the ability to love

Quote

Cupid and Psyche

Cupid and Psyche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If feminism is understood not as a battle in the war between the sexes but rather a movement to transform a world in which both men and women suffer losses that constrain their ability to love, then the story of Cupid and Psyche* is a feminist tale.”

( *a story which reveals that men must hide love and women cannot know what we know)

Carol Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure, pp. 46-47

initiation

from summer 2012 retreat

Tomorrow morning, a new writing circle starts. We will be a full group in our dedicated writing studio; a group of women writing together in a new combination, as it is new each season. Words recycled into new meanings, gathering us to their heart as we gather one another to ours.

As each season starts with a new group – even though every woman in the circle has been there before, never in this configuration, at this time, in this place – it seems an initiation. There is something about that first meeting . . .

Your initial impression of this group may
be uncomfortable – what with the candle and all.
But
a few weeks in, you’ll be holding
conversations with it. As in, ‘hello, candle
how ya doin’ today?’ This happens
because the candle has become more
than just familiar. It’s become a friend,
a part of routine initiating every circle
we hold together, a way to slow down,
transition from the rest of our lives and move
into our circle space, together.

Why a candle? Other than the obvious —
it gives us something to look at, focus on –
it represents inspiration, the creative fire; speaks
to some of us of silence, reverence, both
of which are ways we choose to open
and conduct our circle.

This signals a kind of personal
initiation as well – an entry into this sacred
circle of evolving women devoted
to telling their stories and exploring their lives
through writing and speaking their words.

Here we create a new community,
one composed of writing hands and listening ears,
of curious minds and open hearts. We share
our stories – sad, tender, funny, outrageous; we
encourage one another onward with our writing;
we let our words spread out into the broader world
so that others may in turn be inspired, perhaps even
initiated, into the sacred circle
of fire and trust.

not political . . . really?!

I am not a politically active creature. Ever since ‘feminism’ first marbled across my lips, even sank into my taste buds, I have heard ‘the personal is political.’ The fundamental impact of those words, however, eluded me. For a time.

Fast forward to the coursing of ‘conscious feminine’ through my whole being – about concurrent with the National Declaration of Either/Or; add in my calling to write with incarcerated women; and I now find myself awake in a cold sweat, day and night, feverish to address everything at once.

And yet – I keep missing my self-appointed Friday blog date with the conscious feminine. Last night I learned why: I am outraged. Sputtering. Speechless, almost. At the Great National Divide between Those Who Think and, well, everyone else. It seems the latest national past time (and it’s WAY passed time for this to end) has become to elevate the lowest common denominator to the highest law of the land. Through repetition of the patently absurd (think ‘you can’t get pregnant from rape’). Where I come from, repeated wishful thinking never did make it so. A variant on Albert Einstein’s famed definition of ‘insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’

You can see how distant I keep myself from today’s political tactics.

What on earth is going on here? Well, dear Reader, it turns out we all – yes, women AND men – have urges. For sex, power, violence; as well as genuine desire for opportunity and the well-being of our citizens. AND we live, for better and worse, in a society. Which means we are in it together. What we say matters. How we act matters. Yet, along with reality and civil discourse, we seem to have lost sight of our basic God-given abilities to think, to reason. To listen. To reflect. With respect for difference; not the all-too-common derision or defiance, the coarsest acts of deception which have become the de rigeur standard of discourse by our would-be leaders.

Let’s focus on other d-words, like decency and decorum. I’ll even settle for democracy: that’s at least about the people, not a handful of very rich men asserting their unthinking opinions over and over again, hoping to move us toward change. The thinking man Einstein had it right: that’s just insanity.

English: Albert Einstein's signature Hrvatski:...

English: Albert Einstein’s signature  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

resistance

courtesy bobgod.com

The word inevitably arises within the first month of each new writing season. Despite her sometimes desperate desire to be writing, here and now, a woman’s resistance to writing looms huge and seemingly insurmountable.

This resistance is insidious. It’s downright evil. NOW is the time I have set aside. To write. Regularly. And to share what I write in order to get constructive feedback.

Silence. Blank paper. Nada.

This resistance wears many disguises, excuses primary among them. Didn’t get enough sleep; not comfortable in my writing place; need coffee, light, a walk . . . Too many phone calls ahead or bills to pay . . .

Over the years I’ve shared, many times, the wonderful demonstration described by Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. When asked to fill a bowl with large and small stones, most folks start with the small, only to find there is no room for the large. Yet, if you put the large ones in first, the small ones settle in and find their niche.

I remind my writers that WRITING IS THE LARGE STONE. This is what we want to do; so let’s do it! Not worry about it; not put it aside for the myriad minutiae that can immediately scream for attention the minute we strive to focus on something for ourselves. Those things will get done. After the writing.

What it really comes down to, of course, is that women constantly need to be reassured that it’s OK to take time for ourselves. We are programmed to be on call 24/7 to others’ needs and demands. Programmed to feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. Programmed to feel not worthy of all this attention to self. It is time we put ourselves atop our to-do list. Amazingly, not only will the small stuff get done; it generally will take less time and seem less onerous having attended to our own needs first. And yes – writing is for many of us a Need. So put it in first place as self-care. And enjoy it! We deserve every minute.

a nod to a nod

Status

So I’ll admit it: my ego gets revved up when someone actually notices/likes/comments in a positive way about my writing. Or my work. This is no exception. My ever so lovely AND inspiring writer colleague/friend, Jeannine Bergers Everett of MobyJoeCafe, has named me among her picks for two blogging awards which I add with pride to my sidebar.

Ever since I started this blog last April – as in seriously paying attention to its form, content, and regular feeding – I have become more aware of the nuances of others’ blogs. Let me see if you agree that the following also deserve mention as LOVELY and INSPIRING:

Jena Strong introduced me to blogging. She worked on early posts in a class she took with me. Now she has an inspiring blog, a memoir, striking photos and raw, to the heart writing that will knock your socks off.

Beth Lodge-Rigal is a sister facilitator of Women Writing for (a) Change, which she does with panache and deep soulful spirit in Bloomington, IN. Her school’s blog is a work of beauty, consciousness, relevance and community.

Phebe Beiser is another WWf(a)C sister, whose blog, The Goddess Babe has, like Phebe herself, opened my eyes and heart to cultures outside my own with gentle humor, humility and passionate intensity.

And Mary Pierce Brosmer, fierce feminist, vivacious visionary, loved leader and wise woman extraordinaire – visit her site, learn about how she is changing lives, and see what you think. Have I made good choices here, or what?!!! Continue reading