My head has always been a source of pain for me—from the mental pain of overthinking and trying to willfully control and figure out my life to the literal pounding headaches that floor me on a regular basis. And I have spent a good deal of my life in some state of victim consciousness over it—from wallowing in self pity, or fruitless explorations to identify what was wrong with me, and general over analysing of everything I was doing or exposed to that could potentially cause them. The source of my pain was always separate from me.
Victim consciousness is the abdication of our role in our own life experiences. In other words, in the drama of life, everything is happening to me rather than for me. This is not saying that if you are a victim of a crime it is your own fault. This is not a judgment of external events, rather it is identifying a disempowering state of consciousness about life in general.
I have been journeying with Hawthorn (Courage) this moon cycle. A warrior spirit plant, bridger of the seen and unseen realms, whose medicine feels like a powerful (and often painful) initiation designed to connect us with and open our hearts through courageous, inspired action, or love in action. Hawthorn certainly asks you to lean in and guarantees a VERY physical, emotional, and alchemical experience!
When you really think about it, there is nothing that happens, physically or emotionally, that we don’t actually feel in our bodies. E-motion is simply energy in motion, and emotional or mental pain is every bit as painful as physical pain. Furthermore, our energetic and emotional bodies are not separate from our physical body and our physical pain is often deeply connected to our mental and emotional pain.
It is our wise bodies that are the receptors for feeling all these energies and our mind’s job to navigate and interpret them. The problem is that our minds are often preoccupied with past experiences, future worries, fear, and deeply held beliefs or cultural programming that end up magnifying and perpetuating our pain rather than helping us remember how to flow through it. We are not present.
“It takes so much courage to be present,” says Hawthorn. “Fully present with whatever you are experiencing.”
And of course there is nothing quite like pain to bring you present right!? Think about the last time you absentmindedly stubbed your toe...
This moon cycle has been particularly painful for me, with a steady stream of headache episodes, each one more debilitating than the last. And even though I have come to respect the messaging of my body, I still tend to ignore or overide the subtle signals (because I can), until they are literally beating me over the head to pay attention and I have no choice but to surrender.
Headaches are how my body brings me, or rather forces me, to be fully PRESENT, to embody a constant state of letting go—of releasing attachments to the woulds and shoulds and daily distractions of life—that close our hearts to the experience of life itself.
What is courage if it is not the ability to navigate through the inevitable pain that is a natural part of life WITHOUT attachment to suffering and victim consciousness?
Can we face and move through our personal and collective pain, (there is no separation), and yet still maintain an open heart in the process?
Can we truly and unconditionally love life, our bodies, including our painful experiences and our brutiful world, ALL OF IT?
This moon cycle instead of slipping into old stories of self pity, fear and other low frequency emotions that are triggered when I experience debilitating headaches so much, this time, I was not playing in the drama of it all.
Hawthorn was with me weaving compassion and empathy for my pain and also reminding me of the truth that I AM NOT my pain.
And isn’t that what we are all learning? The alchemy of pain through our full, open-hearted presence?
You have got to breathe!
We have the gift of our breath to connect us to All That Is, to life itself, and to support us as we flow with the pain rather than fighting it.
With our full open-hearted presence we can allow the love that is us to flow through and transmute the pain. We are not our pain, we are simply experiencing it on the physical and then attaching a narrative to it.
Hawthorn wants to reframe the narrative that pain is bad and must be eliminated or avoided at all cost, to instead remembering that pain is a necessary part of the experience of being in the physical.
We cannot avoid pain. We need pain to guide and inform us. We need to feel. Closing our hearts down because of pain, because we want to avoid feeling, and instead waging war on life itself to create an illusion of safety... we must ask ourselves if we are truly living?
We are energetic beings and in this Earth classroom we have the opportunity to learn how to experience and work with energy in physical form—alchemizing low frequency emotions to the high frequency of our loving divine souls.
Mastery being the ability to move through the pain without attachment and without creating more pain for ourselves and others.
This pandemic, the horrors of our modern world with extreme poverty, inequality and so much pain and suffering spiraling out of control...what if this is our collective initiation back to life?
The Earth body, our body, is demanding that we become present. Demanding that we open our hearts and come back into the flow of life, all life, rather than continuing to ignore, override, assert power over and control it all.
We can’t just take a potion to make this collective headache go away. It needs to be seen and felt, forgiven and loved back to wholeness.
With Hawthorn guiding me I have re-membered that presence involves all of our bodies—emotional, energetic, mental and physical to name a few—and that being present is a state of conscious awareness, of how and what you are feeling and thinking and what is going on around you, ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
Presence is a state of being. A state of not knowing AND knowing all is exactly as it should be.
To be fully present is to be an unconditionally loving witness to your own experience and the experience of the collective, allowing the light and the dark, the joy and the pain, to dance within and throughout without attachment to either.
There is nothing like pain to help us understand what it means to be present and in this dense world of the physical, pain is a most powerful teacher. Have you seen the thorns on a Hawthorn tree?
And today, I am deeply grateful to not be in pain. To watch the sunrise, to write my musings and to offer love and gratitude for this amazing gift of life and this beautiful world we have to play and create and grow ourselves in.
And...I am also wondering if I can maintain the state of presence I remembered how to embody over this moon cycle when I am not in physical pain?
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As we create a new story for our lives we are having to relearn all the ways we move and engage with the world. And it takes so much courage to “be alive in the shatter”, to keep getting up after being knocked down over and over as the world and life as we have known it seemingly falls apart around us.