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Beside Restful Waters

by Greg Hermann

“Break out of the box of the intellectual to cross the barrier

into the reality of spirit.”

Pat McCabe, AKA Woman Stands Shining

Woman Stands Shining is of Dine (Navajo) and Lakota bloodlines. Her bundle (her medicine – purpose) takes her across the globe to address people engaged in the journey of Spirit. I have heard her address people of a variety of organized spiritual expressions including Christian, Native American, and other aboriginal expressions. This sharing was to an ashram on a Pacific Island – the name escapes me at present.

I have met Pat during Women and Water Coming Together Symposiums here in Wisconsin and listened to several of her presentations from around the world. Her expressed passion is ‘making space for that feminine voice to be heard’. As she enters this topic, she emphasizes the need for the sacred masculine to come forward in a parallel relationship with women rather than our cultural norm of “top down.”

This brings me to the box.

I cannot count the number of times I have said, “Let me think about that for a while.” The counter to this statement is the observation shared by so many that, “Greg, you are over thinking.”

Damn! Which is it? Am I thinking too much or not thinking enough?

Any of us who has had experience with, or are currently experiencing a practice of stillness, meditation, contemplation, centering prayer, or other practices which offer us an opportunity to get out of the box; I speculate that we have bouts of hostility and frustration with our practices which often do not result in stillness, ecstatic peace, or awesome quiet. Right now, I am experiencing exactly this frustration trying to step forward on my journey. However, that’s fuel for another discussion.

Suffice it to say, most of us struggle to get out of the box of intellectualizing. Many of us may not even realize that we are in the box. Personally, there’s times when I prefer to live in this denial. Again, we can visit that another time.

What is the barrier between my intellect and my reality of spirit?

Here are some that I grapple with.

Comfort: I like where I am and to move is uncomfortable – frightening.

Denial: I hear my inner voice calling me to be more, but I refuse to listen.

Sloth: I do not want to do the work to move.

Fear: Change hurts. I am tired of being in pain.

Lack of trust or faith: I have been hurt by too many.

The list goes on, but we get the point. The barriers are present and plentiful. So, miss Woman Stands Shining, now what? What words of wisdom do you have to offer me, in my safe and comfortable box?

Regarding her passion of ‘making space for that feminine voice to be heard’, I can share a few scars that have marked my journey with Ann to this point in our lives. I confess denial as my original box. I recognized Ann’s voice long before we were married, and denial served me well – for a few years. Others recognized my ‘box’ and through their energy of prayer and the challenge to me, I very slowly began to tolerate Ann’s voice. Later, I grew to accept her voice. Presently and am in the practice of honor, protection, and support of this voice.

Here is the miracle: I have not lost my voice. Spirit has guided me, through the voices of several women and men, to “move out of my male, top down box” and accept the challenge of a parallel relationship. This requires the ongoing energy – let us get yogic for a moment – of tapas, svadhyaya, and Ishvara pranidhana. That is tapas: the direction and focus of my energies; svadhyaya: the willingness to enter self-study; and Ishvara pranidhana: surrender to the direction of Spirit, of my Higher Power.

This is just one example of getting out of my intellectual box. The journey of sobriety and trauma healing offers many opportunities to recognize the barriers, accept the responsibility of removing barriers, climbing out of boxes, and finally doing the work – forever.

This is heavy stuff: boxes, barriers, change, growth, engaging Spirit!

I hear it takes a village. For me, it has taken a major city. Yet, when the denial weakens and I utter the slightest hint of intent to change, our Higher Power responds. She responds with the loving voices of those whom have similar scars, those whom have the courage to open those scars for my growth, and stand by me as my scares are ripped open, slowly heal, and become stronger in the process.

Food for thought:

We are in pandemic times. Whose voice is loudest right now? I struggle.

My primary pandemic barrier is anger toward those who do not agree with me. I have no power, EXCEPT the medicine of those of us who are willing to move out of this anger box and heal from a place of peace as we collectively surrender to a Power and Spirit so much greater than ourselves.

What part of the pandemic is your greatest challenge?

Stay connected. Please, stay connected.

We collectively surrender to a Power and Spirit so much greater than ourselves.

Our collective energy is the Spirit which is healing.

We are the medicine. We are healing. We are a Spirit reality I will thrive with.

In deepest gratitude.


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