I went back to visit my hometown after driving past it so many times as I traveled up and down the east coast over the years. After dropping in for an afternoon, or an evening, or an event here and there without ever really plugging in, getting my feet on the Earth, or opening my mind to the spaces there for very long.
Once, I was invited to do a psychic ghost walk-through of one of the historical houses left as a standing memory, white and pale on a lawn of cut grass and trees. The slave quarters had been taken down years ago, and what now stood was only the house, a garden behind it, and a large yard, quiet and still, year round. On that walk through I received the impression of a woman carrying tea cups to the men having a meeting in the parlor. The china cups rattled on the tray as she carried them. Nerves. She steadied her hands and kept going.
I learned that day that when the northern troops traveled down through the south after the Civil War recently ended, this site - the old house I was visiting and the nearby river - hosted a deadly battle which ended with the northern troops never crossing at that point. Along with other interesting goings-on of that day in Village View, like a beam of wood mysteriously falling over when we read a certain name out of the family Bible (of a ghost that is said to still haunt those halls,) I realized that the tight racial tension I grew up with could be explained energetically like this. The energy of freeing the slaves never made it through Emporia. Well. That explained a lot.
Meanwhile, my great grandfather was building homes and schools and churches. I am proud of the Black side of my family. As I type this, my cousin is Mayor of this town. Every time I go back to visit, I see a more healed, gentle, peaceful and prosperous town. The aching I felt in my spirit is eased in ways that are reflected by conversations I have with people on both sides of the race lines, seeking resolution, healing, growth and harmony.
On this trip, I decided to go back to the place where that battle was fought. Perhaps there were spirits there I could help release. I felt something calling me.
When I arrived at Veterans Memorial Park, the site of the yearly Peanut Festival throughout my childhood, the pavilion where I played in my roller skates for hours, hills I rolled down with friends, getting leaves caught in my hair and laughing ourselves breathless, I read memorial plaques also sitting on that land for what felt like the first time. Perhaps I read them before when I was young, but I don't remember now. It felt like new information to me.
Bordered by heavy, clinking, iron chains, these signs stood dark and strong, quietly holding their information about the battles once fought at this bend of the river, over this bridge - or one like it, that stood in this same spot.
I felt spirits whispering around me, rustling, feeling me reach for them. But this isn't a new feeling. I do this same work everywhere I go, sometimes in the back of my mind, sometimes with full focus, like I had on that day.
As I stood and read, my mind fell to the side and I let the information soak down through my body and soul as the gravity hit me. There were 26,000 northern soldiers that came to this battle on December 9, 1864. Twenty six thousand. And that side didn't even win. How many more people came from the southern armies? The entire town, during my decade and a half there as a child and adolescent, was only peopled by about 5,000. This was more than 5 times (maybe 10, considering the numbers on the other side) of my entire home town. Fighting and dying right here, by this river, not very long ago.
I said prayers and walked through the rustling leaves, feeling my consciousness spread down into the earth beneath me, hearing the energies of blood spilled in pain and hate and shouting all those years ago.
More than the spirits, who I released like sweeping old cobwebs out of corners, I felt the pain of the land. I felt the scars left by Mother Earth holding her sons dying throughout the days there, bleeding into the ground, crying for their homes, killing each other. I felt the scrape of metal blades, dull with much fighting, against hard bone, soft organs, and elastic tendons. I felt bullets, large and slow compared to what we now have, whizzing by my head, creating echoes that would last for many years afterward. And again, I peeled these traumas from the land, carefully, gently, respectfully, giving thanks for the learning and giving energy and focus for healing.
I don't believe it is right to erase the hardships our people (Humans of all colors and backgrounds) have been through. But I do believe that we can heal from anything. We are resilient. We all want the same things. To be happy, fulfilled, safe and loved. To protect and support our families. To live lives that are worthwhile and leave value behind for those coming later.
I don't know how much similar work has been done on this land. I have a feeling that there has been some. The ghosts there on the day I went weren't angry or vindictive for the most part. They were remnants, echoes from a terrible time.
As we clear these old unseen patterns, I do believe that the new healthier space is reflected in the minds and hearts of people now living. Wounds on the land are felt by the people that live on that land. It only stands to reason that as those wounds are healed, any people nearby can become happier and more free in whatever way they need.
I ended that trip feeling more aligned with my hometown than I had ever since I left at age 18. I thought, for the first time ever, about one day buying some land and building a home there. (I plan to have many, dotted around the country so I can travel as I now do, but with places of my own making to ground into as I bounce around.)
I felt an even greater deepening of pride for the varied background I come from. Having blood from 3 of the cultures most at odds in our nation right now (Black, White, and Native American,) I've felt the dissonance before but with each passing year, I feel the solutions curling through my veins as I live life as someone with all types of heritage working together. And as a Mystic, someone who sees spirits and works with them, I felt as if this trip, connecting with the soldier ghosts and releasing them like the myths of the Norse Valkyries did, I felt quietly proud. Only time will tell if the work I did makes any mark on the visible world. But I certainly felt different.
Days later, I discovered that the weekend I went was when the USA celebrates Veteran's Day. I hadn't realized that's where I was on the calendar. I love validation like that.
In the spiritual world, we often hear that more challenging emotions like anger and pain are somehow wrong or something to be ashamed of.
Nothing can be further from the truth!
These are significant, useful emotions.
If you know how to use them right.
First of all, I'm not saying that it is okay to rage out addictively or be abusive in any way, to anyone, ever.
I'm talking about USING these emotions INSIDE of yourself to actually do something that needs to be done, not letting them make you sick by suppressing them, and also not damaging your relationships because you act like a lunatic...
What are anger and pain good for?
They show you when something in your life is out of balance.
Anger, the kind that rises up in you with hot, focused force and makes you want to do something about it.
Pain, the kind that feels unjust and icky and inflamed and like it needs something DONE about it too - not the kind you wait out and it fades away, but the kind that grows with time, begging to be acted upon.
Anger and pain are meant to be the POWER you need to change things in your life that no longer fit.
There's no judgment needed about WHY these things no longer fit - maybe you've outgrown an old part of your life that was once your dream come true. Maybe you're only now admitting something to yourself that didn't feel quite right before this, but you didn't want to "rock the boat" if conditions weren't excruciating...
... I know that may sound funny, but it's how many, many people operate ...
So, when the types of anger and pain come up that feel like action is needed,
Usually the kind of action needed here is DESTRUCTIVE.
Again, destruction is not a BAD thing! How do you think the tiny microscopic mold colony on the back of your water faucet feels every time you clean your kitchen? It's apocalyptic to them! That's definitely destruction. But when clean up is needed, destruction is part of the process.
Just this week, Lillithia caught a case of the fleas from some of our travels into the city. I've been chasing her around with a fine toothed comb for days, a wet paper towel in my other hand, drawing the little biters out of her sleek black coat, covering them with the wet cloth and then drowning them in a container of soapy water.
It breaks my heart to see them struggling underneath the paper towel I set them into the water with, trying to reach the surface...
Every part of my empathic, sensitive self wants to not let this creature die, to let him live, but I can't. I haven't figured out a loophole for this one yet. Even mosquitoes I will catch in a jar and put outside - but when it comes to fleas and my beautiful familiar, I have no other option, as yet. They can't go outside because they'll just jump back on her, and not only infest her, but infest my home. They have to die.
That is such destruction!
But it is necessary.
See where I'm getting here?
Just below is a video where I'll talk more about the actual technique of how to flow the energies of anger and fear to give yourself (and whoever is at the other end of this ouchy connection) a break from the drama.
The greatest thing about this technique is that the love remains. Just the yucky stuff gets burned away.
Try it out, the next time it's needed for you, and see what happens.
Sending love from South Carolina <3
The truth - I was just drained.
I love my work, it's true. I've chiseled and carved a career for myself unlike any other for the past several years. I was quite literally "living the dream" that I was dreaming back before I realized it was possible to create a life I loved by following my heart.
That said, every now and then, we have to rebirth ourselves.
Entering into a process of personal rebirthing, when your job is as closely linked to your inner world as mine is, also means that professional rebirthing is needed.
Eventually, what had once been a dream felt like chains. And now, after the fact, I see that yes, as expected, what I'm actually doing won't be all that different than what I did before.
But for me, it will feel very different. Stepping completely away from everything for 2 months helped me refine and develop my focus, inspiration, intention, and approach.
Grounding was the word of the day, in this case.
My first stop on Sabbatical was San Diego, the city of my birth and early childhood.
I rented a little house with a sweet, grassy back yard, and every day I stretched out on the cool green lawn, a palm tree gently rustling above me as I cried great big sobs into the earth.
It was a happy crying - I felt like pieces of my soul were being returned to me that had been dormant or locked away in the thirty years since I moved away from that place. It was as if the land had been storing parts of my soul that were silently developing and growing, and that those pieces were returned to me on those long, sunny days, with my phone on airplane mode for all but one hour each day and nothing on my schedule. I felt the land whisper to me, tell me what I was made for, reflect to me the beauty of each person's inner spirit, and the uniqueness of mine.
I traveled up the coast, visiting family and talking to the ocean.
I wore a new crown of jade as I sat on cliffs above crashing waters, meditating at sunset, having visions of Yemaya and Poseidon.
I headed back east again, checking in with my various beloved friends across the country, exchanging love, inspiration, activation and healing, without an ounce of my energy being parceled off to check in with the online world.
I swam in living waters. I explored caves of ancient red rock. I sat talking in hot tubs until my fingers were pruny and my skin would smell like chlorine for hours afterward (worth it,) receiving gentle epiphanies about how I wanted to shift the way I interact with my audience when it comes to conversations in videos I shoot - no longer would I be "teachey." Now, I just want to chat.
I visited my much loved and deeply magical city of New Orleans, gaining other, ancient pieces of wisdom and consciousness that I realized had been brewing in my energetic field for years and lifetimes, waiting to be integrated.
I swept through Las Vegas in the height of summer. I slept and fasted in staggering heat, leaving my rental only once the entire time, mostly watching silly movies and playing with Lillithia.
It was truly an amazing cleanse.
For the first month, I felt my brain restructuring. I couldn't even think about work - any time my mind would move in that direction, I felt a foggy, uncomfortable sensation in the frontal lobes of my brain. I knew that whatever was happening in there was right on schedule. I could feel the symbolic "under construction, do not enter" signs posted on the gateways of my work-oriented mind. I had to trust it. I had no other option anyway.
For the second month, I began to gently rebuild, letting myself be guided by inspiration. My goal is always to tune in to the world around me and help in whatever ways I can, to give what is needed in ways that I am effective and enlivened in the doing.
And so now, fresh out of the sabbatical, I find that yes, I am just as esoteric as ever, but that I have an entirely new understanding of the way I want my work in the world to look, feel, and generally just be.
Back on the east coast again I ran away with a couple of kindred spirits to go camping in the woods for a few days. I read recently that "forest bathing" is all the rage in the health world across the globe from where I live, and I love that term. It fits. Forest bathing really does help with so many things. So does hanging out with soul family and, again, NOT tuning in to the internet.
Now that I'm back, I will definitely be approaching my online work in a new way. The internet "withdrawal" passed within the first week or two of my Sabbatical, and it is so lovely to interact on a deeper level with my here-and-now, physically present reality. I do love our technological age, it's true, but I love even more the fullness of experience.
So a new dance begins, as of today, where I intend to be present and helpful online, and in person, in new ways.
Of course I still want to connect and be around my internet family. Taking time away has also shown me how lucky we are to live in an age where we can have virtual communities that can hold our hearts and feed our minds in this new way that we've only been able to access for a few years.
And sometimes, on the other hand, I want to completely disconnect from pixelated screens and let my body be just as "real" to me. Being online too much turns us into floating brains and eyes and fingertips. There is a whole, rich, delicious world calling to us to play in it, to love it, to heal it, and to cultivate it, outside of our computers and smart phones.
Here's to doing all of the above.
It's good to be back.
charis melina brown
Oracle, healer, author, star person, beloved of this world.