Archive for the ‘living the dream’ Category

Shadowland, Part 1

October 6, 2013

When you begin to catch yourself responding to life (yourself, others, events, the world you touch up against) in predictable, defensive ways and it makes you a little uncomfortable, that discomfort means it’s time to explore what you have been repressing and denying within yourself—your shadow. Can you still flee? Of course. But one of three things will give you the courage to avoid fleeing if you’re ready: the weariness you feel about the life you’ve been living, the pull of Spirit forward, or both.

Why do you need to face what you’ve been repressing and denying? Because it points the way to what needs to cleared, healed, integrated, unearthed, and otherwise dealt with so you can live more through your authentic self. And why go to the trouble to do that? Because anything else consumes a lot of energy. Because nothing else produces quite the same feeling of joy, aliveness, and peace—all rolled up together at the same time. Because you cannot really fulfill your mission in this life without doing so.

There are many ways to invite your shadow to sit down and have a talk with you. One is to play an adult version of hide and seek with yourself. Catch yourself in the act of hiding. What form might that take?

It’s often easier to see this in others than it is to see it in ourselves. At work, you may have seen it in the form of an employee or coworker who denies having made a mistake that has just been discovered, one they definitely have made.

“It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. Jack had it after me.”

“I checked the calculations. They were correct when I turned them in.”

“The order most have gotten screwed up.”

“I told Mary exactly what to do and how to do it. This isn’t my fault.”

When someone is dancing or outright lying, you may be annoyed with them or embarrassed for them. You may wonder why they just don’t own up to the mistake. This behavior may feel particularly egregious when the CEO does it because s/he is supposed to be a model of good behavior, and the blame is often deflected to everyone below the CEO level or to uncontrollable events.

But what about when you are the one who has made the mistake? And let’s say the mistake is nothing that will bring down a company, the US economy, or your family’s budget. Let’s say, for instance, you were asked to personally contact six clients at work to give them the bad news that their orders are not going to be finished in the time your company had estimated. Delivery will be delayed. You make five of the calls, then are distracted by another problem and forget to make the sixth call. The client later calls your boss and rails at her because the order is late. He swears no one called him. When your boss comes to you and asks you about it, you can either tell her the truth or you can tell her something other than the truth.

Let’s say you tell her something other than the truth and you are immediately uncomfortable with what you have done. You’re not a sociopath, after all. Apart from not wanting to be on the receiving end of her wrath, apart from fearing you might lose your job (even though you’re confident you won’t for this relatively small infraction), what might be going on? Why did you lie?

When I was ten or so, I lied to my mother when she asked me to do something. It was rare for my mother to ask for help. She usually behaved as if no one but her could do anything she needed done correctly, so she did things herself. But she must have dropped her guard just a little one day, no doubt because she had plenty to do for my sisters, who were three and four at the time. She asked me to ride my bike to a neighborhood grocery store and buy some simple item in the particular brand and variety she wanted. She gave me the money for it. I set out on the mission, very aware of how unusual it was for her to give me this kind of responsibility.

But once in the little grocery store (these neighborhood grocery stores were not much bigger than your neighborhood coffee shop is these days), I couldn’t quite remember the details of what she wanted. I went home without buying anything. When she asked why I didn’t have the item, I lied and said they were out of it. The look of frustration and disgust on her face were harder to take than being struck by her would have been.

So why had I lied? I certainly didn’t want to disappoint her and I certainly didn’t want to be chastised for failing my mission. But there was more to it than that. I lied because I didn’t want to prove her right. I didn’t want to be the living example that no one but her could do things correctly. I lied because I didn’t want to be shown to be the dreamy ten-year-old I was (often lost in the meanderings of my mind). I lied because I didn’t want to be proven incompetent. I lied because I didn’t want to be a failure.

Did I understand all of this at the time? Well, I know I was extremely uncomfortable. And because I was a terrible liar, the lie was probably written all over my face. I felt shame. But I doubt I could have given words to my discomfort and shame. It was only later, with maturity and insight, that I began to address the fear that I would be discovered to be what I desperately didn’t want to be: incompetent and a failure.

Lying was definitely too uncomfortable for me to make a habit of it, but I spent a lot of years hiding out. The fear of being seen as incompetent and/or a failure became part of my shadow.

Most of us have a shadow self. Most of us have repressed and denied some things. And those things are often our deepest fears about ourselves. Shadowland has a large population.

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

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Getting Out of the Cocoon, Part 2

August 25, 2013

What kind of questions do we begin to ask? Many of us—maybe most of us—don’t begin with broad, sweeping questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the nature of reality? These are not the questions that usually first confront us when we finally pause and pay attention. No. The questions we begin to ask ourselves are often much narrower, much closer to our everyday lives: Why did I snap at her when she said that to me? What now (that I’m divorced/have lost my job/have retired)? Why am I sad/angry/empty/unfulfilled/anxious right now (or all the time)? Who am I trying to please by doing this? Where should I look for an answer to this problem? When will I finally find some peace?

These are the kinds of questions that begin to plow up the soil in the field of your life. But whether you just scratch the surface or plow deeply depends, in part, on whether you return to the same defensive strategies you’ve been using as you pursue the answers to your questions.

Why did I snap at her when she said that to me? The answer might be one of the following: Because she’s an idiot. Because this is really none of her business. Because she keeps nagging about that. Because she’s wrong. Because I know more about this than she does. Because she just doesn’t know what I’m up against. Any of those might be perfectly rational answers on any given occasion. Or they might have seemed perfectly rational at one time, but not now.

You may begin catching yourself in the act of responding in all too familiar ways that are predictable and either feel more defensive than rational or don’t feel representative of your best. And when you catch yourself recognizing something old and a little bit putrid in your answers, you can bet that there is at least one dead body in that field you’re beginning to plow—probably more than one. And however many there are, they are all you, versions of yourself it’s time to heal and integrate in the bid for power (in shamanic terms) that is a movement towards wholeness.

There is gold in that field you’re plowing, but it is probably not sitting close to the surface. You may have to plow deep. You may find yourself beginning with a timeworn answer, one you’ve trotted out again and again, probably with different people and in different circumstances. Then you stop. You discern a sense of futility to the answer, or discomfort, or hollowness. You may even have a sense of déjà vu. The answer you begin to give may feel true, in part, but shallow. Something in you is no longer satisfied with the same old answer.

If your skin begins to crawl and you realize you don’t actually have an answer, that very sense of “no answer” may feel like a black hole. And actually, that’s not a bad way to look at it.

At the risk of mixing metaphors with abandon (the field of your life with astronomical black holes), consider the black hole for a moment. I’m no scientist, so this is going to be expressed in the simplest of terms. A black hole is formed when a huge star is “dying.” It collapses and its matter gets squeezed into a small space. It becomes very dense and has immense gravity. It has such gravitational force, in fact, that its escape velocity (the speed needed to break away from that gravitational pull) is faster than the speed of light.

Well, sort of. You see, scientists talk about event horizons with black holes. The outer event horizon is at the edge of a black hole. If you were there, you could escape the gravitational pull. But the inner event horizon, which is in the middle layer of the black hole, has a gravitational pull too strong to escape. So we have the outer layer and the middle layer. “What’s in the center?” you ask. Thanks for asking. The center of a black hole is called the singularity. It is that very dense collapsed star. There’s no escaping that.

What does this have to do with the field of your life you’re beginning to plow with those questions? Everything, actually. Think of the center of the black hole, the singularity (a beautiful term when used as I’m about to), as your authentic self, the core of your being, your essential self without all the pain and unhealed issues. In short, you minus the baggage. That core has a gravitational pull that, once you have stepped beyond the outer event horizon, is inescapable.

When you begin to ask questions, you have arrived at the outer event horizon of your personal black hole. You can still escape the gravitational pull, but to do so, you will have to return to the same defense strategies that ultimately gave rise to the questions. If you begin to challenge your usual answers to those questions, you are mighty close to stepping beyond the outer event horizon. And when you do that, everything begins to change. You’re pulled right into that black hole. It’s scary, but you’re heading towards . . . the singularity.

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

Staying on the Old Road, Part 2

June 23, 2013

What if you could return to your mother’s womb, where it is warm and safe? You rock gently in your pool of amniotic fluid, and that fluid is contained within the amniotic sac, providing a warm, protective environment. Your needs are met and nothing is required of you.

Actually, most of us do return to our mother’s womb. We create a cocoon for ourselves in order to make the world safer, easier, more comfortable. It could be said that this cocoon is built upon the foundation of our fears because it is constructed as a response to everything we view as threatening or uncomfortable in the world. We want a place to go to, to reside in, that feels like home.

There’s something to be said for that . . . except that what feels like home by the time we’re adults is not our authentic selves, it’s the persona we have created. So we build a palace for our persona. The caterpillar forms its cocoon using the silk it emits from glands. That silk is gluey and when it dries, it becomes hard. We humans create our cocoons from the stuff of our lives. The cocoon is created by the dysfunctional strategies we have developed to make ourselves feel safe and comfortable. It, too, is gluey. It, too, becomes hard when dry.

And we do become dry. We suck the very life right out of ourselves as we construct the cocoon. We eliminate any beliefs that may be threatening to the persona. We spend our time doing things that support the persona. We invite people into our lives who do not challenge our persona or the cocoon we’ve constructed from it. Anyone else is “them.”

Pema Chödrön has described the cocoon in a way that first lulls the listener into thinking that this would be a nice thing. She builds her description layer on layer until the listener begins to be just a little uncomfortable, just a little antsy. By the time she’s done, you’re horrified. She does all of this within the space of a few minutes.

Pema likens the cocoon to a room that is just right for you. It’s your room and everything in it is perfect—for you. Everything in it pleases you, from the smells to the music to the room temperature to the furnishings. In fact, it so pleases you that you stay in there as much as you can. When you must go out, you are reminded of just how unsafe and annoying the world is. You retreat back into your room as soon as possible. You leave it less often. You try to never leave it. Even then, some of the world filters in and you find yourself pulling the shades and stuffing towels under the door to keep as much of the world out as possible.

You decide that it is pretty nice in there. Just perfect, in fact. But it’s so closed up, no fresh air can get in. It’s suffocating.

This is a precise description of what we do to ourselves. And some of us take it even further. After being in that perfect room for a time, we decide it’s not quite perfect enough. There are some things in there that don’t fit as well as we thought. So we open the door just enough to toss them out. Strangely, the room gets smaller when we do that, not more spacious because there’s less in it. No. It closes in on us even more because we have put even more limits on what is safe and comfortable.

For such a confined space to actually be safe and comfortable, though, you have to restrict what it means to be “me” and what it means to be “human.” The smaller that room becomes, the more restrictive those definitions are. And the less you can breathe. In fact, what you are breathing is nothing more than your own recycled breath, and sooner or later, all the oxygen will be gone from that room.

What’s to be done?

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

Staying on the Old Road, Part 1

April 28, 2013

If you should not leave the old road for a new one, does that mean you need to spend years in therapy rehashing your past? And do we really spend the first half of our lives becoming dysfunctional? What do I mean when I use the word “dysfunctional” anyway?

The three blog posts on not leaving the old road for a new one elicited comments and questions, some on the blog, others on my Facebook page (to which I copy my blogs), and still others in e-mails and conversations. One reader asked if “dysfunctional” was the correct word to use. She suggested that you live your life and realize at some point that it isn’t working quite the way you planned. You may even feel as if your life is falling apart. You build a road with the wrong materials, keep adding to it with the wrong materials, and even go back and repair potholes with the wrong materials.

Are “the wrong materials” the equivalent of “dysfunctional”? Well, I believe we build the road with the materials we have on hand. And those materials on hand include everything that has gone into making us who we are. We develop strategies to help us navigate our way through life. And some of those strategies become barriers between the persona we create for ourselves and our authentic selves. And that, in my vernacular, is dysfunctional.

If our future becomes our past unless we do something other than keep repeating it, why aren’t a few years in therapy a good idea? They may be for you. My attitude is this: whatever works. But my preferences are clear, based on how I’ve lived my own life. I’m educated in the field of psychology. I have respect for it. I even worked as a therapist for a while during and after graduate school. But I found my way to shamanism and stayed there because I found it a more useful approach . . . for me.

The work of becoming a shaman is very much about working your way back to your authentic self by staying on the road you arrived at to “here” rather than simply leaving the old road for a new one. It is the work of courageously facing yourself as you are, accepting it, healing whatever needs to be healed within you, and making a choice to live a life of integrity—and by “integrity” I mean the kind of completeness you achieve with harmony of mind, body, spirit, and emotions. As it happens, that kind of harmony seems to support “integrity” as most people think of it—a fundamental incorruptibleness.

We so effectively keep ourselves wrapped in the comfortable cloak of our persona that it takes serious excavation to face ourselves as we are. And if you go looking for something buried somewhere other than where you buried it, what do you suppose your chances of finding it are? Exactly. So you stay on the old road.

I’m not going to delve into shamanic practices like recapitulation here. At least, not yet. It’s helpful, I think, to take a look at how we construct a road that takes us away from our authentic selves in the first place. And to do that, I’m going to borrow a concept from Buddhism as I, a non-Buddhist, have come to understand it: the cocoon.

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

Don’t Leave the Old Road for a New One, Part 2

March 20, 2013

Life gives us plenty of reasons to flee. Mostly, we flee from ourselves. Almost everyone has one version or another of a dysfunctional childhood. If they don’t, they make up for lost time as young adults. It isn’t just that we flee an understanding of our own capacity for evil, or small-mindedness, or our baser instincts. Our lives chip away at us and by the time we’re adults, most of us have devised some pretty effective strategies for protecting ourselves and managing our way through life. We put boundaries in place—a functional and necessary thing, but some of the boundaries are not simply between “I and thou,” they are between “me and me.” That is, we work hard to create a persona and we often forget that the persona is not the real thing. It is not us.

We don’t just work hard at creating the persona, we work hard at maintaining it. There is a certain amount of presenting ourselves in the best possible way that comes with that, a certain amount of being just a bit less than honest with others—and with ourselves. We build lifestyles to support our personas. We build defenses—against being abused again, against being abandoned again, against being taken for granted again, and most important, against being “found out.” If we’re not careful, we don’t just defend against perceived threat, we become all too ready to attack, often in subtle ways we don’t even recognize.

But one of the most sacred—not to mention useful—things about being human is that who we really are is always still in there. As Buckaroo Banzai and many others have said, no matter where you go, there you are. The “you” in “there you are” isn’t just the persona. Who you are may be buried beneath the persona, but it’s there. You carry it with you on the journey.

In many ways, we are all like that shopkeeper. We all flee the dead body on the threshold. That dead body is, after all, us. Except that it is not really dead. God knows, it may feel like who we started out as when we slid down the chute into this life is long gone by the time we’re twenty or thirty, but it’s still alive and well within. It may feel dead and we may even wish it were dead because owning up to the human part of being a human being is not something most of us are thrilled to do. We’re afraid the body will be found. That is, we’re afraid we’ll be discovered for being exactly who we are. So we flee.

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

Don’t Leave the Old Road for a New One, Part 1

March 12, 2013

Some stories stay with you for a long time, having their way with you, becoming integrated within you as you become more integrated within yourself. “Solomon’s Advice” has been one such story for me.

I first read this story in David Whyte’s wonderful book The Heart Aroused. He’d heard it from Angeles Arien, who got it from Allan B. Chinen’s book, Once Upon a Midlife, who may have gotten it from Italo Calvino. The story can, in fact, be found in Calvino’s book Italian Folktales. Clearly, this story has made the rounds.

I’ll let you track down the full story for yourself and give you a very abbreviated version because it is one part of the story that has been opening within me for a time. As the story goes, there is a shopkeeper with a wife and sons. One morning he finds a dead body lying across the threshold of his shop. Afraid he will be accused of the murder, he flees.

Yes. He abandons his family and flees.

Miles from home, he takes work as servant to a wise man by the name of Solomon and works for this man for many years. Ultimately, he decides to return home. Solomon gives him three pieces of advice before he leaves. He charges his faithful servant handily for the advice, too. The first piece of advice is this: Don’t leave the old road for a new one. As annoyed as the servant is about paying for such a simpleminded piece of advice, he does use it. And he saves his own life in the process.

Chinen has an opinion about what this bit of advice means within the context of midlife. So does Whyte. I wasn’t quite satisfied with either—though that might simply be my lack of scholarly attendance to what they had to say. But the notion stayed with me for many years. What did it really mean to not leave the old road for a new one?

Yes, yes. Plenty of people have midlife crises and go off in new directions to their detriment. I didn’t think that part of the story was a symbolic admonition to stick with tradition, or the known, or what society thinks we should do. And anyway, many other people in midlife leave the old road and blaze new trails to their betterment. There was something more there.

Then, in that early morning state of intuitive understanding we all sometimes have before we’re fully awake, a sense of its relevancy to me dropped right into my consciousness, more or less fully formed. It was simple. It fit so completely with the work I do as a shaman. It made sense within the context of my own life. And this is how I came to understand it.

To be continued.

Copyright 2013 by Melanie Mulhall

How Others Responded, Part 2

July 22, 2012

“Counseling wisdom is that it takes five years for life to start feeling normal again after the loss of a spouse,” a woman I knew said.

How do you respond to a statement like that? My husband had been gone for more than fourteen months at the time. Her statement was not unlike a curse. It came hurtling across the internet and into my email inbox as a prison sentence she seemed bent on imposing: three years and ten months more before you will be okay.

But I already felt okay. I’d experienced an energetic shift at the anniversary of Howard’s death. There were still moments of sadness (as there always are in life), but I was back. The concept of “normal” seemed ridiculous to me, not simply because I’d never aligned with statistics for the “normal” person, but because what normal is changes with major life events. Including the death of a spouse.

Actually, there was something more to her pronouncement than a sentence. It felt like a judgment, a way of saying, “Don’t try to fool yourself. You’re in denial and you’re suppressing grief if you think you’re okay. I’m a member of the psychology community. I know better than you.”

Of course, I’m overeducated in the field of psychology, with two degrees in it. Psychological generalizations and labels had been among the things that had disenchanted me with psychology. Too much of the field seemed divorced from the “psyche” in psychology—the soul of it. When I became a shaman, I realized that while I couldn’t deny the impact of psychology on my thinking and life, it was shamanism that spoke to the soul-based way I lived.

That woman’s reaction was a bit more blatant that others after my husband’s death, but it was one of the classic reactions I got: Know that you will be devastated for a long time. In fact, you may never get over it. There were four other reactions: Discomfort over the death; heartfelt sympathy for my loss; surprise that I wasn’t over it yet; and, genuine acceptance of however I was dealing with it. It was a relief to be with people who were grounded in that last response and could radiate it. These four basic reactions remained the fundamental reactions I got from people throughout the first eighteen months after my husband’s death.

Many people expressed heartfelt sympathy when they first heard of Howard’s death, and they expressed it again when they were face-to-face with me. A few people avoided me. A few rallied to support me. But over time, it seemed to me that the fundamental mindset that a person had about life and death came oozing out when I responded to their question, “How are you doing?” Some people seemed permanently fixated on the pain of loss. The woman who pronounced that it would be five years before I felt normal again appeared to me to be one of those. Others projected a kind of fearlessness about life, an understanding that tragedy happens, but life wins out for the survivors of death—if they let it. Maybe because I fall into that latter category, I appreciated that reaction from others most.

It wasn’t that this latter group pushed me to be perfectly fine when I wasn’t. On the contrary, as a whole, they were better at assessing exactly how I was feeling and accepting it more than others. More than anything, they didn’t lay a judgment on me about how I “should” be responding to the death. Their response to my response allowed me to relax into exactly who I was when I was with them.

If there is something to be learned from all of this, for me, it is that we cannot really make assumptions about how anyone will handle the death of a spouse. And the person who has experienced the death cannot make assumptions about how others will respond to them, as survivor, or to the fact of the death.

So what can any of us do for another when they lose a loved one? We can bother to pay attention to how they are and what they need—reading it in what they say, what they don’t say, and what they project—instead of making assumptions. And we can send them waves of love, from our heart to theirs. Does anything else really matter, anyway?

Copyright 2012 by Melanie Mulhall

Shedding Energetic Debris

May 14, 2012

The beginning of the end had happened at the beginning of Thanksgiving week in 2010, so it would have been a fair assumption that the holidays were going to be difficult for me in 2011. But by October, I thought I was going to be fine during the holidays and planned to spend them alone.

That was October.

November 1st came and I was not so fine. The idea of being alone Thanksgiving seemed like the plan of a crazed woman. Howard had almost died the night before Thanksgiving in 2010 and I’d spent Thanksgiving cooking a huge turkey with all the fixings while he slept through the day. The cooking had kept me occupied. At the time it seemed a better idea than, say, drinking Jameson and pacing the floor. A year later, I suspected I might be drinking Jameson and pacing the floor if I was alone Thanksgiving of 2011.

When Cindy Morris invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her and her roommates, it was like a postcard from God informing me that my plight had been noted and taken care of. Cindy had been such a solid friend during Howard’s last days, not to mention the months that followed, and here she was, turkey baster in hand, looking after me one more time. Being looked after by someone else had been such a rare occurrence throughout my life that she seemed like some combination of Mother Earth, Mrs. Santa Claus, and all of the Greek goddesses, all rolled up into one person.

It was one of the best Thanksgivings I’d ever had.

But right around Thanksgiving, I began having problems with my gut. Since my gut was reliably healthy, it got my attention. What in the heck was going on? I might have had little experience with being taken care of by anyone else, but I was very good at taking care of myself. I got plenty of sleep, ate healthily, exercised, meditated . . . leaped over tall buildings, bent steel with my bare hands . . . . Okay, maybe I didn’t do those last two things, but I took good care of myself. And my gut was suddenly the gut of a sedentary, junk food eating, hyper-stressed burnout.

As I meditated one Sunday morning, right before going to my massage therapist (David Kochevar), I was told that the problems with my gut were coming from debris in my energy field. And it wasn’t even my own energetic debris. It seemed I’d somehow accumulated some of Howard’s energetic debris during his last six weeks of life. It had been time-stamped to come into my awareness for release a year later . . . and it was now time to dispatch it. I was told by guidance to have David work on my midsection. That would do part of the job.

Fortunately, David is a kindred spirit. Our appreciation for the workings of Spirit—if not the specifics of our personal theologies—tended to dovetail. He had not only been my massage therapist for most of his career, but he had become one of my favorite people in the world. I knew he would take what I’d been told in stride. He did. And I walked out of his office a new woman.

But I knew his work on me was only part of what needed to be done. I wasn’t quite sure of what constituted the rest. I decided to do a shamanic journey, and while I was quite capable of journeying myself, I wanted Antonio to drum for me. Journeying with Antonio was always a richer experience than journeying on my own, just as those who came to me for shamanic journey work had a richer experience journeying with me than they would have attempting to journey on their own. I always likened it to massage: You can massage yourself, but the involvement of another person’s energy makes being massaged by someone else a very different experience than massaging yourself.

I scheduled the journey with Antonio, only to cancel it within a week. I told myself I was crazy to think I could fit a journey into an already over-booked December. But it was more than that. The timing wasn’t quite right.

During another morning meditation, I asked my “council” (a council of spirit guides I often meet with in meditation) what I needed to do to clear the remaining energetic debris, and I asked for their help. They not only agreed to help, they wanted to accomplish the deed right then and there. I was a bit taken aback. Excuses raced through my mind, but really, I wasn’t sure if I was ready. I had no idea why I was balking. What, exactly, would make me ready? When did I think I would be ready? I took a deep breath and told them to lead the way.

And they did. When we were done, I knew that the debris was gone. I felt clearer, more myself, than I had felt all year. And I realized that I had postponed the journey because it was not to take place until the anniversary of Howard’s death had passed. I scheduled it for December 30th, the day after the anniversary.

I spent Christmas alone, at peace. I wasn’t quite so serene on December 28, the day before the anniversary of Howard’s death. The death ceremony, his final hours, the coma he lapsed into . . . it all occupied my mind and surrounded my heart like an old memory, both painful and beautiful. The 29th felt less constrictive, and it seemed fitting. Howard had been released from the constriction of his failing body a year earlier on that day.

I was ready to journey on the 30th. It was a beautiful, profound journey (and, perhaps, a story for another time). When January 1st, 2012 came, I felt ready to reclaim my own life . . . a life richer and deeper because of my travels with Howard as he made his way from life to the great life beyond, a life I embraced fully because I was happy to be among the living, happy to continue my Earth walk, thrilled to see time spread out before me like a carpet of flowers. I was back.

Copyright 2012 by Melanie Mulhall

The Aramu Muru Doorway

September 28, 2010

The difference between hearing about a place and experiencing it for yourself is akin to the difference between being told there is a God and having a mystical experience. There is no substitute for the experience. While Jorge Luis Delgado had written about and spoken of his rediscovery of a site that had come to be known as the Aramu Muru Doorway, I was keen to visit the place myself and had that opportunity the day following the Cutimbo air ceremony.

Near the Aramu Muru Doorway

Many years earlier, Jorge Luis had come upon the place, which was not far from a main highway, but which had seemingly gone unnoticed for a long time. He had been following a ley line down the valley in which the site sits and upon approaching, realized that it was special. The area was comprised of a large sandstone wall with a door-like indentation in it. Jorge asked permission of the place’s spirit guardian before approaching the “doorway” that he suspected was a portal to another dimension. What he experienced when he connected with the doorway was a flurry of visions, one of which was a vision of Aramu Muru passing through the doorway into another dimension.

Fellow Travelers at the Aramu Muru Doorway

Some years later, Jorge Luis began taking tours to the site and when a foreign journalist interviewed him about the place, he told the journalist about his experience there. The journalist published the story, proclaiming that Jorge Luis had rediscovered the ancient Aramu Muru doorway, and the name stuck.

Not only did the name stick, the place became somewhat famous.

But who was Aramu Muru, anyway? That depends on who you talk to. Some legends suggest that Aramu Muru was the first “priest/king” of the Incas, also known as Manco Kapac. It is said that he is the one who took the Solar Disc that had been hanging in the Sun Temple in Cusco and brought it to Lake Titicaca. The Solar Disc was believed to have originated in Lemuria and by bringing it to Peru, the Brotherhood of the Seven Rays (essentially, a group of Ascended Masters) was, in essence, establishing a presence there—a presence intended to foster brotherhood, service, and relationship with Spirit.

While visiting the Aramu Muru doorway would be a worthwhile endeavor at any time, it seemed particularly appropriate on February 13, 2010—one day before the Solar Disc activation ceremony was to take place. In fact, we were visiting the site while making our way to the dock where we would catch our boat to Amantani Island. There was symmetry to our going to the doorway at this time. It is thought that Lord Aramu Muru left the earthly realm by passing through a portal, disappearing into another realm—as Jorge Luis had seen in his vision—and we were about to continue his work by activating the Solar Disc.

The site is an impressive one. The doorway and two channels on either side of it are in the midst of a large stone wall. The stone is pinkish in color, reminiscent of our red rock in Colorado. The doorway itself is a bit wider and a bit shorter than what we might think of as a standard door and is indented.

Channels to the Left and Right, Doorway in the Middle

No, there are no hinges and no doorknob, nor is there no way to “open” the “door” using standard, physical methods. The door is wider at the top than the bottom with a small ledge on either side that can be used to rest one’s hands while kneeling in front of it. There is also a small, round indentation that some have suggested might be the place where Aramu Muru placed the Solar Disc to “open” the door. Jorge Luis has pointed out that this opening is more or less aligned with the third eye (depending a bit on one’s height) for those kneeling at the doorway.

Fellow Traveler Standing in a Channel

The channels on either side of the doorway are thought by some to balance the masculine and feminine energies. Jorge Luis noted, during his first experience with them, that they seemed to be energy vortexes, one spinning clockwise and the other counterclockwise. As our group approached the doorway, we spontaneously formed a line, each person stopping to position him or herself in the channel to the right of the doorway while waiting for a turn to experience the doorway, itself.

Q'ero Shamans

My experience of the channel was one of energy, which I felt coursing through me as I positioned myself snuggly within it. Just leaning against the channel stone sent vibration radiating through my body. Once at the doorway, I knelt and placed my forehead against the rock. And as I did, I felt the doorway thin and then dissolve, being replaced by an energetic portal. I passed through this portal and, once inside, saw three tunnels—one straight ahead and the others to my right and left.

Saint Germain (an Ascended Master and one of my personal guides, sitting on a council of twelve I often find myself before during meditation) appeared before me. He was delighted to find me there. He told me it was not yet time for me to pass down any of the tunnels, but assured me that, having found myself before them, I would be assisted by him in traveling down them during shamanic journey, dreams, and at other times when I was in an appropriate state to do so.

I came to understand that the first tunnel—the one straight ahead—led out into the cosmos and, from there, to many places. The tunnel to the right led (via tunnels that forked from it) to Mount Shasta, Amantani Island, Machu Picchu, and numerous other places that are connected energetically. The tunnel to the left led to Lemuria, which now seems to be in another dimension. At some point, I looked up and realized that there was a column of light piercing the space and branching into two other columns, thereby forming a v-shape over the area, connecting with the tunnels.

I was comfortable in this place with Saint Germain and didn’t really want to leave, although I did want to explore the tunnels. Still, some part of me knew that others were waiting on the other side of the doorway, back where my body was still connected to the stone wall. They wanted a chance to experience the doorway, too. I knew I needed to return. I also knew that now that I had been on the other side of the doorway, I could energetically return if I wished to do so.

Once back outside, I stood up and realized that I was only barely in my body and still very much in an altered state of consciousness. My entire body was vibrating and I could hardly move. I knew that it was pointless—not to mention unnecessary and maybe even counterproductive—to try to make my way to the second channel, so I did not even attempt it. One of the Q’ero shamans helped me down and I sat for a time, collecting myself a bit. Then I wandered the area around the doorway with one foot in alternate reality while the other was back on earth. I couldn’t talk, nor did I have any desire, really, to connect with anyone else. I was vibrating at a different frequency than usual and wanted to stay with it for a time.

Surrounding Area

It is said that some disappear through that doorway. I hadn’t disappeared, but I’d been through it  and I felt energetically aligned with the work to come.

We Begin

August 1, 2010

As Frank Herbert pointed out, beginnings are important. They are delicate time, times that must be approached with respect. I had been in Peru for a few days, long enough to allow what I believed would be an important experience to begin delicately. People were arriving on a daily basis, from around the world and around Peru. Jorge arrived at the hotel one morning with a small, wizened lady, an Inca elder. If character could be likened to ocean depth, this woman’s face reflected a depth of several thousand feet. Wisdom, humor, joy, and sorrow were all wrapped up in her eyes and her face was like a helicopter view of the Texas arroyos. In short, she was gorgeous. 

Not everyone was handling the altitude well. Some people reported headaches, deep fatigue, queasiness, shortness of breath, and an overall feeling of having been pummeled by an Inca warrior. A person or two needed oxygen fixes and I entered the hotel lobby one day to find a woman lying on a couch with an oxygen mask over her face and the tank next to her. I was incredulous at the sight of a few people puffing cigarettes in the courtyard and I was unable to fathom how one could manage the demands of the altitude with lungs caked in soot. Still, most people were cheerful, expectant, and hearty. 

As for expectations, I’d come with few. I knew I was meant to be there. My only expectation was to participate in and lend my personal energy to the solar disc activation in whatever way that would be of service to Jorge Luis, the Grand Mother of all lakes, Titicaca, and to humanity at large in whatever form it took right there in the moment. Having few expectations can be a beautiful thing. I’d already been thoroughly delighted by the beauty of the hotel and grounds, the sacred quality of the like, and the enchanting nature of things in general. I was about to be delighted further, but not just delighted—awe struck. 

The ceremonies began on Thursday, February 11, 2010. We gathered in a large hall. I had arrived with my friends and colleagues early enough to have a nice seat, close enough to feel a part of things but not so close that I risked falling into some shaman’s lap. 

And there were plenty of shamans’ laps one could fall into. Jorge Luis introduced the shaman who would kick things off with a sound invocation. He was from the Machu Picchu area, which had just suffered the worst flooding in many years, and had walked ten days to connect with others so he could make his way to Lake Titicaca and participate in the ceremonies. What a blessing that he was there! 

Using chant, drum, flute, music, and words he thrust from his mouth like arrows of intent, he invoked the divine with sound that vibrated walls, windows . . . and our hearts. Two colleagues in my group wore hearing aids and reported having very interesting (one would guess almost psychedelic) experiences. We were asked to close our eyes at some point and the sound was an earthy, heavenly chorus—no mamby pamby sweet angelic sounds, but the kind of powerful summoning that said, through music and deep, throaty voicings, the equivalent of, “Pachamama, Virachoca, Mother/Father God, we have heard you calling to us, the Children of the Sun, and we are here to answer that call.” It was transcendent, moving us from whatever dimension we thought we were in to having at least one foot in some parallel dimension that was primal and in which our hearts were cracked open. I was a different person when I opened my eyes and as I looked around, I could tell that others were too. 

It was good preparation for what was to come. We were all given three coca leaves, with which we were to make k’intus, little fan shaped arrangements of the leaves to use in ceremony. When the invocation was over, we filed outside to begin the fire ceremony. Young Peruvian women, dressed as Inca maidens or priestesses formed lines to the right and left of the path, and we stepped along as if passing through an energetic portal that blurred any sense of time. We might as easily have been those who came to Lake Titicaca five hundred years earlier, bearing the solar disc. My sense of it was that at least some of us actually were those people, returning now, as planned. 

 

Women Lining Path at Fire Ceremony

A local shaman instructed us to breathe into our k’intus the intent to release whatever we felt we needed to release to the fire. We did so and tossed our k’intus into the fire. There were many of us and it was done prayerfully. It probably took a long time, but it’s hard to say. We were in a state outside of time. 

Then much hugging and singing and dancing. Shamans passed through the crowd offering personal blessings. I turned to find a shaman with a powerful, sweet force field right in front of me. He blessed me and I found myself dizzy for a moment. I heard someone refer to him as don Jesus and soon discovered that he was a shaman of the Amazon. He blessed my friend Lisa, too, and I joked that we had just been blessed by Jesus.

Amazon Shamans (don Jesus in the Middle)

One by one, those of us who desired it smudged ourselves in the smoke from the burning wood. I felt as if the best part of me had surfaced and that part of me was being hermetically sealed, right there on the top of the skin, not hidden deeply within where one would have to dig to find it.  

Back inside, we feasted. I had surrendered to sound and fire, had been purified by both, and was drifting between dimensions. I felt ready for whatever would come next. 

Copyright 2010 by Melanie Mulhall