Magic In Montana by Avaka Draka
Beneath the snow caped mountains. Softly shielded from the 17 degree December winter people of all different ages, backgrounds, and disciplines have come together to experience the magic of personal transformation.
Cuddled up in sleeping bags, and huddled together like kids in summer camp. I watched flames flare inside a wood stove, and two domesticated wolves gallantly protect the group from the perils of the outside world…If only their strong bodies and cold stares could protect us from the pitfalls of our own minds.
The last time I sat in sacred ceremony I was in the jungles of Peru. Hot damp and active, the energy of the amazon was a stark contrast to the stillness of the Whitefish Montana winter.
In the cold things are more solid. In the cold things crystallize and clarify. In the cold ones needs are simpler. Tea, soup, heat. The comfort of the body takes presence over the comfort of the mind, and as such the mind, acquiesced to its surroundings. The racing thoughts, the panicked notions of yesterday and tomorrow slowed, allowing for something more important to enter and take form.
Ice and darkness bring challenges. The weeks prior to my arrival, left me bewildered, and I’d been using activity and busyness to avoid confrontational questions. When they finally surfaced, I was ill prepared to handle the state of confusion they threw me in. Luckily. While the cold may cause an uncomfortable stillness, stillness and silence bring answers.
The ritual started slowly candles, crystals, nighttime. A familiar brew of plant medicines, and a human guide, familiar to me only in sprit encouraged us to tap into the magic of the medicine.
It’s the initial stages of meditation that irk me the most. Trying to calm the racing mind. Trying not to try. Forgetting how to surrender, than remembering, then forgetting again as another thought creeps in…this one more pleasant but just as distracting. “Go away!” I thought, as if shooing a fly from my nose. “leave me be, I need to focus. I need these answers! Nothing is more important than these answers!” I felt this with conviction and emotion. And so there it began.
Amplified by quite song, and the deep wisdom of the plants, was the awareness that I was all force, and no flow. “Well there goes my attempt at graceful allowing.” I thought.
“How is that possible?” I wondered to myself. “Am I pushy or demanding of others? No… of the universe? Sometimes… of myself… Uh-oh!” There it was, the thing that had been holding me back. This was the inquiry I’d been avoiding delving into. This old pattern, this bad habit of being forceful, and pushy, and hard on myself. “You again.” I sighed deeply as I observed this old opponent, who’s best tactic was, turning desire into doubt. A jab my ego parried with more work, more projects, more people, more doing, and more superfluous action.
Doubt keeps you from being gullible it keeps you, critical, sensible and smart. And although doubt keeps you real. It doesn’t make you happy. The constant questioning the endless probing serve only stoke the minds fire, until it’s burned out completely and there is no more fuel to feed it. Resting in the paradox of duality is the cure. Faith. Not blind faith or reckless devotion, but a softly placed sense of trust. Belief that whatever the desire, a sense, of fulfillment always soothes the worry that causes us to take up arms in our own lives. And with sword and shield laid down I found the resonance of relief.