Seismic Shifts

For those of us devoted to inner work we are aware when we’re in the middle of something big.

Transitions manifest in various ways. A squirrely uneasiness, a plunge into deep depression, an expectant nervous sizzle, these and other unsettling phenomena like them can signal significant change.

Volcanic Eruption

Volcanic Eruption

When the earth’s crust moves, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis result. A movement of mere inches can throw the existing order of things into chaos. When the violence settles, whole land masses have disappeared and new ones have formed from the molten contents spewed forth. Craters and mountains rearrange themselves. Earth-wounds lay open, fragile and unstable.

The energy of our transitions works the same. Just as the earth shudders and trembles, spouts steam, or rumbles sometimes for months, maybe years before a major trauma, so we do likewise before the breakthrough.

A human experiencing change is a microcosm of that magnificent earth force. We are transforming on a cellular level, altering the synapse sequences of nerves, re-routing paths in the brain, overriding destructive programmed responses. It can leave us feeling raw and exposed but at the same time, new, like a landscape stripped of old growth awaiting the gardener.

It behooves us to become conscious of the way we experience these seismic shifts. Whether we’ve sought change or had it forced upon us the opportunity is the same. If we approach the challenges in a spirit of friendliness and cooperation, gratitude will manifest and accompany us on the journey. And as we know, life is only and always all about the journey!

 

Volcanoes and Snakes and Bears, Oh My!

As a girl I loved to listen to Johnny Cash sing Ring of Fire in his scratchy voice. The lyrics produced Faustian images in my adolescent imagination. Here in the South Pacific I am becoming acquainted with another Ring of Fire. Indonesia is uncomfortably cradled between the Alpide Belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire. The two together account for about 96% of the world’s earthquakes. The Pacific Ring of Fire is also home to 75% of the world’s active and dormant volcanoes. Bali boasts four of her own, Batur, Agung, Bratan, and Merbuk. Of the four, Batur is the most active erupting every few years. And that is the one that has all the hiking/trekking packages! Even if I had the proper gear, shoes, and stamina I don’t think I would even be tempted. The words from that Johnny Cash song, “I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down down and the flames went higher.” kind of spoil it for me.

Photo of Mt. Batur copied from Bing Search Engine

Then there is Mt. Agung. This volcano is a little more stable. Only a few eruptions dating back to the early 19th century have been recorded from Agung. However the eruptions in 1963 were among the world’s largest and killed 2000 people. In spite of the ominous history there are daily tours to both of these sites and villages dot the mountainsides.

Photo of Mt. Agung copied from Bing Search Engine

Why do people want to do dangerous things and live in dangerous places? Two of my daughters (and millions of others) have chosen to reside in San Francisco at times in their lives. Those people experience regular earth tremors and yet they remain. And my other daughter lives in the jungle called New York City. Why?  The levels of adrenaline needed just to navigate the subway from point A to point B are probably off the charts.

Then there are the folks in rural Texas who encounter poisonous snakes coiled in unexpected places. Yet they walk through tall grasses and don’t bat an eyelash. A Texan friend and I were conversing one day in the 80’s. I was living in Texas then, and my friend had invited me to walk with her to see something at the other side of the meadow. “But, Karen,” my voice quivered. I  think I was trembling. “What about the snakes?”  She looked at me in disbelief. “But you’re from Minnesota,” she exclaimed and in her mind that seemed to settle the issue. I was confused, “And what’s your point?” I asked indignantly. She gave me the “Well Duh” look and putting her hands on her hips said, “The BEARS!” I guess its a matter of perspective. In spite of my superb resilience at being able to survive Minnesota bears, I did not join her on the hike across the meadow!

Photo copied from Bing Search Engine

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