Reentry into North America has been fascinating. The winter weather belies a frost in both culture and adaptation these past three weeks. That is why I missed the New Moon blog post. On the other hand, perceptions may be misleading. What I do know is change is upon me and I desire to flow with grace.
It’s been important to me to ascribe to and embark upon periodic adventures in quotidian disruption. Uruguay was a prelude. I have read my cards for the New Year, and chosen my touchstone word, “Transformation”. This New Year is full of possibility even though it will result in shamanic death yet again. The humble path awaits.
Body Knowing has spoken its joy in physical exercise as well as both culinary research and experimentation. I found that I am much more playful at meal preparation. And while I still prepare the same foods, there is additional skill with variety. It is the same with exercise. Hard won fitness built a certain level of strength and endurance that determination does not intend to lose. There is less inhibition and more confidence regarding my own healing and mortality.
Surprising emails from friendly acquaintances have delighted me. It seems as though I’ve made a few more lasting relationships than I had ever imagined. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to experience another way of being. What I discovered is that we are all one. There is a tenderness in all of our hopes and dreams as humans on this beautiful planet.
I’m thinking of Spider Woman right now. She wove the world. Each one of us may weave a strand into the fabric of life and hope that it is a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing addition to the tapestry.
Happy New Year! Please remember our first feminine truth: Everything Is Born of Woman. Because it is thus, We are in Kinship with All of the Natural World.
Since my last post there have been internalized repercussions to my acceptance of random collisions. This has been terrifying and caused deep insecurity. However, undaunted, I have refused to give in to fear. Fear is my ally, not my tormentor. I have All My Relations to thank for that truth. What is needed in times of existential crisis? I rely on pro-active tools for health, well-being and balance. First, I reached out to the wise women of my circle. These are women who know and understand me. I am able to fully define my thoughts with them and receive the blessing of their counsel. From this, I received a beautiful mantra: I am Safe, in the Embrace, of Divine Grace. Next, one must keep the body moving. I have engaged in aerobic dance, yoga, and gardening on a daily basis. As I become physically stronger, so does the intention of my resolve. Finally, to accompany a stronger body, one must eat and rest well. While I have felt overwhelmingly fatigued, one of my counsel assured me that this was a feminine and body wisdom to heed its message. As a result, I am returning to self, which is a humble clarity that all things in life come in waves and are meant to teach us to embrace these lessons. Indeed, one’s life may change in an instant.
Cultural Connections Exhibit on Pacific Islands at Guistina Gallery
One of the remarkable achievements for me last year was a leap to wellness. I became very ill in August and thought that I was going to die. I have had a recurring respiratory problem that has plagued me since 2007 when I was subject to traumatic stress. I knew that my throat chakra was closing up well before my body started breaking down. Subsequently my doctor told me that that kind of stress can cause asthma. I took lots of treatment from massage and acupuncture therapists, as well as vitamins, nutrition and exercise. It was being “managed”. When this recurring episode happened with the severity that it did, I knew that I needed to become a completely different person. I changed. And within six weeks I was actually running on the beach and, to my astonishment, climbing mountains. Both of which I hadn’t accomplished in a number of years.
One of the changes that I proposed to make for this year was to have elimination body cleanses at least a couple of times a year. The last time that I engaged in any type of fasting program was when I was first studying with Indigenous Medicine people. I would fast before important personal ceremonies and did it on a frequent basis in my early 30s. So now that I am in my early 60s, I see that it is once again important for my ongoing health and well being. This is a personal decision based on my life experiences. I would never tell someone that they should do this. I did a lot of reading on the subject and was a little intimidated until I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s approach to an elimination diet. It isn’t harsh but gentle to a woman’s body. When I reread Jamie Sams talk about history of the Black Lodge of Women and how we treated our bodies with gentle kindness, I knew that this was the cleanse for me.
The cleanse was nurturing in that it provided warm sustenance during the cold winter. It was also an elimination and relief for my digestive system and those continuously functioning organs. They went on vacation. What happened for me was that I immediately felt exhausted but persevered. At the end of the third day, I began to feel myself wake up. I went to a gallery reception showing my tribute to the Maori of New Zealand and I think I look pretty healthy and vibrant. I can see my Sacred Fire of Love shining through. What do you think?
The New Moon occurred yesterday and this week will be a time of looking forward and contemplating the second Feminine Truth, “The Sacred Fire of Love Exists Within All Living Beings”.
However, today I want to finish with my reflections about how I worked with the alignment principle, “We Have Kinship With All The Natural World” last week. I found out that two of my paintings which I have shown previously on the blog, and were part of last year’s Heritage series, were accepted to the “Faces of Africa”, Cultural Connections show at the Guistina Gallery on Oregon State University’s campus.
This first painting entitled, “Sans Woman” is about our human interconnectedness. The Sans people of Africa have the oldest DNA on the planet and there is speculation that all of the races of humanity derive from these beautiful people. Since I was tracing my matrilineal heritage, I thought that I would add another theme of what we have carried forth into the present. The grasshoppers collaged on the painting have been and continue to be a principle source of protein for the Sans. I was struck by this because people in other parts of the world, including Mexico, the land of my grandparents, still eat grasshoppers. This gives me a deep sense of gratitude for the little creatures that may provide we humans with sustenance on a fragile ecosystem.
This next painting that was accepted is entitled, “Honoring Our Relations”. It was in Africa where we humans began to sing and celebrate what we Indigenous Americans call “The Giveaway”. The Giveaway is when a living being gives its life so that others may live from its meat, fruit, leaves, etc. The Africans created these beautiful headdresses in honor of the antelope that they would hunt for meat. Then they made a dance in celebration of its death. The faces of the individuals dancing are hidden underneath the fibrous strings hanging below the long necklines of the graceful animal “mask”. Whether we as a human species continue to honor All Our Relations, the animals and plants that sustain us in life, remains a question. Gratefully, there are cultures that continue to realize our Kinship to all of life.
Reflections on “We Have Kinship With The Natural World”, the first alignment principle, last week directed me to my own animal nature. There were a couple of touchpoints which caused me to wonder about my writing life. One was seeing Karen Holmberg read her poetry. She is a professor at Oregon State University, with a full teaching load, mother of two beautiful little girls, committed partner to a husband she adores, and poet. She whimsically remarked that perhaps she was a bit “lazy” in her writing. Later she acknowledged that her process to produce one poem may take up to three years.
Grateful to hear her realistic assessment of what it takes for her to produce a work of art I realized that I don’t have to chide myself too harshly. After all, the demands on women are many and great. However, I have observed that when I am not “producing” art, I am constantly asking myself if I am lazy. Nevermind, the conceptual development of that art has taken residence in all my waking thoughts. So I question if there is any truth to the concept of laziness as we seem to define it in our modern American life? I wonder if laziness is an illusion if we artists persevere? Then, is it possible that the word laziness even applies?
I know that work is important. We dedicate our lives to walking our Paths With Heart. I’m just not certain that to feel good about oneself, you need to be in constant production mode. Then there’s practice and with practice come many mistakes.
I began writing my White Bear Medicine Wheel book again (for the fifth time?) this past week. I realized, because my laptop broke, that I have used that computer as a big distraction. This was a good realization. So I may now make adjustments with my time. What inspired me to write was rereading Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese”. She wrote, “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” The soft animal of my body loves many things, including rest and relaxation. And when I feel rejuvenated because I have given over to pleasure, which may include doing nothing for a time, it’s going to be OK. I will not feel content to do nothing forever. I love being a woman of personal power. I want to be a good mirror for others.