The last day of 2016 and the first day of 2017 were very interesting to observe. There was something in the air and some truth came a'knockin' on doors that were not prepared for visitors. Teachers needed teaching, and some didn't realize it was from other teachers they mistook as students.
Doors that felt well fortified, I am sure, were not so impervious. Structures that had their blueprints looked over and over again to ensure safety were holding detrimental flaws that went unnoticed.
But our best laid plans never go as we intend them too and no matter how prepared you think you are for life, it has a way of surprising you. It has a way of holding up a mirror that you don't want to gaze into. A mirror that usual looks clean but still has streaks hiding things from us.
And when someone cleans off that mirror for us? When someone wipes it clean lovingly, we sometimes don't know how to react and point fingers out instead of in. Then we push away the hand with the cloth and sometimes slap it in our silly defensiveness.
Such is life for those who dig so deep they cannot see around themselves. Such is life.
We, as a species, regurgitate information. We listen, we collect, we interpret and perceive as we see fit in each moment. Sometimes we hold the keys to the kingdom in our discoveries. That kingdom is ours alone though and does not encompass the whole. Sometimes we can get lost and make everyone else our endentured servants within our kingdom without realizing it. Some of those who fit that bill turn themselves into servants willingly and some realize that they have their own kingdoms to manage and don't accept servitude no matter how benevolent intentions might be.
At times we forget where we learned our lessons from. In fact, there are times we have taken the keys from other kingdoms in order to forge our own. I do hope you see I speak in metaphores and that I am not holding onto real keys, nor am I ruling over a kingdom, save the heart/mind palace I create from within.
Sometimes we learn someone else's way, read from their map, study from their blueprint and then we discover a new language or way of wording that somehow feels like we've made it our own. Truth is that we take things from others and expand. This means we own nothing. This means we are stewards of one another. This means we are torch bearers that take the fires that others stoke and keep them whole. Our kingdoms are shared from the beginning until the end, with one another and without any exclusivity.
Like the creature Gollum from LOTR, we covet our golden rings of discovery and personal value. We sometimes think we hold the only true 'ring to rule them all'.
"My way works better than your way!"
"My experiences are more valid that yours are."
So let's dig at some truth. First, your way is probably better for you than my way would be from your perspective. Although let us generalize what 'my way' means. My way is a way of success and failure, borrowing from what has worked for others while working it out for myself. I believe without a doubt in my heart and mind that this way is very similar for you. That doesn't mean that we cannot share the ways that work for us and amalgamate our ways in our experiments of what works for us in this life. One person cannot forget that they are a part of the culmination. You do not stand out as the source for all. We do this collectively while still being individual examples of lives being lived to our likings.
Then, let's talk validation. Where we think that our experiences void out the experiences of others. This is truly not even a slight bit healthy for us to believe although we have all been there. We create our experiences and they are all valid. No matter what, you cannot exclude someone's life events or lessons. You don't have to entertain them or adapt to them but you cannot exclude them or wipe them out as non-existant. Well, you can which leads to detriments of their own. Delusions of grandeur come to mind.
Whenever I create something, it is because I have been inspired by something else. Sometimes it is nature around me, a relationship, certain words I hear, a thought I've had in my observations, delicious foods I have eaten or great lessons I have learned from those who have come and documented their ideas before me. Many times it is from my own folly.
Many fall into a trap of thinking that once they learn something from an old teacher of days long passed, that if they just use different language, then they are creating something new. This is not the case and ownership cannot be claimed. I could never speak of the shadow self as if it were implicitly my idea and creation to compare our deep psyches too. No matter how many times I use the references in my poetry or my blogs and essays, I cannot claim this as mine. I have been watching as others make claims of ownership without giving thanks to those who brought them to where they are. Or giving thanks yet still staking sole claim as if they somehow forget where they took their inspirations from. Methods, recipes, thoughts, words and therapies all being covetted and claimed. And this is when a true virus takes hold and the archetype of Gollum comes into play. The ring was never his just like ideas inspired by the works of others are shared, the ring had another owner log before Gollum killed for the prize. And who do we kill to take all the credit? Parts of ourselves and those we claim to love and draw inspiration from?
And so, those who take without giving thanks truly, who think they fool others in their thievery are fooling themselves and their inner shadow grows, encompassing all that is and was and will be. It takes over and creates a different persona altogether and the wound at the bottom of the shadow's feet becomes festering and untouchable. When it is untouchable then none can get close enough to lance the wound and give it air to heal, least of all themselves. Gollum protects their treasure no matter how toxic because he cannot see passed his prize.
What claims are so important for us to take in this life that we would fester our own wounds while claiming to know the way out of the sickness?
Well, in truth, sometimes we fly too close to the Sun and that is just the truth of it all. Sometimes we need to melt our wings and plummet to the grounds beaneath us. Sometimes we need surgery preformed by our peers to open up that which we've kept closed off.
Open Vessel Surgery
While speaking with another deep digger of truth and soul depth diver, we realized that some of those we learn from get quite lost on their way. We all do as we walk along our path, jumping and skipping at times and others just falling all over ourselves as we get carried away with our flights towards the Sun, towards our truth, towards the base of the wound.
We're surrounded by teachers and we are teachers. We are teachers and we are students, in tandem with ourselves at all times. There is quite literally never a time where we are not teaching ourselves and others, nor is there a time where we are not learning from our follies and successes, as well as those gifts of others. There are those who refuse to take in the lessons and teachings however, and many times it is when we are in the position of 'teacher' that we feel no more lessons are needed for us. Perhaps this is our ego's way of providing us with a much more detrimental and explosive way of learning than most other lessons. The humbling that needs to come at times is incredibly important and revealing so long as we don't think we are above it. We actually need to be told, to be humbled and to put ourselves back into the vessel and all of it's wounds and wonders.
When we are blessed enough to be surrounded by those that are so similar on their paths we become emotional and spiritual surgeons to one another. This isn't always the way for us all. Many of those who dig so deep are left to themselves and work out their madness and magic alone.
What do I mean in this anology of the surgeon? Well, we begin to dissect each others wounds. We poke and prod at one another and call out to each others demons, parasites, viruses and festerings. This isn't done out of malice or to cause harm. It is an exquisite dance of demons and angels providing untold truths. It is the drawing out of the wound and the allowance for air to touch it's sickness to tear it clean and heal the rotting flesh surrounding it all.
When someone is undergoing this type of 'procedure' they're not always willing participants. It's not as if they are being attacked, these things just happen. Indeed sometimes they experience a reversal of roles where they feel as if to go from teacher to student is some sort of descension into an abyss that they have clearly risen above. This is a trap they have set for themselves. No one is ever free from the wounds and their teachings. They are always there and they always need healing and the soothing salves of understanding, compassion and forgivness.
Sometimes the teacher falls asleep within themselves and forget what it is they had set out to do. They get lost in the ownership of their borrowed and regurgitated version of the craft they excell at and they become possessive of it all. Gollum comes to claim their Precious and with a mean-spirited spitting of words they know no forgivness and see everyone's transgressions but their own.
Gollum's internal dialogue:
We've all been guilty of this, we've all been our own victims. We all lash out at times and forget that it's all within ourselves. Our peers hold up mirrors for us, our equals challenge us, our brothers and sisters carry our poisons and our salves as we do for them.
Sometimes teachers lose their way and forget that they are not above the rest and that they sometimes have to live the lessons they teach becasue it is life-long.
Sometimes the students need reminders that the teacher is human and is always a student just as they are and that they, the student is a teacher as well.
We need to be aware as best we can and to understand that whenever we're dissecting something, it truly is never out of malice but to heal the wound that needs air so badly. Students teach the teachers. Out of the mouths of babes comes the most profound truths.
For a few years I had noticed a pattern within myself of admiring an artist, writer or teacher too much. That I would mistake my love for their artistic expressions and teachings for a love or admiration for them instead of the message they were conveying. This was worrisome and so I looked far deeper into what I was searching for.
It's always been trust in my self. Needing validation or approval to move forward in myself is not healthy and it didn't serve me. It taught it's lessons and I've learned them so I move forward in this new way.
In 2016 I made a point of keeping myself in check and not following anyone too closely. I made a point of worrying about my own internal workings instead of really putting any effort into the outside world past day to day functionings. No political debates, no gurus, no healers, no ultimate truths to beat all got in my way or focus. Sure, I bit onto some bait and made my choices but not in the same ways as I once had and no teacher was put onto a pedestal this year. I didn't fall for the artist over their art and didn't take on things that weren't mine for the most part.
I no longer put people up on pedestals because I'm not fond of eating boot. I'd had my fill.
Not to mention I've been hoisted onto pedestals myself and the height of it all is always too much to bare.
The ground is more forgiving.
I no longer put people up on pedestals because I'm not fond of eating boot.
That being said, my energy still attracts the ones who wish to be adored, to be revered, yet I no longer pay them their toll. I get to test out my new ways of handling situations and I get to listen to how my chemistry reacts, how the shadow grows and devours or doesn't.
I still need to see the reactions as I progress. I need to really see my reaction as someone gaslights me! Yesterday was such a day and looking back so tearfully at the attack that was pointed at themselves but aimed directly at me in order to avoid their own truths holds so much for contemplation and understanding.
When I approach in earnest and see that a dance would rather be had I will not take your hand. When explanations are given and sidesteps away from them are made to turn us directions anywhere but where they need to be, I will not look with you. I will not enable bad behavior for old paradigms sake. Shadows grow in us all and need our attention, not our ignrorance and definitly not fingers pointing out screaming:
'It's you, it's not me!!!'
So next time someone wants you to dance with them, find out what rhythm they move to. When someone cries out as a victim, hear them and where they are coming from and then decide how you wish to proceed. If someone wants to include you in their vicious dance of ripping apart themselves or perhaps closing themselves off fully from truth in order to appease their teaching self or hide the idea that they are still as student, make a wise decision for yourself and step into your roll as teacher, not as an enabler.
Sometimes walking away from the dance floor is teacher enough for those who need to boogie with their demons. Sometimes walking away from those dancers is your own initiation into trusting yourself and stepping into your own teaching roll.
That decision and choice is yours.
Just don't ever doubt yourself when you see someone dancing while beckoning you to join them when you know it's not your floor. It's ok to look at someone who thinks they are a teacher and to tell them that they have not learned the lessons they are teaching others. It's ok for you to walk off the floor and dance on your own, in your own time, own way and with your own music, demons and angels.
Teacher and student, we are always both.
Author: Cari-Lee Miller
Understand this, dear reader:
This blog space is like a diary to which consent for my writings/feelings/expressions, is never needed or asked for. This is my space and if it brings you uncomfortable feelings, feel free to look no further and keep to the spaces that do you no harm.
I am a seed burst forth from its shell. I have mingled and fought in the dirt. I am ready to kiss the Sun. *CLM
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Your medicine is in the woods.
Your pharmacy is in your kitchen.