"Just as a snake sheds its skin,
we must shed our past over and over again.”
What Change Is Possible, Now?
by Jacqueline Komninos, M.A.
The other day I was visiting my brother for the day; he stepped out to pick up groceries, and I heard knock at his front door. I peered into the peephole with a curious eye and recognized his neighbor, a mature woman who was always pleasant and polite, waving hello. When I opened the door, I saw her standing on my brother’s sisal doormat, “Love Grows Here”. She held a neatly folded red, white and blue patterned fabric about 12 by 12 inches square. Her lips were tight and eyes squinting with tension. She asked me, “Would you be offended if I displayed an American flag across my front porch? I don’t want anyone to attack me."
I was wondering, How can I turn this around and be of help? So I spoke from the heart.
“I think you're safe here, to show your love of country.” And “If you want help putting up your flag, let me know.” She smiled. Although she declined my help, she thanked me. Her shoulders, which were up to her ears the minute prior, lowered to a natural relaxed place.
I admit. I felt compassion and concern for her, to be in high fear of peaceful, loving neighbors.
I also understand our national environment isn't holding us in love and peace. The pandemic and political division are a challenge to being centered and calm under pressure. And wounds of rejection can be triggered by past and current intolerance, that's rising up from our collective shadow.
If I hadn’t shed my past shamanically--worked through my own similar wound of rejection--what a triggering mess that would have been for both of us. The wound might have misdirected me to seek protection from future harm, by avoiding my brother’s neighbor when she waved hello. Have you ever experienced a cold shoulder and been baffled about why? I might have jumped into self- defense: What do you mean we’re not patriotic people. My father signed up at age 16, pretending to be 18, just to fight in WW2 and my older brother served in the military until he retired.
The month of November reminds us to keep shedding past layers, to be in self-awareness, self-love and stop procrastinating about taking action to heal. This year's round of introspection is a chance to identify our “untended wounds” that we carry over from last year and that are “carved into [our] skin and [maybe our] bones” as Pesha Gertler so honestly describes. (From the Poetry Spotlight) Does that mean we have to be sent “down the wrong street again and again” by our wounds, scars and pain? It’s tempting to walk the easier path of avoiding change.
But personal happiness, serenity and being in community are the loss if we choose an easier path.
We can do it. We are luminous beings capable of unlimited transformation.
The spirit of this time invites us to shed. As we walk through November, we move toward December, and can choose to consciously walk in the western direction of the great wheel of life. The goal eventually is to reach the North for the next challenging growth spurt in December. So we can reach our center a little more awakened to a deeper understanding of our gifts, purpose and joyous living.
(I quoted from this poem in my article above.)
The Healing Time
by Pesha Gertler
Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin, my bones
those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy
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