I recently took a long road trip with a friend. We covered 1,000 miles in 3 days. Each night, as we settled into our accommodations, my friend would say she was going to take a shower to “wash the day off.” This was something she expressed daily and it made me chuckle and wonder what that meant. I never asked her but presume the idea behind the phrase was she had a hard day and planned not only to get her body clean but also to try to forget about her stress. It was her way to relax.
I have never used that phrase but am curious what stories come alive when one finds themselves desiring the cleansing off from a particular day.
The story that comes to mind for me is how much I loved playing in the mud when I was a little girl. It didn’t matter what I was wearing, and I had to be barefoot so that I could feel the cold wet earth squish through my toes. I would sit down in the mud and cover every inch of my body with this gift from the earth. Even my hair was dripping in its 'yumminess'. This was my moment of complete bliss. I even feel the sensation in my body as I write this. I would always make a mud pie that I presented to my mom (I used her kitchen utensils to ‘bake’ them). She would thank me for the present, put it aside and proceed to rinse me off with the hose. A warm bath always followed my adventure.
Did my mom ‘wash the day off’ of me? I say no. She simply washed the mud off. I never felt succumbed by the happenings of a particular day. I never felt the need to cleanse for the sake of forgetting about my stress. I was in the moment and devoured the experience of being a little girl playing in the mud.
What are your thoughts around washing the day off? Is that something you do? Does it have a special meaning for you? I am curious.
Last week my sister and I ventured to Los Angeles, the city we grew up in. The purpose of our visit was to see our aunt who we have not seen in over 20 years, to spend time with my sister's childhood friend and to see our cousins. The visits were all so rich. We left with our hearts (and bellies) full.
And there was another side to our visit. We both left LA a long time ago and rarely go back. We found our visit to be overwhelming and had difficulty being there. The mere size of LA, the traffic, the noise, the air, the concrete tugged at our souls and we felt drained and exhausted and dazed. It was good to go home.
I find it interesting how different both aspects of our visit were. The contrast of personal deep connection with people, and the separation and despair of the physicality of the environment. This was not the same city we grew up in, but, the relationships are those we grew up with.
I feel blessed to have experienced both!
The other day I was at a gathering where we were invited to dance around the room. When we came back together the facilitator asked us about the experience and how it felt.
As a writer, I am fascinated by language, and as I listened to the words of those who shared their experience I became acutely aware of how we define what we are feeling or experiencing by the words we choose to use.
I enjoyed the dancing but did not have the words to express my experience. What I was connected to in the moment was the of the language of the music, the language of dance, the sound of the breathing and the laughter. This was an interesting exploration for me as language is a major body my work.
I am sitting in a symphony hall way up in the highest of the balconies facing north. In front of me I see the vastness of an almost empty stage, slightly lit with a black piano and bench positioned in the center. The stillness on the stage is soft and warm with the brown tones of the floor and walls blending into the silence.
The hall itself is dimly lit and there is a slight haziness to the atmosphere as people begin to enter her domain. I sit with my eyes closed and listen to the human sounds that start to permeate the room and vibrate off the walls. The energy changes. The lights seem brighter. The sounds more crisp.
I look over the balcony railing and see a sea of the back of heads, hundreds of them all shapes and sizes. They are moving about bobbling back and forth, up and down, turning in directions, but, they are all faceless. I never see their faces.
The lights dim and the pianist walks onto the stage. She is very tall and slender and stands erect. Hers is the only face visible and she feels distant and unattached to those of us she will be performing for. She bows and walks to the bench where she sits down without a sound.
And then she begins to play. At that very moment the entire ceiling and roof of the hall open up revealing a dark sky filled with brilliantly shining stars that seem to be moving in an upward vortex towards the moon. It is an endless stream of light that becomes brighter and brighter with every note she plays.
I am swept up in the vortex and am floating weightless in the swirling energy.
Sometimes I feel like screaming. And when I do I feel the energy rising in my body. My blood swirls. My heart pounds. My temperature rises. I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I scrunch up my face, lift my shoulders, expand my rib cage and scream until I have nothing left to let go of.
And sometimes I have to do it again!
And when there is nothing left, I feel the sweet tears of my despair gently trickle down my cheeks. I taste the salt of my tears. My breathing is gentle. My body releases. The scream becomes the softness of remembering.
Step away from what I believe to be true and open to the magic of the Raven, the enchantress of life. She will show us how to come out of the dark and into the light, from unformed into form. She is the life-force of the creative. Playful and alive. Trickster and teacher. Watchful and intelligent. Manifestor of magic. Messenger of creation.
Sitting in my sacred space, window open to the sounds of the forest, I hear the chatter of the flock. She has returned standing at the entrance to my portal. Looking, watching, speaking in secret tongue. My teacher. The protector of my spirit. Gatekeeper of my soul. You have returned and beckoned me just as the seasons are to change from the dark of the winter to the light of the spring.
Shall I look into the mirror and see the reflection of the blackness of her color tipped with iridescent specks of deep purples and blues? Shall I look into her watchful dark eyes and see the world through her lens? Shall I become the watchful prankster as I perch upon the tower and sit in the stillness of observation? And in my inquiry wonder if perhaps I am her and she is me.
At this time in my life I believe I am always becoming who I am becoming, and in my childlike curiosity have the hunger to find where it is I am to land. Deep transformational work. Tearing from the inside out. Cries of desperation. Tears of joyful centered peace. Laughter in the sunshine. I continue to learn. I continue to open my being. I continue to be vulnerable and alive. I carry no shame as I walk my unsteady path to the destination that is calling to me. I fly with my wings spread wide and allow mother wind to carry me to places of which I long to see. I am the Raven. I am the retreat. I am the Raven's retreat.
I need to do something more than read the newspaper, listen to the news, sit in on conversations, about things that are happening in our country with this new administration. I attended a gathering with a thousand other people to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Japanese internment camps. It was focused on 'never again' shall this happen in our country. I am sad, angry, and anxious. I want to do something but have not found a place to land. I cannot sit idle and do nothing.
I draw a picture of how I feel - Dark chaotic squiggly clouds in the sky. Underneath are brown lines forming a lifeless barrier. Beneath that are green blades of grass. And beneath that are dots of bright spring colors hiding underneath the grass afraid to come to the surface.
When I draw a picture of finding my voice around all of this, I see a kind of cone swirl much like a tornado. I am standing at the bottom - the narrowest part - looking up into this massive funnel. I can see the wide open top but have a lot of layers to move through before I can get there.
When I think of fostering an active, sensuous relationship with the New Earth, I think of the full snow moon expanding its light as it touches the souls of all who can comprehend its magic.
I think of the cool freshness of the air as the season begins to transition into Spring.
I think of the precious newly awakened daffodils just beginning to peep their heads out from a long winter's sleep. I think of mornings becoming light and the extended darkness stepping away. I think of the rebirth of energy that is beginning to permeate the gift of our being alive.
A sensuous relationship with the New Earth is a relationship with nourishing our bodies, minds and spirits. It is expanding our understanding of the purpose of sustenance. It is opening our intellectual curiosity so that we may digest what we are meant to learn. It is giving blessing to all life-energies. It is brightening our radiance in the world and beyond.
I am now at the point of my life where I am settling into my wisdom. I am finding my footing in the softness of the ground and sinking into the womb of the earth. I am snuggling into growing older and tasting the sweetness of where I am right now. I continue on my journey moving toward the shore and embracing my brilliant life-force.
I invite you to drop a stone into a sleeping pond and awaken the water's skin, to whisper a prayer into soft breeze of your desires and dreams, to whistle a sweet song to awaken the newness of the earth.
Some people called it a revolution. Other's called it a demonstration and a protest. Many were afraid to go in fear of violence, and others were apathetic.
What I know to be true is 175,000 people participated in the Women's March in Seattle and it was incredible. The sense of solidarity was beyond words and the energy was alive. We were part of an international collective that had a voice that was heard throughout the world. I am proud to have been part of this historic event!
On Saturday morning as we were driving into town, I was excited and a bit anxious about what we were about to "walk' into. The city was beginning to become alive. People were walking down the sidewalks, signs in hand, pink hats upon their heads, chattering and laughing as they made their way to where the march would begin. Our arrival was simple. We parked, we walked, we had breakfast, we explored and we waited to begin.
During the day, I was most struck by how everyone there was of like minds and how all of the cultures and beliefs and orientations and ages and gender came together to blend into a magnificent gathering.
There was a family standing on the curb. A little girls who was probably 3 years old was sitting up on her daddy's shoulders. She was holding a sign, that was almost as big as she was, that said 'I love you with all of my heart'. And in her sweet young innocent voice she yelled out to the marchers again and again, 'I love you with all of my heart'. She was the reason we were all there.
Marching decades ago, and now, here is what was the same: The feeling of solidarity and the fundamental reason to have our voices heard. Community building. Common ground. The desire for peace. The passion for change. YES we can.
Here is what was different: We were not angry - we were marching in solidarity to let the world know what we believe in. It was a march, not a demonstration or revolution. There was no violence. Entire families came together. There were good conversations. It embraced and welcomed everyone.
And here is what I know; I feel I have come full circle and I have the feeling of being complete. My work is not done. There are things I must do in order to help support the energy that was created this past weekend. I feel so very proud to be a 'wisdom carrier' and to part of the new paradigm of change. Much has happened for equal rights since I started protesting 40 years ago, and it is imperative that we make sure we hold onto what we have done and step forward to create an even better and stronger alliance. I am so very grateful to have the honor to be part of this movement. I am humbled and proud.
This weekend I will be participating in the Women's March on Washington in Seattle. I am excited and proud to be part of this momentous demonstration once again being part of the voice of women demanding equal rights in all aspects of our lives.
It has been over 40 years since I was last involved in national collaborative community who spoke out against the disengagement of the feminine spirit as part of the Women's Movement, and the Vietnam War. I was 19 years old and had a fire in my belly that I was going to be an intricate part of creating change in our country. And we were successful!
The outcomes were miraculous, and we proved that when a community comes together to send a message to those who are supposedly in charge, that change can happen.
As I sit here and compose this piece I am smiling. I am smiling for those of us who were in the forefront of beginning to stir the vortex of emanate change. For those of us who burned our bras and stopped shaving our legs and armpits. For those of us who found the courage to say "fuck you" in moments of frustration. For those of us who found our feminine center and shared that part of us with the world. We were the warriors. We were the champions. We were the voice of change.
I am also smiling for the young women who are not stepping into the role of being change agents. They are our successors who are taking what we have learned and what we have taught them as they are released and blessed into the world of being heard and seen.
I love being a Wisdom Crone and am going to be one of many who will be marching together, speaking our voices and supporting those who are now leading the way.
So on Saturday morning, January 21, 2017, I will put on my raincoat and my water resistant shoes and top my crown with my pink pussy hat and march like I have never marched before with 29 thousand (+) other souls all together in unity!
I am a steward of creative inquiry. I am most alive when enraptured by the organic flow and freedom I experience when immersed in my creative expression, which I write about here in this blog.