Why I Prefer to Bless Everyone and Everything

When we shout “Curse you! Curse you!” these Children of our heart and spirit joyfully run out into the world, our dutiful servants and do as they were created to do. Then, in love and joy they return home to us saying “Look what we did! We brought you MORE of what you sent us out for!” There is no refusing their gift, for this is the very thing born of our our heart and spirit; it rightfully belongs to and with us.

When we curse them, complain about them and meanly yell at them to “GO AWAY!” these are as love songs and lullabies to them. They zip out into the world, gather more curses, more meanieness, more harshness and bring it back to share with us. They are very loving, dutiful Children eager to serve. And loyal: they always return home, never empty handed. Imagine what peace, what joys we would experience if the Children we birthed and sent into the world were “Bless you! Bless you!”

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Ponderings on My Beloved

Alone in my room
I ponder
“I am my Beloved’s”
says the Lady
“and my Beloved is mine.”
I am my Beloved’s
I am my Beloved’s
I am my Beloved’s….
Except I belong to no man as yet
and no man belongs to me.
Though indeed I long for such things,
sometimes ’til it aches and
threatens
to rend me apart,
in the quiet spaces of my room
beneath the blankets
hiding from the chill,
I cannot say I belong to no one
for I am someone.
I belong to
myself
and this is a very good thing.
I am entirely, deliciously,
my own.
In this moment,
in my contentment,
alone in my room
I am my Beloved
and my Beloved is mine.

 

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Hullo, World. It’s Me.

“You’re a depressed girl,” I hear muttered in the back of my mind as I go for my morning tea. Perhaps I am that, but what I really am right now is tired. I’ve been going and going and going and holding it together for so long now. Not just the year and some since my divorce. No, I’ve been holding it together a lot longer than that. MUCH longer. And i’m tired. I’d quit if I knew how to do that, but I don’t. I haven’t even got a clue what that looks like. I do , however know how to let go. SO that’s what I’m doing. Letting go. Letting the river take everything, all of it, all of me. Letting the river hollow me out, polish my rough edges, clear away the debris of lifetimes until there’s nothing left. Hollow. Empty.

Yes, empty. Empty is good. Empty can be filled. We think of being empty as this awful, sad thing. It often is if you’re not truly empty, if there’s still old clinging to the sides, or chock full in the middle leaving no room for the water to flow. A hollow log likely does not feel sad about its emptiness, nor does a glass or vase. The things that belong there, however temporarily, would find no room for themselves if those things were not empty. A canoe is itself because the log was first made empty. A jar holds beans because it was first made empty. A lot of our favored dishes require the vessel to first be made empty. Think how yummy stuffed mushrooms or tomatoes or bell peppers are, adding their own special flavors to the mix of whatever else we stuff them with. Empty does not necessarily mean no longer itself. The empty thing must remain itself in order to function as it should.

And this is where I find myself: empty. Waiting to be filled with whatever is next. I can not keep gong as I am, so I must be emptied. I must allow the river to be my strength, to fill and overflow me, hollow me out until I am ready to be filled again. I touch myself and it is as though I feel through mittens. I feel me as one touching someone vaguely familiar, but mostly unknown. This is supposedly my face and I feel the sensation but I am somehow not inhabiting either the hands that are touching nor the face being touched. I awaken and see the world through eyes that feel borrowed. Who I borrowed them fro and why I have no idea. Oh, that’s right! I borrowed them from myself! They are mine! But somehow that information feels irrelevant. In fact, all previously important information feels irrelevant. I keep feeling nudges telling me things are not only not what they seem, but what I used to give so much importance is no longer relevant. “EEK! The world is falling apart!” I hear from so many places. “Let it. It all must fall away. Do not try to save it, love.” “But people will be hurt!” “Yes, Beloved. Sometimes birth hurts. Alleviate pain where you can, but don’t bother trying to save or stop anything. That is not yours to do and you couldn’t even if you wanted to.”

Sigh. Surrender. Give myself to the river. Allow myself to be hollowed, hallowed, emptied. DO my work. Work is holy, I remind myself, even if it’s work I don’t much care for. Then rest. Rest is holy even when I feel like I should be doing something else, something more than the nothing of resting. I am being hollowed, emptied. In this I am doing my work. I’d like to say I’ll arise stronger from the ashes, the remains of whatever I was, but I am informed that is irrelevant, though it is what people expect to hear, want desperately to hear. But I will not. I will say no such thing. I am told I will have no need of strength. It will be unnecessary baggage should I choose to hold on to it. Yes, I can choose to keep it; I can choose to keep anything I like, but not everything is useful. I am being guided in the packing of my satchel. My burdens are burdensome because they are no longer useful and are better left behind. “Fairies travel light!” I hear with a giggle. So I trust. And surrender. And will likely emerge a small, fragile thing of beauty not meant to be handled roughly. Soft, impossibly beautiful and sparkling. Resilient, yes, but not strong. Full of the river’s waters. And I am to offer you a drink from my cupped hands.

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Prayer

Prayer changes you. Not things, YOU. And if you’re not ready to be changed, keep your prayers to yourself. Hide them deep ’cause they’re sneaky fuckers who like to leak out in unexpected moments and there you go: you’re changing. Not just a little, but deep-in-your-soul changing. In places and spaces you never imagined. You can get away for a little while with surface stuff in prayers: cars, houses, money – mostly meaningless, feel-good type things – if you don’t make a habit of prayer. Once it becomes habitual, welp! That will no longer do. Your Soul starts to speak up, to assert its needs, to push you in the directions it prefers.

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Prayer is a drug. It takes over your life and before you know it, you’re praying all the time. It takes over your life. You become dependent on it, can’t imagine living without it. It becomes the air you breathe, the beats of your heart, the blood in your veins, the thing that keeps you warm in the cold and dark. It changes you. If you don’t want to change, if you’re happy with how you are or at the very least comfortable, then never pray. Not habitually anyway. Keep your prayers short, surface and mostly begging for “stuff”. Or hold onto your seat and prepare for a wild ride. But no worries. Like Neruda said: everything important remains.

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The Sacred

What makes a thing, anything, sacred? What is holy? Is it just because a few “special” people tell us “This is holy; this is sacred”? Is it only rare, beautiful things that are sacred? What about the holy in the ordinary, the common place, the everyday? It makes sense to me that the things with which you come into contact regularly would be special. After all, you see, touch and experience them all the time, which means they are in some way necessary for life. We tend to think of holy and sacred as something out of the ordinary that we set aside for special occasions, like Grandmama’s good dishes or those special shoes we think we only deserve to wear once in awhile for “special occasions”. The ordinary tends to get pushed aside simply because it’s ordinary, we see and interact with it all the time. But these bits of ordinariness to me are far more sacred than anything we could set aside exactly because they are interacted with daily. They affect our lives in more ways and more strongly than any special building or grove that we visit only rarely.

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To me, the human body is sacred, holy, a temple of the grandest design no matter the size or shape it shows up. EVERY human body, not just the socially approved ones. Now that I consider it, not just the human ones either but for now I’ll just talk about the humans. We are all inhabiting incredible temples of sacredness. We don’t behave like we are but that doesn’t make it any less true. We behave as though only some people are “worthy” of being called sacred because their bodies can do things differently than others or because they have starved and denied their bodies to the point of a kind of mental enlightenment. Not true. Every single human walking, crawling, laying about, making love, running errands, clubbing, what have you – ALL of them are sacred temples. Each body houses a member of one of the mot amazing species on the planet. Each body does the very best it can under whatever circumstances it is given and sometimes the results are astounding. But even the “ordinary everyday” accomplishments are nothing short of miraculous when observed without judgement and loved and appreciated as it is in the moment.

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Too Much, Not Enough – Old Wounds

I’ve been doing deep womb work lately. Interesting the things you find when you set about clearing more space for beauty and love in your life, when you intend to heal, to consistently move more and more into alignment with Who-you-are.img_0455 The insecurities start to pour out like a midsummer’s monsoon, flooding your life with old, long-carried hurts. They can seem to come out of nowhere and threaten to overwhelm and drown you. It would be a mistake for me to latch onto any hurt in particular; this is a sure fire way to get swept along and swirled in the flood of emotional baggage/sewage that’s removing itself. Still, occasionally I get taken in by some loud, repetitive pain as it swishes by.

A common litany sung by my insecurities is “you’re too much” and its flip side “you’re not enough”. They can sound like many things: “you’re too loud,” “you’re too weird,” “you’re too sexual/sensual/natural,” “you’re too soft/too small/too vulnerable/too perky/too happy/too exhuberant…. too, too, too it drones on – too much.

From the other side: “you’re not fast enough”,”why don’t you cook more,” “you should be more aggressive,” “you’re not a very good housekeeper,” “you know, so-and-so is faster/smarter/more successful/prettier/tidier/more motherly than you,” blah, blah, blah – not good enough. And never in the moment, never interacting with what’s actually there going on front and center, never interacting with what actually IS – right now, in the moment. High on the scale of lack, of what’s “missing”. In a roomful of diamonds, this perspective seeks out the one or two lumps of coal, ignoring the sparkling beauty overflowing the room.

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Who cares what I’m NOT? Why does it even matter? Because it doesn’t, that’s why. It doesn’t matter at all unless I say it does. There’s a hell of a lot of awesome that I AM. I can celebrate, honor and pay attention to that and let the crap keep flowing on away from me, yammering mindlessly as it goes. And this is only the beginning, the tip of the iceberg. There’s more lodged in my womb needing release. When its turn comes to be set free, the Scariest-Most-Awful-Things in there will likely blindside me and spin me for a loop before I catch myself or my Guides/Guardians throw me a lifeline to help me pull myself out of the muck. Then again, this may be the worst of it. I’m accepting of either path or of another completely different one I haven’t thought of. In the meantime, I’ve got a roomful of diamonds to play with.

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Living Like I Matter, Day 1

Yesterday before bed, I pondered the questionbeauty in decay “what would it be like if I spent a year living like the things that matter most to me actually MATTERED?” and promptly decided that is how I would proceed from that moment on. Mixed in with this was me being put on notice that the Horned One, the Divine Masculine would be entering my life whether I was ready for it or not. So, here I am: the Horned God showing up in my morning journeying/meditation and occasionally talking to me throughout the day and a decision to live life on my terms with me as the most important person, my values, loves, desires and passions as the most important things, fuck everything else. Enter emotional detox time.

 
Big surprise there, to be honest (no, not really). It feels scary and weird and all I’ve done thus far is change my perspective, though admittedly that is the hardest part. Once that commitment was made my whole world seemed to change, spin on its axis, flip inside out. It seemed a tiny enough shift but it feels like standing in a whole different realm. There is no “going back”; that road no longer exists. Besides, what would I be going back to? That’s a liked that no longer belongs to me. I am no longer the same person who created that life, so it no longer fits. I would be profoundly unhappy trying to figure out how to function in a world I no longer belong in. The only way for me now is forward.

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My new chapter has begun with a big bout of emotional clearing: a deep sadness and depression that put me to bed for hours today. I take that as a big, flashing “YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT PATH!!!” sign. Sure, I feel a bit out of body, a bit scared (okay, more than a bit) and a whole lot like I just beamed into a parallel universe. That’s to be expected, I suppose. Change can feel weird like that sometimes. But I have been put on notice that the way I’ve been living up to now is no longer viable. My cards of the day today were the ten of wands and the ten of swords. The old doors and ways are gone. I of course will mourn their loss and many things will feel burdensome as I move forward. But more forward I must and I shall – either willingly or kicking and screaming. My choice.

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Flower Fairy Hippie Feral Child – or – Life Simplified (2)

beauty in decayMy divorce is a whole topic unto itself. Needless to say, it wasn’t a surprise in any shape, form, or fashion. As a matter of fact, it was actively courted, flirted with and made welcome by me for reasons I won’t bother with here. I was miserable, miserable, miserable. The harder I tried to be happy living against myself, the more bitchy and miserable I became. And when mom’s miserable, the whole house is miserable. My favorite daydream was of at least six months of complete solitude. I pined and yearned for it. I noticed that as a family we seemed so much happier when we had less stuff to keep up with, less money to care about. Ironically, in retrospect I can see it had not a thing to do with money or stuff so much as the pain of my refusal to follow my internal compass – which in no way pointed to frequent spending to fill spiritual holes. A funny thing, perhaps the funniest, about the majority of the advice I was given from Christian advisors (who I felt never really listened/paid attention to me): there were regular homilies railing against trying to fill “that God-shaped void” with material things. Yet in practice, anyone married trying to engage in a deeper spiritual life that whiffed even slightly of mystic or monastic leanings was actively discouraged from doing so and redirected to modern American living. I think it’s primarily due to a faulty understanding of what it means to live a deeply spiritual life.

1990I sit here these past few days rediscovering that bright eyed young woman, realizing she has always been with me. She simply remained quiet, safely tucked away in my pack, likely as not sewn into the lining. Six months post-divorce as I go through my traveling gear, tossing what no longer serves, rotting food thrown to the compost, repairing the useful but broken, I encountered her, still bright and shining like a softly sparkling jewel, delighted to once again be seen and appreciated. And loved. There are many tears. Some of sorrow, for I shall never again be that bright little one I call Bright Eyes and I wonder what life would have been like for me had I continued that path. “What ifs” are impossibilities, though. I am and always have been myself and thus I did follow her path, just not the one that seemed most obvious. Time is a spiral; we’ve encountered each other often along the way, even when I did not recognize her. Most tears are of joy and relief at discovering this part of myself long hidden, yet still fully functioning in the background. She is the part of me that railed against the rampant hiding of my pain behind various material things: animals, children, more things than I can even recount. Some use drugs or food or shopping. I numbed my pain with first children, then with animals. It was easy and pretty much undetected by any but me – unless I told you. I’ve always been an animal lover and a care taker, so it was a natural thing to focus on healing others instead of seeing my own self denial and tending to my own healing. No one was the wiser (unless you lived with me) because it all looked so normal and logical.

455Here I am, returning to that place on the spiral that has yet again brought me home. I think I’ll stay awhile this time. Lay my bundles in a corner, start a fire, sweep out the cobwebs, set the kettle on for tea. It’s time I sat in my comfy chair, put my feet up and had a chat with myself while I rest. We have met once again on this journey, Bright Eyes and I. I hold her gently cradled in my hands, smiling at her and wondering if I might try on her clothing. Some will fit perfectly, others will need alterations and yet others will need to be lovingly packed into treasure boxes. This remerging of Self requires everything I have. That is the price she requires this time. All or nothing. All of me, heart, mind, body and soul. No holding back. All in or pack her away again for a later time. I can’t pack her away again, though. She won’t fit my pack anymore. She has become too heavy for concealed carry. I don’t want to hide anymore. I’m tired. To myself I surrender.

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Flower Fairy Hippie Feral Child – or- Life Simplified (1)

Tucson ShadowsI’ve recently rediscovered a part of myself that’s been with me throughout my whole life’s journey, but for many reasons has remained sort of a silent partner. Before and early into my marriage, I was what I call a Flower Fairy Hippie Feral Child. I was all about life lived authentically, wanting to live in the country growing my own food and medicines, wildcrafting plants for food, medicines and other life necessities, diving deep into yoga, intuition and other spiritual development pursuits. I wanted to (and did) make most of my food from scratch, staying as far away from processed convenience stuff as possible. I read tons of spiritual and alternative lifestyle books, kept few posessions (my then-husband and I referred to our frequent bouts of material unloading as “catharting”) and tried to live as lightly as possible. We took the Native American saying about living for the seventh generation quite seriously. We lived simply and were mostly happy. But we weren’t satisfied with our way of life, thus the part about mostly being happy. We were vegetarian, but not committed to that way of life. I had a serious problem committing firmly to anything if it seemed it might be challenged by someone else’s being uncomfortable with my choices. Huston had a problem alright; the worst part is she didn’t know it. Her problem: she didn’t realize she wasn’t Huston. Then along came Christianity.

Hoo boy! I could go on for days about this, but I won’t. The short story about me and Christianity? We are a very poor fit. I gave it my very bestest shot. I really did. I was the driving force behind getting the family up and out to church on time every week. I had a regular prayer rule. In the Orthodox Church, there is a thing about the home being a domestic chapel and I was on a mission to make sure my home was as chapel-like as possible. The icon corner was huge and the focal point of my living space, with smaller icon corners throughout the house. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

wilting peoniesI had developed quite the meditation practice and was an avid bellydancer when I entered the church. At the spiritual direction of our priest/pastor, I dropped all of it, every spiritual practice I ever had – POOF! Why? Because I was told (with no small amount of distaste) that “We don’t do that.” In the process of learning and avidly trying to adopt the things “we” did do, among them was a typical middle class American lifestyle. The one lived out in suburbia in big houses. The one where you have a car instead of walking, biking and taking the bus everywhere like we did prior to joining the church. The one where you ate lots of meat and dairy products at every meal and bought everything in sight, embodying that distasteful label of “consumer” that businesses are so fond of using and has seemlessly slipped into common usage without so much as a whiff of dissent. We aren’t people or clients, we’re consumers, mindless devourers. We ditched everything we held dear because our priest told us our lives were “too simple” and we needed to complicate it a little more. Really? Too simple? Wtf does that even mean?!? Apparently it meant we needed to get with the modern American program of devour-everything-in-sight, get a bunch of debt and make yourself miserable chasing some elusive dream of life in suburbia and “getting ahead” because that’s exactly where we were steered with a quickness. And since this was how we grew up, it made a twisted kind of sense. We didn’t question it. We dove right in. I drowned.

The last twenty-ish years since that time have been a bit rough, with me doing my best to join in the circus called typical modernity. The thing is, I was never able to break from my inner calling to a deeper spiritual life. However, whenever I brought this up with those who were meant to be my spiritual guides, I was always cautioned against following my inclinations because I was “a married woman living in the world”. To be honest, there were plenty of times I suspected my always-male advisors of being concerned that my husband wouldn’t get laid anymore. NOT ONE advised me to follow my deeper longings. Not. One. It was this longing of mine coupled with the decidedly male focus of Christianity that lead to my leaving not once but three times. Three times is the charm, yeah? I don’t expect to be returning to the Christians within this lifetime. Still, I didn’t return to myself. I kept trying to be the good modern American woman. I shopped, I bought more than I could ever use, I clung to stuff so hard and so long I’d forgotten what I was clinging to. And then came divorce.sunflowers!

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“Mother may I?” Begging Permission For Self and Sensual Expression

I occasionally model nude for artists. There. It’s out in the open for all to see and digest. Do I feel any shame or discomfort about it? No. To me, it is a beautiful thing helping artists to create more beauty in the world. Not to mention it’s something I enjoy. It’s meditative transforming myself into a living, breathing version of a still life, holding the same position for long minutes at a time. There’s also for me a harkening back to when I was a child in love with the camera. I would get the camera, hand it to my mom or dad and say “Make me say cheese!” There are much worse things to me than having a bunch of people looking at me and doing the Ye Olde version of “make me say cheese!” (And just for the record I have no fear of public speaking, either. None. Give me a topic I like and a platform and I’ll talk forever.)happy pansies

Not everyone feels that way, however. I often forget that the world in which I live and breathe, the world that gives me life and makes me sparkly, the world that is my home is a unique place not generally inhabited though frequently visited by most. My world is one generally uninhibited by the shackles of shame, guilt and stifling rules around nudity, sexual and sensual expression. My world thrives on authentic expression of the self in all its fullness. Perhaps in many ways it’s like that of small children. It can definitely be scary in all its authenticity and openness, I’m not gonna lie. In my world, nudity is no more an invitation to or even expression of a desire for sex than a woman in tiny shorts and a bikini top; it is simply natural. And comfortable. Like bare feet, which I also sport habitually. For some, perhaps many, nudity is a source of shame and embarrassment. For these, the naked human body, especially the unclothed female form, is highly sexualized, a clear invitation to sex. “Good” girls and women especially never bare their bodies except in their own homes in preparation for sex with their lover. Some people are so averse to nudity that they sleep entirely clothed regardless of temperatures and insist on sex with the lights off.

(Side note: Yes, I am aware many women feel so profoundly ashamed of and unhappy with their bodies that the fear of rejection is why many insist on no-lights sex. Any would-be lover of mine who would reject me because they dislike what they’ve been given access to freely touch is not worthy of my bed. But then, I would certainly know this about them long before I invited or surrendered to their invitation. Those types leave honkin’ huge clues. They would simply never get there.)

Some would and have refered to my behavior and views as “trashy”. I really have no clue how to respond to that judgement other than to sigh and do my best to ignore it. I do get frustrated from time to time. There are those who think it perfectly reasonable and appropriate for a woman to ask her friends, family, children, spiritual counselor – anyone outside herself – how they feel about her self expression. It’s not exponentially better for men, either.

74910_418856671560159_1523830832_nAs adults who aspire to health in all areas we often encounter those who would do their best to censor our self, sexual and sensual expression due to their personal discomfort. It isn’t a way of life they would choose; someone they see is choosing something outside their comfort zone; they feel discomfort and they reach for our society’s drug of choice much the same as an emotional eater reaches for a twinkie at the first sign of upset. If they are close to us, they tell us their attempts at controling our behavior by heaping shame on our shoulders is “for our own good” or “because they care about our well being”. If they don’t know us, they drag out the old “protecting the children” or “for the societal good” argument. These are the same people who police men and tell them it’s disgraceful to be visibly aroused, that to be seen with a hard on is disrespectful to women and shameful. Arousal is inappropriate. Get rid of it! Everyone knows a man aroused is a man out of control about to rampage through society. A dick is a lethal weapon in pants and a sign of mental instability. Cover that thing up! Quick! Relaxed, easy expression of our sensual sexual selves is likewise inappropriate, disgusting, dirty, highly suspect. These would have everyone constantly playing the child’s game “Mother, may I?” and responding with a loud, aggressive “NO, you may NOT!” nearly every time, though oddly they often have no problem with violent expressions of self. Just look at our entertainments: movies where people are blown up, shot at, fight to the death and/or killed in any number of creative ways is the norm. Even in our so-called romance films, books, etc. violence of one sort or another is common and expected.

I am done playing the game of “Mother, may I?” which is just another variation of the shrink-to-fit game. I spent the majority of my life in shrink-to-fit mode. Considering I’m approaching the 48th anniversary of my birth, that’s a really long time to play a game that isn’t any fun. I intend to dedicate the rest of my years here on this earth plane to exploring every nook and cranny of this being I call me and to expressing myself fully, authentically and with abandon. “Go big or go home” the saying goes. I aim to make big my home. Care to join me?

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