Bombarded by Coconuts of Wakefulness – An Animal-Wise-Tarot-The-Places-That-Scare-You Blog

“In other traditions, demons are expelled externally. But in my tradition, they are welcome with compassion.”

Machik Labdron

The new tree in the yard

The new tree in the yard

I’ve developed a pretty good habit of at a minimum writing morning pages. Then I draw three cards from the Animal Wise Tarot deck. Today I drew the Raven (as I did yesterday but in a different order), then the Loon, and then the Eagle. Raven and Eagle are higher trump cards, Loon is from the Winged Ones suit, which in more traditional Tarot decks is Swords.

The first card I draw represents what’s come before; the second one represents my heart – the emotional center; the third has something to do with action. I’m kind of making this up as I go along, but then I do see living my life as an improvisation.

So the meanings today were:

Raven: Light in the Dark: Shapeshifting (wrote about that yesterday)
Loon: Answers and Hopes in Dreams
Eagle: Vision, Power, Healing

Loon is the one that struck me the most. Here’s what the book concludes: “Loon’s appearance tells us when we deal with the past that haunts us, we open doors to fulfilling our greatest dreams and imaginings in the future.”

I like that. Especially that bit about dealing with the past that haunts us. And that what haunts us are the dreams, wishes, and hopes we tucked to the back of our hearts.

What an interesting way to look at a ghost. Not so much the undead, as something that doesn’t die because its spirit transcends.

Our hopes, dreams, and wishes.

View of new tree from my writingshed

View of new tree from my writingshed

My parents were haunted by their hopes, dreams, and wishes. They’d tucked them away in their hearts so they could endure a Depression and then a War and then an era defined by the search for security. They even had security clearances – my dad worked at Lawrence Livermore Lab and my mom at Sandia.

It wasn’t security from fear; in fact, it was quite the opposite. Security was quite tenuous. If you signed the wrong statement, were a homosexual, belonged to the wrong organization, they believed, you would lose your security clearance. And then you would starve.

Fear was the sovereign emotion. Not a nourishing environment for dreams, wishes, and hopes.

The phrase “bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness,” comes from the book The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun.

My books are a mess right now, strewn about my writingshed because I don’t have enough shelves to hold them all. So after looking on the shelves for a book I go through the piles on the floor, and often am surprised by what I find. That’s how I came across The Places That Scare You.

As I said, my life is an improvisation.

Compassion, Chodron, says is more emotionally challenging than loving kindness, because “it involves the willingness to feel pain.”

I think that’s what welcoming our demons with compassion means. Listening to what the demon is crying out for, which might be our dreams, hopes, and wishes yearning to be freed from where they have been tucked away.

My parents never really got the chance to do that. My dad got possessed by Alzheimer’s. My mother got closer to releasing them, but never really trusted that it was okay to do that.

And yet, another view of the new tree in my yard

And yet, another view of the new tree in my yard

I wonder if times are so difficult right now because that which has been tucked away for generations needs to be released. Maybe we are being bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness so we’ll wake up and smell the coffee, feel the pain of compassion, and yield to the yearning of our hopes, dreams, and wishes to be free.

Maybe the ghost that has been haunting us is Casper the friendly ghost.

So, here’s to finding light in the dark; answers and hopes in dreams and vision; and power and healing.

And may each of our days start by being bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.

The full quote, by the way is “In the garden of gentle sanity/May you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
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About the new tree in the yard: One of the trees in my yard died. It was called a redbud. Apparently new soil got added to it and adding dirt to the base of a tree can suffocate it. I did not know this could happen.

I felt very sad about the tree dying. Really quite awful. And then this morning, as I wrote this blog, a new tree joined my yard. It’s a crepe myrtle. And gloriously red. Life continues.

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