Birthing Past to Future

IMG_20150707_085359277Blues night…Dar Williams on Spotify as I de-clutter the kitchen fordonation runs tomorrow. Maybe it’s the rain, maybe it’s the last of Mom and Dad’s odds and ends on the front porch of the old house to go to the dump…fraying carpets, ancient air conditioners, mattresses…the last push of transition.

My son’s old bedroom is packed with stored energy, memory-weighted artifacts to sort, keep, donate or gift. I look at these things and see them as Mom displayed them, hear her reading her writing to me for feedback, see Dad jerry-rigging his unique creations from bits and snips…

The Challenge of Bearing Loving Witness

This past Sunday, a sparkling and bone-chilling day, I went out to the woods with a good friend – a wise man in precarious health, who walks with Death pacing his footsteps. We were going in hopes of meeting with others, to join in a loving circle for the Earth. We waited; no one came. Eventually we went to the spot we’d chosen for the ritual, and after some heart-to-heart conversation on the way things were going in the world, offered our own energy-gifts and prayers to the Mother, and left.

Loving Circle for the Earth

Trees from the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada, cut and stacked like matchsticks to make way for a new Tar Sands excavation.

I usually do something at this time of year around the Day of the Dead/Samhain/All Souls, toward honoring our ancestors. This year, however, I have been haunted by accounts of the dying of the ocean…the razing of the forests for Tar Sands and toilet tissue, for oil and hydropower…the massive injustices being perpetrated by the U.S. government.

I’ve been silenced by sheer overwhelm at the enormity of the social and environmental destruction…and I have heard so many others expressing similar feelings of overwhelm and despair.

Comes the Dawn

This heartbreakingly beautiful poem by Veronica A. Shoffstall was first shared with me by my mother…and it has surfaced at key times of my life ever since.

Comes The Dawn

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.
— Veronica A. Shoffstall

Midpoint: Winter to Spring

Decompressing after a long day of passionate work, promoting a client’s upcoming seminar series, I stumble on an article and video and step through a window in time…

Twenty-eight years ago I was singing these songs in a living-room folk band with the man I would later marry. Today, seven years and a few weeks after his death, I listen to these songs as I have so many times before, and remember exactly the feel and taste and smell of those days…the feeling of being young, newly on my own, intoxicated with freedom and love and music and art and a liberated, bohemian lifestyle after a so-conservative childhood.

But What Does the Earth Have to Say?

 

(A review of Joanna Macy’s Coming Back to Life)

There are wise, multicultural, insightful books…books that urge profound strategies of awakening to change our culture’s current course. And there are books among these that have – I believe – miss a vital piece of the picture.

Joanna Macy’s Coming Back to Life[1], I believe, is such a book. Detailing experiential workshop processes that Macy and others have been using since the 1980s, the book aims to awaken the ecologically unaware to a connection with nature, other species, and their fellow humans. Reading it as our world stands at the tipping point of global warming and climatic disaster, however, I simply felt frustration?… irritation?…annoyance? Call it what it is – anger – at what I saw as fruitless emotionalizing.

Guest Post – The Mystery of Love

To honor the memory of my mother, Helen Joan Rizzo, this Mother’s Day, I am posting one of the many essays she wrote…this one was printed in the Catholic Review.

 THE MYSTERY OF LOVE

All through our lives, our greatest need – our greatest hunger – our greatest pain – is our desire for love. Not the natural, definable emotion we are most familiar with – like that of children for parents, married people for spouses, lovers for beloveds or devoted fans for their heroes, but the soul’s mute ache for, recognition of, communication with, and response from someone who speaks our soul-language.

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