Claim your cave (or what does being a bear look like for you?)

As a tribe, we are finally admitting that the culture is on crack.

We are no longer in denial that our cultural' cauldron detests simmer. It wants us steaming at full boil all the time. 

And as we become more and more aware of this dominant cultural rule, it becomes a "project" to relax. We schedule meditation. Yoga. Walks in nature. A date night. These kinds of relaxation choices are becoming regimented, and scheduled.

Please, do NOT misunderstand. Of course, I understand the necessity of schedules and balancing one's time. Better than most. I do my work in TWO realities -- ordinary reality and nonordinary.  Talk about scheduling.

However, it's time to claim this: when I hibernate, I do it VERY differently than most people I know.

Hibernation is a necessary, functional activity for me. I really need to hole up sometimes and that time period is probably longer than it is for most people I know. Rain soaking is the closest I come to really feeling like I am in the cave. Right now, the pacific northwest is my ideal climate. In winter here on our island, it is dark by mid-afternoon (many days). When the rain is loud, sometimes I turn off the lights, close my eyes, lie down and listen to drops pound the roof; I feel that sound soak through me, and feel water's music pulls me into lull. 

Bears do not sleep when they hibernate; their bodies create a morphine-like substance so they are really drifting -- something akin to shamanic journeying, I suspect -- during hibernation. When my mind gets full to the point of exhaustion (which takes a long time, many days of being lit about client work, classes, writing and the rest of my heart-full life), hibernating is my way to let it all rest and integrate. 

I am unique (aren't we all?), I think, because almost EVERYTHING that stimulates me seems to relax everyone else. Reading fiction and nonfiction. Walking outside. Journeying. Breathing. Meditating. Sitting still for 10 minutes generates prolific ideas -- my Muse is tumbling so many gifts into my lap I cannot open them fast enough. My work. Maybe it's because I am 63 that these catapults into MORE creativity need to be better modulated, but I am not very interested into investigating the "whys." Why is the least interesting question to me these days. "How" and "what" are my most interesting prompts.

So the things that actually DON'T spark ideas and motion for me are actually pretty precious to me, and they include games. 

Yes, games are on my list. OK, scoff if you will, but very complex games help my brain scurry to its heart's content while I rest. I am beginning to think I am the only person on the planet earth who does NOT do yoga, only because I haven't made it important, and because I only get a titch stronger every day after a prolonged illness; I only have so much physical juice. That goes, right now, to the recumbent bike to rebuild strength and to my dog, who lives yoga (Ok, I DO do laughing yoga with her). Rebuilding strength and stamina are important to me -- very high on the list -- but this must be done with patient stubbornness. 

Of course, I have a very strong, dominant spiritual practice, which I do in one way or another all day every day. I'm either practicing shamanism in service to a client, working on the curriculum for new classes, living shamanically (I tell students the goal is to live shamanically and not leave the practice when they leave the blanket, (but to live this, to understand what this really means takes years of work)), writing (and all my writing, if only indirectly, grows from the root of living shamanically), playing with my Quest kabal -- all of this is JOY for me, and it makes my life often move as fast and happy as hummingbird wings.

There is a difference between not wanting to get out of bed and rest because you are not feeling motivated, and not wanting to get out of bed because you need isolation, your own brand of quiet, and to simply follow the soul's yearning for peace. It's the peace that allows soul whispers to rise, and soul whispers are one way to tend our culture's chronic soul brokeness. Social media may or may not be part of a hibernation cycle for me -- it depends. Answering the phone usually does not happen at all when I am hibernating. 

How did not getting out of bed get such a bad reputation? People are loathe to admit they spend a day in bed (I write in bed, in an electric bed so my back is propped and my feet are, too -- I can write for many HOURS in this position with ZERO body strain).  

I have spent decades fighting who I am (yes, been there, done that) about how I "should" best flourish, wanting to be "normal," and have a schedule as regular as Beaver Cleaver's. 

This foray into believing I should become someone other than who I am has cost years of my life, untold suffering, and thousands in therapy bills. The most recent "AHA!" of "I show up at my most magnificent when I show up authentically as exactly who I am" may be just one of the best gifts of being in my 60s. I am and always have been hugely unconventional, and I finally have no problem with that. It's is Who I Am. And I  don't need to muck with that any more. I often dance with change, and how to become more and more articulate and specific in how I live my life in resonance, but that is about becoming MORE of who I am, and not less.

How we are different is how we add color to our tribe. How you are different is how you shine. 

As I feel the tsunamis of Artmark (a new program I am beginning in 14 days) and my new class (Companion Animals 101 in 17 days) move toward me, a full boat of shamanic clients, hibernation affords me a way to be bear. I am most decidedly part bear all the time. And bears do not surf tsunamis, they walk straight into them roaring, mouth open and ready to swallow the whole damn ocean. Bears have that capacity because they hibernate. 

And just as they give birth in hibernation, I do, too. My projects, my longer writes, better service, my capacity to bear (pun most assuredly intended) new ideas and delve deeper into those already aboard, growing "meat" on the bones of what I do -- all are dependent on hibernation.

Today will be spent  in hibernation. I feel the pull of winter (although it is not raining, damn it). I feel the relaxation and dissolution of the shell of the tulip bulb. My head is full to bursting and so I need hibernation to integrate what I am in the process of knowing. Tomorrow will be busier because of this choice, but so it goes.

Honoring not doing is becoming accepted in our culture as necessary, but finding one's own best kind of not doing is, I believe, critical work. Please, do not feel you must do it like everyone else. We are all built differently -- viva la difference. Claim your cave and be absolutely non-apologetic about it.

Just make sure you leave the cave with the cubs when they are ready to toddle with you. Because there IS a fine line between hibernating and trying to numb out.