A mask peeks out of a window in Venice
One of the many things I love about travel is that it gives you a glimpse into other worlds which can often lead to deep insights into our own. I happen to love Italy. The people of Italy are an interesting combination of passion and blaze-ness that I find wonderful. On a recent trip to Italy I was pondering how it would effect a person's mentality and spirituality to be so seeped in history. Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany … they literally have bathrooms that are older than our country. Everywhere you turn there is hundreds if not thousands of years of history. A new discovery down every road. This history isn't fenced off or put away, instead it is right there next to the cars and cellphones, a part of their everyday experience. There is no hiding from history there. It's right in your face - for good or bad - so you have to make peace with what was.
Too often here in the US we tend to shy away from the old. In general we don't like old things - people or objects - because they remind us too much of the cycle of life. We tend to want to live forever and stay young eternally. We don't like reminders that "we too shall pass". Speaking more personally we tend to either hold onto our pasts or try to ignore it all together. Neither way is healthy. We need to find a way to accept our past while embracing the now.
Often the reason we are holding onto or avoiding the past is because we carry shame and/or judgment about what happened either to us or due to us. This causes dis-alignment - the sort of stuff that we end up working through with Aya.
What if we got a head start on that work now?
We are building up to the summer solstice - the longest, lightest day of the year. Energetically now is the time to shine a light on your past. Bring your history out in the open and take a long look at it. These ruins are yours and their stories are neither all good nor all bad - history never is. There is so much to learn from history - both world history and our personal history. It's about putting it into context, finding the wisdom that you want to take away and then accepting that you are a complex being that couldn't be who you are without everything that happened.
We cannot stand in the light when we are still trying to hide parts of who we are in the shadow. So let the light in and see what wonderful parts of yourself you rediscover that have been hidden under shame or boarded up by judgment. I promise that no matter what you find you are not alone and your Aya community will welcome you with open arms because who doesn't have history, right?! :)
Aya reminded me recently that it is important when working with her not to lean too heavily on the ceremonial experience.
What does that mean?
That space we slip into with Aya during ceremony is a powerful one and is meant to give us a boost so that we can come back into ordinary reality and do our work, make change, own our space, our power and our co-creative abilities. It's easy to hop from ceremony to ceremony and when something comes up to be worked through in our mental/emotional ordinary life to think "I will just wait till ceremony and Aya will take care of purging/moving this issue." While Aya may not be addictive in the classical sense she can still be used as a distraction and a crutch. We can try to misuse her (unconsciously) to get out of doing our own work - looking to the experience of Aya to turn us inwards instead of turning inwards ourselves and learning to listen with our new ears.
Of course if we fall into this, and it is sooo easy to do, Aya will start to hand us not so nice experiences as she highlights for us our desire to escape, to give our power away, to look outside ourselves, and to not own our own work/process. Sometimes when Aya does this people think - "Ah what I need to do are more ceremonies" when it is actually the opposite. What they need to do is integrate what Aya has taught them into their everyday lives, to practice aligning themselves. We are here in physical form to live our lives, to put love and kindness and joy into practice. Ceremony is just a reminder of who we are, the support we have and what we can pull from. Like a boxer in the ring - our main event is living the ordinary reality in a non-ordinary way. Ceremony are those short moments we get with our coach in the corner between rounds reminding us of our plan. Then we are back in the ring to put our strategy into play. It's in the ring, not the corner, that we learn, grow and expand.
So get into your ring - listen to your inner guidance, invite all the non-physical support of your guides (including Aya) into your ordinary life experience, don't put off the issues that they bring to your attention, practice being the physical manifestation of love and joy you have experienced in ceremony and own your process! This life is yours to live as only you can - embrace and have fun with it!
Here we are in the aftermath of another wonderful and intense Aya retreat. Our last retreat was made up of only return participants which meant we could all get down to business and dive deeper. For some this meant experiencing discomfort, stuck-ness, grief, and irritation. For others there was the joy of creation, ownership of self and new understanding.
It is important to note that sometimes ceremonies will crack the door open on issues and then leave us to do much of the work in our everyday lives. Sometimes after ceremony our axis has changed, our foundation has shifted and we return to our lives feeling ungrounded, unsure of our footing, scrambled or even feeling a little crazy. When this happens don't be quick to try and ground again right away. Realize that you are in the in between of who you were and who you are becoming. If you try to find the ground too quickly you may slow the becoming process.
Relax and know that sometimes we have to get scrambled to get straight, go crazy to find sanity and lose our footing to find new legs. Trust the medicine and your process and lean on your Aya community.
In perfect love, in perfect trust