The west direction and the slow descent into darkness is the time to both forgive ourselves and learn from silence and solitude. Attaining mastery over anything requires this “hero’s journey” – the descent into our darkness. From my surrender to alcoholic insanity and learning to lend a hand, AA taught me to discern the difference between lending a hand and giving a handout. By loving and forgiving ourselves first, we learn the noble truth of it is in the giving that we receive.
The fall is learning and practicing fire tending. How to warm up and slow down. We first learn to tend our soul’s fire. Learning and practicing nurture. Step seven of the 12 steps is “we humbly asked spirit to lift our barriers to love.” I can’t “fix” myself. Humility is seeking to deflate falseness and surrender the past. I love the words from the healing song “Pacha Mama” – “There’s no high, there’s no low, there is nowhere you need to go, just inside of you is a star, saying just be as you are. We carry the light into the darkness.
Acceptance is the key to all of our problems. the soul tending is going into nature to heal. Going into the silence and darkness is what Grandmother bear and the trees are teaching us in late September. Nature is wearing her coat of many colors as she reminds us to go within. We had a great sweat lodge and prayed to the stone people to lift our spirits by letting go of the toxic poisons, anger, and underlying tears, opinions, and beliefs we have ingested.
We line our lodge with cedar boughs on the earth. The stone people and the cedars can take our rage and anger and transform them. When we clear the belly of self-defeating beliefs, we access our heart’s songs. From lead to gold. From rape into a noble passion – gratitude, hope, kindness, and love of life and art. Living a life of heart and meaning means following what has heart and meaning.
The drum, drum making, and drumming have taught me that. Together we can do anything. United we stand, divided we fall. Take down your barriers and let the emotions flow – letting go of worry and doubt and remembering the words of great teachers like Maya Angelou: “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” And that begins with me.
All is well and all will be well.