Compassion is the dissolution of my being into yours where no judgment or attachment exists. I do not become you; we become one. It begins with my lover. It extends to the entire world.
The joy and the pain of my daughter will never be mine. How her natural happiness was tempered by her father’s lack of tolerance for noise. Where did she go during her epileptic seizures of her youth? My daughter, I can never be you even though at once you were housed in my womb.
The pain and melancholy of my son will never be mine. His heart opens to heal the world with a lens focused on what is right and what is wrong. There is a special bond between a mother and son that only a mother and a son can know. I want to hold your heart and massage it in my open hands. My son, I can never be you even though once you were housed in my womb.
My desire to be one with my world extends to all whom I meet, to the trees, the ocean, the strangers, to you. If I could enter your world, then I could disappear and truly understand all.
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- Current Location:my car
- Current Mood: awake
- Current Music:aum
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition. ~Timothy Leary
Getting in touch with one’s femininity went out with the women’s liberation movement. To be equal, women dressed like men, shook hands instead of hugged, showed no emotion, and took classes on how to be aggressively assertive.
This fit my temperament perfectly. I was powered with forward momentum from a very young age. I knew what I wanted and went right after it. My passion was channeled into fighting for a cause, for the underdog, leading campaigns and politics. I was intimidating to some and had little patience for those who had a low self-esteem. Like a world-class diver poised at the edge of the platform ready to tumble, twist, jackknife or belly-flop into the water below, I showed little fear. It was the intensity and power of the moment immediately before the fall that thrilled me. I lived for those moments.
It took me over 50 years to fully embrace my feminine side. Balancing my nurturing spirit and open heart with a natural forward momentum took me awhile. I was more comfortable playing the role of survivor and she-warrior.
My daughter, who was born in 1985, was shocked when I told her that the first time I went to buy my own car, I was told that I needed a man to co-sign the loan. Whether or not I could afford it was not the measure used for qualifying for the loan. It was assumed that I was in a financial sub-class to that of my male counterpart.
Reproductive rights, domestic violence, sexual harassment, equal pay and maternity leave have all stemmed from campaigns related to the women’s lib movement. I no longer have to burn my bra to make a statement; I can simply remove it when I choose, allowing the curves of my Renaissance-like body proudly jiggle. The women’s lib movement was successful in many arenas.
Currently, I am the manager of the kitchen at an ashram. Ironically, I was put in this position because someone else left. I took it kicking and screaming. I quit cooking for my family long ago. Cooking for 30 plus people twice a day was not how I wanted to spend my days. Nevertheless, I’m settling into the position and finding myself at home in the kitchen. I found a silver lining to accompany the stress of the job.
The ashram is home to a dozen 18 to 32 year old college students from all over the world. These beautiful souls have chosen an ashram environment for their studies. Some of them are 7000 miles from home and speak broken English. One woman was a drill sergeant in Iraq. What they have in common is their desire for an alternative learning environment. They gradually began coming to me in the kitchen for nurturing. Whether they need a band-aid, a hug, or a kick in the butt, they know that I’m there for them. They know they will get what they need.
The students have started to call me “Mom.” My heart is open to them. I find much joy in our relationships. Caring for them, for my partner and the community, and for myself has helped me naturally develop this feminine archetype within me.
When your heart is open, both sadness and joy are free to enter. It is at the pinnacle of my ability to nurture, that I am no longer living near my two biological children. There is not a moment that goes by that I do not miss them. We talk often and have mutual love for one another, but there is an emptiness that accompanies my joy. I no longer have a home for them to come visit or display their stockings by the fireplace. I fill stockings and mail them and love them from afar – for now.
Freedom has a price.
This is my entry for Week 4, Season 7, ljidol. "Afterthought"
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Well.....it is hunting season. While the female deer are safe during the hunt, bucks are "fair game." No one has seen Larry in more than a week.
Sending a little prayer out to Larry.
Being with people at the end of their lives is something I do well. As a result of spending a decade being a lay minister at the Unitarian church and holding different paid positions as a gerontologist, I've witnessed many souls take their last breath. No two last breaths are alike. My specialty became dealing with the families around the dying individual to meet their individual needs while respecting the privacy of the soul that is about to depart. No two families are alike, either.
All of this preparation does not help saying good-bye to my own parents.
My mother spent winters in Arizona and my father had moved to the Vegas area. I had physically separated myself from both of them in 1978, when I moved to Oregon. Last winter, though, I had my good-byes to say to them. Neither of them were doing well. All of that drama from childhood no longer mattered. The alcoholism, the affairs and fights that I witnessed as a child, the unmentionable happenings that occur within four walls of a house -- none of it mattered. It came down to: How could I help strangers die and not help my parents?
I had just finished my 3 month karma yoga program at the ashram. There were a couple of months before I was expected to return to the ashram for the next program. It was time to go see the parents at the end of their lives. It was time to see if we could connect at a soul level. Time to say good-bye to mom and to dad.
My dad died on St Patrick's Day of this year with his wife at his side. None of my siblings forgave him before he passed. They are still carrying their anger. I hope they know that it isn't too late to forgive him, that forgiveness can still happen. I thought I was going to have a lot of questions for my dad while he was still in the body. Why did you let Father Bockwinkle abuse me? Why did you cheat on mom so much? What really happened that night that your secretary fell down the stairs and broke her neck? Why didn’t the police ever come? But all of these questions fell into the background. None of this was important. Those questions stemmed from family stories that I held onto for a long time. Family stories in which I played the role of survivor. Suddenly, at my dad's side while he was dying, these stories became as distant as any story between the pages of a novel written in a foreign language. All I could see was a man who was miserable and in pain. How long have you been this miserable, dad? How long have you been in this much pain? What does the story sound like from where you stand? I let go of it all and sat beside his bed, holding his soul as best as I could.
Mom, on the other hand, was more active than my dad during my visits. I spent six weeks waking up to the Arizona sunshine in the middle of winter. This was a major change from the past 31 winters I spent waking up in Portland. She held bitterness and some resentment toward me for being able to forgive my dad. She wanted me to teach her how to do that. What was my secret?
Mom is in her final days. She is in hospice a couple of thousand of miles away from here. At first, she couldn't understand why she was falling apart all at once. I told her that was termed "compression of morbidity." In September 2009, she was showing up for work on a daily basis, but her body has gotten tired. Medical science and healthy living can keep us going for a long, long time. The amount of time that someone is frail has been compressed into a shorter length of time. Sometimes it still takes a long time for the body to let go. Mom is in final stages of emphysema, has congestive heart failure, macular degeneration, temporal arteritis and kidney failure. Her body held up well for 8 decades, but this 86th year of her life has been one of letting go.
My mom moved to the Chicago suburb we all grew up in last spring so that she could be with my three siblings in her final days. Unfortunately, she is not able to answer the phone. I no longer can talk directly to her. Last month she paid for me to go visit her saying she needed my "woo woo" and my laughter. I have plenty of both and am more than willing to share it upon request. When we could speak on the phone, I could listen to her dreams about traveling into the light and explain to her that she is not going crazy. Instead, she is visiting the astral world, getting used to it, I suppose.
After not speaking to my dad for 3 decades, she has now been able to forgive him. However, she is now in the care of my three siblings who have not forgiven him. They have powers of attorney and are making the daily decisions. While she asked for no medical procedures to prolong her life, my sister authorized a pacemaker last March. They hold her so tightly with their denial and attachment that she lies in a hospital bed receiving morphine every two hours as she waits for them to let go.
Letting go is a science and an art. Letting go is a gift we give ourselves and others.
Obviously, I have to let go, also. Who am I to say what karma is to be worked out during this lifetime? My compassion for others dealing with the loss of a family member has deepened greatly. At the end of my parents’ lives, I am called to make spiritual, emotional and life and death decisions with siblings whom hold different spiritual, emotional and life and death beliefs than I hold. What I share with my siblings are those stories of childhood.
As children, we never talked about the big elephant in the middle of the room. As adults, our stories differ. We feigned normalcy as a family very well. Perhaps that is what we are doing now: feigning normalcy. These stories of my childhood could have defined me. Letting go of them, has freed me to become whoever I am brave enough to become. Letting go of them has allowed me to see the love that lives underneath the tales. After all, love really does make the world go round.
This is my entry for Week 4, Season 7, ljidol. "The Elephant in the Room"
Thank you for your support along this path of writing and journaling!
As she lay next to her lover, she placed her hands on her abdomen and slowed down her breath. It was a ritual that she had learned from a hospice nurse at an old job. Give the day back to the universe. Burn it up. That’s one day that will not be lived again.
Breathe in the fresh mountain air; breathe out the day. Cool breath in; warm breath out.
She closes her eyes beginning to take the day apart. After a couple of breaths, her mind empties. Then vignettes from the day come to mind. Allow them to float in and out of the mind. Just observe them.
What is she cooking tomorrow for the students, staff and guests? Charles doesn’t want Indian food. It’s Jagrav’s birthday. Did she order enough for the upcoming retreat? Some of the students were getting colds. How do we make it both healthy and tasteful? Pumpkin polenta, some type of soup, and…? Breathe it in, breathe it out. It’ll work out. It always does. No one has gone hungry yet.
She could hear the rustling of the trees outside her rustic yurt. Sometimes this place felt like paradise; other times she longed for indoor plumbing. They were going to move to a different cabin before the weather changed. Now, the outhouse at the end of the muddy rutted path was cold and damp. Let go. Listen to the trees. Allow the rustling sounds comfort you. Breathe with them. This moment is beautiful. This moment is complete.
More mind chatter. Does she have to run through and take apart my entire day before I can let it go? She received an email from her non-ex. “I know you don’t have much money, but anything you can give me toward paying the lawyer would be appreciated.” No, she doesn’t have much money. Living on ashram wages means paying the phone bill, one tank of gas and shampoo. How long could she afford to live here? Could she afford not to? She wants to do her part. She wants to contribute to the costs of the divorce. Is that necessary to keep this amicable? Deep breath. There you go. Another breath. You’re right where you want to be. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. You are right where you are.
Raindrops were starting to hit the roof of the yurt. Ahh, rain. She listened to the individual drops hitting the roof. Breathe in. Her mind drifted. Rain, like snowflakes…no two alike. Breath out. One drop at a time dripping into the mud until the it begins to visibly change. Thick mud becoming claylike; making mud-pies until it becomes goop and slips through the fingers. Drip, drip, drip … the rain liquefying the mud while the mud becomes more and more like the water that was dripping into it. Add more water until the water runs clear.
Breathing deeply now. Hands on the abdomen, the breath travels up the abdomen to the third eye. Burn the details of the day. Breathe in. Breathe out. S - l - o - w - l - y. There is no place you have to be, nothing you have to do.
It is night-time now. She closes her eyes. The day’s details are almost gone. She takes in the breath of her lover lying beside her, appreciating him. Together…breathing in, breathing out. The morning will be here soon. Welcome it when you awake. One day gone. In the morning she’ll be available for the next one.
Note: If you wish, you can vote for this entry through Tuesday, November 16, right HERE . Thank you.
Voting time, now through Tuesday 9 pm Eastern.
I'll edit this entry once I have computer (vs iPhone) access to make it easier, as requested.
And, you can vote for me and others at this link. I'm in the THIRD grouping/tribe.
I'm not trying to win a popularity contest, just trying to stay in the game as a discipline for writing.
Meanwhile, I'm sitting in my yurt in a rainstorm. just walked through a muddy ravine to the outhouse, drinking coffee and watching shorts by Spiritual Cinema Circle. currently, it is Michael Beckwith's Spiritual Liberation. The full length movie following this movie is Outsourced.
Ray's back is still out. It is a reL good day for cuddling.
Sending good thoughts to each of you!
My name is Beth. I am a 54 year old woman living on an ashram in Northern California.
I have two children living in Oregon, a non-ex running a B&B in Washington State, a mother near the end of her life in Illinois, friends scattered around the world, and a new great nephew who was born 90 minutes ago.
Over the years, I have played the role of a lobbyist, an administrator, a political staffer, a tax consultant, a storyteller, a middle-aged student, an entrepreneur, a gerontologist, a palm reader, a soul collage facilitator, an enneagram consultant, and a lay minister.
My partner Ray and I live in a small yurt on 80 acres at a mediation retreat. By day, I manage the kitchen and the vegetable gardens. There are 25 people who live here, including staff, faculty and college students of an alternative university. There are mountain lion, bear, deer, fox, skunks, squirrels and spiders that live here with us.
I gave up security for freedom and am actively reconstructing my life from the inside out. It was a good life. So is this. Nevertheless, the door opened and I chose to walk through it.
I miss my two corgis, my piano and having the means to travel to see those whom I love. Still, I'm right where I want to be.
Being off the grid up here in ashram-land means that there is limited access to the internet. This is my first year participating in LJ Idol. I'm excited about it.
Talk me out of it quickly.....or cheer me on PLEEEZ. I haven't really *written* anything since the early '80s. Some of you weren't even born yet!
There's dreamwidth and blogger and histories of drama and people who report "this happened then that" while others talk about their experience of their lives in specific or general ways.
Seems everyone is here for a different reason and has their own reason for staying. That, to me, mimics life. We are all here for a different reason and have our own reason for doing what we do.
So -- if you want to share, I'd like to know.
Why are you here? What part of yourself do you bring to LJ? And, what do you want from it? Do you get that? Is it to explore your authenticity or just to have fun?