A Crone’s Guide to Breaking the Rules

A Crone’s Guide to Breaking the Rules

(this is a rework of a previous post:  A Woman’s Guide to Breaking the Rules, February 2013)

original picture with original quote by Tammy Vitale

art and quote by Tammy Vitale

To repeat yesterday’s segue to this guide:

You do not raise your hand and politely ask if you may, please, begin breaking the rules now. No!  When the time has come to toss the rule book (probably the one you learned from in school), and you know it in your bones, the “raising-your-hand” moment is long past.  You have donned your fierce and are standing up- many times alone (or at least it sure feels that way) –  for your heart and your spirit, “the way it’s always been done” be damned.

Here is the Crone’s Guide – thoughts not rules.  We are no longer about rules!

1.  Recognize you aren’t alone or the only one.  Actively seek your tribe.  You will recognize them because they are the ones urging you on, saying hell YES!!” to each step you take.  They are NOT the ones encouraging you to turn back, to not rock the boat, saying “it’s always been this way.”

Finding your tribe offers more than validation and interaction, important as both of these are.  Your tribe provides inspiration and provocation to raise the bar on your own achievements.  In every domain, members of a passionate community tend to drive each other to explore the real extent of their talents.  Sometimes the boost comes not from close collaboration but from the influence of others in the field.  Ken Robinson.

original art, crayon on paper, by Tammy Vitale

original art, crayon on paper, by Tammy Vitale

2.  Acknowledge and welcome imperfections as signs that you are doing something new – there is no such thing as failure, only understanding what didn’t work.  Accept the mess that being imperfect often makes.

Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get.  Tidiness makes me think of held breath, or suspended animation.  Anne Lamott.

Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”  Brené Brown

3.  Don’t Wait for Signs. Sera Beak says:  Watch out for becoming overly attached to signs and overly dependent on receiving them…Don’t sit back and wait for the doorbell to ring before you move.  Go ahead and ring it yourself.  Nudges from the universe are not necessarily being done (or not being done) to you; you are, instead, a partner in their creation, hence, you determine their presence and their consequences.

A favorite story, “Waiting for Signs”  from Brian Andreaus, creator of Story People:  I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything.  then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me and said, You can start any time now & then I said is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up.  Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.

4.  Discover for yourself that there are no rules.    If you want rules you can make them up as you go along (see my modern fairy tale about that here) .  Dont worry about everyone else and what rule books they are following.  You are breaking the rules – all those rules that no longer work for you whether or not they once did.  You are doing what you came here to do instead of stewing in a job you hate or a relationship that does not support your being your best and truest self.  You are making the world a better place – simply by breaking worn out rules and following your heart and passion.  Which of course means living life at your most courageous.  At least it won’t be boring!

original journal art by Tammy Vitale

original journal art by Tammy Vitale

Wisdom traditions worldwide say there’s no greater blessing than to live the life of your soul, the source of your deepest personal fulfillment and of your greatest service to others.  It’s what you were born for.  It’s the locus of authentic personal power – not power over people and things, but rather the power of partnership with others, the power to cocreate life and to cooperate with an evolving universe.  Bill Plotkin

5.  Forgive yourself.  Forgive yourself whatever you need to forgive yourself, most likely for not being perfect however that manifests for you.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees

for hundreds miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
     love what it loves…  Mary Oliver

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.  David Whyte

6.  Don’t forget to celebrate something at least once every day.  Celebrate that you do not have to be stuck or live a life of “quiet

original art and quote by Tammy Vitale

original art and quote by Tammy Vitale

desperation.”  Celebrate that you have amazing choices in front of you that generations before would have gladly given their all just to taste, never mind live.  Celebrate each small step towards your Real Self and ignore all the clamoring desperate voices that would have you instead focus on what you don’t yet have or what you have lost.  Celebrate what is right in front of you right now, this moment.  It doesn’t take long.  Celebrate breaking the rules on-by-one as steps forward for not just you but for every woman who is waiting to find her tribe.  Light a candle.  Breathe in and be present.  Blow out the candle, breathe out gratitude.

7.  Pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself about your life.   “To relinquish your former identity is to sacrifice the story you were living, the one that defined you, empowered you socially  – and limited you.  This sacrifice captures the essence of leaving home…The great mystery that is this world, like a jigsaw puzzle, cannot assume its ultimate form unless every piece takes its true place.  We are born as the piece that can take that place.”   Bill Plotkin.

 

collage by Tammy Vitale (from her own originals)

collage by Tammy Vitale (from her own originals)

Strategies for Answering the Call of the Crone

Strategies for Answering the Call of the Crone

from Pinterest, no attribution

from Pinterest, no attribution

(quotes from the chapter “Homing: Returning to OneSelf” in Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes unless otherwise noted)

How Do We Answer the Call of the Crone?

Release the Old and Make Way for the New

When a woman goes home according to her own cycles, others around her are given their own individuation work, their own vital issues to deal with.  Her return to home allows others growth and development too.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes

This quote has been a guiding light to me since I first read it in the 90s.  And, as I note in my Master’s thesis: “In claiming my own space, I was trying to remove myself from the center of my family swirl, from being responsible for everyone’s emotions and having no time for my own.  I worked to give everyone back their own feelings and to begin to deal with mine.  While this was a healthy move, it was and is painful.  It requires my holding a boundary line when I, myself, am unsure of just exactly where that line should be to be the best for all concerned…My family began is own individuation work, kicking and screaming the whole way.  Healthy or not they very much wanted things to go back to the way they had always been.”

Cartoon by Greg Howard (sometime in 1991)

Cartoon by Greg Howard (sometime in 1991)

In The Female Hero in American and British Literature, Carol Pearson and Katherine Pope note:

The traditional female ideal of assuming responsibility for the lives of those around her is not only egotistical but doomed to failure…the myth that women are spiritually superior – responsible for saving men and children through remaining spiritually pure and selfless – oppresses both women and those around them.  The female hero ceases to be the still

from Pinterest, no attribution

from Pinterest, no attribution

center of power, inactive herself, who seeks to control the actions of those around her.  By electing to live her own life, she automatically frees those around her to live theirs…by emerging from behind the false facade of the ideal female image to be admired, she frees those around her of the guilt that her saintly countenance and selfless sacrifice impose on them, binding them to her and impeding their own psychological development.

The need to be responsible for everyone, putting ourself last in line, is one of the learned ways of being that it is time to release.  While “it is good to be generous and kind and helpful like the great healer archetype”, it is good only to a point.

Beyond that, it exerts a hindering influence on our lives…a major entrapment constructed by the requirements placed upon us by our own cultures, mainly pressures to prove that we are not just standing around taking up space and enjoying ourselves, but that we have redeemable value – in some parts of the world…to prove that we have value and therefore should be allowed to live.  These pressures are introduced into our psyches when we are very young and unable to judge or resist them.  They become law to us…unless or until we challenge them…The basic wild instinct that determines ‘only this far and no farther, only this much and no more’ must be retrieved and developed.  (Pinkola-Estes)

Recognize and Acknowledge the Call

You are accomplishing things but none of what you are doing feels good or substantial or gives you a feeling of satisfaction.  You are doing what you believe you have chosen to do, but the outcomes are dust.  “Discontent is the secret door to significant and life-giving change.”

For some, home is the taking up of an endeavor of some sort.  Women begin to sing again after years of finding reason not to.   They commit themselves to learn something they’ve been heartfelt about for a long time.  They seek out the lost people and things in their lives.  They take back their voices and write.  They rest.  They make some corner of the world their own.  They execute immense or intense decisions.  They do something that leaves footprints.

…When the culture, the society, or the psyche does not support this cycle to return home, many women learn to leap over the gate or dig under the fence anyway.  They become chronically ill and purloin reading time in bed.  They smile that fangy smile as if all is well and go on a subtle work slowdown for the duration…when the cycle is distrubed, many feel that in order to free themselves to go they must pick a fight with their boss, their children, their parents, or their mate in order to assert their psychic needs..If a woman has to fight for what is rightfully hers, she feels justified, feels absolutely vindicated in her desire to go home…If you can, it is better to teach your people that you will be more and also different when you return, that you are not abandoning them but learning yourself anew and bringing yourself back to your real life.

The wisdom of the crone cannot be underestimated. In her archetypal form, she embodies the sum total of the lived experience of all women. She is the one we tap into when we seek guidance, when we get real quiet and listen to the soft cracked whisper of a voice that spirals back through the ages. You know that voice; it’s the one that speaks with such a fierce compassion that it cuts through all of the fluff and all of the bullshit. photo: GypsyMoonSister.tumblr.com.  Blurb not attributed

The wisdom of the crone cannot be underestimated. In her archetypal form, she embodies the sum total of the lived experience of all women. She is the one we tap into when we seek guidance, when we get real quiet and listen to the soft cracked whisper of a voice that spirals back through the ages. You know that voice; it’s the one that speaks with such a fierce compassion that it cuts through all of the fluff and all of the bullshit.
photo: GypsyMoonSister.tumblr.com. Blurb not attributed

Understand What Is Being Asked of You

(from the chapter “Homing: Returning to OneSelf” in Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The seal woman returns to the sea, not because she just feels like it, not because today is a good day to go, not because her life is all nice and tidy – there is no nice and tidy time for anyone.  She goes because it is time, and therefore she must.

To not go home when so called is to become a zombie – someone who functions and may even accomplish things but one who has numbed herself to the Call.

  1. Going home does not necessarily cost money.  It costs time.  It costs a strong act of will to say “I am going” and mean it.
  2. Going home is not one size fits all.  The exact placement of the aperture to home changes from time to time, so its location may be different this month than last.  Rereading passages of books and single poems that are touching.  Spending even a few minute near water.  Lying on the ground watching clouds.  Walking or driving for an hour, any direction, then returning.  Greeting sunrise…..whatever helps you be centered and at peace…Home is where a thought or feeling can be sustained instead of being interrupted.
  3. You are becoming a medial woman – a woman who “stands between the world of consensual reality and the mystical unconscious” to mediate between them.
  4. You will bring new ideas to life, exhange old ideas for innovative one.
  5. Not everyone will welcome this.
  6. You do not raise your hand and politely ask if you may, please, begin breaking the rules now.

When the time has come to toss the rule book (probably the one you learned from in school), and you know it in your bones, the “raising-your-hand” moment is long past.  You have donned your fierce and are standing up — many times alone (or at least it sure

The aspect of the Goddess at Samhain is the Crone. The Crone is the Old One, who teaches us wisdom helps us let go when we need to grow change. Growing older means losing something as well as gaining something. The Crone teaches us that letting go is a natural part of life. When we let go of the old year, let it die, we make room for the new year, new things, to be born. The Crone handles the snake, the symbol of knowledge wisdom...because She too, is a symbol of knowledge wisdom. from Pinterest.  No Attribution

The aspect of the Goddess at Samhain is the Crone. The Crone is the Old One, who teaches us wisdom helps us let go when we need to grow change. Growing older means losing something as well as gaining something. The Crone teaches us that letting go is a natural part of life. When we let go of the old year, let it die, we make room for the new year, new things, to be born. The Crone handles the snake, the symbol of knowledge wisdom…because She too, is a symbol of knowledge wisdom.
from Pinterest. No Attribution

feels that way) –  for your heart and your spirit, “the way it’s always been done” be damned. And the real truth is, you are neither alone nor the first one to reach that point in your life.  While that may not make it easier, it does let you know that there is indeed a tribe of women out here waiting to welcome you with open arms.  We need you!  We need your fierce and your resolve and your energy, because we are out here changing the world:  one woman at a time. After living life a certain number of decades, it becomes abundantly clear that whatever rules are written in the accepted rule book, they are not ours.  Our story is not in the book. The rules do not work for us (nor were they meant to).  Audre Lourde puts it rather succinctly: …and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.

  What is stretching out inside of you?  What in your soul longs for re-connection?  What feels the greatness of unfolding Mystery when you gaze upon a marigold, or look up at the stars?  What in you might explode in a brilliant rush of heat and light?

Follow that.   (T. Thorn Coyle, in Making Magic of Your Life)

Next Post:  A Woman’s Guide to Breaking the Rules.

Answering the Call of the Crone

Answering the Call of the Crone

blog clarissaWho is the Crone?

Wikipedia defines the Crone as an archetype

The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman. In some stories, she is disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing. The Crone is also an archetypal figure, a Wise Woman. She is marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle, and her proximity to death places her in contact with occult wisdom. As a character type, the crone shares characteristics with the hag

Wikipedia goes on to note :

The word became further specialized as the third aspect of the Triple Goddess [maiden, mother, crone] popularized by Robert Graves and subsequently in some forms of neopaganism, particularly Wicca in which she symbolizes the Dark Goddess, the dark of the moon, the end of a cycle. In New Age and Feminist spiritual circles, a “Croning” is a ritual rite of passage into an era of wisdom, freedom, and personal power.

We here in America do no honor aging as have some culture.  In fact, the very Boomers who are coming into the age of the Crone are the ones whose numbers started the cult of youth in the 1960s which was magnified by the new power of TV and profession of marketing to demographics:  a perfect storm. I claimed being a young Crone at 60 without really understanding what I meant by that.  At 66 I feel I’m fully into Cronedom/Hagdom and know that I am not alone in wondering exactly what that means. For me it is something other than the high-fashionistas  (even thrift fashion is expensive) of Advanced Style – which is no more than Vogue for the older set, and more even than the 80 plus (still rail thin) models with glorious gray (genes is luck, bottle we can also have) hair. For me the essence of Crone is well-described by Lucille Clifton:

Hag Riding

why
is what i ask myself
maybe it is the afrikan in me
still trying to get home
after all these years
but when I wake to the heat of morning
galloping down the highway of my life
something hopeful rises in me
rises and runs me out into the road
and i lob my fierce thigh high
over the rump of the day and honey
i ride i ride

and Anne Lamott:Anne Lamott

“Left to my own devices, would I trade this for firm thighs, fewer wrinkles, a better memory? On some days. That’s why it’s such a blessing I’m not left to my own devices. Because the truth is I have amazing friends and a deep faith in God, to whom I can turn. I have a cool kid, a sweet boyfriend, darling pets. I’ve learned to pay attention to life, and to listen. I’d give up all this for a flatter belly? Are you crazy?” Anne Lamott

What is the Call of the Crone?

2d-poster-Christina-BaldwinThe Call is that restless feeling – no matter where we are or what we are doing if it isn’t connected to our soul we *know* in our very body and heart and mind that there is something else we are being drawn to, called to.  The Call is spiritual.  We have gathered a life of experience.  What are we to do with it?

There is no more meandering.  There is no more escape – not one more errand to run, not one more load of laundry to wash and fold, not one more phone call to answer, not one more letter to type, not one more word I can write until I take the next step.  Until I am willing to fall. Standing at the very edge of the cliff I shout at god/us, “Are you sure I’m ready for this?  It seems we’ve been moving awfully fast these past few years…How do You know I’m ready?…the angel leans forward, kisses me on the lips. “Love is all that is real,” she says, “good-bye.”  She turns my shoulders around.  I face the edge.  I do not jump.  It is more subtle than that.  I simply let go. Christina Baldwin, Calling the Circle: The Once and Future Culture

Molly Gordon says:  “The great work is not about overcoming darkness.  Darkness and light will not be separated.  Our great work in our businesses and personal lives is to tend to what lives in the darkness so that, when it comes to light, it comes as a sprout breaking through the earth where it will bear fruit…There is no way back to ourselves and to each other that does not being with compassionate awareness that we’ve once again lost our way…”

In Women Who Run with the Wolves Clarissa Pinola-Estes notes that “The soul skin vanishes when we are not paying attention to what we are really doing, and particularly the cost to us…Psychologically, to be without the pelt causes a woman to pursue what she thinks she should do, rather than what she truly wishes.  It causes her to follow whoever or whatever impresses her as strongest – whether it is good for her or not…She pulls back from taking the next step, from making the necessary descent and holding herself there long enough for something to happen.”

How Shall We Answer?

Some of my traveling companions, who remind me to take a minute and celebrate my accomplishment.

Some of my traveling companions, who remind me to take a minute and celebrate my accomplishment.

We  “follow the call, even when we’ve no idea of where to go, in what direction, or for how long…Though women come back into themselves, draw on the [soul]skin, pat it closed, and are all ready to go, it is hard to go; really, really hard to cede, to hand over whatever we’ve been so busy with, and just leave.” (Pinkola-Estes)

We claim our divinity.

…there is a difference between intellectually believing you are divine (‘hey cool, I’m divine!’) and truly knowing you are divine through direct, conscious experience (‘holy shit! I AM Divine!’).  It’s a bit like the difference between believing the the idea of eating healthier – as in, you read a lot about it, and your health-nut friends all tell you it works, and you occasionally swap sausage for tofu – and actually having the energized, personal experience of glowing physical health because yo have consciously changed your own diet. Sera Beak,The Red Book.

Anyone in the throes of transition can identify with this Call.  All of life’s transitions take us through call, struggle to understand, response. This is not for the faint of heart, and not something to be done alone.  All hero’s have traveling companions.  Do you know who yours are? More to come on answering the call. blog world remade

Why You Should Care About and Fight Against Dominion/Cove Point LNG Export Plant Even If You Don’t Live in Lusby, Maryland

Why You Should Care About and Fight Against Dominion/Cove Point LNG Export Plant Even If You Don’t Live in Lusby, Maryland

picture of the ohio river

Nine citizen and environmental groups are urging West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to reconsider his plans to let companies drill for oil and natural gas underneath the Ohio River, citing concerns that drilling and fracking could contaminate the drinking water supply and increase the risk of earthquakes in the region. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/29/3573449/west-virginia-to-frack-ohio-river/

LNG – liquid natural gas.

A short little bit of background with lots of links to educate yourself

Thanks to FERC (Federal Energy Regulator Commission, a NON-governmental agency populated by energy industry folks), we in Lusby will have an LNG Export Plant.  In the middle of a neighborhood.  And the only escape route should anything go wrong is by that plant.  Today concerned citizens held a rally in the homeowner’s yard opposite the gate to the plant to draw attention to the proximity to homes and real people who are in danger from that plant.

Oh, and by the way, the plant is on the Chesapeake Bay.  All you supporters who give money to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation should come talk to me – leave me a message here.  We’ll email.

We are getting to be nationally known, and here’s why you should care, because with this export plant in place, fracking is going to increase – because it has a market.  And new pipelines will be built to get that fracked gas to our plant.  Fracked gas contains, among other things, radon.  Lots of other stuff, but you’ll probably recognize radon so I’ll led you do more research.  You can see more in the poster to the right.

Fracking waste pits are virtually unregulated in the U.S., putting nearby residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like toluene and benzene. There are still a lot of unknowns about the chemicals involved in fracking, but here's what we do know about the health risks of waste pits

Fracking waste pits are virtually unregulated in the U.S., putting nearby residents at risk of exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like toluene and benzene. There are still a lot of unknowns about the chemicals involved in fracking, but here’s what we do know about the health risks of waste pits

We here in Lusby didn’t catch wind of any of this until the process was well under way.  Yes, The Calvert County Board of County Commissoners sold the citizens they are to keep safe for a handful of gold.  And in the scheme of things, it is a handful – one they might not even get now that demand globally – which is where this gas will all go; none of it is for domestic use – is decreasing.

The residents have been raising alarms about putting this plant in the middle of an established neighborhood, but all those with the power to do something have ignored facts, science and anything that might function as a conscience.  Now that FERC has given it’s approval, they feel free to admit that yes, emergency routes “might” be needed.

Tell me: how are hundreds of families plus the 2000 workers we keep hearing about all going to make it safely out of a plant with only a two-lane, no-shoulder road that runs in front of the plant.  Tell me that! “Might” indeed.

There’s a really good Facebook page if you want to educate yourself here, Citizens Against LNG Exports at Cove Point.

What I really want to share

This is one of the speeches given at today’s press conference, which I think  goes to the heart of all of this.  It was given by Yvonne Micheli, who I know from my being the religion educator at the Prince Frederick, Md, UU church where she is a

Yvonne Micheli speaking in the front yard of a house across the street from the plant.  Do you see how close the tanks are to people?

Yvonne Micheli speaking in the front yard of a house across the street from the plant. Do you see how close the tanks are to people?

member.  She is also a member of the group fighting Dominion Cove Point.  Yvonne kindly gave me her transcript to share:

Fracked gas refineries are dirty, dangerous, unsafe, and unhealthy from beginning to end.

Every person I have spoken to about this expresses worry, concern and fear; and many then go on to state that “it is a done deal” – some even state that we will be poisoned and/or blown up but there is nothing that can be done.

This is my response to that:

“Optimism is a political act.  Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better.  In fact, these days, cynicism is obedience.” {Alex Steffen, The Bright Green City}

When this county first became independent from England, those who could vote were male, white, owned property and often belonged to a specific church.  the power-that-be and the word-on-the-street said:  it’s a done deal.  But some citizens and wise leaders did not agree with that.

When women wanted to vote, the power-that-be said “not” to that possibility – it’s a done deal.  Again, some citizens and wise leaders did not go along with that.

lng explosion

6k gallons of gas exploding. Dcp has 410k. Imagine the possibilities. You can’t see the high rises in this picture. They are abt 1/4 inch at the bottom of the flames

After the civil war, people of color were disenfranchised, abused, lynched and denied access to education and opportunity.  The power-that-be and the word-on-the-street was:  it’s a done deal.  And some citizens and wise leaders did not stop speaking for justice and a greater good.

I was told that at one time, in a certain state, there was a law on the books that limited the thickness of the rod a man could use to beat his children and his wife.  I believe that those women and children were told that it was a done deal.  Again, some citizens and wise leaders did not nod and let the deal stand.

Throughout our history, destruction and injustice happened and were challenged so that change for the better could occur.

Today we stand here at Cove Point and say that this plant IS NOT A DONE DEAL!

Native American tradition teaches that each generation is to treat the earth in a manner which allows for the next seven generations to live upon it.  The major world religions speak about being stewards of the earth.  Interfaith groups, both in this country and abroad, work to stop the human addition to fossil fuels, an addiction that uses denial to threaten the existence of life on the planet.

The recent climate march in NYC and around the world included the participation of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, Lutherans who marched for “a better worldliness,” Triangle Interfaith Alliance, and members of all of the major faiths of the world.

Why did people from diverse religious and theological perspectives join together in this march?

Real people live across and way too close to this plant.  And yet all who were supposed to protect us have been silent.  Even Barbara Mikulski who fought and beat the plant at Sparrows Point in Baltimore.  Is Lusby less than Baltimore?

Real people live across and way too close to this plant. And yet all who were supposed to protect us have been silent. Even Barbara Mikulski who fought and beat the plant at Sparrows Point in Baltimore. Is Lusby less than Baltimore?

Because this issue is profoundly a moral and ethical one.

the Unitarian Universalist’s seventh principle states that we respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Buddhist teachings tell us to care for the earth.

Islam teaches that humans are to be guardians of Allah’s creation.

Christianity teaches that the earth is God’s and he has entrusted it to us and that we will be accountable for how we treat it.

Jewish tradition teaches us to care for the planet in order to preserve what the Lord has given us.

None of these teachings tell humans that they are to close their eyes when witnessing practices that harm the earth and its inhabitants.  Instead, spiritual paths encourage us to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk.

And so, here in Cover Point, we speak today stating the scientific facts about the health and safety dangers of this facility.  And we call on the religious and spiritual traditions to remind us to truly be stewards to our precious plant.

Thank you for letting me speak.

Thank You, Yvonne, for raising your voice!

 

Spunky Gals, Bold Dames, Audacious Wylde Women, Brash Crones:  Creating What You Crave

Spunky Gals, Bold Dames, Audacious Wylde Women, Brash Crones: Creating What You Crave

Detail of ceramic Tree Sprite, by Tammy Vitale:  I Am Enough

Detail of ceramic Tree Sprite, by Tammy Vitale: I Am Enough

Spunky:  courageous and determined

Bold: not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring

Audacious:  showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks

Brash: strong, energetic, or irreverent.

Fearless.

What adjectives do you use to define yourself?  And what noun?

What community do you belong to that supports that naming?

If you haven’t named yourself yet, please do.  And hold a naming ceremony to celebrate speaking who you are in this world outloud.  Consider letting it be something sacred that only you and your community know – something that takes you home to yourself when you feel like you’ve lost your way.

Don’t we all?  I do – regularly it seems.  So much so that I am starting, finally, to feel very comfortable whenever I get lost – it just means I’m on a journey of discovery and having not been yet to where ever it is I’m going, I get to be surprised!  Sometimes I like that.  A lot of times I don’t.  Doesn’t seem to matter – off I go again!2d map which way home

My special name came to me during a reiki session.  It is Red Rock Walker.  I see vast dry country, high red rocks and me on a dusty path between them – this before I’d ever been to Sedona in Arizona ( which, by the way, has an amazing water and forest canyon approach from the North – I could definitely live there!).  Odd since I love the coasts, the oceans and giant trees and ferns.  Desert and arid land has always been fun to visit but no where I’d want to live.  I just figure I haven’t yet grown into my name.

Only when you can name who you are, and how you plan to be in this world, can you get to the heart task of creating what you crave – you haven’t found it yet, right?  That means it’s up to you.

Pay attention.  Others are waiting to hear your (one and only, unique) story.

And no matter the question, moving from this space, the answer is not only “yes”, it is HELL YES!!!!!

2D Found My Way HomeWylde Women’s Wisdom

The heart knows.  There’s nothing to choose.  Just something to set loose….The vagueness will clear when you decide to embrace whatever you hear…You came with instincts and imperatives and they will thrust through the mud and bud in their own glad season.  It’s not your answers or ideas that you need to worry about.  It’s your resistance to your ideas, any immediate reaction to choke the strange and uncomfortable…the heart always knows.  You have everything you need.  Tama Kieves This Time I Dance 

Trending:  Why Doesn’t S/he Leave:  Domestic Violence

Trending: Why Doesn’t S/he Leave: Domestic Violence

blog dv 4This started to be a post on FaceBook but I realize that there is no short blurb way of telling this story.

If you don’t have time for this full piece, scroll to the bottom where you’ll find a good article on how to help someone in an abusive situation.

I was a domestic violence victim for 17 years, half my life by the time I finally made it out.  In those 17 years I divorced him and remarried him and chose to have 2 kids with him while we were still divorced.

Most of you who read my blogs, I think, would not consider me the victim type.  I did a lot of work to change from a victim to a brazen, confidant Wylde Woman.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I want to try to track some of this.

I was the only, adopted child of an alcoholic Mom.  My father held me to standards that were hard to attain.  If I can an A in school, he wanted to know why I didn’t get an A+.

Before my pre-teens I was active, and a tom-boy.  I liked jeans and t-shirts and flannel shirts (this is in the 50s) and was the only girl allowed to hang out with the 3 neighborhood boys because I was quite willing to fight if called for.  I remember being confident.  I was not afraid to talk back to adults I thought were wrong.

Then, something changed, and I remember being painfully shy.

Trying to find the thread, I think the shyness started in 5th grade, when I was looking at books in the aisle of Dart Drugstore on Lee Highway in Arlington Va.  Momma was a fewblog dv 2 aisles over looking at cards in one of those twirly stands they put cards on.  There was a man looking at books beside me.  I remember smiling a greeting to him and continuing to look at books.  I chose a book that had 2 stories:  a horse story and a dog story.  When I turned to go towards my Mom, he had his fully erect penis out, smiled at me, and said:  “You like this?”  I brushed past him.  I didn’t tell my Mom.  For 3 years.  I didn’t go back into that Dart Drug ever again.  My parents never asked why.

By the time I was in my teens, Dad would call Mom at night (he worked nights) and she’d be drunk and he’d have her put me on the phone and ask me whether or not she was drunk, with her standing there.  It felt like being put on the spot.  It *was* being put on the spot.  My life long distrust of psychiatrists started at about the same time – Mom was seeing one and he knew she was drinking and yet he was giving her downs to sleep and ups to wake.  She, on some days, did in a fifth of gin and half a fifth of bourbon. And some nights she would wake me to come write down long disjointed thoughts because her hand was tired and she felt she needed to get this all out on paper.

Up until 16 I was the “good girl/good daughter” personified.  I followed the rules.  I thought about being a nun (I was Catholic in a Catholic school).  I have my diaries with entries about being a nun.  I got good grades.  I made National Honor Society.

My cousin, raising hell for her own reason, came to live with us.  Out riding between Tops Drive Inns on Lee Highway in Arlington and Broad Street in Falls Church with her, I ran into my next 17 years.  She wasn’t shy.  The next night I lied to my Mom for the first time and said I was going to a school dance and went and met Him instead.

Maybe the shadow side of the Good Girl is the Rebel.  At any rate, I embraced that persona whole heartedly.  At school, no one really expected anything from me but my known Good Girl persona so I got through my senior year breezily, getting drunk on slow gin fizzes most weekends.blog dv 1

Senior Day I went to D.C. with friends and got drunk (18 was legal at that time).  I came home and slept some of it off and went to pick Him up from work and drop Him off at his house.  He was very angry that I had done this without Him.  Never mind I could never count on him to be where he said he was or to get me when he said he would.  We had a huge fight.  Huge.  I remember putting my seat belt on (which I never did back then), putting my foot on the break, flooring the accelerator and aiming for a telephone pole halfway down the street.  I woke up in the hospital.  He had taken his car over to get my Mom, who was drunk.  The first thing I said when I woke up was “Are you still mad at me?”  She didn’t notice, I guess, because she never asked about that.  48 stitches in my head, 1/2 block from stopped to high enough speed to snap a telephone pole in half, a totaled car, and neither of my parent asked me what was up.  Ever.

I felt unlovable.  I felt if he left me I’d be alone for the rest of my life.  I was 17.  There are more stories.  When we got married at 19 people were literally taking bets that we’d either kill each other or divorce within the year.

 

Domestic Violence Cycle

Domestic Violence Cycle

In case you don’t know, in battering relationships there is a cycle.  There is the honeymoon phase where everything is lovely and loving and couldn’t possibly be better.  Then there is the tension build up phase.  Intuitively the battered partner knows what’s coming.  After a while s/he will incite the battering phase just to get rid of the tension and get back to the loving phase.  The cycle can be years or hours.  It does not get better, not matter how many times the battering partner promises because the battering partner believes (and may not be able to articulate this) that if the battered partner would just [fill in the blank, it changes even within relationships and usually is actually something like:  "read my mind, fulfill all my wishes and make the rest of the world go away because it is your fault and their fault that I am so unhappy"],  then everything would be fine.  The battered partner believes that too, mostly for reasons of lack of self worth (see “unlovable” above), and tries to control *everything*.  Believes in perfection.  Tries valiantly to do the impossible.  Get’s verbally denigrated, pinched, pushed, punched anyways – incites it to get back to the loving phase.  Around and Around.  If I write it all down, we’ll have a book here, so I won’t.

In my opinion many of those “instances” of female on male violence are that incitement phase.  But maybe that’s just me.

Why I stayed:  All of my friends were in the same situation, more or less.  Isn’t that sad?  There were no empowered women around me anywhere.  I had no psychic support system.  My religious system (which I have long now discarded) said I was married forever and must take whatever I got.  I was the main money earner through all those 17 years so at least I had that, but women don’t earn that much and two small kids to support by yourself was no easy feat – easier than supporting him too but I didn’t know that yet.

Trying to Leave.  It took numerous separations, a divorce, a remarriage, 2 kids I loved fiercely and wanted to protect, and a broken eye and bruised ribs before I finally left.   Each time there were promises that it wouldn’t happen again.  Promises I wanted to believe.  Each time I was alone and didn’t know how to be alone because there was no “me” there.  I had no concept of wanting something for myself.  The idea of putting myself before *anyone* was as foreign to me as living on the moon might be.blog dv 3

How I Left.  It was the convergence of several things:  at work I was doing well for someone with just a high school education.  I was given more and more responsibility.  At home I could do nothing right.  Cognitive dissonance.  Big Time.  Lunch hour in the park every day for two years writing my way to understanding I could want something, writing what it was I wanted, prioritizing that list.  Last ditch weekends away together to talk.  Him:  “Let’s not ruin this time by talking about all that.”  His female heroin buddy calling in the middle of the night ostensibly for him to fix her battery.  My car not working the next morning and Him refusing to get out of bed to help me get it started to get to work.  Finding my daughter playing with a hypodermic needle.  My own rising rage that was flowing down hill to my kids. A magazine, Woman or something like that – one of the first with short articles and definitely not Women’s Day or Good Housekeeping, with an article that felt like a punch to the gut and a wake up call.  I shared it with Him.  He said so what.  Heroin Buddy calling the house even though I specifically told Him to have that stop, but I wasn’t answering the phone (denial).  I answered the phone.  He came back from visiting a friend across the street.  It was nighttime.  I started yelling.  He pushed me down on the couch.  I twisted around and attacked ready to claw his eyes out, He backhanded me, my cheek swelled up to where I could see it within seconds (broken eye socket).  Scared Him.  He left.  I had my prioritized list and it did not include this treatment.  I had Him arrested.  I’d like to say that was the end of it but of course we went through months of my having a Peace Bond and Him breaking it, trying to break in the house at night, coming for the kids, choking me, back to jail with the kids begging me not to.  All those lovely, very hard things.  The difference:  I had done the work, I was walking my way to empowerment.  I got individual therapy for me and the kids and group therapy for DV victims which was the best thing I ever did.  I could see it in others and then I could see it in myself.

Then I forgave myself for not figuring this out sooner.

Here’s a Good Article: much shorter than my whole thing if you don’t have time for all of the above:  …Helping Someone in an Abusive Relationship

Why Didn’t You Just Leave?

 

 

Poetry Saturday:  Naomi Shihab Nye

Poetry Saturday: Naomi Shihab Nye

inside title page with handwritten note by Naomi Shihab Nye to blog authorI have been cleaning my bookshelves.  Was packing today to take some more books to the used book store when I ran into 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East by Naomi Shihab Nye.  Signed by her to me.  It was in the “to go” pile, which made me 2nd guess myself.  Where you are on any given day can change your choices.  Any of them.  I am in the middle of wanting to scream about what’s going on in the Middle East.  And what we, America, are doing.  Again.

My father, the man who adopted and raised me, is Syrian Lebanese (it was one country when he was born, here in the U.S., his parents immigrants, so I don’t know which he is).  I am adopted.  Being adopted had its moments of difficulties.  Once my aunt, his sister, refused to talk to him in his last months in the hospital before he died to help me tell him he needed to go into a nursing home.  She said to me, “You wouldn’t understand. You have never had a family.”  Those exact words.  I was 46.  I had been his child for 46 years and yet I had no family in her mind.  I begged to differ and said I most certainly did have a family and they were gathered around me at that moment (my husband and kids).

My father and I had a volatile relationship – I was never the submissive woman he thought I should be.  Maybe submissive isn’t the right word.  I was a leftie, somehow.  He hard right.  Hard right.

Anyways, I arranged for a nursing home since I was not going to move myself and my family into his house, and he died 4 hours after he arrived.  He was having none of it.

Back to poetry and Naomi Shihab Nye, whose work I have loved for many years.  I sat and read a spell.

This is a beautiful little book.  As we jump into yet another war in the Middle East, I decided to share some bits and pieces with you.

In the Introduction, Naomi say:  “I dedicate these poems of my life to the wise grandmothers and to the young readers in whom I have always placed my best faith.  If grandmothers and children were in charge of the world, there would never be any wars.  Peace, friends.  Please  don’t stop believing.”

from Passing the Refuge Camp

Yesterday the soldiers smashed
Lena’s sink and tub and tiles

They whipped a father in front of his sons
ages 2 and 4

They do this all the time
The house filled with water

They locked the door on the crying boys
taking the father

Believe me Lena says
They had no reason

On the steps of the National Palace Hotel
soldier peel oranges

throwing back their heads so the juice
runs down their throats

This must their coffee break
guns slung sideways

They are laughing
stripping lustily

They know what sweetness lives withing
How can the know this and forget

so may other things?

 

from The Palestinians Have Given Up Parties

…..Where does fighting
come into this story?

Fighting got lost from somewhere else.
It is not what we like:  to eat, to drink, to fight.

Now when the students gather quietly
inside their own classroom
to celebrate the last day of school,
the door to the building
gets blasted off.
Empty chairs where laughter used to sit.
Laughter lived here
jingling its pocket of thin coins
and now it is in hiding…..

See the hand-tinted photos of young men:
too perfect, too still.
The bombs break everyone’s
sentences in half.
Who made them? Do you know anyone
who makes them
? The ancient taxi driver
shakes his head back and forth
from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They will not see, he says slowly,
the story behind the story,
they are always looking for the story after the story
which means they will never understand the story.

Which means it will go on and on…

 

from All Things Not Considered

You cannot stitch the breath
back into this boy.

A brother and sister were playing with toys
when their room exploded.

In what language
is this holy?

The Jewish boys killed in the cave
were skipping school. having an adventure.

Asel Asleh, Palestinian, age 17, believed in the field
beyond right and wrong where people
come together

to talk.  He kneeled to help someone else
stand up before he was shot.

If this is holy,
could we have some new religions please?

Mohammed al-Durra huddled against his father
in the street, terrified.  The whole world saw him die.

An Arab father on crutches burying his 4 month girl weeps,
“I spit in the face of this ugly world.”

*

Most of us would take our children over land.
We would walk the fields forever homeless
with our children,
huddle under cliffs, eat crumbs and berries,
to keep our children.
This is what we say from a distance
because we can say whatever we want…..

 

To do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome is the definition of insanity.  We have tried this before.  What can it hurt to change the steps to the dance into something new?

Begin at the Beginning

Begin at the Beginning

This soul card is titled "Rebel."  I realize that I want to retitle it "Hero": I am the one who breaks the rules; the one who eats the apple, grows weeds in the sidewalk cracks.  I am the one who is a red dragon, loiving beneath blue water in the underground cave.  Cross me at your own risk.

This soul card is titled “Rebel.” I realize that I want to retitle it “Hero”:
I am the one who breaks the rules; the one who eats the apple, grows weeds in the sidewalk cracks. I am the one who is a red dragon, living beneath blue water in the underground cave. Cross me at your own risk.

Which is to say:  “Start where your are” since where ever you are is surely the beginning of something, or it can be if you so choose. Last post I spoke of heroes.  A favorite quote of mine (it can be found in my thesis written in 1996 or 97) on heroes can be found in a discussion between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell in the book (also a PBS series), The Power of Myth.  It follows:

Bill Moyers: Unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we’re not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.

Joseph Campbell:  But in doing that you save the world.  The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it.  The world without spirit is a wasteland.  People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth.  no, no!  Any world is a valid world if it’s alive.  The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.

Makes me think of another quote I picked out of a magazine, long lost, so I can’t give attribution.  It went something like this:

We should pay attention to those around us.  We should note, out loud:  “You look as if you love doing that.  You should do it more.”

A gift of attention, along with permission, which all of us seem to need at some point when we’re waffling between the way it is and the way it might be.

I am the one who wanders the labrynth searching for treasure I already hold; I am the one who is alone but never lost, the one who knows the language of the wind.

I am the one who wanders the labrynth searching for treasure I already hold; I am the one who is alone but never lost, the one who knows the language of the wind.

Anyways, this quote shows up in the front of a book I started this morning, Make Magic of your Life,” by T. Thorn Coyle.  He of Kissing the Limitless I mentioned last post (“Seaweed-slick and Barnacle-Encrusted”). I started reading and started underlining and then stopped underlining realizing that I was going to underline the whole book if I did it like that, and started jotting my reactions.

I rarely jot my reactions.  Mostly I think marvelous thoughts – profound, earth-shaking – and then lose them because I fail to attach them to something concrete like paper and they’re off to the next person who might take more time and attention.  As I may have mentioned, I’m transitioning (the last stage before birth), or in labor birthing something and since the restlessness beforehand is the same I never know which (in the end something new this way comes).

So this post is something like a conversation between underlines and thoughts.  It is always amazing to me to find someone writing things I think every day – more than an affirmation that I’m not the only one, more of a, at least at the moment, synchronicity of being reminded what I already know, and an urging to take that farther than I have before.

There you are, living your life, when suddenly, the call comes. (all italics are from the book)

Thomas Merton says, “Your life is shaped by the end you live for.  You are made in the image of what you desire.”

Christina Baldwin, in Calling the Circle,  says it this way:

In every path that leads to maturity, there is some form of dark night, a readiness finally to enter into shadow, to explore that which we have kept hidden.  We enter into darkness by dealing with the wounding we have endured and the wounding we have caused.  We enter the darkness by walking off the edge of our life maps into unknown territory.  There is no more meandering.  There is no more escape – not one more errand to run, not one more load of laundry to wash and fold, not one more phone call to answer, not one more word I can write until I take the next step.  Until I am willing to fall…I shout…’Are you sure I’m ready for this?  I already feel as though I’ve been hurtling from one experience to the next.  How do You know I’m ready?’  I am staring into the bright eyes of an angel.  ’You cannot know if you are ready until after you fall,’ she says. ‘This is a leap of faith.’  I face the edge.  I do not jump.  It more subtle than that.  I simply let go. [quoted in my blog, "A Woman's Guide to Breaking the Rules"]

I am the one who is learning to be old, the one who is remembering the wisdom I carry.  I am the one who is naming the spirits who walk with me.

I am the one who is learning to be old, the one who is remembering the wisdom I carry. I am the one who is naming the spirits who walk with me.

Me:  What is manifesting in my life – what have my “recent” [say last two or three years] choices let me to in my day-to-day life?  How are these manifestations clues to my own Soul Work.  How do these manifestations compare with the spirit cards I’ve made to date?  Have I done Tarot lately?  What showed up there?…..No I haven’t done Tarot lately but is it by chance that Kissing the Limitless has a new-to-me spread called “reading the Moon” that I found flipping through the book – and I found it the day before the full moon?

We can also get caught up in thinking that our purpose needs to be some earth-shattering thing.  Most often the soul’s work is what feels most ordinary to each of us. [emphasis mine]

Me:  We are always at the beginning of something [see my title?  aren't I clever to wind this in here?  I digress, patting myself on the back.]    I remain incomplete, yearning, in transition, unknowing so that I can write about it and others will not feel so alone.  Not so earth-shattering, and certainly not the glitter and dazzle (and income) I’d have chosen given a choice in the matter (or moreso to the point, maybe it is exactly what I’ve chosen to date), but not bad soul-work.  Certainly gratifying from time to time when feedback happens.  Granted that’s few and far between but if you get a carrot every time instead of randomly you aren’t as inclined to continue whatever it is you are doing that wins that carrot.  Pavlov proved that already.

There is some work – some practice, joy, or way of being – that only we can manifest in this world.

Me:  Yes.  I believe that totally (when I’m believing anything)

I like to look at the parts of the self that want to reject the idae of a life purpose of the soul’s work and ask ‘Why?’  Is there anger present?  Or cynicism or a sense of betrayal….we can invite our ears, anger, or cynicism to the table of desire.  The add spice and savor – cinnamon and chili – to our dark chocolate.

Me:  Anger? Cynicism? Betrayal?  Indeed.  All of it.  And it’s not bad and wrong, it’s spice. I’m nothing if not spicey! My conclusion for today (and this is only a taste and about 5 pages of the book) this transitioning/birthing I’m moving into is soul work.  I have “done” lots of stuff – those were the

I am the one who has all the questions, the one who has some of the answers.  I am the one who sees the buttefly flap its wings in Tokyo while the full moon laughs remembering all the yesterdays gone before.

I am the one who has all the questions, the one who has some of the answers. I am the one who sees the buttefly flap its wings in Tokyo while the full moon laughs remembering all the yesterdays gone before.

strands of my unique piece of the web that I have been (and continue) to weave.  Time now to focus on integrating the doing – letting it move through my body as the impetus to art does, and the impetus to write does – to let that flow – which is unique to me because it gets my “spice” – move out into the web.

Heart work is weaving the strands.  Soul work is giving them strength and resiliency and long-lastingness.

A light clicks on around what’s been happening in my work life the past 3 weeks or so (well that’s really a culmination of about a year of events).  I keep trying to figure out (take control) of the situation when really it’s only there to remind me it’s time to go deeper and that’s more of an inside job.

I am also reminded that if I am exhausted, psychically and physically from giving way too much energy to the outside, the inside won’t have anything left over.  Or maybe you have to get to that exhaustion before you surrender to the transition period of birthing.  I don’t know.

What I *am* coming to understand is that if you get the solitary, the Self down (understood), you are moving toward wholeness.  Wholeness is the most you have to offer the rest of the world and your own piece of the web.  And there are ramifications you will never be aware of by getting there or not.

Seaweed-Slick and Barnacle Encrusted

Seaweed-Slick and Barnacle Encrusted

dragonfly and sun with word "transform"

Transform: watercolor by Tammy Vitale

I know this post has some energy around it since it has been mostly written in my head for about three hours and I have twiddled away my morning writing time and run myself up against the wall of have to be somewhere too soon to get it spell checked and out.

Having said that, I am going to try to capture the raw energy of this morning and then get it out to the world later.  I’m leaving all this in because it seems to say something about important information that is trying to come through me:  if it’s big, I procrastinate.  Especially if it feels like something that has been asleep in the deep, and is now not only awake, but rising towards the surface, seaweed slick and barnacle encrusted.  Hard to not want to run away.

In The Origin and History of Human Consciousness, Erich Neumann says that the community (the world) depends on “outsiders”, whom he defines as people “within an ebnlarged category of the type known in myth as the hero, the Great Individual.”

He says the hero “must conquer the ordinary because it represents the power of the old order” which is constricting.

But conquering normal life – which is the life of the unheroic – always means sacrificing normal values and so coming into conflict with the collective.  If later the hero is honored as a culture-bringer and savior, etc., this is generally only after [the hero] has been liquidated by the collective.

I hope you do not think less of me that I claim for myself the title “hero.”  It seems my whole life has been standing up to “this is the way it is” because it chafes me raw.

In the epic poem, NightVision, that is the heart of my Master’s thesis, I write:

“you don’t understand,” he said.

I am 19.  It is several lifetimes ago.

“This is the way it has always been,” he said.
And he said, “Why won’t you go along with the game.
The game is played on middleground guarded by rules.
Why must you always pace at the edge.  You might
fall off.”
“We know,” he said, “how it is done here.  Don’t rock
the boat.”

His voice is all the voices I had ever heard in my life.
All the voices trying to drown out laughter heard
at border’s rim where Yellow’s lightening sounds to them
llke howls the do not wish to hear. [see" note" below]

I did not choose this ledge,
this edge,
this tightrope,
this tension between land and beckoning abyss.  It is just…..
despite myself, I am not afraid.

This piece of the epic creation poem is a conflation of my first (and second – one and the same, another story) husband and my 2nd semester Master’s facilitator, as well

mixed media by Tammy Vitale

Making My Own Myth – mixed media by Tammy Vitale

as a lot of other people in my life who did/do not understand why sometimes you have to go ahead and challenge the status quo.  No matter what.

And while Heros have their moments of knowing they were meant to do the work they are in the middle of, they also have their moments of complete despair.

It says something about the past two weeks that I was brought to near  tears by the words I read this morning  by T. Thorn Coyle in Kissing the Limitless:  Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World:

We have put parts of ourselves in a box on a shelf, or made another facet toe an invisible line…We conformed to lives that did not fit. It is up to us to make our lives fit who we are…At this point, who we are includes whatever years we spent attempting to shape our lives to fit some other ideal, or hiding parts of ourselves in order to feel more acceptable..

The heroic is calling.  I am never sure what that means.  Coyle says:  “The figuring out impulse is an attempt to take control, to be active, to do. Sometimes the doing is in the being,  and right here, teaching and learning can occur.”

What is rising for me right now is doing things in ways that I have not done them before.  At work, both sitting with “the way things are” and trying to be true to myself is creating a good bit of internal drama.  External too unfortunately.  It seems I almost never react until I am in full reaction mode and can’t quite turn it off.

Inside I am restless which is usually the way I get when I am in transformation.  Always scarey (see above:  seaweed slick and barnacle encrusted), so you can see why “doing”/being in control would be and has been my first response.  This time, I am going to sit and see what comes up.  And write – around both feelings (my last post was inspired by “the way things are” at work).  That was actually said to me:  “This is the way things are.”  My edge walking self responded:  “And this is they way they will be 100 years from now if someone doesn’t say something.”  Of course I am always and every “Someone.”  Can you see why I might identify with the definition of the hero who gets liquidated?

I can unequivocally say that I have been through several liquidations (and haven’t we all by a certain age?!).  The bad news is that it always feels like death.  The good news is that wings grow and I rise again, often boosted by the energy of the awakened seaweed slick, barnacle encrusted thing I am transitioning into/with.

How about you?  How do you respond to transition?  How do you know you’re in the beginning or in the midst?  What do you do or be while there?  Share!

Note: so you understand the reference to Yellow in the quote above, here is a previous stanza in the poem to put it in context:

Before Beginning,
Purple lay humming
and the hum danced
in and around Purple
criss-crossing and spiraling
until Purple was full of whom
it might be.  Caught by curiosity
and thrum, Purple became Blue Water
and Red Flame quite by accident, more
a letting go than a splitting apart, and hum
became sigh and sigh became Winde; then Blue
and Red and Wind danced together long enough
to create Time.  Beneath beyond Purple hummed
and, because of Wind, the hum began
to tickle Purple and Purple laughed
out Yellow and Yellow draped
among the crosses and spirals
of Purple’s Web creating
intersections vibratin
Shadow and
Light.

For all I know, they are sill dancing.

(the poem is concrete in that the shape of the paragraph is meant to bring to mind the belly of pregnancy….for the birthing of shadow and light)

The Grand Miscellaney of Life

The Grand Miscellaney of Life

print out 2I have been away a bit longer than planned.  So rather than stay away and let the shadow of wanting to blog grow bigger and bigger, I’m going to reenter here with some rambling.  Sort of like getting your toes wet and then realizing you have to go ahead and dive into the waves or you’re going to spend the rest of the day on the beach.

Blogging is a nod to my writing self, who isn’t a major player in my art but who does like acknowledgement every now and then.  So of course I decided to start blogging at the same time I signed up for Patti Digh’s Project 137 for 2014 (through December 30), the 30-day challenge with Tea Silvestre at Story Bistro (September), and, as I have for 7 years now, Art Every DayMonth, every November, with Leah Piken-Kolidas.  I am either on a roll and it is time for inner writing girl to be upfront and forward, or I am crazy.

I think there’s more to it than that, though.

When I am under stress or confused about “what’s next” or in the middle of “man, is this uncomfortable”, I tend to get “busy” – I guess maybe that’s my way of dealing with stress.  If I’m really busy, I don’t have time to  obsess.  Except of course in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping.  So all of the above, plus working on my step risers (a bow to my inner artist child who actually holds all the keys to my life – have to keep her happy) lead me to believe that I am in transition.  And that all of the above will help me work through this transition if I pay attention.  Patti’s project is very introspective.  Tea’s is about on-line business – something I’m thinking about again.  Leah’s project is both a personal tradition, now,  and a loosening up of the critical artist eye, since making art every single day and being angsty about it doesn’t work.  I’m also buying books.  You know, the ones that are supposed to help you figure out the world and the way it runs.

And here I am writing my way to clarity, by writing it all out (with several paragraphs of explanation around the stress deleted since the particulars aren’t really the focus, it’s the overarching cycle that I want to pay attention to).

Interestingly enough, it was buying books this morning that clued me in on the transition thing. print out

Patti’s project had a lovely video with Lauren Rosenfeld, author of “Breathing Room.”  It is ostensibly about clutter.  I adamantly resist all this decluttering fad that has been going on for years now specifically because “clutter” to me (being the visual person I am) is more about possibilities and art than something that drains me.  In fact, it can be down right energizing.  But the definition of clutter that is being discussed is not about things so much as it is about things that don’t belong.  It is about having an intention for the spaces in your environment and realizing that you are being dragged down by a misalighnment of intention and objects.  Fascinating!

Lauren talks about “accidental collections”:  28 boxes of teas, 12 shades of red lipstick.  We buy these things over time because we believe they are going to fix difficult emotions [this is basically the same concept as retail therapy].

Anyways, in participating with a meme on Facebook about naming 10 favorite books off the top of your head and naming 10 others to do the same, I found myself checking out some titles on Amazon, and wound up following a “you’ll like this” thread to 2 books that looked fascinating, weren’t to be had at the local library (always my first stop), and wouldn’t be good on Kindle if they were in fact as good as they sounded and

step risers:  mosaic and letters by Tammy Vitale

step risers: mosaic and letters by Tammy Vitale

reviewed.  Let’s face it, for some of us, having paper books is required for on-going self-work.  Writing notes on Kindle is not the same as arguing with a concept in the margins of a paper book.

So anyways, after I ordered the books I wondered if my books were an accidental collection.  Remember I have just gone through and gotten rid of 2 bookcases of books and told myself I’d hold to one floor to ceiling bookcase, which is packed, and here I am ordering books.  Hmmm.

I didn’t cancel the order.  I really want to at least look at the books.  Maybe I’m not comfortable with my office being so pristine.  It doesn’t look like my space.  Or maybe I AM making accidental collections (although they will be purposeful from here on out now that I’m aware of that “belief that a thing or things are going to fix difficult emotions”).

I’d call that a tiny step of success.  Awareness is always good.

Here’s something from a dear FaceBook friend, written just last evening, that seems pertinent, so I’ll leave you with it:

“Nothing is better ignored. Everything conceivable longs to be heard, otherwise it can neither heal us or prepare us for the next voice.” Jacqualine-Marie Nunes Baxman