Thursday 30 January 2014

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Dance!

Every few years I like to go back and look at some of my oldest posts, to see how far this journey has taken me. This week, Hubby reminded me of my very first blog post, written back in April 2007. Even now, seven years later, it's still one of my most favourite blog posts. It still holds all the truths of who I am as well as the journeys I've taken over the years, both personally and with my book writing. I've pasted the post here, but added pictures to it, for this Thoughtful Thursday.

Last year I watched a TV documentary series called "Extraordinary People". The episode I enjoyed the most followed the life of a blind brain-damaged young man who is a musical savant. He has the intelligence level of a four year old and yet he plays jazz like a genius. At one stage he was given the chance to listen to an entire orchestra. He then "translated" the entire performance into a piano solo. It was awesome!

He flew from the UK to Las Vegas (with his beanbag toy elephant for company), to do a concert to raise money for disabled kids. There he met a boy with autism, who is also blind and plays classical music, and two other gifted musical kids: a blind girl on a violin and another autistic boy who plays the keyboard. Together they had a jam session that rocked the roof off. They were brilliant. The one psychiatrist studying them said that they are now thinking that music is the "Universal code" that drives us at a deeper level than language or any other sense-related ability. It makes sense to me. I've always loved music.

Three years ago I popped on some soothing music to try to meditate. I've always liked the idea of meditating, but my mind doesn't understand the concept of emptiness. It is a cage full of budgies, all wanting to scream their latest word the loudest. But this one time I actually got it right, one of those rare perfect moments when things just click together. Maybe it was because I didn't try so hard? Maybe it was because I was desperate for an answer that my conscious mind couldn't provide. 

I was desperate for an answer to a crossroad I'd reached in my life regarding my religious/spiritual beliefs. I was born into a family that, counting both my mother and father's sides, span almost every variation of Christianity out there. As a result my parents had a more laid-back attitude to church attendance than many. Being a church-goer was never viewed as the only road to Heaven. I grew up with the unspoken message that all religions lead to God and therefore were of equal value. 

It was only when I went out into the world that I began to realise that not everyone was as open-minded. I was warned I was "in danger of being a Pantheist" by a teacher, when I was in Junior school. I had to go look it up in a dictionary at the time. I had to admit, what I read did sound a lot like me. It was the first time I remember feeling both relief and a vague guilt/unease at who I was. So I was a Pantheist... why was that a dangerous thing?

In high school and college, more devoted Christian friends tried to convert me to their "way". Although they meant well they left me feeling less acceptable and worthy. Sometimes depressing. Sometimes annoying. Why do some people think they know what is best for you better than you do? It's like they see you happily being a square peg in a perfectly geometric world of your own and simply cannot stop themselves from trying to squash you repeatedly into a round hole. Or, worse still, they whip out all these abrasive words in a desperate attempt to file the corners off your square soul. Words that imply you are "wrong", or "bad", for simply being true to yourself. Ultimately there are only two people who know you: yourself and God. Other people have a right to their opinions, but that is all they can ever be - opinions.

That was why I found myself trying to meditate three years ago. To try to find the "me" I had lost along the long journey through so many other people's opinions. As a child, I'd known who I was and been happy. In my twenties, I'd faced confrontation and fought back, the way you do when you are young and rather full of self-righteousness. In my thirties, I'd expanded my friendships to include a wonderful range of equally wonderful people from a variety of different belief systems: Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, Buddhist and Native American Shamanism. My thirties were a time of tremendous personal expansion, but it was also a time where I started to wobble... like a spinning top that has hit the edge too many times.  

By my fortieth birthday it was clear I had wobbled so far off the path that I didn't know how to find my way back. A friend suggested meditation to clear my mind and see the way home. I tried... nothing. Or to be exact, too much! I'd sit there and my mind would gabble and chatter about everyday life until I either fell asleep or got bored and gave up. Then one day, I was pottering around the internet and read a woman asking similar questions. She was a Catholic considering becoming a Neo-Pagan. She was standing at the edge of everything she had been taught to believe was good and evil. She had left a message asking for help, and someone had replied, "Pray for guidance - then listen."

Seemed fairly sensible advice. I decided to try it myself. For once and for all, I needed to know if being ME was okay with whoever/whatever was "Up There." I said a small prayer to that extent and sat down to wait and listen... and for the first time EVER all those manic budgies in my brain finally shut up. 


  Real silence

  Cellular level peace and quiet

Was this meditating? I closed my eyes and let the silence take over... I found myself standing at the edge of a lake at sunset. Someone was walking across the water towards me. A bearded guy in a long robe.


Hell...  Jesus?

I dismissed the thought as stupid, but as he walked up the shore to me I could see the holes in his hands and feet. I didn't know what to do. So I was honest and I said, "You're the last person I was expecting to see."

He burst out laughing and it was such a joy-filled infectious laughter that we both fell about laughing for a while. Then he took my hands and we walked out onto the water together and we danced. With stars above and stars reflected in the dark water below, we danced. And as we dance he "exploded" into the stars and became the Universe itself...

...and then I found myself back on the shore.

I'm not sure how long I stood there before he appeared, walking back across the water towards me once again. Only this time he was carrying something. A crow. He said, "This is for you," and the crow hopped from his arm to my shoulder.

I opened my eyes and I was back in the same room in my same house.

I have a Native American friend who had sent me an internet link to totem animals a year before. I went and looked up crow. I saved some of the bits I found there. Can't give credit to the author as I lost the links a few years back so apologies for that.

"Human law is not the same as Sacred Law. More so than any other medicine, Crow sees that the physical world and even the spiritual world, as humanity interprets them, are an illusion. There are billions of worlds. There are an infinitude of creatures. Great Spirit is within all."

"Crow is the totem of the Great Spirit and must be respected as such."

The bringer of the Holy Spirit had brought me the symbol of another culture's Great Spirit.

Now, I keep thinking about those supposedly "disabled" kids and how they've tapped into creativity and Creation at a level we can only daydream about. Music and Creation. Music and life itself. Dancing on water and amongst the stars. Ancient peoples used dancing and singing to connect to the Source...

Is faith merely (re)learning how to dance on water?
Was the world created in seven days or seven notes?

I think I really like that idea! Holy and Great, Human and Sacred exploding together in a universe of infinite possibilities. Different music, different steps, but always the same Dance. 

 I have found my way back to the Dance.

I hope you have found yours.


  1. I love 2007 because it's my year of total adventure (though it didn't feel like that at that time HA HA). Moving to Finland, chucking a good deal of my life, starting my own blog, meeting YOU online! HE HE HE HE HE HE...

    And I remember reading this post - still enjoyed rereading it. :-D

  2. 2007 was both an awakening(positive) and a terrible year for me. I woke to the realization that, my truths and beliefs were still and continue to be true today(awakening again). I never saw this post. I love it!

  3. Hi Amel
    2007 was some year for both of us! Meeting you and becoming friends was a highlight. :-) x

    Hi Kim
    I remember how 2007 was such a pivotal year for you, in the most paimful way. (((hug))) All in all... it was a doozy of a year!

  4. Hi Michelle. It's great connecting to you through VFA. When I read in your post about what you had to say about the crow, I couldn't believe the synchronicity. I address my spiritual journal each morning, "Dear Black Crow," which may sound like a disrespectful name for The Great Spirit (until I share my reasons--to complicated to go into here). But I will share a post I wrote on one of my blogs to give you an idea of my surprise at reading your post.

  5. Hi Margaret
    I think that's a lovely endearment and i'm so glad you stopped by to leave your blog link. Thank you x

  6. I had to go to bed and try to sleep before diving into this after we "met" this morning (to me in America). You were on my mind and what else I could share with you without turning you off from what our Heavenly Father has taught me. The main thing was about the absolute truth of the matter truly being that He has always wanted all of us (as in all of mankind) to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir to all that is His in glory, and that He will go after the lost and confused--regardless of how far off of the path they may seem to wander. In fact, no one could wander off of what we naturally consider to be the path unless He allowed them to, and to break it down even further, even true devil-worship is part of the path for some.

    Now, this does not mean that everyone will eventually make it back to Him on their part. For the entire purpose for the existence of this world is to allow our Heavenly Father to truly receive love that is freely given from us, which involves giving us the freedom to give Him the benefit of our considerable doubts and want to be truly be His or not.

    Here you are addressing this, and it brings me great joy that it still gives me chills to see Him at work ahead of me. For there is nothing about what He gives me to say to someone that will mean a thing to them unless it is merely an echo of what He has already told them. Some may not actually "hear" it until just before they take their final breath in this world, but we can be confident of the fact that everyone will because they would have never existed in the first-place unless our Heavenly Father wanted them to so that they could spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir to all that is His glory. Be assured that He has given me a great blessing through you.

  7. Hi Jerry

    Thank you for the very thoughtful and thought-filled reply. One thing I am totally sure of - God exists and is way bigger and better than most of humanity imagines. :)

  8. Michelle, I remember reading your post way back then, and also having some wonderful conversations with you about religious misgivings, and our mutual love of crows. They are still as much a part of my life as ever and it brings me joy to look back on our conversations today. I did read First Light and now congratulate you on your autobiography. Cheers to you! Terry



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