A walk on the grass

Next time something flags up with a “just don’t go there” sign, or keeps appearing on your path though it is something you think you have an aversion to, perhaps take the time to question what it is that you think you know about why you are determinedly not “going there”. Perhaps it has something to tell you, or that place you are so studiously avoiding could afford you the next greatest viewpoint; the one that was always missing from your overal “picture”. We are entering a time when some things are seeming to speak in opposites and this is my feeling why.

Some of these old ideas around places and things, around value judgements, accepted behaviours or about remedies that “mustn’t” be pursued, became beliefs long before anyone we ever had direct contact with was born and they have become crystallised into rock without inbuilt checks to ensure they have any current relevance. I’m not trying to say that information has been deliberately hidden from us by nefarious people with their own ends in sight, since I am not someone who finds my joy in conspiracy theory; and joy is my guide to everything that is worth pursuing. Rather, to an extent we conspired, ourselves, to keep away from some of the things we have historically avoided and which could now be most useful for us to remember since it was part of our journey to go into forgetfulness so that we could shake the scales off at this very point. Those ideas were for then and this is now; many beliefs are reaching the expiry date on their usefulness all at once, during these times of dramatic evolution. Sometimes evolution takes a leap or, you could equally say, the teacher appears when we are ready for them to do so. When we have just so many things we have warned ourselves away from for just so very long and then many of those things turn out to be just what we are now looking for, it can have the effects of dozens of “teachers” appearing all at once from beneath our very noses. For some of these things, we were simply not ready before; our histories (global and personal) were meant to play out the exact way that they did, even preserving some of the very things that are now most useful to us until we were ready to receive them by keeping them off-limits. Of course, I’m talking about all sorts of things here (far too broad to list), from matters of science to personal preferences that have kept us from realising our next stage of personal growth. The thing that identifies them is when we sense we are walking round and around a thing like the elephant in the room that we just won’t acknowledge or interfere with – this can sometimes be the very thing we need to take a look at next. Like the dessert plant that receives its first dowsing in a very long time, some of these areas of our experience that have received the least of our attention can suddenly yield surprising blooms when we give them what we have been denying; at least a look in their direction.

In other words, when you feel a contraction around something (now you have developed an astuteness at reading such signals), why not check in with whether that contraction is truly yours…or could it be your response to a learned behaviour? Is the feeling of aversion or distrust founded in anything that feels consistent with your experience or is it, perhaps, ingrained (and out of sync with what you really feel, hence the strong reaction)? Is the feeling this thing gives rise to, actually, not an aversion but a sign that, deep down, you really want it or that your intuition is trying to flag it up to you until you are prepared to listen? Does it keep appearing in your line of vision because it is the very thing that you need the most? This could be, literally, anything going on – an aversion to a particular place, a fear over eating something or of pursuing a certain remedy (we have been warned off so many things as “dangerous” but, in some cases, this bears further investigation). Sometimes the more vehement the so-called warning flags, the more we need to at least look there to see what all the fuss is about. Examining and questioning our shared family or cultural values can be a way of noticing what is not truly ours, along with identifying old emotional wounds we have carried for years and which are calling for some release when they keep triggering the same aversion response. When we become true to ourselves and live only to that benchmark, there is really no learned behaviour that can compete with what we intuit as best for ourselves and our own averted eye can tell us when we are trying to adhere to rules that are external and which don’t fit with our way of being at all anymore. This always makes me think of my dog who, when he was younger, did a trick with a piece of food left on his paw, which he was not allowed to eat until he was told he could do so. Of course, he really wanted the morsel of food so, to follow the enforced rule (which felt completely out of sync with what he really wanted), he always found he had to look away so that he couldn’t see it any more. Very comically, he would turn his head a sharp ninety degrees and stare fixedly at the wall to get through the predicatment for as long as it took until my daughter (it was usually her!) would say “OK” and he would get to eat the food. In other words, our own sharply turned head away from something can be the very clue that, deep down, we know we really want or need this very thing next…and this should be explored since our intuition is seldom wrong on these points.

So, more times than I can count, I have found (hidden beneath the very rock I had previously been walking around on the basis of some conditioned behaviour or other) the very thing I was looking for or the very place that I was most being called to go for my next big moment of enlightenment. I recently mentioned an irrational aversion to place that I have come to consider may be due to my mother’s strong aversion of it based on her childhood (I have never been there), even though she almost never spoke of it and that was all many years ago so, you may think, how could this influence me so strongly? Yet this is not the only example I have and these hand-me-down ideas can run very strong in families, generation after generation, carried in our DNA, quite aside from all those learned family behaviours (my parents and grandparents were awash with cursory tales and superstitious phrases that just tripped off the tongue), long after a “bad” thing happened to do with this thing and allowed it to become crystallised in the annals of what we all thought we knew about it.

Keep-off-the-grass-sign-crop.jpgThese so-called warnings have been knitted into our very landscape and I have repeatedly found that the places we are warned away from can hold some of the most precious gifts. Near where I live, an ancient pathway leading (I believe) like a string between even more ancient sacred places harking back to a time before the peak of the sixth wave, has been known locally as The Devil’s Highway and associated with cut-throats and highwaymen for hundreds of years until it fragmented and nearly disappeared into mud and overgrowth. So, really, was it so very bad or did the story go back to a time…long long ago…when certain people wanted the masses to forget those places even existed and affiliate with the new wave of christianity that was being seeded to meet another agenda. Ease of access to an earlier time is one of the reason people are increasingly drawn to ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury yet those anciently meaningful places lie scattered around everywhere, they are beneath layers and layers of city pavements and long-running stories that have managed to supersede what those locations were originally all about. If we only ever read the labels on things or allowed ourselves to see what is still there to greet the eyes, we would barely scratch the surface of all that has been amassed for us to know and which is becoming ever more available, in more and more overt ways (yet we begin by noticing the subtleties). One of my favourite places in the world, where I receive a great deal of personal guidance and solace, is regarded as this great Roman relic, which people visit by the busload for that very reason (I pick the very quietest times). Yet I connect with something much deeper there; the energetic remnants of a far earlier folk who lived there long before those Roman’s showed up and took over their patch. This connection has enabled me to engage with the place in a way that I find hugely meaningful and supportive in my life and which I might have missed out on entirely if I had only focused on all the “packaging” that suggested I was visiting a Roman site. From that training ground, I learned to engage with a variety of places on these deeper levels, allowing whatever layer feel most relevant to me to rise up through the concrete slabs, as it were, and speak to me wherever I go, yes even in cities teeming with modern-day chaos and hordes of oblivious people. It can feel like peeling back the layers, rewinding the clock and dissolving limescale on an old kettle element to do this, clearing the way for information that has got lost or buried along the path. Having done this on one level, I have then been able to do it with my own body, to let go of old stuck points that had calcified over to obscure what was really hidden long long before that layer covered it over, to work on the original wounds or reveal nuggets of information found hiding there like pearls in the seabed.

So, these days, when I notice I have been stepping around something, my interest is piqued and I look (or should I say, feel) into that thing – holding my neutrality – to determine what is there that may be useful to me in some way. Don’t be so quick to judge is a kind of mantra, I suppose. And just because there is resistance or a warning does not mean that I should over-ride that message (this is not what I am saying at all; I do not propose that all black is now white or vice versa) but at least I take a fresh look, without forcing anything one way or the other. If the object of my aversion, my discomfort or suspicion still feels “off” to me, I continue just as I was but at least I checked in with it, and, perhaps, I can check-in with it again further down the line; plus, I tend to remain more open towards it from this point onwards. A bit like finding the magic key in a computer game that unlocks the whole next level, these “places” that have detered us (or from which we have been detered) can turn out to be just what we were looking for to unlock the next level of our experience and end a long hiatus on a recovery journey or a sense of moving forward in our lives. Around that once avoided turn in the road could be the very next person we were meant to meet or the opportunity that alters our whole trajectory and which (by vertue of the fact we are prepared to meet the very thing that we previously avoided so studiously) we have shown we are now ready to receive. Thinking we know everything already or that we even know ourselves so very well can be a very limiting thing and the practice we gain in questioning all things is immense when we consider even those things that seem “obviously” out-of-bounds. After all, it is all just information wrapped up in different packages and working with information like this (receiving the occasional “yes’ where “no” was written on the label) can be another way of affirming how everything is working in our favour, all is on our side; in fact nothing could be said to be going against us when we are prepared to take our best assistance from all kinds of messengers, even those which once turned us away. Noting our aversions and those area of life where we still religiously follow rules that really don’t fit us any more can be another way of receiving such powerful data as well as growing ourselves past a whole other layer of limitations to expand our experience even more.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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