I have been dreaming about swimming with the wild spotted Atlantic dolphins of Bimini. This is a waking dream, and my feet ache to be on sand, my back and shoulders want the grace of the warm, salt water, and my eyes yearn to look at the crazy colors and inhabitants of the underwater world. I crave buoyancy. And my heart, my soul want to feel the joy the dolphins bring, the water bursting with their play. There is never a bad time to be with dolphins, but when my heart aches for them like it has been in the past few days, I know something is up. There is some joy that is not being seen, some rhythm that is not being felt.
Rather than swimming with them, I feel like I am at the bottom of the ocean. Slow movement. Colder. No sense of tides. A wide expanse that is darker, the sun coming in shards through water that is murky with riled sand.
Just days ago, I was doing flips through the air, hitting the water with a splash and swimming fast and happy. I was on a good ride for about 14 days. Non-stop. My upcoming class -- Way of the Shaman -- is being graced with so many good students, and this seems so generous, a benediction. I am anticipating being with them, sharing my love of shamanism with them. Hopefully, creating a solid container of methodology, safety and passion that will allow them all the freedom in the world to hook up with their unique helping spirits in their own ways.
Hard to see that now when the sand is in my eyes. When my limbs feels heavy. I suspect that this is happening because I sailed for two weeks without a break in the work waves, soaring and dipping and gliding, and having SO MUCH FUN at lectures, at writing to prospective students, at doing the work.
And now I sense a huge tension. I want to rest, and I want to work. Neither feels right though. Rest does not come easy as my mind keeps asking questions: What anecdotes to share at that moment? How do I gracefully integrate that teaching? When will I say this piece -- there are so many places I could. And on it goes. Endless nuances, endless possibilities and only two days to be with them this time. Of course, I am not talking about content, but the soul of the class.
This is a kind of mind/heart play, which when supported by a good amount of energy, can be dizzying fun. But now I am tired, and so the questions seem a bit relentless. And as for work, I refuse to do ANYTHING with this class that even approaches the feeling of "just get it done." The work is too important for that; students deserve much, much more.
I realize I will be who I am in that class. Who else could I be? It is far too big a leap to hope I could teach people how to use core shamanism with the same elan that dolphins teach play. Finally, my dented and most imperfect self, my stubborness and rigidity, my heart and spirit, my sore shoulder and very quick mind will merge into a small gift I can only put on an altar -- an altar dedicated to the spirits, to the students, to my community and to the FSS (all of whom are sacred and beloved to me).
After I finish this, I will go into my shamanic studio and journey. I will ask the spirits the very open ended question of "What do I need to know right now?" I will give them my flatness and my murky eyes because that is all I have. My stubborness tells me (as it always has) that this is not enough, not nearly enough. I know the easy answer: when you give all that you have, it is always enough. But the truth is not so pat, and is far more complex.
I dream of dolphins and students and drums and of a neck that doesn't have a kink in it. But today I will lumber into the work, rattle my truth, close my eyes and ask them to take what they will, take what I offer in the name of love and compassion for the greatest good of all. And then go where they ask me to go.
I must keep remembering this. Even at the bottom of the ocean, you float. You rise eventually, and the sun shines like a benediction as you look up and you are only a few feet from the surface. The water turns a radiant blue that is an almost impossible to believe. You feel the water ribbon through your fingers, and the waves move you along. Journeying for fifteen years has taught me that, and now I must rest in that place, that knowing, so much greater than what I feel right now.