Summer Solstice. prayer. blessing. dream.

Last night, I woke, as I often do these days,
no longer drenched, but misted,
with a fine release–of attachment, I suppose.
Behind my knees and under my
shoulders and also between my breasts;
and lately even, in the crook of my
arms, as if I’ve been carrying too much;
and just this week, tiny beads of sweat, dripping.
down. my. spine.
Refining, I suppose,
Me.
Only this night,
Solstice Eve,
I remain awake, and feel something
more–a lightening inside–so very light–
my bones–that i think to myself…

So this is what it is be a bird.

(Bird Egg Feather Nest, Maryjo Koch)

MINE

il_570xN.513887553_525x
Timothy Parker, all rights reserved, 2013.

I lie (asleep?) in a room full of beds…
A man (my uncle?) slips under the covers behind me.

Pulls me close?
Presses into me?

Is this a memory? A sensation?
Did I watch it happen to another?
Was the other, me?
Is she 4, 7, 11, 13?

I see the dark wood floors. The white ceiling. The door frame. The handle.
The hallway. The bathroom. The white porcelain tub.
The water running. My aunt in her nightgown.

The narrative remains unclear, but the ache in my sacrum is strong.
A pulsing. A defense. An outrage.

THIS IS MY BODY!

I lie on the carpeted floor. Knees drawn to chest. Feet pressing against my assigned partner. My job in this first chakra exercise is to push away, to claim, to say:

MINE!

But my voice, typically strong, cracks. Breaks apart.
I am struck by the absence of my own belonging.
Embarrassed.
Disrobed.

I return to explore my first chakra with the help of my therapist. Recover this violation. The foggy narrative.
Then narrow in on a clearer intrusion: spanking.

At 51, it’s hard to fathom that this trauma could still be lodged in my body. It was among the first that I consciously released with the assistance of healing practitioners some twenty years ago.

In fact, in my mid-thirties, I sat in this very cafe, drinking hot cider and enjoying a roll with jam, while writing the poem that claimed my body as MINE.

I’ve since lost my taste for sugary things, and now prefer everything bitter.
And yet, here I am, revisiting the same pain, in the same place, with espresso.

I sense the energy, once locked inside my sacrum, drain down my legs into the earth. It moves in slow currents like the flow of water beneath the ice on the river beside me.

Beyond the river is a mountain.
It defines and nourishes my view.
My strength.

MINE.

I have a dream too…

Artist: Jen Norton

I have a dream

That no woman would choose abortion

Out of fear

Or shame

Or finances.

I have a dream

That each baby born would be celebrated.

Provided for.

Nourished.

Nurtured.

I have a dream

That girls would grow up to love their bodies.

Their minds.

Their strength.

Their ability.

I have a dream

That each woman would

Claim her sexuality.

Share her body, only
by invitation.

Welcome a child, knowing
that her community
Would always support
the gift of life.

I have a dream

That every father would teach his daughter self-love.

His son, self-respect.

His family self-knowing.

I have  a dream

That every mother would teach her son self-disclosure.

Her daughter, self-care.

Her family, self-restraint.

I have a dream

That we would recognize the fabric of our connection

With each life.

With every family.

With all of the earth.

Prescription: the Feminine

cropped-mother-earth-midwifery221 years ago, my new doctor prescribed a summer off to get in touch with my “feminine side.”

I had no idea what that meant, but I was desperate enough to step outside my own understanding.

In misery.

Later she suggested that I take a break from full-time work.

I tried that too.

And still, I did not get pregnant.

What I did get was community: A town called Marlboro. My first pair of Birkenstocks. A taste for hummus. An invitation to a women’s circle. A practice called yoga. An inkling to garden. A return to the slower cycles of nature.

By the New Year, I missed my period; and by the last day of summer school, I was ready to deliver.

What came through me was a boy. Two of them. Five years apart.

What came to me was the reclamation of the feminine:

in softer ways of knowing.

in a gentler orientation toward my days.

in the fierce clarity that comes from inside.

in the strong tide that washes away that which is no longer needed.

20 years later, I’m still discovering Her.

In me.

Around me.

Beside me.

In ALL things.

(note: just as I prepare to publish this piece, a spider drops down in front of my face)

winging it…

Winging-It-Text
“I expect you to have a lesson plan for every day,” Steve says following his first observation. We’re sitting across from one another, awkwardly, in children’s desks, in a third & fourth grade open classroom.

I find Steve attractive, both in face and form, particularly on Fridays when he wears jeans, and often when he is arrogant.

“I mean, if you get home, and your husband insists on taking you out to dinner, then of course you might miss a day’s planning, but don’t let that become a habit.”

I take in the dimples on Steve’s face, the snug fit of his pants, and consider whether I want to tell him that I have never arrived (and never would arrive) unprepared, and that this has nothing to do with his expectations (or my husband’s.)

If I had been more than 29 at the time, I would have understood that Steve liked his teachers subservient. Female. Uncertain. That he accomplished this with carefully measured combinations of charisma, charm and intimidation.

I remember a real-estate agent, who was also a board member, showing me the available apartments around town, and saying proudly: “Steve keeps his teachers in line.”

I leave at the end of the year.

I am a planner. In fact, I still have the index card onto which I penciled a timeline of my life: Wedding. Relocation. House. Baby.

It didn’t work out that way. Instead it went like this: wedding.. miscarriage…relocation…miscarriage.

Lucky for me, I burnt out working for Steve. Burnt right through my masculine approach to life which allowed the feminine to finally force her way through.

Twenty years later, as I instruct Let Your Yoga Dance instead of fractions, I begin to notice that when I leave space in my plans, spirit conspires in unimaginable ways.

With this growing awareness, I explore new rhythms of preparation and release; and each time I am rewarded with greater inspiration and an unfolding, effortless ease.

Back when I worked for Steve, I expected myself to know everything and do everything well, and I drove myself to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion in this pursuit; But at 50, I find myself drawn to endeavors that I’m unable to master, knowing that I will be forced to bask in imperfection and to seek the alliance of spirit to see me through.

This past week, at the last moment, both a class and a retreat had to be relocated to spaces that wouldn’t accommodate what I had carefully planned.

I had a choice to make.

I could reinvest time and energy–nose to the grindstone–in fairly unpredictable directions, or I could release my tension and show up, open-handed, letting spirit guide the way in the pause between the in-breath and the out-breath of me.

Hobby Lobby Hocus Pokus

scotusI lifted this from a friend on Facebook for how she SO deftly illustrates WHY this SCOTUS ruling matters to WOMEN, no matter their party, religion or stance:

So, this guy sits down next to me at the bar and falls into conversation with some friends about his dentist and his crown and some decisions he has to make and then the C word appears and he realizes there’s a female in earshot and he turns to me and says, “You didn’t hear that, of course,” kind of nice-like, and I say, “I most certainly did,” and he starts to apologize and I say, “And, by the way, I’m a dentist.”

So, now he’s totally fucked and takes a second to consider his options. Choosing badly, he goes with, “You’re . . . a . . .den . . tist? . . .dental something?” and gets the death stare but marshalls on relentlessly, “I mean, you’re a dentist? Not like the office manager? Or . . .?”

And I had to ask him: “Why would I say I am a dentist if I were not a dentist?”

I mean, for the sake of humor, I’ve dropped some untrue punchlines, but I always clarify quickly that I was making a joke. Or, at least eventually I do.

But it is 2014, and I am knocking on the door of 50 years old, and some dick in a local bar still feels totally at home throwing the C word around and acting as if there’s no way a “girl” is a dentist.

And you wonder why some people watch SCOTUS rulings like the old country read tea leaves.

Dr. Patricia Gibbons, DMD.
(with permission)