Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Have you done enough penance yet?

When I'm meditating (which I do regularly) my guides often 'pop in' and offer thoughts about whatever I'm concerned about at the moment. Usually it's just a hint to point me in the right direction, an idea that will help me move along in life. A couple days ago, however, one of my guides decided to apply the hint with a two-by-four.

Bear in mind, I do a lot of shamanic working so I'm used to talking to otherworldly beings. Yep, just like those 'invisible friends' you had as a kid, only I'm still doing it as an adult. And yes, I know there's medication for that sort of thing!
Over the past three or four years I've worked hard to heal the wounds from my childhood, forgive and release and move on. I've been putting myself back together, figuring out who I really am. I thought I was doing well with this process. So there I was, sitting in my favorite meditation spot in our art/sewing studio, which happens to be in the dug-in end of the basement, completely surrounded by Mother Earth. I began the meditation. I focused on my goal for that session and an image popped into my head.

I was in my Inner Chamber, standing between two pillars. Each one was topped with a clear box containing an item. One box gleamed and glowed, emanating a soft, golden light. Inside it lay a crown. The other box was dark. It just squatted there in the shadows, full of what looked like old, corroded hand tools. My guide appeared and told me that either box would get me to where I wanted to go, figuratively speaking. I looked at the golden box, turned my back to it and reached for the other one. I grasped the tools - they were heavy - and turned back to her, expecting confirmation of my correct choice.

She was staring at me, scowling, her hands on her hips.

"Have you done enough penance yet?" she asked.

Well, tie me to an anthill and smear my ears with jam.
Of course, I put the tools back and took the crown instead. But I realized, thanks to the two-by-four, that the ultimate healing comes not from identifying and releasing each individual bit of ick, salving each individual wound. The ultimate healing comes from recognizing our own worth, our own value. I realized that for much of my life I had chosen the old tools instead of the crown, figuratively speaking, because I believed I wasn't worthy of the crown. I've been doing penance for being imperfect, for being human. How very Calvinist of me.

Sure, I can point to all the horrible things that happened during my childhood as evidence that I had my sense of worth beaten out of me, literally. But I know a lot of people who are struggling with the same problem, people who had perfectly happy childhoods. What is it that causes us to shift from the young child's innate sense of worth, the sense of knowing they deserve every good thing in this world, to the adult's bad habit of self-criticism, of finding everything wrong within us instead of looking for what's right?

Little kids instinctively know that they come straight from the Divine, no question. They are, as the poet said, fresh from God. They don't stop to ponder whether they deserve every little thing they want - they demand it all, right now. Sure, we adults build up in our minds exactly what we want, how we would prefer our lives to be, and sometimes we even ask for those things, but there's always that little voice in the background saying, "Please give it to me only if I'm worthy." We step on our own toes all the time.

I'm pretty sure the Source of All that loved us into being thinks we're worthy, KNOWS we're worthy. So I'm going to turn around now and face who I was as a child and find that sense of value again. It doesn't come from what we've done or what other people think of us. It's built in. If you believe in a holographic universe then it's in each and every cell of your body, each and every molecule of matter everywhere, everywhen.

I'm going to go try on that crown now. I'll let you know how it goes.