casting spells of liberation

He found this tiny black feather and gave it to me.  He said he thought it was a crow feather and told me not to cast a spell with it.  Ha!  I told him that even if I did cast a spell, it would be good magic, it would be in service to love and liberation.

So here we go.  Let’s cast a little spell together.   I’ve put the feather on a piece of art infused with intention.  A little bricolage.  This is similar to the mantra my yoga teacher said in hot yoga the other day. A spell is a prayer is a mantra.

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be well.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be wild and free.

And so it is.

yoga of vulnerability

The other day in yoga I was in “Happy Baby” pose and suddenly I felt very small.  And vulnerable.

I found myself saying, “It’s okay, sweetie.  I’m sorry that you were hurt.  I’m sorry that you were lied to.  I’m sorry that has made it hard for you to trust people.”

I started crying as I thought of all the people that I have loved. All the people that I haven’t treated as kindly as I wished.  And all the people who haven’t treated me as kindly as I wished.

I just let myself really feel that sadness.   Then I whispered, 

“It’s okay.  I forgive you.”

Then my body just relaxed and I felt something shift inside me.  Like a lotus flower opening.  I opened to that feeling of deep compassion for myself and others and awakened to the realization that we are doing our best at any given time.  It’s often only through a reflective practice that I realize that I could have done better.  And how I could have done better.  Even with that kind of practice, I still mess up, because I’m a messy human.

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bare

IMG_20160301_095142 I read an article recently that recommended walking with bare feet.  I’ve been dutifully trotting outside each morning while I wait for my coffee to brew and walking on the little gravel patch on the side of the house.

Back and forth.  Bare legs.  Bare arms.  Bare feet.

The rocks are hard and cold on my tender feet.  It hurts.  I feel the nerves in my legs responding and muscles contracting.  I feel where I am unstable and where I overcompensate. It’s fascinating and disturbing but answers some questions about my body.  Doing this makes me feel very vulnerable.  I become aware of things I need to change and of the temporal nature of life.  It’s also making me feel stronger and more alive, day by day.

I’m finding that love is a lot like this.

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bricolage project day 20 [Artemisia]

Today’s randomly-chosen word is Artemisia as in the Warrior Queen and comes from The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.  I really love that my finger landed on this name rather than a more mundane word because I love her story!  In fact, I might weave her story into the play I’m writing with my daughter.   This has been the biggest gift of the Bricolage Project thus far:  Not only allowing me to stretch creatively but also helping me see how my gifts, interests, and the mysterious synchronicities in life are woven together, how they inform one another.

Today’s post is informed by writing this at 1:30 this morning:

I awakened from a dream.  No, I was the dream.  I awakened with blood between my legs but didn’t want to get up.  I wanted to feel it there.  This could be my last blood.  It has been three months since my last.  I want to cherish it.  Put it in a cup.  Paint with it.  Feel its stickiness on my fingers.  Smell it.

So I drifted back to sleep and began to hear their voices.  The voice of my friend Courtnee talking about women who are losing their lives and having their fertility taken from them shortly after their first blood.  She was like a wraith in my dream.  Haunting but not unwelcome.

In my dream I go upstairs and encounter a woman who was coming out of our bathroom.  I know her from work and she talks about how important it is that we talk about all of it as women—all of our bodily functions including our bleeding time.  That we need to be acknowledged for our earthiness.

I know this is in response to him saying he thinks women should hide things like farts and burps, that’s it’s not “feminine”.  Fuck that noise.  I’m not interesting in hiding parts of myself.

I woke up again a few hours later with more blood pooled underneath me.  Yes, I’m writing about this because it’s a beautiful part of my life and my heritage and I truly will miss it when it’s gone.  Maybe it’s shameless.  Maybe I don’t care.

Shame is pretty overrated.

When I ended up choosing the word Artemisia this morning and reading about her I thought about how it must have been for her, a warrior queen, to be commanding a ship.  Her fierce heart but soft body with a moon cycle to deal with.  Did she also wake up in a pool of blood?  How did she handle it?  I feel so connected to women and to the earth when I’m bleeding and, as my therapist pointed out this afternoon, it’s also a beautiful reminder of the gift of giving birth to two beautiful girls.

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This piece is an assemblage that uses a page from a sketchbook that I created in Larry Calkins’ class at Pratt several years ago and some more recent items including a perfect crow feather I found while walking to therapy today and this morning’s fresh blood.

Today’s quote comes from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés from her audiobook Seeing in the Dark.  I was listening to it in the quiet of the morning today and realized it contains the intention of this piece and the entire Bricolage Project quite well:

“For most artists, they do create out of angst but they don’t sit in the complaint and the condemnation.  They create their way of out if they draw it, they paint it, they write it about it, they dance it, they sculpt it, they do any number of things to express what has happened…so that others will be protected and healed also.  That is one of the greatest ideas that I know behind the creative force is that you use every disappointment…everything is used to create from.  Taking all that is in shadow or the feelings that we don’t belong.

Of course we belong.  Of course we can create out of darkness.”

Yes we do and yes we can.

bricolage project day 15 [result]

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Today’s random word, result, comes from Archetypes & Strange Attractors:  The Chaotic World of Symbols by John R. Van Eenwyk who I had the pleasure of hearing speak at Antioch University Seattle many years ago.  Because I love the text so much, it serves nicely as today’s quote:

“As we now turn to the diachronic process of individuation, bear in mind that psychological growth occurs as a result of tensions, especially those between opposites, in the psyche.  Among these are conflict and resolution” (p. 31).

Isn’t that reassuring?  All of that delicious tension is helping us grow!  Reminds me of the Degenerate Art Ensemble exhibit I saw at the Frye Art Museum in 2011.   There was a video of dancers embodying creation.  I think it was a bird coming out of an egg or perhaps a seed bursting through the earth to kiss the light.  I just remember it felt inherently violent.   Like the dance , our ego’s relationship to to our complexes creates this tension that help us grow into a bigger version of ourselves.  Without integration we continue to repeat patterns that keep us stuck.  Without shadow, we don’t learn.

I’ve often described my own process as “dancing with my shadow” because that’s how it feels. I don’t let it rule my life but I am aware of it.  I certainly see it mirrored back to me and have learned to tend and befriend these various aspects of myself.  When I was creating today’s bricolage, I did the painting that you see (the black ink in the left margin was done by dipping a dried rose in ink, btw.  I love how it turned out!) then made a cut out of a little angle/devil creature.  I thought it would be fun to have her dance around as a shadow instead of placing a static piece inside the frame.  I ended up painting with shadow.  I did all of that before choosing the word and subsequent quote.  I love synchronicity!

I made a little video of it just for fun.  Painting with shadow.

Working on this project has drawn me deeper inside myself into the deep quiet.  I’m feeling and seeing life more geometrically and have been finding my way to far more authenticity.  It’s as though life is saying, “It’s okay.  Just be you,” so I am.  Messy.  Experimental.  Playful.  Intense.  Present.  Growing.