Taking Stock

A little over a year ago, May 2021, I started NOOM as a method of losing weight. I did very well with it, until my husband got sick in February of this year, 2022, and life as it were went to hell in a hand basket. With everything I had to process, taking over the finances, managing our home by myself, making sure that his care needs were met – well, let’s just say my capacity to maintain those practices that kept the weight off were much less easy to honor. I feel beautiful when I’m less heavy, and I want to return also to feeling healthier. So as a consequence of actually stepping on the scale this morning, and screaming, “EEEK!” I went for a walk and lowered my calorie intake for breakfast.

But it is not only the physical goals of Beauty and Health that I am seeking to master. I have sought to know myself in order to practice self mastery. For much of my life I have sought the Mystery of Spirit. Finding that in Nature and eventually in my own soul, I am seeking daily to deepen my practice of that which aligns my own spirit to the integral Whole, that great animating Life Force, from which we all partake. I am in a new relationship with Life itself! The tools are awareness, attention, and the “Smoky Mirror” gained through relationships with all Beings. What I see in someone else is also mirrored in me. What I like in someone else is often a quality I like in me. What I dislike in someone else is often a quality I dislike in me. The filters are my willingness to see and engage, both inwardly and outwardly.

Those of us who have this kind of a practice do a lot of work! And we cannot do the work without a willingness to be totally honest with ourselves and confront our own shadows. There must be a willingness to step into and engage repressed emotions. It’s sort of like a storage bank. When our emotions do not flow freely, there is a dam, and this dam keeps us from the freshness of every new moment. These dams act as filters, too. With every uncomfortable or painful emotion, there is a thought form that helps support the dam. Such thought forms feed notions that we are unlovable or unworthy, or that there is not enough love to go around, so we must prevent others from having it, and so on. There is even a strange thought form that suggests when we are heavy, people will not see us. Kind of hard to miss me when I am fat. But the real suppression is of my own beauty and soul animation, so I must ask myself why I am hiding, what threatens me that I don’t want my light to be seen? And then I do that work on myself.

Every moment offers us a choice. When my husband finally left to live in the nursing home (I could not take care of his dementia and work to support us), one of the first things I did was cancel the TV subscription in order to afford the bills that were coming in. I discovered the beauty of the silence. Alan always had the TV very loud to make up for his deafness. In that silence, I could think, I could feel, I could become aware of the life forms that are active around me. I could hear the Winds, the Waters, and it seemed I could even sense the grass growing through the intuitive senses that were not blocked by all that excessive sound.

But the best of all, the silence returned to me the golden quality of my own awareness. Without the excessive demand for attention on my sensory apparatus, I can be aware of my own being, listen for my own heartbeat. And I wonder now, as I wondered on my walk this morning thinking of such things, how aware is the average person when they passively give their listening and watching over to the programs and advertisements that are on TV? Reporters today are no Walter Cronkite: They offer their opinions without relatively reporting the facts. In the words of that 70’s TV show, Dragnet’s “Joe Friday”, I would rather listen to “The facts and nothing but the facts, Ma’am.”

Each of us is programmed and conditioned from birth with the feelings, moods, and beliefs of our families and the larger culture. There is within that, for example, the constant pressure to buy newer, better, bigger – a philosophy that is now at variants with the contemporary inflation which causes people to cut back on their spending in order to survive. There is the advertising exploitation of beautiful, skinny women in order to sell fashion, style, cars – if I had taken this for my self image I would be a mess of self-hatred right now. Advertising makes use of psychology to manipulate people into beliefs that serve the marketing world: OMG, what will people THINK of you if you do not do this to adhere to that? We all fall prey to this manipulation in one form or another. But stop and really think for yourself for a moment.

The word “Psychology” descends from the Greek word, “Psyche”, which means “Soul.” If we do not do the work of self-examination, of our conditioning, of undoing what is worst in our upbringing and social programming, just what ideas are we selling out our Soul for? I believe it is time to reclaim our Life given awareness instead of selling it passively to the highest bidder who gets our attention caught up by the TV and internet mass marketing systems, and by golly, let’s grow ourselves some SOUL!

Published by susanofthenorth

Susan Hintz Epstein is an author, Rune diviner, healer, non-academic scholar, and former Methodist Lay Speaker who was called by the Runes in 2013. The time since then has been a serpentine shedding of one skin for another, as Susan's spiritual practice with the Runes and the World Tree, Yggdrasil, deepened. Susan keeps company with the Norns and other like-minded women.

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