The Weight of Time

Tolmie on the Salish
Tolmie on the Salish

I’ve been working an effort with a friend that has to do with ancestor healing. How do we heal the scars of the past that go back generations? How do we reach across time?

And I’ve been getting this sense from somewhere deeper down. It’s been coming through over and over “Your problem is with time.” I’ve been writing it just like that. I’ve been hearing it as from a spiritual messenger. And it’s come across as a riddle. I knew I wasn’t quite understanding it, until now.

I’d thought it was about aging. I thought it was about me realizing I didn’t have as much time, that the time in front of me was likely less than the time behind. This morning I realized how wrong I was, why the sense of me not getting it was prevalent.

It isn’t about time that I get.

It’s about the weight of time sitting on me, about me letting it sit on me. Getting older means acquiring wisdom; we all tell each other this. But what we call wisdom can be full of so many things that just aint so. And the weight of all that past knowledge wants to compete with what we’re living right now. Past knowledge wants to rule the roost of who we are now.  It’s time to let the “now” in.

Yesterday we went to Tolmie State Park. We’d started out looking for a beach, and I went quickly through the checklist in my mind before suggesting T – longer shoreline, not so rocky, beach close to drinking water and restrooms, she added. It was awesome, still don’t know why more people don’t go. Oh yeah, very limited parking.

But, I’ve been there so often in my life. Let’s see. First time there I was seventeen, thirty seven years ago. Since then, I’ve walked the loop countless times. Only swam once before yesterday.

These days, I’m enjoying the benefits of lost weight. One of them is looking better. And looking better in swim suit, without my shirt, in the sun. Yes, in the sun. Seems so odd for me, Northwest boy that I am jumping all over that. But I am. There I said it.

The tricky part is not to dwell on past darkness. Yes, I’m getting metaphysical here, slightly. No, it isn’t about depression, or the Seasonal something disorder I’ve heard attributed to us N’rwesters. Might be about Vitamin D. I don’t know. But first off, let’s get out there that much of life, and what goes on around being fully alive, I’m not going to know. I might “get it” briefly, struggle to remember it, but “know”? That takes some work, precisely what this is about.

Because, most (and I mean all) my life I’ve been overweight and hiding. Rarely going out. Then, if I did, I’d need copious amounts of alcohol to feel like I was blending with my counterparts, my herd. Don’t get me too wrong, here. As I aged, I gained enough confidence in myself to fit into my circles, to be happy. But just happy enough, like just healthy enough.

And if you’re just healthy enough, as you age, that will be taken away early. And if you’re just happy enough, well, that’s the malaise. Right?

Malaise; M-A-L-A-I-S-E: A condition of weakness or discomfort, often marking the onset of a disease.  A vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort.

It’s often used to describe a slump that other things go through as well, like a country, or a baseball team. So it is somewhat diagnostic, right? One Google link starts to talk about how when feeling this you should sit down on the couch. Yeah, there’s like a prescriptive side to it.

But now, wrap this around a life. Wrap this around your life. Then figure out the way out of that malaise. Seriously, figure, it’s doable. All around us are stories of people who improved their life, improved the lives of others around them too, of the tribe. And they did it in ways that just didn’t mean moving down the street and taking their bullshit into someone else’s space, trying to appropriate health and happiness. They don’t do it that way. I didn’t do it that way. Day by day, we don’t.

But looking back, when you realize, you’re happy, you’re healthy -maybe for the first time. When you look back, it’s too easy to let all of that -All the experience of unhappiness – overshadow.

That’s when I’m glad I’m a witch. That’s when I’m glad that my new love is too. So let’s unpack that a little. Let’s talk about witches enough to take the edge off for some folks.

What we claim, we modern witches (aside from working with unseen forces, which may fall under science as only a spectrum differential), is that we wholeheartedly claim the practical realm of worldly sensations and delights to help us define our spirituality, and we refuse the spiritual highways that are benignly handed down to us by our cast-in-place religious powers. We believe that our gods (or elements, or spirit guides) are with us in each moment. Everybody had this from birth. You get talked out of it. So claim your own spiritual authority, that’s all you need to call yourself a witch. You’ll be burned just for that.

Aside from all that, we work towards another thing: the ability to change our minds at will. When completely stressed and moving into some automatic “fight or flight” mode, when we know we are moving into those realms where we can act out the more destructive parts, we learn to shift. Put simply enough, to take a breath and relax, let our mind pull us away a bit, and relax, to choose happiness and fun. REFRAME. Yes, these are all cognitive habits. And many eastern, and mystical, practices share this with us, the witches.

But, there, ‘nuff said. So some can read on, because I’m glad my love is a witch, a holy woman (Wyna Wanka). That she matches me in this experience of

… having stepped out of the malaise.

Because, shadows can want to follow. Our minds, for years, build neurological pathways. We get used to thinking particular ways, to being a particular way – get this, to being a particular person. Yeah, you can call it personality. And part of personality is nature, as in inherited, or DNA. And part of it is nurture, as in created (and creating every second, like right FUCKING NOW), or RNA. Look it up, DNA, RNA. We’re writing the story of our RNA right now, every single cell of our body is handing on the story of us. To our next selves.

And we can influence that in huge ways. Try not to think of Trump when I say “HUGE ways”. See, I just fucked with your mind a little bit and influenced how you think of this. And we do that to ourselves ALL THE TIME. The cells of our body are taking part in this huge orchestra, that includes our thoughts.

So when I say I’m glad my lover is a witch, it’s because she sees me working with these shadow selves, these past selves to strip away the past old “nurtured” ways. She sees me doing that and joins in, with insight and love, to honor and help. When this is happening those old selves aren’t condemned, they’re set free. We work to give them expression to give them new nutrition (new information about what life can be) and rewire the RNA (let’s say “realized state”) back towards the raw potential of my DNA. Click, click, click. Hear that happening in your head right now? It’s possible.

And I look for ways to dance with hers too. That act gets me out of myself, away from the self consumption. It fires off the mirror nuerons (look it up). There’s this amazing energy loop of attention and healing going on. It’s not always comfortable, but it’s real.

And what’s left right now, as her and I talk, and spell, and sing to each other. What’s left is this shadow work- and the glory of the dance.

Yes, you can’t make the past go away. It has weight. You can’t pretend you’re someone else. I will always be scary in anger. I will always carry my metal plate in my ankle, separated shoulder, and scars of barb wire. But, having taken the steps to get healthy, to leave behind old habits (and in the process, an old body), you can still love and be who you’ve been. I can still be me, Lyle E, Ten Crows, just someone more purely myself.

Because that old way of being, like an old skin (I’m laughing because this is literal), just falls away. I preen, I compete, I look forward to stepping out now. I dance with my old self, honor these older parts of me, and deal with some of the fears, in order to know it’s all complete, a cycle. Call it growing up, call it karma, enlightenment, call it just wising up, there’s so many words for it. It never stops, like the cycle of breath, or the wheel of the seasons.

The storm is where we came from. And we’re not afraid. Darkness has a story too. It’s full of as much love and meaning as the light of day falling on us right now. Right now has a weight too. NO FEAR.