“In the dark night of the soul you need not give up your intelligence, but you may have to change your idea of what it means to be wise in the conduct of your life. You may have to adopt a different kind of knowing, one is suited to the darkness and not in conflict with it. You need special vision for your dark night because the ordinary ways of thinking may not work. Seeing in the emotional dark is a special talent that might draw out resources you never knew you had.”
Thomas Moore – Dark Nights of The Soul!
On a blog called the Times Between it would make sense to write about feeling uninspired. Just like the times that are between events can seem pretty flat, so the feeling of being uninspired can leave one feeling somewhat deflated. As I reflected on the feeling of being uninspired I asked myself a Jungian type of question. What is this bringing up for me? What does it bring up for all of us when we feel uninspired and think we have nothing to write about, no thoughts to capture and nothing of interest to share in our online journals. I no sooner asked these questions when I could feel the beginnings of a stirring happening and dashed to my writing area. Please join me and let’s see what happens here … What does the period of non-inspiration look and feel like? For me, there are physical signs like the fact that my writing desk has become a storage area for things I am meaning to pack away. Other physical signs include busyness and focus on the beckoning of the outside world. Psychologically, it means that I am preoccupied with doubt and self-limiting beliefs. Each of us have our own set of self-limiting beliefs that operate during the periods of low or no inspiration. Those beliefs are part of a very complex framework which we cannot delve into here. They include everything from our relationship with our parents (primordial relationships) to the purpose and intention for which we created our blog (conscious choices we make) in the first place. In my case, I enjoy writing and use it as a tool for self development and engaging with my creative, intuitive self. I choose to blog it or make it public because I am a social being who enjoys connection with others. Sharing my writings have proved helpful for others from the feedback I get and this satisfies the teacher and counsellor aspects of my makeup. I am Jung at Heart – meaning that my psyche or soul finds much of its answers through the teaching of Carl G Jung. These teachings reveal that we are often driven to do things and not to do things by forces that we are unaware of. That is a scary thought right. A famous quote by Carl Jung says;
“Until you make the unconscious, conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”
With this context in mind, I look at the alleged fate that I have nothing to write about and nothing valuable to say. I take a deeper look and my alleged fate that I have no time and my desk is a mess. I consider the alleged fate that I am wasting my time with writing while I should be earning money. I am willing to consider my alleged fate that “I am too bloody deep and complicated for my own good” and that people will never understand what I am on about. Shooo – that is a big one and now I am having a “felt sense” that I might have stumbled onto something. But now let me pause and be sure you are taking this journey with me as any proper Zen Garden Hostess would do. Have you thought about some of your alleged fates? What do you make up about your world during the moments of low inspiration? What alleged fates have you used to conclude that the world and life is happening to you? Take a breath …………… and another nice deep breath in and out ………………. Ahhhhhhhh! Now see what comes up. Now, are you willing to look a little deeper and consider the possibility that you are happening to your life. Those forces, thoughts, beliefs, memories in the unconscious are playing out a movie and you are are calling it low inspiration. Nice deep breath – ahhhhhhhhhhh.
This is what comes up for me – My desk is in a mess and become a storage area because in my unconscious I have a belief that I am taking up too much space. The space I am using can be used for something more useful, more constructive, more valuable and definitely more than anything I have to offer. I have no time because I really feel guilty about having the time and the space to write, when there are women older than I am walking the streets looking for work. (Some martyr archetype playing out there I guess). I think that I am wasting my time because I have an old memory that “time is money” from a father who was known to have the Midas Touch. In many ways my Alchemist Archetype is (in Jungian terms) a compensation response pattern to my father’s focus on material wealth. Ooooooo -another insight that just popped up. I am really writing this as its happening and I am starting to feel a bit vulnerable now which is an indicator that I have entered the shadow. Enter Dori – Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! My thought that I am too much, too deep, too complicated is a very old wounding which we know will keep replaying itself throughout the soul’s journey. It is rooted in the inability to unconditionally love oneself and that, as we all know, is a life long journey. We only ever reach pit stops along the way with many dark nights of the soul in between. To the extent that we are willing to engage our illusive and most often insidious shadow, we will engage the process of understanding and accepting of our Self.
How did you do? Make any discoveries about your alleged fates which you invent during your low periods? I would love to hear about it – leave a comment if you are comfortable with that. Thank you for taking the journey with me and being present as I unpacked my alleged fate to discover just how much I have created it. Things are not going to change magically and I am guaranteed of low inspiration days in the future. On those days however, I will be conscious of what is going on in my unconscious and I will not be calling it fate and playing the victim. The awareness will be enough to shift my perception.
Much blessing and love,
CROSSING OVER | Michelene Dianne Benson
Our path is filled with ups and downs
Alternating with smiles and frowns
Lonely dungeons with no hope in sight
Then suddenly we ascend in triumphant flight
Crossing over demands our trust
Moving forward a scary must
Stepping stones we carefully tread
The risk whispers with a voice of dread
Greeted on the other side
Love and gratitude in our hearts abide
Looking back we learn once more
The dungeon was but a needed door.
Artwork | Evgeni Dinev Photography
First published 30 October 2013
Take Back our Rite of Passage Ceremony | Michelene Dianne Benson
As I am researching the first moon rite of passage process, I realise that many of us need that ceremony ourselves albeit many moons later. Without it we were left to a world of shame, loss and isolation in which we had to navigate our way through a harsh and unforgiving world.
Awakened women know that the rite of passage has as much to do with wisdom and well being as it does with physical care and understanding at menarche. Being welcomed, celebrated and nurtured into a sisterhood of support and wisdom is critical to the maiden, at her time of crossing, if she has any hope of growing confidently as a wild woman. One who is unapologetically in touch with her true beauty, power and strength.
We may have missed out on some decades of support and mentoring from the matriarchs who went missing for a few generations but we have heard the call to return.
Part of that return requires taking up the role as the guide and the mentor – to become the moonmothers and the crones. It is time give up the imposed mindset of the menstrual inconvenience of our bodies and restore the blessing thereof – to stand tall and grounded as the queen upon the moontime throne and the crone adorned with the mantle of honour.
To take back our ceremony is to forgive those who abandoned us and to give thanks for the guides who gracefully stepped in. To take back our ceremony is to bind up the wounds, bumps and bruises in the light of the moon and sing a song of restoration. We are taking back our ceremony when we reach out to the sisters who might have sat with us at our first moon ceremony and say “I missed you.”
To take back our ceremony is to sneak a red rose or a bright bead to her for the crown she might have worn that night. We take back our ceremony when we bestow blessings which flow from a sacred source so that the commitment we might have made to be our sisters’ keeper is honoured. Whatsoever things we might have done on that night, in time and space, we can do it now. Let us take back the first moon ceremony and restore the rights to the Rite of our Passage
To all my sisters … I missed you!
Photo by Michelene Dianne Benson
First published 24 September 2013
A SINGLE JASMINE flower brought much comfort and I share it with you. After a roller coaster day of emotions, a need for fresh air beckoned me to the garden. I sat down and there it was! Tiny white flowers on two shrubs that I rescued a month ago. I walked toward it saying, “It can’t be Jasmine!” Despite my hopelessness, I closed my eyes in hope and like healing balm, the sweet fragrance of blessed Jasmine penetrated my being. I had no idea what kind of trees they were but I tended them. I had no idea how to prune but I sensed I should. Taking the clippers two weeks ago, I called on my late father’s spirit to guide me. After two weeks, I noticed some malformed leaves but I kept on watering. I asked my family if they could see a change but they paid no attention. I kept tending them with sunshine and water. To my delight and enlightenment, the malformed leaves were buds – buds of Jasmine. The jasmine blossoms which I love so much. So much, that I only wear Jasmine perfume. I raised my hands to give thanks.
Trust Great Spirit to find the language I understand and choose Jasmine. My time to be redeemed from abandonment has come. The pruning of now may not make sense but the wisdom of the ancestors is in my bones to guide me. The growth may not be noticed by some and appear as malformation to others. In a little while, the thing that brings me joy will blossom out of it all. All I need is sun and water and my seeds will yield fragrance and beauty. It was only after I took the pic that I remember a sister’s dream of the Jasmine and the Lion oil. Indeed the Lion (Masculine Divine) has anointed (oil) my head and the precious Jasmine Fragrance (Divine Feminine) has come out from behind the veil of tears to know the season of abandonment is about to change.
First published 21 November 2013
Psalm 37v4 ~ Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ..
From the most tender age I have understood this scripture differently. For many, it means that the Creator will grant them their wishes. This understanding is a sure way to affirm that all the many egoistic wanting will be satisfied by the powers of the Creator. I am not sure if it was a teaching by the late Myles Munroe or someone else but I understood this scripture to mean quite the opposite. I understood it to mean that God in wisdom will determine what our desires will be. The desires He grants us may be slightly or very very different to what we would want for ourselves. Left to our own short sightedness we would want convenience and satisfaction and pleasure. All the things that feed the ego. Yet, when those things are granted we find ourselves dissatisfied and frustrated and we want the next thing and the next thing after that.
The desires of the heart are yearnings of a deeper kind and it takes lifetimes to satisfy such longings. These yearnings are almost never satisfied by things, people and events. The nature of these yearnings are dynamic. They change all the time leading us to ever deepening levels as we evolve and our understanding and courage grows. Just as soon as we arrive at some point where we thought we would be complete, we find ourselves realising that there is much more to achieve and believe. This is perhaps why older people often say “the more I learn the less I know”. Our quest to attain knowledge brings us to understand how deceiving knowledge really is. We search in vain for it like traveling to a most attractive oasis only to realise it was a mirage created out of desperation and fear.
The desires of our heart are like a life force inside us and is to our souls what blood is to our bodies. The sacred texts say that the life is in the blood. Perhaps we can say that the life force is in the desires of the heart. These deeper desires propel us through trials and tribulations. They cause us to overcome heartbreak and despair. When all seems lost there is a force that beckons us to rise and take another feeble step and walk again. Even when one feeble step after another still provides no visible sign of promise, we grow stronger in our persistence. Our own intuitive guide leads us to press on to a goal we cannot always explain to ourselves or others.
I find myself navigating a second divorce but overcoming a third relationship. Sound teachings instruct me not to resist the pain and I am experiencing the deep wisdom of that. It’s almost as though the pain has a character of its own and needs to be embraced. In doing so, I can let go of the drama and story and really just honour myself and my experience with a kind of reverence I have not experienced before. It takes all the courage I have and there are days when courage seems to abandon me.
However, when courage is tangible and when it evades, there is a steady beat of the desires of my heart. It does not wax or wane. Like the mountains stand firm and the eagle remains on course in the storm, so is the steady beat of the desires of my heart. The desires of my ego nag and compete frantically for attention and have many tantrums during the course of the day. But the desires of the heart beat with a command and an authority so great I know that they are from the Great Spirit. In all things I choose to give thanks – to delight myself in the Divine Love of the Great Spirit. True to the word, it grants me the desires of my heart – a steady, unrelenting heartbeat which holds a great and magical promise.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ..