The Amplification Time of the Mother Archetype

And ideas on how to make the most of it.

Art: 'The Passion' by Helen O'Sullivan

Art: ‘The Passion’ by Helen O’Sullivan

In the northern hemisphere, currently the earth (summer) and moon (full) are in this corresponding phase we can call Mother. Are you ovulating in your cycle? Then you are synched up too.  I’ve been exploring throughout the year how this overlap of energies may offer some deeper connection or even portal to experiencing these archetypes fully.

The Mother archetype is one that we all have some experience with and may confuse with the role itself. The energies of the Mother archetype are very expressive, nourishing, fruitful, warm, flowing, loving

Some of what I’m noticing or feeling strongly in this time:

~ nature beckons, envelops, warms, loves us up; is primordial Mother to us all.

~ this time of year offers an incredible abundance. It is an enchantment to contemplate the heavy, dripping fruit on the trees and branches. The raspberries in my yard are ripening these days. The fruit grows plump and full and simply awaits release with any effort and I can’t help but meditate on how this can translate in our lives.

~ these are days offering much in the way of a potent and charged sensuality. Nature offers so much in the way of sensual delights:

  • the sights (infinite variety of flowers, blooms, colours, leaves, shapes, etc)
  • the smells (the fragrance of so many flowers, herbs, sea or ocean, etc)
  • the tastes (so much fresh food)
  • the sounds (birds, rustling sounds of trees, lapping of waves, etc)
  • the feels (breeze on the skin, grass under bare feet, rain on your skin, etc)

~ earth and mother is our primary, physical nourishment. In a climate like the one I currently am in, there is a tendency to want to grasp these times really hard and hold on to them. Life is easier, supportive, and more pleasurable in the warmth and the sun and the summer is relatively short compared to the rest. If we are grasping, we can’t be relaxing nor opening up to it. In our grasping and trying to ‘make the most’ or ‘squeeze every last drop’ we are in some states of lack or desperation. This phase is one in which to begin to explore release and surrender. We know nothing lasts forever and we know that the fall and winter must follow.

Below are some suggestions for utilizing these current energies for a deeper communion and experience with the Mother archetype. Use what works and ignore the rest.

~ explore some ways to bring softness and gentleness into your life, and your body in particular. Stop to take some deep breaths and notice where there might be tension. Good places to check in are the hips and jaw. Use some movement (wiggle, massage, yawn, sigh, etc) to keep relaxing these spots.

~ find ways of allowing the natural world to enter and nourish you through ALL of your senses. I listed some of the ways above but the possibilities are endless. Even if you live in a dense city are there trees (or a tree) you can seek out for communion and appreciation? Or find a spot to gaze up at the full moon?

~ consider where in your life you might be grasping and holding on too tightly when you could relax and let things unfold in their own time. There are things we want but worrying and grasping actually never guarantee that we get them, just make our lives stressful and compromise our health.

~ spend some time meditating or attuning to the energy in your heart. Does it feel tense, guarded, or closed? Or soft and open? Can you use some of the communion with nature and your senses to open and feel into your heart more? Even as this means feeling the grief that may be stored there?

~ do you have people in your life with whom you would like to spend more time or share more love? The capacity of the Mother archetype to nourish and love is immense but in order to do it in a healthy way we need to be filled up ourselves. If we are allowing the opening and sustenance of our own hearts and souls, we will naturally want to give it to others. This may even be a time when forgiveness might come easier. Or even just having a difficult conversation that we may have been avoiding.

We are living in a time of great information, great awakening, and great destruction. The plethora of abundance I see in my own backyard isn’t the experience of all, as so many places on our earth are being scorched, many are flooded, many are being clear-cut of their ancestor trees, and so much more. Many are suffering.

These are some of my personal questions in this Mother phase – how can I love more? Can I be more of Mother now to offer the sustenance the earth and her species need right now as so much is ravaged and suffering? How do I do this?

As always, I love to hear about your experiences. Thank you for reading.


Can We Begin To Find the Temple in the Place We Call Home

Goddess of the Mountains by Laurie Crain

Goddess of the Mountains by Laurie Crain

And why it’s vital now more than ever.

In conversation with a dear friend the other day, we shared some personal pandemic ruminations. He said there are some things he is in no rush to do once restrictions lift. Like drinking in a bar.

I understand that, I said. That particular activity isn’t one I indulged in often so I haven’t missed it. I’ve missed being able to throw parties and have people over; I’ve missed rummaging through thrift shops for treasures. I have missed most having a sense of freedom and being able to go somewhere and travel.

Despite not even having a budget for travel, there is still something of a ceiling on even my imagination that I have felt. The right word to describe it is probably ‘depressing’. As in this stark reality, pressing down upon me: you are trapped here, you can’t go anywhere.

Yet, to be honest now, I am not feeling in a hurry to travel.

Home has been Toronto (Tkaranto, the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit) and during this time, due to poor leadership and mismanagement, we have had one of the longest lock-downs in North America. I am fortunate and privileged in having a place to live and food to eat and still it has not been without challenges.

I have taken myself out for daily walks in my neighbourhood. I have reminded myself of my fortune and privilege in living both close to the city’s largest park and the waterfront — which has always factored into my decisions when choosing where to live. I will gladly sacrifice some comforts for nature and beauty at my doorstep.

I prepared myself mentally for a long-haul winter but the early spring, as per usual, was the challenge. Especially with no prospect of escape. Here I was walking the same old streets like a crazed mouse in a maze. Where was the reward? When, freedom?

We are still locked down being taunted with things slowly re-opening. Soon. Soon. I, like many others, like my friend, are watching places from afar opening up again. It’s unsurprising to read of flights selling out as travel resumes in some of these places. While obviously I understand this, I’ve come around to feeling disappointed about it.

What is it about our ‘homes’ — cities for most of us — that we relate to as pit stops or perhaps just ‘good enough’ that we have to escape from as soon as the ticket queue opens up?

Is it possible or desirable to begin to relate to ‘home’ differently?

Has it become clear that cities are difficult places for humans to live in happily and healthily for extended periods of time? Here in Toronto, we have seen one of the largest condominium booms in the world. On and off for the past decade, I have worked in one of the most condo-dense areas in the city. There has never been a single time in these past 10 years that at least one hasn’t been construction surrounding the building I work in.

(Meanwhile, the number of people pitching tents they call home in the city’s parks grows.)

I have watched and felt how these condo-dense downtown areas have become darker and shadier as more of the sun is blocked out. I have noticed how the green and open spaces have disappeared to be replaced with scraggy random token trees not given enough soil and space to grow so they die after a few, sad years.

I understand that if you live in such a dense area, you are likely experiencing more of this itch to escape. I would be too, I don’t blame you. But it highlights why it is important to look at where we are living and how our environments may support or harm us. I also understand not all of us have a lot of choice in the matter. It’s complicated.

Once upon a time not so long ago, commercial travel was expensive and it was rare. People did (and many still do based on ability) live their lives in one relative space without ever traveling very far at all in their entire lifetimes. Travel was a luxury and a privilege. It’s disappointing, though again unsurprising, that many of us want to pretend that everything was great and okay before pandemic times and that we can seamlessly go back to cheap travel and the way things were.

Pandemic times have not erased the reality of climate change and the cost of cheap travel to our environment.

So in good faith I am not in a hurry to travel. I will not be first out of the gate in booking a flight out. Part of what has been illuminated in this time for me is how important and possible it actually is to see where I live with ever new and appreciative eyes.

So we come back to how I titled this piece. How to find the temple, and the sacred holy ground in the place where we call home, where we lay roots, the place where we spend most of our lives. Ask:

  • Where is the holiness to be found here?
  • Is there more to be seen and known beneath the surface of this familiar and ‘known’ space?
  • What have I not opened my eyes and heart to?
  • Should it be that I’m never able to travel anywhere again, can I be happy and content here?
  • What can I create?

What I increasingly know to be true is that, while it is special and wonderful to be able to travel and experience different climates and cultures, it can be borne of a restlessness and search for meaning that will never be quenched. If I can’t be happy and fulfilled and whole in the place I call home then I will not find it by roaming elsewhere. I will, at best, distract myself for a time.

I keep at it. It isn’t always simple or easy. I step out from my house and it can feel as though there is nowhere new to go, nothing new to see. So I search. The sky is always different, the way the breeze feels on my skin. Every day brings new growth to the plants and the flowers, the trees. In the park there are so many, how could I have ever thought to know them all?

Walking this familiar maze of streets, I’ve been able to open my eyes and melt my heart into seeing the pulsating life, the ever-changing yet eternal renewal, growth, and decay of the earth. It moves me to deep reverie and a growing connection to this place.

I have seen in the Bosnian mountains shades of Oahu. There are times here in Toronto, in the park, where I’m brought back to the feeling of being in Sedona. I gaze at the vast pines, their crowns high in the distance of the sky and I sense that I’m in British Columbia.

It is all one Earth and the holiness and divinity of this place can’t but be everywhere if we allow ourselves to soften and see. We don’t have to go anywhere to find it, it is already always where we are.

As the world begins to open up, many of us will like, or expect to, jump right back into the familiar ways of living (and let’s face it, consuming) we’ve known before. This may be possible for at time but for how long? The reality is that many places in the world are still struggling to contain this virus. Nothing is assured for any of us.

Which is why it makes the most sense to cultivate this connection with ‘home,’ wherever it may be. To touch and commune with the ground underneath our feet. We don’t know what awaits around the corner. Most of us could never have conceived of enduring the situation of the past year. Anything is possible.

But to feel connected, nourished, and held exactly where you are without need to escape…that is an immense gift. It needs nothing added, nor can anything be taken away.

Will you try it today?


How to Ride High on the Maiden Energies this Spring

Artemis painting by Ria

Artemis painting by Ria

We are firmly in spring now in the northern hemisphere. Spring corresponds energetically to the times of the waxing moon and, if you have a menstrual cycle,  the phase right after bleeding, referred to here as the Maiden.

Whether you have a cycle or not, these waxing moon days, during the earth’s spring season, (approx Apr 16-23, 2021 and again May 15-22, 2021) offer an overlap and amplification of these energies which we may engage for our personal use and development. If you do have a cycle and overlap on these days with your own Maiden phase, I would suggest you have even more of a portal into these energies!

What does this look like and what does it mean?

The energies of Spring/Waxing Moon/Maiden are of coming into the light and experiencing a re-birth and renewal after the dark and cold days of winter. We are emerging, thrusting out into the world. Observe the ways the green stalks begin to shoot out from the soil, the breaking open of the buds on the trees. This energy is bold, unfurling its life and beauty.

It is a beginning. It is being in action. It can accomplish a lot. This energy is optimistic, sharp and bright, courageous and ready to learn and grow ever brighter. (You can look to the Goddesses Aja, Artemis, Athena, Persephone, Freya to name a few)

If we think about it in terms of life cycles, we can see that Maiden is exploration and playfulness. It is a time for adventure, trying new things, taking risks. She is passionate, fearless, bold and carries a nothing-is-going-to-stop-me kind of vibe.

Below are some ideas & suggestions on working with these Spring/Waxing Moon/Maiden energies, followed by some important cautions. As always, try out and take what works, disregard the rest. 😊

 

  • Spend time out in nature with full attention and presence (try leaving your phone at home); commune with, and talk to, the saplings, the babies, the goslings and so on. Notice and appreciate the growth, the new shoots springing to life. Drink in the emerging colours and dynamism. Allow it to fill, nourish, and inspire you.

 

  • Play & express yourself! Remember back to your teen years and before. What brought you joy? What had you squealing for delight? Connect back to that energy and how it made you feel in your body. Is there something you haven’t done in a long time that would be fun to return to? Things that come to my mind are howling, skipping rope to songs ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rucp0rWs4pU ), hula hooping, juggling. Have fun!  Conversely, perhaps there was something you weren’t allowed to do or explore… can you gift this to yourself now?

 

  • Strengthen your body. This phase is the amplification of a lot of energy. How can you best use it? It may be especially useful applied towards tasks that may have seemed difficult or overwhelming in the past. A good focus here could be on building core strength and generating a momentum (and nourishment) to last through the next phases and to power confidence and self-esteem.

 

  • Try new things! Is there something you’ve been putting off beginning because it’s felt somewhat scary or out of reach? This could be the perfect time to get to it.

 

  • Focus, brainstorm, plan, create structures and routines, work out the full details of things. Consider keeping an idea notebook. You may find that the ideas and inspiration comes at a pace beyond your capacity to implement. Capture these for a future time.

Cautions & Pitfalls:

It is important to remember that this phase and these energies do not last forever (though they will return).

There may be a very easy and tempting tendency for some of us to get kind of high on this energy and grasp to it too hard once it is over. This could be a largely unconscious desire yet easily derail us once we emerge. Watch how your personal energy and your actions in this phase are affecting the people in your life. In particular, keep an eye on anger.

Ride hard here if you have the stamina and the inclination; throw yourself into your passions and what is important to you, but remember it will pass and when it does, let go with grace and ease. Rest assured that it will return and the time in the new phase (which will be Summer/Full Moon/Mother) brings its own gifts to explore. We create pain and suffering for ourselves when we resist the cyclical nature of life.

It is vital to stay attuned to our needs and our boundaries. We may experience Maiden as quite independent and self-sufficient. It is a lot easier in this phase to allow things to roll off our backs. It is easier and perhaps more tempting to agree to things that aren’t necessarily in full alignment with our own values and goals. Being loose with our boundaries here can come back to trouble and haunt us in a later phase (that would be the Enchantress).

Ultimately we want to balance and contain Maiden energy with good routines, intentional stillness, and reconnecting to the overall big picture and vision for our life.

I would love to hear your experiences in this Spring/Waxing Moon/Maiden phase. ❤️


A free Womb Clearing Manual & Workbook for You!

I am honoured to be able to offer all Womb Bearers this gift of a Womb Clearing Manual & Workbook.

While it was originally borne out of an idea to help recovery from miscarriage, abortion, and stillbirth what I have discovered in my years working with hundreds of women and womb bearers over the years is that this is the space where we tend to store a lot of trauma and ‘stuff.’ Some of it isn’t even ours to hold and it weighs us down!

Over time, this ‘stuff’ can create problems for us on an emotional and spiritual level and on a physical one as well. Consider all the womb related problems there are and the few ‘cures’ that are offered by the allopathic model of care.

This manual contains instructions, reflective questions, and links to audio meditations to help you safely and gently begin to clear out anything within your womb that is not yours.

It is offered as a gift though you are more than welcome to make a donation if you find the work beneficial to you, or you may like to book a one-on-one womb healing session with me directly to go deeper into this clearing process.

Blessings and blessings to you and your womb!


A Special Portal for Crone Energies

Screen Shot 2021-02-08 at 4.21.14 PM

Art by Michelle Maiden Art

If you are bleeding this week, and you live in the northern hemisphere, you are going to be in a phase of triple Crone energies around the days of the new moon on February 11, 2021.

This is because the moon in the dark/new phase is the archetypal energy of the Crone and the winter season is also identified with the Crone. When you are bleeding, you are in this Crone energy as well. Voila,  triple Crone!

It is rare that we experience this triple alignment, which is why I highlight it as a special time if you are bleeding this week. It potentially offers some very special opportunities and what I would distinguish as a portal to enter into, if you should choose, the deep mystical powers of the Crone.

(If you have stopped bleeding, and are in menopause, this applies to you as well as keeper of the blood wisdom!)

Ok, so what does this mean and what I can do?

First let’s look at what some of the archetypal energies of the Crone/Dark & New Moon/Winter are: darkness, night, cold, depths, descent, going within, death & rebirth, bleeding, solitude, stillness, inner reflection, wisdom, prophecy, the underground, earth.

The Crone archetype is also sometimes referred to as the Witch, the Hag, Hecate, Kali, Grandmother, the old Wise Woman.

She is the superheroine offering for us right now. (and what better time; winter is a challenge for many of us in a regular year. This year we have a pandemic and all of its impacts thrown in)

To enter into the realm of the Crone is to tumble into the underworld. It is the time to drop into the depths of our bodies especially into the womb, the legs, the feet. It is to intentionally go into what has been buried… This may sound scary but consider she has the answers for this time we are in.

This is an invitation.

(It may take some courage. Trust you have that.)

The Crone wisdom holds all the other archetypes – think, Grandmother holding the younger ones at her bosom. She is boundless wisdom; there is nothing she does not know, there is nothing she can’t be with. She offers safety to us. We return to her again and again and we emerge from her again and again, reborn. Alight with transformation. We are her.

When we allow ourselves to speak and listen to the Crone (and our bleeding time), we set ourselves up for a better cycle ahead of us.

Below are some suggestions or inspirations on some activities, questions, and places of focus that you can experiment with at this time. Take what strikes a resonant chord with you (as with all of the ideas in this piece) and leave what doesn’t.

I would love to hear what you uncover.

Suggestions & Ideas for Exploring the Crone energies:

  • Rest deeply in ways that are very nourishing. Take care of your bodily needs with presence, compassion & gentleness. Drink earthy teas and eat baked root vegetables. Don’t wait until you are overrun and burnt out to rest and take care of yourself.
  • Unplug from your surroundings – meaning phone, netflix, news, other people, etc. We are bombarded by information and energy from the outside world, typically at a pace beyond what we can process in a healthy way. This can cause a lot of anxiety (it may be low-grade and something we’ve become so accustomed to; we may not even realize it). See if you can quiet your surroundings to be able to be with yourself.
  • Find soothing light especially as the sun goes down. Lower bright lights and use candles instead.
  • Spend time with your breath. First, notice the quality and the depth of it. See if you can deepen it and in this way commune with how your body is feeling. If you meditate regularly, you may find this time very amenable to dropping into your practice in a very deep way.
  • Read something nourishing. Be guided by what feels right, put down what doesn’t.
  • Do some free writing or sketching without thinking about what you are putting down. Allow things to spontaneously arise.

Going even deeper…

  • Drum. There are many different ways to play with this. It could be tuning into the rhythm of your heart or the rhythm of your womb. I often feel pulsing in my womb when I am bleeding. Can you begin to explore and connect with your rhythms with some drumming? A physical drum isn’t even necessary; we can tap and use our hands and fingers to play out a rhythm with anything.
  • Allow your waking mind to drift and daydream. Notice what you see – even what seems the most ridiculous or meaningless can hold important information for you. This is a potent time for visions.
  • Feel and explore your emotions – whether through tears, movement, sound. If you feel pain at this time, it may be useful to look at any anger you may unwittingly be repressing. I’ve made a video speaking to my own experience here that you may find useful.
  • Pray if it feels good to and ask questions of your Crone. Be open and content in not receiving an answer in the way that you may expect.
  • Pay special attention to your dreams. Give yourself the time to explore them by journaling, sketching, dialoguing, researching symbolism.

Lastly, view any insight and wisdom that you receive in this time as a gift. If there is something you know you need to pay specific attention to, or take action on, make some note for yourself to do so or make the proper scheduling in your calendar. Personally, I make it a habit to regularly read my journal (I treat it like a real ‘book’) so that the wisdom channeled at this time doesn’t get forgotten and lost.

What I know is that we each have access to our own specific wisdom, inspiration, and guidance. And a lot of our vision and purpose, which may seem missing in our lives, can make itself available at this time. Especially because it’s hard right now. Especially when we need somewhere to pull strength from.

So work with the gifts you’ve been given and share it! The world needs feminine wisdom at this time and this is how we begin to access it.

P.S. – there will be one more triple Crone available to us this year around the days of the March new moon on the 13th. After that we will be into the Maiden energies and I will write more about that then.

For those in the southern hemisphere, you are in the earth’s summer season so your triple alignment occurs on the full moon on February 27th – which is also the next Worldwide Womb Blessing. I will write more about the Mother/Lover phase later this year.


Welcoming Being Lost

louis-maniquet-hXHe80zZZYk-unsplashOn three occasions this past week, I found myself lost in the world.

Twice in my neighbourhood and the third time a bit farther out, though still a place with which I am well acquainted.

In one, I turned a corner onto a street I had walked many times before and it appeared utterly different to me. I even stopped and muttered ‘where am I?’ My brain needed a few seconds to sort itself out, recall what we were expecting and then began to see a few of the familiar things – signs, buildings, landmarks. ‘Oh, yes. OK…I see.’

Then this experience repeated twice more within a matter of days.
knock! knock! knock!

Has this ever happened to you?

The quality to this experience for me is disorienting, even dizzying. It doesn’t last long, a handful of seconds. But in that brief time, something happens…

…a crack breaks open in the code of my life.

Personally I enjoy this kind of disorientation. It’s not unfamiliar. I welcome it as a gift.

In those seconds, I feel like a kid again; the world looms so large and mysterious and unknown before me. I feel like I have no body, I experience myself as a kind of floating nothingness. Where am I? Who am I? What’s happening?

Those seconds of disorientation offer a portal, a glimpse, into all-that-I-don’t-know. It is a potent reminder that I am just an experience, of many, in an infinite, mysterious world.

Even the most basic, elementary things I think I know – perhaps I really don’t. Perhaps there is nothing at all that should be left off the table; what can I really be sure of?

And can I be okay with not being sure of anything? Where does that leave me?

This is a breaking apart, and allowing, that’s been happening for many years. Where it is nudging me towards is more permeability, more flexibility, more curiosity, less attachment to who I might think I am and what I think I know.

I receive this as a gift.
Especially now when I think it would be good for us to question all we think we know. I think this would be a gift most especially for people who think they do question everything already. Because this is ultimately not about questioning what is outside of ourselves.

It’s questioning what is inside.
What is the realest of the real for you, and could it be false? Or something else entirely?

Are you willing to even entertain the question?

Photo by Louis Maniquet on Unsplash


2020: A Truth Story

caravaggios-mary-magdalen-010

Caravaggios

There were many challenges and hardships, suffering, and loss this year. We’re still in it, of course. This doesn’t magically transform at the change of a date.

I want to offer a gift of 2020; truly, a year when people revealed who they really are.

Even as what I witnessed was often horrifying and heartbreaking, I’m grateful for truth. I’m grateful for vision.

I don’t exclude myself from this. This year I uncovered some of the nastiest, ugliest things about myself that I had been blind to, that I had denied. I searched these parts out, I sat with my grief and pain and shame. I stayed quiet, I stayed within. I tended to what was most important to me. I loved and let myself be loved.

I want to share about what I’ve all uncovered. After taking this year to be silent and listen more, I’m ready now to speak it. Even as I still am in it, uncovering bones in real time.

~~~

I want to tell you, I’ve had really bad years in my life. The first one that came to mind was 1991. Then there was 1987. 2001-2003. Oh and pretty much 2008-2016 (the dark ‘night’ of my soul, I’m afraid that’s how it went for me).

All of the above were worse for me than 2020.  I want you to understand, I know pain. I’ve had lots of it. And they way I’ve learned to get through is to surrender to it.

Surrender to what? The pain.

~~~

It often pained me to see the truth about some people; people with whom I had been close. People who I had esteemed; teachers, friends, lovers.  My anger has been deeply roused.

We really showed ourselves to each other. I hope more of us were looking towards ourselves too, within. If not, I think no worry. Your opportunity is still here.

When people reveal themselves, it’s a good thing to know because it’s just acknowledging what’s so. And that’s the ticket when all is said and done.

This is all …what it is.

It is what it is…and it isn’t what it isn’t.

Can you accept all things as they are right now? (without liking, without approving)

Yes, this is just what it is right now.

Breathe.

Breathe.

And now…let’s go do something.

 


Healing from Abortion

enoch-appiah-jr-mM4qnPug4ZY-unsplashI strongly believe in a person’s right to choose to have an abortion. That doesn’t mean that the choice is necessarily easy or without consequence.⠀

While our minds may have this all figured out, our bodies and psyches can struggle under the weight of a lot of programming and conditioning. The issue of abortion has had so much morality thrown at it. We may have a fair amount of shame, guilt, anger, and more to release.⠀

Every person’s story and experience is unique. If you have had an abortion and know that you are feeling incomplete, or guilty, or anxious, or troubled some womb healing may be something for you to explore. Or perhaps you may be facing the prospect of an abortion and need some support – womb healing can help with that too.⠀

Abortion has been a fact of life since the beginning of our existence. You deserve full healing and resources for post-abortion healing and care are scarce.⠀

A gentle place to start can be by downloading my free Womb Clearing Manual & Workbook.

In healing,

Lana⠀


Where freedom is found

IMG_0997Some days send me a gift. Like this vision of the water at the end of the street around the corner from my home. I turned the corner and, here, suddenly it feels like I’m in California.

I gaze at the water on the horizon… I pretend it’s the ocean and I’m walking westward.

I drop myself fully in the feeling of being in California walking toward the Pacific Ocean a short distance away. I feel myself melting, relaxing.
I consider why the flavour and the feel of the west coast soothes me in ways that Toronto seems to fall short. It comes down to a feeling of freedom and so the gift of today is to show me, freedom is a state of being, internally, either available wherever I am or, in fact, not at all.

This isn’t easy for me to fully embody at most times. I need to build this muscle of knowing and feeling myself to be free.

I walk down the street, amplifying California in my cells, and make my way to the water. This was not the original plan but I didn’t know setting out of my house today that I would be visiting the west coast.

This body of water is not the ocean, we call it a great lake but with the wind being what it is today on this vividly bright, beautiful fall day, it feels like the ocean. Waves crash onto the shore. To my ears the sound is music. The mist travels on the wind and gently sprays my face. I sit on the beach for a while and I watch the seagulls too, and they are a trip.

This is what they do.

In the air, wings spread, they are carried by the wind. It is all allowing.
A slight tuck, here and there, a slight re-angling, a slight withdrawing of the wings has them slip through the wind, drop down to a landing if they would like or be carried a little differently in the sky. All of them offer this allowing and surrender to the wind.
There is not a single one attempting to fly against the wind. They don’t do it. There is no imposing of will on the direction of the wind. There is no struggle.
Just a simple allowing of being carried by the wind. I consider how I’m witnessing intelligence and wisdom here.
And also, the most free of all creatures.


Nana’s Kitchen

gerald-a.-frank-crone-in-the-kitchen

Crone in the Kitchen by Gerald Frank

My grandmother stands
at the large wood stove
in her kitchen built of stone
at a time before the luxury of pipes and running water.
(do you remember to stop for her and see such as luxury?)

Actually, her kitchen sits unchanged
maybe for centuries
still not knowing such luxury.
Maybe just more broken open,
overgrowing, overrun.

9 years old
on the first visit here to her farm
Old enough to be aware
of where I am
Old enough to save a memory

the rural hillsides, a village called
Boljkovci

Her kitchen is always dark,
this little freestanding hut
built away from the main house (of 2 rooms)

It is ancient. It is cold. I have to get dressed and wear shoes to walk here, to sit here. Its smell all smoky, damp and barn-like all at once.

It is so strange to me, this kitchen.
Not what I have known a kitchen to be.
Their entire home not what I have understood a home to be….
like
something yanked out of a different era
that evolution had overlooked and bypassed just about entirely.

like
a place we could be visiting on a school trip to see how people used to live…
staged, stove & furniture roped off.

only it’s not.

I don’t entirely understand this…
I am uncomfortable.
I feel sad.
I feel anxious.
(I would like to leave now but know I can’t)

I am quiet.

Grandmother prepares some eggs for me.
I don’t know if I can eat it
but then
the plate is set down before me and
something in their presentation reminds me of my mother
As does her endearment spoken to me, my mom’s ‘peeleh’
eat, my little chick

Ah….my grandma called my mom peeleh
my mom calls me peeleh
how far back does it go, I wonder…
peeleh…
who started this endearment
and when?

Her eyes are kind
I feel I can trust her
though
so much of what I’m seeing kind of
scares me…
the harsh black widow’s garb…
this hunched back…the
profile of her head reminding me of the illustrations
in fairy tales of witches….

this is where i come from

her eyes are kind, yes,
and don’t mask the suffering beneath

is this mine too?

the deeply etched lines on her face
her inflamed and scabbed legs
the gnarling hands

I eat what I can of the eggs and the cheese
but they too
taste strange to me
and tough to swallow
as though
I’m ingesting this place with each bite

I go outside into the summer day
just beyond the yard
the green rolling hills beckon me
Warm and bright outside.

I run down a hill

out of breath
I collapse on the grass
looking up at the blue skies
and rolling puffy clouds

despite all,
elated in this place

there is so much beauty

Art by Gerald Frank