bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: science meets spirituality

Songs from the musical vacuum:….take me back to the start.

A friend of mine once told me that I must live ‘in a musical vacuum’ because there’s a lot of popular songs that I’ve never listened to, much less heard of.

Often, I don’t want to agree with her for two good reasons.

First, I’ll pretty much listen to any and all genres of music.

And second, I’m pretty much listening to music all of the time.

Yes, much like Starlord, I have a soundtrack to my days, if not, my entire life…so I cannot fathom how this could be.

I do not want to  believe that I live in a musical vacuum.  I tell myself that I’d know a popular song if I heard it before, wouldn’t I?

Yeah.

Yeah.

 

So last night, she sent me a link to this:

 

This is Lennon Roach.

He is an munitions system specialist for the US Air Force stationed in Lakenheath England.

So I listened to the song, and then I went to bed.

~~~

But I woke up this morning with bits of that lovely melody and heartfelt lyrics still resonating in my head.

So I’ve been thinking of this song all morning.

I must’ve clicked on the link a dozen times, listening to it since last night.

Because of the way that it was shared, I did not see the tag that identifies this song, but I found myself absolutely falling in love with the words and the melody.

Once I’d practically memorized the lyrics of the song…I realized I had to know more.

So I Googled the song lyrics, expecting that this would be an original piece.

It’s not.

Much to my surprise, I found out this morning that it’s a cover of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist.’

Heh.

Oops.

Maybe I do live in a musical vacuum.

I stand corrected.

 

Month for Loki, Day 6: Student.

Being that this is the month for Loki, you may see many devotional blogs that feature a convenient little survey (like this one) that details the particulars of the development and practice of hows and whens and whys of  a devotee’s journey to working with Loki.

And in the interest of my task to keep it 100, I wanted to write a post today that talks about the first role that Loki played in my life once He re-introduced Himself to me in 2011.

Loki is, for all intents and purposes, an academic.   While His relentless desire for knowledge often does mirror Odin’s singleminded quest for wisdom in several ways, in my experience, Loki’s methods  seem infinitely more eclectic.

Loki doesn’t care how or by what means you’ve attained your knowledge; He just wants you to get it.

In that, Loki seems to value those with a variety of skills – and the more varied your skill-set, the better.

So, in that sense, His role in the development of my devotional practice for that first year, was as my Teacher… and I was His student.

That was pretty much the dynamic for the first year.

I was incessantly prodded to notice and examine the energy around me, and to become aware of the energy within my body.  In this sense, I was being encouraged to learn that everything that exists consists of energy, and that much of how matter (and by extension, will)  is manifested in this world is through movement of energy – the vibration of light (color), the vibration of sound (words) and the vibration of movement (dance, exercise, even sex.)

All matter that exists vibrates with differing frequencies.

In short…

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Then, of course, there was  The Three Laws of Thermodynamics.

As I never paid much attention in physics class, I despaired at all this complex talk about energy.

But then, as He is wont to do, Loki nudged me from other angles.

I began a meditation practice, that later grew to involve the use of chanting and mudras.

I began studying runes and other alphabet systems.  I re-acquainted myself with studying linguistics, as well as the structure and history of Proto-Indo European languages.

I learned about drumming and dancing as a means to bring about altered states, including trance.

I learned about the ‘energetic body’ – with intense focus on chakras and auras.

I learned about shielding, grounding, warding and other magickal exercises.

And looking back on it, I realized that there are definitive links between what is defined as science/history and what is defined as spirituality/magick.

Perhaps there is little difference between the two as long as there is focused intent, and a commitment to study with intent.

~~~

And my practice grew.

My interactions with others and my experiences with Loki at that time seem to reflect my student role back at me:

I saw myself as a devotee of Loki, nothing more.

And I was satisfied with all of that and with all that I was learning — about science, about magick, about Loki…and most importantly, about myself.

I was so taken up by what I saw as a rapid and very exciting process that was focused entirely on the pursuit of knowledge.

But then, things changed.

Suddenly, I began losing focus as a student… because my marriage was falling apart.

I could not ignore the profoundly emotional energetic shift that seemed to be occurring in my life.

Despite the fact that I was connecting with so many things on both a physical and a philosophical level, the structure of my most valued relationship was failing.

Suddenly, I started to chafe against that scholarly distance that I had created as a student.

While I could muster a polite respect for Him as a Teacher, underneath the surface, I felt distracted and disconnected.

Soon I began to daydream and avoid the lessons that I had once embraced.  I put away my runes.  I stopped my various studies of mudras and chakras and auras.  I stopped all of my daily rituals – the daily practices of grounding, centering, and warding.  I gave up focusing on energy work altogether.

The only thing that really stayed was my meditation practice.  It was the only mindful connection that I seemed to be able to have with Him.

And then, He began to come to me while I slept, in dreams.

For several months, I had repetitive cycles of dreams wherein He would encourage me to approach Him, to come close enough to touch Him.

Even though I had given up studying and I had been dodgy about approaching Him…

He was remarkably relentless and yet – surprisingly –  infinitely patient with me in my stubbornness.

And then, one day, in 2013, He asked me the question:

Wouldn’t you rather be in love?

And I didn’t know what to say.

I Can’t F***ing Breathe Much Less Believe…

I awoke this morning, with the above song stuck in my head.

While this is not unusual – I wake up with an earworm most mornings – this occasion was different.

Because this morning, it wasn’t so much that there were song lyrics stuck in my head as it was the image of that red-haired woman bound and struggling in the water set to the relentless loop of these misheard lyrics:

“I can’t fucking breathe much less believe…in you…so tie me to the tracks, there ain’t no going back …to that untruth.”

Now while my conscious mind is well aware of the actual lyrics of that song (here), this morning, my mind substituted other lyrics entirely throughout…and yet the melody remained exactly the same.  I find that quite interesting.

And even awake, I cannot get those words out of my head.

Who is Lydia?

Am I Lydia?

Quite possibly in the sense that the woman in the video – Marina Kazankova – can do something quite astounding: she can hold her breath for up to six minutes underwater.

(Thus, this video was shot in one take – a feat as described in this article.)

The reason why this is significant for me is that I was once able to hold my breath for a relatively long period: easily one and a half minutes, a little over two minutes with effort.

While I am not a competitive diver like Marina, I developed my lung capacity and increased breath control over time when I was learning to play the flute, when I was in third grade.

Though I may not have been as musically skilled as others, I could hold a note longer than any of the other flutists I knew, well into high school.  This was one of the ways in which I set myself apart from others at that particularly emotionally difficult time in my life.

Related to that skill, I can also hold my breath for a rather long time while underwater.

And it would seem I am doing so again – holding my breath – metaphorically speaking.

~~~

Speaking of which, I am back in therapy again.

I hate this change.

I hate the ‘homework’ that my therapist gives me to do.

He’s asked me to chart my progress daily, in writing:

How am I learning to alter my negative self-perceptions and practicing being more mindful of my thoughts and reactions towards negativity?

(I have come to suspect that my new therapist is a zen Buddhist of some sort who subscribes to the theory of non-attachment…among other things.  Not that this is in itself, a bad thing, I just find myself trying to navigate this boatload of somewhat familiar spiritual jargon.)

I don’t quite understand it, even though my therapist often insists that I do.

Perhaps he is correct, and yet I do find myself asking him a lot of questions during our sessions.

Though he reacts to a lot of the questions as if I am trying to derail him from the point that he is trying to make.

This is ‘pushback,’ he claims, and ‘pushback’ is my attempt to control the situation, even in therapy.

This is you creating a distraction so you won’t have to do the work, he says.

Do something, for goodness’ sake,  he mutters.

Haven’t you run from yourself and your feelings long enough, he asks me.

(And no…my therapist doesn’t know how much he sounds like Loki when he says such things.)

*sigh*

But it’s OK.  It’s keeping me accountable for now.

My resentment, my creation of distractions, my lack of understanding of the ‘rules’ regarding ‘ this process of developing non-attachment to emotional outcomes’ – these are simply my way of keeping my distance, of refusing to participate in my own therapy, he says.

You know better, he sighs. Stop pretending that you don’t.  Stop making everything so complex.

I’m not trying to be a difficult client.

~~~

Meanwhile…He says:

Stop holding your breath.

You are not drowning.

You know how to swim.

So…swim.

 

 

 

Heart-light

As far back as I can remember, I have had this tendency to wake up in the middle of the night, usually between 1-4 AM.

Even if I were to go to bed and sleep at 1 AM, I’d still find myself awake at 4 AM or so.

I’ve pondered over the various reasons for this – on this blog and elsewhere – but recently, I’ve truly come to accept this about my sleep schedule.   I used to think that my tendency to routinely awaken during the chime hours was something that I needed to overcome.  As a result, I’ve employed strategies ranging from medication to behavior modifications that involve everything from meditation to putting constraints on food/water intake to decreasing distractions from light or electronics or whatever…and nothing seemed to change.

So as you might imagine, I’ve read much about this, and often that reading occurs at times such as -you guessed it- 4 AM.

I came across this article recently.

While there wasn’t a lot of information that I hadn’t come across before concerning how  modern technological advances have affected human beings on a biological and psychological level, I was struck especially by this portion where Clark Strand discusses ‘inner light’:

“In the absence of artificial illumination, the human mind naturally begins to quiet down a couple of hours after dusk, and then remains quiet and at peace throughout the dark hours of the night. After about four hours, through some mysterious trick of mammalian biology, a light goes on inside our heads and we wake for about two hours. But it isn’t an artificial light, or even an outward light. It’s an inner light, softer than a candle. It doesn’t come on strong or dominate our consciousness the way a light bulb does. It doesn’t even require us to be fully conscious or awake. It’s gentler and more receptive than that. It’s inviting, a little like that tiny white spot in the dark “feminine” half of the Yin-Yang symbol.

The Song of Songs describes that state of mind with the words, “I sleep, but my heart is awake.” This isn’t a metaphor: It’s an actual state of mind that anyone can reclaim just by turning out the lights. It’s part of our biological and spiritual heritage. It’s encoded in our genes.

Why experience “the Hour of the Wolf,” when you can experience “the Hour of God”? That is the ultimate question for our light-saturated culture of insomnia. Of course, I’m not speaking of God in religious terms when I use that phrase. The hour I am talking about is much, much older than religion. I believe— and Thomas Wehr reached the same conclusion—that this is the state of mind that all religions in the world are attempting to get back to today.”

 Strand asserts that what seems to be an obstacle (the tendency to awaken in the middle of the night) is perhaps an adaption to how the presence of artificial light has affected how humans perceive the length of a day.  Therefore I am heartened to consider that I am in good company with the rest of society, for once.

 In that sense, what I thought was insomnia is just a modern adaption to human circadian rhythms.

I intend to pick up Strand’s book, Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age.