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Archive for March, 2018

Soul vs Ego

“You do not have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”

—C.S. Lewis

Soul or ego? After asking myself this often, I’ve concluded that we do not choose one at the exclusion of the other, they are both integral parts of ourselves. Yet, these two facets typically have different priorities and which one we give our allegiance to creates a very different focus to our life, even when doing exactly the same activities. For example, egos like definitives, comfort, same-ness, accomplishments, and end results. Souls adore depth, experiences, growth, journeys, and expansion.

 

I once had a photo portrait session with a talented photographer who had taken one of my “Calling Council” workshops. I note the latter, because she wanted the portrait to show that side of me; the teacher, my ancient self, my inner shaman, and may I say my soul. I brought with me a selection of feathers, wings and skulls. Seeing the end result (see below) was an interesting experience. I could see the power I normally only feel, while simultaneously realizing a photo is simply an image of a moment in time. Our lives are a string of ongoing moments—some powerful, some weak, some in the middle. My belief is that we are eternal beings having the experience of being human. As a person we present ourselves to the outside through an image, that is what the ego does for a living. Sometimes this is done consciously, sometimes unconsciously. Either way, we are responsible for both the image we present and its alignment to our unseen soul. We are not in control, however, of what others think about or perceive our image. I have many people who underestimate me, and others that overestimate me. This helps me know that I am the only authority of myself and life. In contrast, the first half of my life was spent making my decisions based on my best guess of what other’s thought of me—not always consciously. While I am still more comfortable being seen positively and do weigh how others react to me, I now truly know people’s understanding of me has more to do with them. All I can do is remain true to my inner self and leave the rest up to the outside. Anything else brings confusion and disappoint.

 

Ultimately, wholeness includes both ego and soul. Just like the whole of a body has both legs and arms. They serve different purposes, but it’s most helpful when they are moving in the same direction. If they aren’t and your feet are walking forwards, yet your arms keep moving backwards, the balance of the whole will be disturbed and you go nowhere. Conversely, when working together they are a powerful team that can go in any direction. We are born whole. Over time, we begin to shut areas of ourself down. Perhaps we sense that if we show our whole selves we will be shunned for being too big, too much, too sensitive or not enough of this or that. In other words, we may think we will not be accepted due to our differences. Even if this is true (which is doubtful), is it more important to have the acceptance of others at the expense of being true to oneself? That does not seem a fair trade to me. So, we continue to quest for alignment of our inner and outer. There are as many ways to do this as there are numbers of people willing to work on it.

 

After a couple years off, I’ve decided it is time again to offer the “Calling Council” workshop mentioned above. For six consecutive weeks, we will journey to different facets of ourselves in order to become aware of where they are aligned and where they may be conflicting. This will be held in an intimate setting in Saratoga Springs. To find out more visit the webpage by clicking here.

 

Whether you come to call council among yourself in my workshop, I encourage you to consider if your whole being is working in unity. If you find conflict, consider how you may align your inner and outer, soul and ego, body and spirit. There is no end destination on this quest, instead its ongoing. Still, those moments of flow when all of you is walking forward are worth the effort.

 

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Eating Knowledge

The other day, I was contemplating a polarity in our society. On one hand, we are a throw-away culture—tossing out packaging, things that no longer work or we have little use for. On the other hand, we want to “fix” ourselves and the people around us. This can be witnessed by the marketing strategies of any number of businesses, specifically cosmetics, fitness, and self-improvement. I wonder if there is a correlation. Does it feel as though we will be tossed out if not repaired or useful to others? If so, is that true?

Over the last couple years I have had a few challenges. There have been times when I wanted to simply fix these situations. Simultaneously, there is this deep sense that it is a natural cycle and to wait. In nature there are periods of fallow before regeneration. Are humans any different? While our culture doesn’t endorse it, what if we allowed for these periods of rest and inaction, just as the earth examples for us? Wondering, I allowed for the quiet. There were times when my head screamed to make changes. I joined business groups and read countless books. Yet, they did not fulfill my hopes and I went back into the stillness. As it turns out, over this period I came more into myself. Would this have happened if I quickly “fixed” my outward appearance of “problems?” My guess is no. In our western culture that might not make sense. Wouldn’t we come “into” ourselves only after we’ve transcended our problems? From where I’m sitting now, not necessarily. Cliche as it sounds, sometimes what we call the problem is actually the gift—as the time spent within it gives expanded insight into life. Until we recognize this, the value of the experience will remain latent. Additionally, our society’s desire for comfort has few models for addressing the soul level growth that I’m most interested in. One example of this playing out is that I’ve been a Shamanic Reiki Master for over 10 years, yet I have only recently committed two afternoons to giving sessions. One may say that earlier I was afraid to put myself out there, or fear commitment, or have insecurity issues. Regardless of all those potentials, my belief is that it simply took me this long to fully integrate the innate abilities of my soul with the personality of Katrina.

Taking in new knowledge, is quite a bit like eating food. Remember the story of Adam and Eve? The following is not scientific, so excuse my rudimentary explanation. First we consume food; this is the most conscious part of the process. Next comes digestion, as the food goes down to the stomach to be mixed with the digestive enzymes, gastric juices etc to break down further. Then it gets absorbed to be used by the body as energy. Lastly, the food is eliminated. So, how does that look as a metaphor for learning? We consciously take in the information. We digest it and it goes throughout the body to be processed. Next it is assimilated by the cells to be used as energy—also called thoughts and beliefs. Lastly, its eliminated through the actions we take. Our behaviors are based on this cellular knowledge, for it is what runs the subconscious. Additionally, we don’t dictate the amount of time this process takes, no matter how quickly the intellect can understand the ideas. At the risk of going too far out there, the process can take lifetimes depending on the depth and nature of the subject. What we do have choice over is what we decide to consume. Healthy food and nourishing information are both wise choices to make. At times we use information prematurely; when it is in our heads only. This is when we take on a new belief, yet our outward experience remains the same. This is because our subconcious hasn’t caught up to the mind’s new understanding and hence our actions are still based on old beliefs. Or, it’s recognizable in others when you hear what someone is saying, maybe even agree with it, yet somehow you can tell they are simply repeating someone else’s words. On the flip side, you know when someone fully grasps what he or she is articulating because you might describe them as “speaking with heart.” Which means the “digestive” process has taken place and the person is communicating from their body.

Years ago, I did a shamanic journey and met a wise monk. We conversed for quite awhile and I knew it was an important conversation. I returned to waking reality and remembered the meeting but nothing about what we talked. Disappointed, I went back to this man in another “journey.” He told me it didn’t matter if my mind remembered our conversation, the cells of my body did. Only after years, have I come to realize the enormity of that. There are times the human personality uses spiritual information to feel special, to prove its worthiness. It takes great humility to accept true knowledge without hubris. Apparently, I wasn’t ready to hear that information in my head and ego. It was, however, time for my cells to understand that level of knowledge. So, in this instance the monk by-passed the eating phase of the digestion process. My body still assimilated and perhaps eliminated it by bringing the knowledge into class scenarios and healing sessions. I can’t be sure, since I still don’t intellectually remember what we discussed.

To close, I ask a few questions for you to contemplate over time; Do you lose out on soul growth by searching for ways to fix your discomfort with situations you consider problems? Are you more comfortable repeating what others have said, than accepting your body’s need to express it’s knowledge, which includes your own feelings, emotions and desires? Do you allow the full process of digesting information before proclaiming it? Whatever your answers, continue asking the questions and remain open to your truth.

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