Tomorrow is the new Moon in the water sign of Cancer.
Dwell on nurturing yourself.
Gently water yourself and your dreams with love.
Anybody else watch Venus fly by between the Earth and Sun yesterday? In case you missed it, here is a photograph of her crossing the setting sun in France.
The Divine Feminine Venus made herself seen with a backlight provided by the Divine Masculine Sun energy. All in the sign of Gemini, AKA the great communicator. Ladies, if you are feeling the urge to stand up and express yourself, blame it on the transit of Venus!
How Does it Get Any Better Than This?
“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine,then keep on going.”
I went for a walk in the woods a few days ago. I love paths that are a bit wild and natural even in the middle of town. On this particular day, I am on one of my favorite trails; it meanders through a dense patch of woods next to a big wide creek. The path has been left untouched for decades in many places and I love wandering there. But walking into some sections of this trail brings to mind Dorothy hesitantly walking into the dark scary woods with the scarecrow on her journey to Oz. Or maybe it’s Gretel wandering in the forest with Hansel, looking for her way home. Either way, the path can be a bit unnerving. I find myself humming that old Lou Reed song, “Walk on the Wild Side”, as I walk.
Deep dark untamed woods hold big, scary, archetypal energy for me and lots of other people; all those wild, uncivilized natural spaces where we might just meet something bigger and hungrier than us on the path. It is exciting and and enticing and scaryall at once. I think this is why our ancestors spent so much time trying to tame Mother Nature. Generation after generation of Americans have spent huge amounts of time and energy trying to corral and control Mother Nature; e.g. clearing away the forests that once covered the northeastern US like they were tidying up a closet by throwing almost everything away. Or The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging and straightening and pushing around the Mississippi river decade after decade – we all saw how well that worked out for New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina made mincemeat of the Corps’ dykes.
Even logical and reasonable adults plant grass over mile after mile of suburban neighborhoods, then burn thousands of hours of free time and gallons of gasoline every weekend mowing their lawns down with military precision until the grass is a socially acceptable “tidy” length that resembles some perfectly green and uniform man-made carpet. We humans cannot seem to leave Nature to her own devices, can we?
Mother Nature scares the crap out of most humans. Mostof us either hide away in man-made homogenized boxes and pretend Nature doesn’t exist or we head out loaded for bear to try and kick Mother Nature’s butt and make her our bitch. In the end, neither way works very well.
I go visit an old tree every time I walk this path. Her diameter is larger than my wingspan. I remember the golden mean ratio – exactly how tall does that trunk diameter mean she is? And how many rings does her trunk hold? Her rings must carry the wisdom and the history of this place at the edge of the path, this spot that she has anchored for at least 80 years . This tree has been here at the edge of this path for many, many years; she has seen all this human silliness before.
That’s where true wisdom comes from, being silent and still like an old tree; just absorbing what happens in whatever place I find myself today. And in taking the time to make the connections between what happens today and what happened yesterday on my path – and 2 years ago and 200 years ago. I need to remember to stop; get still, watch and listen to everything happening around me. And to take the time to reflect; to remember and store that longview of history like an old tree does.
I leave grandma tree and move on down the path. As I wander, I look up at the sky and realize that a storm is rapidly brewing on the horizon; it’s time to head for the safety of my house. Once home, I sit by the window in my study and watch the wind and rain thrash at the trees. Lightning splits the skyagain and again. Mother Nature is flexing her muscles. Even my tame garden seems a bit scary now. I watch the storm from a safe perch inside.
The path I choose again and again is not tame and civilized like a perfectly groomed suburban lawn. But it’s also not a solitary cabin surrounded by wilderness; I don’t require a life so wild and scary that I quiver with fear like the cowardly lion every time I venture out into the world. I seem to constantly be searching for the middle path; in my mind I picture land on the boundary between wild woods and tame suburbs. That feels like the space where I belong. It is the space where I feel most at home.
There has to be a way of living that is more in synch with my own inner nature. I want be find that way, to dig in and explore that middle path. I wonder if it is possible to live in way that is engaged with Mother Nature, fascinated and respectful of her powers rather than trying to subdue and mow and bend her to my will? And at the same time, can I develop a connection with Mother Nature so deep that I’m not left feeling completely helpless in her storms?
What is the middle path through this landscape? How do I become an actual friend and ally of Mother Nature? There are a thousand different opinions out there about how to walk softly on the earth; go vegan, buy local, grow your own, buy a hybrid, solar power… But I am wondering about diving deeper and making choices where I work with Mother Nature rather than doing things to her.
Whatever I choose has to come from my heart truly connecting with the natural world. I wonder what will my life look like if I open up and deeply connect with Mother Nature? What would it look like to be close friends with this Earth? This feels like a shiftin my path… like rounding a bend on a trail and seeing a whole new vista opening up in front of me. And just like any great adventure, this new terrain is exciting and a little scary, but not too scary…
If you were to choose one phrase that describes your life, what would it be?
What’s your Line?
These days, every corporation has something called a Tagline. A corporate Tagline is a short phrase that’s supposed to make all of us want to buy their product. Ideally, a Tagline is a catchy slogan that defines the business in a unique way. Think of Nike and “Just Do It”. Or Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions”. Join the U.S. Army and “Be All That You Can Be”. Remember DeBeers slogan; “A Diamond is Forever”? Of course you do! A great corporate Tagline is catchy and memorable.
Every person I meet has a personal Tagline, whether they realize it or not. The difference is your personal Tagline is not really about selling yourself. It’s more about consciously defining yourself and what you choose to create in your life. You may call it your creed, your motto, your philosophy of life. A consultant I know calls it defining your True North. Whatever – your have one whether you know it or not. EVERYBODY has one. Kids seem to absorb and live by their parents’ Tagline until they consciously create their own. So, even if you haven’t consciously thought about it, you have a Tagline buried in your psyche that is influencing how you look at life and what you think is possible for you.
So, I think it’s important for each of us to spend a few minutes thinking about what our personal tagline might be. I don’t know about you, but my parents’ tagline is DEFINITELY NOT the line that I want defining my life! My dad’s Tagline goes something like, “Life is a struggle. You have to work really hard just to survive.” Wow – what a downer! Can you tell he grew up poor and hungry in the depression? And in his late 60‘s, even after making piles of money, my dad would NOT stop working. Work defines his life – he has never created much room for hobbies or goofing off – or even traveling for pleasure. His motto doesn’t allow for much fun or ease in life, does it?
When we met, my husband’s tagline was, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Lucky for me his overdoing includes fun stuff and not just work! This man has taught me the value of having fun. And he’s a complete hedonist about food. 🙂 I actually think my hubby may have shifted his tagline a bit – he’s not quite so intense in his approach to work or play anymore. Maybe living with me all these years has mellowed him. LOL – He will find it hilarious that I’m wondering if I mellow HIM out!
Remember Dory from the movie Finding Nemo? Dory’s Tagline is:
“Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming.”
And who can forget Ferris Bueller In the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?? Ferris’ Tagline is one of my all time favorites. It’s funny, catchy, thought-provoking, irreverent… It truly catches the essence of who Ferris is:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Great words to live by.
So, what is YOUR Tagline? What phrase defines you and your philosophy about life? Is it the same as your mom’s or your dad’s? Or completely different?
And does your Tagline define the life you desire, the life you crave? Hopefully it doesn’t describe a life that’s not working for you!
What would happen if we each created a personal Tagline that describes the life we crave rather than a life we feel stuck with? What would shift inside our world then?? Food for thought…
I’m still crafting theTagline to define my life and my future. It’s a work in progress. I guess I REALLY should decide what I want to be when I grow up! But maybe a Tagline can change and morph over time – God knows I certainly keep changing with the years. Today I’m mulling over three or four possibilities;
I could keep using my favorite Joubert quote:
“You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.”
I could try my favorite Bill Murray (Tripper) line from the movie Meatballs:
“Repeat after me – it just doesn’t matter!”
Or how about something short and to the point:
“Life is Good”
Last but not least, I wonder what my life will be like if my line becomes:
“WoW – What’s Next?!”
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to my mom and to all the other families out there dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia…
Mom’s name is Eve and she was born in 1925. Even now in her 80’s, living in a ‘memory care unit’ and suffering from Alzheimer’s, even now my Mom is still feisty and opinionated and a bit of a rabble rouser. My mom may have been born in 1925, but she really resonated with the feminist ideals of the 1960’s. Even though her career was staying home and raising 4 kids, Mom instinctually understood the basic feminist message. Women need choices about how to live their lives, Women deserve choices. My mom understood that even as she allowed herself few of those same choices.
My mom’s name may be Eve, like the first woman in the Bible, but the name NEVER fit her. Mom never fit the mold of the “little woman” who is made from her husband’s rib and is subservient to her man and lives to serve him. No way! My mom complained about the silly rules that dictate proper female behavior from the very beginning; as a kid, she demanded to know why her 5 brothers never had to do housework while she and her sister were cooking and cleaning every week. And how come the boys got to swim in the creek, but she and her older sister couldn’t? Apparently it wasn’t proper in the 1930‘s for teenaged girls to swim in the creek, even when southern Illinois was 95 degrees in the shade. Can you imagine??!
Later on as an adult, my mom wondered aloud why men got to do all different kinds of work while women were expected to marry and become homemakers. And she thought it very sad that an intelligent and beautiful woman like her sister who never married was labelled a spinster and considered broken by this society!
No, my mom was NEVER a mild mannered ‘good little woman’. And I mean that as the highest compliment. Mom was actually more like Adam’s first wife, Lilith. You may not have ever heard of Adam’s first wive Lilith, but she appears in the Jewish Talmud and several other sacred texts. Most references to Lilith were stripped from the Bible. And what, pray tell, was Lilith’s crime? Well, Lilith refused to be subservient to Adam. She refused to “lie beneath him”. And when Adam balked at treating her as his equal, Lilith up and left Adam and went to live by herself. For refusing to cleave to Adam and do what he said, Lilith was condemned by her culture and turned into an evil demoness that ate newborn babies and sucked the virility right out of men. For “misbehaving” Lilith was rejected and labelled an uppity bitch. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? I picture a mix of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan when I think of Lilith.
Lilith is the original feminist archetype; she’s a powerful female who KNOWS she is complete unto herself and she needs no man to define her or validate her existence. Lilith resonates with that same powerful anger that drives modern feminists like myself; we feminists look around and see how women allow themselves to be treated and we roar with rage.
Unlike Lilith, my mom never left her husband. She never left, but she roared with rage at the inequities of her married life on many occasions. She roared but she really never figured out how to make her own marriage less traditional. It took me years to realize that Mom was actually raging at herself and her own decisions as much as anyone else. I think Mom craved a small space of her own without the needs of a husband and kids drowning out her own desires. Like millions of women before her, my mom craved a space of her own, but never figured out how to take it for herself.
When I asked my mom in her late 60‘s what she had dreamed of being when she was a girl, she had difficulty even answering me. Is it any wonder? Didn’t 1920‘s society just assume that girls would want to grow up and be a wife and mommy? Give them dolls and teach them how to cook and clean, right? What a waste!
My mom must have felt such a conflict within herself for so long. She resonated with the feminist ideals of finding yourself and building a meaningful career and yet stayed in a traditional marriage and spent her days taking care of 4 kids and doing mind-numbing secretarial work.
Please don’t get me wrong; my mom adores my dad. She always did. But she dreamed of something more than marriage for herself and for her daughters. She cajoled and encouraged and pushed me to take a different path; to be more than a wife and mommy, to graduate from college and find work that I could make my own. I have her to thank for this career that I love.
So, after decades of denying any part of herself beyond wife and mommy, my Mom is slowly losing her mind. Is that just coincidence? I don’t think so. Ironically now as the Alzheimer’s progresses, she becomes a lot less like feisty Lilith and more like docile Eve with each passing month.
Today I watch my mom’s brilliant wit and intelligence fade away and I am sad. Sad for the loss of the outrageous woman who was my mother. I am sad that my opinionated mother cannot figure out how to hold onto herself and her opinions any longer. And I am very sad that my 11 year old daughter will never really know her grandmother’s strength or her powerful presence.
I am also sad because I look around the “memory care unit” where my mom lives and I see what the future holds for her. I do not understand why she clings to a life that consists of eating and sleeping and not much else. She is kept safe and fed as every week she fades a little further away, like an old photograph fading over time. And I wonder what the point of this slow fade to death is. Years as a healer have taught me that God always has a good reason for everything. But I really cannot figure out the point of Alzheimer’s.
I watched “You Don’t Know Jack” a few weeks ago on HBO; it’s a movie about Jack Kevorkian, the euthanasia doctor that the press nicknamed Dr. Death. I watched that movie and I puzzled over how some people could condemn and despise Jack Kevorkian for helping suffering people to die. Granted, Jack is an opinionated old coot and he does not make it easy to like him. But his heart is huge and his intent seemed pure to me. I wonder if anyone who has watched a loved one suffer on the edge of living for months or years could condemn Kevorkian?
Is keeping my mom’s body fed and alive while her brain slowly dies a noble, caring act? Or would helping her to die quickly be more noble? At this point, I certainly don’t know what’s more right or more noble. Ironically, my mom was a big proponent of euthanasia before Alzheimer’s set in. She had a living will drawn up years before her illness became apparent. Yet today if you ask her, she will say emphatically that she wants to be resuscitated if her heart stops. Even as barren as her days seem to me, my mom still wants to be here.
Here she stays. I have trouble killing a bug, so there is no way I’m going turn into Kevorkian here. All I can do is watch her slow decline with sadness. I wish that I could somehow make it all better for her – and for me and my siblings. But all that I can really do is turn Mom over to God again and again and again. And try to remember that God has it handled.