healing haven

October 21, 2008

From Triton to Yaga (16)

Filed under: Baba Yaga journey,Enchanteur,healing,shape shifting,turtles — by thalia @ 3:45 am
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Before she knew it, she was riding a black mare, galloping over the verdant hills, her own satchel and the talisman bag received at the stables, deployed across her shoulders.  I wonder what is in the talisman bag?  There wasn’t time to glance at more than the package of dream seeds lying on top of other items.  This mare sure is in a hurry, the way she nickered, pulling at my arm until I mounted and gave her reign. I would have liked to ask a few questions to get a better idea of what this trip is about.  Something mentioned of Dream Masters and Baba Yaga.  Now there’s a combination!  What a sleek, almost iridescent black horse.  Her coat shimmers… well taken care of.   Reminds me of both “Black Beauty” and “The Black Stallion,” two books from childhood that completely enthralled me.  I don’t even know what her name is… another thing yet to be discovered.  I hope she knows where to go and isn’t just running for exercise.  Always needing to trust… always not knowing where the path leads and what one will learn… another lesson coming up.  The last she remembered, she had been playing in the ocean with a delightful turtle, an old friend of hers from her life as a mer-maid, newly returned daughter of Triton.

 

Previous to that she had been following her father as he moved into deeper waters.  Going from being afraid of him to recognizing her kinship with him, she felt she was on a roller coaster of emotions.  When the opportunity arose to play with Tico the Turtle when he appeared, it was exactly what she needed and wanted.  Growing up in the deep, she had frolicked with many turtles, fish, dolphins, even sea horses, as she learned the variables of the ocean and how to understand each interconnection with the other.  Her father ruled this area, keeping out undesirables by appearing ferocious, as Guardian of the Deep.  His seemingly evil appearance and ways were meant to weed out those wandering too close but who were not ready for the next step.  Those able to stand their ground and extend love regardless of his appearance–in spite of his appearance–were ready to be allowed on to the next level of experiences.  Those unable to overcome fear and extend love to something appearing bad were turned away.   

 

She had passed the criteria, not recognizing the monster as really being her long-ago father until that point.  Then she remembered more details of her time with him, her mother and siblings as mers.  Delighted to be on her way to see them all again, she allowed herself to be sidetracked when she saw Tico.  He had grown into a large sea turtle, the many years of existence and experience showing in his shell, now covered with various scars and abrasions, and his eyes, soft and loving and all-encompassing.  He had been such a wise teacher, even then much younger and smaller, yet someone who helped her learn patience and trust, all necessary to being able to find a quiet spot and quietly listen to, first her outer world, then her inner worlds.  Her father tended to be motivated but too critical and her mother loving but too dependent; Tico had helped her forge the best qualities of both parents.  He knew how to motivate others in a loving manner which she responded to best.  She had had dreams of him over the years she was primarily a human being, knowing him to be a great teacher and mentor, sharing his wisdom even in dreams or what might have been true-seeings, but never totally recalling from whence she knew him.  Her heart swelled to be with him again.

 

 

After time spent catching up, on her part (he knew all that happened with her over time), recognizing their means of communication was not verbal words but sounds and thoughts, she moved to ride on his back.  He wanted to take her somewhere.  As they swam, he conveyed that, once again, she was not going to remember it all, since she needed to go back and further experience the human condition.  There were still necessary experiences waiting for her.  But she would not be alone, and many of the associate traits of these other dimensions and worlds would still be with her, multiplied.  Learn, grow, know all as One!

 

The gentle sway of riding the turtle in the ocean somehow transformed to the more bouncy riding the black mare, bareback no less, over uneven terrain.  Here she was on her way to the Dream Master and Baba Yaga—what would she learn now?

 

 

 

October 18, 2008

A Day of Remembering: Making Descansos

Years ago, a hospice volunteer mentioned each patient and caregiver she spent time with was like a pearl in a necklace—over time, the necklace grew and grew.  I decided to use that idea as a theme for the Annual All Day Volunteer Retreat I facilitated for my hospice volunteers this year.  I had also come across Heather’s Soul Food Site “Descansos” which familiarized me with the term.  I then thought about how this theme could apply to hospice and to our Retreat.  Combining the two ideas, I planned a “Day of Remembering,” with the creation of a pearl necklace becoming the descansos made by each attendee.

 

Starting with a visualization to activate each participant’s memory about their loved ones, whether personal or hospice patients, we all thought of eight people we wanted to remember, and a few words about each that reminded them about what they received as a legacy from the person.  The legacy might manifest as an idea, a trait, or an actual item; such as, a recipe, a love of cooking, or a well-used rolling pin. 

 

I previously drew eight circles of varying sizes, on a piece of paper, with each circle touching the next, forming a completed chain.  This would become our necklace.  The largest circle in the necklace was generally reserved for a personal loved one, with the others filling in for hospice patients. 

 

The grief of hospice workers, and other nurses, doctors, and aides, etc., is considered disenfranchised grief—not acknowledged as real grief since the health care worker only knew the patient for a relatively short time compared to if the person was a beloved parent, spouse, child, grandparent.  However, one can become quite close to someone and still need to deal with their loss when it occurs.  When the losses are ongoing, as with health care workers, and one is then on to the next patient, those losses aren’t acknowledged and dealt with, and so accumulate, leading to eventual burnout.   So I try to allow the volunteers an avenue to know it is all right to grieve for patients, to provide an avenue in which to grieve and express that grief in a different way each year.  We’ve done “Legacy Writing,” “Ethical Wills,” “Rekindling,” “Inner Child” and many others in the six years of having Volunteer Retreats.

 

We each wrote the name of the remembered person in one of the circles.  Then we perused magazines to find pictures or words describing the person and their legacy to us, or used colored pencils or crayons to draw pictures or words.  There is something so therapeutic in using scissors and colored pencils, in smelling glue and crayons that takes us back to childhood.  The volunteers know by now every creation made at our Retreats is considered a work of art, and so have resolved any lingering critical voices in their heads from childhood.  Even the men get involved with creating and sharing.

 

Snip, snip, snip go all the scissors.  Sniff, inhale deeply beloved smells of childhood.  Oh! Look at this! Wow! intersperse the proceedings as people move about seeking the perfect picture or accessory like ribbons or beads, small flowers or feathers, yarn or thread, crayon or colored markers.  Anyone see a lilac bush in bloom?  How about a man fishing?  Here’s a woman baking.  Who was looking for that?  Looking for oneself as well as looking to help others.  Sharing as part of the process of creating, usually considered a solitary activity.  And sometimes it got quiet as each was busy getting it “just right.” 

 

Finally finished, or as finished as it can be in the allotted hours.  I asked each to bring in a fairly recent picture of themselves.  Now those pictures were glued into the middle of the picture, and we each truly had a pearl necklace going around our necks: a descansos of our legacy from losses of loved ones.

 

Then the verbal sharing started.  Each, in describing their necklace, gave a eulogy for the pearl-people (in their necklace), telling of the legacies they received from each, telling stories and activities, sharing the love they felt with others in a setting where they were really listened to.  And what stories!  Fortunately, I brought many boxes of kleenex, which were needed during the three hours of sharing.  Powerful legacies from patients one was with only a short time but where a real connection was built, showing we might never realize the influence we can have on others.  Three hours later, we all felt as if each of us had honored our loved ones in a eulogy sometimes more pertinent to the person than that done by the “professionals”—ministers and funeral directors.  Our hearts filled with inspiration and the goodness of so many people, including the volunteers telling their stories.  Truly “A Day of Remembering”, by making a pearl necklace, a descansos of our loved ones.

 

This was so therapeutic I went on and made a pearl necklace honoring my personal loved ones and using their pictures as part of each pearl, as well as individual collage cards honoring my memories of each person and their legacy.

 

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