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…”

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*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.)

Authentic Voice Project: U is for Union

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

The Authentic Voice Project: Week 22 (New Moon)

U is for Union

Union = bring together, connect, to make one

Yoga = from sanskrit word meaning union

Religion = from Latin root ligare, meaning to bind together, a union

Spirit = from Latin root spirare, meaning to breathe (the act of which brings psyche and soma (mind-body) together as one)

Modern religion, based on hierarchical and dualistic paradigms, fosters the exact opposite of its root meaning. God over Man, Man over Woman and Nature, Mind over Matter (Body). Spirit vs. Flesh, Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil. True Union – Oneness – cannot be achieved in this concertized pyramid.

But this is not the nature of nature – human or mother. The world – the earth – is not a pyramid; it is a circle. It has no edge, or top or bottom, left or right. It is a delicate balance of all. There are only interconnected circles of existence, continuums of being, webs of connection between nature, all humans, all cells.

There is Union between continents when the tides inhale on one shore and exhale on the opposite. There is Connection between peoples when we feel sadness draping over our communal shoulders in the aftermath of disaster. There is Oneness when a man and a woman come  together in sacred union. There is Religion when, standing atop a mountain or in a dense forest, the body seems so small yet so big, and the air is your spirit, your breath is the air, and you are One with it all.

True Religion is Spirit. It is the connection between all the things. It is the oxygen that you take in, the same oxygen breathed by every creature and plant surrounding you. It is the breath bringing life to all cells, all organs so your mind-body may operate in balanced harmony with itself. It is the vibration of one entity’s life force resonating against another, like a drum pulsing with the beat of another. A web’s every strand shimmying in the breeze.

Religion = Union with the Divine, with the divinity within each of us, the “God Within” – the Self that is our whole, holy, unified mind-body, fully in spirit with Mother Earth.

More thoughts on Authentic Voice (and writing)

Authentic Voice is that which longs for interconnectedness, looks toward growth and actualization (as opposed to purely “defense” needs and “elemental drives” such as eating, sleeping, finding shelter, having sex [Eisler, 190]), and is not “encased” by societies’ rigid hierarchical gender roles and stereotypes. It is not selfish or self-centered, but a recognition of “our essential interconnectedness with all humanity.” (Eisler, 190)

Authentic Voice is the one yearning for connection – love – and as such is the spiritual voice. Self-actualization cannot occur when living in fear or under suppression, and Authentic Voice cannot be heard in those states either. Love cannot be heard when there is “fear” of an “enemy” – within or without. “Hierarchies… require defensive habits of mind.” (Eisler, 190)

Authentic Voice is the suppressed “feminine” voice of the psyche – that which yearns for connection and affiliation with nature, others, and self – 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.

So, like a mother does for her children, we write to vanquish the fear, to build self-confidence, to empower ourselves, so we can empower others (by realizing we are the same and not enemies). And to enter states of mind, i.e. whole, balanced, meditative states that increase “flow’ and feelings of connectedness. When we write we are fostering our own psychic growth towards actualization which in itself moves us “toward a different reality: the ‘peak experience’ consciousness of our essential interconnectedness with all of humanity” (Eisler, 190).

Writing allows us to tap into our own symbology, it uses both sides of the brain – this is whole “seeing.” It accesses body wisdom – the unconscious memories and collective unconscious. It balances the psyche, which fosters growth through creativity. Creativity is new ideas brought together in a “non-conventional” way to envision different forms of beauty that can initiate change. Creativity is insight – into self, into others, into new possibilities. Authentic Voice is our source of creativity and a path to self-actualization.

Source: Eisler, Riane Tennenhaus. The Chalice and the Blade : Our History, our Future. San Francisco, Calif.: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. Print.

The Word vs. my words

You know that feeling when a connection suddenly clicks in your mind? It is enlightening, almost joyful. I have even experienced it to be mind-boggling. Connections can be and are made all the time, connections that weave our world and those in it together. Connections – like the strands of a spider’s web – bond together for strength and bring us sustenance. When a new connection is made it is like a door opens:  To understanding. To healing.

About a year ago I had coffee with a successful author (Pulitzer/Emmy kind of successful) at a local cafe. He is a lovely grandfatherly man; he made me laugh and feel confident about my little aspiring-writer-self. I was just starting graduate school and he was interested in hearing about my studies. I told him about my fundamentalist religious upbringing and how I planned to write a memoir. As I explained to him my hopes for Transformative Language Arts to release me from the grip of the negative self-beliefs that religious dogma and tunnel-vision has the potential to instill,  Mr. Pultizer quipped, “The Word.” I laughed at his pun but  immediately understood he had just said something very significant.

Yes, how ironic that I would be using words to release myself from The Word! But the deeper meaning I couldn’t quite place. It nagged at me. I pondered it, I mind-mapped it, I played with more word association, but still I couldn’t quite make the connection I felt was hidden there.

One year later, I am lying in bed after waking from a particularly symbolic dream, trying to wrap my head around all its meanings. Suddenly, the connection between “The Word” and my writing of words clicked into place. I don’t know if the answer lay in the dream – which on the surface appeared completely unrelated – or if my dreamy state of mind had allowed meanings from deeper depths to float up. Either way, the connection was made.

And It has to do with Authority (Author-ity).  And Knowing. And Voice. And Balance of inner and outer, left and right, rules and compassion, body and mind… everything my thesis studies have been focused on but which I hadn’t quite pieced together coherently.

And so, while my intuition knew that my author friend’s off-the-cuff pun was important, it took a whole year to percolate into something of substance. Our unconscious knows more than we know we know, but give it time and the pieces will eventually develop into a whole picture. One man, one conversation, one word – The Word – and a new door opened (albeit very slowly!) to connection, to new understanding.

Prompt: “I never made the connection until…”


It is connections that heal

Since I began grad school last August I have been particularly awe-struck by the twins, Synchronicity and Serendipity. Connections everywhere! Seemingly unrelated events, conversations, books, memories, people have suddenly fallen together like perfectly synchronized cogs. My life paths and how they have led to where I am and what I am doing today is the most amazing and surprising of all.

This past week I have been thinking about some pretty deep things regarding God, Godde (thanks to Margaret Starbird), Goddess, Spirit. I was trying to wrap my head around my what I am learning from my independent study and pinning it down to nice clean thesis statement. Not an easy task when I have so many more questions than statements (other than “wow! I never thought of that!”). I won’t attempt to explain some of my thought processes (have to leave something for the book) but while mind-mapping I stumbled upon this idea:

It is CONNECTIONS that heal.

Think about it: Connection with those you love, the touch of a mother connecting to a newborn, the new connections made in the brain each time we learn something new (and that researchers tell us help keep us mentally alert as we age), that intangible inner glow we feel when connecting with nature, a relationship with a higher power, connecting with ourselves during some precious alone time, or the resonance we feel when we read/hear/write something that we connect with on a deeper level.

And then there’s the research of emotions and language. It has been shown by scientists and psychologists such as Eugene Gendlin and Dr. James Pennebaker, that it is (only?) when we connect language, either written or spoken, to our feelings (emotions and sensations) that we get a feeling of resolution and so can begin to heal from traumas or emotional upheavals.

It is said we are not islands. No, we are more like the icebergs or delicate coral reefs: connected and part of a far-reaching eco-system, most of it hidden but supporting much life. And it is only when we acknowledge our connections that we can become personally Whole and part of the universal Whole. Maybe this is what it means to be Holy?

Prompt: What connections in your life have healed/helped you?

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Trust the process, pt 7 (Everything is connected, 2)

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credit: Robin Russell

In my Yoga ‘n’ Write class this week I talked of the need for balance between our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. We wrote about where we were at this moment in each of these areas and where we want to be.* Our yoga teacher told us about the Sheaths: Physical Body, Mental Body, Energy Body, Intelligence Body, and Soul. She said that Yogacharya Iyengar teaches that it is the Breath (prana) that integrates (balances) them all. We talked about paying attention to the breath and especially that moment just in between inhalation and  exhalation.

A month ago I co-presented a De-Stress workshop where my partner emphasized the importance of breathing as a way to calm. She talked about the “sweet spot” just before you exhale. Acknowledging this moment helps us stop and pay attention to the moment – to the vitality and wisdom of NOW.

In my studies of the Goddess, I came across Lilith whose name derives from the word Breath/Air, and who is associated with Wisdom(1). In the Bible, God breathes the breath of life and the Holy Spirit was received through Jesus’ breath. Breath and Spirit have the same Hebrew meaning (ruah) and it is a feminine noun(2). According to Isaiah, God’s Breath or Spirit means Wisdom and Understanding. Breath is life. Breath is spirit. Spirit is Wisdom. Wisdom is Female (Sophia). Female (=Eve) is Life. Life is Breath (is God(dess)?)

In our womb room at Goddard College we sang together… “Breathe In, Breathe Out…Breathe In, Breathe Out…” A circle room, a circle of Wise Women (self-named The Goddesses or Goddardesses), singing a circular song, and the breath circulated our bodies and connected us all.

Breath connecting it all. Everything connecting.

Prompt: Breath is…

 

* Also visit here for another post on writing and making goals with the Four Bodies.

Sources: (1) http://www.suite101.com/content/lilith-the-original-woman-created-a79725 (2) Chevalier, Jean & Alain Gheerbrant. Dictionary of Symbols. Penguin, 1994.

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Please visit my Examiner.com page for articles on Journaling for Kids, Organization and almost everything in between.

Private coaching – Customized to help you re-INK your own life – available in person or via email.

Trust the Process, pt 2 (The Womb)

credit: Robin Russell

Tweet This Blog Post!The morning of day two at Goddard College my stomach was still a bag of jelly fish. I had slept fitfully through slamming doors, footsteps, ill-fitting sheets and my roomie’s arrival at 2AM. And I woke up at 5AM. I managed to doze until 6:30AM but I was out the door and looking for a place to meet with my journal by 7AM. I questioned how I would be surviving this experience without its sturdy spine to hold me up?

As memories of the high school cafeteria sprung to mind, I worried about who’d I’d sit with at breakfast, and despite a crushing need for caffeine I didn’t want to get there too early for fear of seeming too anxious. My Teen was full on.  That issue resolved itself very shortly as I found my roommate awake and headed to breakfast. From then on meal times were only a tiny source of anxiety as I met and became friendly with and – by the end of the week positively close – with my fellow IMA-ers (Individualized Masters).

By day three I was raring to go. I wanted to get started, have work to do, a direction, a task, a plan. I wrote in my journal, “I finally have some homework!” I was like a clock-work toy, all wound up but with its wheels held still. I wasn’t sure where I was going once let go but I sure was ready to make a dash for somewhere.

My advising group met in the brilliantly bright Silo room. It was round – naturally – with a round table and round rug. It was a like a hug. Eight women spanning the age-spectrum from late 20s to mid-60s sat around this table every morning to share our thoughts on our process, our fears, our questions, our personal hang-ups and life outside the walls of this womb (was there such a thing?). While inking mandalas, singing or sharing our insta-poetry, we women made a connection. Diverse backgrounds, stages of life, communities and talents blended and sparked inspiration and respect. I felt held up. Supported. Supporting. As a community should.

In the small isolated family-unit islands that our society has developed over the centuries, we rarely have the chance to talk with others outside our borders: those who are younger (who wants to try to engage a teenager?), those who are older and wiser (what do they know about my modern, hectic life?), or those from completely different living environments or cultures. But the lesson is, these people not only teach you something about life but they teach you something about you and us. We are not so different. We are one. Slightly different glasses, same view.

And my biggest lesson? In a room of eight women who share the same number of chromosomes and similar feelings and experiences, I learned I am not alone.

Prompt: I feel supported when…

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Please visit my Examiner.com page for articles on Journaling for Kids, Organization and almost everything in between.

Private coaching – Customized to help you re-INK your own life – available in person or via email.