Visit the GCW Website
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This project started as a book. I began writing about the global culture of women, the feminine principle on the planet right now, as I was experiencing it all around me, wherever I went. It became obvious that the project, an invitation for women to speak what it is we know as if human survival depended upon us doing so, came out of that initial book. Well, now that the GCW has been full-steam-ahead for two years, now that women's stories are filling the database and communities are cropping up here in the US with plans to expand the invitation to make sure it reaches all women - as many as humanly possible - the book has come back. It's time to finish what was started. But it's not as simple as it seemed back then. One thing I have realized is that so much is at stake at this point but also, so much needs to be included. We have women's stories. Beautiful, powerful, courageous every-day women - who are the reason that human culture still exists on the planet - have offered their hearts and voices toward the weaving of a global tapestry of female power and celebration. And to truly capture what it means to be them, to be you, to be me, this book will have to include far more than our stories. Our stories are the intimate description of our experience. The offering that has the power to build indestructible bridges of Love between women, families, villages, even opposing countries and religions. A book that speaks to this fullness of feminine power power and celebration needs to include inquiries into how we're coupling, birthing and raising our children, building and sustaining thriving communities despite everything, how we're educating ourselves and each other, how women with assets are supporting those with visions, how women are re-shaping religion and returning to spirituality. And more, it must include material on both the optimal and realistic care and feeding of our female Souls. We need to tackle questions like, 'can the feminine survive within the nuclear family?' and 'How do women who are filled with vision truly earn a living without selling themselves out?' There is so much - and we're expecting your help! We're now asking for your thoughts, written or spoken, on all of the above and anything else you feel is pertinent to this endeavor. In essence, what might end up being created is a manifesto and bible for full, unabashed, wild and authentic female expression in the new millennium. Isn't about time something like that were offered?
It has been quite a while since I posted last. To say that many things have happened, that this journey continues to unfold in the most miraculous way, that each day is filled with events and magic that certainly were not on the schedule, well...trust me when I say that though there haven't been regular posts, a lot is happening in the evolution of the vision of the GCW. So, over the course of several catch-up posts, let me see if I can bring you all up to date. Blythe's journey into organic gardening (which was the vision and invitation she received during our trip to the borderlands of Texas/Mexico this winter) has been a wild success. Seeing her - in her backyard - standing in the midst of the orbit of wildness she has nurtured is like experiencing a modern-day Lillith come to reclaim what is rightfully Hers. Yes there was backbreaking work, most of which she did entirely by herself! Yet, standing with her in her garden I get the distinct vision that, truthfully, her intention, her willingness to be taught by the soil, by the sun, to learn by listening and ask without hesitation (which all require the quiet grace of faith rather than the power-over wrangling that is man's domination over the unapologetically abundant thing we call 'nature'), that these abilities she values are what have made her garden the outrageous expression of fecundity and celebration that it is. Sunflower explosions, packed mounds of frosted kale, feathery tulsi leaves, hearty marigolds standing sturdy in their spaces. It's all a reminder that life wants to happen. We know, as we move through our days, that when we witness the absence of life, great energy has gone into making it so. Naturally, death happens all the time, but natural death happens in service of life- to create life. The death we have wreaked on the planet is a one-way death. Death out of relationship. Death out of Fear; so alienated from our own Selves and our origins and bankrupt because of it that we cannot allow the miraculous fecundity that is naturally all around us to persist. Blythe has said "yes!" and for that I am so grateful.
Friday, June 6, 2008
I've been in an on-going conversation with women for the last several years that starts with a question, "what do you do in your daily life that feeds your female soul?" Depending on who I ask this question to it can be like a stick of dynamite thrown into a well. In many circles it's not ok to assume there is a difference between women and men, female and male. Well, since everything I have experienced since I was about four has taught me that not only is there a difference it's of the utmost importance that we re-learn how to celebrate these differences, I simply start from this place of certainty and go from there...and this project is an obvious tribute to what seems so very obvious to me; that the unique qualities that women are born with have necessary medicine for the planet, for humanity. This medicine has been silenced for many centuries, millenia in fact. So, if you're with me so far, the question "what do you do that feeds your female soul?" becomes a matter of life or death. or at least it could, if you allowed yourself to carry the beautiful weight of importance with you. If you allowed that your full thriving is integral to the full thriving of all life on the planet. And I will tell you that when I sit with my female clients I tell them that I am deeply invested in their ability to nourish and nurture themselves because it so profoundly effects their ability to contribute their full female selves to the world.
So here is where I get my own medicine, where I find nourishment for my female soul and I would Love to hear from you about where you get yours. This could blossom into a profound global conversation, a cross-cultural smörgåsbord of options for us each to choose from in our search to nourish that beautiful wild wisdom and voice deep inside each of us who is, perhaps, longing to have her day in the sun, her night in the moon...
Today a dear friend, Ixeeya, came over to offer henna to my body. She is a ceremonialist and ritual dancer, a world traveler. To her these things are life itself. So when she shows up at my house (for any purpose whether it's simply so we can roll around in the grass or run into the hills together) she brings the energy of queen and priestess. She brings ancient energy. She does henna as a ritual art. And she came over to offer me something to take on the two-month trip I'm taking with my boys to visit family and to begin to create a film which asks people the question, "What is beautiful in your life?" We rattled and saged and called in all the guides who might be coming with us on this journey. And as we did this I received a clear message: I needed an arm band on my left arm and a wide band around my right thigh, high up...these two things were the amulets that needed to come with me. So she began.
Getting henna'ed is a beautiful process. Ixeeya is an artist so she does not rush. She is also studying to become a shaman and she lets the spirit world move through her as she creates whatever piece she is painting onto my body. It took her two hours to do half the thigh band. This process was wildly intimate: for half the time she was crouching between my legs to get the portion of the band that runs between my thighs. And it reminded me that this is how sisters must be with each other if we are to be in right relationship with ourselves, our bodies, each other and our male lovers. We must touch each other intimately, lovingly, frequently. Tenderly touching another woman is, in many ways, like making Love to ourselves. You can't fully tell from the picture above, but this band has a snake, a wild pony, a bird of prey, the sun and the plant spirits all intertwined in a collage of beauty. On Sunday she will do the back half of the thigh band, putting the moon directly opposite the sun. She will also do the arm band.
After that I took myself into the hills, on a trail that, at the moment, has wet mossy rocks like ancient daughters of Ma herself looking down on the path, unapologetically gushing water with sandy beds, vividly colored wild flowers and tall grass. I ran and ran, following the path, until I was called to leave the trail. I went straight up the side of the hill until I found myself standing outside what seemed like a sacred place, a place of rock spirits and tree spirits with the setting sun streaming through the wet pine needles and branches. Everywhere I looked I saw life and it beckoned me. I stepped into this circle of high piled rocks, pine trees and wild flowers. There I did yoga. I did sun salutations to the setting sun with wide hip stretches to say "yes" and "thank you". I did tree pose in front of a beautiful young pine whose branches were reaching and stretching in fluid motion up to the sky. As I stood strong on my right leg I felt the power of the thigh band offered by Ixeeya wrapping itself around the sturdiest most muscled part of my leg. I did head stands in front of this tree, feeling the roots of me plunging into the earth to mingle with hers and the spirit of me lengthening my spine, up my legs and shooting out the souls of my feet and my toes toward the sun; a primal surge of electric current that nearly all living beings on this planet experience. After I was done I thanked everything and everyone that was responsible for my full self, I thanked my ability to feel all things (both pain and joy), thanked my ability to Love all things and I walked down the path seeing everything I had passed only an hour before in a new light.
This, for me, is medicine. And it keeps me tapped into the true power of what and who I am. What do you do on a daily basis that feeds your true self? What do you do that speaks to your female soul?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Just a few days ago a true matriarch passed away, (or "went home" as her granddaughter says) after 95 years of service in this world. Iva, who told her story in several installments (because if you live to be 95 it takes a long time to tell you story), was born in Kansas the oldest of five sisters. Iva met and married her husband when she was in her late teens. They had two children; a son and a daughter both of whom died before Iva. Her husband died when he was in his early forties leaving Iva to raise her children and her children's children. Now she has three grandchildren, six great grand children and more than ten great,great grandchildren with more on the way. Iva worked four jobs after her husband died, to make sure she could support everyone who needed (or might ever need) her help. Up until the day she died she was still concerning herself with her social security pension, even attempting to stick around long enough to get the June payment. When her granddaughter said, "it's OK grandma. You can go now. There's more than enough for everyone thanks to you. You can lay it down and go now" Iva seemed to listen, peacefully passing away in the early morning hours as the sun was just beginning to crack through the dusk.
Iva was a lover of women. I'm not referring to her sexual orientation but rather her life orientation. She was devoted to the women in her family. Her home, when I knew her, was a safe haven for women to go, lie down, make a cup of tea, tell their stories, ask for advice, sit at Iva's feet and simply cry...whatever needed to happen Iva's home was the place where you could let it down, speak it. I fell into this matriarchal culture of Iva's home so easily, like a seal slips into water. And there was a tacit expectation that when I walked through that door I was agreeing to engage in Truth Talk...and nothing else.
After Iva's death I was told of a family secret that had, as so many of them do, effected nearly everyone in the family, on some level or another. The family secret was a dark one and it cast its shadow on everyone and everything. After hearing about it I could see why so many things were the way they are...really, once you know the Truth everything tends to make perfect sense. Even if it hurts or makes us enraged, all events from that point on make perfect sense. This is why I Loved to do family therapy...once even just one person has the courage to speak the Truth you experience the 'ah-ha's' falling into place like dominoes. After I was honored with the Truth of this family secret, everything fell into place and I found myself sitting at my altar that night, tears streaming down my face speaking to Iva and all women still alive: Tell the Truth...speak the Truth. Perhaps I will go to my grave asking Muriel's question: "what if one woman told the truth about her life?"
This post is dedicated to the courage of women everywhere to step into the magnitude of our power by speaking our Truth. Surely if there is one religion, if there is one practice worth devoting ourselves to on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis, it is the fearsome and irrevocably powerful act of speaking our Truth. Do it out of Love for the rightfulness of all things. Do it because you know that Love can only flourish in the presence of Truth. Do it because it is the necessary first step in our transition to a world in which all life is sacred.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Well, first off I feel I need to apologize for the poor blogging habits I've picked up as I've found myself juggling many things that seem to hold equal priority in my life: women & sisterhood, my two amazing children, a steady income, a personal life, a love life, and perhaps of most importance, my growing need to daily offer myself up to the wild places on this earth in order for me to stay powerful enough to nurture and stay present to all the above mentioned things. All of that seems a fairly poor excuse when you think that all blogging requires is ten minutes to process one of the many miracles and magic that occur in any given day. So, really there is never an excuse to not blog. And I'm determined to (try to) stay on top of it.
Having said that, if you're interested in reading something each day you may be required to tune in to two blogs because as of the 10th of June my two boys (Henry, 13 and Simon, 10) and I will be on the road for two months traveling around the US and Canada on an odyssey of reverence and celebration. We will be asking people, any people, all people, what they feel is beautiful in their lives, inviting them to share the objects/subjects of their awe with us in spoken word on camera, and in the process being reminded of all that is, and has been, so eternally right about this world. It is quite similar to the GCW in many respects. The vision of the GCW was borne out of an observation that women seemed to remember how to celebrate, seemed to remember what was worth celebrating, even in the most dire, unsafe and/or impoverished conditions. This is not to say that men don't have this ability, but I will say that from my own experience this profoundly important task seems to be somewhat a function of the female gender. At least it appears to have become so over the last few millenia.
So, this odyssey will include men's and women's voices. We will ask everyone we have the courage to approach. No doubt we will alter our focus and the wording of our invitation as we embark on and test out our questions on unsuspecting innocents. When Blythe and I were in the borderlands back in February and March it took me a good one and a half weeks to feel as if I knew what I was doing on the trip or knew why I, specifically, had been chosen for this journey. And it took a solid week before I had found the confidence to simply assume that every woman I came across was waiting for an invitation to share her wisdom with the world.
So here we go for round two...a slightly different focus on the surface, but really, not different at all. I still firmly believe that any fundamental and sustainable change arises from a place of perceiving beauty ~ a place of deep wonder and celebration with the world ~ rather than one of fear, hatred or dissatisfaction.
If you'd like to be involved please let us know by emailing us with your thoughts on what is beautiful in your life and why. Send us pictures of the thing in your life that is most beautiful to you (whether animal, vegetable, mineral or...). We will post these offerings to our blog site...which is still underway so you don't get to know the address just yet...but soon, so soon....
Saturday, April 26, 2008
So, we live in a time of great fear. No revelations here. We are terrified we won't have enough money. Once we get enough money we're terrified someone will take our money. Fearful our mate will leave us or scared blind that won't find the love of our lives. We're in lock-down with our children, no child left behind in the spectrum of all possible catastrophes; 'don't get hurt playing football!' 'Why doesn't my child want to play organized sports?!' We're conversely in turmoil that people are thinking too many things about us and that not enough people are thinking about us at all.
And today, talking to a powerful and intelligent man, a man who is in the 'know', we drifted to the conversation of women being sisters to each other vs. women who back-bite and claw. In his line of work, a trial lawyer, he admitted that he frequently sees the mean version of female. In my line of work I see just the opposite. Feeling myself get defensive (for not much of a good reason in this case, for this is a man who thinks my gender is beautiful inside and out) I told him my reality is the norm. Really...more often than not women behave like sisters toward each other. Statistically and anecdotally, women support our own kind more often than we back bite and steal, lie and cheat each other. Media doesn't want this truth to be know, for it doesn't sell as many issues as the other personification of women. In this day and age the only power available to us is the vicious kind, the kind we wield over each other like a sharp-edged saber. But that is the patriarchal concept of power: power-over. Women, in vast numbers all over the world, wield the female version of power: power-with.
Of course, we are human and if we perceive our lives to be threatened and we don't readily see the power of deep sisterhood in our lives, we will respond the way People magazine would have us believe is the norm. If we believe that our very survival is effected depending on whether that man loves us or this company hires us, and we have no other input to negate that fight or flight fear, we will respond accordingly. We will play dirty. But even with global living conditions for women heading ever-increasingly into the toilet, even though public health statistics for women and our babies show us to be in deeper mortal threat than even fifty years ago, most of us, most of the time, choose sisterhood. I've seen it in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, in South Africa amidst the AIDS pandemic, in that part of Mexico now referred to as Texas...in fact, all over this world. Sisterhood.
And, just to let you know the power of this truth? Sisterhood is the next revolution. The only one. Sure solar power is great. Removing George Bush is still important. But if, as an intentional global practice, the women of the world stood together, cried together, told the truth together, raised our babies together, perhaps even lived together (yes, with out men), well...I do wonder where the world would be right about now? It's a beautiful thing to contemplate.