I had a nightmare. Waking, I still felt the quivering fear in my body, my heart racing, the dread in my bones and the feeling of uncertainty. Are we going to make it? Will we be okay? In my dream, my family and I were at some country fair in the south. It was a warm day and I had left Nate and Orion to go sit under some trees and enjoy the shade and summer breeze.
It’s then that I started to hear the horrible sounds. Immediately I knew what was happening. A mass shooting event had begun in the far side of the fairgrounds. No one around me yet heard it but I raced to find Nate and Orion. We needed to leave. I didn’t know how much time we had before panic ensued and the horrible event engulfed the area.
I woke up. My heart racing and cold fear in my body. Then I realized I was safe. We were safe. It was a dream. I could exhale. Yet the tension and fear was holding on. The sounds, images, feelings were so vivid. It was too scary.
I remembered some of my dream practices and how I have the power to imagine a different outcome. It’s then that I closed my eyes and saw me, Nate and Orion driving safely away. I thought, “Ahh, I need peace. Where can we go to feel and be surrounded by peace?” Immediately I saw a place called Ekone in my mind’s eye. It’s a beautiful wilderness area in southeastern Washington – very different landscape than Cascadia (our home) but one we had visited before as a family – open skies, canyons, pines and stunning views of Mt. Tahoma.
I used all my senses to imagine myself, my family in this place…and in time, I fell back to sleep.
Once asleep, I reentered the dream, the nightmare I had just woken from. I was once again at this fairgrounds with Nate and Orion, yet this time we were walking through the very site where the mass shooting had occurred. As soon as I realized where we were, I told my husband, “Nate, we have to go. We have to leave at once. It is not safe here.” We quickly made our way back to our car and as we did, the organizers of the county fair had gotten word of a planned mass shooting and quickly canceled the event. They shut it down and sent everyone home.
I then woke up. Wow. This was my first time to go back into a dream and create a different outcome. And in this dream no one died. Everyone was safe and all people were able to return home to their families and loved ones. No trauma occurred.
I recently shared this experience with a dear friend and thought, “Wow. If we can do this with our dreams, what can we do with our waking life? What are the implications with the climate crisis, racial oppression, systematic indigenous suppression, and now the unfolding war in Ukraine?” I thought back to what I had done and realized that the one thing I focused my whole being on was Peace. I had asked myself where can I and my family feel peace? And immediately saw in my mind’s eye, a landscape that exudes openness, expansiveness and great peace. I put myself there using all of my senses, and in that way infused my being, senses and cells with Peace.
And then when re-entering my dream, everything changed. The outcome was one of Peace.
Peace and the teachings of Western Hemlock
Peace. I then reflected on my new plant ally. I had written last fall that last year, I had been working with Strawberry as my plant ally and have gained tremendous love, insight, wisdom and joy from this beautiful plant. In early December, after over a year’s journey with Strawberry, I felt a soft whisper of invitation from our Hemlock trees. I accepted, and am now working with Western Hemlock as my new plant ally for this new year. As a reminder, this is a practice I learned from a dear mentor, friend and Shamanic herbalist, Julie Charette Nunn. In this practice, each day you greet your plant ally and enjoy 7 rounds of breath. After, you ask the plant, “Do you have any words for me today?” And then listen.
Western Hemlock is beautiful, and holds a very different energy and frequency than Strawberry. While it has only been a short time in my journey, since day one, Hemlock is teaching me about Peace. Hemlock guides me to listen, to pause and to cultivate/feel Peace inside. By opening, quieting my mind, I can feel and receive the energy and image of Hemlock. She is inviting me to do this throughout the day, during meditation and feel the night sky and stars and cold winds together with her. This is part of my training in Peace.
She has also shown me how my relationships, starting with my family, are so important. The energy, love and harmony create a web of vibrations and can, through cultivation of love, spread deep ripples of Peace.
Peace and Ukraine
When I awoke to the news of war in Ukraine on February 24th, I cried. My heart, like many, cried and felt deep anguish. I thought of Hemlock. And I breathed.
May I Breathe Peace. May I be Peace. I breathe for Peace in Ukraine, peace for our brothers, sisters and children and lands of that country. I breathe Peace for Russia and our brothers and sisters and children of those lands. Many of my teachers, friends, and community leaders in my home lineage of Qigong, Zhong Yuan Qigong, are in Ukraine and Russia. May they all be safe. May all our loved ones and all beings be safe and know Peace. Peace.
A friend recently reminded me of some of Thich Nhat Hanh’s powerful and wise words:
“Wherever there is darkness, light is also there. If there is despair, hope can be found. Where there is turbulence, awaken the calm inside by the practice of deep mindful breathing and touch the nectar of compassion in our heart. Compassion is the energy to embrace the pain and sorrow. Do not give in to darkness…..” When walking we can use the words: “Breathing in: Peace in myself. Breathing out: Peace in our World.”
Peace is a Power. When so much is at stake, I can come to my breath, my body, my heart and touch Peace.
My dream showed me a path, a way to create Peace by filling all my senses, my whole being with Peace, by receiving Peace from the Land and Sky. And Western Hemlock continues to teach me, as do our majestic forests, magnificent mountains, sparkling stars and gentle breezes among the sword ferns. May we listen and receive the wisdom of our Earth and Sky.
May all beings be safe. May all beings feel loved. May all beings feel Peace.
Mantra Ming 明 for Peace
My Qigong Grandmaster Xu Mingtang has invited all his students and all people to join in daily meditations for Peace. These are at 5 p.m. Kiev time (+2 GMT), though you can do it whenever it works for you too. We do this by using the Mantra “Ming” 明. In Chinese, “Ming” means bright, brilliant, Light. When saying the mantra “Ming” outloud or in your heart, visualize a great healing beam of brilliant white light coming down to Earth from the Sky bringing Harmony and Peace to all beings and lands, and giving love, safety and wellbeing to all our relations.
Thank you. May we breathe Peace. May we be Peace. May all beings feel Peace.