With the Heart of the Ancients

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I have been daydreaming a lot this week…more than normal. I find myself swept off to faraway lands full of forests and animals. It also seems that everyone I have been around this week has eaten a double portion of Bitchy Puddin’. In the midst of all the turmoil brewing around me, I have tried to drift away as often as possible. I have also been reading much about recognizing whether one has an old soul or not.  Apparently the Characteristics, according to one article written by Richard Crown, are as follows:

1.  You’re curious about whether or not you’re an old soul. Just the thought that you may be one strikes a chord somewhere deep inside of you.

2.  You enjoy spending time alone… a lot of it. For you, being alone is not lonely. You feel much more comfortable with your own company than by being surrounded by other, less mature souls engaged in frivolous pursuits.

3.  You tend to see the deeper meaning in every situation you encounter. You understand clearly that every event happens for a reason, that there are powerful forces at work in our lives that are not readily apparent.

4.  You make a living in an old-fashioned or artistic way. Maybe you deal in antiques or handmade artifacts or you’re an artist. Perhaps a traditional occupation like being a carpenter, farmer or a weaver appeals to you.

5.  Some of your friends are older or much younger than you, and you’re very comfortable with them. Age is not important in choosing your friends. Their level of maturity is.

6.  You enjoy being outdoors in natural surroundings. Time spent in the great outdoors in nature resets and recharges is you better than anything else.

7.  Your idea of a good read is something that stimulates your mind, provoking thought and self-examination. Spiritual books, history and philosophy are far from boring to you.

8.  You’re not interested in the National Enquirer, gossip and idle chat or football scores. You’re easily bored with popular TV and idle time wasters.

9.  You spend money on spiritual pursuits or helping others. You get more pleasure and satisfaction from spending money for a spiritual journey or meditation retreat, or on helping another person, than from buying the latest gadgets or indulging in expensive restaurants.

10.  People trust you and come to you for advice. Other people are not afraid to open their hearts to you and share their most intimate problems. They know they can trust you, confide in you and rely on your advice to help them make the best decisions.

I will admit that many of those things do describe how I am or how I feel, but I believe that there is something missing from those characteristics. I believe in the midst of all those things, there is longing…a yearning…a homesickness for certain places and certain time periods.

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I have found myself in that boat many times over the past week. I have found that when I close my eyes to rest or sleep, that visions and dreams come to me of a place long buried in my memories. I dream of an Irish countryside…of a modest hovel buried deep in the forest. There are people there that I recognize…people that I have heard stories of from my mother’s mother. A cousin, who has long since faded into family history sits at a primitive table…if I had to guess, I had made it with my own two hands. I am standing close to the fire preparing herbs and other ingredients gathered for the potion at hand. My face is furrowed with the etchings of a challenging life and my beard is scraggly, long and white. We laugh together as I speak over the pot in a language far from the butchered southern English I speak today. The brew is for one of his animals…staving off sickness. I have had this dream…this vision over and over this week.

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I have also dreamed of a woodland village deep inside the hills of North Carolina. In this vision, I am sitting in the center of a shelter made of grasses and animal skins. I listen intently as one of the young men of the village asks me for guidance as he prepares for a hunt for food. I close my eyes and I can smell the smoke of fire close by. I can feel the earth beneath me as I listen to what the spirits might tell me that could be useful for this young man.

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The dreams I have had have seemed more real to me than the reality that has manifested itself around me. With each dream…each vision…I awake with a deep yearning, a hunger to be back there. I have walked through each day with a dull ache in my chest….feeling as if had left something behind. In each dream, there is one spirit that I recognize no matter what form he may be. It is the spirit that resides inside my little blue chihuahua. In the vision of the forest cunning man, his spirit shows itself to me in the form of a fox that has taken up residence with me. In the vision of the old shaman…the Didanawisgi, I recognized his spirit in the body of the young man seeking guidance. He has been a part of many lives for me…either as familiar, charge, or teacher.

As my mind has circled this week around these visions, I am reminded of the movie “Somewhere In Time” starring Christoper Reeve and Jane Seymour…lovers, friends whose relationship transcended the boundaries of time. I can easily relate to the feeling that Reeve felt at the end as leaving the past became harder and harder. I found myself dwelling on these places…on these times. I found myself yearning for the person that peered back at me through that portal. I found myself yearning for the land around me…the coolness of the woods around me.

It is funny…as I grow older, these dreams/visions become more frequent….stronger. In these dreams, there is always a life lesson for me. Deep in that Irish forest, there is the lesson that we must always take care…protect those things we were given to keep watch over…whether it be our animals, children, family. Inside that shelter in the midst of the Cherokee village, I am taught that bravery is not something that comes to one automatically. It must be learned…it must be nurtured. I have awakened with my joints and muscles sore…as though I am older than I am, but their recovery is fast. I have also found myself looking deeper into the soul of that little blue chihuahua.

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We are told that we should train our pets…teach them to obey. But it is the soul of that little dog that teaches me patience, endurance, strength. I have watched him move in pain this week without once wincing. I have seen him show joy no matter how badly he hurt. He has listened and quietly sat with me this week with no judgment. I dare say that I have so much more to learn from him.

I lost a dear friend last weekend. His wife died almost a year ago to the day. She was the first person I came out to…the first person that I made my heart the most vulnerable toward. I spoke to him two days before he passed. Many were praying for healing…many were cursing their gods for taking him too soon. Sometimes the greatest healing takes place in the transition from one plane to another…and now he is able to walk side by side with the love of his life. I did learn something invaluable from him…find the joy in everything. Even as he spoke to me that one last time, he said to me, “I am so happy.” “Why?” I asked. “I get to be with Donna again. I have missed her so much!”

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Yes, I am an old soul. Yes, I long for the times that are embedded in my mind, heart, and subconscious. …but I have so much to do here. There are so many people depending on me that I haven’t even met yet. This life prepares me for the next. I take the lessons I have learned and the ones I have taught into the lives that follow this one. I am sure I will encounter some of you in that journey. There is one thing for sure, though, there is a little blue chihuahua that is walking beside me in each life I transition from and to.

I only hope I prove myself as faithful to him as he has shown himself to me.

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Blessed Be!

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