2016 was a really painful year for me. It seemed to be that way for a lot of folks—including obviously the wider disturbances in the force globally. It ended for me with intense dives into traumatic territory, the US election, and my mom’s death (the latter two happening the exact same evening). Then just after her burial getting the call to move to Bowen Island and the serious stress of the move, not to mention moving in the midst of the hardest winter here in maybe a generation.
So by the end of 2016 I was left feeling battered.
Then as the year turned anew the land here (Bowen Island) began to work me. I mean both the island as a whole and also the specific plot of land where we’re situated (which has some interesting magic associated with it). I was taken through the most vivid series of dreams, night after night, for almost 4 weeks straight. The last time I dreamed (or rather was dreamed) into that intensity I left full time ordained ministry and began the soul work venture. Except those dreams took place once or twice a month over a year and a half period. There was some 20-30 of those dreams in total during that period. Just about the same number here except they took place basically every night for about a month consecutively.
I couldn’t write before those dreams because of the painful onslaught in my life. I couldn’t write during those dreams because I was in it. There wasn’t sufficient distance/differentiation from it such that I could put any of it to words. I felt muted. I largely retreated from social media and the online world pretty much altogether. Not only was my voice muted but I felt the need to mute much of the noise of the world for a time.
Those dreams and their attendant energy experiences culminated in an experience that took place about a month ago—though it’s not really fair to call it an experience. It was more that I came to honestly acknowledge what was already in front of me. It was already there, in fact it had been there for some time, but I simply couldn’t, wouldn’t, or flat out didn’t want to admit it.
Then one night for whatever reason that recognition took place. I just stopped lying to myself. I couldn’t keep up the facade. It wasn’t even really acknowledging it so much as it was dropping the veil of feigned ignorance.
I sat, utterly quiet and still, simply looking out the window, for something like four hours. In that time I knew in one very real sense, absolutely nothing in my life had changed. While at the same time I also knew everything had changed.
To get a sense of the scope of that change maybe a bit of personal history would help.
I became a spiritual seeker in earnest when I was 19. That intense seeking phase (which included my years in a religious order) “ended” in 2006 with what people would classically call a spiritual breakthrough. But for me that wasn’t the pinnacle I had believed it would turn out to be. Rather the whole thing was a crushing, levelling revelation of the brokenness of my being. The seeker identity revealed itself for what it truly was; I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was prepared for victorious spiritual enlightenment. Life decided (rightly) to mock me instead to my face. I had built my entire identity and sense of purpose and meaning out of becoming enlightened. And Life laughed in my face. (It took me a loooong time to get the joke. Prior to that I simply thought God was a douche. Once I got the joke, I realized how absolutely hilarious the whole thing was/is.)
Out of the wreckage of that absolute mockery came another phase which defined the last decade of my life. The characteristic quality of that period was welcome. By welcome I mean learning to embrace all the different facets and aspects of my humanity. It started with coming to learn about my emotions. Then there was shadow work which morphed into subtler energies and aspects of being (soul). Along with those came practice experiencing and working with physical sensation, leading to exploration of the realms of my own trauma.
From the mix of stirring all those different aspects of my being together—self, soul, spirit—arose a recognition of Sovereignty, i.e. the one that is wide enough to embrace all the different facets, from the most reactive to the most spiritual and everything in between.
The writing I’ve done towards the tail end of the Beams & Struts years and then on this site over the last 5 years has reflected this turn to embrace. The first phase was much more about transcendence. The second phase immanence.
This second, immanental period is now essentially complete. That’s what this new movement means. That’s what I realized occurred a month back. Of course I still have things to learn and processes to do but in some significant, even fundamental way, that phase is done. Burned to a crisp. Toast. My identity and the thrust of things has moved elsewhere. The terrain has fundamentally shifted. The nature of the game has changed once more.
Out of the turmoil, the many deaths, and annihilation of the last year has emerged something else. In saying that I’m not offering some heroic tale of victory from defeat. What has happened doesn’t go back and magically put a bow on everything that went before. It is what it is and it was what it was to journey here. I do honour that transition without being sentimental about its brutality, which was severe.
My focus now is more firmly fixed on what is directly before me. I am humbled by what is revealing itself. I’m grateful (in a different register though) for everything that went into that period of welcome. It was wholesome and necessary and good. Still it’s done. Like I said, toast.
Starting a few years ago a phrase would periodically pop into my head during meditation. I didn’t really know what to do with it but it would appear, disappear, reappear fleetingly, only to disappear back into the mists again.
That phrase was Liquid Love.
That phrase is starting to make the barest of sense now. As always has been the case throughout all these different phases grace has brought to me a few texts I need to help give me basic guidance and orientation to this new space. I’ve only come across a couple of writers who have described this new thing. While their perspectives are deeply helpful to me, I need to find my own words. Anyone else’s will not do, even when I resonate deeply with what they are saying and feel as though they have walked these woods too.
The first piece I wrote here was Welcome. It was the rallying cry for this entire phase (second phase). And without diminishing that phase or its wise necessity, it’s over. I have nothing left to write in that vein. I have a few pieces that I had already begun some months back that I may edit/complete and publish. Or perhaps not, I don’t know.
Regardless, those words and that way of thinking-feeling-experiencing no longer hold sway for me. They’re still valid. They accurately (as best as I could) detailed a realm of experience. It’s just not a realm I walk in anymore. It’s a land that will no longer have me. You can’t go home again. Or in this case I can’t go home again. I wouldn’t be granted entry. Room needs to be made for others to walk in those verdant fields. I’ve been graced by them already. I need to keep moving on. Other lands are calling.
Like lands of Liquid Love
All that’s left now is light and heat. Existence has become a lava lamp-like experience. It’s all boiling while simultaneously being completely normal. It’s not a specific vision or “thing I see”. It’s a pure, pulsing feeling.
It’s not an extraordinary version of ordinary experience. In other words, it’s not mysticism. It’s a extraordinarily ordinary experience. In fact it’s so ordinary (and therefore rare) as to become extraordinary.
It’s ordinary experience lighting up.
The kids nowadays say so and on so is “Lit”.
What if Life, as a whole, and in every particular instance, every singular manifestation, is Lit?
By Lit, I mean that I feel a kind of magma-like quality to everything and everyone. I feel that I’m being liberated from Liberation. Liberation is a most subtle tie that binds. I am not re-shackled but I am now Unfree. Most fortunately non-liberated.
Everything, everyone is boiling.
Boiling in Liquid Love.
It’s liquid, it’s fire, it’s also light though.
It’s not a purifying fire particularly. I’ve felt those purifying kinds of fire. I’ve written about them in fact. That kind of fire is profound and worthy of sincerest respect.
This fire ain’t that fire.
This is boiling.
What’s the point of getting purified if you’re being boiled into liquid, magma-like Love? There’s nothing purifying about it. It’s just dissolving.
What occurred the other night was a deeper consent to accepting this liquefaction of my being not as some periodic alluring state but now as more and more the ground upon which to walk.
The consent then is to liquefaction within me, next to, beside, nearby, and all around me until all those words really are even themselves less solid and more liquid.
This feels like this is the real beginning and everything else before has been preparatory.
As I begin to wax poetic I can feel another movement however to slow my roll. I’m some kind of infant in this domain. Yet the feeling underneath is beyond ancient. Ultra-archaic. Yet still somehow very plugged into the future calling in the present.
The Liquid Love is a light. Liquid love is luminescent.
It’s not a red fire or heat. It’s more like a flame that has heated to the point it’s gone blue or white. But even that image isn’t quite right. I sometimes feel it almost as if it’s a crystal fire. It’s so light it’s beyond white.
Sometimes this crystalline flame brings with it a joyous simplicity. Other times even a sense of grounded and contained ecstasy. While yet other times it’s dire, shredding sorrow.
There are I’m sure many more contours to be discovered and revealed about this space. I look forward in anticipation to those encounters. Some of those moments can leave me feeling a bit exalted, over my skis let’s say. Most moments though feel much more humbling, even humiliating. An affectionate humiliation to be sure but humiliation nonetheless.
But those contours or qualities aren’t the central point. The real point—as far as I can tell so far—is simply remaining in the heat-light itself. To abide in Life boiling. Remaining is a yes, a consent to who I am. Who I am as this light-heat, this boiling, this liquid love.
It’s not consent to be purified but rather consent to be liquified.
The devotion of this is to dwell in this abode and then simply do what I do. To stay in the boiling heat and do what I do: listen, talk, rest, work, relate, whatever it may be. I’m learning quickly the kinds of situations where it’s much easier to remain and keep my stance and moments when that is not the case.
The Sovereignty that revealed itself in the second phase has now become a sovereign heat, a sovereign fire. Sovereign crystalline light-heat.
All those are just words. They are deeply inadequate to who and what this is. I simply hope they might render the maximal amount possible—which would be at best a minimal amount—of this reality.
My writing has to change. What I do in the world has to change. I have no idea how either of those will happen. All that will come. I’m not particularly concerned about that at the moment.
For now just staying with the Light-Heat.