The Mask Behind the Bully


I could have written this title various ways. I could have said, “The Mask of the Bully” or “The Bully Behind the Mask,” you name it. The phenomenon of the bully is in itself multilayered. The bully, a product of layering. Of hiding within, in front of, and behind fear.

I had known him since junior  high, although never well. He was even more on the periphery of popularity than I was after the 7th grade. To be honest, I never gave him much thought, and hardly noticed him, except for one thing. He was a fine writer, so fine that my 11th grade English teacher sang his praises to the advanced classes of which he was not a part of, and held special writing groups, just for him.

Over the many years since we graduated from high school, I thought about him on occasion, even asking, once, a friend if she knew what had become of him. I asked if he was still writing. She didn’t know anything beyond what he posted on Facebook. I thought about friending him, my secret motivation to find out if he was still writing. Certainly, I told myself, he could not be denying his gift.

I didn’t have to friend him, a few years later, during the early stages of the current presidential election season, he sent me a friend request. I accepted. I didn’t ask if he was still writing. I didn’t ask anything. I looked on his profile and saw that he had a beautiful young family, and that he had been in the military. He vaguely resembled the boy I remembered. The face, older, but the same.

He didn’t ask me any questions either and I figured this was one of those friend requests that were sent out because he had vaguely remembered me from high school, and wanted to add me to the collection of his list of “friends.” We all do it, right? It’s Facebook after all. I “liked” his posts that featured his children, and the rare musings that showed the ghost of the writer I had so admired. I ignored the Trump posts, but he didn’t ignore mind. In fact they were the only posts of mine to which he responded.

The first one featured an article I had shared from a public site someone else had wrote about Trump’s bravado, demeaning and harassing women. As a preface I wrote, “Trump is no hero.” In the comments he had responded, “Bullshit.”

The next post I shared was a clip of Michelle Obama’s eloquent and moving speech a couple of days ago in Manchester, New Hampshire. A brilliant mother of two daughters, the wife of the President of the United States, who has been the epitome of grace these past 8 years. A brilliant grace, in my opinion. In the speech, if you have not heard it, Michelle speaks about her feelings about Trump’s treatment and disparaging attitude toward women. Her voice shakes with emotion. She speaks from the heart of herself and of all women. She speaks of the heartbeat of our humanity. Of dignity. Of basic human rights.

His response: “LOL.”

In that moment I realized I had friended a bully. It was not a lightbulb moment. Let’s be honest. The signs were there from the start, but I was holding onto that glimmer of hope that the gifted boy, the sensitive writer, was still living inside of there somewhere. I’m sure he still is, but I fear, deeply buried behind and within other masks. I don’t know what his life has been like these many years, I can only guess. I can make assumptions that we probably share more than writing words. I was not popular after the 7th grade, a product of the effects of bullying by two former friends that marred my reputation and “likability.”

He was, I had to admit, not my friend. He were an insidious presence, like Trump, coming out of the shadows only, it appeared, to undermine me and others for standing up for our basic human rights. He was there to intimidate and laugh at what we stand for. Why, I asked myself, was I willing tolerate this. I was not.

It’s as easy to “unfriend” someone on Facebook as it is to “friend” them. It just takes  just one click. There is nothing personal to it, except what you make of it. That, I believe is the inherent problem of social media. This impersonal mask we can hide behind. It is a place where we can easily become the bully. The manipulator. The jerk. Our shadow side can easily be expressed behind the mask of a computer screen. Or, we can choose the shine the light.



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The Unseen Sea – 10: Mind and the Enneagram

Part Ten of The Unseen Sea If you have been following this series of posts, you may have detected a liberal use of the name LUCA. The Last Universal Common Ancestor was a term coined by evolutionar…

Source: The Unseen Sea – 10: Mind and the Enneagram

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Lessons from an autumn day

Life can be a sticky web where we can become trapped


Obstacles can be nearly insurmountable for those who choose to climb


We may even tumble, thinking we have lost our ground


Growing frustrated, we find ourselves digging for what has passed


Forgetting that life is a cycle of birth, death


And rebirth


Yet the old broken down to form new


Can yield balance


And the sheer joy of being



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The Return of Grace


Light over shadows

I have found grace, again. You could say I just went through another “Dark Night of the Soul.” One of many, but this one was particularly acute. This one began on my birthday, if you are interested in reading that story you can find it in my post The Return of the Goddess. It came to a head one month later, when I entered one of my darkest nights and found myself doubting whether I was going to find the light again. “You’re not a quitter,” my good friend told me as I sobbed over the phone 3,000 miles away from her.

She was right. I have never given up, even in my darkest moments when the light seemed to flicker in a shroud of darkness inside of me, gasping for air, and I had no real intention of giving up then. Yet, grace seemed illusive, a state so far from where I was, that I could not imaging reaching it again.

I have found grace, again. The light, ever-burining inside has erupted through the shroud of shadows and pronounced victory. Grace, I have found, is subtle. It is gentle, yet profoundly beautiful as it works its way through the pain to find the heart of life and beat it gently back into rhythm. Let me share give you some of the story, so you will better understand the cycle as it came through me.

On my 43rd birthday, my pain-body, or shadow-self, called out to be seen. I saw that inner-child and the goddess-woman still hiding in the shadows wanting to be healed and brought back into the light. Through the course of the ensuing month, I was faced with many tests that brought me ever-deeper into the darkness that needed to be explored and healed. As all spiritual tests are that ask us to evolve, these were not easy, and after one full month of them with little respite, I felt brought to the point of collapse, yet in an almost sadistic way, I was also saying to the Universe, “bring it on, let’s do this.”

And so the adage, “be careful what you ask for, you just might get it,” could be applied, yet I also believe that we are never given what we can not, in theory, handle. So, I worked though the horrific dreams at night and the daily, sometimes, horrific, ordeals of waking time. I started going to tai chi classes on Fridays, a few hours after my regular yoga class. As a friend so eloquently stated during lunch today, when yoga is practiced as intended “it is like inviting God into your body.” Or, it could be said, it is like letting the God force that is within in you, but only simmering, stir back into life. Yoga, tai chi and other activities that work with the life fore energy, can be incredibly intense, leaving you feeling like you have literally had a battle of light against darkness.

In the midst of this, I decided to get myself an energy healing that focused on releasing ancestral trauma and abuse, going deep through the lineages to release stored memories of trauma, including those passed down to you (which, by the way, was on a Friday, right in the middle of yoga and tai chi). Foolishly, I had hoped to be done with the worse part of what I had been experiencing after the session. As my friend 3,000 miles away reminded me, “You know better than that, Alethea. You’ve told me about how this works before,” adding an anecdote just in case I needed proof.

So, the wave of darkness came crashing down in full force this past week. One of the most dramatic incidences that occurred involved witnessing my daughter’s terror at being exposed to a horrific story at school by a police officer teaching drug education. The aftermath of this being almost as unpleasant as the episode itself, show-casing the shadow-side of many involved, along with my own.

In the midst of all of this, I began reading M. Scott Peck’s, M.D. book People of the Lie: The Hope of Healing Human Evil. Having just finished The Road Last Traveled by Peck, something nudged me to go further into this place of darkness inside to explore. And there was that moment, yes, that moment, where I had to ask myself, are you dancing with the “devil?” Now let me clarify, by “devil,” I adhere to Peck’s then 8-yr-old son who defined the devil to be the opposite of “live,” or “lived,” which is the word spelled in reverse. That state of none “life” where we can succumb completely to the darkness that resides inside. I knew I was agreeing to push myself to the brink of fear, and as my spiritual mentor pointed out to me after my lasted journal for the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, “You are really going through some dark things at present… but always remember that the ball cannot bounce until it hits the ground…and the harder it falls, the higher it all soar.” It’s worth also mentioning that this dark night was occurring during the 6th month of my second year with the school. The half-way point. One could also say, the turing point.

Those words were written by my mentor a week ago, and as I’ve just said, it got worse before it got better.

I realized the light of grace was returning to me last night, in my dreams, where I often learn a lot about myself. I found myself riding in airplanes (the symbolism of which you can look up) to faraway destinations I had never been to, by myself, without the baggage I was accustomed to taking with me. The planes dived and flipped in mid-air, I found myself without my seat-belt on, I was in a strange place with strange people, yet I was okay.

I woke feeling lighter, much lighter that I have for many days. The tests that could trigger me during the morning, did not. At 11:15 I got into my blue Volt, and started driving north to meet my friend for lunch. I felt exhilarated, like I had new life coursing inside me. A large crow flew from the forest beside the road and straight over me, as though guiding me north, for some time. I smiled. The crow had returned. The messenger that reminds me of rebirth out of darkness. And it never left. Through the entire ride there and back home, the crow appeared often. At the beginning of the ride home, now going south, it emerged from the forest with a red apple in its mouth, and flew over the car once again, turning south to guide me. I found myself filled with gratitude. In the parking lot there had been a car parked beside me with 444 on its plate, during the ride home, 555 (for more information on number meanings I recommend Doreen Virtue’s resources or Joanne Sacred Scribe’s website.  I felt incredibly blessed and guided, and I knew the light inside had won, again. I knew that I had just turned another corner in this journey of life.

As I continued to drive, with crows appearing in trees and in flight beside me, I listened to the end of a story on NPR about a writer who had suffered brain damage from an accident, and had not only survived, but thrived from her ordeal. She had transformed her darkness into light. After the story was over, I hit the buttons on my touchscreen to find music, and found John Legend’s song “All of Me” playing. Impulsively I started singing, surprising myself with the harmony of our voices. I sang loud and with passion. I sang to myself, “all of me loves all of you,” and I meant it. And I cried, again. Not from a place of despair, but from the state of gratitude, surrender and grace. I felt filled with light and life.


Mourning dove feather I found on my path: “Light emerges out of darkness”

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I used to drink this as a child

Sometimes all it takes is a trigger to make your remember, again. I was getting my hair cut and highlighted, and while the color was setting, my friend, the stylist, was proudly showing me photographs of the beautiful fairy house she made with her 10-yr. old “little sister.” I was impressed by the intricate details and the obvious care and love that had gone into its creation, but the images faded into the background as we talked about other things. An hour later I walked out the door and continued on with my day. The little fairy house, already forgotten, lurked somewhere hidden inside my mind.


A “fairy house” beside my home

Sometimes it takes a trigger, and also a release of the old to give way to the forgotten inner. After leaving the salon, I made my way to my tai chi class, where I stayed for the next hour. As I was preparing to leave, I over-heard a woman remark to her companion, “It’s like having reiki.” She’s absolutely right, I stopped in pause.

Or a double dose in my case. You see before I went to the salon, I had my Friday morning yoga class. Both yoga and tai chi work with the energy centers in the body where we hold our “chi,” and allow it to stir back into life where it has become stagnant. We also release stuck energy that’s ready to leave, to allow the true life force energy that resides in all of us to flow as it wants to. In tai chi class, we literally draw into our bodies the energy of Earth and the Universe to rejuvenate our bodies as we shake out the old that we no longer want to carry.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, and I uncharacteristically found my way to the hammock under the oaks and hemlocks and stayed there for so long I could hear the whisper of the arbiter inside me reminding me, “You should be making dinner now.” But, a stronger voice said, “Stay awhile longer. Forget about time as you have grown to follow it.”

So I stayed and took in the contrast of the green canopy of leaves filtering the brilliant illusion of a blue ceiling, allowing myself to just be. I watched and listened to the squirrels in the oak, carrying on their conversations as they clung impossibly to their vertical home. I fell into that hazy sleep of daytime, only to wake and wonder where I had temporarily gone.


The blue of the sky

The day gave way to evening, and I ventured back into town to get take-out for my family. No one complained that I did not cook. The sky turned from the color of a blue jay’s wing to the color of the crows who had circled the skies like an omen when I had walked the dogs before I ventured to the  hammock.  I grew increasingly tired after dinner, sleep calling louder with each hour that passed until I finally made my way to bed.


Night’s messenger

I can’t tell you where I traveled while I slept for most of the night, but I can tell you about the scene from which I woke this morning. I am still smiling with the memory of coming home, even though I couldn’t find the tea on the internet after I woke. But that’s really irrelevant.

Home, to my recollection, was mostly the scene of a summer forest. I woke, in the dream, that is, alone and outside. I had been sleeping in some sort of tent and my family was already gone for the day. I rolled my blankets and ventured out into my surroundings, which were lush and green, the color of the oak leaves before they turn in fall. There was some sort of wire enclosure, to keep animals in or out, I was not sure, but I rolled it away none-the-less. I searched the area for signs of life and found myself suddenly in winter, drawn up a hill beside an old mansion. There were neighbors working on their own house. I left them alone and walked through the snow toward a large hedgerow shaped into an archway. It was covered in ice, but there was a narrow opening in the middle, so I squeezed my way through. I was back to summer.

I shed my heavy coat, for there was no longer need of it, and found I was hungry. I ventured inside a hobbit-like house that felt like home, and there inside was a child. A girl who seemed to know me, and I her. She, I discovered, was also hungry. “I think they went to get more food,” she told me, and we saw the remnants of a meal. Animals appeared around our feet. A couple of young cats, and two small white dogs. The blind one lingered around my legs. Daisy appeared, but not my dog companions who are still in physical form.


Daisy, who always reminded me when the elementals had something to say

Soon we discovered the food. It was a full buffet, laid out, partially hidden, in a depression in the kitchen counter. For a moment we indulged our appetites, then began the search for tea. “I think it’s over there, I told the girl.” We culled through drawers filled with tea, but could not find the kind we were looking for. Above the counter were cabinets, and I opened one, only to discover what I had been looking for. My eager hands held the boxes filled with the green of spring. I read the labels, “Fairy Tea,” and felt the inner stirrings of joy. “I used to drink this as a child,” I told her. But, of course, she already knew that.


With my friend Deb at Samhain. That spark of light on my left arm just might be a fairy



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What the vines said

I went outside this morning to ask the vines about Life…


Spiraling into a chalice

I asked, “Why do you spiral energy only to hold on tight to solid form?”


The struggle to hold “solid” form

“But also spiral untethered, as though reaching only for the light? Which do you prefer? How do you choose where you send your energy?”


Spiraling free

The vine replied, “For the same reason you do. To grow.”

“But what of this tangle back to self, after the reach for light?” I asked, looking at spiral that became a knot.”


The tangle back on self

“Because the blind search can be binding,” replied the bee gathering pollen from the sunflower.


A divine alchemist

So I turned to the bee, “Tell me about Life.”

“Life is alchemy,” the bee replied as it gathered pollen in its arms and sipped nectar from the heart of the flower. “Life is the continual process of creation.”

“And destruction,” offered the dragonfly who would not stay long enough to be captured by the camera. “Inertia causes stagnation and confusion, until the old is broken down to form the new.”


Tipped against Time

“But growth does not abide by time,” offered the grasshopper who looked at the sundial reading false time. “Whatever time is to you.”



“Sometimes it is rest, followed by a jump over an obstacle. Like a rock.”

“Did you say call my name?” asked the rock. “Some think of me as an obstacle. Some may even call me stuck, but even what looks like stasis is really slow movement. Even I am not in the same place where I began.”


An illusion of stasis 





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Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. – Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Please read this post. It is time to come together for the common good of all. It is time to right the wrongs of the past.

Make No Bones About It


I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nations, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America, what we call “Turtle Island.” My words seek to unite the global community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator.

We have been warned from ancient prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times.

To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.

I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12 when I received the Sacred White Buffalo Calf…

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