Big Thanks to the Dinee People!—A Visualization to Blow Your Mind!

A-Pollen Poem 10-01-13

Here’s a peek into my “Day Job” (which I love!) as an experiential psychotherapist! 

I came upon this extraordinary piece of “medicine” in Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces. This “poem” is an utter gem from a longer healing work and very sacred story of the Dinee (Navajo) People. I began to use it as part of my spiritual practice. I’d do my usual going inside into a meditative state while listening to music (I am, after all, a musician, and music is a main vehicle for me to meditate). And then I’d ever-so-slowly inwardly repeat the medicine poem. From the first time I’ve done this, I’ve always had extraordinary experiences—profound expansion, groundedness, peace, awe at life, delight, love. My body released its aches as I felt nourished by a deep sense of aliveness flowing through me.

I began applying my experience as an offering for the clients in my psychotherapy practice. When a client expresses a longing for a greater experience of Self, a transpersonal thirst, an awakening of personal and universal truth, I suggest an exploration: “I have an idea! How about a visualization! It’s based on a poem from the Dinee people. First I’ll introduce you to one of the words they use, so you can bring your own experience to it. Then I’ll recite the poem several times and you can see where it takes you!”

With the client’s agreement, I ask them to close their eyes and send them inside to their best poem-listening-to place. First I invoke their response to the word “pollen” as the Dinee use it:

I begin, “In this poem the Dinee use the word ‘pollen.’ For them, pollen isn’t the make-you-sneeze stuff. For them, pollen is the life source, and the pollen path is the path to the center. Pollen for them is corn pollen, and it has a very sacred story. . .

“. . . Let yourself imagine a field of corn, tended by the people of the village. When the people see the corn, they see an amazing story, for corn is one plant that needs human hands to help it grow. In fact, corn will die without humans to help it. If a corn cob falls into a field the kernels cannot make it through the tough husk to resprout—they need to be taken by human hands and planted. Long ago corn did not have the shape it does today, it was small and wild, and in order to feed the people, they learned how to bring the corn to the form we know now. The Dinee people see the growing of corn as a pact between the human and the divine. The source of life shows up in the corn, but it must be tended to by human hands in order to be used . . .

“. . . So the people of the village are alive with this amazing gift. In the corn they find the magical bridge between oneness and diversity, between the sublime extraordinary and the magnificent ordinary. It’s the story of the connection of infinite and finite. It’s the sacred dance of oneness and duality. For the Dinee, the life source gives the people the food to feed them, and the people receive it and use their hands and wisdom to plant and harvest. But it’s much more than that—it’s the story of the creation and life, and a way of right relationship with all things. It’s a lived acknowledgement of the kind of partnership that makes a deeply lived life possible. The symbol of this partnership is the pollen of the corn, where it all happens. The Dinee always save the corn pollen and use it in ceremony . . .

“. . . Let yourself see the people of the village gathering the corn pollen, and how in their hands they gather the meeting of the divine and the human. They celebrate a sacred event where life force manifests its connection with the earthly. The divine and the human come together, not only to feed the people of the village, but to nourish their spirits with the great sacred story of life. . .

“. . . So that is a little of what the word pollen signifies in this medicine poem. And now let yourself feel into that word pollen, and feel into the experiences from your own life that resonate—how you are longing for that sacred dance, or the times in your life that you have experienced the meeting of the two, and the sacred story. And like all good stories, let it be beyond your mind to understand, let the understanding come from your heart.”

Then I invite the client to take a few deep breaths, settle into their chair, and give me a nod when they are ready. I then, really slowly, recite the poem several times . . . and wait.

Put your feet down with pollen.
Put your hands down with pollen.
Put your head down with pollen.
Then your feet are pollen;
your hands are pollen;
your body is pollen;
your mind is pollen;
your voice is pollen.
The trail is beautiful.
Be still.

I am always astonished at the response this poem evokes! Clients experience a profound, grounding, uplifting, expanding access to the Self connected to the Web of Life. It is always extraordinary and lasting—something we often refer to in future sessions. For one client it was a deep turning point in the therapy.

As a variation, after I speak about the pollen, I put on some trippy music, let the client listen for a while, and begin to repeat the poem several times while the music is playing, letting the effects of the poem and the music take the listener on a journey.

Of course I am giving only a very abbreviated version of what pollen holds for the Dinee, a little sketch of a great spiritual treasury. I honor their wonderful ways. I thank the Dinee and their medicine people for their wisdom and generosity in gifting us with these sacred words. Here is a good resource to learn more about The Pollen Path: Source of the Sacred: Navajo Corn Pollen

For some trippy music to journey by, please listen to my just released Blue Lilah trance-journey-new age CD Medicine Songs. I’m happy to share my music. Find it at bluelilah.com

Photos by Kathleen Dunbar, Mono Lake Area

A-Pollen Poem 10-01-13A-Pollen Poem 10-01-13

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course . . .

A-A Horse Is A Horse 06-14-13A Horse Is A Horse . . .

This is an actual dream I had many years ago just before I got licensed as a therapist. I found it in my journal while looking for old bits for the Western I am writing:

I’m in a store that’s kind of half sunk into the ground, with lots of tables and shelves full of knick knacks, clothes, housewares. It’s all in one big room. All of a sudden down the entry steps into the store comes a horse! He makes his way, very businesslike, from the front door to the side door. Everybody is scared to see a big horse in the store. They’re afraid he might go wild. Pretty soon he gets to the side door, near me. I move behind a table, in case he starts bucking. But I helpfully pull the table to one side, so it’s easier for him to get to the door and go out.

Now, the door is open, but the horse stops in front of it. I can tell he wants to go out, but he can’t go through the door. He just stands there. I say, “You can just go on out.”

The horse says—it’s a talking horse, of course, “No I can’t, there’s a wood gate there. I can’t go through.”

I look at the open door and reply, “There’s no gate, it’s open.”

“Well,” says the horse,” I see a gate and I can’t go through a gate when I see one that’s shut.”

So I go stand in the doorway and say to the horse, “Now if there was a gate could I stand right here?”

“Hmm,” says the horse.

So I propose an experiment. I say to the horse, “Why don’t we try something? How about I stand here, and you could just come and stand next to me for a minute and see what it’s like.”

So the horse comes and stands next to me and says, “Now I see that there is no gate! You know,” the horse tells me confidentially, “I came here to get therapy from you. I could always get into places but I could never get out, and it was a problem. I always saw closed gates.”

“How did you know I was here?” I was surprised.

“Oh, there was a sign on the front of the store,” says the horse. Then I remember seeing a flyer posted outside the store, offering therapy, one with those little tear-off tabs on the bottom. It was stuck up with a thumb tack at about reading level for a horse. The horse had seen the word therapy and being down on his luck with the gate problem trusted that this was where he would get some help. He came on in and went right to the door, expecting this time to find someone to help him find the answer, and I just happened to be there. “Well,” says the horse, “Thanks.” And he’s out the door and walking off up the street.

And so, I wake with a horse’s epiphany before breakfast!

I consider the possibility of hanging a horse shoe in the good luck position above my office door—a unique sort of therapy shingle to advertise my services.

I look out the window where morning is painting itself in bright colors on the fence, and flowers are blooming everywhere. As it is my dream, I am, of course, the horse, the shop, the therapist, and the door. Which sounds like the opening line of a good and silly joke, or a wonderfully lively dream, or the life of a woman who is finding herself. Fortunately she has got some horse sense.

Photos by Kathleen Dunbar. Horse painting by Leland Holiday.

For a dreamlike song, try this one from my CD The Storm in Our Head. It’s called “Cello Song” and you can find it on Bandcamp or on kathleendunbarmusic.com

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