Musings

Musings

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Receiving

Greetings all,

I hope you had de"light"ful week.  It was the summer solstice and for me that means ceremony.  Yes I got my drumming on.  I also got my despacho kit out, and the lovely bundle you see above is the result.  I love ceremony, and it forms a nice cornerstone in my practice.  Despacho for me is about gratitude for what I've been blessed with and asking for what I need in the moment.  Asking for blessings and receiving them are two different skills.

My life is filled with mostly unbelievable chains of events.  I still have a hard time believing half the things that occur, and I was there for them.  You'd think that doing the work that I do I would be totally chill with things showing up just when I need them.  I apparently have a high subconscious threshold of incredulity. Some of it stems from control issues and the fantasy version of reality we are sold by culture and media.  It colors so much of how we perceive our lives and the "natural" paths that we think lives are supposed to take.

I spent many years metaphorically banging my head against the wall trying to get things to happen.  Only thing was, I was following the logical script of how things happen.  We have a false perception of how the defining factors of our lives come together.  This is all enforced by countless movies (I'm looking at you romantic comedies...liars) and television shows.  We on the surface know that it is all fake, but when it is all we are feeding our subconscious mind, well that is what it builds the lens of our perceptions with.  This is why talking to real people who have found a path to the life they dreamed of is so important.  You get to see how much luck and chance had a hand in the recipe of their story.  That chaos that is life seems to weave in and out of all of our experiences like the currents  of the ocean.  Each tendril carrying us across the sea of time in a pattern too complex for most of us to comprehend.

This energy that some call fate, luck, or providence doesn't exist in a vacuum.  Our actions, reactions, and basic nature steer us in that current.  Some days we are barely treading water and other days we are cruising along at top speed towards the summer isles.  I've had some really good turns from the luck wheel lately.  I'm super grateful for it.  Oddly enough though it has made me nervous.  I've had a hard time accepting this good fortune.  Yes I know it is a good problem to have if you have to have a problem at all.  Again let me repeat I am grateful, and I am not complaining.  I am becoming aware of my own inner resistances to receiving the good that I've been requesting in my ceremonies.  The manner in which some of the blessings have shown up have me asking the question, "Do I really deserve this?"

Why am I telling you all this?  Well sometimes blessings come to us in ways that we don't expect.  When they don't follow the societal script of how things should arrive we can somehow doubt our worthiness to receive them.  I will point out that if you are judging yourself in this manner, you are likely judging others as well.  So stop it already.  Learn to take the compliment, and receive the gifts that you are given.  When you have a run of good luck, make use of it and be sure to spread it around.    There is no one "right" way as to how things should happen for us or anyone else.  When we get caught up in the cultural fantasy land of the way things should be we miss out on the miracle of the way things are.  So loosen up, relax, and count your blessings without worrying over whether or not you deserve them.  I assure you that you do, and by extension so does everyone else.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dark Gifts

Greetings all,

What a week!  I found myself back in the studio revisiting some old ways of working, and my oh my did the gifts flow from that.  Here is to hoping this week has gifted you with something of value whether it be tangible or not.

One of the tangible gifts I received this week was the orb you see above.  I had to consult with some people to find out the identity of the stone, but our best guess is gold sheen obsidian.  The spiritual  properties of the stone are quite revealing as to the focus of my journey at this time.  Some of those include: healing from the abuse of power, learning to use your own power to manifest more effectively, and scrying that reveals the core of a problem or pattern.  Receiving this as I move back into clay work is quite apropos.  I have had problems with authority.  Yes I know, shocking.  Without going too far into the backstory I had an extensive feud with an authority figure when I was in the process of getting my art degree.  I had four years of public humiliation and backstabbing by authority.  It really put a crimp on my creative output and belief in myself.  Subsequently I have had just about every obstacle you could think of come into my path as I have tried to make and sell my artwork.  It has been exhausting.

Dreams, I have often remarked, show us what is going on behind the scenes.  Sometimes they also hint at the future, but peering behind the scenes I find to be more valuable.  That was the intangible gift of this week, one I believe this dark orb helped to unlock.  I have been out of academia for more than a decade, but I have hundreds of school dreams each year.  I'm back there again and again without a purpose, feeling out of place, and always missing either a physical item or vital piece of information.  For you readers of omens out there, you may be starting to see where this is going.  Well pardon me if I am sometimes just a wee bit dense.  The latest back to school dream finally crystalized it for me.

So I'm back at the university post graduation, but I still have some work to collect that was fired in the kiln.  I try to sneak in the studio and the authoritarian adversary is there.  As I am trying to carefully extricate pieces off the shelf I accidentally knock one off and it shatters.  I am sad because it was one of mine that I thought might be good, but also relieved that I didn't ruin anybody else's work.  Upon making the noise Mr. Authority figure looks at me, and says, "You aren't being very amiable to me.  You know I am taking on a bigger role in the art community and if you're not nice to me your work won't go anywhere."  I look down at my work and I don't like it, I feel it is amateur and not good enough.  As soon as I recalled the dream in the morning I had a lightbulb go off over my head.  The reason I keep dreaming myself back at school is because I left a big part of my creative power and personal authority there.  My consistent doubting of my talents, skill, and worth began in that place.  I now know that somewhere in that place a piece of my soul essence and true power was lost.

Here's the good news, I've had shamanic training that's all about reclaiming lost pieces of the self.  I have the clarity and vision now to go back and retrieve those lost bits.  I've already seen a change in my studio work.  When I run into problems I am starting to see the cause and also the solutions.  The combination of the obsidian's energy, my decision to return to clay work, and my own spiritual work I've been doing has come together to show me what I need to do.  Right at the same time I've been invited to submit work for a juried show.  What an astounding coincidence....

Why am I telling you this?  We tend to circle around issues until they are resolved.  The mind will send us coded messages in our dreams. Many of us don't pay heed to our dreams or even remember them.  This was not a comfortable dream.  None of my school dreams feel good, they've always felt off.  I just assumed it was a general anxiety that most of us carry over from our days as students.  What if it isn't that for anyone?  What if we all left vital pieces of ourselves in the educational institutions.  What if the more we dream of school (assuming we aren't currently students) the more of ourselves we have left behind.  These dreams could be dark gifts from our lost ones.  I know what I intend.  I shall ride the wind into the dream world and mount a daring rescue.  I shall return with the prize of the light of my spirit.  What will you do?  Will you seek to remember what you have lost and sing it back to you?  Will you chose to forget and resign it to the dark space between dreams?  The darkness waits for us all, but perhaps it is waiting patiently as it lovingly holds what we treasure.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Coming Together

Greetings everyone,

I hope your first full week of June was fruitful.  Mine has been full of change.  Right now I'm still catching up to it.  If you're wondering about the odd little character in the pictures above I was only responsible for his lower half.  That glorious head was the contribution of another artist.

I took part in a surrealistic game this weekend called the exquisite corpse.  Basically people were divided up into two groups, one group made bodies and the other made heads.  Each of us had numbers that we were to keep secret while we worked.  I was hoping for a head.  I've sculpted heads before, I was fairly sure I could make one.  I drew a body.  I had no idea what to do.  Well there just so happened to be a circle cutter in front of me in one of the tool baskets.  So I rolled out a slab of clay and started cutting out circles.  I thought maybe I could do a turtle shell or something.  As I worked and made the piece to stand up, I realized it was no turtle.  It was a bit wobbly so I added a tail to stabilize it.  As I looked around the room I noticed that everyone was making quite large heads so I added the weird webbed feet for a little balance.  So now I had a godzilla tail and platypus feet.  I could tell it needed something for arms and I went with flipper-like appendages similar to a penguin.  Now all through this exercise I was certain that my creation sucked, I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of joining this clay community.  The growing surety that I would be exposed as a fraud with no talent was slowly rising.   Time was called, and us bodybuilders got to meet the headshrinkers.  When I saw the head I was amazed by it.  I was sure the other artist was feeling gipped that his head got such a rotten body.  I was wrong.  He loved the body's quirkiness, and to top it off it fit perfectly in the opening I had left.  When we put them together they just worked.  Could my body have been a tad bit more streamlined, of course, but it did create quite a character.

I share this story because it is good to note that comparing our efforts to others' is a losing game.  My persistent self doubt in my abilities could have completely tanked the evening.  Instead I had a wonderful time.  The critic in me didn't silence, but I put him in the corner while I worked, laughed, and visited with the other artists.  My experience wasn't unique, there were other people who were doubting their efforts as well.  Yet we kept working and when we came together we all created something that brought us great joy and surprise.  

Life is the exquisite corpse game.  We never have all the pieces we need ourselves to make the whole picture of life.  We often don't even know what those pieces are until we meet the others who bring them.  Just as they don't know about the piece of their lives that we've been building.  We can worry about our little bit and cry and say it isn't worthy, but if we decide to just smile and nod to that inner critic while we carry on, miraculous things may happen.  I've been away from clay for a while, and though it now shares the stage with my healing work it is just as necessary.

So what does this mean to you?  Well I am sure you have disparate parts of your life that seem to be out of place, but somehow they fit together in just the right way to make you who you are.  You may be working away on one half of a life thinking it is meant for one thing, meanwhile a wildcard creation will come along and fuse with that life in chimera-like fashion.  So when that happens don't go looking for why it shouldn't work.  If it works together just let it be, appreciate it's oddity and uniqueness, and stop  doubting the value of your own contribution.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Out of Chrysalis

Greetings all,

I hope this week was enlivening for you.  I can hardly believe it is June already.  This week was strange with the holiday.  Plus this coming week my teaching schedule changes up again, so I am all turned around.  I also finally am transitioning back into some of my art projects that have been on the back burner.

The picture up above is a polymer cast out of a silicone mold I made from a real cicada.  It isn't exactly perfect, but I was happy with the level of detail that I was able to achieve.  Believe it or not there was no tutorial online about how to mold an insect body.  I looked, if I had a proper camera I would have filmed my process.  For some reason I keep coming up with questions that google has yet to have the answers for.   As happy as I am with the results, I think I can do better next time.

The curse of perfectionism is a difficult one to overcome.  It is probably responsible for more than half of my procrastination tendencies.  I keep wanting everything to run smoothy and get it right the first time.  It took me several years to finally produce this cicada positive.  Now true, some of that time was pondering the problem of how to mold something so delicate and learning about the process and materials of mold making, but I have had the materials I ended up using for over a year now.  The only thing that has kept me from doing it is the worry over screwing it up.  I even planned to meet with a friend who had worked in molds. but I finally just bit the bullet one day and decided now is the time.

When we sit and wait for the stars to line up we can end up missing out.  I am all for people picking their moment, but at some point you just have to go for it or give up.  This simple (or actually not so simple) mold was symbolic of finally emerging. Just like the cicada emerges from it's old exoskeleton and unfolds it wings to take flight there comes a time where there can be no more holding back.  The cicada sleeps within the earth for years before emerging to fly free, which is kind of what many of my goals have been doing.  They haven't been sleeping because the time wasn't right, but because while they slept they could remain a dream without the imperfections of life.

Why am I telling you this?  Well it is easy to stagnate when you get bitten by the perfectionism bug.  There is always an excuse why now is not the perfect time.  Sometimes we seem to be waiting for someone to come along and help.  People can be great assistance, but ultimately it is us who must crawl up from our hibernation into the sunlit world.  When a butterfly exits the cocoon it is a messy and time consuming process, but it has to do it on its own.  If you touch the wings or try and help it, then it will never fly.  We too must muddle through our own mess if we ever want to transform our lives and ourselves.  Life is not an orderly process, nor is it something that can be perfectly orchestrated.  So this week if there is something you've been putting off starting maybe you should just decide to jump in, even if you don't have all the pieces.  You might make a mistake, you might make a mess, but you will have begun.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wasted Lives

Greetings all,

I hope you have had a fulfilling week.  I've certainly been checking things off my to do list.  I've been making choices, and making my schedule for the next month.  It is a good sign that I am starting to plan out my calendar, it feels to me that I am becoming more professional.  It has been a long time coming, but I am finally seeing the investment in my skills and business start to pay off.  Which brings me to this week's topic.

I teach classes in Tai Chi each week.  It is helpful on several levels:  one it is steady revenue as opposed to my flexible earnings from clients and sales, two it forces me to practice regularly so that I can be an effective demonstrator for my students, and three it gets me out of the house to interact with the larger public.  My life can be quite insular, I'm not an extrovert so I don't go out much.  Like most of us I live in a bubble, but mine happens to be a bit out of the mainstream. Occasionally something pops through bursting my paradigm isolation.  This week it came in the form of an old woman who wanted to set me straight.

I never did catch her name so let's call her Florence.  Well I was enlisted as IT help with one of the other senior's phone and Florence and I got to talking about tech.  Then she wanted to show me pictures of her granddaughter on her iPhone which was fine by me.  She was studying in the medical field.  Originally she had wanted to go into psych but Florence had apparently intervened since there was no money in that, but what she really wanted was for her to go into marketing.  That's where all the cash was (because we don't need silly things like doctors).  Well the conversation turned to me and my plans,  well she had plenty to say on that.  For those of you who don't know I hold degrees in art and psychology.  She called it "Lala" stuff and reiterated that money is what makes the world go round and nobody should waste their life on art or service. She then inquired after my age, which was forward, but I told her and she was shocked.  She proceeded to tell me she should have gotten to me when I was 19 or 20 to set me on the right path.  Fortunately for me I had another appointment so I was able to extricate myself.

This interaction got me thinking.  I have devoted my life to honing what gifts I have and acquiring the skills I use with my clients.  It is quite true that if I had used that time in other areas that today I could be  much better off financially.  Still for those who think only money matters they never stop to ponder what they would buy without those who spend their lives creating.  They don't think about all those who toil to bring them their savory dishes.  If all of those people just went into marketing there would be nothing to market.  There would also nobody to take care of the sick, invent new technologies, compose music, or produce the media to entertain the rest of us.  When people only value money they just consume until there is nothing left.  Money is a means to an end, an energy exchange, it is not the end.  Right now we are seeing the follies of putting profits over people. Here in America most of us cannot afford healthcare.  Around the world freshwater supplies are being polluted.  The very air we breathe is being tainted because some people value money over protecting our home for ourselves and our descendants.  The only reason money makes the world go round is because people have agreed that it does.  Those agreements may change, and indeed they must if we wish to have a sustainable way of life.

I really shouldn't have let it affect me, but this encounter was one in a series I've had over the course of my life.  People have praised what I do, while simultaneously grumbling over the price.  Don't get me wrong I love what I do, and I can't see myself doing anything else.  It's what I'm good at, and I have a hard time putting my energy into anything that doesn't provide something of true worth to people.  Selling plastic crap that people don't need would leave a huge hole in my soul.  Still it sucks when people tell you that you're wasting your life.  What sucks more is that it wouldn't affect me if some part of myself didn't agree with that.  It can be difficult seeing myself struggle to meet my material needs while knowing that what I do is valuable.  It can really lead to some serious self doubt.   When I get into that downward spiral I have to remind myself that my needs are met in this moment, and that I have changed people's lives for the better through my work.

So why am I telling you this?  Well it can be hard to pull away from the herd mentality and walk your own path.  We may watch movies about mavericks and rebels, but we are conditioned by family and later by schools and institutions to not dream too big.  It is hammered into us that we just need to keep our head down and take care of our obligations.  Many of us spend the precious moments of our lives toiling in places we hate for things we can't enjoy.  Yes we need to have some place to live.  Yes we need clothing and food.  Yes we need to be able to get around.  You know what we also need desperately?  We need lives of purpose and meaning.  Without that everything we do is hollow and scripted.  Not everything we do will bring us great wealth, but that shouldn't be the only measuring stick we use.  So this week start to become aware of those yearnings you've ignored because they didn't serve the greater cultural narrative of material success.  Look to what lights you up, not because it will bring you profit, but because it will bring you the most valuable thing of all...a life worth living.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

P.S. That picture was of my Mesa prayer this week; the focus was to have the strength to walk our own path.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Kindness



Greetings everybody,

I hope you had a pleasant weekend.  I got out and about.  This weekend is the second time I participated in a local festival called the Mighty Kindness Hoot.  It is an artistic festival centered around kindness.  It's just a one day even and both times I have really enjoyed being a part of it.

On such special occasions I have to break out my horns.  Walking around the fair I got to feel the energy of the event quite viscerally.  It felt pretty good.  I've been to my fair share of holistic, healing, and psychic fairs.  This had some elements of those but also elements of a street fair, a wellness fair, an art fair, a local business fair, and an social cause event.   Now people often confuse being nice with being kind.  I have worried of late that I am more nice than I am kind.  I see that as a problem.  Nice is a behavior, usually one that is self serving or manipulative.  In my mind it doesn't come from a clean place, but one of calculation and strategy.  Kindness comes from the heart, it is more innate and more pure.  It comes from the desire to do good for another simply to do good, not for the hope that it will put you in a good position later.

Are you still fuzzy on the difference?  Well it is a significant one.  The easiest way is to give you an example.  If I were to give a reading to someone where there is some unpleasant news to deliver if I am being nice I will try and sugar coat it, or make it sound like something it isn't.  If I am being kind I will give the person the information without trying to make it more palatable and then see if there is something that can be done to help them deal with the situation.  Nice is all about appearances and seeming pleasant.  Kind is all about service.  It is not great service to put on a fake smiley face and feed someone sweet delusions so they keep coming back for more.  Kindness is healing, nice is just covering up the symptoms.  Kindness is hard to do in certain circumstances, nice makes us feel like we are good even if we're not doing good.

Some people are just very kind by nature.  Now most of us start out that way, but somewhere along the road of life we've had it beaten out of us.  We armor ourselves against the hurst of the world and genuine kindness can be hard to come by.  As I said above I often worry that I am more nice than kind, so I try to ask the question, "What would be the kind thing to do?"  I ponder it for a moment, see what answer I get, and sometimes I even do it.

It is my hope that lost kindness can be relearned, because kindness is its own reward.  There is an ease in the kind heart that is not found in the false projections of the niceties.  Manners are all well and good, but intent is the key to all.  In this world of broken dreams and shattered promises it can be easy to overlook that the solutions to many of the world's problems are available to us.  The only thing stopping us is our ability to work together towards a common goal.  The lost art of getting along is more important now than ever.  In this time a little bit of kindness could go a long way to creating a brighter future.

So why am I telling you this?  Well take stock of yourself and be very honest.  Are you more kind or nice?  (You know you could be neither, but you probably wouldn't be reading this in that case).  Have you forgotten how to be kind effortlessly?  Is your heart light with joy and compassion or is close and calculating?  Look at your own motives, make sure you are aware of the energy that is moving you.  There is often a fear that if we allow ourselves the freedom to be kind that we will be taken advantage of by others.  There is that danger, but if you are aware of yourself and the spirit of Mighty Kindness you will often feel when others don't resonate with it.  You don't have to be blind to the evils of the world to choose to be kind.  Just keep your eyes open, all three of them, and remember most of all, be kind to yourself.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Deep Moons

Greetings all,

This week the full moon graced the sign of Scorpio.  What some of you may not know is that in my birth chart my moon was in that sign.  That is actually the origin of my name Mooneagle.  There are 3 animals associated with Scorpio: the serpent, the scorpion (obviously), and lastly but less well known the eagle.

Scorpio is one that peers into the depths, and is aware of the deep currents of the psyche.  This week we had a glimpse into our often buried passions and pains.  There is a misconception that meditation and spiritual practice will always leave you feeling better.  Let me just burst that bubble for you.  Sometimes you are left feeling very raw and vulnerable.  As we grow up we learn to suppress our feelings, or at the very least not to let them show.  When we slow down and sink into our minds and hearts those feelings rise up longing to be heard.  The more we've shoved those feelings down the more uncomfortable it can be for us to move deeper into ourselves.

Now I rely on my feelings in the work that I do.  It is an asset to me, but for many years it was a liability.  For whatever reason it seems common that when people know you are sensitive that they will provoke or attack you.  Now usually a bully is projecting their feelings onto their victims.  They hate those vulnerable parts of themselves so when they see them in others they attack to free themselves of the discomfort.  They get to feel strong, for a moment.  That is one coping strategy, another is to retreat into the self away from other people in a mental realm.  This second strategy can lead to creative leaps or inventiveness, or it can lead to delusions and a fracturing of reality for a person.  Yet another common strategy is to numb the self, and in fact this one is actually celebrated in our culture.  We call it toughening up, and in truth a certain degree of this is necessary so that we don't become paralyzed by our own emotions.  However we often take it to an extreme where we barely allow ourselves to feel them at all.

I realized in the past few months that I haven't allowed myself to feel deeply in my own life.  I don't allow myself the space to want what I truly desire.  This is a real detriment when it comes to creating a life that I love as I can't get the emotional energy needed to power such a change.  As I moved into healing some of this scar tissue I have been put in touch with a lot of the pain I shoved down into the depths of my consciousness.  This is a weight I carry everyday, but for the most part I am unaware of how much it has weighed me down.  Transmuting this pain and wounding will take a lot of focus and effort and will leave me feeling quite exposed.  If I don't heal it and transform it though I will never move into that life that I've pictured.

So why am I telling you this?  Trust me it's not to throw a pity party.  Spirit repeatedly has told me I'm not special.  If you are reading this I'd say there's a great chance that you are unconsciously carrying around a wound or pain that you have encased and tossed down into the subconscious.  You carry that with you all the time like extra ballast.  Over time that extra weight makes it harder and harder for you to move forward freely.  This past week's moon had the potential to reveal what we have tossed in the bottom of our awareness.  It would not be a pleasant revelation, it may be quite traumatic in fact, but it is necessary if we want something different in our lives.

As we move forward into the next moon, get in touch with what you are still carrying.  Just begin to acknowledge it.  It will probably be uncomfortable it may actually even hurt quite a bit, but we need to feel that if we are to truly set it down for good.  Be gentle with yourselves, be forgiving of yourself first and then others.  Look within and see what is there and do your best to still love yourself in that place of vulnerability.  One thing I learned is that the more we accept ourselves as we are the more we change.  It is quite counterintuitive, but once you grasp that it can be quite liberating.  Here's a toast to the depths and the treasures it can bring back to us.

Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle