Posts Tagged With: Carla Woody

Those Who Carry Planetary Consciousness

In 2008 Kenosis Spirit Keepers sponsored Hopi Harold Joseph on my spiritual travel program to Peru. The intent being an opportunity for two relations—Q’ero and Hopi—to share a journey from Cusco to Lake Titicaca along their common migration path. Two videographers also came along to document the nature of this work of the heart. Jacob Devaney, of Culture Collective and now blogger for Huffington Post, was one of them.

Last week Jacob contacted me via email related to writing about his experience and said, “My time in Peru was so profound it took me 7 years to even start writing about it… Thanks, Carla! The magic continues to unfold.”

Hopi and Q'ero

Hopi Harold Joseph with Q’ero Wisdom Keepers. Photo: Darlene Dunning.

I can tell you those were quite the momentous times. We fellow travelers were privileged to be there and participate in the circle with these Wisdom Keepers still so committed to their core traditional values. Those who carry consciousness for planetary wellbeing are becoming an endangered strain of humanity.

Thankfully, the track that called me back in 1994 has continued, deepening in so many ways I couldn’t have predicted. In this year’s program Hopi Marvin Lalo from First Mesa will be meeting his Q’ero relations for the first time. Our journey begins at Tiwanaku, the legendary Creation Place in Bolivia, and travels along an initiation path all the way to the Manu rainforest in Peru. Marvin is so excited.

Jacob’s article is titled Wisdom of an Andean Mystic:

This is not your usual story of going to the jungle to try Ayahuasca…

Few people realize that the Hopi Tribe of Northern Arizona have clans that are descendants of tribes from the northernmost to southernmost tips of the Americas (and quite possibly beyond that). The Q’ero are believed to be descendants of the Inca, who fled high into the Andes where they successfully hid from outsiders until recent decades. Kenosis Spirit Keepers had created the cultural exchange program, and Don Americo Yabar was playing a central role in translating between cultural leaders. I was brought along by Carla Woody to help document and assist my Hopi friend, Harold Joseph…

Read the entire article on Uplift.

Categories: cultural interests, Indigenous Wisdom, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Through the Dark in Still Point Arts Quarterly

Fire flute

Xavier playing the fire flute, his own translation of a ceremonial experience. Courtesy photo.

I was privileged to interview Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, who grew up on the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. Until adolescence he was spurned by peers, misunderstood by teachers and family alike, often abused. Then an unlikely benefactor came forward whose support opened possibilities. But it was the boy who stepped up, seized them, grew his talents and embraced the Huichol Indian lineage his family denied. Especially notable, he resurrected ceremonial instruments of his homeland that were lost to time; the way to do so came through dreams. His is an inspirational story of a boy who answered his calling—against all odds—and went on to become internationally known as a composer, ritual musician, artist and spiritual healer.

I’m delighted to announce that my article Through the Dark is being published in the Fall 2015 issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly, a literary arts journal, with much appreciation going to Xavier for indulging me. Here’s the preview of a story of true intent.

The boy fidgeted. He was in foreign territory, held prisoner by his mother’s hand on his arm. They sat side-by-side in matching chairs before the great divide of a massive desk. His mother’s voice rose and fell. Words tumbled over each other as though, if she didn’t get them out fast enough, the man considering them would summarily swat them out the door, no different than pesky insects.

An hour before, his mother pulled him along inner city streets into a massive building. They finally stopped in front of one door among several down the long hall. She smoothed her skirt and combed fingers through his black hair. With a deep breath, she opened the door. The secretary looked up.

“Please, I would like to see the director,” his mother said.

“Do you have an appointment?” The secretary appraised them, noting their dusky skin and worn clothing. When she shook her head, the secretary motioned them to a row of chairs against the wall and picked up the phone. They waited.

The man behind the desk was impeccably dressed in a gray suit matching the color shot through his dark hair and mustache. The lines in his face softened as he listened, shifting attention from the Indian woman before him to the boy, eyes downcast, clutching a notebook in his lap. “Maestro Caracalla, I am Señora Isabel. This is my son Xavier. He’s different, a good artist. In school he always fights because no one understands him, not the teachers, not the other kids. He’s always thinking. Since he was old enough to hold a pencil, he always draws and writes about everything. He’s like an old person in a little boy’s body!”

The woman continued at length relating how, in the last two years, her son kept running away to live on the streets. Xavier slept in parks, skipped school, survived by selling newspapers and shoe shines. Terrified, she would search and drag him home, if she was fortunate to find him. But the next day he’d be gone again. He wouldn’t do what his father wanted: to set aside these silly pastimes, to work making shoes to help support the family.

“We have seven children. Xavier is the youngest boy. We are very poor. But he is so different and I’m afraid what might happen to him. Is there something you can do?” She finished softly.

Maestro Caracalla gestured to the boy’s notebook, “Is this your work?”

Xavier froze in his chair and prayed to disappear. He didn’t think the Maestro would hit him like his father did, but he dreaded the reprimand he knew would come. He whispered, “Yes.”

“Show it to me then.” The room was silent save the sound of Maestro Caracalla slowly turning pages after scrutinizing each one. Finally he closed the book. Looking over wire-rimmed glasses, his eyes seemed to bore into Xavier’s very soul. He gazed at Señora Isabel then back at the boy, whose reddened face was moist with sweat. “Señora, I don’t think you have any idea what a beautiful child you have. What ideas! His writing doesn’t match his age. He’s not a normal child. You have to do something with him. We have to help him!”

Maestro Caracalla told her to bring the boy back the following Monday, handing over a long list of art materials to buy. There’s not enough to eat! How can we buy art supplies? Guilt flooded Xavier’s mind. He was certain of a dead end. But at the appointed time his mother delivered him to the Maestro. She could only muster a clean new drawing tablet and 6B pencil, keeping even that small expenditure hidden from her husband. The secretary ordered a sandwich for Xavier, although he said he didn’t need anything.

“Ah, there you are,” the Maestro swept in from his office. He took Xavier by the hand and led him down the hall. They stopped in all the classrooms where he spoke to the teachers, “I want to introduce Xavier. He’s coming to take classes.”

That is how an eleven-year-old Huichol Indian boy from the streets came to attend Escuela des Artes Plásticas, the art school in Guadalajara, Mexico—the youngest pupil ever to sit alongside regular university students. They became his peers and friends. Maestro Caracalla continued as his benefactor for six years, making sure he had all the classes he needed: writing, painting, art history and more.

Still Point Arts QuarterlyTo obtain the Fall 2015 Still Point Arts Quarterly—a beautifully illustrated journal featuring art portfolios and featured articles—and read the rest of his fascinating story, go here.

Categories: Arts, Creativity Strategies, Indigenous Wisdom, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

When the Fire Speaks

cave ceremony

Cave ceremony with Apab’yan. Photo courtesy: Apab’yan Tew.

Apab’yan Tew is an Ajq’ij, a Day Keeper, traditional dancer, musician and spiritual guide of the sacred K’iche Maya tradition from the village of Nawalja’ in Sololá of the Guatemalan highlands. His ceremonial work most often takes place in caves, engaging with resident energies of the natural site and timing of the TzolkinCholq’ij in K’iche’—calendar in conjunction with needs of communities or individuals. His gifts evolved from childhood until he ultimately answered the call through a series of difficult shamanic challenges.

Apab'yan in ceremonial dance. Photo courtesy: Apab'yan Tew.

Apab’yan in ceremonial dance. Photo courtesy: Apab’yan Tew.

In the last few years, Apab’yan has become an important, integral part of our Maya spiritual travel program. Being a spiritual guide himself, he’s able to connect with the other Maya leaders and healers in such a way that provides even deeper openings for all of us.

To extend a brief introduction on the Maya worldview…here’s an excerpt of an article I wrote in which he’s quoted, drawing material from an interview we had, speaking eloquently about natural laws.

We cannot be who we must be without the land. Another principle is that the body we have is not really ours. It is lent from the Mother Earth herself. So if you create any kind of danger to your body, you are also hurting the Mother Earth. What the Earth produces and what we produce is part of the same cycle, the same system. We are not separated from the Earth—and the Earth is not to be thought of as just another provider of goods. The term that is used in the West is ‘natural resources’ as something to be taken, something to be transformed. For us, we don’t use this term. We use the term ‘elements of life.’ It is our life! It is not a resource…

…It is our purpose not to take more than we can give back. But it is also our purpose not to change. We must not touch what is not ours. It is not ours from the beginning. It is ours to have a dialogue…

For this additional article I’d asked Apab’yan to offer a summary on the Maya fire ceremony of his homeland, a very special engagement—a portal really—probably unlike what most of us would have experienced as a fire ceremony.

Fire altar

Fire altar before lighting. Photo: Carla Woody

Everything is alive. Everything has a form of communication. Everything has meaning and belongs to a natural system.

The Maya ceremony consists of preparing a ceremonial pyre. It is called a gift but also a payment in the sense of reciprocity. The K’iche’ ceremonial pyre is not a bonfire; it does not burn a long time. It does not need to last. The importance has to do with what happens while the fire is active: There must be a dialogue.

When the fire starts to burn, the sky and the earth begin to speak. The clouds are speaking. The wind speaks. The birds talk and sing. Everyone…everything…participates in that moment.

It’s only the human being—especially the adult—that needs to be pushed to believe this is possible. I must repeat again and again that it is possible to understand everything… anything…to just hear, feel and communicate in that unique moment.

Nothing—apart from humans—offers so much resistance.

For millennia selected specialists dedicated to maintaining culture and spirituality have continued the work of consultation, healing and reading messages of the form of intelligence that is not human. It is translated through what is seen in the moving flames, not in a human scale. What is hidden in the past, present and future can be accessed by the cadence of the voice and poetry of the ceremonial language.

Ajq’ij is the name given to the specialist, woman or man, devoted to the study of time measurement and time as a substance.

The fire is alive, speaks and does so with discernment. That is, it allows negotiation because it is listening, too. The sacred fire opens up possibilities. One can review decisions, consult your own heart, enter into an affinity with nature, interact with the ancestors, experience communion with the universe.

I am inviting you to be participants in our ceremonies and travels.

For any reader skeptical about the potency of the fire and Apab’yan’s ability to call forth and read its messages: During a fire ceremony in our January 2015 spiritual travel program in Chiapas, Mexico he said to the group, “The fire is speaking.” Indeed, to my eyes it appeared to suddenly be dancing. After a few moments he continued, “Carla, this is for you. The fire says in a few months you will be going on a very long journey, not a normal one.” He went on to tell me what the fire had to say about that journey.

I had not told Apab’yan that at the end of April I was leaving my home to walk the Camino Francés, the ancient 500-mile pilgrimage that begins in Saint Jean Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and culminates in Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Certainly not one of my normal journeys… and the fire’s advisement related to it turned out to be true.

 *****

I join Apab’yan in inviting you to join us for Entering the Maya Mysteries in January 2017, an immersion experience in Maya cosmology, arts, medicine and sacred ways of the Living Maya. A very special journey with authentic spiritual leaders who serve their communities and the opportunity to participate in religious festivals and ceremonies in Maya rainforest and highland villages. I’m so pleased that once again Apab’yan will be accompanying us sharing ceremonies and teachings throughout. A portion of tuition is tax-deductible to support a Hopi Spirit Keeper traveling with us and Don Sergio Castro’s humanitarian healing work in impoverished Maya villages.

For more on Maya worldview, and that of other Indigenous traditions, read my complete article Seed Intelligence: Indigenous Perspectives and Our Collective Birthright originally published in Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) Farming Curriculum developed by Honor the Earth for Tribal Community Colleges, 2013.

To listen to my complete interview with Apab’yan go to You Tube.

Categories: Indigenous Wisdom, Maya, Sacred Reciprocity | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Interview in 5enses Magazine

5ensesBack in April before I left to walk the Camino de Santiago, Jacques Laliberté made the trek out to my place to interview me for 5enses Magazine, a local publication featuring the arts and science in the Greater Prescott, Arizona area. Jacques is a fellow artist, and over the 20+ years he’s lived in this area has had regular columns on art and related subjects. Even so, we were barely acquaintances; our paths had crossed just a couple of times. I’ve been interviewed several times. But not like this. Before I knew it nearly three hours had passed. And I’d spoken of things I normally keep to myself on the deeper elements of my life and work, not usually the stuff for mainstream consumption. This was more like a chat between friends sharing life experiences and some of those things that are unexplainable in the spiritual realm.

The interview has just been published in print and online. Somehow he was able to condense all the ground we’d covered into a quite readable story…and kept some of the most personal things I’d disclosed to himself. Thank you very much. It’s an apparent talent.

Here is a bit:

 Wisdom through stillness: Carla Woody integrates indigenous ideas in art, life

‘Set your intent and let it go. Your intent is your beginning. Worrying about the details detracts from the intent . . . the attraction will take care of the details.’

Thus — in her ‘The Lifepath Dialogues’ blog — Prescott artist Carla Woody imparts the first of many lessons in a way of living. Artwork and writing are two of the primary ways she’s integrated her far-flung experiences circumscribing a circuitous path around the globe.

‘I was fortunate to spend a significant portion of my 1960s childhood living in a suburb of Paris influenced by French culture where the arts are valued,” Woody writes on her website. “We traveled all over Europe. I remember spending a lot of time in art museums and exploring narrow cobblestone streets with my parents.’

With her childhood mercifully free of the influence of organized religion, Woody was primed to encounter mystic traditions whenever they showed themselves. First, though, came a potential — perhaps vital — obstacle: her service in the military as a consultant in leadership development. Perhaps full immersion in her culture created the momentum to fling her so energetically toward subsequent events…

If you’d like to read the entire article, please go to 5enses.

After many years in Prescott, Jacques moved down the road a bit. He now considers himself a Paulden artist, writer and graphic designer creating book covers for those who self-publish. His first novel The Fictional Autobiography of the 21st Century’s Greatest Artist Andienne Brünsilder was published in February. It’s available locally at the Peregrine Book Company. I haven’t read it yet. But if he writes fiction the way he puts an interview together…it’s got to be good. I noticed the foreword was written by Mick Jagger, which has got my curiosity up.

Autobiography************

Please note a couple of corrections to the 5enses article: Kenosis Spirit Keepers, founded in 2007 to help preserve Indigenous wisdom traditions, is the nonprofit extension of Kenosis, the mother organization I founded in 1999. The mission of Kenosis is to serve human potential—as an assist to live through spiritual values and hold the vision “One tribe, one world.”

For more information on the mission of Kenosis Spirit Keepers, events and what we support, go here. For more on Kenosis spiritual travel and other programs, go here.

Categories: Arts, Interview | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

September 26 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering

Lifepath Dialogue Gathering

Exploring the many threads that weave together an expressive, celebrated life.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US FOR DIALOGUE THAT MATTERS

You are invited! Please pass to friends and family.

SEPTEMBER 26, 6:30-8 PM

FREE Monthly Gathering on Fourth Wednesdays

Creekside Center, 337 N. Rush Street, Prescott, Arizona

September’s topic:

THE EDGE OF LIMITATION

with

CARLA WOODY
Author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark
Founder, Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers

Ross Dunbar, ND, MSOM

Ross Dunbar, ND, MSOM
Photo credit: Carla Woody

September’s special guest is S. Ross Dunbar, ND, MSOM, a Naturopathic physician and Chinese medicine practitioner who has practiced in Prescott, Arizona for the past 10 years. He has studied and practiced alternative medicine since 1995 and is passionately committed to achieving wellness through various alternative modalities by accessing the body’s own innate ability to heal. Dr. Dunbar has achieved great results with his patients by listening empathically and thinking strategically, blending a broad array of traditional and cutting edge, alternative treatment methods. Through a comprehensive clinical evaluation, including lab work and medical history, he creates a holistic treatment plan comprised of dietary, lifestyle and nutritional recommendations as well as any Chinese herbal medicines that may be appropriate. Modalities of treatment may also include acupuncture, homeopathy, musculoskeletal manipulation, IV nutritional therapy, injection therapy, and prescription medication. Dr. Dunbar works collaboratively to design a treatment plan that is realistic, achievable, and is in line with the patient’s needs and goals.

Dr. Dunbar

Dr. Dunbar performing acupuncture.
Photo credit: Carla Woody

For more information, Dr. Dunbar can be reached at Prescott Naturopathic Medical Group, 810 W. Gurley St. Prescott, AZ 86305, (928) 445-1999.

I’m very much looking forward to presenting some material on The Edge of Limitation and opening a discussion with Dr. Dunbar for its relevance based upon his philosophies and professional practice. For more information on the topic see my blog post.

Email: info@kenosis.net or call 928.778.1058.

Categories: Healing, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering: The Wake-Up Call (Audio)

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering is held on the fourth Wednesdays, 6:30-8 PM, at Creekside Center in Prescott, Arizona. The intent is to build like-hearted community and dialogue about what truly matters. I choose monthly topics from my blog and host the evening with special invited guest(s) whose philosophies and work are relevant to the topic. The format involves my presentation of material to create a framework and interview of the special guests. This portion is recorded to share with the world community—wherever you are. Then we turn off the recorder and turn to intimate sharing.

The August 22 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering:

THE WAKE-UP CALL

My special guests for this month were Marilyn Markham Petrich and Al Petrich of Aloha Emergence Care. My thanks to Marilyn and Al for their addition to the in-depth sharing we enjoyed. In this recording, you’ll first hear Al Petrich playing the Hawaiian nose flute, beautifully haunting music, to open our evening. The complete unedited audio is 42 minutes long. Click on the link below to listen. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes to download! I hope you enjoy. We had a great time and a wonderful turn-out. Many thanks to you local folks for engaging in this way!

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering: The Wake-Up Call (Audio)

Speakers Photo

Marilyn Petrich (left), Al Petrich (center) and Carla Woody (right) at the August 22 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering.

You may contact Marilyn and Al by calling 1 (928) 445-9646, email alohaemergence@gmail.com or visiting their website: http://www.emergencecare.com/aloha_bio.html.  And I always love to hear from folks: phone 1-928-778-1058 and email cwoody@kenosis.net.

Next Month’s Lifepath Dialogue Gathering:

THE EDGE OF LIMITATION

Our next gathering will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 6:30-8 PM, at Creekside Center as usual. My special guest will be Ross Dunbar, ND, MSOM, a Naturopathic physician and Chinese Medicine practitioner who has practiced at the Prescott Naturopathic Medical Group for the past ten years. I’m quite pleased that he has accepted my invitation to offer his perspective on The Edge of Limitation.

To remain current on monthly topics subscribe to The Lifepath Dialogues blog or Kenosis Inspirations ezine.

Categories: Healing, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: El Andalón (The Healer)

Don Sergio doctoring

Don Sergio Castro attending a patient.
Photo: Director Consuelo Alba & Producer John Speyer

El Andalón is a thirty-minute documentary about the healing work of humanitarian Don Sergio Castro who lives in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. It opens with a scene of Don Sergio swabbing a patient’s injury, all the while speaking kindly. He has been doing the same thing for nearly fifty years seeing about twenty people a day. His patients are the poor, coming to him from the town and surrounding area; and he makes the rounds to Maya villages where he’s much needed. The documentary contains several stories like this of a woman who had a severe injury to her leg:

I don’t know what kind of magic he has in his hands…but he heals…sometimes we aren’t so welcome in the hospital…(She breaks down in tears.)…I almost lost my leg and thanks to him I was healed…

My friend and colleague Carol Karasik said of Don Sergio: “He’s known as something of a saint here. He works with not even as much as most Americans have in their medicine cabinet.”

Don Sergio doesn’t charge his patients; they pay him with their blessings or tamales. His generosity has often made it difficult to make ends meet for his own family—or to fund the work to which he’s dedicated. Years ago, some patients began giving him their own traditional clothing. Don Sergio discovered that visitors were quite interested in these samples. He hit upon a brilliant idea and opened his own small textile museum, which doubles as a clinic. From that source and the occasional donation he’s somehow been able to keep going.

But his work doesn’t stop with doctoring. Villagers began asking him to help with other matters, including schools for their children where there were none. They had no help from the government. So far Don Sergio is responsible for raising funds to help them build twenty-five schools.

Ccochamocco School

School in the Q’ero village of Ccochamocco
Photo: Freddy Machacca

This clearly brought back my own remembrance of being asked by Q’ero spiritual leaders to help do the same for the high altitude village of Ccochmocco in the Andes of Peru: now operating since March 2010. It wasn’t an easy task.

With the dip in tourism to Mexico, Don Sergio’s ability to fund his work has been severely affected. At one point toward the end of the film he becomes overwhelmed with emotion. With a hand gesturing skyward he sends a prayer up that he finds a way to continue. It was heart-rending to me.

I somehow stumbled upon this documentary and then queried Carol. As a result we are now including an audience with Don Sergio and a visit to his textile museum in our “Entering the Maya Mysteries” program during our time in San Cristóbal. I have asked participants to bring any medical supplies they can as a part of our offering, aside from a donation I’ll make from Kenosis—and look at ongoing ways to support this self-less humanitarian work.

Viewers of the film will also get a glimpse Don Sergio with Don Antonio Martinez, with whom we engage in the Lacandón Maya village of Najá, as well as spiritual leader Chan K’in Viejo who passed in the 1990s. The village of Chamula will look familiar to folks who have traveled with us.

El Andalon

Film Poster
Director: Consuelo Albo
Producer: John Speyer

I want to personally thank director Consuelo Alba and producer John Speyer for bringing to light Don Sergio’s work; and to Culture Unplugged for sponsoring it on their website. You can view their documentary on Culture Unplugged. It’s well worth your time.

Categories: Film Review, Healing, Indigenous Wisdom, Lacandón Maya, Spiritual Travel, Travel Experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sculpting a Life

I just completed a three-day workshop at the Mountain Artists Guild with artist Mary Schulte exploring papier mache and concrete sculpture. Sculpture isn’t something I’d done before; I’d never been attracted or even curious. But I met Mary and saw her exquisite papier mache giraffes in June at the “Arte Natura” artists’ reception at the Prescott Center for the Arts Gallery where my own artwork was also exhibited. And something pulled at me; I was intrigued.

Papier Mache Horse

My first attempt at papier mache: a whimsical horse with twigs for legs and straw for mane and tail.

Close-up of horse

Her gentle soul emerged.

That “something” had been running under my skin for a while urging me to move out of the status quo. I long ago learned that when I get a solid internal signal I follow it—even though all the “whys” are unclear. And if the usual excuses of “not enough” time…money…you name it…jump up especially strong then I acknowledge the excuse but set it aside; I’m then certain I’m on the right track. I just follow my initial intuition because…I also learned something else many years ago. The part of me that seeks to maintain the comfort zone gets quite vocal when familiarity is threatened.

In her introduction Mary talked about the types of sculpting. You can carve away like you would with marble or wood. Or you can hand build, adding layer by layer, as in the case of the media we would use. Over the next three days we students—none of us having done anything like it before—engaged in a joint journey of discovery with Mary as our skilled guide.

We students agreed on several things:

  • Undertaking the exploration was exhilarating and fun;
  • There’s focused attention to learning;
  • One medium was easier than the other;
  • Just because one took more learning didn’t mean we’d rule it out;
  • Having a guide who knows the territory saves a ton of angst and wasted time;
  • Even though we did similar things, we each had our own unique signature;
  • By deciding to undertake even this small journey it instilled options and a further sense of freedom.
Concrete Raven

This bird was as feisty as the concrete medium. He became more raven-like as he emerged, grew claws and perched on a wooden branch.

Ultimately, you can look at everything you do for cues as to your own growth. The important thing is to be active. Get out of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself. Otherwise, you relegate yourself to a ho-hum life.

By virtue of its definition, personal growth requires you to carve away what no longer fits or serves you; and to add what does and build upon it.

For me, I learned that my other art capabilities are transferable to an area I hadn’t even considered. And those three days were well spent. Aside from learning a new skill I could add into my body of resources, it did something even more important. It served to open a doorway and leverage evolution—giving a clear announcement to myself that I’m on the move. Permission granted.

***

If you’d like to know more about Mary Schulte’s artwork or when she’ll offer workshops, contact her at vam@cableone.net. I recommend it!

Categories: Arts, Creativity Strategies, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Imagination Runs Wild

NJ airport

Newark, NJ Airport
©2012 Carla Woody

At this point I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve been up without sleep in transit from Ireland back home. I’ve just spent two weeks traversing Counties Clare, Kerry and Waterford on my folks’ 60th anniversary trip where I was their willing driver. We had quite memorable travels and I’ll probably share bits of it over time. I’ve been up since 1:30 AM Ireland time for a wake-up at 5 AM—and it’s gone on from there.

But now I’m sitting in the Newark, NJ airport in a restaurant called Gallagher’s Steakhouse tucked into a corridor in the back, thankfully away from the chaos of the airport. I was attracted by the Caesar salad with grilled shrimp, there being a noticeable absence of fresh veggies in the last two weeks.

My folks are safely settled over in Terminal A waiting for their plane home and I’m here in C with another four hours yet before I take the next leg. You’d think that with the many hours of travel and absolutely no sleep, plus the onerous stress of travel these days, that I’d just want to veg and people watch. Part of that was true.

Gallagher's Steakhouse

Gallagher’s Steakhouse
©2012 Carla Woody

If you sit in a place long enough you begin to notice the dynamics of the interactions or let your imagination run wild—at least I do. I guess the first thing that sparked my interest was when the server approached my table, a dead ringer for Hattie McDaniel, in a black and white uniform. It was clear in no time that she ran the show, firing off side retorts to the other servers and some kind of gesture shorthand I didn’t understand—and they immediately snapped to. Or a look that screwed up her face and they scurried away in response. I filed away a mental note for a potential story later.

My mind quickly ran off to other times when I sat in restaurants, parks or other places and gave myself leeway to imagine the lives of the inhabitants.

***

In 1998 I sat in a pub in Brighton, England passing time. I happened to have a journal with me. I’d been leisurely observing two elderly gentlemen on their third or fourth stout: Beamish. Paul McCartney singing “Yesterday” came through the sound system and one of the gentlemen softly sang along under his breath, ending with “Ahhhh…yesterday.”

Spud's Place

Spud’s Place
©2012 Carla Woody

“Do you remember when Hudson’s used to be down along the corner? Now they were ones who offered service, not like it is today. They had those boys with bicycles and baskets.”

“Yea…delivery. And they had so many things. Sometimes they’d even throw in the odd bottle of wine. You know, to show your worth to them.

A few minutes passed in silence.

“Yea…Christmas will be here soon.”

“My daughter always gives those abominable books. The ones she likes to read, you know. Not me. Can’t tell her anything though. Quite so. She just pops off.”

“Yea…Well, must be pushing off now. Thursday then.”

***

Sometimes I’d have an accomplice and we’d muse together. I remember years ago in a small bagel shop outside Bar Harbour, Maine when my companion and I tried to decide if the man and woman who worked the place were married. We decided they were and then made up a life for them when the town virtually shut down for the winter.

It’s part of the license given to a writer—and one who imagines life into being. It’s an indulgence but also a creative exercise. In the meantime, here in Gallagher’s Steakhouse in the Newark, NJ airport I can see the woman at the table in the corner stealing looks at me as I write this…perhaps wondering what I’m up to. Hmmm. I wonder what her story is.

Written July 29, 2012.

Categories: Creativity Strategies, The Writing Life, Travel Experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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: , , , , | Leave a comment

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