of wild violets and whale tales

Our lawn is adorned with wild violets.

Most people treat them like the weeds they are categorized as. Others, like us, welcome them into our yards:

….it has chosen to live here and delight my senses. And be a host to the lovely fritillary butterfly.

For violets suit when home birds build and sing,
Not when the outbound bird a passage cleaves;
Not with dry stubble of mown harvest sheaves,
But when the green world buds to blossoming.

~Christina Georgina Rossetti

As with so many ideological positions that humans embrace, there often is no right or wrong. Wild violets are weeds. It is OK to enjoy them, ignore them, or eject them. Whatever works for you.

What works for us is letting them grow wherever they want and then mowing them along with lawn AND transplanting them where they make beautiful borders or mounds in strategic places. I just transplanted some to grow at the foot of our little sitting Buddha and to top off this goofy head/planter that guards a little side garden plot.

I wonder if they’ll grow happily all year in a globe of water, the way my Prayer Plant and various ivies and vines do. I’ll probably give it a try.

Which leads me to the tale of the whale.

While I do not believe in a god of any kind and, therefore, by definition, am an atheist, I do believe that there is a wisdom — a kind of energy — deep down in each of us with which we easily lose touch. Or maybe we never actually found it to begin with.

And, it’s possible (given quantum mechanics stuff) that such wisdom is connected somehow to everything else in the universe. What I call wisdom or energy, many people call SPIRIT. But that word conjures something close to a being, and so even that word doesn’t work for me.

So, where does the whale come in, you might ask.

There have been times in my past when I felt in touch with that inner wisdom, that energy. (If anyone was able to explain that feeling of connection it was Carl Sagan:)

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”

“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.”

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”

So, in my pursuit of what I have lost touched with, I’m seeing a therapist who uses “active imagination.” I have engaged in this practice many times before in my past and have found it useful, helpful, and creatively engaging.

One of narratives that can be introduced into an active imagination exercise is the “Personal Totem Pole,”, a technique developed by Dr. E.S. Gallegos. I participated in a Totem Pole workshop that he led more than 25 years ago, and I still remember how the experience energized me and helped me to begin resolving issues that I had with myself.

Oh yes, the whale.

Well, that’s the image that appeared in my chest (my heart chakra), where I have been physically feeling a great deal of constriction. Apparently, the whale is not the usual image associated with the heart chakra, but there he was, looking more like a Disney cartoon than a real whale.

The thing about these “inner journeys” is that whatever comes up is the right thing to come up. So, a cartoon whale is as valid and as powerful as the image of a singing humpback.

So, now I both spend meditative time with this whale as well as time googling around for information about whales in general and whales at totem animals. I also popped over to Itunes and downloaded some whale songs. Sometime this week I will dig out and again watch our DVD of Whale Rider.

The process that starts with a guided imagery/active imagination exercise fascinates me. It takes me down learning paths I never would have gone otherwise. It uses my affinity for symbols and metaphors to stimulate journeys into my unconscious that always wind up unleashing some of that inner wisdom/energy that is hard to consciously tap into.

With wild violets and whales, I launch myself into Spring.

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