Handicap as a Gift! – London Calling
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Handicap as a Gift!
(Published Sedona Magazine ) Copyright 1996: Author Paulina Howfield.
Article cannot be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the author
I have just returned from three weeks in the wonderful Mayan lands of Mexico. My heart and memories are filled with sunshine, warmth, pyramids and sore thighs and my experiences with the time keeping energies of the ancient Yucatan have me stretching time, seasons and affirmations as I prepare my body for six weeks in London’s dark, cold winter.
After Christmas I’ll be off to Australia, firstly though, it’s time to integrate Mexico’s wonders, and fulfil work commitments in London. One of the jobs I do is to work as an Integrative Art Therapist and Counsellor with Autistic children. While spending time with these geniuses of the world I can feel exhausted, energized, exhilarated and humbled. The way they work with energy and boundaries consistently awes me and the opportunity to explore their world from the outside while feeling and experiencing their endless potential for unconditional love is profound. Moving in bodies whose voices have been stilled, their communication is about energy and nonverbal signals and as one of my passions in this life is the spaces in between – those energies that run within through and around everything in this universe – this opportunity is a gift I am thankful for.
The Temple of the Seven Dolls in Dzibilchaltun
Which reminds me of my time in Mexico. While there, I visited the ruins of Dzibilchaltun. A Mayan town built approximately twenty miles south of the Gulf of Mexico, Dzibilchaltun is home to a small pyramid called the ‘Temple of the Seven Dolls’. All the buildings of the town radiate from this temple and at the solstice, the sun’s rays illuminate the inside of the temple, radiate out across the four directions and bounce back along, the ancient ‘sacbe’ that connects the temple to the rest of the town.
Inside the’ Temple of the Seven Dolls’ archaeologists found seven dolls – hence its name. Each of these dolls has a deformity to a limb, its trunk or facial features. Research suggests that these dolls were buried to indicate what wondrous gifts deformities arc. That those of us who have some disability, whether physical or mental, should be recognized and exalted as gifts from gods ,incarnate on this earth to teach us !how to be without expectation, how to live with joy, without concern for our current collective perceptions of reality.
Interacting with Cenotes
As I walked through the grounds of Dzibilchaltun I thought of the children I spend time with, the gifts that they offer those who interact with them and I sent thanks through the ancient waters of the village ‘cenote’. Cenotes were used by the Mayans for ceremonial purposes. Gifts were thrown into the water, given to the gods and goddesses in order to help communities grow and survive, while strengthening their spiritual understanding.
As I sat at the cenote at Dzibilchaltun I talked with a young Mayan woman. I asked her how she and her family felt about the Spanish invasions and consequent erosion of philosophies, life-styles and buildings of the Mayans. Her shoulders shrugged and her hands clasped as she said – ‘We are very sad. But what can we do?’
As we sat I talked with her of other ancient cultures I have experienced. Particularly the Egyptians, Celts, and Aboriginals and their ancient waterways, wells or lakes that are still used for ceremonial purposes. We talked about the ancient lake& of Karnac and Glastonbury and she took delight in a story I shared about the power of the scarab beetle in Egypt.
Like her ancestors whose stories are held in the land, the pyramids and the ‘sacbes’ – the ancient pathways that connect the pyramids to the villages and each village across the whole peninsular, into Guatemala and beyond – each ancient culture has its mysteries to remembered and discovered. Pathways cover the entire continent, placed there by our ancient forebears, the roads built by the Romans, the river and sea courses set up by the Egyptians and Pacific islanders and the songlines of the Australian Aboriginals help each of us remember and connect with who, and what we are.
In the same way the dolls found in the temple of Dzibilchaltun can help us remember, put our puzzles together and step forward into harmony with all things. Deformity, disability and difference is what we make it. A gift to be learned from, or a threat to our very existence. The choice is ours.