By Katie Ammon
According to an Aboriginal Proverb –
“We are visitors to this time, to this place.
We are just passing through.
Our purpose here is to learn, to grow,
To love and then we return home.”
The Dreamtime, to the Aboriginal, is the third dimensional world. The longer a dream is a focal point the sooner it becomes ingrained and manifests as a reality here. The belief system includes every one having a dream of this world and problems arise when ones tries to impose their dream on others. The dream of this world is a belief of how the world works and how its people should evolve. Many defy logic, cannot be proven and carry an emotional charge if challenged. Often a belief changes as life changes.
The last few classes at Earthsong have been about beliefs, examining and maybe changing them. That means I first need to define my beliefs and look at how I came to accept them. Next, I need to understand how, when or why I changed my ideas in this lifetime. And last, I need awareness of my current system of beliefs and how invested I am in holding on to them.
When I was young I fell in with the belief systems taught to me by my parents, teachers or society, without examining or consciously choosing them. These were “to go to church on Sunday, stay in school, follow the rules of society, don’t ask too many questions and life will work out.” Even then I could see life wasn’t always “good” and many rules didn’t make sense. I saw beyond these rules to my parents who had the tenacity to keep going when resources were scarce and stuck with their family when it might have been easier to quit. I may still be caught in those superficial ideas if life events hadn’t jarred me from my complacency and caused me to reconsider if what I thought was true still applied. Throughout my lifetime, my opinions and ideas of life changed many times even though I may not call it change – just growing up.
So I grew up, graduated high school at seventeen, went to work and left home. I even had a couple of uneventful years and then I got married. As a young newly married person, I thought my life would be smooth, uneventful and mundane. After all, I figure growing up in a large family with all the difficulties, chaos and commotion was enough excitement for one lifetime. When I had my first child, I “logically” expected it not to be difficult or have any problems. After all, I was counting on genetics – my mother had nine children and my grandmother had thirteen without problems. That was an idea I had to scratch. The first four months I was unable to keep any food down and later had an emergency Caesarian section the following spring. Meanwhile, my husband had a farm accident and had to be hospitalized for ten days, with a three month recovery time. By the next summer, I had changed my beliefs to “I need to see if the other shoe is going to drop” and do what needs to get done. And indeed, the “other shoe dropped” many times. Everything went on: from flooding, to chimney fires, the loss of a child, machinery breaking down, the birth of a handicapped child, sick animals, ice storms, broken bones, drought, car accidents, deaths of parents and of late, legal issues to settle. Some of these are just life events, others were personal crises. My head was spinning with solutions and my beliefs kept changing. They went from “I am having an uneventful, boring life”, to “I will survive whatever comes,” or “I need to become like a cat and try to land on my feet.” I told myself often, “not only will I survive, but will manage the situations with an uncomplaining grace, logic, intuition and any courage I can muster.”
Now, I realize expecting life to be one way or another is like trying to hold smoke in my hands. I can truly see the strength of my parent’s endurance in my psyche. My life has flowed like a tidal wave, a wild river or a peaceful meandering stream. At times, I felt adrift on a turbulent sea, lost, confused-and there were times of grief and deep despair. By the time I hit my thirties all my belief systems had been dismantled by life. My daily mantra became, “Whoever is in charge of this mess, just help me get through today.” I believe I have learned to do the best I can in whatever test life sends me, grown enough wisdom to accept what can’t be changed, become better at accepting, respecting and appreciating all the challenges, people and situations that flow into my life. Finally, I think life always sends me what I need. Whether it is a harsh lesson, a peaceful day or a new experience, hopefully I will learn, grow and become a more loving person from it.
In conclusion, I am not sure if my life path was set up for my higher growth, or if someone else’s dream changed what my dream of life was, or if there is karma. I do believe I was too set in my ideas when young and life did open me to change. Looking back, I remember this poem I had memorized at fourteen for English class. I embraced it as my mantra and wonder if it set the tone to my life.
By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade.
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.