Women & the Earth: Awakening Eros

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Women…we need to be here, all the way here, on Earth.

We need to come all the way down into our bodies, breathing all the way down and in. We must choose to come in, choose to inhabit our bodies, bodies that can, and do, only exist here on Earth. The spirit and soul is not of this place, but the body is. And it is in our bodies where our greatest gifts can be given. Where our deepest yearnings and desires can unfold. And when we do this, when we come in and give voice and expression to our deepest yearnings, we come into direct relationship with Mother Earth.

In these times, it is imperative we choose to be here, all the way here, on Earth. This can be hard. Many of us have experienced trauma. For most of my life I haven’t wanted to be here. Not in a way where I would do something to myself, but more in the subtle, underlying pervasive sense of being uncomfortable in a place where my body isn’t safe, where my gender represents what is considered terrifying to those in charge, and so deemed as weak and inferior.

As women, the culture does not treat our bodies well. We often don’t treat our bodies well. We live in bodies that are threatened, most often subtly. These bodies. Creature bodies. Beautiful bodes. Bodies with deep feelings and sensitivities, as well as the capacity for great joy and aliveness. Yet, we are needed to be here on the planet, connected to our Mother Earth for the full potential of our souls to be realized.

Mother Earth. Your body is Her body. Her body is your body. And at this time, the Earth is calling for us to be fully home in her embrace.

We are living in the times we’ve come for. The work we came to do is needed now. Many of us know this. That what is being called for is exactly what we have to give to the world. This isn’t about changing the world. We cannot change anyone else. But we can give what we’ve been given, we can offer the essential nature of our own being into the world as a form of love to a world so hungry for love.

We’ve forgotten that all of life is sacred and we are not going to get out of the problems we’ve created without coming to physically know this again as our own experience.

What does it mean for flesh to be sacred, for the flesh of our existence to be sacred? How does the sacred live in you? How does the sacred feel when it is alive in your body? How does the sacred feel when you are in your body and you know everything is sacred?

To bring the holy, the light, and love to all of life’s mundane moments and things that can frighten us so. To do our best and be in integrity. To realize where we are responsible to this world in a way that enlivens us and the world. To bring the wild Source of our nature into structure so the wild Source can come all the way into our lives…all the way down and into our world, our lives, and our creations.

Yes. This is it. The hot holy. The blinding breath. The cosmic presence. The delighted spontaneity. The impish bliss. The lightness of depth.

Soften your rigidity, your striving and pushing, your need to control, with breath, breathing all the way down and in, from the front to the back, and head to toe, especially in the belly that is breath-starved. Full, deep, slow breaths. Fill your body with cell nourishment and aliveness.

Breathing is a sensuous experience. Our wild and tender animal bodies are starved for breath, plump rich oxygen laced breath that softens our flesh into the Earth.

Soften and striving and judging others will slow and spontaneous movement and deep love for everything will flow. We are Spirit-infused creatures of the wild when we breathe deeply and fully.
Life is spontaneous and playful when we inhabit our bodies and our lives like the bliss-plump creatures we are created to be. High on the gift of our own existence, we stop trying to control and negate the existence of our fellow creatures.

This is Eros. A sensuous love. A rapturous delight. A primal push out of the seedbed of creation.

This is Eros. Life enthralled with its own gift of becoming.

Eros is the force we must awaken and we do this through a direct relationship with Mother Earth, a direct relationship between soul and Mother Earth. We do this together. We do this in community. We do this in the realms of our vast inner world, while together in circle, together and rooted into the Mother.

If you’ve been longing to bring something you can‘t’ quite name but know exists into the work you are IMG_7872doing in the world, I offer that Eros might be this something. It is love. It is aliveness. It is the lived gift of your own existence.

Come awaken Eros.

Join me and a circle of twelve women for a journey into Eros, a journey down and into your body, a journey of coming home. Awakening Eros will change who you know yourself to be and what you believe you are capable of.

We begin October 18th. Twelve women. Deep circle. Awakening Eros.

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Deep-Bellied Places of Woman

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gorithefairone

Deep-Bellied Places of Woman

 

i listen with awe to

the sound of women’s souls

painting their lives in

words across the page,

each voice different

as she spills her heart into

the moon’s sure embrace.

 

i drink in the brew and see

the rock-solid foundation that is

woman taking shape again

across this land,

meeting mother earth’s

undulating curves

ragged peaks

soft, still waters

with her own.

 

mother earth has missed

our honest voices,

out truth-telling,

spoken in spite of unspoken

yet so-very present

threats of harm

if

we dare tell the truth of our lives.

 

she is hungry for this

bedrock of soul

to lie up against

the outline of her body,

her soul.

 

she has missed us knowing her this way.

she has missed us knowing ourselves in this way.

 

we are remembering, together.

always, together.

 

(c) Julie M Daley, 2014

 

written during Writing Raw, Fall 2014

 

:::

 

Writing Raw, Winter 2015 is now open for registration, with an early bird price until Dec. 31, 2014

I would love for you to join us. The circle is already forming.

image is ‘gori, the fair one’ by anurag agnihotri on flickr under cc 2.0 license.
no changes were made to this beautiful image.

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Do we dare live our sacred humanity?

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OliveTreeUnderStarlight

 

We are the sum of our ancestors
Our roots stretch back to blue-green algae
They stretch to the stars
They ultimately reach the void
This history is inscribed in our psyches
Silence and solitude enjoin us to remember
Our whole and great body.
~ Joan Halifax

Listen to the audio…

 

Our whole and great body. The sum of everything that has existed is within us, each of us and every one of us.

We cannot escape this earth. She is our home, our mother, our world. No matter how hard we try to escape, with thoughts of heaven, realms of light, any place other than here, this place is we are born, it is where we live out our lives, and it is where we will die. Our bodies are made up of her. The food we eat comes from her. Our lives are spent here on her. No matter how smart we think we are, how much we believe we can control her forces, or how much we attempt to destroy her, she remains our generous mother.

Roots that stretch deep down into the humus, the incredibly rich, humus, deep earth of the ages… all the way through the center of the earth to the stars, to the void of creation.

Perhaps the way to the stars is not by escaping earth in rocket ships of metal technology…perhaps the way to the stars is through this deep rich humus, the matter that is this human earthly existence. How different is our earth from the stars? Our flesh is made of stardust. Our bones are ancient sacred sites. Our blood is liquid light.

Perhaps it is only by becoming fully human that we find the place of wholeness, the place of everything, where starlight infuses flesh, and love for everything embraces our fears. If we become quiet enough, and maybe even alone enough, we finally settle into our bones, into the depth of gravity that allows us to understand that we are part of something so much greater than our fear of ourselves…and each other.

 

Do we dare open our arms and hearts wider when there is so much violence and greed?

Do we dare live joy when there is so much suffering?

Do we dare feel the depth of love that is available for all of life when so many of us generate hate?

Do we dare remember our flesh is made of stardust and our blood is liquid light?

Do we dare settle all the way down into our flesh and bones, giving ourselves over to this one precious life?

Do we dare be here, all the way here, no longer trying to escape to somewhere else?

Do we dare plant ourselves, here, in this deep-of-the-ages dirt, paws, claws, and all?

Do we dare be fully human, infused with liquid light?

 

Do we dare be fully human, living our sacred humanity?

I say Yes.

It is our sacred humanity that will heal us back into wholeness, heal us back into earth’s family, heal us back into this web of life that stretches back to the ancestors, back to the stars, back to that from which everything is born.

It is by living our sacred humanity, here, right here, rooted in the earth, that we will remember what we truly are.

 

Image is ‘Starlight Under Olive Tree’, by MgPixel  under creative commons 2.0

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Feel Her

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photo by Anne Jablonski

 

There is one thing we MUST do right now if we are to survive as a species…if we are to respond to the mess we’ve made.

One thing.

We must begin to feel, deeply. We must open our hearts to the world, to each other, to the Earth.

To do that we must find our way down to our bodies. To the heart. To the soul.

We cannot bypass, either mentally or spiritually.

We have to re-learn how to feel what is here. We’ve been so strongly conditioned out of our natural feeling state, and yet, when we do feel, we respond.

Our hearts are meant to feel. We are designed to feel. It’s how we relate to each other. And, it’s how we can re-learn to relate to the Earth, for She is alive.

Imagine for a moment the Earth as a radiant being. She breathes. She feeds. She is alive. Now, for a moment, consider everything that has been done to her and is being done to Her, all across Her body. Let yourself feel. Her pain is our pain. We are not separate from Her. We are born from Her and we die back into Her. There is no way we cannot feel Her pain, and there is no way She cannot feel ours. We are in relationship with Her. The only way we don’t feel it is if we are not conscious in the places where those feelings are experienced: in the body, in the heart.

No one is going to feel this for us. No one is going to take care of this so we don’t have to. It is our responsibility as Her children to care for Her. We are the only ones who can stop abusing Her and protect Her from more abuse.

Deep feeling leads to responsiveness. When we are open in relationship we see and hear and come to know each other.

You have a relationship with Her. Your body is waiting. Your heart is waiting. Mother Earth is waiting with open arms. She always has been.

Love Her. Share your joy with Her. Bring Her an offering. Sing Her a song. She loves song.

 

::

EARTH MOTHER PRAYER SONG
(Click on the link above to listen to the song)

Dear Earth Mother come to me
Allow me in thy prayers.
May this moment speak to me.
Allow me to prepare.
Come Dear Mother be with me,
The sweat that we partake.
All who enter in your womb
Seek within your grace.
BLESSED MOTHER
Hold this Earth,
The mountains at your feet.
The lake behind us sources us,
The trees keep company.
In this mix may we partake
And taste of your sweet space.
Divinity will come through us,
Today we can embrace.
See as far as you see,
Hear as far as you hear.
Be as far as we can hold
And laugh and sweat and eat.

 

During our Waking the Inner Teacher retreat at Feathered Pipe, one morning this song came through Tracey, one of the women on retreat. We’d been singing and giving thanks to Pachamama all week. We’d begun to remember, and deepened that remembrance with profound practices of gratitude to Her. And so, we all sang Tracey’s song. It was a beautiful moment (reflected in the image above). After our time together, Karen Chrappa recorded Tracey’s song and I share it here, both lyrics and recording.

[Recorded at The Creative Arts Studio with Karen ChrappaStefanie LipseyTracy WarzerLorraine AguilarAimee Schiff; Sound edit by Abhita Austin of Hidden Chapel Studios.

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A Return to Relationship With Life

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“…how calmly, as though it were an ordinary thing, we eat the blessed earth.” ~ Mary Oliver

Seeds are planted, food comes forth…as though it were an ordinary thing.

The moon returns after having gone black…as though it were an ordinary thing.

We open our eyes to live another day…as though it were an ordinary thing.

The Earth sustains us, each day of our lives, and we act as if it were an ordinary thing.

 

Around us, within us, between us, is the sacred.

Every atom is filled with it. And every atom is it.

Every breath is this mystery gifting us another moment of life. It is quite simple, yet life-changingly profound when we come to really take it in. And, yet, we grow to see it as an ordinary thing.

::

Wonder and Awe

The nature of the structures and institutions we live in is one of domination and control over life and that which is symbolic of life-giving power. In these structures, the sacred is seen as something above us, outside of us, and in some cases, something that only certain people have access to. It is also seen, by some, as something that does not exist.

For some time, we humans have thought that we can solve any problem simply through our thinking process, even the problems our thinking has created. It’s actually not very logical at all, but then the logical mind that doesn’t acknowledge reality isn’t very logical.

The logical mind run amuck has a quality of cold lifelessness. There is no heart in it, no warmth. When there is no heart, there can be a feeling of the stiltedness that’s somewhat robotic.

The structures we live in do not give much credence to wonder and awe, mystery and uncertainty. When we’re taught we have to know everything, there isn’t much place for these things. When we’re taught that humans own and can control life, not just land ownership but even going so far as to patent seeds, we’ve lost a sense of any relatedness or connection to life. Rather than being in relationship with the life that sustains us, we’ve come to see ourselves as owners and manipulators of this life…sometimes, all for a profit or comfort or supposed safety and security.

But wonder and awe are absolutely necessary if we are to heal the messes we’ve made here on earth. It is our relationship with life that needs healing, and to me that’s the realm of the sacred. And it’s also largely the realm of womanhood.

Why? Because our very need to control, dominate, and fix life is why we are in the mess we are in. And when we continue to act from this mindset to attempt to ‘fix’ our problems without opening to the mystery itself to guide us back into balance, we continue to seal not only our own human downfall, but so selfishly the downfall of many other species.

Our role as humans is of stewards of this beautiful Earth, and, we’ve forgotten our humble role.

 

Life itself regenerates.

That is part of its mystery, is it not?

Life is intelligent, much more so than any human being. But to know this once again, we must come to remember our place in this vast Universe. There is an intelligence far more intelligent than human beings will ever be. And this intelligence is sacred. This intelligence is what animates all of life. It is the universal life force. It permeates existence. And, we’ve lost our awe for this intelligence. We think we have it figured out. We think we can recite words that capture this intelligence. We think our dogmas explain it.

We’ve been so deeply conditioned to believe that the sacred is NOT in the land, the air, the water, the trees, animals, plants, rocks and yes, people. We’ve been taught to believe the sacred is not in our deep feeling nature as human beings. We’ve been encouraged to believe that the very things we are destroying are simply objects for our use. It’s too easy for our conditioned minds to view life as something we can research, figure out, understand, and even patent, that it is this deep misunderstanding that has brought us to the brink of great destruction.

Furthermore, many of us have been turned off to anything that smacks of religion, or if we follow a particular religion, many of those religions teach that the sacred is above this lowly earth plane. In believing this, we come to push away anything that we believe is trying to tell us what to believe, how to act, or how we must be in order to be worthy of access to the sacred.

 

A reclamation of the sacredness of life is needed.

Words can point to so many things, and they point to experiences we’ve had in the past, experiences that might be positive or negative or both. So much gets tangled up in a word. Yet, this reclamation that can help us heal is an opportunity; it’s the opportunity to come to know what the word ‘sacred’ means to each of us by way of experience…our very own real life experience.

Words are powerful. We can’t name this that can’t be named. But we can each guide ourselves to really look at our own relationship with this that can’t be named. We can guide ourselves to remember our own experiences of moments when we’ve been profoundly moved by this that can’t be named. And these feelings, these experiences, can be acknowledged with a word, a metaphor, a scent, a flavor, a symbol that speaks uniquely to each of us. Something that puts us back in relationship with that which breathes you.

The word you use to describe whatever it is that brings this awe to you matters not. What matters is the acknowledgement that there is something greater than you, or me, or us. What matters is that we find our way back to a relationship with this that is greater than all of us.

 

Consider…

What brings out the feeling that you are connected to something greater than yourself? What brings you back to wonder and awe? What helps you remember there is something greater than you, whether it be community, relationship, humanity, the animal kingdom, Mother Earth…something that compels you to come back to the whole and to wholeness?

When you remember this experience, or these experiences, how do you feel? What do you feel? Where do you feel it?

For me, I notice these things in many small moments, as well as some of the ‘bigger’ life moments I’ve known.

I’ve seen the sacred in those ecstatic moments of my children’s births, or the births of my grandchildren that I was lucky enough to witness. I’ve seen the sacred in those moments of death, pain, and illness of those I love deeply. And sometimes, it’s been the way my arm or hand moves to the music when I dance, or how the warm wind feels when it’s blowing across my face. Sometimes, it’s been the miracle of my grandchild’s small hand with big dimples by each finger that causes my breath to catch.

 

Breath catching is a sure sign of the sacred.

 

Just consider this: You are alive. You ‘eat the blessed earth’ each day. You drink Her waters. You breathe Her air. You are here.

The Earth is this Mystery in form. We are Her.

Let yourself see the amazingness of just this. Then, call it whatever you wish. But, acknowledge that Yes, that something is right here, looking out your eyes, breathing your body, beating your heart. Acknowledge just how close this is to you. And, after really taking this in, acknowledge that what this is is not ordinary at all.

I’d say it is sacred. And, what do you say?

 

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Can we listen to Mother Earth, open heart to the ground? Are we willing to feel what we discover?

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Today is Earth Day.

 

When we say, Happy Earth Day!, what are we really saying? We seem to be able to commoditize anything here in the West, especially the US, so the question seems very important.

Are we wishing each other a great day of celebration? A day to celebrate that we live on this amazing planet?

Are we attempting to remember the Earth in a way that brings awareness to our Mother’s plight?

Are we wanting to begin to live more in harmony with Her, attempting to be more conscious of how we treat Her, of how we see Her, of what we do to Her?

Is it just about us, to help us feel better because we, as a human whole, really don’t give Her much thought nor appreciate just how reliant we are on Her for our lives?

Is it for a Happy Earth? If so, maybe we need every day to be Earth Day for a long time, ’cause I’m feeling our Mother is not so happy.

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About seven years ago, I was hiking on Mount Shasta with my partner. We’d had one of the most beautiful days of hiking I think I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve never been to Mount Shasta, it is a remarkable mountain. I know I am not the only one to feel or experience the ability to feel Mother Earth when you are on this mountain.

As we were headed back from our hike, we walked into Panther Meadow. Suddenly, I could feel the pain of the Earth. I could ‘hear’ her song and it wasn’t a song of lightness. It was a song of pain. I began to weep and I could not stop for quite a while. My partner just held me. He completely understood the depth of my feeling, even if he wasn’t feeling it himself. The feeling of grief seared my body, for it is through my body that I feel Her body.

::

If we stop and pay attention, if we really feel and listen, if we open our heart to Mother Earth, what will we feel?

What will we come to see?

How will we be touched?

How might it change our relationship to Her?

It is our relationship to Her that matters so much right now. We humans have threatened OUR existence as a species. It can be easy to brush this off because we’ve lived our whole lives on Mother Earth and it can feel like we, and future generations, will always live life here, especially a life where the majority of people have their needs met.

But if we keep going the way we are going, if we do not stop to really pay attention to Her, it seems pretty clear that we’ve already altered how we are living, as well as the kind of life that future generations of human beings will live. And, we don’t have to look far to see how we humans have altered life for other species.

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What does it mean to be in relationship with Mother Earth?

In many, many ways, especially for women, it can be likened to how we are in relationship to our own bodies. For Mother Earth is where our bodies come from. She is where we receive our sustenance and nourishment. She offers us her waters and oxygen. She is where we will return to when we die.

I know, personally, how difficult it can be to remember to pay attention to Her and what is being done to Her in my day-to-day life, making ends meet, taking care of my needs and those of my family. I know how easy it is to take Her for granted, just as I take my body for granted and the wonder that it is.

Our love affair with thinking and logic and reason keeps us up and away from a conscious, feeling relationship with matter. We’ve made reason and science and logic our Holy Grail. And, we’re told God is the one who sits on high, away from Earth. But, that just isn’t so. The divine is in everything, including matter. And, yes, the word matter and Mother have the same root, linguistically.

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We can begin to remember Her every day, when we begin to touch our own bodies with attention, our full awareness. We can deepen our relationship with Her when we deepen it with our body. 

Can we come down fully into the body, fully into our cells with awareness?

Can we know we belong here in these bodies, here on this planet?

Can we feel ourselves holding ourselves with great affection and compassion?

Can we just be willing to feel, period?

Can we listen to Mother Earth, open heart to the ground? Are we willing to feel what we discover?

I have a sense that we don’t realize just how deeply Her pain affects us. How could it not? She is our Mother.

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A few years ago, I wrote this post for Earth Day in which I shared a wonderful practice to help bring you and your body in closer relationship to Mother Earth. I hope you’ll take a moment to try it.

Happy Earth Day!

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Unreasonable

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Frangiapani, Hamoa Beach, Hana

As I settle more deeply into my time here in Hana, I feel the softness of this land bringing out the soft, supple places in my body and heart. My soul responds to the beauty and fragrance of this Frangiapani, collected on my walk this morning. There was no clear sunrise, but rather a cloudy and warm drizzly beginning to this day.

I can feel the pull of this place, a pull that tugs at the core of my body, pulling me down into Her. When I arrived and realized I had been called here, that this place had called me, this pull made itself known.

In some ways, it’s like the pull you feel on your whole body as you stand in a wave being drawn back to the ocean. The pull of the tide is mighty.

This pull feels like it’s pulling me down into this place, whatever this ‘place’ is. I don’t know. Yet I know the feeling as it pulls not only on my body, but on my heart as well.

And, sometimes, She’s not gentle at all. As I exited the surf the other day, a wave with a punch lifted me up and tossed me down without warning. I landed on the side of my head. I felt woozy. I felt disoriented and had to sit to collect myself. I remembered a good healthy respect for nature that I had forgotten.

As I walked the beach this morning, one thing was very clear. No matter how much I try to make up a strong strand of meaning in my life, I could clearly see, there is no meaning…at least not one that I might make up. Oh, yes, I will still try to make it up, ’cause that’s what minds do.

Yet in this place of tropical bird calls and sweet Frangiapani spread out across the ground, I find when I simply be in my body and open my senses to every layer of experience that presents itself, I know no meaning.

In feeling the pull to this place, I know no meaning, but I listen and witness. I am opening. There’s a softness in this opening, a palpable tenderness. I also am aware of my fear of my own power, a power I see all around me, in the waves crashing against the shore and in the volcano on whose base I am sleeping.

The feminine is mysterious. She’s contradiction. She’s unreasonable. And, so am I.

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To Feast Upon and Delight In

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I happened upon this, today.

This She that is a tree.

And so much more.

Majestic.

Strong.

Curvy.

Robed in soft moss.

How sensual are these arms?

How free is She to spread herself among the ways of the sky

while rooted in earth.

To gaze upon Her is

to feast upon

and delight in

Beauty

Grace

and

the Mystery of the Mother.

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Listen Up Well

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Roots by Patti Agapi

Roots, by Patti Agapi

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The female human being is being born anew. She is coming into existence and we are midwifing her birth. Our ways of wisdom and powers of mystery were hidden well. They’ve been buried treasure for centuries. Now, it is time to listen, to remember, to recognize, to join together the vast humanity of woman. It is time to listen to the sacred sound that is uttered when we remember as the One that we are.

Rilke spoke of this new female human being. He spoke of the humanity of woman in letter seven of Letters To A Young Poet.

“This humanity of woman, carried in her womb through all her suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she has stripped off the conventions of mere femaleness in the transformations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching will be astonished by it.”

::

I love to bring the brilliant work of many women together, in one place, to be savored, allowing the flavors to enhance each other, the poignancy to fill our hearts and wake us up.

I discovered the beautiful work of art above on Twitter. The artist is Patti Agapi. When I saw Patti’s drawing, I cried. I know this feeling, well, the feeling that Roots inspires. Head down on the warm Earth. So much a part of her that there is no distinction between where I end and where she begins. Held by her. Listening to her. Knowing there is no difference between the divinity in her and the divinity in me.

When I listen to her, I hear her anguish. And I feel her love. I feel myself as part of the Big Mother, and the home she offers up in every moment.

::

My last post, Life is Erotic, was met with so many lovely, rich comments. Your comments meant so much to me as that post came from such a tender place within me. One comment in particular, by Holly Friesen, spoke to this connection between the earth’s body and our bodies:

“The more deeply I feel the earth’s body, the more I realize my own body’s deep connection to her…we are one and the same being, both pulsing with a rhythmic life force that is flooded with eros. It is only when we strip away all this beautiful entangled life force that we are left with a trivial, vulgar view of eros. Eros in her full beauty is entwined throughout ALL of life; the flowers, the buds, the rivers, the rocks and our own bodies. It is only when the deep rift between sexuality and spirituality can be reunited that we will be fully whole. We feel this beautiful flow of life force most fully in the spring when the cyclical awakening and birthing is in full force!! Ah, what the spring does for the cherry trees is a joy and a miracle to behold!”

We are one and the same with the earth. The same divinity that looks out your eyes flows through her rivers. The same divinity that hears the birdsong in the early morning light flaps its wings to ride the waves of the wind. The same divinity that longs to remember its own wholeness opens its petals to receive sunshine, rain and the bee’s love.

::

The following, by Zsuzsanna Budapest, is from her book, The Holy book of Woman’s Mysteries.

This is God, children, listen up well.

The beautiful blue planet, our mother, our sister.

She moves with 200 miles per second, yet imperceptible; she moves with the quiet of the lakes and the
rushing of her rivers, the vast expanse of her oceans, the echoes of her mountains.

This is God, children… listen up well.

Lift your eyes to the heavens, and you behold her sisters, the stars, and her cousins the suns and nebulas, and fill your senses with her infinite beauty.

This is God, children… and she has made no other heaven but the heavens where you already reside, and she has made no hell except the one you insist to create for yourself.

Here is paradise. Here is destiny. Here is infinite grace. This is God.

When you seek her she is beneath your feet.

When you seek her, she is food in your mouth.

When you seek her she is love in your heart, pleasure in your body.

You share her heartbeat.

::

Earth Day is upon us in a few days. But rather than seeing earth as something we celebrate once a year, perhaps we might open to what she offers to us in each and every moment, meet her with reverence, listen to what she is saying.

Her wounds are our wounds. Her delights are our delights. Her ability to regenerate is our ability to regenerate. How we feel about our bodies and what we say to them, she ingests. How we treat her, we ingest.

I have spent a lifetime saying very mean things to this body, my body that provides me with life. I have spent a lifetime worrying about how I look, with occasional silent wishes to slice some flesh off here and there, hoping to achieve some ideal that I can’t achieve. I am no different than any other human being, I suppose…at least any other woman that grows up in this culture of female objectification. And I know men don’t escape the pain of this either.

Objectification of any sort just keeps us believing in the dream of separation, the dream that is at the heart of the pain we all experience. And what is waiting for us when we awaken out of the dream of separation?

Here is paradise. Here is destiny. Here is infinite grace. This is God.

::

You can see more of Patti Agapi’s work at here.

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The Sweet Spots of Life

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Last Saturday night, my dear friend Megan hosted her second annual Fig Gig. In Megan’s backyard is the most beautiful, gnarly, fecund fig tree. The figs are a deep purple color, and when you pick them right off the tree, biting into one is like biting into the most divine jam. They are visually glorious, all fleshy, soft, moist and red inside.

Megan also hired a Kora player; the Kora is an instrument from Africa with 12 strings. The woman who played was incredibly gifted and vibrantly funny. Her voice was beautiful and lyrical, and the sound of her music created the most luscious background to the evening.

At one point, Megan greeted her guests and invited us to take a moment to celebrate and give thanks to the Mother, the Earth and all that she provides for us. We celebrated the Fig tree as a symbol of this abundance and nourishment…and as a symbol of the feminine.

As we sat in this moment, my heart became so full. This moment was one of those sweet spots in life, a moment where my attention was given to the beauty available in every moment. In fact, it became so full, I felt as if my heart couldn’t hold any more – that it would burst if I allowed in one more drop of beauty.

This life is beautiful. In the moments, like the Fig Gig, when we are enjoying the party, life feels good. But, I have come to see that we can fully appreciate these moments when we also see the beauty in the not-so-great moments of turmoil, pain and grief. Opening my heart deeply to the painful moments of my life, and the painful times we are in, has also allowed me to feel the beauty more deeply of all the moments of life.

I have come to know that in these painful moments, and in the happy moments as well, that the heart can hold much more than our minds believe it can. When it feels like the heart is breaking, it’s not the heart breaking, but rather the chains that bind it…those places where we have closed ourselves off to feeling, for fear we won’t be able to handle it.

We are in interesting times. I realize now, even more clearly, that to taste the sweetness of life, we must open ourselves to the beauty that is available here, right now. We can no longer afford to close our eyes to the places that feel hard or painful, fearing them. There is beauty in them as well, for when we make ourselves available to the full range of feeling, we become vividly alive within our own hearts. We can feel deeply, the full range of emotions, and that in itself is beautiful. When we open to the dark places as well, we are available to respond to those dark places, both out there, and within ourselves.

When I worked with women who had lost their spouses and lovers in 9/11, in our dating/relationship class, we worked to open the heart, to allow the range of feelings in that one feels in deep grief. In allowing the bindings to loosen, so that grief can do it’s work, one can begin to taste again the fullness of life.

As I enjoyed the fullness of beauty of this very special evening, I realized my heart was so full, because I have allowed in the deeply painful moments in my life. In opening my heart to the places that scare me, the chains that bind it are breaking down. And in this fullness, I can begin to feel the fullness of my humanity and taste the sweetness of an open heart.

I’m curious about you. Do you allow the sweet moments of life in? Do you fully receive the bounty that life offers? Do you shy away from those painful emotions? How might your sweet spots of life taste?

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