The day is here. My granddaughter, Aveline, is coming into the world. My daughter Jenny just called to say her water broke. I am on my way to the hospital. Such great joy. Life being born yet again.
Piglets for Girls
Piglets for Girls. When I first read this article, I felt a surge of discomfort and frustration to know that there are things going on that so devalue women and girls that I can’t even wrap my head around them. Yet, this reaction doesn’t really help them. I am only seeing it from my western woman’s perspective without taking into consideration that I don’t know how other parts of the world work.
Piglets for Girls is an ingenious plan that is saving thousands of young girls from being sold into slavery.Â To make it happen, Olga Murray had to understand how the Nepali culture worked after living there on and off for over five years.
As part of living this question, “What is it to be Female?”, we can look at women who exhibit their female nature in the work they do, and at the same time are powerful forces in the world today, creating change and leading by example and love.
Olga Murray is one such lady. She is saving lives every day…little female lives. Having been honored by the Dalai Lama and the former king of Nepal, Murray exhibits love, creativity, tenacity and the deep kind of love for the world that Amma calls Universal Motherhood.
When I read about Olga and the young girls she has changed, I could also see how these girls, once they felt secure and cared for, began to show their own strength and resiliency. They become empowered activists in their own right, naturally showing a fierceness towards their younger sister’s safety that can now be spoken aloud.
Olga Murray is a mirror for us all in which we can see our own strength, compassion, patience and creativity. These young women teach us something about what we can embody when we have known fear and stepped through it, and have been truly valued enough to be spoken for.Â Take a moment to notice something new you now know about your own nature as a woman. Women can be true to their nature AND be a powerful force in the world.
The Paradox of it All
Over the past few months, I have actively and consciously been holding both life and death. We discovered my mother was terminally ill in December. Two weeks later, on New Year’s Day, I found out my daughter and son-in-law are due to have a baby…amazingly enough, due on my mother’s birthday. Over the past seven months, I have held this sense of birth and death, living and dying, from somewhere in the middle of the chain of women…my daughter is giving birth to a daughter. It has been a profound experience to consciously hold life and death together, to know that they both exist in every moment and to actively sit with the sense that neither one is to be grasped or pushed away.
An image that is burned in my mind is my daughter standing beside my mother’s casket. Her beautiful full belly was so close, a great-granddaughter and great-grandmother so close, but never to meet. To be a witness to this passing of generations has been as enlightening as anything I have ever experienced. To think the beauty of this reality is available to us everywhere at any time leaves me breathless.
I haven’t been able to write for two weeks now. My mother passed away on June 29th, and the words have only come in small bits. I have felt wordless, except for the moments when I needed to come up with them when writing her obituary and my portion of her eulogy.
The connection with our mother goes to the core. And, for me, it wasn’t until I realized she was going to die that I felt this tearing at the core of my being. It was as if the connection I had with her was deeply tied to the center of my body. It felt as if the other end of the connection was tied to her center as well. As I tried to describe it to my sister-in-law Shirley, my love for my mother was also a physical connection from center-to-center, from core-to-core.
My relationship with my mother was not perfect…whose is? But as she lay dying, I could feel the love she had for me in a way that I had not remembered experiencing. It was if a different channel a deeper, more physical and intuitive channel of expression was opened between us. In those last days, we shared some extraordinary moments of love. No, she wasn’t able to talk about dying, as she couldn’t speak without a great amount of exertion. But, instead, her communication came through her eyes, through her hands and through her heart. I could feel her unconditional love for me and something within me let go, knowing that her love for me does not, and will not, die. It is beyond our lifetimes, it is more than our bodies, and it is more than simply our relationship as mother and daughter.
My mother’s death has opened up a new place of inquiry into mothers and motherhood that I am following and will share here. How much I expected my mother to be more than human in her ability to mother. And, at the same time, I always knew that she was a mother that always provided what I needed.
My two sisters and I gave our mother’s eulogy together. It was truly an honor to do so. My mother was a strong, independent woman, as are my sisters. I have heard many stories from those who loved my mother, and know her now in many different ways. It’s funny how we learn things about our parents after they die, that we didn’t know before.
I see her humanness and now also know her divine ability to love unconditionally. What a gift.
A Mother’s Love
Greetings to all,
I haven’t been posting for a bit. My time for writing these days has been limited. Instead, I have been spending most of my moments with my mother who is near the end of her two-year journey with cancer.
Joan, my mother, is an incredible woman. She is strong, courageous, and vital. She is independent and fiercely stubborn. All of these qualities have kept her alive much longer than we anticipated.
As these past months have gone by, I have been graciously given the chance to see the radiance in her shine forth from a deep place within. She is radiant with love and when she smiles at me I can feel the power of her love and the gentle, yet powerful presence of her true identity. She is my mother, yet she is also love itself.
Post Mother’s Day Thoughts
Happy Mother’s Day. I am a day late in wishing this, and yet it feels right to wish it to all mothers for yet one more day.
Just one day is not enough to truly appreciate what mothers do and give.
Just one day is not enough to really stop and consider what your mother offered up to you.
Just one day is not enough to imagine what it would be like if we all looked inside to see what we expect of mothers and motherhood, what kind of ideals we hold mothers to, and how we might soften our expectations of our own mothers, ourselves as mothers, and all the mothers in the world who continually live under the stress of such expectations.
I had a wonderful day yesterday. I was able to see both my daughters, their husbands, and my grandson, as well as my mother and sisters.
I was particularly aware of the smiles on mothers’ faces and wondered what it would be like if we let mothers off-the-hook from expectations of having to be super human, and ultimately what it would be like if we let ourselves off-the-hook of the same expectations.
The Moment, Expectant With Life and Love
Yesterday was one of those satisfying days, a day filled with sunshine, family and celebration. It was a day to celebrate the upcoming wedding of my sister Katie’s son Chris and his fiance Melodi. My other sister Molly and I hosted a bridal shower for Melodi. I love showers…both bridal and baby showers. Yesterday was a blending of both brides and babies, because my daughter Jenny is expecting in September, while my niece Liza is expecting twins in October. There we were, twelve women ranging in age from 22 to 82, spending the afternoon celebrating love and life. Love between Melodi and Chris. Love of the company of women and family. Love of the new life coming into our lives through Jenny and Liza.
As I recollect the day, I realize how important these traditions and rituals are. Marking these moments allows us to spend unhurried time in each other’s company, allows us to slow down and appreciate the life we are blessed to live, and appreciate the presence of life in each other and in our coming together.
Being in the company of 11 other women…daughters, mothers, sisters, nieces and friends…is soul-satisfying. My mother Joan who has been living with cancer, and moving toward healing of heart and soul through the experience, was there, obviously buoyed by the presence of so many women she loves. My mother-in-law, the mother of my late husband Gary, was there as well. These two mothers have been such strong influences in my life. I watched them yesterday, sitting together sharing the latest news, and more importantly, sharing moments of reflection of years past, of moments such as this one with Melodi. They came together through the love that Gary and I found. They came to know each other through the same ritual and tradition that we experienced yesterday, through two people coming together in marriage.
I was taken back thirty-some years, back to my youth when I was the one expectant with love and expectant with life. I was witnessing my mothers and their mothers spend time together. And now, I have moved up a generation. My niece Melodi is expectant with love, expectant with hopes and dreams for the future with Chris. My daughter and niece are expecting babies, expectant with all life will bring in the fall when they hold their babies for the first time.
In the midst of all this expectancy was the beauty of the present moment, the beauty of life and love blossoming, and the beauty of wise women who have lived full years.
I think what captivated me was the simplicity of it all: sharing food, enjoying the beauty of flowers, giving gifts and engaging conversation. Youth and Wisdom. Life and Love. Giving and sharing. We live such busy lives, yet time slowed down with our coming together. I could see that thirty years later, life was still just doing what life does. We were older. Some women have passed, while others were born and had grown into womanhood. But held within it all was a deep thread of continuity. The tradition and ritual brought us together and marked a moment that we could share. As in the way of transition, this ritual moment brought us to the present, allowing us to catch up to and acknowledge where we are in the place of things.
As one of my teachers says, when you forget who and what you are, just stop and be still. Yesterday was a day to do just that. Another way to stop and be still…and be grateful for the life and love that awaits us when we do stop and we are still.
It is one thing to have expectations that life will turn out a certain way. With regard to creativity, expectations can be the death of all things creative. But this is expectancy in a different form. To feel life coming into being, to be so present with all that is here that you feel it pulsing from within, you feel the vibrancy of spirit manifesting in each moment is to savor the nature of all that is. To savor the pregnancy inherent in every moment is to be one with your own creativity, that force of creation that is within all of life. To savor that feminine creativity that resides within your womb, and the womb of creation is to be filled with the wisdom of Sophia, the wisdom of the feminine aspect of life.
So take a moment to feel the immediacy of this moment, the birth that is imminent, that aspect of self that is the Creator creating the moment. Revel in this aspect of the Feminine, and in your own creative capacity as a woman. Yes, we can give birth to babies, and we can give birth to so much more…
Living like we ain’t got no mama
One of my favorite songs is the BLACK EYED PEAS’ “Where Is The Love?”
It’s a great song to dance to, run to and simply to listen to. The lyrics are powerful.
As I listen to the song, the two lines that keep grabbing my awareness are:
“What’s wrong with the world, mama
People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas”
I love this description of people’s behavior today. There is so much violence, greed, pettiness, fear, distrust, lack of love…you name it, it seems as though the collective Ego is fighting for dear life to hang on in this time and sea of change. While there is much to smile about in this world, the line
“People livin’ like they ain’t got no mamas”
keeps ringing in my ears. What does it mean to live like we ain’t got no mama? What popped into my head is the stark clarity of what has happened as a result of the suppression of the Sacred Feminine.
In his very-popular current book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle speaks of the shunning of the Sacred Feminine that began centuries ago, and that has been internalized by humans to a degree, some lesser, some more. The Sacred Feminine was ‘rendered powerless’ through the developing male ego, and in time, became internalized in all humans to some degree.
What we see now is a world gone mad because it is out of balance. The Big Mama, the Sacred Feminine, has been silenced and put into darkness. The world has run amuck without a mama to keep balance with the Sacred Masculine.
When I hear this line, I realized it’s like we all know Mama is missing, but we don’t know where to find her.
But she is here…right here. She never left. We simply put her away into the dark recesses of our psyches so that we could stay alive.
We, as women, are more of the body and the earth, and less identified with our minds. As Tolle says, “Because the ego was never as deeply rooted in woman, it is losing its hold on women more quickly than on men.” (pg 157)
What would our world be like if we let the Mama, and our own Sacred Feminine mama within, out again? How might we be different? How might the world be different? How might men change? How might our children grow up to see gender and love differently?
What if you were to begin to trust your own Sacred Feminine nature and the body in which She lives and breathes?
image by aussiegall on Flickr
The Mandala: the circle holding all
Time spent with other women is such magical time. As I dive deeper into my experience of being female and explore my own feminine depths, I find this time with women so enriching, so fertile and so reflective of my own true nature, and the nature of the feminine.
I looked forward to my time today with a group we have named Creative Playground. My wonderful friend, and fellow coach, Jennifer Lee brought us all together a few months ago, sensing that magic might occur with us all in one room. Magic did, and continues to, happen.
The thread that runs through our group is one of delight in making art and exploring our creativity. Today we spent the afternoon at Laura’s house, where she introduced us to mandalas. While I use mandala creation in the courses I teach, Laura brought an entirely new way of looking at them by introducing us to them through a wonderful visualization. She taught us that the center of the mandala is the Bindu, the centerpoint of all of creation. In the visualization, we turned inward to experience our own center and all that it holds.
As I visualized, I sensed a pulsing energy, as if all of my life force radiated out from one center point deep in my hara, near the sacrum…the very center of my body. I could see an image emerge, one of a powerful cell that holds all of creation. As I explore the Sacred Feminine and my own experience of being female, I find myself continually brought back to the experience of bringing life forth and giving birth. Even though my own daughters are grown, I sense my connection to the Earth through something mysterious, that essence that is inherent in all women, that allows us to nurture life and bring it to term.
We then dove into creating our first mandala, and the result is the mandala above, titled ‘Creation’. I started with the outer layers, which felt like the lining of the womb as I drew them. Then, I created the center and followed it with the concentric circles radiating outward. Bringing more awareness to my own center core allowed me to put what I experienced out onto the paper. It was another way to sense into who and what I am.
The Earth held by Flowering Hands.
My next mandala was much more free form. I began with the leaves at the edge, and then moved in to the flowers. After we completed our work, I traveled to babysit my grandson Lucas for a bit, and Lucas decided he wanted this one for his art collection in his room. Standing back from it and looking at it one more time, I realized it looks like the Earth being held by loving, living flowering hands. It is an image that makes me smile.
Mandalas are an ancient form from the Hindu religion. The word mandala is Sanskrit and loosely translated means “circle”. But it is much more than simply the circle shape. It symbolizes wholeness and the infinite nature of life. The Bindu is the ‘infinite point’ within which everything is contained.
Gather a group of women together and enter into your own mandala mystery. Focus on your body, and on your interior experience. Allow your experience to guide your creation. Once created, you can then take a fresh look at your mandala and see within it an entirely new view into who and what you are. It is a representation of all that you are, and all that is.