Card of the Day – Bear

 

Today, I pulled the Bear Card, signifying strength.

Sometimes bears are portrayed as quite fearsome. I know I would not want to find myself in a fight with one. But I think of their strength as more complex than just muscle mass.

The biggest common bear imagery I can think of is the mama bear. Fiercely protective of her young. You should never step in between the two! But that strength comes from a place of love, and protection.

As hibernating animals, bears can also signify periods of withdrawing to conserve ones energy. We are sometimes warned not to wake the bear, and in that statement we relate our own way of lashing out when our rest is interrupted.

Bear can guide you to protect your own home, your own sanctuary or that of your family. It is okay to take space for yourself, and it is okay to be grumpy sometimes. Just be mindful as to whether the threats to your safety or security are real or imagined. You can take urges for self-defence in mundane situations as clues that something else is going on, beneath your own surface.  Then perhaps a time of introspection is needed, or a filling up of your own reserves.

As we are closer to spring time here, I’d like to add that some of us may be feeling like we are waking up from our own hibernation. We are stirring and wanting to move, and feel the Sun on our faces. We are hungry for the warmth! But it is still just a little out of reach, and that may be making us all a little ornery. Be mindful of your place in the seasons!

 

Alone

She sat, cross legged

At the edge of the field

Staring past the treeline

Into the deep, dark of the forest.

She waited,

A picture of calm,

But her pulse quickened

And the beating of her heart

Throbbed with the rhythm

Of a reckless dance around a fire,

Where spirits run heavy

And feet run light.

She waited,

Knowing that something in that darkness

Was looking back

But no face emerged,

No voice rose from the stillness,

From the haze of the twilight.

Not even her own.

She stood slowly

And turned abruptly

And walked back home, alone.

This entry was posted in Poetry.

Faeries and Monsters

I used to believe in faeries. At least, I think I did. I know I wanted to.

I haven’t told my daughters that faeries are real, yet. I don’t want them to think that the monsters they imagine are real, too. Like I used to.

I remember hearing tales of pixies in the tree leaves, and of hell hounds in the forest at night.

I spent a lot of time dreaming, playing, enjoying, but I remember a lot of time spent worrying and wondering, too.

And some things don’t really change. Maybe they concentrate with age. I see a lot of fear in myself, still.

And I haven’t been believing quite so much, and I haven’t been playing quite enough.

I’ve been worrying and wondering about the monsters.

About the ache in the space where I used to be connected to my magical family tree.

About the time with them I missed that left me hardening my shell for the sake of survival.

About the anger that rises up inside of me when I don’t feel like I have everything figured out and running predictably.

About the fear of not measuring up and the difficulty in admitting that by asking for support.

And mostly, so often, I am worrying and wondering about my kids.

Why they are suddenly whiny, why they are annoying each other, why they can’t just share, why my oldest panics when things don’t go her way, why my youngest can’t just leave some things alone, why they both want my attention when I seem least able to give it, why they drag their feet getting ready, why they run away when I try to talk to them….

And I think, well, it must be that I have left the TV on a little too much, and I condemn myself a little.

It must be because this place is so cluttered, they can’t relax, and I feel frustrated with my inability to get on top of the never-ending mess.

I think, it must be because of all that junk food, maybe I should have made lunch a little earlier, they haven’t been eating enough greens… and I wish I had more talent and passion for food, that I could prioritize it.

It must be because they lack consistency, they went to bed too late, and I struggle to force us into a rhythm only to fall back out, again and again and again…

And when I blame the TV, I turn it off suddenly and in anger, in a great big huff.

And when I blame the mess, I rant angrily about how they have contributed to it, how they can’t seem to help enough.

And no matter what external condition I try to point the finger at, my discomfort is coming from deep inside. A pile of crumbs, a junk food lunch, those are not monsters. And what I am really lashing out at when I try to fight those things is my kids. And they are not monsters…

It’s been really hard grieving and doing this healing work while being a mother to young children.

And I catch myself feeling like I need to work so hard, strain, live up to these expectations to insulate us from harm, from fear, from uncertainty.

But the monsters still come.

The only thing making my kids act out is me. My disconnection, my anger, my impatience. My monsters.

And they don’t really need a beautifully orchestrated daily rhythm, the greatest of all foods made from scratch all the time, a tidy minimalist sanctuary, or a world completely free from media to feel content and happy.

They need me. They need me to be present with them. To accept them, to accept their feelings. To accept the ways that they show me what they need, however messy. To care for them. To stand firm in the centre of the bad days and bad feelings, and to play and to laugh with them, without fear.

My children need me to show them all about the faeries.

And I need for my children to help me remember that they exist.

Pendulum Swings in Perfectionist Parenting

I’ve been reflecting a lot on what seems to be a boom and bust cycle I have been going through, in terms of parenting and households ambitions.

There are a lot of ideals I hold. I have been wanting to practice more discipline with myself, more regular cleaning, more rhythm and schedule to our days that we can feel more confident and content within. And I had so many ideas about what I should be doing – what kind of food I should be cooking, how present I should be, what kind of days I should be guiding the kids through.

And I have been having so much trouble pushing myself to be more productive in so many different areas at once. I would get some motivation, have some days without TV, wake up a bit earlier, get more time outside, have more regular meals. But I would burn out very quickly, feel like I was pushing just a little bit too hard. And instead of easing off into moderation, I would just slack off completely and we would have times of too much indulgence, too much distraction, too much mess. And any relief I might feel from giving up on trying so hard to live up to those expectations would soon be replaced by frustration about clutter, sticky floors, kids acting out after too much media, days gone by feeling like I hadn’t really done enough.

I still can’t be sure if my discomforts at those times of rest and leisure are because I really want and need more structure to function, or just because I feel like I am not good enough when we are eating commercial food, don’t have everything organized and cleaned, and aren’t having Pinterest-worthy days full of crafts and love and magic.

Since I got past my initial parenting phase of being way too tuned into my child and not having any interests or projects outside of her, I have felt bursting with ambition and creativity to work on my own things again. And that seems to be where I have the most trouble balancing my parenting goals with my personal ones – if I want to have adequate time and opportunity for self-care as well as creative expression and to pay attention to my own interests, it seems that I need to sometimes leave the tv on, or let the kids make a mess, or let my high standard of routine and cleanliness slide. But sometimes I let it slide just a little too far, finding I want to lose myself in my own work like I could before I had kids.

This brings me to notice the divide that still exists in me, between what I think of myself as an individual, and how I see myself as a parent. I would love to work to bridge those two aspects of myself, and find ways to live a magical and creative life as a parent, instead of feeling like I need to compartmentalize everything, and totally shirk off my responsibilities to do things that make me feel good.

I am working on finding a balance, here. I am trying to be more honest and more realistic with myself about what I really need to do, what I can do. And looking more at my particular skills. I really believe that I can have a lush creative life and be more present with my kids. As long as I am not spreading myself too thin in other areas, too!

So I’ve been easing off on the push to perfect all the crunchy, connected, spiritual parent things. Trying to worry less about accomplishing the external things that I have convinced myself that I need to do to be doing a good job at this. And I have let things slide just a bit too much into indulgence, it seems, but even though I would like to do just a little better than I seem to be right now, I have been open to having a lot more fun with my kids. I have been managing to keep the house and my kids from falling apart, and I’ve still been able to get involved with a lot of crafts, writing projects and social collaborations.

I am learning to trust that movements towards healthier eating and better schedules can happen for me, without me trying to work them all out and force them to happen. But for now, I am learning to be content with my own gifts, and my own challenges, and am noticing the ways in which I am still appreciated and valued. And the ways that I appreciate and value myself! As a creative, mindful parent. As a sort of philosophical writer. As a friend, a partner, a family member.

I’ll be sharing a lot more of this journey as it develops. It is still hard for me to feel like I don’t seem to have things under control. But trying to act as if I do, to put on that show is a lot harder. And I much prefer being in the swing of things. I am really excited to see how this might work for us!

….We’re Back!

Welcome, welcome, old followers and new explorers!

I am very excited to be working on this relaunch!

I have made some great strides in learning where my own focus, skills and passions lie and what I would most like to share and to offer out into the world!

Over these next few months, I’ll be adding new content in some exciting new areas. I will still be doing some regular blog posts and sharing poems, but I will have a new focus on creating and sharing some tutorials, and focusing more on the potential for healing in the space between the mundane and challenging events of our lives, and our own creative expressions or interpretations of how all things fit within the stories of our lives.

I’ll be sharing as I go along my own journey of balancing parenting with self-work, my chores with my most sacred work and recreation, and I hope that sharing my own genuine experience – the troubles as well as the treasures I uncover – may encourage and inspire you to dig a little deeper into yourself along your own path!

I welcome any feedback and exchanges along the way, as I love the ways in which we learn from each other!

And I hope to develop ways that I can offer more specific services through this website, to my strange friends and to friendly strangers alike, that I hope to develop and refine with feedback from all of you lovely folks!

So very excited!

Thank you so much for your past support and for baring witness now, as this new venture comes to life. Please stay tuned for developments, things are moving quickly now!

The Temple

She stood, proud and defiant in the centre of her sacred chamber.

Her eyes burning wildly, jaw set firm even as she spoke,

“You do not get to speak to me of vulgarity. You who count your wives among your possessions, guarding jealously, pushing your daughters into modesty and shame.

You do not get to tell me what the holy wants from me. Your temples reek of hypocrisy and greed.

You who spit at me and shout your shame into my face. You know nothing of the work I do. You know nothing of the sacred and profane.”

The intruders steeled themselves against their fear of self realization, not willing to back down and lay their fragile egos on the line.

But still, she spoke, with a strangely gentle conviction,

“I will not bow meekly down into the service of your King. I surrender my body to a higher calling. This is a place of sanctuary, and your forcefulness is not welcome here.”

This had been her home, her oasis. She had touched the tendrils of many weary spirits there. She had enlivened, emboldened, healed and revealed with the energy that ran through her flesh.

But one man just would not open himself up to the source, and had become fixated on her as a means to such radiant energy that he could not get for himself.

Now he was angry. He had not expected to be spurned. He was not about to allow anyone to deny him his claim.

She had never known danger like this before. Her skills were disarming, her diplomacy was extraordinary, but this was a new territory.

Now her very way of life was seen as an insult by a very sour man who exerted a great deal of control over her people.

She had watched them feeding off each others fear, lashing out, wasting away ever more since his rise into power.

Now he was getting desperate, and she was not sure how she should stand her ground.

 

The Story

“I’m not waiting,”

She turned away to face the skyline, the summer sunset gave her silhouette a warm glow.

“I can’t just sit and hold my breath anymore. I’ve had such colossal dreams…and I could never figure out how to take the first steps…”

Her eyes cast down to the ground.

“I wanted your help. I wanted all of you with me. I felt like I couldn’t do it by myself. I felt like I could not do anything…”

She lifted her head and turned to face you again, her eyes shooting sparks into the shadows of your heart.

“But you were never the answer for me. No one was. Every person I have ever met was just as lost as I was, in their own dark forest of the heart. And the more I tried to lean on you, on anyone, the more I got let down. I lost so much trust. I started to believe I wasn’t worthy, wasn’t wanted. I felt like no one could help me…”

Her trembling lip cracked into a grin and as her smile reached up to lift the corners of her eyes a single tear rolled down one cheek.

“…and that was the best thing that ever could have happened. It’s the truth. And as much as I feared coming upon such a truth, once I recognized it as it was, I stopped resisting it. There was nothing left to fight…”

She glanced over her shoulder again, as the Sun slipped behind the trees.

“I stopped my frantic searching. I knew what I was looking for was not anywhere out there. It hurt, it hurt a lot, but….I just stopped. Everything stopped. I had to really sit with myself and take a good look at what was going on, and…”

Her voice broke just for a moment, with a breathy whimper and a sigh.

“…I saw it all. I saw my insecurity, the human frailty I had pushed so far back. All the pain I had hidden myself away from. The guilt. The shame. I didn’t know there would be so much shame…”

A bird sang a lonely song in the distance.

“It was such an avalanche of stories and sensations. It kept me knocked back and kneeled before my broken pieces for such a long time. I felt like I was reliving all of it. I thought I was in over my head, I tried to stuff some of it back down, but then….I don’t know….something just snapped.”

She smiled at you again, radiating a warmth from deep inside that seemed to cast aside the chill of the approaching night.

“I guess I hit the bottom of the pile, and underneath that mess of monsters and nightmares I found myself.”

Her cheeks flushed ever so slightly.

“That’s the only way I can think to describe it. That is all it was. I spent so much time waiting for some magical person or some moment of epiphany to lift me out of my inadequacy, it didn’t even occur to me that my longing, my sense of something missing came from something so simple.”

She leaned back, letting her weight rest on her arms outstretched behind her.

“And then I knew, I really knew that it was going to be okay. That I would be just fine. And there are still problems, life is a series of challenges, right? But…I don’t feel afraid anymore. I am not afraid to see where I am really at. To take my own steps, even if I stumble….”

The sky darkened, and the frogs in the pond could be heard in the quiet of the twilight.

“So I have not been waiting anymore. I know that I don’t need to. I know that I don’t need anyone….but I am glad that you are here, now.”

She leaned in a little closer, spoke a bit more softly.

“It is nice to be remembered. And I want you to know that I understand…”

And she took your hand.

 

Spring Fevered Dreams

You catch a glimpse of her bare heel as she darts behind the tree

And you are close, but not close enough

And you are quite sure that you can hear

Her heavy breathed laughter

Drifting through the woods

Amongst the ecstatic chirping

Of spring-fevered aviaries

Feathers dropping all around you

Like angels fallen

Into Earthly pleasure.

Your blood runs hot

And your legs pump with abandon

Naked feet falling into each step

Without needing to be told

Where to go.

You were made for this,

I told you so.

Once you were tired and timid

And holding back

But you felt the calling even then

And it drove you to madness.

Drawing curtains over the sadness

Pacing circles into the floorboards

Wearing them down

Until you fell right into the ground.

Well, here you are now.

You’ve done the hard work

Of pushing through the constraints

Of your old shell

And bursting open,

Now, give ’em Hell.

Give them fire and desire

Spread your petals open

And receive the Sun.

Dance with devas and dragons

And run.

Pounding steps along the forest floor

Chasing the reflection of your own desire

And finally catching up

And finding more.

Show us what you came here for.

Go out and play

The ancient woman, the dusty crone
Gathered up your broken bones
And sang a song around them ’til
They took new shape, spaces filled
And so you rose and took new breath
Refreshed from your cold, winter rest
With the seeds deep in the Earth
You celebrate your own rebirth
The ice melts with each passing day
You are still a child, go out and play.