Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Being a Good Girl

Being a good girl
denying true self again
Feminine soul lost!
Shortly after my cancer diagnosis last year, I went to see a palmist on a recommendation of a good friend. Pointing to the straight line bisecting the middle of my hand she said "here's the "good girl" line showing you have constrained your life for many a long year". Well I thought she obliviously does know me at all!
Still her words haunted me. Could someone who spent years as a lesbian separatist working at an abortion clinic be a "good girl"? Could someone whose last name means "witch" be a "good girl"? Perhaps, but in order to truly answer these questions I would need to tease out the motivating factor buried within the rebel of my youth and the women I have become in the last fifteen years: wife, mother, up standing member of a Religious Society of Friends and a small business owner.
What does it mean to be a "good girl"? Here's a great blog entry on being a "good girl". My favorite line is the last, "I am such a good girl the slightest stain on my person would be visible from space." (thanks Leslie Harpold!) Being "seen" and meeting expectations is an essential requirement of good girlism. It is as easy to be a "good rebel" as a "good girl" both are playing to the audience, hiding the authenic self within. It does not matter who the audience is, your dad, husband, God or the mirror if your playing to the audience your a "good girl".
What is the advantage of being a "good girl"? "Good girls" get all the love and none of the pain or so goes the advertising. Camouflaged clothes would not work as well! Give me your soul said the devil and I'll give you peace.
I am tired of being a good girl.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Which Metaphor to use?

Growing or Making
Which has staying creating
here in my heart now?

Dutifully reading my assigned book for a summer book group, Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer, I had one of those rabbit hole experiences. Here is a man with whom I have much in common such as being a Quaker, using writing to deepen spirituality, experienced in the dark side of life, namely depression, challenging me over what metaphor I organize my life around! Does one "make" a life in the industrial model or "grow" a life in the agricultural view?

My blog name refers to my life long fascination with the turning of the seasons and also to the Buddhist concept of "turning" the Dharma wheel. Cycles are obliviously very important to me but yet I have not extended that understanding of the cyclic nature to my deepest thinking. I harbor the notion that I can "make" myself in the sense of gathering raw materials and using will to create. Frankly the idea of "growing" myself instead is daunting since my first thought on the matter is I have not successfully grown anything in my life!

Taking a deep breath I ask myself, "is this the truth - have I not grown anything?" Yes I have had gardens and eaten a few items not hauled away by weeds and bugs, yes I do have two living children grown in my body, one which is now an adult functioning well on her own, and most importantly I do have relationships which have grown and deepened over time maybe I can "grow". I begin to see that my panicked response comes not from a lack of ability to grow but that growing is a process that relies more on community and less on will.

To make something all I need is the resources and my will, to grow requires as substrate, a ground of being, in human terms a community. Although physical laws constrain manufacture, the forces involved in growing are much more complex to the point of being a mystery. Coming out the rabbit hole to find myself firmly in the land of surrendering to the lack of control and taking responsibility for my actions, in others words - home.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A habit?

Empowering no
rifling pages in life book
Finding hidden grace

In December 1999 I left the pervasive fear of Y2K in America for a vacation in South Africa with my family. I prepared myself for the new century just around the corner at the feet of His Holiness the Dali Lama in Durban. Six hundred people listened in the hotel ballroom to the Q & A session. Someone asked, "What is it that reincarnated?" His answer, "our habits" has haunted me ever since.

His Holiness spoke eloquently of lifetimes of studying the dharma. That he "a simple Buddhist monk" created such a strong "habit" of his intellect and practice that it would reappear each lifetime. The image transmitted gently in the back waters of my consciousness was of a smiling humble monk cradled in the words of the dharma. How I longed to be sitting next to him!

What "habit" of my ancestors was so strong that it appears within me? Fear is the resounding answer. Fear of fire, fear of committed action based on faith, fear of torture, fear that constricts my throat and does not allow my voice pass. How can someone uproot such a ensnarled mass of fear?

My recent travels have bought the idea of gentle cultivation based on the belief in the permeating existence of grace. Acknowledging the valid roots of the fear and seeing what nurturance will loosen the constriction. How can fear be turned to the second definition of habit as a distinctive protective dress or costume?

Practice, Practice and Practice.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Reclaiming Fire

Fire Burning Bright
Warm safe coursing creative blood
Protected within
It was hot in my mother's trailer that afternoon far out in the scrub pine of rural southern Florida. We were sitting in her living room, me with my year old daughter in my lap and her anxiously looking out the large window at the distant grass fires creeping closer to the her pond.
As far back as I can remember my mother has joked away her fear of fire saying that she must have been burned as a witch in a previous life. There was no joking in her eyes when she looked at me that day nor was there panic. She was wordlessly acknowledging the family legacy of fear passed to me from her mother and their mothers. She was also offering me the opportunity to say no and heal part of my maternal line.
Together we did say no, we stayed in the trailer playing cards secure in the knowledge that our love is stronger than our fear. We also trusted the Indian River County Fire Department to contain the fire.
One act of saying no to fear does not entirely heal but it starts building the foundation for healing. I have had many opportunities in the intervening 25 years to explore my fears. Now it is becoming more important to not just let go of fear but actually reclaim fire. Denying fire is denying life. No more will I joke when lighting a candle that, "fire is not my element". I am now ready to respectfully dance with fire.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Practice Practice Practice

Releasing my fear
Asking for my hearts desire
Coming to know me

If you want to be a writer you must write, today I begin that practice. Inspired by my husband Kirby Urner's blog I am starting here with my publishing career. Input for you my gentle readers is most welcome.

My teachers have time and again told me to be careful what I wished for because I will receive my wish. Since my deepest wish is to become enlightened in this life time, I was admitted to an advance graduate level course is rebirthing - Inflammatory Breast Cancer. This path is not for the faint hearted and certainly I would not have consciously asked to walk that road.

For nine months, March till December 2004, I painfully and lovingly incubated a new body through chemo, surgery and radiation. I magically thought that the end of treatment would mean a new body and life without problems. I conveniently forgot labor! In my case four months of laboring with the fear of cancer manifesting as a deep depression a kind of netherland between life and death. I finally achieved my "birthing" with the help of a circle of women on a pilgrimage of Avalon.

Finally accepting that I am here to stay a while I am going about the business of constructing a life. Grounded in a tangible knowledge of impermanence I am choosing exactly what I want to do. I find I want to write, share and just "be" joyfully and fully.

Thank you for listening dear reader.