September 27, 2010

Day 11- Weeds


It doesn't have to be the blue iris,
it could be weeds in a vacant lot,
or a few small stones;

just pay attention,

then patch a few words together
and don't try to make them elaborate,
this isn't a contest ....
but the doorway into thanks,
and a silence in which another voice may speak.

-Mary Oliver


I have a friend, a gorgeous human being both inside and out, who recently said to me “I don’t really know how to go into ceremony”. I had a hard time not laughing, which would have been very inappropriate given her delicate state. This womyn knows how to go into ceremony with such beauty, focus and devotion that I kneel down in awe of her abilities as a Priestess. Not the kind of Priestess that holds gathering or facilitates groups, but an everyday Priestess who ceaselessly prays with her every action, thought and word. She KNOWS how to go into ceremony, she just don’t know that she knows.

She told me about a night when she found herself half way up a mountain DEMANDING God give her what she asked for. This is something I struggle with. I pray more in the style of “You tell me what is needed of me and I will do my very best” . I meekly ask God for things here and there but am more likely to wait to be told God’s will and see what happens. She explained to me how important it was to help God out, let him (her) know what I really want. That when the time comes when I ferociously KNOW what I need that I must actually DEMAND it! I admit to fearing wrathful spite at being so firm with God, but then remembered that I don’t believe in a wrathful God and take heed of her wise words.

So what do I want right now? I don’t know... I don’t know that to ask for. I know I want peace, but nothing more specific is percolating. Peace is in short supply these days, though turmoil is teaching me to find peace within the intensity. To find it even when there are just a tiny little pockets of it. To relish it, crawl deep inside and let it take care of me.

On the day this friend told me she didn’t know how to go into ceremony, she was dealing with the life and death cycle which plays out in the female body. She had begun to bleed at 9 weeks pregnant, she miscarried a week later. She took her baby to the river and went into ceremony to say good bye, just as I did days ago. When she told me how she and her partner honoured their child we wept together. We are sisters now in a way we could never have been without a similar grief that was shared at the same time in our lives. Our journeys were different. She is 12 years younger than I and has no children. Her pregnancy was a surprise but a welcome one, this couple was ready to share their love with a baby. I already have 3 beautiful children. My pregnancy was also a surprise and while there is deep love for this baby and between his father and I, our relationship is fraught with conflict to the point that there is no longer contact between us. I chose my miscarriage, my friend did not, regardless we are both grieving. So we took our grief and went into ceremony, we honoured our babies.

So next time you feel grief, or immense joy, or anything at all that pulls at you to be celebrated or honoured. Find some weeds and small stones, say some words, express to source what is in your heart. Know that this is prayer, this IS ceremony. No one has to show you how, there is no manual or right way to bring yourself to God... all you need is right there within you.

“How do you go into ceremony?”, because I know you do, even if you haven’t called it that before.

September 25, 2010

Day 10- Equanimity: It Happens in the Body!

I found the following on good old facebook, my friend Tori shared it. It spoke so deeply to me with its complete simplicity. A truth I have known and couldn’t find the words to express. I think Shinzen did a bang up job... how about you?


Equanimity: the Radical Permission to Feel
--by Shinzen Young (Jul 05, 2010)
Listen To Reading!

Equanimity is a fundamental skill for self-exploration and emotional intelligence. It is a deep and subtle concept frequently misunderstood and easily confused with suppression of feeling, apathy or inexpressiveness.

Equanimity comes from the Latin word aequus meaning balanced, and animus meaning spirit or internal state. As an initial step in understanding this concept, let's consider for a moment its opposite: what happens when a person loses internal balance.

In the physical world we say a person has lost balance if they fall to one side or another. In the same way a person loses internal balance if they fall into one or the other of the following contrasting reactions:

* Suppression –A state of though/feeling arises and we attempt to cope with it by stuffing it down, denying it, tightening around it, etc.
* Identification –A state of thought/feeling arises and we fixate it, hold onto it inappropriately, not letting it arise, spread and pass with its natural rhythm.

Between suppression on one side and identification on the other lies a third possibility, the balanced state of non-self-interference…equanimity.

Equanimity belies the adage that you cannot “have your cake and eat it too. ”When you apply equanimity to unpleasant sensations, they flow more readily and as a result cause less suffering. When you apply equanimity to pleasant sensations, they also flow more readily and as a result deliver deeper fulfillment. The same skill positively affects both sides of the sensation picture. Hence the following equation:

Psycho-spiritual Purification = (Pain x Equanimity) + (Pleasure x Equanimity)

Furthermore, when feelings are experienced with equanimity, they assure their proper function as motivators and directors of behaviour as opposed to driving and distorting behaviour. Thus equanimity plays a critical role in changing negative behaviours such as substance and alcohol abuse, compulsive eating, anger, violence, and so forth.

Equanimity involves non-interference with the natural flow of subjective sensation. Apathy implies indifference to the controllable outcome of objective events. Thus, although seemingly similar, equanimity and apathy are actually opposites. Equanimity frees up internal energy for responding to external situations. By definition, equanimity involves radical permission to feel and as such is the opposite of suppression. As far as external expression of feeling is concerned, internal equanimity gives one the freedom to externally express or not, depending on what is appropriate to the situation.

--Shinzen Young, from "What is Equanimity"

I believe the key to this wisdom is that the feelings are to be EXPERIENCED... truly EMBODIED.

It is a process, feelings being truly experienced IN THE BODY is the first step. Equanimity comes as the process of experiencing feelings becomes comfortable even when the feelings themselves are not comfortable.

Actually FEELING our feeling is not something many of us were taught. Luckily we can teach ourselves and each other. We have everything we need right here ♥

“How do you experience your feelings in your body?“

September 23, 2010

Day 9- Thank You for this Day Spirit

The Birth of Will.

There are two ways to give birth. To give birth to body and spirit together or to give birth to spirit alone.

When I discovered in early September that I was pregnant I had to make a choice between giving birth to spirit in body form, a living breathing magical human being, or giving birth to a glorious spirit in spirit form, letting my child fly back to source. I chose spirit in spirit form.

I made this choice by listening to my highest authority and asking “How do I best serve?”. This decision we as womyn make is one of the few black and white choices which actually exist for a human being, we choose to let the baby live in our womb or to surrender the spirit back to our heart. There is no grey, no middle ground, this can make the decision heart wrenching. Often there is no clean clear yes or no instead there are a million reasons all weighed against one another on an often impossible choice which can not be undone. We must somehow boil things down to a choice of staying pregnant or ending the pregnancy, there is no middle ground.

I asked my son to wait for another time, one when I was not in so much pain, where we could be supported in the way we deserved. I whispered to him as I held my hands cross my full womb,

“Come again little one if it is really important we meet in the flesh, I trust you to know when. For right now your mama needs to serve in the way she knows best, and this time I choose giving birth to your spirit alone. I love you little one, thank you for choosing me. You are holy.... holy... holy”

In the quite of the night as the moon was coming full, on the last day of summer with the aid of herbs and a powerful vow to the Divine I went through labour as I have before. The contractions felt different without a full grown baby inside my belly but similar enough to know this process and to trust my bodies wisdom. This birth was different, there was no breathing baby at the end this time. There was human flesh though, clots and membranes, evidence that my sons spirit had released, tangible proof of my pregnancy. I wrapped the flesh in a leather pouch and went to the river. I went in ceremony and gave the flesh back to the mother, where we all go eventually when our bodies no longer serve us. I said good-bye and told my son, Will, how much I loved him and whispered... holy... holy... holy ... because we are.


Too many womyn feel ashamed to tell their stories of choosing abortion. Even the word abortion sounds harsh and accusing. Too many womyn hide their truth because we still live in a culture where abortions are generally tolerate but only to be spoken of in wispers. There is still silence, and with this silence an implied shame. I chose an induced miscarriage. I feel it is not only my right but my duty as an empowered womyn who has known fertility and sexuality in so many of its forms to tell my truth. I choose to speak out and do my part to create a culture where womyn are no longer judged or merely tolerated but supported and cared for no matter what we choose to do with our wombs.

A simple “What are you thankful for?” seems appropriate. I am sure I have asked it before, and will again...

September 21, 2010

Day 8- Ask 3 times...

Hot on the heels of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, I find this poem. It was given to by one of my Teachers, a man who gives of his spirit endlessly.

The Healing Time

Finally on my way to yes
I bump into
all the places
where I said no
to my life
all the untended wounds
the red and purple scars
those hieroglyphs of pain
carved into my skin,
my bones,

those coded messages
that send me down
the wrong street
again and again
where I find them
the old wounds
the old misdirections
and I lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say

Pesha Gertler


Tomorrow is Mabon or Fall Equinox, a time of balance between light and dark. As the time of high festivities comes to an end, as the summer takes her youthful place behind Autumn, we honour equanimity. After 3 months of packing in all that summer brings we stand in awe of the majesty of our abundance. Whether it comes as this festival is often know in the form of food from the ground or from some other area of the hearts planting and tending, now is the time to honour what we have created in our own lives. There are always times for “should have” and “could have”, now is not one of those. If you find yourself judging what “mistakes” may have lessened your bounty, remember lessons are learned in tricky ways sometimes, don’t be so quick to dismiss those mistakes as wrong doings. Forget all of that and instead look at your life.... and whisper

This is the wisdom of Yom Kippur, ask atonement of your bones and forgiveness is given so long as you yourself grant it. It can happen in an instant. It is just that simple... no t’s to cross, no i’s to dot.

I forgave myself today. I love you Will.

“For what do you ask or give forgiveness?“