Well, I got lucky. There were some people around me when I was in my early 30’s who must have loved me very much enough, at least, to put their boot on my foot while they told the truth: you hate yourself and you have contempt for others. You are programmed with fear and managed with guilt.
Whoops! They cracked the code of the great lies of my life.
At some point after I cleared up that major road block, the self knowledge that showed up with the practice of meditation caused me to further examine what was really going on not only for myself but also for others I knew. I noticed that the people I gravitated to and who showed up for me as real friends, were people who had at least begun the work of coming to a higher awareness of their own early conditionings. We supported each other by just being friends: you know the ones you go to the movies with, the ones that sit around a campfire singing, that hug every time we meet. Those ones!
All that camaraderie served to further refine the freedom achieved from relieving myself of duty of the bad programs. I was no longer driven by knee jerk fear reactions and I learned a lot about how life around me worked.
Then, along came Raven. You may well have wondered where ravensmedicine.com came from, this is the where of it all.
Raven is a bird; she is, in fact, a tribe of bold birds: raven, crow, magpie and jay. She is also a much bigger presence than mere ‘bird-ness.’ She is a spirit living in an entire tribe and she is not an only. “It’s not just the trees, it’s the spirit of the trees. It’s not just the bird, it is the spirit of the bird.” This is what is meant by ‘medicine.” It is spiritual medicine.
Don’t worry, not many white folk cotton to this kind of stuff but if you read and pay attention to this site and allow yourself to settle and reflect on what is here, you will assimilate this medicine. It will settle upon you like a down comforter in a cold bed, warming and enlivening you. Unlike any pharmaceuticals from the doctors, it will not harm you in any way and it will make in you resilience, strength and wisdom. This might be useful to you as it has proved useful to me. Now on to the big story.
I took myself one late summer day off the big highway 40 near Flagstaff, AZ north to the Grand Canyon. I parked near the outlook and took a stroll. At the railing of the glass platform, I looked over. My first take on the whole of this grandeur: I’ve seen better video tapes!
With that, I walked back to the van and made myself some lunch, sitting at the side door taking my repast looking across the windblown expanse of the desert. Once finished, I got back into my place before the wheel, turned the key ready to proceed. I never know really where I am going, so there is some expectancy in my gestures as I wait for a signal.
There was a bushy tree planted next to the van on the left side next to my driver-side window. As soon as the engine turned over, there arose from that bush a flock of ravens easily about 20 birds. In a crowd of black flapping energy they wheeled around counter-clockwise around the van and took off to the east across the canyon and desert. I watched as they went:
“Ok, Raven! I’m on my way!
Well, the flock of birds was quite soon out of sight, but I had already discovered which way I was to be driving that afternoon. Eastward down the two lane highway, I followed the invisible trail of the flight of birds. A number of miles down the road, there was a bridge over the canyon to the north rim. Making a left turn, I was soon in Navajo country where there were many people set up at the edge of the highway with their artistic offerings of silver jewelry, woven rugs and blankets, some pottery: fine artifacts.
But no, I was not to stop there to take a look. Onward more miles until I crossed the border into Utah and still onward until it was nearing the end of the day. A way up the highway, to my right began a forest service road. The voice in my head said, take that road. I swung the wheel onto the hard packed lightly gravelled road and proceeded forward at least 5 or 6 miles up a gradual slope through the sparse forest. Dry climate conifer forest is not like northwest coast rain forest, there are fewer thin trees and very little undergrowth.
Then off to the left was the obvious place to park the van; I wheeled to face the track and parked. Getting out, I walked around the area taking a look at the grasses and short plants, gazing up into the branches of a largely pine forest. It was supper time. I did my Coleman burner fried eggs and cheese meal with a salad just munched out of the bag and sat quietly digesting while the sun neared the horizon casting the tree shadows about the ground and flooding the air with the glorious scarlet coral and golden hues of the end of day.
Then, of a sudden, it was dark.
Panic arose in my chest and stuck in my throat. I was consumed with that both blinding and mind stopping fear that simply took over. I was unable to think of anything as the fear engulphed me completely. You have been there.
After some very long minutes, as I sat on the step of the van, I noticed that I was breathing so I pulled into my lungs an even deeper breath. Slowly and with each inhalation, I came back to my sense. My brain mind came back. I felt my body once again.
Then, this: either it was my own voice to myself or a combination of this and the voice of the Raven herself:
“You’ve been in the dark before. No one knows where you are. You are safe here and there is nothing that will hurt you. Relax. Go to bed and sleep. You are fine.” I listened, went to bed and immediately wordless, went to sleep.
The sun was streaming down on the floor of the forest as I awoke in the morning. I had slept through the entire 8 or 9 hours of the night into the sun and splendor of a new day. I felt wonderful. It quite quickly came to my mind that I had erased that nameless dread, that irrational fear that had been programmed into me from a very young age. I knew then and continue to know certainly that I am safe in the universe.
The safety lives within me. There is nothing to fear except fear itself. This has become a blazing truth for me. Now, as I have said, I would not like to fall in the bath nor would it be useful to fall out of the chair but, even immediately after the sideswipe accident with a truck in 2016 when I was tossed to the pavement and the chair rested on my leg, I was not traumatized into shock. I can and do, going on the end of 8 decades, troll around this east side ghetto area of Vancouver, among many homeless people, addicts, toughs, funky men in dirty caps and baggy torn jeans, among ladies made into ancient crones by drugs and street life without fear. I do not attract fear, there is no where in me for it to cling.
I can go with that. In a world made mad with threats of nuclear Armageddon and the end of civilization and all of our human lives, I can roll wherever on our streets and laugh, smile, talk to everybody I encounter, make jokes and give love and kindness to one and all. I have become a kind of phenomenon, an unexpected almost unimaginable old lady in a wheel chair. Thank you very much.