The movie Jaws changed the beach for lots of us (of a certain age) forever. For at least one summer none of us kids went in the water. We just lay on the sand without sunscreen, vying for that Coppertone tan. I remember my friend Lauren fell asleep with her arms over her head and got tanned armpits.
Anyway, this summer there are sharks in the water off Long Island. Drones fly over the beach and life-guards on paddle boards patrol for fins breaking the surface.
Symbols and signs are like that – lurking just under the surface. Most of the time they don’t bite, and won’t even come into our consciousness unless we bring out the drones and paddleboards.
Of course you know that the ocean is symbolic of deep emotion, the unconscious, and the links between the life (we think) we’re living and the larger sea we are swimming in, the one that is vast and eternal and divine.
How can we see what swims in our depths and shadows without the guidance of Joseph Campbell or Jungian psychoanalysis? And what should we do with what we see?
First, pay attention.
Things that turn out to be meaningful in hindsight just seem odd when they show up alone. So, when you get the wtf feeling, pay attention. And if you can’t figure out WHAT it means right off the bat, just log it into the back of your mind. Well, that means something! is good enough for now. Write. It. Down. (Don’t skip this step.)
Groups of events, constellations of the weird, things that come in with the same taste or resonance – pay attention to those especially. They mean something. Including your dreams. Write down the sets of oddness, the things that happen all in the same day, week, month. Best use for a journal that I know of.
One thing to say about journaling: if you look back as see mostly the same struggles on repeat, shift to watching for symbols and signs and all that will shift. Different struggles mean momentum: spiritual evolution.
I realize now that the search for meaning was always a part of my ministry — although in the church I couldn’t (or I thought I couldn’t) bring in as much woo as I do today. Looking back, I bet people would’ve loved it and I was just hiding my light under a bushel. But, the church has always tried to keep a lid on the magical, psychic, mystical, symbolic, witchy, woman-y and weird. I was scared. Not of getting burned at the stake but of losing members, not being liked, of being non-biblical, or a bad leader or something. I should’ve faced that shit sooner. Maybe I would’ve become skillful enough to work magic without so much destruction. Hmmm that’s sort of a deep thought …it must mean something coming today on my birthday. Life review, anyone?
Pay attention how?
When you feel disrupted, sad, stuck; when you NEED a sign, when you aren’t getting what you wanted or expected, when you feel thwarted and are struggling to make sense of the confusion, when you want your life to change or you know it’s about to change, and that strikes fear in your heart, sit and have a cry or scribble (pressing really hard) with a black crayon in your journal. Then, imagine your intuition is like a transducer. Here’s what I mean, from Vendantu.com,
Sonars transmit ultrasonic waves into the water below the ship and receive the returning echoes from the seabed. Any object that gets hit by these ultrasonic waves will emit a returning echo that will show up on the sonar display. The device which emits the ultrasonic waves is known as a transducer.
Imagine your intuition is a transducer, sending out ultrasonic waves, then listen for what comes back. Ping into
the cellular level of your body.
your inner wisdom.
Ping into times when you think you made a mistake
into times of illness
Ping into the multiverse
The parallel lives you are occupying right now.
Remember this isn’t about solutions. There’s nothing to solve. Only shiny pebbles leading out of the woods, insights to guide you to the next phase. I can’t give you answers; there aren’t any. It’s all a journey, a game, a play of shadow and illusion. Enjoy!
Write without stopping or censoring:
This month I experienced…
And I noticed…
I dreamt that…
It was weird that…
I know this meant something (even if I don’t know what)…
If I had to guess, I…
If these things all coming together are pointing the way, I suspect I…
If you want to do some shadow/spiritual/symbolic work, let me know. Remembering we never solve anything…we just get to live more richly, with more perspective and a better sense of humor. I mean, who has ever read a hero’s journey story and not wanted to laugh out loud or shake the heroine for all her stupid mistakes?