Have you ever seen one of those beautifully made mandalas that Tibetan Buddhist monks create from colored sand and crushed rocks?
They are truly breathtaking. And there is more to them than meets the eye.
The devotion, incredible attention to detail, the time, the commitment, the reverence and then the imminent destruction of the amazing art piece makes these creations truly unique. A team of monks may spend weeks creating this extremely intricate offering. Literally placing the sand grain by grain to form sacred symbols that ultimately bring the prayerful practice together into an exquisite experience for our eyes to take in. The actual creation is just one aspect of the offering itself. The monks then pray over the sand mandala. They pray for the world and all of her inhabitants. Then, they destroy it.
With love, devotion and specific ritual, they swirl all of the sand together and sweep it into an urn, along with all of the devotion and prayers. Ceremonially, they take the sand that was once beautiful art as an offering to the water and pour it into the ocean or river, letting the prayers go into the world for healing. Why do the monks do this? To remind themselves and all of us that life is impermanent and that the nature of all things is ever-changing, temporary, always passing.
Today I changed my name on facebook from Shellie White Light back to my birth name of Shellie Marie White. That may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it is. This name was an identity. A mask. A work of art. I created Shellie White Light piece by piece, word by word, prayer by prayer, through many performances, practices, and associations with certain people. It was a wardrobe, a style of makeup, a character for festivals. It was a dogma, a doctrine, a discipline. It was a way of life, a certain standard of perfection, simply one small section of the infinite tapestry that I AM, woven and wise. As I lovingly let it go, I let this aspect of my "self" be released back to the waters of the world. It is a prayer. I am not my name. I am an ever evolving and changing devotional work of art.
Seven years ago I changed my name from Shellie White to Shellie White Light. When I did this I was in a dark place, a deep seeking and searching, and in a powerful inquiry that came from the most primal parts of my being. I was in a very abusive relationship with a man named Wolf. He was not just an aggressive lover, he was also my greatest teacher. He showed me many aspects of myself that I am still examining and embracing to this day. I was so immersed in my shadow through his reflection that I could not see it as myself. Instead of integrating my shadow and learning how to become one with her, I decided to make her invisible by shining the brightest light I could muster from within and around myself onto her and into every part of my life.
It was then I took on the name White Light. In all honesty, I saw myself as "The White Light" before I met Wolf; before we became so enmeshed that I forgot who I was. So, in the depths of our darkness, I was able to pull myself up and out by taking on this name, Shellie White Light. Taking this name helped me remember who I was in my darkest, most powerless moments. I would not let the darkness in, I would not let the darkness win. I became the light. I only let the light in. I abandoned my shadow, I forced her towards the back of my psyche. I left her in her time of greatest need, and recently I have opened the door to her again and we have become close again. My last blog is all about this re-acquaintance. The last year of my life has been all about my merging with her. She was on the back burner far too long, but it was not in vain. My time spent in the light shed some very needed clarity on the darkness in my life, and through this blending of light and dark, I have come to know myself in a very intimate and wonderful way.
During my time as Shellie White Light, I have inspired many. I really loved the person I let myself develop into during this time. Seriously! It was so much freaking fun. I dressed in all white, adorning my face with sparkles and glitter, smiling and shining and hooping and being a fountain of positivity and loving affirmations. I went to ALL the festivals. I took ALL the workshops. I immersed myself in all things New Age and dove head first into self-help and personal development practices. I went to yoga training, meditated in a 10-day silent vipassana program, traveled with a Qi Gong seminar around the country, and spent much of my time studying with shamans and in plant medicine ceremony. I traveled to many different countries and learned as much as I could about the spiritual practices native to those lands. I learned a LOT about conscious communities. I discovered just how powerful the light can be. It is a very potent force that is encoded in every cellular strand of our being! My intense immersion into the light transformed me in every way I could have imagined and prayed for and beyond. I danced on the most beautiful realms of the universe that I could travel to.
I loved every moment of being the perceived embodiment of The White Light.
I also discovered something even more intriguing... a lot of the "light" that I encountered was false.
That's right, fake light.
Spiritual Bypassing. Charlatans. Cultural Misappropriation. Psycho-Spiritual Sexual Predators. Festival goers with their kundalini blasted so wide open they didn't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Complete misuse of psychedelics and sacred plants disguised as "ceremony". Total misuse of sexual power by women claiming the names of different goddesses and Mary Magdalene. "Teachers" relaying information as experts that had just barely learned in weekend workshops. New Agers backlashing hard from Christianity and basically taking on satanic black magic without really knowing what they were doing. Womb "wisdom" courses that were far from the teachings of Yeshua / Mary Magdalene they claimed to be based on. Channelers that were open to any "guide" that gave them power, leading them to take obscene amounts of money from the sheep who bought into it. This is just the beginning.
I saw the dark side of 'the light'.
This is part of why I have chosen to let go of the Light as my identity. I have found that in the shadows there is an entire aspect of reality that I have been ignoring. I was pushing my pain away, not dealing with it. I was moving from spiritual guru to guru only to find that once I really looked at the personal lives of these 'gurus' I was being totally fooled. They were not who they portrayed themselves to be. After hundreds of ayahuasca ceremonies, I discovered I felt unable to connect to God without the use of the plants, and I needed time to integrate and repair my auric field. After learning dozens of ancient Eastern practices I realized I still lived in a Western culture and that many of these practices were too advanced for my Western way of life, confusing me even further. I realized that yes, my attempted embodiment of the light was a beautiful experiment and work of art, and yes, it was also me hiding from many aspects of myself that were not so sparkling, but alas, still me. Still beautiful.
Instead of allowing the concept of White Light to be the focal point of my identity, I am letting it go to become integrated into the totality of my Beingness. I have embodied it. The mandala is complete. I release it to the universal ocean. I release it to the cosmic rivers. It is still an aspect of who I am, as the White Light is the inclusion of every shade on the infinite spectrum.
So here I stand as Shellie Marie White. Light, Shadows and everything in between. Every grain of my existence relevant and seen. Allowing the fullness of my being to be realized and embodied. I am not the sum of my experiences. I am the Path itself.
Thank you for being with me and witnessing these deeper processes. I share them because they are for you, too. We are each other's mirrors until the day comes when we realize there is no mirror, but until that day, I offer you a transparent reflection. Truth seen from my eyes. I pray it serves you well. It is not always easy, but it is my pleasure and duty to share it with you, so we can all grow.
May you lovingly shed that which no longer serves you, as you shake and wake from the long Winter slumber. Like sand to the sea, prayers to the Creator and art for the sake of destruction, let it go without expectation. I have a feeling you will witness a miracle. I know I have.
If you would like to donate to FreeTibet.org here is the link. We are privileged in this life and responsible in giving what we can to help others less fortunate. Tibet is a beautiful land with ancient ways that deserve preservation. Donate here.