Sunday, 21 December 2014

Yule New Moon Tonglen Spread

This week has been a tough one!  My elder son was in screaming agony for 24 hours, and we're still not totally sure why, though there are a number of possible reasons.  His pain was so bad that he literally tore his hair out - he now has a bald patch about 5cms in diameter.  It makes my heart bleed to see him like that!

And the younger one is teething - he now has two teeth, where last week he had none.  He's not doing too badly with it, but has been a lot more restless at night, which doesn't help me cope better with the first one's more serious issues.  What has helped, though, is practising tonglen, after reading about it on Bev's Lojong for the Layperson site.

Today is Yule, the longest night, and a new moon to boot.  So, definitely a time of darkness.  Rather than my normal release-embrace spread, I decided to try something based around tonglen.  I drew from the Chrysalis Tarot (US Games, 2014):

1) What will help me sit with the darkness right now?  - Five of Spirals (Wands)
2) What will help me transform it into light? - Kali - XVI The Tower

1) What will help me sit with the darkness right now is the willingness to face it down with fierceness, to cast balls of light into that dark abyss!  I need to take action, to feel that I am doing something to counter the dark, even if it is something as metaphorical as tonglen.

It's true, too, that with my elder son I took literal action: making phone calls to various doctors and their secretaries, to our dental practice, taking him to an emergency dental service (he has two sets of teeth in places, as his baby teeth haven't fallen out, but his adult teeth are growing in regardless), organising a prescription for a new, stronger pain killer, and getting him seen by the community nurse (all this in about six hours on Friday).

Still, even with all this action, there is no "solution".  I still have to accept that sometimes all I can do is hold his hands and gaze into his eyes while he cries in pain, unable to tell me why.  That's really hard!  Knowing I've done all I can is one of my fireballs, and being willing to hold him and hug him and tell him that I'm there with him in his suffering is another.

2)  Irony, thy name is Kali.  Before my elder son was born, the Tower came up for me a lot.  And it's true, he shattered my sense of security, of understanding what the world is about, of trusting that I was, to an extent, "safe".  Now, though, what can help me transform this darkness is precisely embracing Kali's power to cut through old beliefs, her ability to scare away the demons with her fierceness, her willingness to shatter the old.

Of course, it makes sense that transformation requires a radical letting go.  Perhaps I need to do another Kali sadhana…  Or simply remember that I really have no power to control some things.  All I can do is face my fears with courage, and call on the Goddess for her support.

10 comments:

  1. There is no greater depth of compassion than holding a person in your heart as you sit with them in suffering, unable to stop it. (((Kerry and son))) And when it is your child, that is tough. I so hope that his pain is receding now, and that you all can rest and relax for a while. I think you did the "trial by fire" introduction to tonglen :) , but I'm so glad it was helpful.

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    1. Thank you for the kind thoughts and wishes, Bev. Fortunately, the extreme pain 'only' lasted about 24 hours. After that, we had a strong pain medication, and after another 24 hours things seemed to settle down. Ha, yes, a trial by fire ton glen ;) And yes, it was very helpful, so thank you again!

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  2. Also meant to say that I loved your spread, and I'll be using it this Winter Solstice night.

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    1. Loved your reading, Bev, sorry I haven't replied yet as things have been crazy with flu and ear infections etc this week. That little beaver is so cute ;)

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  3. What a beautiful way to sit with your child and feel his pain without letting it overwhelm you This way the meditation is beneficial for both of you.
    I hope his condition will improve very soon.
    Like Bev, I will try this spread tonight. It is beautiful in its simplicity
    Hugs for you and your family

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    1. Thanks, Ellen, it certainly was beneficial for us both. I loved your take on this spread, too, though anything with the Seer in it is generally wonderful :)
      Hugs to you and yours, too!

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  4. Oh, how stressed out you must be! I wish I could lend support in person. I really hope things improve with the pain situation very soon. You deserve so much care and kindness...I hope you get respite and maybe a massage soon. Much love to you...MM

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    1. Thanks for the support, even at a distance, MM. It makes a difference knowing there are people who understand. And having chosen to give him a pain medication rather than an anti-spasmodic, I've been thinking about you a lot this week - I used your example when discussing pros and cons with my DH. So, you help more than you know! :) Much love heading across the waves to you, Kxxx

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  5. Awww Kerry my heart goes out to your boys, and you. I lift you up in my prayers today <3

    Tonglen I just found out about two weeks ago. I gave it a try and really love the premise of the practice. Forget who said it, ' the only way out is through it.'

    Our struggles and pain are heavy when we drag them light when we embrace them, which also means doing whatever we can ourselves to change the situation.

    I hope your boys get some comfort and relief soon <3 Love and blessings to you all.

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    1. How funny that we both just found out about this! And yes, embracing our pains helps us carry them more lightly. Hope you've had a good week - will pop on by as soon as things ease up a bit… Love and blessings to you, too :)

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