Tag Archives: mystery

When Life happens – and a nod to Pope Joan.

6 Sep

The worst sin is ingratitude, which is a forgetting of the greatness, beauty, truth and goodness of the Source that is constantly creating us – in other terms, a forsaking of Being, and the Good.

My favorite Leloup quote today, from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Today I had my day all planned out, my hours spoken for, so I sat down to my desk to focus on the geometries of the Josephine knot. Which I still haven’t grasped. I found a vesica, but that is a story for another day.

I was deeply in my head, probably frowning with confusion,  when all this carefully arranged bliss was loudly interrupted by Rosie, next door’s 11 week old beagle, escaping her yard,  Ellen and I chasing around like crazy people trying to corner her. Eventually, Rosie was found, the escape route blocked up, and I returned to the drawing table, my perspective blown wide open.

And this leads me to the legend of Pope Joan.  And really, just how often do things lead you there? Well, once upon a time (during the early Middle Ages to be precise), it is told that a woman, disguised as a man, rose through the church hierarchy and was eventually elected Pope. Life went along smoothly, more or less, until during one particularly solemn processional,  all hell broke loose as the Pope went into labor and produced a child on the spot. Whoops.

Forget wasting time arguing whether it’s true or just another urban legend. That’s not the point. It’s never the point.

For me, today, Joan happily reminded me that even with the best laid plans, the most carefully arranged rituals, Life still happens, unplanned, unannounced, unexpected and often showing up at the most inconvenient time.

When the Divine came crashing into my carefully constructed schedule,  disguised as an exuberant beagle wanting to play, I had the opportunity to allow everything-as-it-was to become Life-Happening-In-This-Moment. My attention, my intention, my blood, my body, unified in a way my habitual/’usual’ self has never been fully conscious of before; opening me to an idea of another way of being fully present. It’s like a huge breath of fresh air expanded into my complacent habits, my structured ideas of how things ‘should’ be and reminded me again, that I am alive.

So now when I am here typing, I am also being aware of being alive. Of being animated by a Mystery I will never understand, flowing through me with an agenda that I can only guess at, holding me closely in gratitude and delight.

The take away for me?

Life is not meant to be ‘convenient’, bent and warped to suit us and our crazy made-up lives.

Life is meant to be lived, to be wondered at, to be expressed through us. To be experienced consciously, as a tremendous gift. Life holds us tightly so that we may live wide open, allowing it to flow through us unrestricted, out into the world.

sketch for mary magdalene

 

 

sketches for mary magdalene

Coming Home.

17 May

I often find myself completely ego-absorbed – driven to produce, create, take action… make stuff happen. I am great at ‘doing’.  Out of the necessity to find balance, I have inadvertently become great at inner stillness. Sitting. Contemplating. Absorbing. Processing. Imagining. Allowing my separated soul and body time to sit face to face, hand in hand and catch up with each other, blending back together.  Time to become whole; become One.

When I need to act, my action is balanced; centered, coming from harmony. From here, intuition, a sense of rightness and my feelings help shape and inform my proven ability and delight in taking action. Action now imbued with a sense of possibility, wonder, delight, adventure, and hope. So much different from the good old days, where my heavily armored ego, trotted off on its own, busily weighing up its narrow and self-obsessed options of fight or flight.

I applaud and commend my ego – all these years it has fought the battles for me, engaged, retreated, always ready, never complaining about the poor nourishment or dismal conditions it suffered through.  I thank you. I release you.

I imagine two thrones – one for my ego, where it now sits, resplendent in its strength, honor, and might. A beautiful, proud warrior. A warrior who has little use for armor or weaponry. A warrior skilled in the hard-won arts of diplomacy, compassion, poetry and self-love. Passionate. Alive. Whole.

The second throne occupied by the Queenly counterpart to this Warrior King- nurturing, encompassing, soothing, allowing. restoring. Cool water on a hot day. The Queen, my inner feminine, the ground of being on which my inner masculine acts. Reunited with her lover/husband. Wildly passionate, years of waiting collapse into this moment/ every moment. Fueling new life. New hope. New possibilities.

I intend a metaphor that allows me to express the feeling of my masculine and feminine natures functioning as one, as an equality, as a harmony. This does not mean that I do not fight, or do not pick up my weapons… it means that my fight and flight options have been infinitely expanded, tempered and balanced with a love, care and respect for myself, which transfers to all my brothers and sisters, unconditionally. I have infinite ability to respond. I am losing my ability to react. My ego is gratefully no longer running the show alone. My Warrior has returned with a Hero’s welcome.

It takes time to nurture this relationship with oneself – years of fighting, disagreeing, slogging it out on the battlefield of life. The day the Warrior returns, the day the Hero knows his glory days are over- is full of mixed emotions. Any sea change in life can suddenly find you washed up on a distant shore, ready to stop fighting, stop all the running; longing for home.

Coming home means learning to find new glory, new adventure in the person you have become, getting down to the business of living the life you find directly in front of you, to slowly but surely find that the life you have is exactly the life that was meant for you. You learn to meet yourself again and again, loving more and more who you see, battle scars, heartaches, regrets and all. Allowing the inner feminine to pick up the broken and aching pieces, cradle the inner child, comfort and soothe you into wholeness, until you can return to the field and not see a battle, but a life of blessing.

Mysteriously it is no longer about us, but about others, acquiring becomes less important than giving, fixing, understanding, mending, listening.  A new life unfolds. Full of the adventure and mystery of the unknown- in a world full of possibilities, anything can happen. Anything can surprise and delight. Nothing is locked down tight. Nothing is for certain. Except love. That is the only certainty;  the only possibility open.

I feel together now, in a way that I never could have imagined- heart and soul, body and spirit, mind and matter. The polarities have softened, lost definition. To the extent that I can envision myself as one, I can envision the earth and all creatures as one. There is no ‘other’, no thing to fight (except myself, which becomes silly.) I am done fighting. I have taken up residence where I have always belonged – in the House of Belonging. Allowing the Unameable Mystery of Love / God, /The Divine /my Higher Self /Being etc. to stock the pantry, turn down the covers, roll up the rug, and light the fire – anticipating those moments when I remember to return home.

Coming home becomes easier as I learn to accept myself, accept that I intimately belong. I am undoubtedly cared for. (Despite how I act and sometimes feel.) I am learning to live out of my new reality- less fear, more joy. I still catch myself, my ego poised for the fight; on red alert. But it’s more like a bad dream and in a few seconds I can wake myself up, grateful for the choice. Glad to find myself home, safe and warm in my own bed.

New Work -fall leaves. Mainly.

1 Dec

work in progress

 

New work! Don’t even have a working title for it yet. Something about life-in-death and death-in-life. And how as things are ‘dying’ – returning in various stages to the earth from where they came – they are breathtakingly beautiful. The unbelievable colors of fall, the rich greens of spring and summer, and the golden brown of winter -all part of the same eternal process of life. to which, it seems, most obviously, death is an integral part. So why do we treat it otherwise? The Muslims have a beautiful saying that death in its approach is terrifying, but when it comes, that moment is actually sweet. wanting to see my life -all life- as a totality, not a sum of little disconnected parts. one great big song. With the going out as beautiful and natural and mysterious as the coming in. this picture is helping me cultivate that wider, more inclusive view. I try to come into rhythm. I am trying to honor the ebbs as well as the flows.  Each day includes at least a small letting go as well as the ushering ins of the new.  Trying to allow both the space they require, without judgment.

work in progress Nov 2014

 

 

 

Thursday

10 May

psst…. I ran again this morning…only saying because this is sooo unusual. I feel so much better- usually I wait until the end of the day when I’m tired and ready for a glass of wine. So I am trying this new approach. The app is C25K – couch to 5k – and she tells me when to walk, when to jog…brilliant.

anyway… coffee in hand, I’m in my studio this morning needing to finish up my Green Man. It’s Rob’s birthday present, which is in a couple weeks. I originally set out to do a very simple piece- and as always, there is more in the wings than I expect. I was surprised at what showed up – I only saw the green man and the knot work border. It  says ‘you are love – you are loved’ around the circle, with a very fancy scroll/leafy background. These are the things that I do not see in the ‘planning’ stages. Which is why I suppose, I love to just start with a half-formed concept – because what I did not intend is often so lovely.

I was helping my daughter last night with a homework assignment- argumentative paper on overpopulation. Her main challenge is focusing- narrowing down such a broad topic to a very specific statement which she then can argue and to which she can propose a solution. She is a very creative type and kept coming up with new ideas, new realizations of what we are doing to our beautiful planet, and as the spirit took her and she got passionate about it, it became very difficult for her to niche down and limit herself to one narrow corridor of thought. ‘ There’s just so much to say about it…’ she sighed.

I mention this because I find in the ‘real’ world, one’s ability to be specific, set goals, have a plan, to niche down, to limit oneself – is expected and encouraged. But as I sit here, half in the ‘real’ world and half in the ‘other’ world, straddling both of my hemispheres, I am choosing to be influenced by something else. I am seeking, waiting for that which pulls me out of myself – that which allows me to see countless possibilities, infinite arrangements -the clamoring of the infinite for expression in finite. It’s such a dance- to be able to be ok with uncertainty, to allow overwhelm, to sit in complete wonder at ‘what is’ and to not want to change it, just to witness it. As artists, we are surrounded and influenced by our culture, and its attachment to ego and certainty. The two killers of creativity. As artists, we hold a position that is overlooked (by ourselves and by our society) in its importance. We hold the curtain back so that others may get a glimpse of that which is beyond- to build a bridge, to help others see what we see- to look with non-physical eyes at what exists beyond our limited perceptions. We allow infinity, mystery and uncertainty into this world. As Einstein is often paraphrased- you can’t solve a problem on the level it was created – it takes new ideas, fresh thought, and inspiration to bring something new into being. Part of my job with my students is to teach them that this uncertainty is a good thing; a necessary thing. That our culture and our souls desperately need inspiration – to be filled with fresh breath, to experience the mystery of life – in addition to our amazing ability to think, to limit and define. Both halves of our brains are necessary in the curiously human ability and purpose of endlessly creating  finite expressions of the infinite – whether an English paper, a decent cup of coffee or a work of art.

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