I didn't connect an out-of-state friend's email subject line:
row row row your boat gently down the stream
to the U-Haul truck art I saw on my walk this evening--at least, immediately. I was spending more time processing the intense energy I was feeling nonstop all day. In essence, it felt like flight-or-fight hormones in overdrive (whether they be cortisol or adrenaline or both or more) coursing wildly through my body.
I'm sort of adept of being able to witness intense emotion at the same time as they are blaring through without getting too caught up in them, although this flight-or-fight sensation (sort of feels like fear, but that's a label I'm not sure about, as this feels so automatic and primal).
If there was a thought behind it, it was "don't go! stay safe and warm inside at home, no need to go cliff-diving or whatever that silly thing is you're about to do that's not known" (I'm preparing to return to the Bay Area tomorrow on a scouting mission to try a new venture.... on a shoestring--sort of the 'on a wing and a prayer' motif).
But as I thought about it all, I realized there were deeper implications that were relevant to Ho'oponopono and well any kind of 'light-work' or healing work or spiritual work or whatever we call it. The main premise behind Ho'oponopono is we are clearing all old patterns (in other traditions this might be known as karma or conditioning, but Dr. Len also just calls it memory) because we rely on divine inspiration readily available in the present moment that needs no reference point to a past known.
This sounds all fine and dandy on paper: yes, to live by divine inspiration and plunge into the Unknown...
When the rubber meets the road, and in actuality, when I find myself in a new, unknown situation (or wish to create a new situation rather than repeat something expired), I often feel this tempest of stress hormones that seem habitual in nature, and the body physiology seems to be quite familiar with this groove--and this appears to effectively block the expression of Infinite Inspiration. The truth is I know that every situation is potentially fresh and unknown and its only my mind that deems it must know and comprehend "where is this going? how shall it unfold? tell me." But just because I know that intellectually, and have even known it more experientially to be true, the stress hormones react to something. I'm thinking aloud here, but I wonder if over time, the body can be addicted to that fight-or-flight response and its release of hormones?
I'd been visiting friends for about seven weeks (from mid-March through April), and didn't want to write to much here in order to protect their privacy (yes, there were many Ho'oponopono opportunities), however there is one thing that happened directly to me I'll share as it relates to this theme of flight-or-fight and the survival instinct.
One morning, I awoke with an insect bite on my right cheek (lower and level with the mouth, but still on cheek) which became redder and itchier as time wore on. In fact, that same morning I saw a spider scurrying across the floor (although the night before, I did see something more like a gnat).
Face: Represents what we show the world
Affirmation: I am safe to be me. I express who I am.
There's quite a few symbols in there (spider, itching, insect bite, etc.) but I'll focus on the face (cheek isn't specified in Louise Hay's Heal Your Body, Heal Your Life and its symbolism).
That affirmation really hit home for me. Fundamentally, I don't feel safe to express, even if it is actually the Infinite expressing through what appears to be an individual. (There is some thought that separates out --apparently--and views Life as separate from 'me' and therefore potentially hostile. And maybe that is what triggers the bodily response to DANGER! Of course this isn't true, and that's what the whole spiritual path aims to show first-hand.)
I don't have any answers (per se) in this post, just expressing how perhaps our buried conditioning that Life is separate from the 'me' leads to a visceral and vividly intense sensation of profound unsafety. And how that undermines Life expressing itself (without friction that is) in its full glory and fluidity (which is the intent of Ho'oponopono, after all). Of course, I can do Ho'oponopono on that feeling of unsafety and acknowledge it presence and soothe it through the mantra.
Well, this all circles back to the first thing I shared. The U-Haul truck art in general is a series of explorers and adventurers, and this one looked like this:
I memorized the line "last great unknown" and Wyoming and resolved to look up the website when I came back home from my walk. As I saunter, I mulled over that "last great unknown" phrase. (I actually know a lot about John Wesley Powell as my ex-husband used to be a co-owner of an outfit--acquired, so it doesn't exist in this form--called Adventure River Expeditions in southern Utah. I've run the Green and Colorado through Lodore Canyon, Westwater Canyon, Desolation Canyon, Green River Daily, Cataract Canyon. But I wasn't the first descent.)
There is no last great unknown. It's just the next great unknown, and the next.
It's pretty much one unknown after another when Life lives you (in my experience, when I allow it). I do not think Humanity has even touched the surface of what is possible when we don't hold back, when we don't hole up in cozy lakes but allow the current of the mighty river its due. When I realize that 'the Unknown' is also Evelyn (and also You and That and This), it's not really so scary; it's the times the imaginary self grips on and tells another story of separation or division that it feels so daunting.
Anyhow, I thought I'd share a little from the U-Haul Venture Across America website on this particular river expedition, as I thought it spoke in everyday language to FACING the unknown, and embracing its call.
"Hello, my name is John Wesley Powell. It is the 24th of May 1869, and the good people of Green River City have turned out to see us start. Today we begin our expedition into the last great unknown within the continental United States. I am proud to say that I am a self-driven, self-taught man of action, and am determined to conquer these unmapped, uncharted rivers and canyons, knowing that if I should fail, sure death awaits me and my crew. The nine men making the expedition along with me are prepared to embark on what I believe will be a10-month journey throughout lands into which no one has ventured. It is my future goal to ultimately be able to guide Americans safely into the West. I seek knowledge of, and want to explore, what many believe cannot be done. Native Americans have told me that to enter the canyon is to disobey the gods and should not be done.
I have chosen a different path than that of my father, but believe that my calling lies in the depths of the canyon walls, or perhaps rushes through the rivers’ water. I see many people here today at Expedition Island in Wyoming that I shall later invite to join me on this adventurous expedition through writings I intend to note in my journal. As our expedition into the American West is about to begin, and final preparation is quickly coming to an end, I would like to take a moment to write down how I came to be here today."
I also found it also inspiring that Powell feels as if he is following a 'calling' or nudge that's bigger than his societal or parental conditioning or sense of self-preservation, and he is going to follow it--come what may.
Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.