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Friday, January 19, 2007

Women's stories

Have you seen Dreamgirls yet? I came out of there with tears in my eyes, after seeing a feel-good movie with an uplifting message about women triumphing over manipulative men in the dog-eat-dog world of music business.

That Jennifer Hudson can really really sing. I'm in a choir singing barbershop, and lately our director has been teaching us about feeling, singing with heart. I learned a lot from watching Jennifer sing her swan song, leaving the snake, and from Beyonce at the end of the movie, singing her Listen to me song.

Whew! heart and soul....when they join up with powerful pipes, it makes you want to weep.

What else made me feel good this week was leading a class with some outstanding women at the WIWC. We all are learning to embrace our feminine side - the power, the magic, the life-giving mothering intuitive compassionate energy that resides in us and wants to be heard!

I'm also grateful for my women's circle - six of us met this week and sat over tea, listening to whoever had something important to tell, a daughter in need of help, a mother distraught about making a man listen to her, women who think they need fixing at a fitness club - we all had stories to tell each other. Women's stories, your stories, my stories. The ones we tell over tea or coffee, and in the old days, a cigarette.

I am grateful for women who listen, women who open up and share, women who want to help. Friendships, tending and befriending, the little miracles of hugs and tears, finding support, succour, sweetness in the bottom of a tea cup.

Amen, and thanks to all you women friends,


musemother

Monday, January 15, 2007

Snowy peace

I never thought I'd be so happy to see snow!

It's been over a month since our last bit of whiteness on the lawn, and today glorious drifts are piling up.

Trees are covered in white, cedar hedges bending with the extra weight. And as long as one stays indoors, it's lovely to contemplate.

Peaceful....or is it just calm? Listening to Maharaji in Dallas on Saturday, he said something that peaked my curiousity. 'Calm is not peace.' When you see a landscape that is quiet, or you feel calm inside, that is not necessarily peace. At least not the same peace he is talking about.

Hmmmmm....it's true there is a question of presence, of the mind being aborbed and focussed, not just quiet. It hardly ever is quiet. Sitting in meditation this morning I felt peaceful, excited, tranquil, serene.....actually words don't do it justice, do they? But I wouldn't have called it calm.

On some busy days, with too many alarms going off about what to do, errands and phone calls and business sending me scurrying, frantic.....even a feeling of calm would do.

But the thirst in my heart is for more than just a calm day. You can be too calm, be-calmed in the flat waters with no wind, no movement, as Maharaji described it.

I think peace is something else. Peace answers the thirst of the heart for life, energy; it comes with a quickening of the heart, a light that dances in the eyes like the look a newborn gives her mother. Peace reaches deep inside of me and awakens me from torpor, from absence, fills my pores with presence.

Hmmmm. Let there be peace,

greetings,
jenn

musemother

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sacred Mind

more from Anne Baring's web site:

...beneath the levels of consiousness where our minds are separate and distinct are depths where they begin to interpenetrate until they eventually are enfolded with the undivided Sacred Mind itself....

"...awakening inside Sacred Mind slowly sensitizes one to the face that this Mind permeates every aspect of life. It is the medium within which we all exist, the mental field within which all minds meet.

...It is the awakening of humanity as a whole that is the current project of history; nothing less will satisfy the Creative Principle.

"I believe that this divine marriage of Individuality and Essential Ground, of the Masculine and Feminine, of samsara and nirvana is the dawn that humanity's dark night is driving toward. This is the dawn that, if successfully navigated, will unite human kind and elevate us into a form that has never before walked this Earth: a humanity healed of the scars of history...a people with new capacities born in the chaos of near extinction....

and when this moment finally comes, I deeply believe that, like all mothers before us, we will count our pain a small price. This birth is our gift to the Creator."

something to think about - aside from An Inconvenient Truth and the perils of climate change, global warming - maybe there is a purpose to this 'crisis' of planetary proportions.

namaste,

musemother

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why is the Divine Mother image important?

Researching material on the Divine Mother today, for a course starting next week, I found a wonderful series of excerpts from a book by Anne Baring and Andrew Harvey,The Divine Feminine. I type it out here for you because it struck me so profoundly that our dis-ease in this world at war has a connection to our longing for the feminine to play a larger role.

excerpt: "Why is the image of the Divine Mother so important? To answer this question, we need look no further than our experience of birth into the world. First of all, there is the experience of the embryo in the womb; the experience of union or fusion and containment within a watery, nurturing matrix. After the traumatic experience of birth and the sudden and violent explusion from this matrix, the prolongation of the earlier feelings of close relatinship, trust and safety is absolutely vital.

"Without the consistent and loving care of the mother in early childhood, the child has no trust in itself, no power to survive negative life experiences, no model from which to learn how to nurture and support itself or to care for its children in turn. Its primary response to life is anxiety and fear. It is like a tree with no roots, easily torn up by a storm. Its instincts have been traumatized and damaged.

"With the love of the mother and trust in her presence, the child grows in strength and confidence and delight in itself and in life. Its primary response is trust.

"Without this experience, life becomes threatening, terrifying. Without it the effort of living exhausts and dispirits. Intense and constant anxiety means that there is no resting place, no solace for loneliness, no feeling that life is something to be trusted, enjoyed; that it loves, helps, guides and supports us.

"Without this positive image of the feminine, fear, like a deadly parasite, invades the soul and weakens the body. Those cultures which have no image of the Mother in the god-head are vulnerable to immensely powerful unconscious feelings of fear and anxiety, particularly when the emphasis of their religious teaching is on sin and guilt. The compensation to this fear is an insatiable need for power and control over life.

"How hungry the human heart is for an image of a Divine Mother that would, like an umbilical cord, re-connect it to the Womb of Being, restoring the lost sense of trust and containment in a dimension which may be beyond the reach of our intellect, yet is accessible to us through our deepest instincts.

"....it is the image of the Divine Mother that heals and consoles, sustains and encourages; the image that awakens the feeling of trust and containment because it reflects our personal experience of our containment in the womb and our earliest human relationship.

"This is why the image of the Divine Feminine is returning to us now, to help us recover not only our sense of trust in life but also the relationship with a dimension of consciousness that we have, in our drive to be in control of life, ignored.....

taken from the The Divine Feminine, Anne Baring and Andrew Harvey, a book worth reading!

musemother

Monday, January 08, 2007

Great Mother dialogue Essential Wisdom

Great Mother speaks to musemother about Essential Wisdom for Women

Bring me your tired women” – she said, “your weary and weak.”

and the women were very tired – they were tired of working fourteen hour days; they were tired of schlepping children to daycare at 7 am and picking them up at 6 pm, of fighting over homework and of never having a minute alone with themselves, let alone their husbands. They were tired of changing toilet paper rolls and of picking up puppy poo, of being the only one who walks the dog and feeds the cats.

They were tired of PMS, hot flashes and sleepless nights. They were tired of driving their kids to karate, tae kwon do, brownies, cubs, guitar lessons, hip hop and ballet classes. They were tired of sore necks, bursitis and tendonitis from typing all day. They were tired from doing laundry at midnight and making breakfast at 5:30 a.m.

They had tried physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractors. They had taken supplements, joined a gym, cut out carbohydrates, walked and jogged and step-classed themselves to even greater fatigue, and Great Mother, all they wanted was to lie down on the floor and rest their weary heads…. Yes, even the hair on their heads hurt, and their ears were sore from hearing, Mommy I need this by tomorrow or I’ll get a detention….

And Great Mother replied…
Dear dizzy, busy daughters of Earth – yes, you do need to rest – you need to lie down on my grassy breast, or float in my salty waves – you need to give yourselves a break before you break a leg – or crack up in a nervous break-down.

Why can’t you rest? Why can’t you press the pause button? That is why I created meno-pause. You’re not paying attention – listen carefully please – you were not created to Do It All Alone – there are no super moms or superwomen out there –

Listen to what Ishtar, Queen of Heaven invented many thousand years ago – a Sabbatu, or heart’s rest at the full moon (or when you get your period). This is your turn to take a day off – Long ago, a sacred day of rest was created – the Sabbath- it is a sacred day, a day to refresh and renew your energy, a much needed, blessed rest, once a week – from there you can reset your clock, your energy and give out again to your family, your job.

Come home to me. Receive my gift. You may have all the gold in the world, but without peace in the heart, you will never feel fulfilled or at rest.

My peace I give to you – make yourselves a sacred space, a space of quiet, without distraction, in nature or in your room: light a candle, run a hot bath, or sit quietly in meditation, walk in the woods or listen to a babbling stream, take a nap, put on some soothing flute music, stretch your muscles in yoga, or lie in corpse pose on the rug - but these you must do regularly to feed the heart’s need for rest.

Find/make your own Sabbatu, for the body is your temple and the heart sits on its throne. Hearth and heart need a space to call Home,

My blessings always, Queen of Heaven.

as recorded by musemother


musemother

Sunday, January 07, 2007

No more resolutions

There is a chain of ‘shoulds’ that I want to break free of.

So from now on, I release my self from following any of the rigid rules I previously held myself to, through fear and/or anxiety of not being ‘good enough’, or even a 'good girl', good mother, good worker, good exerciser, good meditator, good anything.

Contrary to all those coaches out there, my rebel self refuses to set goals for the future, preferring to set my sights closer to the present. My excuse is that the future is unforeseeable and change is the only constant. (However, I am booking a flight for Dallas for next Saturday….and a vacation at Easter….I guess that resolve is broken too).

Just for Today - is challenge enough for me.

One worthy goal might be to stay as close as possible to consciousness and bliss as is humanly possible - wouldn't that be nice? Also, remind myself that surrender and trust are necessities for success in this human endeavor, of being human that is.

How you ask? maybe by grounding myself in the experience of being alive, in gratitude and acceptance, in being real. I need a load of help to do this.

Usually, I break all my promises on a regular basis. I am impatient, bossy and anxious – my cries for help are inconsistent, if constant, as are my moments of forgetfulness.

Truth is, I would love to accept myself exactly as I am, with no firm resolutions or need to change anything (except perhaps for my judgment of myself). Perhaps then I might inch my way towards self-acceptance, body wisdom, simplicity.

Does anybody else hate new year's resolutions? Is anyone else tired of the subtle self-hatred that gets masked by the desire to improve ourselves all the time? Can we ever relax and just be?

What have you resolved to not resolve, today?

“Stay with the companions whose lips are wet with that water! Rumi advises.

Happy New Year,
Jenn





musemother

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

musing on the pause

Ladies who lunch and gab about their lives often talk of their menopausal symptoms. Today was no different. At our annual lunch, two of my best friends got together over Indian thalis and pakoras.

One of my friends, recently returned to work after burn-out, is still fatigued and not sleeping well except while on vacation, when she sleeps in til 8:30 a.m. What am I going to do when school starts again? she asks.

The other friend, also recently taking a break from work after burn-out, mentioned a naturopath had prescribed supplements to help her build up her adrenals. Thus we launched into a discussion of adrenal fatigue. Not too unusual in mid-life, and apparently common at menopause for women, according to Christiane Northrup, MD.

"Chronic stress over a long period of time leads to adrenal depletion and is a setup for menopausal problems. The stronger a woman's adrenals and the better her general nutrition, the easier the transition into menopause.....

Another source of fatigue: "Hot flashes are related to blocked kundalini energy and unused sexual juice. The kundalini energy begins to rise naturally around the age of forty, and it 'activates' the chakras through which it passes.

Any unfinished business residing in the lower chakras will make itself known during the menopausal years."
Women's bodies women's wisdom, Dr. Christiane Northrup

So there you have it. I have also read that sleeplessness is a side effect of exhausted adrenal glands. Rest, rest, rest, and eat well. Follow the simple-minded steps for wisdom posted earlier on this blog. Women need to be told what their instincts have been telling them for years....

take care of yourselves,
musemother

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happiness for 2007 will be....

"Living life should be a beautiful thing every day…living your life …with feeling. Not just to think of being alive, but to actually feel alive every single day." Maharaji

Reflections on the old year: We are such busy people, with so little time to let the snow's light fall in the window, to smooth and soften our bruised and harried city-people selves.

Here's where I relax....every winter, we retreat to the Laurentians on the weekends, to a stone cottage. There we build fires, shovel snow, ski. Read the weekend papers; catch up on book reviews, nap.

The silent snow, and stalwart trees are more present than television. Absolute emptiness, lack of activity is the only balm for sore minds and hearts. All week, we rush and bump, brag and bully, push, harass and drive ourselves mad. Then we escape here, to have long baths, eat out, make love, d̩crochez Рhang up the phone, drop out, unhook ourselves from hurry, restrict the surfeit of stimuli fed to the senses in our city lives, reduce to a country diet, plain meals for the ears, eyes and skin; senses drained of excess partying, excess noise, traffic, horns, slush and rush.

Reduce the tempo to allegro; let the gentle waves of silence fill the cup inside, feed the hunger for aloneness, solitude, respite, rest. A stopped beat on the sheet of music, the little hat that indicates hold off singing here – stop – hold a breath or take a deep breath, whichever is more restful. Then continue.

I sit here in the lazy boy armchair watching snowflakes falling, bowing down the boughs, for at least 30 minutes without feeling the need to move or change rooms. Here, we cultivate lack of movement, and raise it to a fine art. Here, the balsams are a balm for splintered souls.

Wishing you a restful new year, and happy new beginnings in 2007, along with a poem from last December, inspired by Mary Oliver.

Ice on the Lake

Black and grey rocks, the quay
mantled in white. This night dips below
zero. Wild ducks have left the gentle
waves. At lake’s edge, thin sheets of ice
tinkle, almost mute.

December empties lake and sky
of colour, fills them with snow-light.
And something nameless contents itself
with its own reflection.

musemother

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