An Upside Down Perspective
Our culture, environment, and social constructs dictate who we become, writing messages on memory neurons that weave the web of what becomes our worldview. Maturing is the art of making sense of this network of information, applying aspects to our characters while discarding others. The journey of life, being, and the sense of self is a discovery into the soul, manifesting itself in the who of what we portray ourselves, outwardly. Without inward reflection, integration, and contemplation, we are simply puppets of our environment, our culture, and our society.
Birth implies a journey into being human from a spiritual existence somewhere outside of learning to live in a machine that functions differently from what we know as spiritual beings. Once human, we must conform to the limitations of this machine, or risk being labeled mentally ill. Mental illness is the Western world's descriptive for what the machine can not understand. It provides the necessary distance from the fear that this unknown territory manifests and it provides justification to remain apart. To embrace the unknown is to gain understanding, acceptance, and connectivity.
My journey in being human has been the challenge of standing between these two world views. One foot is standing on my near-death experience as a child where a calling to embrace the spiritual conflicts with the other foot that stands in rational thought and reason. Having a Native American Great Grandmother who served as the Shaman for her tribe compounds this world view and challenges my decisions. Topping off this ancestral role is my educational background in psychology, specifically, mental health. At midlife, this dual conflict must be resolved.
Through this series of lessons I have been able to sort through this decision. From different world perspectives, these lessons have shown me how to make sense of why this decision is needed. I find it ironic that the last lesson was supported by Saybrook, the graduate school of choice when 9/11 hit home on the east coast. My flight to California that week had been canceled due to a false diagnosis that I had a brain tumor, which turned out to be a wake up call. I did not understand why I felt doom and gloom for two weeks, prior to 9/11. I also heard the cries of souls two weeks before the tsunami and again with hurricane Katrina.
Through another 28 events that altered my world view, I fled to Australia, where an upside down life changed me forever. I returned with a greater understanding and appreciation for the connectivity of life. I embraced my gifts as part of who I was and I embraced my non-Western worldview. I know we are heading into major change and I know, it is important to hold on for the ride. These lessons have given me a greater respect for my heritage and roots, where rare gifts were once hard to live with. We deep gratitude, I end this course.
Rev. Eileen Tapper
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