Jul 232014
 
Artwork by Daria Petrilli

Artwork by Daria Petrilli

In the end, so much of the conflict we feel in our hearts is because we’ve split ourselves off from the very life we are living. We partition ourselves from the things with which we are at odds, treating them as unbelonging even as we live them. We vaguely imagine some other place, some better job, some other lover – but the irony is that so much of what makes us unhappy is our own rejection of the life we have made. Eventually we must take our life into our arms and call it our own. We must look at it squarely with all its unbecoming qualities and find a way to love it anyway. Only from that complete embrace can a life begin to grow into what it is meant to become.

Excerpted from the upcoming book “On Belonging” © Toko-pa Turner 2014

(To read more, sign up for Toko-pa’s free newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/jtRaL)

 

Jun 062014
 
Artwork by Lucio Lopez Cansuet

Artwork by Lucio Lopez Cansuet

So many of us feel an agonizing longing to contribute something meaningful to the deficits of our time. But years can disappear in the doing of duties, in the never-reaching of rising expectations, in the always-falling-short of proving of one’s enoughness.

The truth is that if we really want to make an eloquent offering of our lives, we have to step out of that ‘call and response’ relationship with the external world and locate our source of guidance within.

To hear the rhythm of your indigenous song, to fall in step with the poetry of your unfolding, first there must be a clearing away: a ‘temenos’ of simplicity in which to dwell.

Strike a holy grove of silence where you can listen as you long to be heard, see as you long to be seen, recognize where you long to be relevant, needed and necessary in the Family of Things.

Sink down into that fissure – not into the nostalgia of Before your Trust was Broken – but right down into the estrangement, and let the grief of your disappointment soften the soil of you so you can be the seed come finally broken open.

May 202014
 
Artwork by Anselm Kiefer

Artwork by Anselm Kiefer

Sometimes we must surrender our own will for the greater good to come through. We are called to make ourselves vulnerable for a time, without answers or goals, sacrificing our plans to perceive a more mythic & wholistic calling. The word sacrifice is not, as we’ve been taught, synonymous with suffering, but comes from the root ‘to make sacred.’ If we can take a step outside of time, renouncing our ego’s urgency for progress, we have a chance at being danced, being sung into the greater song of things, being told like a story in its most pivotal pause of the arc.

 

 

 

May 172014
 
Artwork by Michael Whelan

Artwork by Michael Whelan

After living most of my life in an urban center, it’s an ongoing revelation for me to live in a small, rural village where people really come through for each other.

This being human is tough stuff and one of the acute losses we all feel is that of meaningful friendship and community. That which our great, great ancestors took for certain: when a wounding befalls one of us, we are all implicated. And so we lean in to support those in pain with our humble gifts of empathy and presence. We shoulder our unbearable questions together and we honour with ritual the devastating requirements and initiations that this being alive asks of us.

But in the impoverished condition of modern culture, we are taught to feel ashamed of our weakness and to deny our own suffering – nevermind share its burden. We’ve made a hedging around the very places we should be depending upon each other. We’ve privatised pain.

And then it’s hard to reach out. It’s hard to be seen with your messy lostness,  exhaustion and overwhelm as you stumble through the complexities of life. But how else can someone become trustworthy unless you allow them to share in your hardship? How can we form the village we ache for unless we allow ourselves to wrestle with these things together?

If you are well, consider being the medicine for someone else’s pain. Rumi says, ‘Where lowland is, that’s where water goes. All medicine wants is pain to cure.’ But if you are unwell, consider asking a friend you want to trust for help. Consider that to be invited behind your hedge is a privilege, and it calls upon the compassion in all of us that lives to flow into a lowland.

Now sometimes the person you call upon may not have the capacity to meet your vulnerability – and there is terrible grief in this. You might be tempted to grow your hedge even higher, and swear off this sharing stuff. But perhaps there is a greater attrition taking place. Perhaps you already knew you were calling upon the wrong person. And perhaps there’s someone unexpected in your midst, who keeps showing up and challenging you to receive their support.

You, who would normally bear it alone – yours is a necessary yielding. Your asking is the invitation that may keep us bound  in place and memory together. Yours are the first threads of a village in the making.

May 152014
 
synchronicityposter

SYNCHRONICITY: Matter & Psyche Symposium

Sept. 12-14, 2014 • JOSHUA TREE, CA

synchronicityposterI’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been invited to Joshua Tree as a presenter for the first annual Synchronicity Symposium – an “Embodied Ideas Festival” which, alongside visionary leaders in their field including biologist and author, Rupert Sheldrake, writer on ancient civilisations, Graham Hancock, sound healer and Family Constellation therapist, Jill Purce and many more, we will be exploring the elegant symmetry between Psyche and Matter;  between our inner and outer lives.

At this time in history, we seem to be undergoing a collective passage into an era of conscious realization that psyche and matter are inseparable and that, far from being passive observers, we have a participatory relationship with the unfoldment of the world around us.  Now the work ahead is in learning how to move in concert with these rhythms, developing a mastery in weaving between the worlds to come into a greater personal and collective harmony.

It’s an honour to be included in this roster of brilliant outcasts who have made a life out of studying consciousness, sound, somatic and Jungian psychology, quantum physics, synchronicity, and of course DREAMING!

EMBODYING the DREAM:

The focus of my presentation will be on Embodying the Dream – Living into Belonging – in which I’ll talk about the architecture of belonging.

Belonging spins itself out from the center of the Self in the form of dreams and synchronicity. These living images call the dreamer forward, step by tentative step along their gossamer threads, into an increasingly intimate conversation with our lives, and embodiment of our soul’s values until we find ourselves anchored in a meaningful life.

As well as giving an hour-long talk (Saturday, Sept 13th at 2pm) in the gorgeous Sanctuary room at the Joshua Retreat Retreat Center, I’ll also be offering a Dreamwork Intensive on the Monday following our weekend, for those who’d like to go deeper with this beautiful work.

REGISTRATION:

In order to attend my Dreamwork Intensive ($49.95), first you’ll need to: purchase a weekend pass to the Synchronicity Symposium here

Passes includes all presentations and panels. *Does not include workshops, meals or accommodation.

SYMPOSIUM PRICING: Before May 24th, $247. Until July 15th $287.  After July 15th $327.

EARLY BIRD PRICING Available Until May 24th, 2014: $247
Once you’ve got that sorted, you can register for my Dreamwork Intensive (Monday Sept. 15th, 1-3:30pm) here:

register_now

May 122014
 
Photograph by Emma McEvoy

Photograph by Emma McEvoy

There’s a famous story that Robert Bly tells about Carl Jung who, whenever a friend reported enthusiastically, ‘I have just been promoted!’ Jung would say, ‘I’m very sorry to hear that; but if we all stick together, I think we will get through it.’ On the other hand, if a friend arrived depressed and ashamed, saying, ‘I’ve just been fired,’ Jung would say, ‘Let’s open a bottle of wine; this is wonderful news; something good will happen now.’

Now this may seem like backwards thinking to the rational mind, but to the soul it makes wonderful sense. These kinds of promotions in social stature set the ego into inflation, believing itself to have finally been recognized as the supreme ruler it was meant to be. The ego’s survival depends upon the belief that it is in control and it doesn’t like to think that it might lose its ascendancy. But in those moments of trembling loss, it is forced to face its smallness.

Jung wrote, “… the experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Indeed, in those initiations by illness, loss or depression, when we are dragged into the underworld to pass through the gates of intensifying vulnerability, we are being stripped of our outer world clothing, prepared for to meet the Divine.

We’ve all had those dreams of losing our wallet or purse, which contains our ‘identity’ and money – a symbolic ‘self worth’ -  and this is where the ego panics; it says, “Who am I without these things?” And it is right to be struck with fear and considering fight or flight, because there is a greater Self who finally has a chance at being encountered now with the ego demoted, and it will require your willingness to be wholly disoriented for a while.

Just as there are times on a winding walk when you can not the see the road ahead, so too will you lose visibility on your soul’s unfolding.

If you can find solace in your surrendering to that groundlessness, there is a pleasure possible in this depth of not-knowing, where creativity can use you as a vessel and, for a moment, you can know real freedom in your acquiescence to the numinous.

 

Apr 302014
 
Painting by Anabela Faia

Painting by Anabela Faia

Do not be ready before your time.
There’s no knowing what symmetry
is marshalling itself below this confusion.
First the long attentiveness of listening
must be paid. Don’t brave your way
out of this husk while it serves
to protect your impressionability.
Let yourself be kept a while longer
in these origins
where you are mine alone
and I am only yours.
Let something sweet be made of our secret.
Put not your offering into the world too soon.
Let it ripen in the guardianship
of your trepidation.
Let this fallow time be stretched
For it is in this unreadiness
that beauty takes its form.
Live a season longer in this holy refuge.
Because soon what nectar
is made of our union
will be for all the world to drink,
or not drink.
And you will need to remember what grace
was allowed only
by your long staying hidden.

 

 

 

Apr 212014
 
Artist unknown

Artist unknown

It starts as a hairline crack, a seemingly harmless dissonance in the surface of our well-being, but over time the crack gains momentum into a sudden network of irritation and restlessness.

Restlessness has a mission and it must run its course. It is the expression of our discomfort with the ways in which we’ve become habituated. It seeks to undermine those places where we might be striving, mimicking, or falling into obligation.

At its deepest core, restlessness is a sacred question which asks, ‘Whom does the grail serve?’

Like the mythical grail, we all want to open ourselves to purpose, to create a capacity through which the mystery may gladly express itself. Yet, for even those of us who may follow the call of vocation, the perpetual allure of the external world is powerful and, if left unchecked, can cause a gradual but critical shift in the emphasis of our service – away from the holy, towards growth for growth’s sake.

For a long time, I thought the practice of ‘emptiness’ went against my philosophy of yesness for life. I believed it was something detached and even cold – which pushed life away instead of embracing it.

It wasn’t until I considered the image of the Holy Grail, with its most luscious emptiness, that I began to understand what it means to prepare oneself to receive.

These ‘rituals of approach’ as John O’Donohue puts it, are what put us into right alignment with our way in the world: “When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.”

Often it’s only when the well runs dry that we realise how thirsty we’ve been. We become aware of having lost a presence for life. We may find ourselves asking what happened to those magic eyes which saw poetry in the ordinary? Where went the wondrous self whose very countenance is invitational?

elenaray

Artwork by Elena Ray

Put quite simply, the emptiness has become full.

As our lives take on even excellent forms, we can easily fall into the habit of taking our prompts from the outside world, responding to its demands and invitations, instead of calling things towards us from a place of presence.

Presence is the real feat of originality: it drops the veils and titles of human society, and wriggles down into the feeling place. Like improvisation itself, it chances its own ugliness into the open for the gamble at unfathomable beauty.

It is a dropping of trying and letting of allowing. Like the lone bird singing the sun’s rise, breast full with the tender song of now, a melody of yes, it is a communion with the holy moment which, like a cadenza, is always playing through us, living to be heard.

Apr 142014
 

Sandra BiermanIt’s marvelous to grow bored of a pattern, because it means you’re ready to let go of an old scenario and envision something that’s more in alignment with who you are in present time. Likewise, when you’re feeling disappointed and let down by life – I believe what you’re really being given is an invitation to Create.

A good friend once told me that we should never make decisions based on fear of the alternative. That is to say, instead of weighing your future on the scale of security alone, why not choose a future which frightens you a little. Like swinging on a trapeze, there is a terrible-wonderful moment when you have to let go and freefall your way to the next grab. But the more times you find the new bar there to meet you, the stronger your trust in the unknown grows.

One of the reality selection practices I love most is writing about a thing as if it’s already happening: describing in great detail the feeling I have being inside my new creation, looking around and saying what I see and why it’s splendid. I may sketch out some drawings too, however best I can focus on the refinement of my feeling of well-being.

Depending on how many resistances I have to receiving that well-being, a creation may materialise overnight or gradually come into form over months or even years. But the greater my devotion to that image, the more like a North Star my dreams behave.

As Meister Eckhart puts it, “When the soul wants something to be known, she throws out an image in front of her and steps into it.”

Apr 132014
 
Artwork by Raul Allen

Artwork by Raul Allen

Again and again, our dreams demand leadership of us, calling our life’s vision forward into the world, step by tenderbrave step.

The practice above all practices is to relinquish the immature desire to be taken care of (by our parents, spouse, government, guru, church, etc), and to parent our own originality. To give ourselves the support that we may never have received.

To get behind the creation of one’s life is to recognize your influence in ‘the way things are,’ and nurture your vision with protective discipline until it is strong enough to serve in the world on its own.