•  Journey: A Cycle of Sacred Time

•  Crones In Training

•  Connecting the Dots


Journey: A Cycle of Sacred Time
by Jan Boddie, Ph.D. & Marystella Church CHT

This article first appeared in Share Guide, Spring 1995

In the English language we sometimes interchange the words journey, trip and travel. There is, however, a quantum difference between taking a trip and being on a journey. We've all done some traveling, perhaps at times alone and at other times with a friend. Be it a commute to work, a weekend getaway, or a vacation in Hawaii, it's an American tradition to take trips. Even to go abroad and play at being a tourist is a familiar way to travel for many Americans.

Yet being on a journey is quite different from traveling or being on a trip. It's as different as taking a picture of the ocean is from jumping in and experiencing it. For starters, traveling can be exhausting because there is so much to figure out: where to stay; how much to pay for a meal; how to find the cathedral you came to visit; fussing about the clothes you did
or did not bring.

Journeying probes deeper than these thoughts that consume us. Being on a journey is going beyond what is on our mind and connecting with what is in it. Imagine the difference: You are on a tour of the Acropolis in Athens, overwhelmed with the magnificence of history and art and natural beauty, while also being concerned about time and your schedule for the rest of the day. Now imagine being at the Acropolis and following your inclination to stop on Mars hill where Socrates sat with his students, and taking the time to engage in a deep and meaningful dialogue with like-spirited companions.

There's a difference between keeping busy with seeing sights and taking pictures, and actually being present with what you are experiencing. Although each requires form and purpose, traveling gives a focus to the doing-ness, while a journey is balanced with actual being-ness. Journey goes beyond the restraints of physical time and space. Journey feeds the soul.

The word "travel" came from "travail," which originally meant an instrument of torture, while "journey" is rooted in the name of the Goddess Diana and is related to both "deity" and "Day." One might loosely translate this as meaning "a cycle of holy time." In other words, to journey is to make a pilgrimage. People used to make pilgrimages to foreign and holy places, which were symbolic for reconnecting with the hidden and holy places within themselves.

But physical travel is not a prerequisite for journeying. We journey every night in our dreams, for example, during which a rich symbolism helps us to remember and even heal aspects of ourselves that have been buried below waking consciousness. We journey during guided meditations. Even daydreaming is a form of journey.

When we travel, we literally carry baggage. Typically, we also carry the symbolic baggage of expectations and belief systems, of judgments and assumptions. In fact, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration by closing ourselves off from the adventure of discovery. It's impossible to be present in the unfoldment of each new moment when we've locked ourselves into the past or projected ourselves into the future by having a fixed agenda.

Embarking on a journey, be it in the dream world or the physical world, is like stepping out of the grid lines that limit our concept of reality. Patterns in daily life vanish as we step into the spaces between the dots, into the "places" where possibility and probability live.

When we open ourselves to experiences that are not dictated by logic and reason, and that are not structured by belief and judgment, we become aligned with what was always before us and what was always within us. This is a journey or pilgrimage. It is a movement toward wholeness or holiness, a cycle of time for entering the sacred. It is a time of expanded awareness, or as T.S. Eliot phrased it, a time " arrive where you started and know it for the first time."

Connecting with more of who we really are - that is, experiencing more of our innate wholeness - is also an opening for connecting more fully with others and with the earth. When we journey, we waken to the knowing of our inter-connectedness.

True journey, then, cannot happen in isolation. It is a contradiction in terms to set ourselves apart - whether out of fear or arrogance or unconscious beliefs - when the essence of journey is inter-relatedness. By remaining connected to ourselves, others and the earth, our daily travels, our trips to foreign places, our dreams and flights of imagination are transformed into wondrous cycles of sacred time.

Although journey can be experienced in as many forms as there are personalities on this planet, we are all on the same journey. This is the new paradigm struggling to be birthed - a collective realization of our inter-relatedness in sacred time - and a remembering of our connection to things we do not yet know.


Crones In Training


This article first appeared in Open Exchange, Oct.-Dec. 2011

Jan Boddie, PhD, stewards a parcel of land with newly awakened vortices in the North Bay with her partner, Marystella. They have eighteen years experience in co-facilitating spiritually-based gatherings and will initiate their seventh Crones in Training circle in January. The circle is for women in their fifties and older who yearn to live as Crones in Action. See their listing Beyond Beliefs at Vortex Journeys under OPEN EXCHANGE's Spirit & Soul.

We Need our Crones

Where are the Crones? Where are the women with years of wisdom stored in their bones, the women who wear badges of honor and courage in their wrinkled skin and slowed down steps? Where are the models for the aging women who stand behind them? Where is the guidance Crones have to offer Maidens in the process of discovering themselves and the Mothers who search to find their place inthe world?

Of course some families seek the wisdom of their Crone members, and some Crones are visible to the masses through their inspirational poetry and other mediums. Crones join with elder male residents who live at The Redwoods in Mill Valley on Friday afternoons. As Seniors for Peace they stand up and speak out with passion on their street corner opposite Tamalpais High School. Yet despite the fact that seniors constitute the largest portion of U.S. citizens, and women elders outnumber the men, most Crones are invisible and their gifts remain hidden even from themselves. The premise of Crones in Training is that the entire culture needs its Crones. The absence of their truth and humor is every person's loss.

Remembering Old Wounds

Many women in their fifties, sixties and older wish for a teacher or guide, look for a model or mirror to explain a dissonance and a yearning in their lives. Some grew up with wounded mothers who were lost in the limitations of their era, wounds that many daughters continue to carry but do not understand. In their formative years the daughters collected new wounds from well-intentioned mothers who wanted their children to be accepted in the societal structure at the time, from teachers and religious leaders who had their own agenda. Now there are countless women entering and in their elder years who live as less than their whole selves. Their spontaneity and intuition, imagination and creativity, passion and power are hidden deep, beyond their reach.

Crones in Training is not group therapy, but it is therapeutic. The Crones gather together in sacred space. They create ritual through symbolic action, use photographs and song, connect with earth and nature. They recall the old stories that burden and diminish, old wounds that rule their lives. In the process, they discover that recognition is a portal for release.

Releasing the Old Story

The Crone sisters support each other as courage is gathered, strength found and vulnerability embraced rather than shunned. Connection with the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual bodies grow as personal yet parallel stories are recalled and shared. The human story of fear and shame, lack of self worth, self-judgment and scarcity, to name a few, are released in the community of others, witnessed with respect.

The process of identifying the old story brings other extraordinary gifts. There is a remembering of a greater self, the authentic self that was present before the wounds pierced the skin and nestled in, made a home in mind and body. There also is a recognition that the wounds were held to assure survival through every youngster's need for acceptance from the adults that surrounded them. The Crones understand there is no need to feel guilt or blame or shame. Quite the opposite, for this is a new era. The old paradigm is dying and a new one is being birthed.

Reclaiming what Sustains

Crones in Training offers support in a community of kindred spirits to be serious, silly and spiritual. Without "shoulds" about thoughts or emotions, there is encouragement to embrace a new learning curve, explore how to be more authentic with less self-judgment, more confidence and self-trust. As the Crones free themselves from the past, there is a realization that they do not need to "figure out" anything and there is no need to "do it all" or "do it" alone.

Excitement grows as the spaces emptied from release fill with the magnificence of true essence. Reclaiming the authentic self includes identifying gifts to be shared and purpose to be fulfilled. These are honored and declared in the ninth circle as a rite of passage. In the final, tenth circle, the community meets to connect as Crones in Action.

Crones in Action
As Crones heal the past and carry their gifts into the present, their healing energy spirals out to ignite healing in others. Crones in Training is a symbol of all the great and small transitions that are part of being human.

Margaret summed up her experience: "With the process, shared intention and love in this circle (my personal philosopher's stone), the 'failure' and 'mess' have begun to alchemically transform into wisdom, acceptance and knowing. Lead is gradually turning into gold!" Dawn named the gifts she embraced: "I have received and reclaimed my giving heart, my integrity, my ability to listen, my loyalty, and my leadership. I am a powerful, fierce woman and can carry that gently into the world."

The Spirit of Crone is rising.

Connecting the Dots
with Jan & Marystella

This article first appeared in The Upbeat Times, April 2005

If you have a desire to change something about your self - to eliminate an old behavior, reduce the effects of stress, reconnect with your spiritual practice - Spring is a great guide. Spring is the season of excitement. Spring awakens a natural desire to burst out of the restraints of Winter and into the spontaneous blooming of new growth.

Spring is a great guide for change because she doesn't work at being rational or exercising will power. She's a model of playfulness and spontaneity. Her specialty is birth and renewal. Her children know how to dance with the wind, soak up the rain and lean into the sun. They celebrate every moment.

The cycle for reflection has passed. This is the season for action, and taking action to create change is easier than you think. Underline the word "think!"

Notice that you're reading these words in The Upbeat Times.
There's "no bad news" and that feels good. Triple underline the words "feels good." Human emotions affect attitude, behavior and physical functioning. "Upbeat" emotions create "upbeat" responses.

Most people claim they would like to improve or change something in their lives, but are discouraged from taking action by their belief systems. For example, a common belief is that making a change takes extraordinary will power. Another belief is that change requires giving something up.

In our Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis classes we explain how to easily dispel these types of beliefs. Basically, will power is a process of using thoughts to force a change, which creates resistance. When focus shifts from mental commands to feelings of positive emotions, the resistance subsides. The effect is similar when thoughts about giving up this or that are redirected into feeling the excitement of being that which is desired. Beliefs can block change. Positive feelings invite change.

In the Five Steps to Freedom process we developed for our Hypnosis courses, there are three simple concepts that can be practiced to initiate change:

1. Choose a change that you truly desire.
2. Allow yourself to relax by imagining yourself in a safe, comfortable, pleasant place.
3. Once relaxed, see yourself in the changed state and, using present tense language, talk to yourself with word choices that express all the wonderful, positive feelings connected with the new you.

Does such a simple approach really work? Milton Erickson, one of the founders of hypnosis, was struck down with polio at age 17. He literally talked to the muscles and neurons and tendons in his legs, acknowledging their health and vitality. In every moment he saw himself walking easily, effortlessly and with great joy. He did this for hours, every day, for over a year. Ultimately, the physiological components rerouted themselves. With new pathways in place, Erickson did indeed walk again. At age 57 he was struck down with polio a second time, and
yes, he was successful in reversing it.

If you feel inspired, remember that Spring is a great guide for growing new and positive pathways. Just follow the excitement of what you desire.