International Women’s Day

Other than the ones I’ve deemed worthy, like birthdays and well, birthdays, (and when I was married, anniversaries) and the obligatory holidays, I don’t do pre-canned days, prescribed events, pre-planned observances, annual lah-tee-dahs…

Oh wait. But I do. I’m in this world and I provide social media support and that includes strategy and that involves well, today. And, it’s true, I do respect that these marked days draw our attention to what we might have otherwise taken for granted. But, for whatever reason, it’s not my natural inclination. My natural inclination is to go “Right, I need the world to set a date to remind me of what I value as if I wouldn’t otherwise? And I wouldn’t do anything about this otherwise, right? And, naturally, there’s something I should purchase today to show my dedication, sincerity, etc., right?” Yes. I can be that cynical and snotty.

But I do have nobler parts. And they’re in the game today and seeing it as something other than a GAME.

Here’s a lovely quote from Liza Donnelly I appreciate: “When you become a woman, there is no manual,  you have to figure out how to “do” being a women by doing it. You watch other women, read magazines, listen to your mother, sister, grandmother. You practice being a woman and adjust how you do it by the reactions you get. For example, wearing a really short skirt gets one kind of reaction from men, another reaction from women. By performing your gender, you learn how to “do” it from how others respond to you.

If there is one thing women have in common around the world, other than anatomy,  it is that we have to be constantly aware. Women need to be alert to their surroundings not only to avoid possible physical harm to their bodies, they have to be aware of whether or not they are performing their role as women correctly.  Because in many societies, if they do not perform their roles correctly, they can be ostracized, or much worse.  In many parts of the world, women are in constant danger because of their membership in this group.  In too many parts of the world, women are not free.”

She has a knack for drawing, to put it mildly: 

And then there’s a man I find perpetually addressing the heart of the matter, Jeff Brown: “Dear Divine Feminine, Me and my brothers are readying for our movement into the heart as a way of being. It’s a slow-winged process, but we are dropping down a little more with every lesson. Bless us with your ongoing support as we figure out how to feel our way home. We have some experience with the relational path, but not as much as you do. We have often moved with a heartfelt intention, but swimming in deep feeling is another experience entirely. We have been so vigilant for so long that it’s a challenge to relate to the moment vulnerably. We intuit that the life of the heart is the path home, but we need some time to embrace it, to integrate it, to understand how to move the way that loves makes you move. We have the willingness- we just have to learn how to convert our armoured nature into receptivity. We have for too long associated surrender with weakness. But it is not. It is the depths of courage- you have taught us that. Please be patient as we stumble back to our old patterns. We will not disappoint you, once we understand this new way. We will meet you there. At the gate to our shared heart.”

And it’s heart that keeps us busy with the work of respecting that somewhere in the layers of these nationally and internationally recognized days is a sincere opportunity to add a little extra love-in-action to what must be a perpetual mastery of the practice of love itself. That’s really what it’s all about. As idealistic and pollyanna la la la as it sounds, it’s a gritty, fierce, real, sometimes in-your-face, other times sweet sweat of work…love.

The Divine Feminine . . .

“It is time for the divine feminine, courageous and open and honest and clear, to be handed the walking stick, the talking stick, and political power in most every jurisdiction the world over. The shift from survivalism to authenticity cannot be led by men. We don’t get it (yet). Only women understand the path of the heart deeply and can rule with their hearts on their sleeves. Casting my vote for the Divine Feminine. Show us the way.” Jeff Brown

Found via Jeff Brown’s Facebook status spill . . . http://on.fb.me/GGs9pa and in light of yesterday’s inspiration (see previous post!) this was the inevitable next post.

 

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

The Wild Flesh

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes has been inspiring my world here again lately. This particular passage of truth nourishes, reminding me why it’s so vital to stay in touch with joyful in-skin, in-flesh awareness and what she beautifully refers to as “Joyous Body: Wild Flesh” in her book “Women Who…” The following is taken from page 200 of her epic work:

“In the instinctive psyche, the body is considered a sensor, an informational network, a messenger with myriad communication systems–cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal, autonomic, as well as emotive and intuitive. In the imaginal world, the body is a powerful vehicle, a spirit who lives with us, a prayer of life in its own right. In fairy tales, as personified by magical objects that have superhuman qualities and abilities, the body is considered to have two sets of ears, one for hearing in the mundane world, the other for hearing the soul; two sets of eyes, one set for regular vision, another for far-seeing; two kinds of strength, the strength of the muscles and the invincible strength of soul. The list of twos about the body goes on…

hearing the soul

 …The body uses its skin and deeper fascia and flesh to record all that goes on around it. Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed. It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead.

The body is a multilingual being. It speaks through its color and its temperance, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heat of arousal, the coldness of nonconviction. It speaks through its constant tiny dance, sometimes swaying, sometimes a-jitter, sometimes trembling. It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirit, the pit at the center, and rising hope.

The body remembers, the bones remember, the joints remember, even the little finger remembers. Memory is lodged in pictures and feelings in the cells themselves. Like a sponge filled with water, anywhere the press is fleshed, wrung, even touched lightly, a memory may flow out in a stream.

vital, responsive, enduring...

To confine the beauty and value of the body to anything less than this magnificence is to force the body to live without its rightful spirit, its rightful form, its right to exultation. To be thought ugly or unacceptable because one’s beauty is outside the current fashion is deeply wounding to the natural joy that belongs to the wild nature. Women have good reason to refute psychological and physical standards that are injurious to spirit and which sever relationship with the wild soul. It is clear that the instinctive nature of women values body and spirit far more for their ability to be vital, responsive, and enduring than by any measure of appearance.”

We so often endure a spiritual tyranny of messages bombarding what could be the experience of wildness, of the unashamed, fearless flesh of skin and spirit. Media, historical decrees from decades gone but their crippling hum sometimes conjured by a familiar event…all of it stirring up the psyche, asking us to tune into the drumbeat below the myriad layers of possible attitudes about the body, about the body’s own intelligence, to tap into a rhythm of whole person acceptance, body, skin, warts, glow. All. Of. Self.

I’ve been aware lately, more than usual, of past messages that filtered through to me in particular. Long skirt for covering the “woman’s body” and no real clarity as to why, what was wrong with me that required I cover up? I saw a woman yesterday with her long skirt, her long braid, her chosen path, grey hairs streaking their own song of meaning. I struggled to accept it. Not her, but the cloaking uniform of adherence to creed, the inadvertant highlighting of her frame in the attempt to cover. I struggle, one part of me in the woods naked and the other part understanding, knowing why we choose our creeds, why we adhere to some religious views. No one path is all good, or all bad. But I wonder at the messages we swallow from such tender ages. What do we want and do we even know? Are our wants even our wants? Did that woman ever have a chance to know her own true desires or did the creeds form her like they sought to form me from a tender age? I have some distinct views on this posing as questions here. I’m trying hard to just dance around the bush. But the truth is, there’s no turning back for her or for me and yet our paths have gone long and winding differently down two opposing trails of meaning. Both are precious in their attempts to treasure what is vital.

So, what of it? I shook away my concern for her and walked away. Past the memories haunting and humming in my own body’s record of historical touch, growth, dance. The activities of my world write their own new stories on my being, even in and on my body, never erasing what was but scribing anew, the ink-jive of their words on the wellspring of soul whisper deep into every one of my fields, spilling seeds of newness, conjuring up that contrasting lush against the backdrop of a desert past.

spirit scene

This is what we can do with the magick of the wild flesh. We gift ourselves with sometimes polar pulses pounding out a new song, a life beyond ruins and into healing as we reach out into life with awareness, with an instinctive sense of our massive power to heal what we desire to heal within and beyond our own wild flesh. Bit by bit, layer by layer we undo the worst of the messages and incorporate those vibrations, those declarations most alive with truth, with awareness, forming -as best we can- desires in accord with the fearless (but wise) soul. Who am I beyond that fear that formed my reaction to life back there around the bend when I declared it my job to protect what was important to _____ (insert person’s name here or whatever applies)? How much has it woven itself into my being, doing, living? What if, what if we can transform motives into something that honors the wild flesh of humanity without fear, without indifference?