Gratitude, hope & outrage

Confirmation

10/14

A Real Man

~

10/13

the engineer & the singing bowl

My youngest son, 18, visiting Kripalu Yoga & Health Center with me.

Will the time come when we don’t have to work so hard on a relationship?
No, the time will come when there will be no lapse in our efforts…
to be kind.

Gail & Hugh Prather

In my mind, one of the essentially revealing comments of the current occupant of the White House is what he said about marriage, just after his third:

I don’t want to have to go home and have to work at a relationship. A relationship you have to work at, in my opinion doesn’t work.

And about bringing more children into the world with her:

Sure. I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.

About about his wedding vows if she were horribly disfigured in a car accident.

Totally, no question in my mind…  How do the breasts look?

~

10/11

Earlier this week, I couldn’t tell say if she was a pop star or a film star, only that she was well after my time and probably never my taste, but when I heard about her instagram post, I went looking for it and it was so good (human rights front & center) that I later read it aloud to my husband.

Lots of people registered to vote because of it.

And even though I’ve had a string of challenging health days, I dragged myself to the coast of Maine, having been waiting for that unusually warm autumn day to instigate such a journey, and while it didn’t change anything, deep within something shifted, so that waking this morning in a sea of orange-leafed trees in the Green Mountains of Vermont, I find myself hopeful again.

~

10/9

I am so angry. And grief-stricken. And weary! (As a woman.) And yet, so very, very delighted (as a mother) to have our youngest home for an entire week so that I get to remind him again and again to get off his phone, and do his chores, and move his laundry, and go to bed.

After the past 6-week half-life without him, I’m savoring the day-to-day ordinariness of simply having him around without wanting anything more. (Except. Mid-terms.)

~

10/7

A personal allegory on Saturday afternoon.
Another’s blessing this morning.

These are the ways I’ve attempted to express what it is I feel about the SCOTUS confirmation–that which is beyond politics & procreative rights–as if when it comes to women, anything is separate.

Despondent.

I hate to claim it, but I think that names it.

Numb. Mute.

I could barely speak when it was final.

My niece just home from college with friends echoed the same. “The car fell silent,” she said, about hearing the news over the radio.

The world is much too quiet.

In this absence of sound, Juan Ramon Jimenez’s verse comes to mind:

My boat struck something deep.
Nothing happened.
Sound, silence, waves.

What if all the women went mute from this trauma? What if we remained silent until others hollered on our behalf?

The men who are protesting MOVE me. Those who don’t get it, won’t get it, mock it, deride it, dismiss it, skirt it, KILL me.

Don’t give me your Republican/Democrat bullshit. This is UNIVERSAL.

But it is too quiet.

Nothing happened? writes Jimenez. Or perhaps Everything happened…

And here I take liberty with his verse, understanding that my silence, our silence, the silence, is a tidal wave forming:

…And we are sitting in the middle of a revolution.

May it be so.

~

10/5

TO THE MEN: WADE in the WATER!

Women hold the water while men stay safe on solid ground.

I don’t know what Senator Collin’s deal is; what the story is about her husband and Russia; I don’t know what anyone woman’s deal is if she doesn’t get the stakes with this administration and this appointment.

What I do know is that the Patriarchy has their foot on our necks. Relies on us for beauty, support, warm fuzzies, flowers, holidays & gatherings, greeting cards & gifts, compassion & tenderness–the “You play it soft, so that I can play it tough” charade–in order to perpetuate the privilege of ”real men” (those not born of women) who don’t have to feel into all the yucky hard stuff that comes with vulnerability–his own and those around him.

She does the feeling for Him while He gets to have everything:

Senator Steven Daines, Montana, told The Associated Press: “This weekend there’s going to be a new Supreme Court justice and that he is going to walk his daughter down the aisle.”

He sweeps in at the right moment, while She holds the water, and then from time to time, behind closed doors, He collapses in Her arms before numbing himself again with certainty, telling Her how it is, as if She didn’t change His diapers or nurse Him at Her breast or hold Him while he sobbed.

So afraid of his dependency, He will convince her that She relies on Him, and if He is not convincing, He will hurt Her, because He has detached from what makes Him whole and if She won’t let Him suck Her dry, He has no purpose for Her.

Women can no longer be the hosts for men’s wholeness.

Men, WADE in the water!
AND clean your mess up.

I believe in you.

Women, men are not our solid ground.

~

10/5

Each time I see a photo of men with other men protesting (like right in our town last night), or I see a call for men to do the same, or a video of young male students standing together holding signs that say: WE BELIEVE, I am brought to tears.

Not because women need rescuing, but because we need more and more men to take the baton that is theirs.

As my friend Jess put it: Patriarchy is a men’s issue.

We are so tired. We have been holding this alone for too long. Silently. Shamefully. Sinfully. All the ways we were told we were wrong. Because of what men did. (Or didn’t do.)

I am so touched. I am so grateful. I am so relieved. To the men gathering with men. You have restored my faith. My hope. My sense of what we can do together.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

~

9/30

I am so grateful. Despite differing faiths (or lack thereof) as well as homes in vastly different parts of the country, along with different income levels and lifestyles—most all, if not all, of my many, many siblings and their grown children! (including my own) are engaged when it comes to the politics of gender, race, hate, discrimination, healthcare, poverty, the planet and LOVE; while significant swaths of extended family are similarly informed/inspired, speaking out and showing up for others and this nation with intelligence, commitment, devotion & love.

~

9/30

It took me a day not to turn away from this.

 

9/29

I woke like I rarely do—belly down; and like I never have—with my palms crisscrossed under my throat.

~

9/29

My Son, My Son

~

9/28

It’s as if the men are saying: We were once entitled to you. You were our spoils. And you can’t take that away. Maybe we can no longer grab you. But we could once. And it’s unfair to change the rules we made about your bodies.

9/28

I’m sooooo grateful to all those speaking up, listening, learning and echoing the human rights of women. THANK YOU!!! You encourage me.

Crucible


Among the many crucibles women face when reporting (at any age) is rejection from family (see WP: “Christine Blasey Ford’s family has been nearly silent…”), even while perhaps already marginalized by being born female.

I think of my family, not nearly as well to do as Dr. Ford’s, and yet in any social occasion, say with some of my sisters (there are 6 of us “misses” as our father calls us or “mistakes”), he will direct his attention and conversation to the closest male in the room, typically a son-in-law to the exclusion of conversing with the women in his proximity, unless she is new or young or pretty.

I’m certain he doesn’t realize this, not entirely, just as his daughters may not entirely realize their exclusion, just as women may not fully recognize their exclusion in society. (See Senate Judiciary Committee–not a single woman, ever, from the Republican party.)

Because our exclusion is normalized.

Even so, one of my father’s favorite restaurants is Hooters.

For the wings.

a solstice blessing on families reunited

The bare spot where the kits once played. June 2018.

Late this spring when the skies grew dark and the cloud cover heavy and children were ripped from their parents arms, I took a dramatic fall an came down with a chest cold, and something else–in the middle of the darkest night–the mother fox (or was it the father?) barked incessantly outside our bedroom balcony doors; This after I spent a worrisome string of days looking & listening & hoping & calling & finally crooning the lullaby that I’d sung that morning when I saw the first of their four pups (and it fell to sleep to the sound of my voice), and still, the space where the babes frolicked and rested remained… empty.

Could it be that this barking was a keening call, like my Twitter feed, swelled by a chorus of voices, each one sounding the same sour note, until that horrific practice was brought to an end…

And although we don’t know how these broken families will be restored, or how great the toll on their lives, or how deep the shame on our generation (poisoning babies in Flint, paying unlivable wages, watching television while the earth changes)… The Longest Day has arrived.

I wake to the sounds of squealing, and while their kitten-like bodies are thinner than they were before, and they won’t let me close like they did when I first photographed them, they are here, curled up beside one another in the sun on the rock outcropping outside my writing door.

May we each make good medicine of whatever strength, power and will we possess.

Minister to me


To borrow an expression from my religious friends–

This tune “ministered to me” this morning.

Without needing to know why.

And it was a sweet surprise.

I’d never heard this song before.

It was the first one to play when I unplugged from the news and asked Alexa to stream me some Krishna Das.

I  asked her to play it again and again.

It opens with a freaky kind of sound, throat singers, I suppose.
An intuitive once told me that I had been one. Famous.
I suppose I was a guy then too.

I was attached to Krishna Das once.
Literally.
For a few moments when I was assisting Robert Thurman at Kripalu.

Neither of them noticed that this petite silver-haired woman with a head set in her hands was wired to their long embrace and conversation.

Finally, I tucked the receiver under Bob’s elbow and slipped away to the floor while these two socked feet giants communed.

Fox Den

On Saturday nights at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, there is almost always a musical offering of some kind, and over the years (first as a participant, and later as an assistant), I’ve enjoyed performances with Krishna Das, HuDost, Linda Worster, Bernice Lewis, Ajeet Kaur, Tanglewood Music Festival & many more.

At the end of August, Karen Drucker was the Saturday night concert and she offered a program inspired by the Taizé gatherings originating in France. Karen threaded contemplation, chanting & silent meditation through 5 potent themes to lend solace and inspiration for these challenging national and global times.

I had the honor of joining her on stage for the theme of”Silence,” for which I selected a Wendell Berry poem which has long been such a comfort to me:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

At home, when the world is too much with me, I turn from my computer, and step to my office door, and look out to the rock cropping, and remember the fox cubs there in June, and just like that, all the weight vanishes.

I know that you have moments like this too, and what a difference they must make, inside us, between us, among us, everywhere.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

William Wordsworth

Pursuing, a guest post

Shannon Herrick.

For the enforced moments of pause.
In line.
In traffic.
At the piano lesson.

Especially for the waiting that is too short a time to dive into more than a row or two of knitting, but long enough for the brain to move from idleness to pursuing.

It’s when the magic happens.

In snippets of time that feel deliciously stolen from boredom.

~Shannon Herrick
#31daysofgratitude
Day 7: waiting

after a weekend with tara brach

photo: October 2016, Kelly Salasin

This morning I woke with a dis-armored heart.
Which wasn’t as frightening or as fabulous as it might sound.
Only noticeably different.
A little achy perhaps.
With a burning sensation.

As Monday morning quickly unfolded–with obstacles–I recognized my availability to–what was–without wishing for something different. This lent a sweet softness to a time that is typically tense.

I realized then that my mind had been so clever.
Not only had it protected me from the depth of my pain and losses;
It kept me from the depth of love & greatest longings.