In The Pack Of Life, I Am A Vital Omega.

As a woman working for the health of The Mater,

I am an animal advocate. It is in my blood. I practice shamanic journeying, dancing (even with cancer and in my wheelchair) and singing. Shamanism is practiced today by people of all religious backgrounds. It was and is an ancient worldwide practice.

* “The word shaman comes from the Evenki and related Tungusic languages such as Manchu”.

Shamanic practice uses “Journeying”, an active, participatory process, making it different from meditation. The first journey you take is to the lower world. You go there to meet your power animal. In all of my research and practice this is the fundamental beginning on which every other shamanic practice will rest. Animal spirits are with us from birth. If you made it to adulthood, congratulations, you have one. Occasionally, people get more than one. The wellbeing of spirit animals is dependent on your relationship and the wellbeing of their counterparts in the physical world. I read and hear too many modern best selling authors and teachers of shamanism wanting us to only “work on our inner landscapes”. I disagree. The first two rules of all spirit animals are THEY MUST EXIST IN THE PHYSICAL and THEY MUST BE WILD. Right now, too many species are under attack and threatened everywhere.

Wolves are a prime example. They are an intelligent species with very complex social structures and phenomenal apex predator skills. They self regulate their own population, eat diseased animals and had **hunted cooperatively with humans on Turtle Island (North and towards South America) for millennia without extinction to any species. During that time wolves remained wild and plentiful. Today, If you have a dog in your family, thank a wolf. Evidence is showing that the wolves were the ones to add us to their packs. We humans became additional members of their family. Right now, for absurd reasons, we are hunting them to extinction.

I spend time learning about any power animals, but wolves hold a near and dear place. I am fascinated with their social structure. The model of alpha, beta and omega are being rethought in some science circles. I still use it because it is well understood amongst us average folk. Ask most people who they are in a wolf pack, you will almost always hear them declare alpha status. (Hmmmmm) While I know that I exhibit some alpha female characteristics like leadership, the ability to relay that leadership to others, fierce protective skills, and taking responsibility for children everywhere as my own, it is not my dominant characteristic. Beta characteristics are my weakest. I neither participate in hunting or engage in challenging other alphas. Nope. I understand omegas. I know many people will cringe at the thought of anyone claiming an omega status. Traditionally they are seen as “scapegoats” and weak. I think that definition is through the murky lens of people who do not understand the full purpose of omegas. We, the omegas in the human/animal species provide space for emotional and idea outlets.

Omegas are known to release tension in their packs. As the youngest of six children, sarcasm and wit were among my many survival skills. Getting my older siblings to laugh, gave me full recognition in my family as more than a baby sister. I was suddenly smart. Many a tense moment can be redirected by a great sassy line. I know funny. I still make them on the fly. It does diffuse difficult situations. I have watched someone move from tears, uncertainty or boredom to laughter through this one skill. It’s not appropriate for every situation. I do try to be judiscious. Overdone, it is annoying. So, as an oft omega, I am a listener as well. I will sit with someone for days without any real breaks until they have worked through any situation. I want all of “my pack” to have a place. To be able to release and/or clarify their situations, emotions and dreams. The times when I absolutely flip from an omega into an alpha is if anyone attempts to attack or use me, or someone I love, whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually. They need to look elsewhere to attempt manipulation or violence. My stand on that is rock solid.

The surprise trait of the wolf pack is:

*** “It is interesting to note that in packs that have been observed losing their omega, the entire pack has entered into a long period of mourning where the entire pack stops hunting and just lays around looking miserable.”

I have contemplated that profound behavior since I read it over six months ago. We may have it backwards. It may be the omegas that hold the key position in the pack. The individual alphas and betas can change within a pack. When that happens the pack will keep moving on. It’s a death of an omega that stops them. Omegas have been the glue holding the pack together. I suspect they manage those alphas and betas from a perceived lower position. I have done that many times throughout my life. I held and commanded people’s respect. It was because my facts, knowledge and especially my intuition, having taken just once (sometimes twice) to be proven. It made me key to preventing problems and complications. I am certain, no matter the external observations, omega wolves do the same. They give emotional balance. They stop the alphas need to be overpowering and possibly start excessive fighting amongst wolf packs. I don’t think that alphas can drive down violence. It will be the respected omegas. Yes, omegas are known to fight, some do move into beta or alpha status. I’m going to keep my varied status, with my omega leading.

There are probably scores of benefits an omega provides that we misunderstand or simply have yet to record. We misunderstand wolves in general. Let’s be honest, we misunderstand animals. Period. But we sure need to begIn understanding everything about them. Our lives depend on it. From a shamanistic view, if the animals are not in the wild, we have lost our power animals. If we can’t protect them for their intrinsic value, do it for selfish reasons. As one who has omega skills, that glue to life, and who practices shamanism, I can say, it’s not just inner work. We must translate it into external action. Whether you acknowledge it or not, a wild animal has kept you alive. Return the favor.

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Blessings to all.

Bridget Robertson.

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* http://www.sourcememory.net/womanshaman/samaan.html

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** I am both an ethical and dietary vegan. I do everything I know to never eat or use animal products. I do my best to not use products that endanger their natural environments either. I avoid fruits and vegetables hauled across thousands of miles or exotic locations. We often destroy animals habitats to satisfy the demand for these foods. Sometimes my endeavor becomes impossible. Palm products come to mind. I know through shamanic work that spirit and life resides in animals, stone, plants, water, fire and the earth itself. So, why do I choose the arbitrary line of animals? Because I can. I buy in bulk and store non-gluten grains and legumes. I eat about 50% fresh raw foods. I give thanks and make reparations to those plants daily. Whenever I die, I will be planted in an urn that grows a tree. Exploring the worlds of shamanism has shown how real the life, soul and intelligence is in elements, plants and rocks as well as all animals including humans. All are equal in the circle of life. Still, I must eat. By choosing no animal products, I have caused LESS harm. I fully acknowledge that I have NOT ended all harm.

I know almost all vegans use no animal products that come from animals with a nervous system. I just have a different direct experience and reasons.

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*** http://www.runningwiththewolves.org/Behavior1.html

 

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The Music Of My Life Carrying Me Through The Great Dark.

By Bridget Robertson

I’ve learned to ride the wave of the currents. There is nothing like music to put you on those waves and finally set a course.

Trust either Mary Chapin Carpenter or Stevie Nicks to stop me cold. Just long enough to get out my emotional surfboard and stay on it, until I find new shore, one I have never explored.

“Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?”

“Landslide”
Writer(s): Stevie Nicks
Copyright: Welsh Witch Music

On any day, one piece of music, some or many of lyrics can begin the journey.

The lyrics ask great questions. I have officially celebrated the turning of the wheel for the last thirty-five years, since I was twenty. I have watched and participated in the ever changing, many faces of the Goddess. This Samhain is different. The veil opened immediately after the Autumnal Equinox. Maybe it’s my life threatening cancer, maybe it’s getting older. Either way there are a lot of  waves and landslides coming, more and more frequently.

Conventional wisdom would say turn to, or on a light. My wisdom says that light can be blinding. We seem to rush through the dark time of the year, holding our breath until the first signs of spring. Not now. Not this time. Not ever again. In a world that entreats us to squelch the dark as quickly as possible, I say it’s time to seek it, hold on to it and find the real beauty within it. It doesn’t need to be expelled. It beckons and needs to be explored. Today I found a brand new shore within it.

I found my tears, in “Landslide”, a song that I will just keep on repeat, until all the tears are finished wringing from my body. These are not just eye tears, no, my whole body is releasing floodgates of sorrows, losses and pain. In this dark there is a tenderness that is excruciatingly fragile and necessary. Embrace it and it will break. Touch it ever so gently it will send a comfort unlike any other. It will move through every nerve within you. Stay with it and it will offer a delicate, nuanced—–repose. I love that word. It’s archaic meaning is “give rest to”. Samhain and it’s Goddeses have found me a place of rest until the body tears and pains have finished this round.

I will spend the next seasons in the dark, exploring the deep end of the water, violent waves and caves. It is only frightening if I stop trusting myself to feel my way through. This is no place for eyes or the sight of light. It is both tactile and emotional. There are many sounds concealed here as well. All of them are music. Not all are harmony. Still, an invaluable orchestra that pleads to be heard. There are voices that want expression and words seeking writing. Some of them are internal. Most have external companions in this chamber. Once heard and felt they are my responsibility. Their expression is as vital to life as any we find in the newness of spring. Maybe more so. The land needs for things to decay, decompose and restore it’s fertility. It is the way of life. Without it, we become dust bowls swept away with every breeze and thought. Depth is my home. It is where I learn how to navigate the landslides. This is my unfoldment. This year I am one of the record keepers.

My portal is in music.

Blessings to all.

I have made real friends on social media. May we all become geese as we migrate through life.

Bridget Robertson

My husband pointed out that this is a very personal post. I hope so. It’s about me and anyone who has made friends online. It’s about love and hope.

I recently watched a video about how geese behave as they fly their migration. It was profound. Turns out that the lead position in the front of the “V” pattern, changes many times. A fully shared leadership is the way they get to their destination. If one of them becomes too tired or hurt, at least two fall back to help and stay with that one. Nature is not competitive at it’s core. It is cooperative.

I know too many people going through difficulties. Most do so very quietly. They are dealing with chronic illnesses, acute illnesses, financial hardship, downright poverty, loneliness, isolation, loss of loved ones, abuse, keeping their children safe and the endless list of difficulties that life brings. Many have very few resources or even people near by to help out.

I have been told time and again that “You can’t make real friends on social media. People only show what they want. You don’t really know them. They turn out to be different than what they show. You have to meet them in person before you really know them”. Yep,  all of this can be true online. Want to know something? It’s been just as true in the real world. In my life, I’ve had friends disappoint me, lie to me and walk out. Some have turned out to not be the person I met. Very few real life friends have stayed through thick and thin. Can we still be fooled by someone online? Sure, just like most of us have been at one time or another by people we’ve met. The fact is social media relationships reflect real life ones. For adults needing to make a strong circle of friends, the benefits outweigh the risks. For some of us social media is our only social life. There I said it.

Not all of us have communities of friends. It isn’t easy to meet people in the “real” world if you are sick, disabled or just overwhelmed. I notice that I have very little in common with people in my neighborhood. I hear people online saying the same thing. Finding friends isn’t easy. We are leading isolated lives with little support. Family is spread across the globe. So are old friends. In some cases we have lost contact with all of them. I think there is a romanticization of relationships before social media and the Internet. I don’t engage in that. My grandmother had twelve siblings. I never met one in person because they lived in so many different parts of the country. Her primary form of communicating with them was through lengthy hand penned letters. Face to face would have cost a fortune.

Social media is not the problem. It may be a very good solution. I would go so far as to say that I have been fortunate to make many of my dearest and closest friendships online. I see and hear people give, open up, extend themselves, and offer love to folks they have never met. My wish is that we would develop these online relationships even further. We need to be geese. Somehow we have to find ways to share leadership and be willing to fly and hold up others when they need it. Handling things individually seems to be draining so many people.

We do need more interaction than just comments on posts. I love Skype. My greatest desire is to be well enough to spend the larger portion of my waking hours on Skype or Hangouts. It’s imperfect. What is perfect? It gives both of us a chance to really talk to someone and to be heard. When I am able, I use it like crazy. I get more involved with people through Skype than if I walk outside my door. We share our days, triumphs, troubles and laughter. How is this different or inferior to those once long letters? I want to know my sisters and friends daily doings. If they are having good things happen I want to celebrate with them. If they are having troubles I want them to know someone is right there hearing and lifting them.

Take it even further. I want group calls where we tell our stories. I love reading. I love verbal stories more. Oral traditions are very powerful. They are ancient ways remembered in our very DNA. History/ Herstory must be more than battle to battle. Somehow, we must find a way to gather in groups and speak to each other. These stories we hold can break the world open. It is well known that I love women’s circles. It has been my privilege to sit with women for as long as we wanted, pouring ourselves into each other through our tales. It is time to use online tools to make more circles. We all need each other. We need contact and emotional intimacy, that will both grant comfort and openness. It can happen on the Internet. I’ve experienced it. If we don’t attempt this, we may never make our migration through life.

Let’s stop criticizing social media, especially while using social media. I find it more than odd how many blogs and online posts are telling us to get offline. If I followed that advice, who would read their words, watch their video’s, or make comments? I’m facing it, we love social media. It has given us connections across the globe. We are invited into each other’s homes through photo’s, updates, quirky quizzes, meme’s, and yes political posts. It’s a lot like family dinners from my childhood.

I really believe the geese have it right. They adapt constantly as they migrate. Social media is here to stay in some form or another. I choose to integrate it, expand it and make it more personal. Without my friends on social media, my life would be less. I am always delighted by the rich and varied tapestry of people who have chosen to be in my life even in small ways. If I only included people who mirrored everything I believe…. how small the world would be.

Blessings,
Bridget Robertson

 

Vital additional thoughts.

Let me take a moment to list a FEW of the social media groups who prove everyday that we do make real friends online.

“Gather The Women” connected me both online and here in Dallas to wonderful women who are now sisters.

“Magoism” allows me more ways to explore both spiritually through the Goddess and helps me link and be touched by the many members I can now call dear friends.

“Kolo” is bringing me into a circle of powerful women that I both respect and love. They are earthy and real. We celebrate and share ancient and innovative ways to be in the world together. I have found honesty and boldness as we confront and work out serious systemic problems.

Raw And Delicious” broadened my lessons on taking control of my health. It was the first group I joined on Facebook. I met people there that I count among my cherished friends.

” UniteWomen” gifted me some wonderful and precious friends that I am proud to stand with every day. We share laughter and tears equally.

“Care2 Members” are phenomenal. Talk about a way to meet so many wonderful people. They generously share of themselves. It is filled with people who have found how to remain vital and active no matter their circumstance. The fact that we seek each other on Facebook as well speaks to the love and beauty of our bonds. It is always easy for me to add anyone from Care2 to my Facebook friends. We have up to twenty or more friends in common.

“Global Goddess” brought a very dear friend back into my life and granted me the fun and joy of sharing our path and lives again.

“The Girl God.” My beloved sister Trista, simply is the embodiment of all that I love about being a woman.

My husband’s Navy friends. Each of you generously added me to your friends just because he asked. You are and were the people that made it safe for me to make new friends on Facebook even though we were once strangers.

Humor is the key to life, especially when you are sick. Today, I am amused…by everything.

By Bridget Robertson

I thought it would be fun to make this conversational.

I know that most people believe very strongly in the power of positive thinking. I can enjoy a positive thought coming down my Facebook feed every now and then. But, what really holds my attention and fuels me, are the ones that can make a statement using wit, sarcasm and/or sass. This is true in my life as well as in my cancer groups. Pretty, happy. peppy, thoughts rarely if ever make any chemical reaction in my body. When I am laughing, I can feel my body begin a chain reaction that beats any medication known to science! I even took a poll among the other people in my cancer group, hands down, humor wins!

When you have cancer, many people, even your friends can become very uncomfortable. In particular, nervousness becomes apparent when we use humor relating to cancer, illness or death. My intention is to make people feel at ease and welcome in my life. So, I thought I would just lay some of these on the table along with my often odd sense of humor about life.

1. Lifetime Warranties. – On the show “Thirtysomething”, Patricia Wettig’s character had uterine cancer. At the beginning of one episode she was trying on boots. She wasn’t sure if they were worth the cost. The saleswoman told her they had a lifetime warranty. She broke out in a round of hysterical laughter, responding to her by saying something like, “That isn’t much of a warranty”. I identified with her even then. ( It stuck with me.) Her friends were silent with looks of fear, disapproval and uncertainty.
I promise life and death jokes are very funny to us. You can smile. Even I have told a few sales people they were going to have to do better than a lifetime warranty. I want a solid number of years on the product! If it’s my lifetime, it’s a pretty chancy warranty.

2. Death Quotes – In my last post I quoted Audre Lorde. I have the deepest respect for her and her writings. The visual image of sending cryptic images through a ouija board in an afterlife had me laughing so hard I needed to use the bathroom. If you missed the humor, please read it again. I have these kind of thoughts and see these kind of quotes all the time. I am unafraid to speak irreverently about my illness and my mortality. Keep in mind that the human mortality rate is 100%!!! We will all die someday of something, somewhere.

3. Answer to the critics on my appearance – I am working on painting my left jean pant leg. It’s going to be in big, bold, red letters with the following statement “Proud Member – Clan Of The Scar People”. I own every CD Clarissa Pinkola Estes has made. This clan name she gifts, comes in the CD set called “The Dangerous Old Woman (Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype)”*
I am using it because I have earned it! I am a fifty-five year old, post menopausal woman who is proud of her age, appearance and all the life experiences that it took to get me here. I don’t want to be thirty or even forty again. I made it through and thrived during those “times” once. I want full recognition. Besides, the next time anyone comments disparagingly about my so called “cancer ravaged face or body”, I am lifting my left leg to cross over my right one. This carries an added bonus. They may have to back up to avoid being kicked as they read those words!

4. Using the little things – Things that used to irritate me are now fodder for my amusement, be it politics, headlines or daily events. Things like, ohhhh, realizing this week, after an evening drive around White Rock Lake, my husband and I headed home. We found ourselves in front of our old address trying to use the current FOB to gain access. Both of us were on autopilot. The extra twenty minutes it took to get to our actual home was spent in laughter and witticism’s about how we would reveal this faux pas. I obviously chose this blog.

5. Being responsible about my disease – I do collect information on my Carcinoid Cancer and it’s laundry list of complications along with any solutions for them. What I don’t do is go to the grim reaper of medical sites, “Web MD”. I know many, if not most people find it to be useful site. I applaud you. Seriously. It seems every time I go there, descriptions make a hang nail sound life threatening. It’s just not the site for me. It hasn’t once ever helped me distinguish real threats from ordinary health happenings.

6. Doctors – Yep, I do say all of those flippant remarks and speeches to my doctors. They are just people. I have no special reverence for them. I blame my exposure to so many medical people in my childhood for this behavior. Having nurses and doctors peppered throughout my family and family friends makes them soooooo ordinary. While my doctors would love me to behave with deep undue respect….it ain’t happening!!! I even played “King of Anything”** by Sara Bareilles for one of them when it became clear that I wasn’t getting through to him. He got the message that way!

7. Inspiration – I read Irish Facebook pages all the time. It’s part of my ancestry. There are some serious posts. But, honestly, is there another heritage that can take all the derogatory remarks made about them and answer with an “And….so what’s your point?”. Better yet, we make meme’s out of these remarks. Laughter is saving me. It’s in the very bloodline coursing through my veins to laugh. I can’t post them to my timeline. I’m pretty sure some of the language would offend others. I beg of you, please don’t be offended by swearing. Be offended by famine, war, meanness, cheating or tricking people, rape, abuse, hurting animals, privatizing water, etc., but not swearing.

There are thousands of things I could add. I would, but I just reread this post. I’m laughing too hard. My mind is fully occupied with laughter. Someday, I’ll make additional lists.

Blessings to all,
Bridget.

*http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Woman-Myths-Stories-Archetype/dp/1591799716/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410557554&sr=1-5

**https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPk4_XfYhjg

I Have Cancer. Making Death An Ally.

Bridget Robertson

“I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side. When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less important whether or not I am unafraid.”
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals (1980) *

We are each promised a lifetime. It may only be minutes or 102 years. That is the only agreement death makes at the beginning of our lives.

It’s fall again. Growing up I looked forward to this, my favorite season of the year. I have always found great beauty and comfort as the light and overt power of summer yields to fall. There has always been more meaning in shadows than in the forms and objects that cast them. Fall will give way to winter. I love first snowfalls. They seem to clean the world. Fresh snow, like rain, has a beautiful fragrance. A stillness that the world has been quieted for just a bit. In this stillness we are offered to consider and reflect upon our lives.

In the shadows and quiet, death and I became allies many years ago. My cancer is just the latest life event to reconfirm our partnership.

We each have choices as to how we use our time and many developed gifts. I’m not a believer in natural talent being the great predictor of where our passions lie. I do believe in interests and imagination along with concrete daily actions and practices. I’m not suggesting “doing” our selves into exhaustion. We do that very easily. Instead, are we being and doing our most meaningful and significant births?

I have formed daily questions, working to end each day being able to answer yes. Did I spend time today doing what I really wanted? If I died tonight, have I emptied myself of the creations living in me? Have I found a life for them in this world? They seem to be such simple questions until time becomes an intimate stark deadline. It isn’t self indulgent either. No one else in the world can do the things that are mine. When I hold back, the world is cheated. There are acts of beauty and contributions that only I can make. Ones that are so unique the world is not only waiting on me, it is begging me to pour them out, to give them an existence.

Is my life filled with completions of my best work? Did I make that journal entry, take that photograph or make that recipe at sometime? Have I said the most important words I wanted to today? Did I write one story? Have I written every story that matters to me? Did I tell the people in my life the things I want them to know? Did I listen and somehow touch those who I dearly love? Did I extend myself to someone? Am I being the person I want to be? Can I rest in the sweet silence, now that I did not withhold today? Just the ones from today. Because tomorrow is not in my hands. Nor am I assured it will come.

Right now, in my life, I am naked. There is nowhere to hide. Fear is not an option. The many things that in the past held me back, things like reputation, failure, acceptance, ridicule, shame and pride no longer hold weight. I have no more time, even if I was granted all the time in the world. The biggest lie of all is when I say “I still have time.” No, I don’t. None of us do. We just have today. It is about being. Finding ourselves standing and growing roots into our deepest core selves and developed potential. We are all of ourself.

Death becomes our ally the second we end each day with our “being” intact, the moment all of our known visions and creations exist in the world. We can then move on with no regrets or laments for more time. Peace and grace are also our allies in this death. If our physical body no longer resides in this world, there will still be oceans of our love and our exquisite essence painted across the world.

Like Audre Lorde I do not wish to attempt cryptic messages from the other side, hoping someone will still want to decipher them. Please, when it is my time , let me journey beyond the physical, knowing, I did, “Die Empty”**

Blessings to all Bridget

I recommend the following two books:
*”The Cancer Journals” by Audre Lorde available on iBooks and Amazon
**”Die Empty” by Todd Henry available on iBooks and Amazon

 

DETACHMENT AND THE ILLUSION OF FORM: RELEASING THE FEAR OF FEARLESSNESS – A NEW CHAPTER IN MY PATH BEGINS

From the article: Detachment is not an invitation to Apathy, Arrogance or Alienation (of Self or Others). It’s a strange place, and an experience or state of mind that I am ‘re-membering’. As one who has been a High Priestess in previous lives, this was/is my ‘natural state’ – it is familiar to my Soul, but my Ego is still taking it all in.

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD

Detachment

In the past two days, I have felt a complete shifting of tack, or a turn in direction I hadn’t anticipated heading into so quickly: Detachment. This isn’t to say a lack of love, or compassion (far from), but a single minded focus upon the tasks that I have to do at this time. And a rapidly transforming world-view.

It’s frightening, and challenging to feel the power of living in a state of loving detachment – or at the very least, beginning to.

The fear is having that sense of power – the state of total fearlessness: I can determine what I want. I no longer need to be held back by the expectations of others. I can actually cut through the cords, the unspoken expectations and the weight of assumptions that so many human relationships are based upon. So much I thought I knew about people seems a…

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