Category Archives: Mental
The Stories We Tell
“Stories set the inner life into motion, and this is particularly important where the inner life is frightened, wedged, or cornered. Story greases the hoists and pulleys, it causes adrenaline to surge, shows us the way out, down, or up, and for our trouble, cuts for us fine wide doors in previously blank walls, openings that lead to the dreamland, that lead to love and learning, that lead us back to our own real lives as knowing wildish women.”~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I don’t know many people these days whose inner life isn’t fraught with anxiety of some sort. This quote really reminded me that I have the freedom…indeed the response-ability…to tell myself a different story when I find myself responding fiercely to a story I’ve stumbled into while not paying attention. If it’s not of my creation, it’s not my story.
Thought for the day from my friend Nancy…… “Somewhere along the line of development we discover what we really are, and then we make our real decision for which we are responsible. Make that decision primarily for yourself because you can never really live anyone else’s life.” Eleanor Roosevelt
I love this quote because it talks about taking responsbility for decisions,which means claiming power to change my life, realizing that what’s happened in the past is a result of my own decision making however flawed it may have been.
Living in the margins or on the edge of conventional life has a way of causing me to distill down to what’s essentially me, and like leaves on a tree, all the excuses, the blaming of externals, the noise of life in the king’s world…all falls away. I stand here like that tree with, in the words of a song I once heard, ‘my roots dug down, my branches wide and open.’
Women living lives that they’ve made up themselves, on their own terms, don’t have it easy but there’s a huge satisfaction in knowing that they’re living into a self designed life.
John Lennon on ‘The Unknown’
“The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that . . Accept that it’s unknown, and it’s plain sailing.” John Lennon
OMG, I went to see Avatar with Hannah yesterday and it is truly a story for our time! To say it was amazing is an understatement. It jarred some kind of primeval memory, cellular. It is a masterpiece of enchantment while being profoundly relevant. Whatever else can be said about it, the communion the Na’vi with the soul source of their environment hearkened back to something that resonated in my bones. The metaphorical Tree of Life, the transference of spirit…all of it…just amazing.
Don’t miss it. Here’s a link: http://www.avatarmovie.com/index.html
Just moved to the same island that Hannah lives on and am integrating into a rural community once again. I’ve made this promise to myself for years, that I’d return to where I can see eagles fly overhead, deer out my kitchen window and fields of grass sweeping over the landscape. My latest frontier edge these days is unwinding into a slower life, letting go of what has been and opening to new possibilities. Never comfortable, always challenging and life changing.
“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” ~ Bruce Barton
Lifestyle of Solitude
Excerpted from A Cherokee Feast of Days, Vol II, Daily Meditations by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
“We get to know ourselves when we are alone. What may have brought us to this place may not be as important as what to do now that we are here. When we are with other people we listen to them, but in solitude we follow our own way. Great strength comes from the quiet and it prepares us for times when the sands run very fast.
Solitude is never withdrawal but being with ourselves, learning what affects us, and what of it can be given to others. We learn how to be a good friend when our attention is not divided—a good friend to ourselves and a good friend to another who needs it.”
“It is hard to fight people that live like groundhogs.” ~Tecumseh, Shawnee
Over the Moon
The moon is my Grandmother. When I see her round and glowing face, I greet her.
I breathe in connection to all that is as she passes over me each night.
Sometimes I dance and twirl and my moonshadow twirls and dances with me.
When I wake up in the night, I know she is with me.
When Grandmother Moon is hidden and away, I wish her well on her journey and then I make my prayers for the coming month.
I have a special prayer that comforts me: “Moon’s changing face, heal me.”
It means as we move steady in the sky through time and space, my connection to all that is will grant me the time and space to correct my ills, my wrong doings, my wrong actions.
They bombed the moon last night. They attacked my Grandmother.
I pray they will remember that they, too, are connected to all that is, and that they will have time to correct their ills, their wrong doings, their wrong actions. That we all will.
Plums, Tears, the Economy & Country Music
Tara’s coming over to the western side of the Cascades today to get supplies and rescue me from the maudlin moment I was having yesterday while making plum jam.
Since returning from Michigan, where I once again tuned into the rural heartbeat, I’ve felt lost in translation. Do you have any idea what’s going on in the rural heartland of this country? The economy has devastated it.
More than half of my life was spent in rural culture (except for early adulthood where I had my fling with L.A., San Francisco and Seattle), so my values are rooted in country/frontier life. But I’ve lived (mostly) in Bellingham for 23 years now and have been inculcated into a comfort level that is both alluring and precarious.
Bellingham is small by city standards. It is very progressive in its social and economic politics. BALLE — the Business Alliance of Local Living Economics, a nationwide network of 75 organizations working toward sustainable local economies, is moving its national headquarters here and has appointed Michelle Long, co-founder and director of Sustainable Connections, one of BALLE’s most successful community networks, as Executive Director. Michelle and her husband Derek have worked tirelessly for the past 8 years to encourage local businesses to work together toward sustaining a healthy local economy. God knows we needed it. Bellingham is the last largest economic center on Interstate 5 before the Canadian border and we are influenced by the Canadian economy, the migration of larger employers to elsewhere and a growing populace. Sustainable Connections is helping people understand something that rural folks have always known…when you buy from each other, the money stays in local circulation. They’ve encouraged consumers to think local/buy local, and for everyone to join in breathing new life into our local and regional farms.
This city is also the birthplace of 4th Corner Exchange, a sustainable community currency (trade) network dedicated to the active trading of Life Dollars rather than wallet dollars. The network is made up of people from all walks of life offering services in exchange for other services, using Life Dollars or Sound Dollars as currency.
Upper Michigan, meanwhile, is dying on the vine. Schools and mills and nursing homes are closing, the tax base is shrinking and the cost of fuel is over the moon, unreachable for thousands of people who are making hard choices between things like heating their houses this winter and eating, or buying medications and putting gas in the car. Rural America has been hit so damn hard by this twisted economy that it’s staggering. Surreal, actually, to someone from the coast. At least we have opportunity here, precarious as it may be. I couldn’t help but count my blessings.
So what’s with the maudlin moment? Well, I put on some country music while making plum jam (plums ala Hannah’s heavily-laden, South Whidbey Island sugar plum trees) and sang my way through canning with Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, John Denver, Crystal Gayle and Allison Krauss. By mid-afternoon, I was crying real tears over lost loves, the good ole’ days picking lowbush cranberries in the blue-sky wilderness of Alaska, driving hay trucks through fields with only the magpies to keep me company, and laying my head against the ruminating belly of my goats as I milked on mid-winter evenings with the smell of goat in my nose and the sound of grain-chewing in my ears. Allison’s song, “Simple Love” sent me through years of relationships that never turned out as I thought they would, and Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” assured me that I was damn lucky they didn’t.
Tara called just as I’d added the pectin to the rolling boil of ruby red plum goop, so we couldn’t talk long. She’d been working on her truck and was getting ready to head over here to bring her cousin to the airport. She heard the music and my tone, and zeroed right in on the headspace.
“Yeah, well, I quit listening to that stuff when we were working on changing up our life scripts years ago, remember? I figured if I keep lolling around in the ‘somebody done somebody wrong’ energy, I would just perpetuate that as the way life is…and it isn’t… if you intend it to be otherwise.” She was right of course. Intention is a big part of reality.
I was reminded of why I quit listening to that music in the first place. It made me ache. It made me feel alive and victimized at the same time; it reminded me of all my losses and reinforced that I’d always need a man to be whole, whether he was an asshole or a saint. It was poetic mother’s milk as I grew through my formative years, and as such, I loved it then and love it now. But the story’s all wrong for me.
When John Denver sings “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” I’m right there, heading back to what I love. And I’m also right here, in Bellingham, on a city lot, dense with gardens and fruit trees and more tomatoes than I ever thought possible. I yearn for open spaces as my neighbor on one side cranks up his lawn edger that screams when the blade hits the sidewalk, and the neighbor on the other side starts his lawn mower.
I turn on the hot running water to de-goop my hands, shut the noise out with my back door, and decide to make a quickie run to the grocery store, 5 minutes away. This is an edge. I’m living on it. I just don’t know what frontier it is.