Last week the latest mass shooting inspired me to write a piece called “Living as a Magical Act, pt 1: The Question”. This one will make more sense if you read that one first, so have at it here (http://maitreyawolf.com/living-magical-act-pt-1/) and then come back for the this serving.
So here we are at the Invitation. A week after this latest shooting most people have gone on with our business as usual because almost all of us, in my estimation, are experiencing extreme compassion fatigue. I am right there with this: there has been too much stress, too much violence, too much absolute travesty and too much overwhelm heaped on top of the often arduous efforts for daily personal survival to respond with full presence to the increasingly frequent atrocities that are unfolding in the country and the world. It’s quite a bind that we’re sitting in, us average folk out here in the world, especially us artists and world-crafters making our way through the uncharted territory of the life of the heart: living on the frontiers (aka the fringe) of society working to gather enough money to live with in a collapsing world economy, burdened by the New Age platitude that material success is an expression of divine alignment (spoiler: it’s not), tangled up in societies insistence on carrying on with business as usual, wrestling with our own deep love and care for the world and our simultaneous inclination to check out and please ourselves, looking for love, looking for community, looking for peace, home, belonging, purpose, pleasure, safety, or whatever else while the explosions keep going off around us and deaths cold breath keeps coming closer…… it’s some full-on medicine to be alive in this moment, not for the feint of heart.
And we are not, most of us, as fully engaged in meeting it as we could be. We are, in many ways, aspiring to walk all the way through the initiation without leaving our comfort zone, hoping to access enlightenment from the lap of luxury (or at least lavish comfort) without having to get dirty, feel the terror, stumble in the darkness of a moonless forest at night, or lose the polish of our finely dressed, finely groomed presentation selves.
Well, it doesn’t work that way.
The world we’re sitting inside of is magical, wild, terrifying, profound, tremendous, gritty, bloody, primal, fierce, wicked, gorgeous, and unapologetically, relentlessly REAL. our lives are happening inside of a tremendous moment of absolute reckoning for our species and our planet. This is an extraordinary initiation, and true initiation happens in the territory of life and death, not comfort.
So how do we show up to this moment? How do we meet the invitation of initiation into our genuine adulthood, full humanity, and true Being? How do we bear our part of the unbearable burden on behalf of Life and the creation of a beautiful world for all?
I have just a glimmer of an answer that I am beginning to live my way into, and I share it with you here in the hopes that it will serve and support you. I pray that I do not appear as one of those young hopefuls who has gathered a little bit of knowledge and mistaken it for wisdom, and gone on to charge exorbitant fees to teach something that they are not fully cooked in….. That is an unfortunate trend whose passion for helping the world I appreciate, but whose lack of humility I do not, and I do not propose to be any kind of master, just someone deep in the journey with something to share. Mostly my deep prayer is that what I share here will inspire and support you in walking through whatever particular flavor your initiation is taking on these days, and then hopefully, we will bring the threads of our stories together and weave the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible out of the great possibilities of our individual lives.
So here is my inviation:
Live as a Magical Act.
Take a moment with that phrase. Feel it in your whole body. Roll it around on your tongue and inside of your imagination and listen to what comes alive as it tumbles and dances within you.
Live as a Magical Act.
Now…. what exactly does that mean?
Here in the west we are often burdened with “The Hero Complex”. It is shoved down our throat from every angle, from games to books to movies, and our politics are a flaming example of its inadequacy as a guiding mythos. One man (not yet a woman, oh no! but that essay’s coming later) to “lead” a nation of 320 million people spread out across over 37 million square miles of land? Preposterous! How utterly stupid! In conjunction with “the Hero Complex” we are also dragging the chains of a social and cultural concept that for something to be worthwhile it has to be hugely impactful, garner acclaim, get awards, and/or earn loads of money. This, as a guiding principle or even as an unexamined assumption, is tremendously disempowering. It disavows the magic of the small and subtle, inflating grandiosity instead which so often leads to destruction, imbalance, chaos and disharmony. There are leopards in the world, yes, and they are indeed absolutely crucial to the health of the whole system. But there are many more earthworms, and without them all is lost. One of our many current conundrums is that everyone wants to be a leopard, and no one wants to be an earthworm.
So I lay out this invitation: go forth and Live as a Magical Act, whether your particular path is to be a leopard or an earthworm. Learn and know yourself, love and honor yourself, have pride and tenderness for your unique offering,come into deep relationship with the reality of the world as it is, and live your unique piece with the fullness of your capacity.
What does that mean? Let’s explore…..
This phrase arose for me from a deep meditation two years ago. For a long time I could feel it, but I couldn’t articulate it, so I have held it close, stayed open to it’s insistent and mysterious magic, and stayed in the place of deep listening with it since it arose. I am only barely able to articulate it now, and I am still rolling around in the dance of all that it means, but what I am beginning to be able to see, name, and live is this:
One component is that we are each a unique expression of the great continuity of the Divine, which is Life. Life and the great mystery of Divinity is not something that exists above and beyond the earth, outside of time and beyond matter: we are expressions of it, and we are living inside of it. All that we are, the breath in our bodies, the beat in our hearts, the wind through the trees, the sparkle of light on water, the mewing of a cat, the broken hearted wailing of any pain, all that we can experience with our senses, and all that exists within, around, and beyond our senses IS THE DIVINE. Earth is Divine. Life is Divine. Everything from Leopards to Earthworms is Divine, without exception. Divinity is not something out there to get to: Life is Divinity. All of it, even the awful things.
Add in the second layer that each of us is the only one of us there will ever be in all of time. Let that fully land for a moment, really take that in: you are the only you there will ever be. EVER. For billions of years prior or hence to this moment, there has never been and will never be another You. Feel that all the way through your blood and your bones. Breathe into the particularity of your body, your voice, your eyes, the way you move, the way you feel, the great phenomenon of your personality and realize that that will never happen again once you drop your robe and go onto your next mystery.
And now this: inside of this living, breathing, expression of Divinity that you, the one-and-only-you-there-will-ever-be, are, is contained something extraordinary and unique, something absolutely essential to the health and well-being of the world.
Do you know what it is?
It may not be huge. It doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t have to be destined for the stage or the Nobel Prize or any other kind of acclaim. It doesn’t have to generate massive amounts of wealth or loads of attention of any kind. There’s something in you that only you carry, your particular medicine for the world that only you can bring, and all that truly matters is that you recognize what it is and live it with full magical intent as your gift to the healing and awakening of the world.
That, in it’s simplest terms, is what it means to Live as a Magical Act.
Now let’s go in deeper:
Let me share something that we have heard before and will hear again as we move through this awesome initiation: the portal to power is through the pain. Everything we want to avoid in an effort to stay safe and comfortable is the doorway to true Being. This is the absolute truth and there is no way around it. If we want access to our power, we have to make relationship with our pain. Jesus and Mary Magdalene were not complete people because they held out the pain of the world. They were complete because they let it in, held it close, let it affect them, and loved it as deeply as they loved everything else.
I am endlessly frustrated with and disappointed by what I call “light supremacy” in spiritual circles. “Darkness exists so that light may be experienced.” “Only the light matters.” “I must overcome my darkness and live only in my light.” “May all darkness be turned to light,” “Only the light is right,” ad neauseum. PLEASE. Even observationally it’s obvious that light only exists in relation to darkness. They are different expressions of the same energy. They come together, they define each other. You don’t get one without the other. And what’s more is that light is not inherently superior and darkness is not inherently inferior. Light does not equal good any more than dark equals bad. That’s all absolute drivel! Chuck that nonsense right now and open to the unique and particular magic that darkness holds, and in this way you will become whole.
How this relates to Living as a Magical Act is this: to come fully alive, one has to make full relationship with the entire spectrum of existence. From the heights of the high that everyone aspires to to the depths of the low that everyone recoils from, life only exists in its entirety. To be fully awake and grounded in Life one must engage the whole spectrum. Anything that one is avoiding or denying is sucking ones life force, because to avoid or deny is already a quality of relationship, so one is already engaged with what’s being avoided or denied, only in a life-draining way instead of a life-giving way. When one breathes deep, stands still, stands tall, and opens to the whole picture of reality, then one is able to come into deep and true relationship with the whole magnificence of life and where they stand with it, and one will know what their part of the equation is. Then one will know how to participate with full magical intent in the co-creation of the world.
We cannot fully know ourselves until we fully open to the whole reality of life. We cannot fully know ourselves until we fully open to the reality of pain and fear within us. We cannot stand tall in our power until we make deep relationship with our own underworld, thereby coming into full communion and full alliance with the entirety of our being and our place in the world. And we cannot fully know life until we fully open to the reality of the current state of the world. That is the path to awakening and the path to power.
When we have done this, when we have done the work of coming into communion with the entirety of our being, a few things will happen: one is that we will have access to the fullness of our own experience. That brings us alive and brings us into relationship with our life force in a new and important way. Another is that from that place we will see more clearly our place in the big picture, and from that seeing we can Live as a Magical Act. That means that as we live out our newly understood task and/or role, as we make every step in our lives, mundane to magnificent, we suffuse our entire journey with the intention to feed the awakening and healing of the world with our Life.
This is a deep energetic practice, and one that almost defies description and will possibly be different for everyone. But it essentially has to do with the quality of intention and attention that one brings to ones movements.
Imagine for a moment the feeling of deep praying, in the wild, at your altar or in ceremony, or in any other setting where that happens for you. Feel the way that that energy moves in your body, feel how it deepens and invigorates you where you sit as you focus and dive in to your prayers, to your fully magical capacity. That is creativity and vitality in deep communion! Living as a Magical Act is bringing that same quality of depth, presence, vitality, electricity, awareness, intention and attention to the daily process of your life. When you walk, stay in deep with your breath and stay in communion with the breathing world around you, stay present, listen. Give and receive. Be Awake and be Alive. When you speak, speak to bring life to yourself and the world around you, speak with the intent to create beauty. When you are doing whatever you do in your day and your journey, do it with the energy of prayer and Magical intent that life will be healthy and flourish.
Beware the possibility of spiritual bypass herein! Do not use the principle or the practice of Living as a Magical Act as a way to say “oh, I’m praying so I don’t need to participate” – the world is going up in flames or down in floods all around us, people dying of starvation, war, mass shootings, women living in constant fear for our safety even in “safe” countries, animals tortured en masse for food and products, poisoned oceans…… shit is DIRE right now, don’t go back to sleep!!! Use it to wake up!
Living as a Magical Act is not about hiding out in a privileged life with the rhetoric that “I’m praying so it’s all good” to insulate or excuse us from bearing our part of the unbearable burden. Oh no: we’re here, this is our responsibility. It’s about embracing our personal and collective underworld and all the exiled and unsavory parts of ourselves, coming into full communion with the whole reality of who we are and the reality of the world as it is, coming into the deep knowing of our unique gifts and medicine in the world, engaging with the process of the world from the deepest truth of our being through that authentic gift, and powerfully SUFFUSING that engagement with the potency of absolute attention and deep prayer. It’s about re-awakening our absolute power as Beings and healing the world with our love through the expression of our lives. It’s not about personal gain! It’s not about comfort! It’s about giving life all that we have to turn the world around for the better for all beings!!!
And it’s fucking AWESOME!!! It’s entails pain and sorrow and fear but also opens the pathway to Love, Power, and Joy. To be awake is to feel it all, the pleasurable as well as the painful, and it’s the only way to live a real Life. And it matters. It makes a difference. It makes a ripple and makes waves. This planet wants to heal, and humanity wants to heal as well, all the beings we share this planet and a load of them that we share the galaxy with are all about us waking up into our true nature: every awakening being who is living from the fullness of their essential being is a move in the direction of life and beauty.
Let’s DO THIS.
So there’s my invitation. Go forth and Live as a Magical Act. Do it for everything we love. Do it because we can. Do it because we must. Do it now, do it fully, and know that we are doing it together.
Yaheh, as it is spoken, so it is!