Body, Soul, Psyche, Personality, Huh?

I am a body-oriented woman in that I receive insights and feel experiences through my body. The most recent dramatic example was two years ago when my thirty-eight-year-old daughter had her first (and only) baby. My daughter has a learning challenge. After she gave birth, she needed coaching in nursing her baby. I was with her five days in a row trying to instruct, guide and support her. My own body started reacting to the intimacy and necessity of the circumstances . Everything that happens to a woman when she is a new mother preparing to nurse her baby, started happening in my body. I had gone through menopause a few years before this. So when my breasts became swollen and tender, I thought Oh my God, this is awful! I, of course, left the nursing to my daughter (who soon thereafter opted for bottle-feeding)…but my body was preparing to nurse. I live a long distance away and once I returned home, it took two weeks for my body to return to normal. I perceive things with my whole body not just my head.

Hearing this, Daniel admitted to not being in his body. “If you’re cut off from your feelings, you’re cut off from your body,” he said.

Daniel: I want to say this, not to change your mind. We don’t feel through our bodies. I know you think that you do, but you don’t! Our bodies are primarily vehicles of action. It’s all in our psyche.

Me: Do you think that’s more true of men than women?

Daniel: “No,” he said emphatically. “I think it’s a basic fact.”

I was beginning to doubt myself, my own experience. I ruminated “I don’t know,” I said with some hesitation.

Daniel: We have not so much a personality. People think the personality is in their body…personality is on an etheric plane and the body is a representation of the consciousness of the psyche.

Me: I think personality is the face that you bring into the world to meet other people. It’s the face we show to others. I perceive the psyche as deeper, soulful. I think the experiences of the body influence the psyche. My body has informed me of things.

Daniel called this persona. He’s referring to the Vitvan (his spiritual teacher’s) sense of things.

Words can confound. It is hard to have clarity when we have differing definitions for the same words. How we individually define words, our deeply-held perspectives that are expressed through fallible words, can cloud what one says and how another hears it. And, yes, we can be triggered when there isn’t a meeting of the minds and not even realize it. We hit a wall and it was so noted. Do we stop here or go forward?
Agreeing to disagree?

I won’t be talked out of what I know from my own experience. My own experience is not hearsay or something I’ve read. My own experience is firsthand. And I know that my body gives me information. It tells me when I feel threatened; it has its own wisdom; it shares deep truth with me when I am tuned into it. When I mentioned to three women during a conversation yesterday that Daniel had dismissed the experience of my body as being a reliable source of information, they nearly fell out of their chairs! So, it’s not only me who senses through her body.

Then, Daniel repeats that we’re not in our bodies…”the false premise is that you think you’re in your body…it’s almost like a robot…”Daniel walk across the room, pick up this thing…”

Me: I feel different as a woman. I feel that my body is a guiding force and that it informs me when I listen. Because of my body I feel very connected to the earth. I notice how much that connection nourishes my physical form and all of the other parts of me as well. I could say that everything is ethereal or illusion in some way, but there is a solidness in my connection to the earth.

Suddenly, Daniel gets it. He seems to understand where I’m coming from.

Daniel: Yes, yes this is good stuff…it’s the fact of the World Mother again! Substance. I’m a male–mind, mind is not body per se. You’re going to think along the lines of your intrinsic nature which is the World Mother.

Here and Now and Change

I am here. It is now. Now has challenges. The climate changes and devastations, the ways we’ve been misusing the earth. There is a price to pay. Civil unrest. Political themes and schemes. A pandemic that seems to be ongoing without an obvious resolution.

There are things that bind me to life. There are times when part of me wants to escape. I have no wisdom for others. None. Today looks like winter due to the cast of smoke. I find myself craving winter. Winter like an oasis in a too hot, too fiery, too smoky, too long summer. We’re coming to dread summer in the mountains and in the lowlands of the west coast of California. Carefree times–no more.

How can I impose happiness these days? Where in my psyche is there an understanding of how to be in these very risky, uncertain times? I can’t feign happiness.

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus

This seemingly opposite quote was coined by French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Translation: “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

There are times in our lives when we choose change. They are choice points and there can be an easy flow towards the choices. When I met the man I was to marry, it felt like I was in the flow–grown up, living at home, working at a steady job, meeting a man who wanted to marry me…accepting his proposal, moving away, having children. All of these seemed to be in a natural flow. However, in retrospect, I realize that I didn’t give a great deal of thought to the choices. I followed the strictures of a too restricted childhood. Everything was virtually mapped out for me and I complied without a great deal of thought. So while I made choices, while they seemed natural, in many ways, they weren’t my free choices.

At other times in my life, change was forced upon me it seemed. “Grow or die” sort of imperatives. I can look back and see where I made choices that supported growth. Returning to college in my thirties, taking creative writing classes through a woman’s re-entry program. These were self-empowering choices that helped me to make the next changes in my life. Through the creative writing class, I became enamored of poetry. Poetry became the connecting force to my deepest feelings and desires. This deepening of self-knowing helped me to make the choice to leave my marriage, finally. A change, a leap that I knew I must make.

How are you with change? If it is a guarantee that change is the only constant, why do we fight against it? I suppose it is a fear of the unknown. We have the familiar…it’s like the security of the womb before we’re pushed out into a larger world. What awaits us? We want to know something before we can really know it. This then calls upon our adventuring spirit. The admission of: “I don’t know. I am curious. Let’s find out what’s next.”

Then the second quote, “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” One understanding is that yes, change can be thrust upon us by outside circumstances, turbulent times. However, in order to truly go forward, we must meet that change with our own deepest understanding and heart-wisdom. All of this is easier said than done.

I am, you are, we are enigmas to ourselves, aren’t we?


Frolicking in my fool’s paradise

How long can this go on?

The air quality had been so pure

Now the wildfires have begun north of here

I plug in the air purifier

and pray it cleans the air

fools paradise

head in the sand

feet in the air

or head in the clouds

feet on the ground

which is preferable?

Another summer of smoke.  The wildfires began in June in the forests and mountains of northern California, USA.  And in the flatlands south of here.  Then, there are new ones cropping up to the north, east and west.
Yesterday was a pure air pristine day.  We are dependent upon the direction of the wind.

Earth, air, fire, water.  What is your relationship to them?

Living in the mountains for twenty-two years now, my connection to the earth has been amplified.  Although, before this, I grew up and lived by the ocean.  I would never say that I understood the sea.  I had an intimate relationship with her nonetheless.  I sought her out for comfort…and found it.  Her dynamic qualities captivated me…they do today too when I visit.

And the mountain has its own trance.  As I continue to write this post, it’s now mid-August and we’ve had two months of smoke.  Waking to smoke daily, a pall over the new day.  The spirit descends as I pull back the curtains to yet another day of smoke…

But today, the sky is blue and a smile wraps my face…we are so dependent upon our elements.  Across the planet, weather–the elements–is the media star these days.  Floods, droughts, fires, earthquakes–we are bombarded.  The earth certainly is demanding our attention.  Is she giving us feedback for the ways in which we’ve disrespected her?  Can we see this as feedback, learn from it and do some things differently, more respectfully, reverentially?

Global warming, media fact or fiction?  Where I live, I have no doubt of climate change.  I don’t need to read the news to know that.  Why is there an argument…what sort of lens are people looking through that they don’t see this?