backs up against the wall; others were poised close to the edge. I invited them to try something out; to physically walk along the line, out of the space of resistance and up to the edge; and if they chose, to cross the threshold to what lies beyond. To a one, they did. Their responses ranged from displays of relief to calm to abject jubilation. Fear vacated and possibility took its place.

Sometimes it’s just that simple to open the way.

Categories: Healing, Meditation, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: The Spirit Hunters

Alto Madre de Dios

Rio Alto Madre de Dios flowing through Manu.
Photo: Oscar Panizo

This 1994 film documents the beliefs, traditions and everyday life of the Matsigenka—The People—an isolated tribe of the Upper Amazon in the Manu region of Peru. The documentary opens with breath-taking scenes of the rainforest and moves into the story of a particular village. It relates the communal focus, hunting practices—and a matrilineal culture, unusual for most parts of the world.

We’re provided a look into exchanges between Glenn Shepard, an American anthropologist then living with the Matsigenka, and elder healer Mariano, who is also a gifted storyteller, an important role since their tradition is completely oral. In a walk through the rainforest, Mariano points out medicinal plants and shares their use. The film is packed full of interesting material on the ritual use of plant spirits: how shamans leave their bodies to gain knowledge and see the future. Even the dogs are given plant medicine to help in a hunt. And it relays warnings on how witches can steal people’s souls. One of my favorite jungle sounds is the primeval roar of the howler monkey. So I was particularly taken when I discovered here that the Matsigenka believe they carry a shaman’s soul.


Don Pasqualito and his newly made flute.
Photo: Alonso Mendez

Another interesting note was contact the Matsigenka had with the Inca. For me, that piece of information brought back fond memories. I arranged for half my 2009 spiritual travel program in Peru with Don Américo Yábar to be spent in Manu. I invited three Q’ero spiritual leaders to accompany us; the Q’eros being the descendants of Inca priests and holders of that ancient tradition. Since my friends live at very high altitude, going to the jungle took them way out of their element. They were quite excited and it was a delight to watch them, particularly when they found bamboo. They spent much of the time making flutes and testing them out! We didn’t meet any Matsigenka but it was a return trip to the rainforest for these Inca descendants.

But back to “The Spirit Hunters.” Truly, this film is worth your time. It’s a glimpse into an Indigenous people who live a simple life, but it doesn’t romanticize the lifestyle or protect our Western eyes from the perils. More than anything it reveals a rich imprint, a complex belief system that guides their days.

Written and produced by Kim MacQuarrie. Narrated by James Earl Jones. The film is 50 minutes. Watch the complete film on Culture Unplugged. To learn more on the Matsigenka here’s an article by Glenn Shepard: “The People of Manu.”

Categories: Arts, Film Review, Healing, Indigenous Wisdom, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Author at Hayu Marca

The author at Hayu Marca, Puno Region, Peru.
Photo credit: Darlene Dunning

Excerpted from Navigating Your Lifepath.

Preparing for the Journey

The point of readiness is exactly that.  It’s a pinpoint in time, a moment of decision when we are poised at the threshold contemplating intent’s power to move us to a farther path from where we’ve been.

Hopefully, readiness endures. Some people dance back and forth or even all around it. Others try to ignore it. But it’s hard not to notice a strong wind at your back urging you to go somewhere, to fly over the landscape.

Still others go willingly, pausing for a moment and then stepping deftly through the doorway. But they, too, had to come to that marker called readiness—even if more subtly—the love of adventure already built into their personality.

This is the path called evolution. We’re all on it. Some of us rest on the plateau longer than others. Most of us take a series of leaps in our lifetime. The question here is to consider: How do we know when it’s time to go? To jump? To move through? To evolve?

The movement we entertain or undertake may not even be visible to those around us. Yet there is a part of us that is restless, that’s weary of standing still—or worse, running in place. It’s this part that asks: What needs to be in place in order to come to readiness? Is there something to settle? Or maybe a little used quality to call into service? Perhaps it’s the courage to open to something new instead of settling for what has been.

I invite you to reflect on your own readiness and the questions here. Add more of your own. Then allow your expression to emerge.

Announce yourself.

Categories: Healing, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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