What a funny title. Old Tapes. I'm 60, so I know what I mean. I know the visual that the title brings up. Audio tapes. But today a young person would likely think of tape as in adhesive. At any rate, this morning for this 60 year old woman, my "old tapes" are playing in my head. I haven't posted here in more than a year. I realize it is because I have this internal critic that holds up a standard of what the post must be, how it must look and sound, the impact it must have on readers, blah, blah, blah. I allow it to paralyze me.
Not this morning. Fuck it. I woke up grateful to sit in the quiet and have a cup of my favorite bold coffee at my leisure. As I sat there enjoying the moment, I thought of my daughter. Actually I thought of my mothering. (Yes, it's all about me). I struggle, on a regular and consistent basis, with the belief that I suck as a mother. My mind reviews actions as a mother that I question and criticize over and over. It's ugly in there. Brutal. I don't know why I do this. I think my own mother probably did. Who knows. She is gone now and I cannot ask her. Sometimes that dysfunctional mind crap is passed on without even knowing, and this morning there it was ... waiting for me in the quiet.
I suppose it's no accident that when I opened this page of my blog (in which I almost never write), there was my last post. The topic? Mother's Day. (Sigh!) My intention is not to work anything out on here or post my grand pearls of wisdom and discovery. My goal was simply to post even in the midst of the Inner Critic's voice. To type out my thoughts like a journal entry without questioning.
So, there you have it.
Time for another cup of coffee.
☕ ☕ ☕ ☕
Sunday, May 8, 2016
I think the hardest part for me about Mother’s Day is that I remember my human failings as a mother. I think of all those times I had no idea what I was doing. I was not fully aware of my own wounding and was therefore, incapable of responding apart from that woundedness. There are those memories, those times I can never get back. Ever. I think of those and it weighs heavy on my heart. Mother’s Day needs to be large enough to hold that too.
Being a mother or a father is such an important job, raising a human to survive in this world and to thrive. It is not something to be taken lightly. Although, in our culture I think many have children without a thought or conscious consideration as to what they are doing. It is just what one does. Grow up, get married, have children.
This is what I did. I raised a human without fully understanding what I was doing and how to do it. Much of what I learned and repaired along the way, or attempted to repair, was a result of the work I did in healing my relationship with myself. But that was much later, and by that time there was a wake of destruction behind me. This I grieve.
What is also true is I have come to love my human vulnerability, my courage, my willingness to fail and be seen. I have learned to embrace my not-beautiful and even talk about it.
This is the part of me I want to make room for today, and hold with compassion and tenderness. The part of me that fails, falls down, and gets the fuck back up. The part of me that rises strong again and again, because I do. I am not a Hallmark Mother. I’m not a traditional mother. What I am is so much broader than that. Today I hold space for all of me, as both a mother of a daughter and a daughter of a mother.
If I am going to honor myself as a mother on Mother’s Day, I want to honor all of who I am.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
I have been exploring and making lists about what makes a woman's retreat so wonderful. This time next year, I will be leading a women's retreat at the beautiful Bend of Ivy Lodge just outside of Asheville. To generate interest, I am posting some of what I know is true. I will add to it as the days go by. If you have other reasons and stories to share, please do! :D
Why go on a Women's Retreat?
Sisterhood: There is nothing quite as transformative and regenerative as sitting in circle with other women sharing stories and making discoveries.
Solitude: Going on retreat gives you the space and the time to reconnect with aspects of yourself that you have forgotten or put on the back burner. On retreat, you get the opportunity to bridge that gap.
Silence: “Your life is always talking to you - are you listening?”
A woman needs to step away from the outer cacophony of voices, to hear her own innate wisdom. She needs the time and space to know the sound of her own voice, to speak it, and then choose to honor it. Taking the time while on retreat to sit quietly in nature is a wonderful way to listen to your heart. If you are highly verbal like myself, a retreat can teach you the value and pleasure of silence in the quiet of solitude and tranquility.
Peace and quiet: you get to go to away to a location that is removed from your routine life, often some place with nature as its beautiful surroundings. This kind of peace and quiet is infinitely healing.
Like-minded people: You have a unique opportunity to meet people who are more or less in the same situation as you are, looking for the same support and solutions. As in every group, you will connect with some and stay in touch with others.
Me-time: the retreat time, however long, is all about YOU. Forget work or the kids. Concentrate on you and just you.
Thinking: You do get a lot of time to think. So you can tackle a problem, solve an issue or discuss future plans with women you grow to trust.
Discovery: A retreat is all about discovery. Of yourself, of other people, of a new place, of new tips and tricks. Be open and remain curious. You may very well learn new ways of thinking and being.
That is the beginning of my list. I have more, but for now I would LOVE to hear from some of you who have participated in Women's Retreats. Let me know what you found to be true with your experience.
Friday, July 10, 2015
|Me (left) and three of my four sisters.|
My dream is to connect with other women in a deep, powerful, profound and transformative way. Here is what I believe. What do you believe?
- I believe women united are a powerful and transformative force.
- I believe this culture and this world seeks (sometimes consciously and sometimes not) to prevent women from discovering and tapping into the truth of their power and the transformative force that they are.
- I believe deep and lasting change starts from within, from the relationship we have with ourselves.
- I believe what we say to ourselves both out loud and in private, how we respond to our own needs, wants, hopes, dreams, desires … this relationship with ourselves determines how we are in the world. It determines how we are at work, how we are with our families, how we are with money, and how we are with our health.
- I believe the degree to which we experience love and joy and connectedness in the outer world is in direct proportion to how much love and joy and connectedness we experience in relationship with ourselves.
- I believe the way to improve the relationship with ourselves is the same way we would seek to improve any relationship. We treat it with value and respect. We make it a priority. We put ourselves first.
- I believe as women we must use our voices and our stories to connect with one another, create change, and to know, really know that we are not alone, and that together we have power.
- I believe there is transformative power and healing when women gather in talking circles, on retreats, and in creative workshops to explore, discover, and celebrate all of who they are.
I challenge, implore, beseech you. Connect with other women. Sit in women’s circles. Attend women’s retreats. Participate in women’s workshops. Share your stories. Tell the truth of who you are. Allow yourself to be seen. Explore. Discover. Find those aspects of yourself that have been discarded, lost, and long ago forgotten. Know who you are. Love who you are. Find your pack. Then unabashedly tell the world about it. I will tell you who I am. Tell me who you are.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
December 23, 2014
I awoke this morning and took the dogs out. 6:30 am-ish. Walking to the kitchen, I passed the bookshelf and found this old journal on the floor. Strange. Lying there as if it had jumped from the shelf. I can't remember the last time I even looked at this journal. The notes in the front are from when I was still married to Steve, and then also from when I was in my first apartment after I moved out.
That's 16 years ago. Yet, there it lay on the floor at my feet, most likely swept from the shelf by Frank's high and very large tail caught in the journal's spiral binding. Still, when I saw my writing through the translucent cover - the words I carved into the clay heart box I made for my daughter Gay when she graduated high school - my heart jumped. "Oh God, I haven't looked at this in years!", I thought to myself as I picked it up off the cold tile floor. And as I began to read the pages, I remembered there was more. I remembered tearing out pages that I no longer wanted to keep. I have no recollection now what they contained, only that it felt like a purge, a cleansing.
Suddenly, I was overcome with the urge to write. So, here I sit on a rainy, dark morning journaling once again after all there years.
This. The extraordinary experience of being alive, when even the most mundane moments are filled with soul.