An Engaged Life…

“There was a time when we humans were not so separated from the natural world and the spirits as we are today. We lived directly on the Earth, in nature, honoring the cycles of all things, where we could see the interaction and manifestation of Spirit easily. This way of living is not some kind of revisionist utopian fantasy. Rather, it is the nature of an engaged life, lived close to the environment and in symbiosis with the immediate world around us. As we have hidden our natural selves, and from our natural selves, in the sanitized boxes of suburbia, office cubicles, congested cities, logic, reason, science, technology, and the myriad traps of modern civilization, we have segregated ourselves from nonordinary energies and perception, seemingly banishing them altogether…This separation of ourselves from the natural world doesn’t make sense on any plane of existence, high-vibrational or otherwise. It is essentially an unnatural by-product of the complete removal of our culture and peoples from the natural world. it is antievolutionary.”

Colleen Deatsman and Paul Bowersox – Seeing in the Dark, Claim Your Own Shamanic Power Now and in the Coming Age

Church of The Flesh

“The cultural power of the body is its beauty, but power in the body is rare, for most have chased it away with their torture of or embarrassment by the flesh. It is in this light that the wildish woman can inquire into the numinosity of her own body and understand it is not as a dumbbell that we are sentenced to carry for life, not as a beast of burden, pampered or otherwise, who carries us around for life, but a series of doors and dreams and poems through which we can learn and know all manner of things. In the wild psyche, body is understood as a being in its own right, one who lovs us, depends on us, one to whom we are sometimes mother, and who sometimes is mother to us.” Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves…

I need these words as I traverse a path here that unfolds historical self and transforming person along a story of acceptance and change. When my body was perfect in the strictest sense of aesthetic flawlessness I was horrifcally harsh at the slightest hint or ripple of imperfection. One dimple on my backside and I was undone for weeks, working out like a maniac, starving myself. One. Only one.

wild psyche

I got married, had children and kept that inner demon on a long chain, that shredding perfectionist sadist rearing her ugly head when life gave me two seconds to breathe. Self-acceptance was an occasional seasonal jaunt down luscious lane. But the time of facing what and who I am after many years of parenting, chronic illness and so much else reveals a deep need to embrace that deeper truth of inherent power in the body. Funny…I get there when I just give myself with joy to life and to being. But I struggle still with this particular monster. I’m fine until I have to reveal my arms or. Oiy. Practice of self-acceptance requires embracing moments of exposure and risk. Who would think a sundress could put a woman in a tailspin? I want to announce first, “Um, sorry for the flaws it’s not that I’m lazy. I have had a few challenges and you wouldn’t believe how often I lift those weights that sit in my living room waiting for my perfection and my sons who weigh a ton and.” Forget sunbathing…

But not…

So, come on life, take me to that naked place in the sun baking mind/body/soul into a new perfection fearless, a worship of what is and what can be, of all that created the body of being and the being of body. How much mechanical duty piecemeals the parts meant to flow, glow and sigh in a restful acceptance of this am… melt the mountain of resistance and leave me to sparkle in the sand.

a view to perfection

La La La La Loba…

I’m not hearing it much now, that text message that decided to come back and haunt me repeatedly, day after day: “Where is my la loba?”

But her work has re-entered my bones silently, sinking even more deeply as I read again of Pinkola-Estes’ Women Who

“Once women have lost her and found her again, they will contend to keep her for good. Once they have regained her, they will fight and fight hard to keep her, for with her their creative lives blossom; their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; their cycles of sexuality, creativity, work, and play are re-established; they are no longer marks for the predations of others; they are entitled equally under the laws of nature to grow and to thrive. Now their end-of-the-day fatigue comes from satisfying work and endeavors, not from being shut up in too small a mind-set, job, or relationship. They know instinctively when things must die and when things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.”

This is from her chapter titled “Singing Over The Bones.”

Today I found a blogger whose history includes being raised as a fundamentalist. It’s a history I know well from my own upbringing. It’s not something I like to go on and on about or even mention if I can help it. But it does creep into my writing, into my nicknames and own personal archetype work, into my singing. Jezcallmeruth is my tag on Myspace and it hints at the Jezebel archetype, a much-needed balancing companion for Ruthness. A guardian over the predatory goodness of an all-giving, good-natured “your people are mine, your god is my god” character. Yes, some goodness can kill the very heart of what generosity protects and nurtures. But I digress, it seems.

That I was raised fundie and came crashing out of it when I realized I could not reconcile it with love itself and raise children, that fact permeates every bit of my now. It helped shape me. The struggle to gain something as simple as mental emancipation and soul-centered beingness freed of any sense of “sinfulness” dominated whole chapters of my life. That struggle makes for some intense appreciation of things real, things deeply human, potently in-your-face raw. Only recently has the anger and frustration of it all abated enough to give me room to bloom. And the redemption of it rests in the fact that long-bottled soulful jiving yum is exceptionally nourishing.

Google anything to do with recovering fundies and you’ll mostly find blogs dedicated to refuting and ranting at every ounce of fundamentalist nonsense ever conjured by the fearful. It’s a whole new world of anti-fundamentalism fundies. And I want none of it. Except to urge them to find a new religion, one that focuses on restoring what is lost in fundamentalism and not their addictive ranting religion against religion. 

I want to learn from the skeletal remains of experiences, experiences whose blasting clarification of the vital importance of personhood, of innocence never lost, of self-awareness and of creativity catalyzes sweaty work to cultivate the best of being human. We get there by way of La Loba, by way of singing over the bones, by way of embracing the life/death/life cycles of our days, of our decades and by knowing the sweetness of change. And the sweatness.

Where is my La Loba? She is within and beyond in those who sing over the bones of loss, of hurt and of possibility. She resides a humming drumbeat in the soul of every one who longs to live fully even in the silence of rest.

jruthkelly © 2009

And She Sings . . .

“…whether by the speed of its running, or by splashing its way into a river, or by way of a ray of sunlight or moonlight hitting it right in the side, the wolf is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon.

So it is said that if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something–something of the soul.

This La Loba Wild Woman who lives in the desert has been called by many names and crisscrosses all nations down through the centuries… She is the archivist of feminine intention. She preserves female tradition. Her whiskers sense the future; she has the far-seeing milky eye of the old crone; she lives backward and forward in time simultaneously, correcting for one side by dancing with the other.”

C. Pinkola-Estés – Women Who Run With The Wolves


Where Is My La Loba?

I was scanning old text messages on my phone, noting I had quite a backlog. Some are locked so as not to be lost to auto-delete. They contain the best: Sweetness from my kids or nieces. Or sisters. Or best friend. I read them sometimes, eating their feast of open-hearted love. One grabs me even today though I’ve not read it. That happens to me sometimes. A phrase I read a few days ago will pop up to the surface and pop up and. It won’t quit. It usually connects to something I need to focus on or see about my life.

This one from a text message hails me at every turn: “Where is my la loba?”

Do you know who la loba is? She is the finder and keeper of the bones. I love Clarissa Pinkola-Estes words on La Loba from Women Who Run With The Wolves (If you haven’t read it and you care about personal growth, then you really must read this book.)–

“We all begin as a bundle of bones lost somewhere in a desert, a dismantled skeleton that lies under the sand. It is our work to recover the parts. It is a painstaking process best done when the shadows are just right, for it takes much looking. La Loba indicates what we are to look for—the indestructible life force.”

La Loba is the wild woman, the old woman of the folk tales, the myths and legends. She does not shy away from the bones, the wreckage of humanity. She collects those bones and keeps them for the song.

More from Pinkola-Estes’ book:

“The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is said to be wolves.

She creeps and crawls and sifts through the montanas, mountains, and arroyos, dry riverbeds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creatures is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when…”

That is when? When what? I’ll continue the quote at next post. But when we have the courage and strength to acknowledge there are BONES, that there is some evidence of loss in our souls, it is only then that we have the means to begin to renew, to restore, to grow a transformation. You cannot find what you do not seek.

So, it is my task today to understand why I keep hearing “Where is my la loba?” I suspect it is the old woman herself, in a cave somewhere safe, whispering to me, reminding me that that is my work now, for myself. To sing over the loss and make new, to insist on the indestructible life force that brings newness to dry bones.

Where is my la loba? Where is the song?

On with it…

Jruthkelly © 2009