The Shaman of Stars

I wake in the night to a pale glow of moonlight illuminating the thick linen draperies, as if they were somehow spun of the luminous pearl outside in the heavens.

Freshly emerged from the cocoon of the Dreamtime, still wrapped in silken images and the warm breath of feelings, I drink in the quietude of my bedroom and the cottage. Hovering at the threshold between worlds, I listen for the chant of the sea but hear no trace of its timeless voice. As so often happens, even sometimes during my daylight hours, I see myself in another place and time, some imagined world or parallel reality. For a moment, I am alone outdoors in some wild, high place, turned toward the sunlight in a blue sky and a fair coastal wind.

Stand here, facing the sun and rain, rooted as if a tree, I think. Embrace this moment. Whatever arrives, be it hummingbird or lightning bolt, welcome it. All things are becoming.

cypress_sunsetFor some time now, I have been shadowed and stalked by a sense of impending change, that a big shift is unfolding — that in some invisible way that I am already in that new phase, even if I do not yet perceive the physical changes in my daily world of work, place, and human relationships. Can a rose detect its own growth process, even if its bud has not yet appeared?

I discern that somehow I am shifting, becoming subtly more open and expansive; less attached to old ways of thinking, grasping, and holding. Simultaneously I am more cognizant and aware of the chosen limitations and doubts that I’ve clung to for so long, as if each was some priceless treasure. I see that each strategy and habit has served me in its own way (protection, comfort, etc.) yet has also outlived its usefulness.

Change hovers in the air like a scent carried by the wind. It stirs under my feet as the earth dreams us awake, and I feel and hear the quiet, wordless summons.

Surely we all know the small voice that whispers from somewhere beyond the horizon, even if we are afraid to listen to it. Rather than feel our deep longing or the soft echo of thunder in our bones, calling and daring us to something larger, instead we turn up the music or television. How much easier and safer it is to remain numb and distracted. Just keep busy, we tell ourselves, turning back to our phone and emails, our breath shallow and tight.

Yet the larger story is always unfurling in our lives, guiding the little vessel of bodysoul on unfathomable currents that defy logic and tidy charts, even those predictable orbits of sun and moon. And each of us is continually called to become something more authentic despite the risks of that process, and regardless of the challenges and setbacks of such a hazardous but rewarding journey. 

As a soul, what did you come back here to learn, do, and offer? And isn’t finding the answer to that question the quest of a lifetime? 

In the pale silver light of the darkened bedroom, alone in our bed, my partner away, I quietly follow the tides of my breath in and out, feeling ever more acutely that something is happening in my life, even if still unseen or unformed. I sense it as surely as a smooth, green stone pressed into the warmth of my open palm.

Here, now, River, root down into this place and spread your limbs — branches, wings — and heart wide to the sky, as if you are the Shaman of Stars, calling down the song of the heavens as a blessing that transforms all of life. Become the Hunter of Dreams and the Bearer of Gifts, using those winged arms to fly above any sorrows and remnants of a life too small.

The only constant is change.

All energy is movement, and movement is life. When that current stops, both literally and figuratively we die. And yet so many of us feel trapped amid the circumstances that seemingly conspire in keeping us in stasis and stagnation. What are we truly willing to let go of — our accomplishments? limitations? identity? — that keep us tethered to the safety of the riverbank, even as the river’s silvery green hands knock and pull at the hull of our little boat…?

Time now to cast off and let go the rudder, despite not knowing what we will meet around the next bend. It might be whitewater rapids or a waterfall, yet it may simply be a wide open, graceful river flowing surely to the sea. We won’t know until we meet it and pass through, broken open or seemingly intact.

In the milky darkness and quietude, a foot in two worlds, turning the moonstone over in my palm and looking for its inscription or guidance, like so many times before, I hear the lines of a Rumi poem translated by Coleman Barks, reminding me:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. 

     Don’t go back to sleep. 

You must ask for what you really want.

     Don’t go back to sleep. 

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

     where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

     Don’t go back to sleep.

dreamscapeFriend, if we’re on a conscious journey in life (or even if we are not), each in our own unique ways we are growing into something larger. All things are becoming. And the story is SO much bigger than the nightly news, with its circus of politics and all the heartache in the world.

Keeping your fist clenched tight — in grasping, fear, anger — means that your palm cannot receive. Choose instead to let go and open, to fall into the depths of your longing. And gratitude.

Consider that, for better or worse, the entire Universe has conspired to bring this moment about. No matter your surroundings and circumstance, your only real task is to gather in and share as much beauty as you’re able to, while you endeavor to become the most authentic and undefended version of yourself possible. Everything else is too small for you.  

Dawn arrives eventually. Don’t go back to sleep. 

As you grow and change, dare to tell the truth, I say, even if others don’t understand your perspective. Especially then. And whether in the moon’s glow or light of day, no matter your chosen path, may you look inside your heart and find the Shaman of Stars, singing down the heavens to guide you further along the mysterious journey.

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