Linda Neale's Blog

Incorporating the Unexpected

Linda Neale - Friday, March 16, 2012

Most of you who read this blog know that my husband Rod suffered a very serious accident on January 31st.  As he pushed his chair back from his table after eating breakfast at a local restaurant, the back two legs fell off a platform, he fell backward, hit the back of his head on a pool table, and broke his neck.  911 was called, and when I arrived at the hospital, I was told by three different doctors that Rod would probably be paralyzed from the neck down.


Perhaps it took you a minute to read that story -- the whole accident occurred in less than ten seconds.  That's how quickly life can change.


In January I was planning to write a blog about the medicine wheel, and winter.  When the accident occurred, I was in an Earthday meeting. I was looking forward to a trip to Europe -- a book tour.  I had plans


No matter how much we plan, shit happens.   


Maybe you're wondering how this relates to ceremony?   Ceremony is not separate from life.  gkisedtanamoogk, a Wampanoag elder, wrote a wonderful little book with this theme, called "Anoqcou, Ceremony is Life Itself."  Indeed, life can be thought of as one long initiation ceremony --  a process that is headed in a particular direction with a particular intention -- toward the final transition of death.


The last of my seven ceremonial principles is the trickster -- the unexpected happening that occurs in our lives and in almost every ceremony.  Trickster can bring joy and spontaneity, or chaos, or pain.   In ceremony, and in life, most of us work at controlling this trickster energy.  We plan, we protect, we organize and arrange, we resist.


At a sundance, the trickster often enters as the heyokah, a figure who does everything backwards.  When others walk around the circle clockwise, he goes counterclockwise.  When the dancers are fasting from food and water, he may splash water around the arbor.  The heyokah is there to say "life is not about control" and "even I, who do everything backwards, am sacred. I am part of the sacred circle."


One thing I've learned from my husband is that it is futile to resist the unexpected trickster energy.  As Rod said in the chapter about this sacred principle, "In the early times the strong medicine people made it (trickster) an ally instead of killing it." 


I'm working on accepting these recent teachings of life and death, spinal chords and recovery, pain and suffering.  I'm working on making trickster an ally.


That's the best I can do right now.








Dana Highfill commented on 17-Mar-2012 08:15 PM
Thinking of you and Rod. So much has come of this incident. And yes, your post makes sense. :)
anand arupo commented on 18-Mar-2012 09:55 AM
sounds really good linda. reminds me of how i usually refer to future ideas in some kind of tentative way rather then with assurance all will occur as "planned". life does have a way of getting our attention reminding us there are larger energies at work.
loved connecting with the circle of women again at sunday lodge. much love, arupo
Beckie Haynes commented on 19-Mar-2012 07:45 AM
"Spinal chords" vs. "spinal cords" ... interesting. Chord: 3 or more pitches, harmony, emotional feeling or response. Cord: A slender length of flexible material usually made of twisted strands or fibers and used to bind, tie, connect, or support, an influence,
feeling, or force that binds or restrains. Ahh, the depth and play of words and the music of Life ... unexpected chords and all! Much love to you and our best is all we can ever do, eh?!
Nancy Ankcorn commented on 05-Apr-2012 07:08 AM
I much appreciate your immediate move to wisdom in this life changing, sad and painful event. I found your words quite moving, and my heart goes out to you. (Beckie's comments about spinal chords versus cords is also beautiful.) May you be held in a radiance
of light, and may you and your husband receive love and support and healing (in whatever form healing will take).

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