bins of good will
For a moment, I forgot how to be me. What to do, how to think, how to move. Some of this was a hangover from quarantine when my natural inclination to stare out the window was encouraged.
I swim in the river of Goodwill, trusting that things form themselves in response to what we are willing to imagine, envision and allow ourselves to have and to be.
For a moment there, I forgot how to be me. I forgot what to do and how to think. I forgot, even, how to move. Some of this was a hangover from quarantine when my natural inclination to stare out the window was encouraged. Some of it, though, came into focus when I started posting The Flow Journals.
It was just what I’d feared might happen when I exposed these transmissions to public scrutiny, that I would be exposed, a freakish, a weirdo who talks with invisible friends. I feared, also, that I’d feel very special as in, elevated, full of my self and that this feeling might cause me to forget that I actually AM special in that good way that all of us are special: unique, with our own wisdom and gifts to share.
Exposing The Flow Journals felt like power. It felt like magic. It felt ‘too big’ and made me feel ‘too small’ to live up to it. I was afraid of my own work - the power it contained.
Then, as I was wrestling with all of this, Love intervened. The first thing that happened was I noticed.
What I noticed first was I was stuck. I hadn’t noticed because, on the surface, it looked like I was not stuck.
I was working every day (so hard) trying to finish up the first series (Book One) and move into the second (Book Two) but I couldn’t do it. Each time I got a post started, I’d bounce out of it and find myself sitting by the window, staring at the lawn.
Determined to do what I’d committed to do, I forced myself out of pajamas, drank gallons of strong tea, took vitamins. I went to therapy. Nothing helped.
My other projects were also stalled. I wrote and launched a new workshop. Bounce. back at the window. I started a different project, cleared my calendar and committed to sitting at my desk every day. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Every day. It was like trying to drive a car through a rubber wall.
Finally, I gave up. I stopped trying to DO anything. Which was when something started doing itself - through me. And even though there was nothing I could point to and say, Hey! Look at that! so very much was going on below the surface.
At times like these, the liminal carouses with the numinous. For me, it was a time of dreaming.
I dreamed that three flying saucers were landing in my back yard. They were here to deliver three messages about (sigh) something I didn’t manage to write down.
Another night, I dreamed that I was picking up my pen and writing down a wonderful dream. I saw myself flowing words onto the page. The next morning, the page was blank.
I dreamed that I’d left my purse and keys on the table outside. Without them, I couldn’t buy anything, couldn’t go anywhere.
Another night, I dreamed I was lost in Silicon Valley. A woman asked, “Where are you trying to go?” My response: “I’m missing.”
In the waking dream that I was living, I was listening to an audio book: The Secret History of the World, which I’d found in the Goodwill bins in Portland Oregon. This book was its own sort of magic, a talisman hidden in a heap of dusty discards. Even so, I kept putting it into and out of my shopping cart. Such is my relationship with mystery. I see it. I resist it. I reclaim it. Over and again. Even when I tucked it into my suitcase and carried it home, I did not read it. I set it on a side table, where it glowed like an open door for weeks while I sat beside it, staring at the lawn.
Recently, my therapist told me, “Everything you want is already in the river with you.” This was such a simple truth that it almost seemed untrue. It was also, I realized, how I live when I have not written myself out of the canon of my own life. When I am most authentically me, I look around and I find, in the river with me, everything.
After I returned from Portland, I started visiting the Goodwill bins near my home. At first, it was just a lark. What could I find? Now, it’s … what is it? I don’t know. Sacred practice. Obsessive indulgence. I can have anything I want. And it seems, at least for now, that everything I want is there.
I drive to the outlet store (about 20 minutes). I park and pull on a white paper mask (against dust) and one blue surgical glove (against ick). I leave one hand bare to feel for silk, for linen, for wool. I tie back my bangs with a scarf (so I don’t touch my face). Then, I dive in.
I don’t look for specific things. Rather, I swim in the certainty that everything I want will emerge before me, that I will know it when I see it and that, once I find it, I will be able to afford it. This is a key principle for reasons I am just beginning to understand.
I told my sister, “The bins are teaching me to feel blessed again. I can have all of it. For the first time in my life (maybe) I don’t have to put back most of the things I want to buy.”
As I swim in the river of the bins of Goodwill, I feel this trust. I feel this understanding. I get how it might actually be true that things form themselves in response to what we are willing to imagine, envision and allow ourselves to have and to be. Which is what I teach so… it’s good if I get it, if I know and believe it.
At the bins, I don’t rush to be first. I let the crowd rush the new merchandise. Then, I step in. There’s enough for everyone. And anyway, the things that I want aren’t the things most people are looking for.
I like chipped teacups, mismatched china. I’m reminded that my favorite souvenir from my cross country drive (NY to CA) is a wooden angel with a broken wing. That trip, tho… I sighed, just now, remembering. I didn’t know where I was going. I soared across the land in the air-conditioned bubble of the car I’d just inherited from my mother. Everything was a surprise: fields of grain, windmills, cattle ranches. Like diving through the Goodwill bins, that trip, too, was a river journey. Everything I wanted would appear. When I saw it, I would know it was for me. Indeed, when I met the Colorado River, when I took off my shoes and waded in, when it rushed cool and fast and clear over my bare feet, I knew - you’re mine.
At the bins, something happens to me. I stop thinking everything needs to be written down. I stop planning my day into segments. I let the flow flow me. While discerning quality, texture, color I am also resting. While meandering around the edges of the huge warehouse space interrogating other people’s castoffs, I am also dreaming. (Were these tiny silver sandals left here for me? Is this perfect wooden dollhouse a metaphor? Am I meant to take this home or rather, to let it flow by, back into the heap-jumble of everything all at once?)
Eventually, all thought ends and I enter the stream of meditative focus where anything can manifest. Ooh… hello, tiny striped leggings (Hannah Anderson). Ahhh… hello blue willow platters for Annie (my friend who sells vintage china). Here are Eileen Fisher pants in my size. And that white sweater I wanted at Free People last year but never purchased.
Anything can happen: resort wear, sexy bras, sun hats, muck boots. A flawless green cashmere from Scotland. A down coat and beneath it, a pure silk couture sample from the runways at Fashion Week.
Of course, none of that (really) matters. While I am bin diving, I am not shopping. I am moving the dream through my body.
Two weeks ago, I dreamed that Archangel Michael came to see me. He said: I am support in hard times. The Archangel of the Age. He asked, Do you remember who I am? He asked me to remember. And what are my qualities?
“Strength, courage and fortitude,” I rattled off.
He nodded. Then, he said, Nietzche wrote a book about you which says, ‘Enter the door in the forest’.
“I have never read Nietzche,” I said. To which, Michael said, I am thinking about pagans and patriots. About roots. About time. I am guiding you now through a difficult time into the world that waits for you. The world of wonder: a free world unlike any world you've known.
He requested that I stop (for now) bringing the flow documents from the past, stating, If you are going to channel, channel freshly -and freely - in present time.
He said, not for the first time, You are the voice. To which I responded, “This isn’t a voice. It’s a thunderclap!”
And when, in the middle of the night, my hand cramped from trying to keep up with all he was saying - to write while, at the same time, listening, to capture while, at the same time, receiving - he said, I would speak through you. It will be easier for us both. Especially for you. All will be well, Amy dear. All will be well. We begin when you are ready.
“I am ready,” I said. And so, we’ll begin… again.
Last week, the guides told me about the bins. They said:
Going to the bins is practice for receiving. It will help you receive all that you need even as it also helps you receive our message. A necessary practice as we attune, as we prepare, together your joy in receiving, your discovery of the ease of finding just what you need. The pleasure of sifting physical reality, of pushing aside what is not wanted. Receiving our message is as simple as sorting through heaps of gap T-shirts and jeans. Sorting until the linen shirt or pants or designer dress appears before your eyes as if by magic and you receive them easily, without questions of worthiness or affordability.
This is the same sorting and sifting you do each day with the streams of information and experience you receive from your news media, from your life experience. You sort, selectively, through the ‘bins’ of your physical world, selecting this and sorting that aside. You were never meant to keep up with everything, or to know everything. Rather you are here (and you are designed) to sort reality; to set the compass of your attention to true north and to listen for that quality, that frequency, that vibration, that direction. You are here to set your inner tuning fork to high C and listen for and attune to the one note: the ground of OM.
Last week, just before the equinox, I cleaned the house. Vacuuming, shelving books, laundry. I filed seas of paper into folders. I brought a cozy blanket to the bench in my (unheated) sunroom. I can read there now that winter has passed. Now that things are melting.
That night, I dreamed that a water glass broke in my hands. Splitting into two perfect halves. I held them, one in each palm, water dripping through my fingers. Then, a glass splinter began to bloom from the tip of my finger and small perfect orbs, each made of hexagons, fell from the end of it. As they landed on the ground, they melted into the soil.
What does this mean? I have my ideas. Why talk about dreams? They’re emergences in the river. Conversations we are having with the layer of the world that’s coming back to life.
A layer of the world is coming back to life.
When we pay attention to dreams and their symbols, when we treat them as offerings, as invitations, everything changes. Rubber walls dissolve. The flow begins to flow. Magical bubbles are born from our fingertips. Angels invite us, again and again, to speak.
A new (sometimes) list of what’s consuming my attention
I’ve been deleting everything under my PROMOTIONS tab in Google. It’s enchantingly liberating.
I am trying to stay off social media. Eventually, I hope to STAY off and spend that time outside, in the world, dreaming.
Audio: I’m re-discovering that listening is my strongest sense (and a source of much pleasure). So,
Podcasts. Let’s start with this jewel: Poetry Unbound. I started with the first episode, and this poem, What you missed that day you were absent from fourth grade. I leave you to it. Go fall in love.
Audiobooks. As mentioned earlier, I’m re-listening to The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth
Reading: During pandemic, I made myself start reading again. Books, not online. I’ve just finished swimming through The Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas. It’s a dreamy fantasy about a human who crosses into the faerie world. It’s not what you think.
Screens: I’m streaming: Ted Lasso (Apple TV), of course, and Daisy Jones and the Six (Prime). But also, Shrinking (Apple TV), which started out kinda meh but the excellent actors were assembled. I knew it could develop into something. It’s better now. I’m beginning to care.
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