In week 29 of 2019, the medicine of Bear reminds us that "To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary." (Medicine Cards, p57) Once again I find myself asking, "What is it that I truly want to do?" How do I focus on one idea? How do I know whether an idea aligns with my dharma, with my highest calling in life? I have so many interests and ideas that it is hard to know where to start and then there's always that pesky financial aspect - how do I pay my bills as I work to manifest my ideas? Am I fated to work a job for the rest of my life? Can a job lead me to my destiny? Is my destiny a job? Is there a way to bring my ideas to life - to manifest my vision - and become financially independent? Write a play, hold an art show opening for TKC, compose a Ted Talks and a Moth Radio Hour entry. Write a poetry companion to TKC and daily reflections book for the journey from Heartbreak to Empowerment, open a art, yoga & mindfulness center. And that's just a start to all the ideas I've had and brainstormed over the last 4-5 years . . . What would I do if I knew I could not fail? Where do I start? What is my greatest passion? It is time to enter the cave of Bear to discover the answers.
Lion & Tigers & Bears - oh my!
What is holding you back from the life of your dreams; from making healthy choices in the here and now? Are you creating obstacles instead of opportunities? Are your fears holding you back?
In Week 6 of our year-long journey, we learned about Rabbit Medicine and the fear calling that happens when we do not face our fears consciously. In week 12 of our journey, we looked at the Magic of Raven medicine and the benefits that come when we no longer let our fears control us. It is now week 30 and July is nearing completion. We have come so far in recognizing and processing our pain and in moving from heartbreak to empowerment.
We have come so far and yet we still have so far to go. Those fears we addressed earlier in our journey do not magically disappear all at once. They may fade into the background but they often reappear at what seem to be the most inopportune times.
We find that Rabbit medicine does not leave us, not completely, not if we are lucky because fear is an invaluable resource. It is our fears that keep us alive at times. The key is to be able to distinguish "between the fears that keep us alive and the fears that keep us from living." (The Yamas & Niyamas, p23). This is when the medicine of Bear comes into play and the introspection it provides is needed to guide us to the life of our dreams and move us along the path from heartbreak to empowerment.
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
We looked at this question just a few weeks ago - in Week 27. We were contemplating the Medicine of Wild Boar and confrontation. Now as we progress along the inner path during the Relation Stage of the journey from heartbreak to empowerment, we learn that we must take the time to enter the cave of Bear to answer this question. We must learn to be still and have faith that we have "the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know." (Medicine Cards, p57)
"From the cave of Bear, you find the pathway to the Dream Lodge and the other levels of imagination or consciousness. [When walking with Bear], the power of knowing has invited you to enter the silence and become acquainted with the Dream Lodge, so that your goals may become concrete realities. This is the strength of Bear." (Medicine Cards, p58)
It is in the cave of Bear, in the womb of Mother Earth, that we find the answers for which we are looking. The skill of introspection does not come naturally to those of us raised in an outwardly-facing, consumer-based society and in a religion where truth was preached from the pulpit with little reference to the knowing within. Empowerment was not a word I heard in church growing up. Servitude, submission - these were the words that were preached to the women with little, if any, mention of the wisdom that can be developed with introspection, with prayer and the surrendering of our individualized ego to a greater power whether it be God, Allah, Buddha, the Great Spirit or universal consciousness.
Give it any name you like or do not name it at all - the reference is to something that is greater than each of us. It is a reference to the wisdom that resides in each of us that will guide us to the life of our dreams if we let it. I'm still learning to 'let it' - let go and let god, perhaps. It sounds so simple in theory but I'm pretty sure I am a control freak at a certain level and even though I understand on an intellectual level that I have so little control, there is a part of me that desperately clings to any control I can pretend to have.
It is Bear medicine that reveals to us "that only through being our own advisor can we attain our true goals." (Medicine Cards, p58) I have known for 8 months that I need to choose 2, maybe 3 of my ideas and focus on completing them within the next year - by the end of 2019. I've been experiencing intense feelings of anger over the last couple months. They seem to pop up here and there, sometimes a few times a day, sometimes a few times a week. More so when no one is around.
Am I mad at myself because I know what I need to do and I am not doing it? Am I letting the fear of failure hold me back? If these projects are my passion, why am I not relentlessly pursuing at least one or two of them? And yet I'm still exhausted quite often and ALWAYS have work to do, tasks to complete . . .
So many questions. "if we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us." (Medicine Cards, p57)
As the summer burns on, it is time to retreat to the cave of Bear and the stillness that provides access to answers. I am tired and I need a break from the heat and from the endless To-Do List that is ever present in life. Always busy, always distracted has led to exhaustion. It is time to unlearn this coping mechanism that I have used for most of my life to keep away from the pain I was unwilling to feel, unable to process at such a young age. It is time to ask Bear to show me how to manage the endless To-Do List of life without the stress, without the need to be distracted.
I am no longer running, I am no longer avoiding. It is time to learn how to work smarter and not harder. With the introspection of Bear, we can walk "the path of silence, calming the inner chatter" and discover the rite of passage that allows our inner fire to burn through all blocks and fears.
Good Night & Namaste.