Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sun, Aug 24, 2008: Enter, Wolf

I remember the meditation several years ago during which the arctic fox presented itself to me when I was searching space for a totem animal. I was surprised to encounter a canine animal because I have always thought of myself as the feline type, though one could argue that foxes, especially arctic foxes, have many strong feline characteristics: they have vertically slit eyes and retractable claws, are excellent tree climbers, and play with their pray before eating it.

It seems that the breeze of canine influence through my life is strengthening and increasing my awareness of its presence. I first realized this when I moved out here last year and realized that I actually like dogs, something I never knew about myself. New England nutures a cat-like lifestyle, with dreary rainy and snowy days for curling up on on the couch, or finding the coolest perch in the midst of stifling humidity. From such a place, one is free to open one lazy eye and half watch the world go by. Colorado, with its interminable sunshine and dry air, laughs in the face of lazy days on the couch and acts as the hand behind you that shoves you out the door, always on the move and awaiting life's next moment.

This sentiment has narrowed itself from a general atmosphere in my awareness to something very personal to me within the past couple of weeks. I was at a birthday party with the guy I have been seeing for about a month now, and someone came along with an envelope full of pictures of wolves. He explained that there is a wolf refuge somewhere near Colorado Springs, and the pictures were of the animals who lived there. He offered them to us and I took one, feeling drawn to it.

Since that night, I have received several visits from wolves in my dreams. The one that I remember the most vividly is also the strangest. My mother and I were in our backyard and I was a little girl again. We were feeding something to a wolf, and as it chewed I realized that the color in its mouth was not blood red but orange; looking down at my hand I saw a carrot clasped in my fingers. It sat on the ground before me and looked straight into my eyes, its head tilted sideways as it gnawed at the vegetable in my hand. Its unwavering stare carried pleas and strength, and many other things that I didn't recognize at the time and am still unable to define.

I'm not sure if it is a totem for me or just a visitor for the present, but it has definitely captured my attention. One of the messages of a wolf is to develop strength and confidence in yourself, something that I have always struggled with in this life. There is another message that speaks to me with greater significance at this time, and that is learning to trust my own insights and to secure my attachments accordingly. Wolf, I completely agree that I would greatly benefit from learning this lesson.

This brings me back to the other blogs that I have posted about thoughts versus intuition. I see the "what" and understand the "why", just wish that they would show me "how". It's strange: I fear trusting my intuition because I'm afraid I'll look back someday and wonder why I made a certain choice when it was so illogical, or dangerous, or didn't promise security. What exactly makes me think that my brain can do a better job of guiding me in life than my heart? As I sit here pondering this, I can't help but smile at myself in amusement and understanding. I am filled with a longing to surrender to the forces inside of me that are beyond logic and control, and a deep sadness that I am so afraid to trust that part of myself.

This also drives home for me how deep the longing runs inside of me for the outdoors: I miss living outside.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mon, Aug 18, 2008: Online Dating

Oh yes, I just went there.

When I broke up with the last guy I dated I told myself that I should spend some time dating around, since that is something I've never done in my life. I seem to find myself drawn from relationship to relationship, and always with a guy who has chosen me. I have difficulty recognizing what it is that I want and I need, and I think things become complicated by my fear that I will never find something as good as what I have - though the idea of finding the ultimately fulfilling relationship haunts me. Thus far it has remained elusive to such a degree that I almost think it enjoys dancing just beyond my grasp. It constantly reassesses my state of mind and heart to see if I'm ready, and I haven't been able to open my arms to it and answer "yes" with any degree of certainty. Away it dances.

Today I remembered Julia Roberts' character in Runaway Bride and couldn't help but smile. Her character was so focused on becoming whatever the man in her life needed that she wasn't able to keep in touch with who she was. This affected her life to such a degree that she didn't even know how she liked her eggs cooked; she would just eat them the same way as her man. I see some elements of her story in my life too, which concerns me. I know how I like my eggs (over medium or scrambled, with cheddar cheese on top) but I don't think I know yet how I like my men.

I think that although this idea only solidified in my head today, I have known it is the case for a while now. After my ex and I were through, the little voice in my head said "wait until December". I can't really think of a good reason why my head would feel this way, but that's what it told me loud and clear. I felt like it would be good for me to date around for the time being, and perhaps December would hold something special for me if I learned to take relationships a little less seriously. Of course, as is the case with most plans, it's not working out that way (due to choices I've made; I'm not pointing a blame finger at life). I know that this is where the blocks in my life are coming from, the difficulties I've had navigating around my physical world. They have risen to such frustrating levels that I have found myself making careless driving errors, like turning the wrong way down a one-way street, and taking chances, like swerving into another lane to avoid a rock in the road. I have been extremely fortunate thus far that nothing negative has come of these actions, but for how much longer will this be the case?

Online dating is a unique piece of the world that I hadn't approached until about a month ago. If nothing else, I have found it to be a fascinating tool for looking into what makes human beings tick. People are so different in they way they go about it, and I have found it very overwhelming to be approached by so many people at once (not that it's a bad thing, I guess that's the point of it all, but to be asked out by more people in 2 days than you have ever been in your entire life is kind of intimidating). It is made an even more overwhelming prospect by the fact that, like the runaway bride and her eggs, I have difficulty sorting out what I like.

I do love being born on the cusp between Cancer and Gemini, but sometimes the wishy washiness is a bit much. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fri, Aug 15, 2008: Rain

This morning when I woke up and found the strangest things awaiting me when I walked to my window. The first thing I noticed was a curtain of raindrops coating the glass. Beyond that, a blanket of sleepy fog has tucked itself around the valley in which Golden lies, and doesn't look like it's moving any time soon.

The next thing that I felt was a stream of deliciously cool air pouring over me. After a summer of pretty much non-stop 90 degree sunny days, the cool air is a strange new feeling.

The most wonderful sensation of all was the smell. It smells like New England when it rains, that soaked earthy smell: a reminder that there is life, then decay, and then life again. Even though I should have been getting ready for work (and probably should be now), I just stood there for several minutes with my face up against the screen, taking deep breaths of that wonderful scent. I've missed it so much that my eyes teared up. What a lovely gift.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sat, Aug 2, 2008: Rocky Mountain National Park

I have more drama in my life than I would like at the moment, mostly caused by my lack of ability to hear my "gut" speaking when my brain is busy tying itself in knots. I have great admiration for people who are able to quiet their minds in order to hear the guidance of their inner voice. I think that I have a tendency to hear that voice in moments of clarity (in fact, it dialogues with my brain in my head. I was told when I had my chart read last year that because of the placement of my Mercury and Uranus, and their trine to each other, I am actually closer to my inner voice than a lot of people. Lucky for me, since I can't get my brain to shut itself off to hear it on purpose, at least I can hear it when it's clobbering me in the head with obviousness...). The difficulty for me is quieting the doubts and emotions and counter-dialogues that my brain starts having as a result of the whispers, suggestions, and/or brain clobbering my inner voice gave to me. It's so strange - if we're meant to follow our deepest inner selves, if somewhere inside we know what's right for us and what will guide us to the next level, why is the process complicated by thoughts and feelings? Why give us the capacity to answer any question that could possibly arise in life, and also the power to question, rationalize, and doubt? It seems like a cruel trick of evolution to me, or is it a test of our faith in ourselves? I wish that schools would teach us things like the ability to quiet our minds and trust ourselves, and I wonder what kind of a place this world would be if listening to our inner voices became a worldwide practice.

I also have spent some time lately wondering why relationships are so difficult for me, even before they enter the "relationship" stage. I have come to realize that one of the great challenges for me to overcome in this lifetime is centered around me, my higher self, and relationships, and trying to find some way to keep them balanced or make sure that all three can thrive together. I guess maybe that's what finding a soul mate is really about. I'm no expert at balancing and integrating me and my higher self, but it's certainly easier alone than when another person is thrown into the mix. Some people struggle with abuse, drugs, confusion about their career; my struggle is learning how to listen to and trust myself while being emotionally involved with another person. Phew. Tough stuff.

So, with these thoughts on my mind, is it any wonder that I needed to go on a road trip? It's strange: some of my thoughts have been pretty deep lately (another habit that I should probably reign in), and this seems to be coinciding with literal blocks in the flow of traffic wherever I drive. There is a lot of construction going on around my apartment, to such a degree that out of frustration I gave up trying to reach the post office for several days. I have found myself sitting in traffic, blocked in, blocked out - what's going on?! It's as if the flow of my life is taking physical form and literally caging me in. It makes me feel claustrophobic.

I wanted to drive fast through the mountains to feel like I was flying, to shed the thoughts and feelings and just go free, hoping that my inner voice would be liberated somewhere in the process. Instead, I ended up in a massive traffic jam up I-70 that didn't loosen its grip the entire time I was on the highway. I intended to stop for a brief lunch but stood in line for 40 minutes just to get a sandwich. Honestly... what's the deal? Feeling blocked is so very frustrating.

I headed up Rt. 40 toward Winter Park with a full stomach and a sense of great relief that the traffic was finally gone. I intended to stop in Grand Lake to put my feet in the water and contemplate the meaning of life, but it felt so good to finally be flying over the road that my wings ached to be stretched. I didn't stop, but continued into the Rocky Mountain National Forest, a drive I have thus far avoided due to the entrance fee to the park.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the fee was less than I'd expected, and bought a year-long pass as I knew I'd want to return. The drive was fairly level at first, running me alongside a beautiful green valley traversed by a small river. This is a picture of the valley from above.

When I stopped to take this picture, a woman walked past my car and said "Oh, Connecticut!" and I smiled. Sometimes it hits me how much I love living far away from where I grew up; it makes me feel kind of foreign or exotic (because there are no white skinned brunettes in Colorado...). I am still hesitating to change over my plates because of this, and because of the fact that I'm broke (which will start being remedied come October).

The drive was beautiful and peaceful, just as most of my drives through the mountains are, but I didn't see anything very spectacular until the road started twisting upwards. Up, curve, up, curve, up, curve... until all of a sudden I realized that I was above treeline. I looked around and was completely swept away.

There were hundreds of tiny lakes tucked into the folds of the mountains, and patches of snow promising to feed them as they slowly melted. The grass was speckled with tiny, tiny yellow flowers and rocks. I was dressed for the 90 degree weather that was blanketing Golden, but up on those barren peaks the air was delicious and cool, with a strong breeze that cleaned every drop of warmth out of me. Standing there looking out at the many rocky peaks staring back at me, I realized that I was feeling nothing but alive, nothing but the life inside of my body and the sensations occurring as it interacted with the environment.

As I sit here writing this, I crave that feeling. I wish I could be there now, a light jacket on to keep my skin from feeling too cold, sitting on a rock in the sun with my legs dangling over the alpine meadow. I want to roll in the grass and smell the earth and the flowers, the feeling of the stones digging into my back and limbs. I wonder if this is my way of trying to escape from my thoughts and feelings, to return to a base level of existence where all that is real is my body. Base level sensations are so deliciously uncomplicated, there is nothing to doubt or second guess. There is just a simple feeling, and then through simple exploration, an explanation. "There is a lump under my leg - just a rock. My skin is so warm - that's the sun". I wonder if this level of simplicity is the state in which animals exist, or enlightened people, plants or infants. How I envy their quieted minds.