Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sacred Space

I seek the solace of my own soul's company.

I seek the low-down quiet space inside, where I do not need to travel on pilgrimage, to a holy well, to a grotto or sacred spot with ancient memories of saints and goddesses.

I make my soul journey the passage from outside to within, in silence.

Curtains closed, I contemplate the life force moving, breathing me, allowing me breath.

Lao Tzu says this:

Without going out of my door
I know what the countryside is like.
Without glancing out of my window
I know the colour of the sky.
The farther you travel,
the less you know.
If you are wise,
you can arrive without going,
see without looking,
do everything while you are doing

Susan Albert, after Lao Tzu

I found this place within with the help of my teacher.
hear more about his teaching at


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

death and friends

We prescribe a friend

We are wisdom and healing, roasted
meat and the star Canopus. We’re

ground and spilled wine soaking
in. When illness comes, we cure

it. For sadness we prescribe a
friend. For death, a friend. Run

to meet us on the road. We stay
modest and we bless. We look like

this, but this is a tree, and we
are morning wind in the leaves that

makes the branches move. Silence
turning now into this, now that.


I found out today my cousin died of lung cancer, after 9 months of fighting it with various treatments. Rumi has such a perspective on things, on life, on death. I think the human warmth of friends is the greatest comfort, and silence. And morning sun on the lake.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The physics of cloudiness

Apparently, when there is too much orderly tought, we are rigid, not creative, yet the opposite, scattered energy too haphazard, is not useful either - nothing sticks or persists. But where order and disorder meet and interlace, in the liminal space of ambiguity, creativity lives, just on the edge of chaos.

One more request to the mountain (Taos)

my hunger for mountains could be a hunger for mother love
the Ma of existence, the One mother
shadow play of leaves on the stucco wall
reaching, touching, rubbing against
each other's shadow
the way twenty-five women in a room see themselves
in each other's shadows
and cannot easily see their own
without a mirror
but when one opens her heart and speaks,
it brings tears to 25 pairs of eyes

We have all considered not sharing
our visions, our goals, affirmations and dreams
but when one of us does, it feeds all of our souls
like leaf shadows playing on the wall
feeds a need for beauty, art, music in my soul
that gentle play.

there are other shadows, dark clouds leaving the mountain
in darkness, that feel more like waking in the pitch black
of 4 am after a bad dream, aware that monsters
and demons exist, and although in theory
I know it is merely a shadow, I still shiver
a little.

note to self: embrace the physics of cloudiness
stop rearranging the furniture


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

women's journey and circles

Two summers ago, I ventured to Taos New Mexico for a Writer's Spa, a writing retreat with twenty women, which included yoga, yummy food and daily exercises and inspiration from Jennifer Louden and Suzanne Falter-Barnes. ( and (

It started me on a path of discovery, and change, as I left trying to publish more poetry books and explored what was next for me. One of the things I am learning on the journey is how fruitful and supportive it is to travel in the company of other women, especially those who are like-minded and thirsty for a deeper meaning.

Jennifer Louden's book "The Woman's Retreat Book - A guide to restoring, rediscovering and reawakening your true self- in a moment, an hour or a weekend", has been instrumental in helping me unblock my creativity, find a truly restful way of holding mini-retreats in my own room, and find ways reach out to share these ideas with others.

Another favourite author is Judith Duerk, author of Circle of Stones, and I Sit Listening to the Wind. The importance of sharing our deepest moments with other women is evoked in this passage from Circle of Stones:

"How might your life have been different, if long ago when you were still a tiny child, long before you began to come to the Women’s Lodge as the normal cycle of your life, you had been brought here especially by your mother and aunts…and you and your girl cousin entered shyly into this place you had overheard so much about?

And after the fires were lighted, and the drumming, and the silence, you heard, for the very first time, what the women called the Naming…each woman speaking slowly into the stillness, sharing her feeling of how she saw her life and what she wished to say of it…sharing it with the women around her…weaving the threads of her life into a fabric to be given and named.

And as the shadows of the day lengthened into dusk and you leaned your head against your mother's shoulder, you pondered in your heart a different sense of a woman's life..."

From Circle of Stones, Judith Duerk

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Honey Tree

And so at last I climbed

the honey tree, ate

chunks of pure light, ate

the bodies of bees that could not

get out of my way, ate

the dark hair of the leaves,

the rippling bark,

the heartwood. Such

frenzy! But joy does that,

I'm told, in the beginning.

Later, maybe,

I'll come here only

sometimes and with a

middling hunger. But now

I climb like snake,

I clamber like a bear to

the nuzzling place, to the light

salvaged by the thighs

of bees and racked up

in the body of the tree.

Oh, anyone can see

how I love myself at last!

how I love the world! climbing

by day or night

in the wind, in the leaves, kneeling

at the secret rip, the cords

of my body stretching

and singing in the

heaven of appetite.

Mary Oliver

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Choosing to Stay at Home with kids, poem

A Woman's Choice

It's the small details:
rat's nest in his hair,
holes in her tights,
who is whose friend today at school,
making sure the right combo of green & orange
gets into their mouths, being there at 3:45
to greet the loudmouth bus driver &
rescue my five year old from bumpy sleep.

No pay, long hours, no public recognition
yet in my heart a small voice says
cancel all job interviews
hold that resume in a file waiting,
like my high heels and work suits in the cupboard,
let my degrees gather dust on the wall.

I want to be there when the first tooth falls,
a quiet rite of passage & mine to revel in.
It means postponing ego strokes.
It means no time just for me, but also
not being split down the middle working double shifts.
I can wait for the glory of a pat on the back & a salaried job.

Right now there's some small things I must attend to:
this three-year-old in pigtails, this fragile boy in the schoolyard.

published in Mothering Magazine

Monday, July 21, 2008

menopause poems

Medusa 1878 Arnold Bocklin

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved, - a bell hung ready to strike.
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
and the hissing hair,
held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this.
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
and the tipped bell make no soun.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day.
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.

Louise Bogan (1897-1970) American poet,
found in Women Poets from Antiquity to Now

Monday, June 30, 2008

Poem for Midlife women and their Mothers

August Third
by May Sarton

These days
lifting myself up
like a heavy weight,
old camel getting to her knees
I think of my mother
and the inexhaustible flame
that kept her alive
until she died.

She knew all about fatigue
and how one pushes it aside
for staking up the lilies
early in the morning,
the way one pushes it aside
for a friend in need,
for a hungry cat.

Mother, be with me
today on your birthday.
I am older than you were
when you died
thirty-five years ago.
Thinking of you
the old camel gets to her knees,
stands up,

Moves forward slowly
into the new day.

If you taught me one thing
It was never to fail life.

Monday, June 9, 2008


(c) Free nature photos

a woman with too many poems in her hair
can never get enough
blue sky
the world misses her

for her, the world starts above the trees,
with the wisps of cloud

she flies on the back
of the blue=tailed swallow
high enough to sing, or she swings,

a leggy girl with pointed toes
pumping higher until she can see
over fences
over rose bushes
right into the blue water
of the swimming pool next door

& she learns to trust
the air that heaves her
far from earth

little beetle with silver wings
takes flight, circles
then flies diretly
into the sun

from Little Mother, Hochelaga Press, 1997
originally published in Index, the Montreal
literary calendar, 1995

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mother Famine

You were lost to me before I was born.

When the ram’s horn blew and the temple walls came tumbling down over my head, stone by stone, at Jericho. I lost you when I ran into the forest, frightened and longing to see your pale face reflected under leaves, in between rocks, your smile of courage egging me on.

I lost you when little girls were made to lie beneath the rude soldiers rescuing them, or the sweaty uncles petting them, or the firm young brothers forcing the soft ones with songs on their tongues. You were lost to me when the first midwife was throttled and drowned, when they began to round up the healer women, looking for the devil’s teats on our bodies, then lit the bonfires.

I lost you before the Peloponesian Wars, lost you again when the Mongolian hordes rode their rough ponies through, lost you when the blue-tiled walls of Mikonos were razed by Greek soldiers. Your body bruised and buried, encased in the bogs, your memory and stories erased by Deuteronomy, by Hammurabai, by Zeus. You reign now as a faint shadow in the moon, but even there, re-named Old Man, until archeologists unearthed your wide hips and round belly, bringer of rains, harvest, and safe berth.

Give us this day our daily bread, and let us eat, remembering. Instead, our female children starve themselves bone-thin to repudiate your flesh; we slice it out of our bodies, we hide it in our fat, we choke ourselves and vomit, re-enact that first shame under the Tree, when making a human form, the labour it entails and the blood that comes with each moon became a curse.

Oh let me rekindle that fierce mother love– and weep for the mother slayers.

Can I shield my daughter from the truth that she is powerful and because of that she may be raped or killed? This is your secret, the power of birth and the real miracle of blood turning into milk (not water into wine). We, who rely on these first stories to understand our place in the world, have had a bone stuck in our throats for a very long time.

Give me back my mother love, my rising star, my Venus, the sun’s circle of life:

let the man in the sky stop building missiles and fighter F14 jets for South Korea, Pakistan, Israel and South Africa,
let the Old Man in the US Senate hear the voices of the women.
Let the African governments hear the voices of their raped and damaged daughters.
Let the Lebanese women rise, let the Pakistani women rise, let the Afghan women, the Chechen women, the Colombian women, the Rwandan women, the Venezuelan women, the Chinese women, the Uzbekistani women,
let the women in the veil, the women in purdah, the women stoned to death, the women doused with kerosene for their dowry, the women thrown down wells for honour, the women sliced open and sewn shut, the women interred,
let all the women remember you.

Your light was not always this dim.

aka jenn

Monday, May 26, 2008


....I am being reminded to integrate the masculine and the feminine. to respect the Male Divinity as well as the Goddess. Six months before, on the same land, I experienced a deep and spontaneous sharing with a friend. It was as if a veil were pulled aside and I suddenly realized how alienated I had been from the Father God.

My hellfire and brimstone Christian fundamentalist upbringing had turned me off to the image of God as a punishing and critical father. In my twenties I turned to the Great Mother Goddess for comfort and healing. Now I am being guided to the next step. It is time to turn to the male side of the Divine (of my own psyche as well) to clear away the false images and find my own true relationship between the two sides.

As if to acknowledge my surrender to the task, I plunge into the pool headfirst. I am naked except for my gold ring with a triangular blue topaz, the ring I gave myself as a symbol of the sacred trinity - Father, Mother and Divine Child or Christ Being.

Kneeling in the grass, with the hot sun on my face, I pray to be shown a way to be in a true partnership of the masculine and feminine. Opening my eyes, I see two bright red dragonflies beginning their mating dance, swooping joyfully in tandem. ..."See, just like that! We can be like that and dance and fly together."

from The Woman's Retreat Book
(by a woman on retreat by herself)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tyranny of the Masculine, yearning for the feminine

Here's a telling excerpt from The Heroine's Journey by Maureen Murdock:

"What many heroines want is exactly what their fathers wanted and toook for granted--someone to take care of listen to their woes, massage their battle-weary bodies, appreciate their successes and take away the pain of their losses. They want a relationship to the feminine....but they know not what is missing, so they fill the pain with more activity....

"This obsessive need to stay busy and productive keeps her from having to experience her growing sense of loss. But what is this loss? Surely she has achieved everything she has set out to do, but it has come at great sacrifice to her soul. Her relationship with her inner world is estranged.

...She will depend on no one. She drives herself relentlessly to the brink of exhaustion. She forgets how to say no, has to be all things to all people, and ignores her own need to be cared for and loved. She is out of control. Her relationship to her inner masculine has become distorted and tyrannical, he never lets her rest...."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Inner Marriage

If we are depending on our partner
to make us whole,
we're in trouble.
Sooner or later, we shall feel betrayed.
Sooner or later, we shall hate the dependence,
sooner or later, we may be the one
who does the betraying.
Wholeness is within.

Marion Woodman with Jill Mellick
Coming Home to Myself

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Beyond Perfectionism

As long as we try to transcend ourselves,
reach for the sky,
pull away from ground and into spirit,
we are heroes carved in stone.
We stand atop the pillar alone
blind to the pigeon's droppings.

Do not try to transform yourself.
Move into yourself.
Move into your human unsuccess.
Perfection rapes the soul.

* * * * * * *

It is easier to try
to be better
than you are
than to be
who you are.

Marion Woodman, Coming home to myself,
with Jill Mellick

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


by David Wagoner

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes besideyou
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat is as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Rumi and Silence

Back into the Reedbed!

Time to ignore sensible advice,
to untie the knots our culture

ties us with. Cut to the quick!
Put cotton in both sentimental

ears. Go back intothe reedbed.
let cane sugar rise again in you

No rules or daily duties. Those
do not bring the peace of silence.

translated by Coleman Barks,
The Soul of Rumi

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wooing the Unknown (watching the mountain)

written for
New Mexico

Dark cloud shadow
covers the face of the mountain.
My own face inscrutable, in the mirror.

I sit with the question
what is the one thing I love most,
the one thing I want to share
most with the world.

The clouds move slowly. No wind.
Little humps of green, foothills, grow black.

The poplars begin to shake.
Bird peeps from the Cottonwood tree.
A dark cloud moves this way,
now half the mountain is clouded over.

Rain announcing its venue - it is coming.

First, it grows dark.
Jennifer Boire Taos Journal

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Poem written against Despair

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
Naomi Shihab Nye

She walked around the circular block of her neighbourhood
and saw that it was good.
She saw lawns newly cut, hedges neatly trimmed,
gardens clipped and tidy.
She saw chrysanthemums flourishing in pots, purple and gold.
She saw asters and brown-eyed Susans in abundance.

She saw three children in the playground.
One toddler, hands full of cookies, came to pat her dog.
(Maggie saw that it was good).
She saw the fresh pavement on the driveway,
where a new family had just moved in.
She saw the sumacs flaming orange and red along the
soccer field, and maples’ tips torched with the same fire.
She saw the houses, driveways and lawns,
each one more beautiful than the last.
She saw the sky was blue and the sun was warm,
and she told herself that it was good.

And that, in spite of the continuing war in Iraq,
uncommon famine in Darfur,
continued violence in Afghanistan and Sudan,
the Aids epidemic in Africa,
junkies in downtown cores and homeless children
all over the civilized world,
that to be alive, right here and now, was good.

She took a deep breath, and told herself,
Just for today, all I can do
is quiet the war inside of me,
give up the struggle in my own heart.

If just for today, one person gives up despair
and practices opening her heart to hope,
then peace in the heart will be her gift.

@ Jennifer Boire

Friday, March 14, 2008

Honour Your Inner Diva with a day off

Have you seen the Tampax Pearl ad (I saw it in January's People magazine) that says, "Divas don't take days off"?

I'd like to change that ad, rewrite it to say, Divas dive deep on down days and take a breather.

How unfortunate that our 'joining' the masculine world of work has made us forget our feminine centre and our need for rest. We want to be up and running 30 days out of the month, but that's not healthy.

On a slightly different topic, I was visiting a friend who is a busy mom at home, with a 6 year old and a 2 year old girl. She reminded me what it was like to be at home with small children: no time to pee let alone read my emails, is how she put it. It reminded me also of how I struggled to feel 'productive' when I was in that stage. Children are so right brain, and non-linear, kind of floaty and still close to a dream state of imagination. And as adults we are in the linear, 'get to Point B from Point A' mode, so we push and pull them to get somewhere on time, make them fit into the linear, square box of pre-school or 'world out there', when really they are still round pegs, connected to the feminine, not able to fit into the 'productivity' and time-centered world of big people.

What would it be like to just accept that non-linear mode, enjoy life in the slow lane. Not even try to get out to a playgroup in 3 feet of snow with a stroller that can't roll on sidewalks, but invite other moms over to play and chat instead, with no structure or deadlines.

What if a woman could take a day off work right before her period, or on the first day, when she is feeling like she needs some down time, quiet time, to withdraw and be silent.

What would it do for our relationships if we could create a sense of sanctuary for our couple, time and space to be alone together without having to be somewhere, do something?

All this 'lack of time' and getting places on 'time' causes so much frustration. So let your sense of time be suspended when it's that special time of the month. Honour your inner diva.

Divas do take days off, and they are better women for it.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Initiation and Ecstasy

According to Alexandra Pope, women can access their own ecstasy during menstruation. Not many of us look at our periods as a doorway to an altered state of consciousness, or one that builds our intuitive powers and gives access to a natural high.

Initiation is what happens for women at 3 stages, at puberty, at pregnancy and at menopause. We naturally are not aware that something deeper is going on than the physical changes of our body landscapes. It's sad that we have lost the rituals and initiation ceremonies that used to welcome women into the next phase of the journey, at least in most Western cultures.

But it's there nonetheless. It's like we have a symbolic death and rebirth every month, not just at menopause. The disturbance and PMS symptoms we experience, are mostly due to our being out of tune with ourselves, and because of the lack of guidance from our elders. The knowledge of a woman's cycle of initiation has been effectively stamped out by fear of paganism, and goddess-centered religions.

We struggle every month to get a handle on our emotions. We struggle at puberty and menopause and resist the changes that are inevitable. We struggle because we do not know.

"Menstruation was regarded as a natural time of visioning and prophecy for some indigenous peoples, such as in North America. A woman at such time would vision for her whole community. To my mind menstrual disturbances can be a nascent vision or prophecy attempting to happen that you don't yet know how to read and interpret for your community...If women collectively were to stop 'coping with' or medicating their distress away, but rather let the truth of it unfold, this would be a profound shamanistic act of healing the world." Alexandra Pope, A woman's quest

So what can we do to access this inner knowledge?

Look after yourself. Self-care is utmost on the list. Be aware of your cycle and where you are in it. Try to reduce your dependence on electro-magnetic fields like TV and computers, cell phones in the few days prior to your period. It messes up your psychic antennae according to Pope.
Ask for a vision: ask for a clear message. Especially leading into and during menstruation.
Work with trance states: mostly we call it foggy thinnking, but if you slow down, move at the pace your body wants to go, let the dreaminess happen, you may notice a different kind of awareness and openness. Revel in it!

Let the unknown power of women's visioning come and touch you.
Lose your fear of your own cycle.

imagine what an empowered woman can do in this world?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Reflections on feminine-masculine balance

Marion Woodman has written about slowing down and meeting the inner feminine, and of the addiction to perfection that comes from living from outer instead of inner values. In our society we are driven, strive for outer approval, let our minds rule our hearts, disconnected from our female bodies. There is a drive for competition and always being right, a drive for control that kills the vulnerability in me, that does not accept uncertainty, or not knowing. In my dreams, my male animus is either a rebel on a motorcyle with a knife aimed at my belly, with the power to kill me if I don't escape, or more recently, a dying father, having a heart-attack, crumpled on the floor at my feet, while my son tries to prop him up.

The old way is dying in me, if I allow it.

Reflections on the life lived with controlling animus in charge:

- what seeks to be right, always
- what hates to live in uncertainty
- what crushing weight on my shoulders
- what blocks my breath
- what pushes past my children in a rush
- what stirves to compete, rushes to get things done
- what forgets to breathe
- what outdoes itself all the time
yet leaves basic life supporting things undone
- what ignores the daily tasks that feed the body
- what derives nourishment from thin air and refuses the
real feelings that are food for the soul
- what punishes and never weeps
- what killing highwayman robs me in my sleep
- what nightmares I pass on to my daughter
- what love I withhold in the name of criticism
- what nasty digs and sharp words hurt others
- what refuses to be vulnerable
- what disdains all that is weak, all that is feminine & holy
- what eats up my quiet time with fretting
- what perfectionism destroys my confidence
- what adherence to law and rote ties my stomach up in knots & grinds my teeth
- what need for approval weighs me down
- what sucks all the joy out of my heart
- what puts a crick in my neck & an ache in my breast
- what will never surrender

The unknown within will be known, makes itself known, uncovers my blind eyes.

The heart sees truly, the body signals the need for self-knowledge.

The feeling body tells the truth.

I listen to my own sadness and cry cleansing tears.

It brings me closer to my self.

I hold myself dear.

alias little jenn

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Joy, where have you been hiding?

Quiet rush of stilled air around the ears. Ho, you say, it’s nothing, only silence; or wild cheers, hosts of angels, violins, water rushing, wings beating?

Picture of myself 12 years ago at someone’s wedding: wide smile, clear face, Joy? Where have you been hiding? These days the face is a mask that sags into tiredness and fatigue, battling inertia or exhaustion. Fight or flight mode. Too many ancient walls crumbling, retreat from defenses, desire to come home to simplicity, breath, stillness, stretch the body to find its source, not will power, a different motive for moving. Plans yes, plenty, and renovations, vacations, readings, publishing projects, meetings, the Green coalition, the 6th Grade committee, annual general meeting of poets, computer emails phone calls, designer, friends, sisters, all want to plug into the computer already. Start the day! But I lay sleepless in the night for three long hours. Finally dreamt so I must have slept –one eye twitches now, signs of stress, fatigue. There is nothing I can do to save the world today.

The kids are safe in school, the laundry pile awaits downstairs and this rendez-vous
with her untold stories, unmet ghosts awaits her too. What did that singer say- her shed is immaculate, cause she is putting off doing her music work, cleaning house instead. How long can she put off meeting with her younger self? The dark younger One waiting in the shadows, too much evasion, no self-honesty. How deserted she still feels. Time to book a vision quest in the woods. Time off, alone, somewhere to leap into ghazals or poems, on Cortez island, or find a teacher she has not met yet, still wants to learn about this mysterious shaping of words, this in-between state, the cloud of unknowing, learn to trust her dreams, messages, unspoken hints, directions she is too timid to take, but can’t the muscle of trust can be strengthened with use, like any other? Who else if not an intuitive introvert to interpret the signs? It makes her an observer, a reporter, describer of small details, perhaps not a builder of novels or characters yet, but that will come later, if she trusts the small words forming, where? Not on the tongue, it moves not. In between the ears? Or eyes? This awareness looking through her glasses (far sightedness), or the impulse sending words/neurons to the end of her fingers and pen, where do thoughts come from? and why in the middle of the night are they so dark? And unfriendly?

She doubts everyone, even her faithful husband in the dark. It comes, sweeps in like a tidal wave (or a mad dog), insidious at first, but builds into a crescendo until she wants to squeeze her eyes, wring the thoughts out of her brain like a wet cloth, find calm sleep.

Who does she love? Who is the actress playing the part?
Rose scented cream, a raw silk pink shirt, tight over the breasts, the phone rings it’s the bar St-Sulpice, changing the room of the reading planned for the Writes of Spring, and it is a good thing she is rooted in the breath of Tao because she forgets she has decisions to make.

Volunteering at the lit festival, leading authors to their signings and readings, she loved the stimulating panels, the multi-media poetry and sound shows, the gentle conversation with women authors about “chick lit” and the brash New Yorkers, versus calm Montrealers, she would have bought all their books, but came away with just three. Love being around writers, hanging out in the atmosphere of this meeting ground, and of course came away thinking of I shouldn’t have said that, or that was smart, so self-centered and foolish to tell my birth stories to the pregnant CBC host who was kind enough to remember my poetry reading at a Mothering Matters group. We volunteers arrive causally, are thrown into the confusion and crowds and learn to swim very quickly. Did a stint at the info table and learned where everything is, I love to be helpful.

And what I saw was a need to climb out of my cozy nest and make a name for myself. Oh that naming thing again. The hermit poet doesn’t need a name or a public but the writer woman self (still childish) wants to play in the big playground on the big swings with the kids who have published books and risked looking foolish and put down in writing their obsessions – see Joel laughing at his own self-obsession, unrequited love. Well, we all write from something, some desire or need to tell a story, our own story preferably (if I am honest) and have an audience. And the love of theatre, the appeal Catherine says is mixing the private solitary art of writing with the performance before an audience, that mystical alchemical bond with people’s eyes ears hearts listening while you pour your heart out –need confidence in the rightness or deepness of what the heart’s voice has to express – can it be deep uplifting hopeful (reassuring, yes, there is a purpose to all this searching) without being formulaic as a romance novel. Want to work on poems, stories, plays –whatever can bring me to that play acting place of words on a stage, under lights, an audience drinking it up like reading Naming Adam in the Zenon Bar in Trois-Rivieres. I was happiest then, on stage, at those moments with the rhythm of a good poem, words moving through the heart and mind, lips body, out into other ears heart body – so to do this, write your hear out, then in, again.

“This outer is an elaboration of this inner. I prefer the origin.” Soul of Rumi

Do I?

Monday, January 28, 2008

A note: I am posting extracts from A Woman's Way, Tao of Turning Fifty, sporadically on this site. This entry jumped out at me today, because last Wednesday was Fani's funeral. Beloved Fani, beloved by many, whether patients or friends, whose words still inspire me to be true to myself, spread my wings. This is for you :)

Feb 2, 2005

I am stubborn in believing that my healing and answers will come from inside of me-- like a locked cage or a labyrinth I am lost in seeking the mystery image or sacred word at the center that will free me, or click into place, suddenly turn a light on, or gradually lift the darkness of night in the pinkish gray peace of morning. This morning my daughter points me to the pink puffs in a misty sky at 7 am and although I had been up since 6:20, it had been dark. I thought it was odd that dawn was still happening, I was lost in my newspaper not paying attention to the world outdoors. It is a hazy kind of winter day, soft smothering cloud low on the earth like a damp layer of gauze, holding humidity in the air, making the snow mushy. I felt the cold creeping in, making me sneeze and shiver in my robe. A blast of cold air when I opened the door for the cat – attacked my neck with cold.

Fani believes society has sexualized even young children’s bodies and we can’t go back to innocence. That is so sad. I feel lighter today in my solar plexus, but sore in shoulders and neck. Going for massage later. Need to treat the neck gently-- it is hardened, rigid with fear, crisp with defensiveness, afraid of cracking open the mind-body split. “You are so strong” says Fani. “Yes, woman of steel,” I reply. But the ‘carapace’ is cracking, failing, and it needs to open. My warrior spirit energy is mostly gone – softening. The inner child wants me to honour her feelings. When Fani asked me at the end of our hour if I wanted a hug, and I said not right now, she applauded. I broke into tears. So hard for me to express my feelings, stand firm.

Reading Women’s myths and secrets I was struck by the positive accent on menstrual blood. It has been so demonized, it’s hard to take in the positive spin, making it a holy source of power. Our female power is so lost, so far back. Somewhere in a pre-historic cannibalistic past…can it be reclaimed, made less bloody, more soft and inward? And where is the recognition of the real meaning of breath, the Name of God that is nameless--these are secrets that belong to the human soul, neither male nor female. But our female mysteries of blood into milk, the stages of a woman’s life, bleeding, wedding, conceiving, making one into two, birthing, these, too are holy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Creativity and Rest

Some days I am so busy, so intent on learning how to be better prepared, more informed, on top of my game, I forget about the importance of creative loafing, of surrendering to a higher or inner power, of letting go to let new ideas come in. I am much too focused 'out there' on other authorities, books, resources, and forget to look inside of me for insight. David Whyte is a poet whose work inspires me to slow down.

"The word 'expert' seems to be like a fog in which we lose ourselves. We feel our lack before we have done the essential work of touching our own inner longing. In other words, we put the cart before the horse. Creativity has much more to do with giving ourselves over to our deepest longings than it does with giving ourselves over to any kind of strategy.

Often the first impulse people have around their creativity has to do with signing up for school or arranging their schedule to fit more of everything in. The great poetic and mythic traditions say it's actually the opposite: Creativity has to do with unburdening, with giving yourself a break, with letting fresh air in through the windows, with allowing yourself to be lost-profoundly lost, deeply lost."

"Silence doesn't necessarily mean being quiet. Silence means you haven't already got the answer when you ask the question. It seems that in the true art and the true poetic line, the answer lies in the very resonance of the question."

from Poetry and Personal Passion, by David Whyte, found in an old issue of Magical Blend

Enjoy some silence and quiet time today. Even nature is dormant in winter, so it would seem to be in the nature of things to slow down, go to bed early, sit in front of a fire and let the muse reach us through the flames. Keep warm, in this bitter cold time of year, and keep open to magic.

dream the dream,


Monday, January 7, 2008

A Secret Life

by Stephen Dunn

Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don't say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or you've just made love
and feel you'd rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you're brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that's unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you'd most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

Friday, January 4, 2008

menstrual cycle and stress

"A little stress gets you going - too much of it and you start to unravel...You're already up to your eyeballs with things to do and now you've got to sort out your new diet, get regular exercise, and take time out to meditate on the meaning of your life...

but if you don't take stock now you could be in much worse strife further down the track. Remember, the menstrual cycle is the stress senstivie system in women so think of menstrual symptoms as an early warning sign for your overall health.
Feeling under stress is also a signal that you need to stand up for yourself more. Your stress is an opportunity to take a personal stand. You've probably been saying 'yes' to others too iften and 'no' not often enough."

from Wild Genie, Alexandra Pope

"We rely on so much on what is visible, active and 'out there' and need also to trust he dormant, the invisible and the numinous aspects of life. The cycle embodies the continuous process of bginnings and endings, birth and death, the eternal return that keeps everything alive. " A woman's quest, Alexandra Pope

Oh ladies, take time today to put aside your agenda, and busy list and lay still, hang out, stop mentally as well as physically. Give yourself some quiet time, especially if you are having a period right now, take time to be silent, even if just 15 minutes. Start liking yourself enough to be alone with yourself and make your own sanctuary for resting in, even if it's a corner of your bedroom with a comfy chair. Or a spot in the back yard where the outside noise is lesss.

"There is an enormous elemental force at work in women's bodies that is both intensely intimate and universal - ecstatic, creative, restorative and full of love. We experiecne this force at menstruation (and also during pregnancy and giving birth). the post-menopausal woman, who has understood and lived the journey of the cycle, fully inhabits this power." A Woman's quest.

Are you ready to be initiated into the Quest? look up this book on the web site

It's a marvel to me that more women are not aware of the gift of their cycle. Come back and visit, I'll have more info later, for all you questers.