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I am blogging over at http://www.ursulaferreira.com now! Please follow me there.
I am not an anxious person, but in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the news that a large earthquake is likely to hit California in the next couple of weeks, I couldn’t sleep. Fear captured my imagination, fear of loved ones being injured or killed, fear of being in a different place from Kale’a when the quake happened, fear fear fear. Eventually I fell asleep, and upon waking this morning thought it good to review Gibran’s treatise on love:
Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Life becomes exponentially more beautiful, and exacts a terrible toll of tenderness on my heart, my womb, my flesh. This modern world–we turn away from this depth of beauty. It seems to require more feeling than we have the resources for–and perhaps what is called for is to develop these capacities, to burnish the cup and carve the lute. This feminine face of God, Her shining face calls to us, the siren song to die into a new way of being, of living in the fiercely alive body, unabashed and carved out by the sacred sensuality of the world.
Marion Woodman, from Bone: Dying into Life
November 24, 1993
Without the love, would I bother? Without Ross [husband], would I care? More and more, I feel the initiation–the letting go of something that is finished in order to move into new life. How to let go? How to be sure at the unconscious level that I am letting go? . . . I know I am dealing with the Great Mother in her death aspect. In the past she could hypnotize me, blind me to my unconscious death wish in bingeing and starving. Now again. I have to turn her face around and feel myself lokoing into the eyes of the loving Mother. How to be sure I am moving from the negative face of the archetype to the positive? That has to happen, but it is hard to recognize the move when the dark face is so locked, so fierce, and so fiercely locked i the unconscious.
I have carried this dark road too long. I am delivered of a very dark, dead baby. If I cannot get hold of the positive side of the archetypal dimension of this, I think I will die. And that dimension has to do with the emergence of the Virgin bride at a new height and new depth on the spiral. Very aware now that the spiral–the movement of the Virgin Gypsy of my initiatory dream–is a double helix. As above, so below.
Please, God, let me live the Spiritual Warrior, fighting for the new order. Dear Sophia, let your radiance release me into Virgin/Crone. Masculine and feminine together, we may make the transition.
We have some big plans, you and I. I give up, I give in, I say yes to my life! The black and white outlines of my dreams are filling out with color, with smells and textures, with interesting, co-creative possibilities. I receive! I allow! I let it in and step up to another level of love and responsibility.
Here are some things on my mind and in my field:
The energy of the Marys, as embodiments of the Sacred Feminine, is something we all need in this global process of wholing/healing ourselves:
Mary, Patty Griffin
The Ballad of Mary Magdalene, Richard Shindell
Women in the Congo and Women for Women International:
Please consider sponsoring a woman. If it is too much to do by yourself, do it collectively! Do you have a women’s or men’s group, a church group or any other circle? Pool your resources and help another human being regain her dignity and life.
The work of Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward-Thomas has been catalyzing unprecedented transformation in my life over the past 4 months:
Feminine Power: www.femininepower.com
Women on the Edge of Evolution: www.womenontheedgeofevolution.com
“God’s will is not that we become a certain type of person, but that we become the person we were born to become. Not like anybody else, but like the imprint of who we were born to be, that only we can be. And if we’re not that person, nobody else on earth can be.” August Gold
“It is the entelechy of the acorn to grow into the oak tree. The entelechy of a caterpillar to grow into a butterfly. And yes, every single person is born with the entelechy of greatness.” Jean Houston
Blessings on us all, and may we all remember that the goodness of the world comes through our loving actions towards each other.
Thanks for the great year. After being blown off course and struggling to know my center again, finding my course, learning to source my life in the capable and loving adult woman that I am, and not the wounded parts, is a better blessing than I could have known to ask for.
This was your theme song:
Light A Fire
burn Up All You Know
so Much Time Just To
let Things Go
burning Letters Out
in The Snow
in Your Backyard
years Go Rolling
you’re Thirty Three
for The Cross
or The Bodhi Tree
like To Cry When You
skin Your Knee
man’s It’s Hard
and It’s The Same Old Friends On New Years Eve
the Same Snow Falls On The Same Old Leaves
and There’s The Same Old Joy And The Same Old Hurt
same Old Corduroy Shirt
old Storm Windows,
the Broke-Tail Squirrel
grocery Lists And The
rusty Brain Cells Give You A Twirl
like A Month Just To Lean Up On
open Road Wants To
get You Gone
off You Go
and It’s The Same Old Jar Of Car Keys By The Door
the Same Old Scuffed Up Floor
the Same Old Thirst For More Until The Put You In The Dirt
it’s The Same Old Nights Alone
the Same Old “baby When You Coming Home?”
to Feel The Same Old Joy, Oh The Same Old Hurt
same Old Corduroy Shirt
same Old Corduroy Shirt
Most of the time I don’t go to bed thinking, I’m going to learn something I never thought I would tomorrow. For all that we humans crave excitement, it’s easy to forget that one day will not be the same as the last, even if the last 3/15/45 have seemed that way.
This morning was one of those not-so-usual days. While turning off the alarm on my phone at 6:30, I saw that my friend Howard had sent me a text from the night before—inviting me to go to the shooting range with him.
Howard isn’t someone you’d imagine being into guns. He is a gentle but strong guy, funny and kind, a life coach and advocate trainer for rape crisis organization. He learned to shoot a gun because it scared the crap out of him, and he wanted to face it. I admire that. And while I am not so much into physically risky activities (ie the bungee jumping kind, although I do rock climb) I have always been attracted to ones that push my emotional edges. So I said yes.
Although there is a range in the East Bay, Howard is a member of one over in Larkspur because he prefers the professional/grounded atmosphere, and I have to say that I agree. Although I was the only woman there at the time, I didn’t feel weird or patronized. Everyone working there seemed to be a bit of a character, but down to earth, professional and calm (enough). I couldn’t help but think, though, how often does a gun store face attempted robbery? (Later over lunch Howard told me more often than you might think, even when a cop car is parked outside, so most of the guys who work there, who are retired military or law enforcement, are carrying).
I signed away my rights to sue for damages, handed over my ID, put on my safety glasses (science experiment style!) and ear protection, and we entered the range. Back in the parking lot Howard had already explained to me the basics (how to hold, always point downrange); as we stood in our ‘lane’ he proceeded to show me how to organize and load, the various mechanics, how to aim, the stance, and more. His explanations were clear and understandable, but it was a little hard to concentrate with gunshots going off around me in other lanes–it reverberates through your body a lot!
First we used a .22mm. For those of you unfamiliar, those are small bullets and there is very little recoil. It felt powerful–in what I would call an archetypal, not ego, way–to hold the gun. I tried to remember what Howard as well as my sister and brother-in-law (who have gone shooting numberous times before) told me–have a good stance with your upper body weight over your hips, lean forward some, focus on the forward site, breath and shoot halfway or at the end of your outbreath. I did pretty well for a beginner, getting at least half overall in the black and maybe 3-5 in the red. I think I can say that I liked shooting the .22. It is an interesting challenge to coordinate the movements and to engage with such an intense symbol of power.
The .9 mm was more overwhelming. The bullets look at least twice as big, and the recoil was mildly distressing. I fired 5 or 6 times, and stopped in part because my trigger finger was sore from the recoil. Someone a few lanes down was shooting a .45, even bigger, and I can’t imagine dealing with the energy of that.
I thought that I might reach a distressed tipping point, but when we left I felt grounded enough, not freaked out but definitely adrenalized. The bullets are lead, so you have to wash your hands aftewards, with COLD water so your pores don’t open and absorb the lead. I looked around more of the shop before we left, and it was definitely a little frightening to seem the semi-automatic weapons on the wall and thinking of someone using one. Before leaving Howard scheduled a ‘situational awareness/self-defense’ course for his crisis advocates to be taught by Josh, one of the employees who used to be a sheriff. I appreciated Josh’s combination of expertise with his apparent capacity to relate to a non-gun-toting audience. Although most of us have no need for the depth of information he possesses, we could all use better skills to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.
Upon leaving we both agreed it was time for a burger. Whenever I’ve experienced something that moves a lot of energy (two extremes of that would be a deep cranio-sacral session and firing a gun), I find that I need to ground myself, and (vegetarians/vegans cover your ears) animal protein, plus some fries, is a good way to do it. So we went to the brewpub in Larkspur and sat outside in the sun, enjoying our burgers and the idiosyncracy of life.
Back in California. It is a quiet but happy re-entry. So far I have only seen Molly/Crow/Rowan, and Jesse when he came to pick up Kale’a. This is the second morning here; last night I went to bed at 10:15 and found myself awake around 5AM. I lay in bed awhile, because it was cozy and warm, and once I was sure I wasn’t tired anymore, I got up. Brushed my teeth, took a cold shower, and now tea and toast at the kitchen table while I read a marvelous issue of The Sun whose theme is food. I feel good. I feel quiet. The world is going on around me and I remember my center here, inside. I think about how patterns can change in my life, if I can learn to accept all those niggly parts of myself and draw them in closer. This year in Portugal brought me the chance to become more intimate with those niggly parts, and now the beauty of Portugal and my loved ones is immediate and fresh to me this early morning. My heart seems situated deeper than here or there.