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“New Paradise”

By Penny Allport

For over 10 years the theme of “paradise” has called me. From facilitating over 15 women’s retreats in Paradise Valley, Squamish and using “paradise” in each invitation (Belonging in Paradise, Answering the Call of Paradise, Remembering Paradise and more) to exploring the motif in many religious and cultural myths.

Paradise comes from a Persian word “paradeiza” meaning “an enclosed space”. The Hebrew word for paradise is “pardes”, meaning an orchard or garden of fruit trees. And Eden, which it is sometimes referred to, comes from the Sumerian’s, meaning “a place of lushness that became barren”.

Of course, we are all aware of our creation myth – that of being “cast out” of paradise (Eden). And what does a creation myth do, but shape the culture it informs. “Myth and reality become one” says Rachel Pollack.

Voltaire said, “ Paradise is where I am”. Paradise and presence are related, for it is when I am not present that I feel the barrenness of life. I asked my Spanish teacher in Mexico what “paraiso” was and she said “paradise, the missing place,….. you know,…… the place we are all looking for”. Perhaps all of our longings and desires are seeded in the ultimate longing for “paradise”. Our creation story has given us the perception that we have been “cast out of” paradise, however perhaps it’s that we no longer recognize it. To recognize is to “bring back to awareness”.

In these challenging times we are in deep need of a perceptual shift, as that is the only way real change can unfold. There are many stories of how the Natives were unable to see the ships of the early European explorers as it was beyond their perceptions (they did not know what they were looking for). One story tells of Captain Cook taking a Chief and his warriors by canoe out to his ship and that only by touching it could they see it.

Paradise is at your center
Unless you find it there
There is no way to enter.

Angelus Silesius

Paradise is within. Our creation myth would also lead us to believe that our bodies are not the place to be looking for paradise. The body, so long cursed, objectified, controlled and dismembered by ideas that would render it’s parts separate from each other and the greater whole, is the portal to Paradise. The body is Eden, full of all the fruit, textures and diversity of life and all it’s potential.

Rumi says

Don’t look for it outside yourself.
You are the source of milk. Don’t milk others!

There is a fountain inside you.
Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.

You have a channel into the ocean,
yet you ask for water from a little pool.

 

Many of our journeys can be seen as a loss of awareness in the body, due to accidents, traumas, eating disorders, premature sex or sex without consent, early childhood imprints of shame and guilt, birth trauma and the list goes on. At some point we ate of the fruit that turned our pure perception from being “one with it all”, to objectifying “it all”. How can we shift this perception?? By allowing ourselves to “touch” (remember the natives) that which is in an “enclosed space”. The body is the portal to Paradise.

By bringing the sweet light of our awareness into sensation and into the place in which phenomenal existence happens, we enter the cosmic dance of creation itself. Our bodies are over 70% water and just as with water, our consciousness can be solid, liquid, gaseous or even frozen. By perceiving ourselves in a new way we touch the invisible “enclosed space” and discover and recognize our true nature – paradise. Shifting our perception from the body as object, to entering the body with our awareness as an inquiry into the process of intelligence unfolding, we return to the cosmic soup of our origins. As many of you know I have been studying the exploration of Continuum for many years and feel incredibly blessed to be sharing a “body of work” that has amazing potential for this perceptual shift of which I speak 

John and I are also in the process of creating a place where this inquiry can be made more deeply in the sweet, slow, sensuous, and silent, soil of nature – 6 ˝ acres of Paradise Found. From the moment we set foot on this land we have called it Paradise Found. It has called us to slow down and re-member ourselves. Alex has found peace in the freedom of being off the leash and our new additions, Simba – an orphaned barn cat with great Karma, and Kal, a 19 year old Anglo Arabian prince of a horse are teaching us everyday about being authentic in communication and the slow cultivation of relationships in nature. Having periods of contemplative time to dive deeper into the soup of presence can be of great support in these speeded up times. We hope you will visit us there. We are allowing Paradise Found and the retreats to unfold in their own sweet time. (see days of retreat later in the newsletter and call for retreats not listed).

As well I am still very much in Blessed Steveston living 4 days a week and teaching at my new studio Swara Inspiritations, where we are sharing Yoga, Continuum, as well as my new creations in Art for your Heart’s Sake classes in writing, painting and creative expression. The space continues to call amazing creative people to it who are sharing their gifts in drumming, belly dancing, Kabbalah, and more. It is our intention that SWARA be an “enclosed space” where you can “breathe life into that which makes it’s own sweetness”, the fruit of Paradise!

May we recognize Paradise in the sweet humus of our bodies and dance in the cosmic dance of creation unfolding, right here on this beautiful green planet, microcosm and macrocosm, one world, one living body of creation – Paradise Found.

Sweet blessings and silent encouragement for a slow and spacious Autumn season,

Penny

http://www.swarainspiritations.ca/  

 

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Updated: 7/30/2013