“I feel like I’m free-falling. I don’t know what’s true anymore, except what I feel is true.”
This statement came from someone who is going through a spiritual transformation, away from organized religion and into a more decentralized, feminine-centric, soulful spirituality. I’m well familiar with this feeling.
When I left the religion of my ancestry, I often felt like I had jumped off a six-generation building. I literally felt that catch in my chest that I feel when I’m on a carnival ride and the car I’m in suddenly drops. I’d moved into a tipi in August as part of this change, so there was a lot of preparation for the upcoming cold Central Oregon winter. The air was already turning crisp by early September that year.
I can remember cutting wood on the 240-acre property that my friend said I could use. I'd be working, just minding my own business, when a thought would hit me and my chest would catch. Sometimes it was so profound that I would have to sit down for a moment. At times even tears would come.
“What am I DOING?” I’d ask myself.
The collateral damage from abandoning my religion-based faith was significant, including a 20-year marriage, relationships with my children and birth family, as well as my 3200 square foot home with a view of Mt. Bachelor from my living room window.
Gone. It all left in one crazy, six-month window.
Sometimes, the lack of a container for my naturally soulful self, combined with all this, was a bit rough. Even my morals and values were either challenged or left with my church membership. I experimented with shoplifting. Dating, you can bet, was a disaster.
When we’re going through a change as significant as our understanding of the nature of reality (called, “ontology”), we can expect to feel adrift for a while. We are, after all, trying out wings that want to be used, but are new to us. Those muscles haven’t been strengthened, yet. Making matters worse is the fact that we may generate some additional difficult karma while all this is happening.
After all, shoplifting does not help one’s energetic body.
What happens is that, if we don’t panic and go back to the old ways, small lights begin to circle around us, the orbs of assistance. A new teacher of deeper truths, for instance, may appear.
For me, the first was a Central Oregon mystic named Jeb Barton. I’ll always be grateful for the one-on-one talks we had during that Summer and Fall. He introduced me to concepts via Jane Roberts channeled “Seth” personality that rang so true they’ve never left me, even through multiple spiritual paths I’ve embraced since.
The key is to develop early the ability to exist in the present moment. For me, a solid meditation practice became important, and remains so.
Memories of the past and anxiety concerning the future can be very unsettling at any time - but especially when we feel that Life has yanked the rug out and nothing seems solid. The specifics of the future are unknown when we’ve been compelled to leave an old foundation. It’s literally the difference between living in a house and living in a tent. One is generally stationary and one is meant to be mobile. Sometimes only a tent will do, because the house of our lives with its crumbling foundation is no longer enough to support who we are becoming.
The past, on the other hand, can be equally unsettling. Sure, it's solid in that it's unchangeable, but it no longer matches our current values. Our perceptions and stories about it can change, it’s true, but the facts are the facts. Best to take the lessons and move on. Or, at least limit the processing of those energies or traumas to ceremonial spaces, rather than obsessing about them every time we have a spare moment. Presence is the key to diminishing the spin-outs that definitely do occur.
Again, it’s tent over house. It’s turtle over beaver. More feminine (non-linear) than masculine (linear, controlled). Still, when we're "in it," wisdom can make an appearance.
For instance, there was one day when I was feeling especially grim and discouraged. As I ruminated on what had become of my life, something occurred to me. It was a simple thought, but it had merit. The thought was this: angels don’t know gravity.
Think about it for a moment. An angel never physically falls. Their natural home is … everywhere. At least they're not gravity bound. Their foundation, then, is within themselves. That catch in my chest? Well, angels don’t know that feeling. At least not in their present incarnation as angels. They move high, low, here and there. If they’re centered in themselves, they need nothing else.
We are angels in a mortal disguise. I really believe this. So, I had to ask myself, “why do I feel like I’m free-falling?” What am I falling from?
Ego. Expectations. Old stories. Old, false standards. Programming that was decades old. You know what they do with old programs, don’t you? Check the landfill.
As I sat with this concept over the next few weeks, it began to get traction. I began to release the ideas that were tying the “new me” to the “old me.” The Me that said I was falling began to look less and less like the Me that could float, that could fly.
And who wouldn’t rather fly than be ground-bound?
The stories then began to fall with greater velocity. I didn’t care what people thought about my living in a tipi; I was happy there, loving the peace, the animals around me, the full moon showing through the smoke hole. Happiness won.
I no longer cared that my birth family thought I was a wicked human being. I knew I was not, so peace began to settle in my heart where it wasn’t able to live before.
I didn’t care that my old god would reject me - a god that would reject a pure seeker of truth like I am isn’t worthy of my adoration. Jealous god? Buh-bye.
I’ll admit here that there were times when I took it a little far. There are some things from our pasts that are karmically charged. Our relationships with our children, ex-spouses and even birth families, for instance. There’s a balance here, between our new floating, tent-dwelling state, and the foundations we built in the past. But the best way to navigate these things is, again, from the present moment. See what arises, and then release the mind. Instead, feel with the heart into the best way to take care of these sacred commitments from your new status as an angel. Do your best to see in this way. What else can anyone ask? From what place can anyone, least of all those you left behind, judge you?
Another potential tar pit is our 9-to-5 jobs. Do you know how hard it is to live in a tipi among nature and then go sell surgical supplies to surgeons who own airplanes, six-digit cars, and several houses? (I was selling surgical supplies at the time.) There becomes a relational issue; their lives became foreign, sticky, heavy things.
Get a drink after work? What, and miss the sunset? Are you kidding?
Eventually, and it took years and several careers, I learned to respect the “snake level” in ways that we're more balanced and healthy.* Snake is necessary; it just is. If it doesn’t actually sap my soul, if I’m not selling drugs or weapons to a military, it even has a sacred quality to it. After all, it’s how I buy organic food. It’s how I pay for my little off-grid cabin that I now live in. It’s how I get to ceremony. It's by honoring Snake in a good way that I get to go out into the world - not as the half-naked, forest-dwelling shaman I feel I am, though. I can’t be of service in the world like that. People don’t relate to that guy. He looks scary or insane to most people in this world.
Instead, as I learned to respect this level of reality, I realized on a deeper level that I was still that forest-dweller, but that I had to go disguised into the world in order to do my work.
These days I sell heating and cooling equipment for houses. I go into people’s homes disguised as an HVAC salesman. They may be massive right-wingers, Trump supporters, Christian evangelists, haters of all things "not them," and guess what? It feels like a huge irony, a cosmic joke, but I’m in their homes.
I am in their homes.
I get to show them what love looks like by the way I talk to them. By the way I respect their humanity. By the way I do business with them. I often pray before I meet my potential clients that I can get them what they need. Sometimes, we talk about life for the better part of an hour before we ever start talking about heating equipment. I’m careful, but we talk about spirituality, sometimes. They open up to me, complete strangers, about the difficulty they’re having in their lives. Not every time, but often. The son with PTSD, the woman with a granddaughter addicted to meth, the couple who's son is in a coma and wants a shamanic practitioner to pray for him.
Maybe that’s what they need, even more than new HVAC equipment. And there I am in their homes, dying to serve them.
You think some of these would let a Sun Dancing, Mesa carrying, Earth-worshipping man into their homes any other way? Many would not.
Generally, I sell enough to make my bosses very happy, and I get to go into people’s homes and love in them. That’s not a bad situation now, is it?
But I had to let go of my ideas of what I “should be doing” first. I had to do the work of “dying to the past” and falling in love with what is, instead. I had to learn to use my wings. I had to know, by experience, that angels don’t fall.
It’s the same for you.
The Universe, as Gabrielle Bernstein writes, really does have our backs. We can step into the void because there is no void. It’s all Creator. It’s all Spirit. It’s all water, and you and I are fish. We’re bathed in what gives us life. The catches in our chests leave as we really discover this to the true, and start to embody it.
So, soulful sibling… step into it. Lean into what is calling you. Love your ass off. Reach out to anyone that will accept your light, and bless those who refuse. Put yourself out there. Be bold. You can’t ultimately be harmed. After all, angels aren't only free from the constraints of gravity.
They're also immortal.
* Snake level has to do with the work of the South in the Laika / Mesa way that I use in my personal cosmology. It's basic needs, strictly cause and effect. No emotion, just what is.