W.O.R.D.S: God, Goddess, Godde (or Cleaning up Pee)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): An alphabetical search for questions.*

Granted, it’s easy to live connected to the Source when the sky is

Open and the sun is shining, and the flowers bright. But when life

Dumps reality on your head a hundred times a day…

Damn it!

Every day is a lesson in remembering what we so easily forget.

I’m a mother. I’m more familiar with bodily fluids, especially little boy pee, than I ever could have imagined. This past week as I was down on my knees once again wiping up my son’s attempt at aim, I thought:

I’m more than this!

There’s a question that has been nagging at me for a while: How can one be spiritually-minded — in the moment, at one with The All … however you personally choose to define it — when there is all this life?

Oh, I’ve heard it before: Make folding laundry a meditation, pick up those little stinky socks like its a service of love for the greater good, pay the bills with non-existent money as an invitation for more “wealth” to come your way.

When you’ve bent down for the 9th time in 5 minutes to pick up another red, plastic foot-lancet, when the bug hits when the deadline is looming, when the officer is at the meter at precisely the moment the time expires, you’re not exactly ready to come over all Rumi.

In Christian circles, such as the one in which I was raised, any sadness, overwhelm, despair, frustration, anger… any “negative” emotion, was a clear indication of one’s lack of faith. “Pray harder,” “Take it to God,” “Ye of little faith…” In non-Christian, new(old)-age circles, this attitude tends to manifest in language such as not living in the moment enough, not mindful enough. “Just pray!” becomes “Just meditate!”

I rebel against this attitude. I don’t find it helpful because it feels like just another reason to feel bad about one’s “imperfect” self; that I’m not trying hard enough, that I’m not enough. But I am human after all, and I am going to get frustrated at life’s little annoyances.

And to those who will say, meditation/praying does work: I know this. Journaling, creating mandalas, walking are my forms of meditation and they do calm me. But I do not want to feel I am not doing it enough or right, or that if I was doing it better I wouldn’t feel the way I do. That demeans my feelings, my emotions. I refuse to judge my emotions.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to feel calmer, less anxious, less angry, and less grossed out by yellow-stained bathroom floors. And that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to live knowing I’m part of a bigger purpose; part of a bigger Something, a pulse in an energy with which we are all vibrating.

If I could know, really know, in my deepest depths that I am connected to everyone and everything on and around this planet, both living and beyond, would that late payment charge bother me? I really can’t say.

Source, spirit, god, goddess, godde, nirvana, transcendence, love… these, in my opinion, are all one-in-the same: something one can experience. That opening of the heart when one realizes we are all connected. It can happen, it does happen, to some more than others. It is what makes us part of the divine.

But what makes us human is the constant forgetfulness that keeps us asking questions, keeps us on our toes… and in the end makes even cleaning up pee an opportunity to laugh at our human inability to aim correctly all the time.

Prompt: “I always forget…”

~~~
*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

W.O.R.D.S.: Feminine (or Mother’s calling)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

klimt mother childFeeling something’s deeply wrong

Equality and equity are words they say, but

My body knows the wound of centuries,

Ingrained in the soul of every woman who has ever been called “bitch” or hysterical for

Nothing more than speaking her heart’s song or acting with her

Intuition, her gnosis, her body’s knowing.

No, this wound is deep and it gapes open at times, crying out for balm.

Express the rage. Create! Until we can all shout and cradle the swallowed words of our grandmothers.

~

Expressive writing — expressing the emotions, the body’s feelings, flowing from the unconscious — to my understanding, is a way to tap into the culturally suppressed side of our psyche, which can be symbolized by the “feminine,” that which is archetypically the nurturer, empowerer, and collaborator  in both females and males.

This type of writing, then, can be considered a form of self-mothering. It is a way to care for our inner child.

The following is an excerpt from my Masters’ thesis that explains this further:

I believe it is the suppressed “feminine” voice of the psyche, that which yearns for connection and affiliation with nature, others, and self, which has been held down by fear in order to keep hierarchy in place.

Releasing this “feminine” aspect through writing gives voice to the other half of our psyche and to our natural selves, our actualized self and helps bring us into balance.

Like a mother builds up her children, we can write to vanquish the fear, to build self-confidence—to empower ourselves—so we can empower others.

Through writing we can enter whole, balanced, meditative states that increase “flow” and feelings of connectedness.

When we write we are fostering our own psychic growth towards self-actualization which paradoxically connects us to ALL through understanding and compassion for our shared human-ness.

Prompt: I feel the feminine wound…

~~~
*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

W.O.R.D.S.: Belief (or What is the definition of love?)

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions.*

Belief in a life lived is all I need, because

Every day is a leap of faith.

Living in unity with the All,

Invites me to believe in Trust.

Envisioning the path on which I walk

Forwards my Wholy Self.

Am I a Believer? Yes. I believe in lots of things.

The smell of freshly cut grass in the summer. My children’s downy-soft earlobes. The full moon rising majestically over the Vermont mountains. The melancholy crooning of the mourning doves. The taste of dark, rich chocolate melting on my tongue.

I also believe in writing with groups of supportive, heart-honest people.

I believe in making decisions based on compassion (including for yourself), not rules. And acting from a place of confidence and happiness and love, not reacting from a place of fear.

I believe in equity, not equality. In cooperation and collaboration, not competition and conquering; power-with, not -over. In giving a hand-back to give a hand-up.

I believe in a Universe that is unfathomable, a mystery. A Universe – within and without – that yearns, and endlessly realigns, for balance and wholeness. A Universe that is a web of All That Is: all connected and all valuable to the Whole.  believe when one part is weakened, so is the All.

I believe this is a great and simple definition of love: “Wishing for the happiness of the Beloved.” (Buddhist). And God is Love. Lotus is Flower. Love is God. Flower is Lotus. Love – wishing for others’ happiness – is the definition of divinity.

Yes, I am a Believer: In the divine in myself that is the divine in you that is the divine in all that is the Divine.

But that doesn’t mean I completely understand or know all the answers… and that’s okay.

Prompt: “I believe…”

~~~

*This project is an off-shoot of the work I did for my graduate degree where I used Words to help heal from my negative indoctrination from “The Word.” Words are powerful agents for transformation! (Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice.)

W.O.R.D.S.: A new project

maa-saraswati

Saraswati, Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts (including writing) and science.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saraswati)

Can I tell you how much I miss blogging? When I began this strange – as I saw it at the time – new form of writing over five years ago, I was quickly (as in, instantly) hooked. I loved the freedom of my own forum, the informality, the brevity, and above all, that lovely button that says “publish.”

Click! Yes, I’m published. Click! Published again. Click, Click. Click.

I’ve never really been concerned that my readership is low, I truly write for myself (but that doesn’t mean I don’t check my statistics page like a hawk and get all excited when someone comments). I love the tippity-tap of my thoughts manifesting on screen, the words a reflection of my inner knowledge that many times I did not know I knew.

I didn’t blog much while I was in grad school and even less now that I am back in the “real” world learning to make a living doing what I love. But it has become very clear to me that part of what I love IS blogging.

And I have so many things I want to share from my graduate research and memoir-writing.* So many things from that experience that I still need to process. So many words I have still inside me.

It is as a storyteller-writer-scholar, I want to introduce a new blogging project. Through it I will look at women’s studies, myth, psychology, spirituality, embodiment, goddess-consciousness, creativity, and of course, transformational/expressive writing.

And I am giving myself self-inflcited -imposed deadlines. If I am to do what I love successfully, I must have deadlines. As my friend, author Burnham Holmes said yesterday in his presentation at the Horace Greeley Writers’ Symposium: Deadlines are your friends.

So, introducing…

The W.O.R.D.S. Project (Words Open Resonating Depths of the Sacred): A weekly alphabetical search for questions. Including writing prompts. Starting next week.

~~~

*Thesis/Final Project: Calling Little Gypsy Home: Reclaiming Voice Through Expressive Writing and the Sacred Feminine; Memoir: Sing from the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search in Voice

To Taste Life Twice: Processing the ‘Power of Words’ Conference

“Earth Birth” by Deborah Milton from theodorerichards.com

Sitting across from me is a pixie of a woman. Silver hair, warmly tanned skin, and sparkling, smiling eyes. She enchants me with her beauty. And her words.

As she speaks, she spins a metaphor that stuns me with its articulation, its clarity, its truth. Putting pen to paper about an experience is like giving yourself a beautifully wrapped package, she says. Giving it words so that you can experience it all over again is like pulling the ribbon, peeling back the paper, and peeking inside to find the treasure inside. It is, she said, quoting Anais Nin, exactly like tasting life twice.

The label on this particular wrapped box says “Transformative Language Arts Network’s ‘Power of Words’ Conference, October 11-13, 2013.” I will unravel and reveal its true gift as I write.

Re-meeting people I love from Goddard College and meeting face-to-face those with whom I have been in cyber contact, precluded any whispers of shyness from becoming shouts. Over the years I have become much better at interacting with people, as long as no small talk is required. In a place where we are all lovers of words and writing, I am guaranteed a meaningful conversation which doesn’t include one mention of the weather (unless it is to describe the way the raindrops hung like tiny jewels from the red berries or the mist draped the mountain like a shawl over the hunched shoulders of an old, wise woman).

“I found my people!” was exclaimed in relief more than once. When a voice catches in resonance of their own and others’ words, I, too know, these are my people.

These are people who express their anger and grief through music and poetry that makes you want to dance in agreement.

These are people who reach into their souls to find the word or melody that makes their body react in a exhalation of breath.

These are people who realize that Story is the basic building block of all we know to be “true” and True.

These are people who can make you laugh in recognition at the absurdity of life when seen through the eyes of a cat named Zen.

These are people who gather in a circle to sing, to express their learning, to acknowledge their calling.

These are people who know that to categorize “Other” is to break the sacred circle that is the womb, the swirling universe, the spiraling molecules, the revolving seasons, the unity of All. (“More Mothering, less Othering,” C says.)

These are people who use words, who guide others to use words, to find the wisdom that connects and overcomes and moves forward.

These are people who do not decide their life on fear of lack but on visions of abundance.

Yes, these are my people. And for the first time in my life I felt neither superior (as my childhood church insisted I feel over those who hadn’t “The Truth”) nor inferior (as a incapable, unlearned woman in a “man’s world”), but equal. Self-judgement had no place here.

And I know, more than ever, that I must write. Not just my columns which help pay the bills, but words that come from a place of deeper knowledge and yearning. I must continue to research the importance of this work and I must help spread that word.

And I will continue to help others find their deep words.

D, The Storyteller says that Transformative Language Arts — using language for social and personal change — will one day soon be acknowledged and known and accepted. I can’t wait. I was called to do this work, it is my passion. I will continue it whether is it accepted or not. I know it works — I am a living testament to that — and I will share my Joy in it.

And there! There is the gift inside my wrapped package: I will live my Joy to an even greater extent. For it keeps the spiral of connection spinning. Sending out vibrations of Joy and Courage to others.

Prompt: What is my Joy? My Joy is…

Authentic Voice Project: I is for (Divine) Intervention/Intuition

For redefinition, I was thrown back to myself, to my inner knowing… Marilyn Sewell, Cries of the Spirit

The Authentic Voice Project: Week 9 (“Super” Full Moon)… a week late, ooops.

Throat Chakra

I is for (Divine) Intervention/Intuition

(The original version of this post turned out to be very long. This is the condensed version which is more in line with the Authentic Voice Project’s format. However, I have included the full version at the bottom of this post.)

Many believe that god is not an external being, but that god is within. Every creature, rock, tree, is divine; as Krishna Das said in an interview in Sun, “There’s only one God, and we’re all it.” And we, as humans, can find and access this divinity – and its divine wisdom – if we choose. When the divine energy and wisdom of all things is in concert, powerful things can happen.

I believe Intuition is this divine – and sometimes inexplicable – wisdom, and that “Divine Intervention” (or Serendipity or Synchronicity) is tapping into knowledge we did not know we know and into sources of energy to which we did not know we were connected.

Throughout my journaling “career,” but particularly since I recognized this to be my life’s work, and even more intensely since I began grad school, I have been struck by life’s connections. Sometimes you can recognize the separate links as they appear (often in the strangest places) and connect, creating new knowledge and understanding. At other times, one comment or sentence can in a flash fuse together seemingly disparate events, books, people, dreams together to reveal new meaning and insight.

My most current experience is with my own definition of Finding Voice, meaning both the physical act of being able to speak up and out, and also as a symbol of finding and knowing Self, which is the theme of my thesis and memoir. I have always called myself a singer but I discarded this application of using/finding my voice in my studies and writing. But it was not to be so. A series of events, from losing my voice to a cold, to inadvertently connecting with a voice teacher on Facebook, to picking up a random magazine whose current theme turned out to be singing, have made it clear that my songs also need to be heard.

What causes these bizarre “coincidences”? I believe it is a divine wisdom, intuition – knowledge from a deeper/higher place – that causes us, and the world around us, to unconsciously move in a certain way. We must be open to it though. We must be seeking our potential and moving in a direction of growth and healing. And while I am not yet certain how this slight expansion in definition of “voice” will affect my writing and studies, I am choosing to trust the process. I am trusting this Divine Intervention and my Intuition.

~~~~~~

I is for (Divine) Intervention/Intuition (The Unabridged Version)

Many believe that god is not an external being, but that god is within. Every creature, rock, tree, is divine; as Krishna Das said in an interview, “There’s only one God, and we’re all it.” And we, as humans, can find and access this divinity – and its divine wisdom – if we choose. When the divine energy and wisdom of all things is in concert, powerful things can happen. I believe Intuition is this divine – and sometimes inexplicable – wisdom, and that “Divine Intervention” (or Serendipity or Synchronicity) is tapping into knowledge we did not know we know and into sources of energy to which we did not know we were connected.

This week’s post is an example of this. It is a convoluted tale with many different threads coming together from diverse and unexpected places and people. It is about “impossible” connections and happenings that, I believe, occur when wisdom/knowledge beyond our understanding is accessed.

My graduate thesis and memoir is about “Finding Voice,” with “voice” meaning both the physical act of being able to speak up and out, and also as a symbol of finding and knowing Self. Recently I was writing about some childhood memories where I was silenced in one way or another. I began to experience some sinus pressure while writing. The next day I happened upon this passage:

‎Many women have difficulty speaking, actually allowing words to come easily through their throats. Their sinuses are often blocked… ” – Leaving My Father’s House, Marion Woodman

This passage goes on to say:

The [sexual] chakra and the throat chakra are connected. Is it possible that when they fully forgive themselves for being sexual beings and fully let go into their creatureliness… Are their frozen tears the tears of generations of women who could not accept their creatureliness in their sexuality? When those tears flow will women be able to speak with clear, easy resonances from their feminine depths?”

I wondered about this connection between voice/silence and sensuality/sexuality. As a teenager I had often experienced an inability to swallow food in conjunction with stomach pains.

Then, while “chatting” on a Facebook group of former church members about the body-mind connection in relation to spiritual and sexual transcendence, one woman happened to mention she was a voice teacher. She said she has noticed that, “most peoples neuroses manifest in the way the use their voices, and most people don’t use their voices naturally and efficiently.” Suddenly I made the connection between singing and emotion. I have sung in choral groups and as a soloist most of my life but for some reason I hadn’t thought this was an important aspect of my story of Voice/Self and the silencing one can experience as a child – particularly a daughter – of fundamental/patriarchal religion. I did think it was interesting that as a teenager I was afraid that I would somehow lose my singing voice, as if unconsciously I was aware it might be the only voice I had, but to focus my writing on my singing still hadn’t seemed warranted.

I decided to write an essay, “The Story of My [singing] Voice” to discover whether my singing “career” somehow reflected suppressed emotion and loss of Self. (I can only figure such things out by writing through them.) Through the essay I realized my singing voice had, paradoxically, kept me both disconnected from my emotions and, albeit by a thin thread, connected to them through my physical, sexual/sensual body.

The morning I had planned to write the essay, I awoke with a raging sore throat from a dream where a mouse had bitten deeply into the skin at the base of my big toe. I looked it up and found that in reflexology this region is connection to the throat. Over the next three days I completely lost my voice. I then remembered that almost a year ago I had had a dream where a mouse bit my heel, which is the region connected to the pelvis. I knew then that the passion of my teen and young adult years, singing, could not be discounted in my story of finding and reclaiming my self as a whole woman and human. My voice, whether spoken or sung, is the “voice” of mySelf and I needed to investigate it to go further along my road to healing.

This past week my family went on vacation. While on the train I found a notebook in the bag I had dug out of the closet specifically for the trip. Looking for a blank page, I found this note from last summer when I attended the senior voice recital of a friend’s son:

I notice discomfort watching him showing emotion. Embarrassed for him. Find it hard to watch his face. Moved by music itself but interaction between him and female singer causes more discomfort.

Here it was again, a link between singing and emotion. Whatever causes an emotional reaction in us, whether it is discomfort, anger, or a knowing resonance, it is a clue to our own truth. While I had not consciously known when I jotted it down the relevance of this little note-to-self, finding it at this very moment gave me a message I needed. A little while later on the train ride, I found the magazine I had thrown in my bag at the last minute which I had recently “stolen” from a coffee shop (it was a old issue and I knew the owners were wanting to whittle down their piles of reading materials.) I didn’t open it before pilfering it, I just knew it was a great publication. The first article I opened to was “A Joyful Noise: Krishna Das On Chanting the Names of God,” and upon further inspection discovered that the theme of the whole issue was, yes, singing.

What causes these bizarre “coincidences”? I believe it is a divine wisdom, intuition – knowledge from a deeper/higher place – that causes us, and the world around us, to unconsciously move in a certain way. We must be open to it though. We must be seeking our potential and moving in a direction of growth and healing. And while I am not yet certain how this slight expansion in definition of “voice” will ultimately affect my writing and studies, I am choosing to trust the process. I am trusting this Divine Intervention and my Intuition.

Authentic Voice Project: C is for Contentment

The Authentic Voice Project: Week 3 (Full Moon)

C is for Contentment

Ahhh, contentment.

Society says: Contentment is swinging on a hammock while staring at the sky. It is walking along a beach, hand-in-hand with your love, golden retriever bounding by your side. At least that’s what the commercials would have us believe. But most media is playing on our desperate yearning for a life so opposite to our reality in order to sell us their drugs or stuff. And truthfully, how many of us, while lazing in that hammock are actually thinking of nothing? Isn’t it the perfect place to swing our fretting into full-blown panic because we’re not doing anything!? We are a society where doing = worth.

What society really believes of contentment is that it is not possible – but keep on battlin’ for it anyway! We are taught/brain-washed that we must always be striving for something more: More Money. More Sex. More Car. More House. More Youthful-Looking Skin. Ah, THEN you will be content.

I say: Contentment is a mind, heart and soul at rest. (Would it be that easy!)

Contentment is NOT worry. It is NOT self-judgement. It is NOT jealousy. It is NOT striving.

Contentment is the absence of fear. It is trust.

Contentment is trusting there will be enough money to pay the bills. Trusting in your own abilities. It is being grateful for what you have, not what you haven’t (but trusting that by envisioning your dreams, they can come true). It is living each day for this day, uncolored by the messages and beliefs of yesterday. Contentment is loving the discarded sock in the living room and the childish innocence and abandon that put it there. (OK, that one is a hard sell, I know.)

Contentment is “Flow” – those moments where you lose time doing something challenging that you love. Experience more of these moments and experience more overall happiness. (Visit this post for more information on the concept of “Flow.”)

Contentment is accepting each day, each event, each experience, and each person who crosses your way, not as a test sent to punish or sabotage your joy, but as part of your journey towards your best – and healthiest, happiest – self.

Prompts: In what moments are you happiest? What fears are holding you back from contentment?