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Monday, June 18, 2018


SoulCollage(R) card, Caring and Caretaking with Compassion

Compassion is one of the most beautiful presences aperson can bring to the world and most compassion is born of one’s woundedness....The greatest evil and destruction arises when people are unable to feel compassion.” John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

7 Stages of Descent Menopause


7 stages of the descent at menopause

Based on the story of Inanna, and her descent through 7 gates to the Underworld, where she is transformed. She is looked upon with the eye of death by her sister Erishkegal, then is revived with the water and earth of life by her assistant and friend Ninshubar. In my experience, what seems like the end is only the beginning of a new phase of life. This is my personal version, and an exercise I give to women in the Heroine's Journey at Mid-Life class.

I share this with you so you may have hope!

7 stages of descent (what do you give up?)

I gave up my will to volunteer all my free time (and postponing my own work)
I gave up multitasking  - unable to do it anymore without breaking something, brain is in a pea-soup fog.
My defensive armour is too heavy, especially around my shoulders. It must come off!  (acupuncture, physiotherapy, osteopath helped, seeing a counsellor helped peel off the scales)
I have lost my ability to mother and take care of everyone else -  I am exhausted and in bed at 8:30 pm. Even the plants are too demanding. Get rid of them!
My libido has disappeared and the desire for sex has gone underground
When I broke my leg skiing,  I was forced to learn how to ask for help. I feel my muscles are mush, liquefied, I am losing wrist strength and muscle mass.

7 gifts I reclaim (what learnings do you return with?)

I surrender and let go. I have no vision for the future, only questions.
I realize my limits. I need rest and downtime, less striving and pushing myself so hard.
I find my voice, the power to say no and the power to choose what is right for me
I claim the power to stand my ground and stay rooted in my truth
My sexuality blossoms, I allow, I receive, I enjoy pleasure
I release the rescuer self in me, and that has freed up my energy for my own work.
I allow time for creative loafing, creativity in all its forms, evolving and moving, staying curious.

If you want to read more about the journey through menopause, see The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in Her Forties needs to Know (linked on my website).

namaste,
jennifer
Soulcollage card: East, Rebirth, 
Reawakening


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Birth and Death Mother poem

Poetry month is coming, and women's day just passed. In honour of the Feminine, and in honour of a Fairy Tale class I'm currently doing online with Stephanie Anderson Ladd https://owlandcrow.saladd.com/, I posted this on my Facebook page, and now here on my blog.

It represents a half a lifetime of reading and thinking and writing about the sacred feminine. We hear much more about the fertile mother goddesses and forget sometimes that her cycle includes death and descent to the Underworld, as in Inanna's story. Joan Borysenko first introduced me to this story in her book, A woman's journey to God.  Then I went to a workshop in NY City where we embodied the descent to Erishkegal's realm, and encountered what was buried, rejected or neglected in ourselves.

My first book "Little Mother", a book of poems and birth journal, dealt a bit with my mother's alcoholism and how it affected my childhood, and later my mothering. This poem was written when I was fifty, and reconciling the love-hate, love-anger, of this primal relationship.It is unpublished, so far, because my mom is still living, still alert and feisty at age 87, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings by including it in my last book, For the Birds.


Birth and Death Mother

In she walked late last night, tiny black shoes
like a Chinese woman, dangling a box of Timbits.
Little elder, not too wrinkled for 73,
alone now since the death of  my father.

Night owl, no innocent Madonna, long ago she drank
herself into oblivion on the living room couch.
Now food allergies, gut rot coffee keep her up all night.
She dozes all day – vampire shift.

Vacuum’s growl prods her out of bed.
City trucks, leaf blowers prowl, gruesome
chopping noises, Cyclops’ jaw crunching bone.
Oh deity, if you are mother, you are also a
devourer of small children..

Birth and death mother, knick-knack
Paddy-whack-give-the-dog-a-bone mother,
beehive hair on Fridays at the salon mother,
fruitcake ukulele singing mother,
are you in there, are you up?
Singing in the rain, musical junkie mother,
a hundred thousand miracles’ mother,
can-can dancing mother,
basement smoking on the john mother,
teeth grinding drool-stained pillow mother,
leftover butt stale ashtray mother,
vanilla in your coke-glass mother,
crispy pig knuckles baked beans in a pot mother,
bend me over your knee with a wooden spoon mother,
smack me on the head with your plastic hairbrush mother,
leave me alone with the seven dwarfs mother,
couldn’t have done it without your help’, mother,
never forgive never say sorry mother,
black holes blank history mother ---
tie me up in a leash to my bed suck my thumb mother,
cry too long for you not coming mother.
botched suicide attempt lady Lazarus mother.

I try to cut you away
but you stick like Velcro.

my healing & anger are wrapped up
in letting your squirming body off the hook,
where you hang in the Underworld.
Since I’m down here anyway, I may splash a little cologne
from the plant of life, resurrect you,
Queen of the revenants,
beg you to join us in the dawn of the living.

I would have left you rotting on that perpetual tree,
but they told me I could not come back up alone,
until I have settled with you,
flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

What will I sacrifice?   Hardly anything.
 I will let the mother god know I am hers, and that one day,
my own daughter will be down here to claim my corpse,
draw me through her ragged skin-cape.

This is how the living feed off the dead.
And the dead feed off the living.

SoulCollage(R) cards for Inanna's Descent, meeting Erishkegal in Underworld. 



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Drinking Serenity Tea

in the quiet snow of January, I am drinking a cup of serenity tea

and watching Prem Rawat's New Year's message on Timeless Today https://www.timelesstoday.com/

What is my focus on, he asks, something lasting? how to hook up to the real joy and prosperity

Is my focus on how to be fulfilled?

After an intense training session this morning, followed by a thirty minute Thai massage which targets my very sore shoulders and neck, I realize this armour that is being broken down, painfully, comes with a harsh attitude towards myself. I push myself harder than I need to, out of this fear in me of not being "enough", not a good enough writer, or a good enough house cleaner, or dog owner, or parent.

This shoulder pain is a good teacher.

It says, ease up on yourself. Stop thinking everything is urgent.

Stop the hypervigilante mode, breathe, relax.

Start paying attention to how full you feel.

Start being fulfilled, not with the things you buy, the things you decorate your home with, the things you feel you need to get by. 

Just be fulfilled, with life, with existence.

I am pressing the Start button now.

I am pressing the Easy button now, today.

I am lifting this armour off my shoulders, bit by heavy bit.

Serenity begins with me.