Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Juicy Women--Ana's Story

Ana is the honored Juicy Woman for the month of July.

Ana's sexual history really struck me. She got very emotional at one point, angry and sad over how ill prepared young girls are to meet their blossoming womanhood. Her first sexual memory was at around the age of 3 or so, playing with the neighborhood kids. The brother was around her age and his sister, maybe six years old stuck sticks in her butt cheeks. There was no shame or fear about being bad, just curiosity.

She recalled spending the night at a fiend's house and seeing the father walk naked to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It was at this time that she first remembers feeling wrong. She was at fault for being awake and seeing what she saw.

She remembers liking to dress in a genderless fashion. Her mom made her wear a dress to school once a week and put barrettes in her hair. She had a hiding place where she would change into her pants and pull her barrettes out. One day the dog followed her to school and when mom came to retrieve the dog, she was busted.

When Ana found bloody pads in the bathroom garbage, wrapped in blue plastic, she opened them and was very curious as to their meaning. She took the pads to her mother, who rather than taking the opportunity to have a heart to heart talk about sex with her young daughter, she gave her a religious book that she thought would explain things. It failed miserably. Then,in 5th grade she saw that a film in school, probably the same one all of us girls were shown back then, with the diagrams of the woman and her fallopian tubes...

Around the age of ten her family moved from California to back east and it was a huge let down from what she had mentally prepared herself for. The original plan had been a move to London and the prospect of this, the excitement she felt was overwhelming for a young girl. But it was not to be. She recalls how her sense of fashion changed on the opposite sides of the continent. She transformed her sense of style and got into dressing sexy with platform shoes, low cut tops, and big loop earrings.

She told us of a date she had with several other boys and girls around the age of ten. They all went to the show together and then partnered off. She said that nothing sexual really happened on this adventure but she thought it naive of her parents just the same. I find myself curious as to her comment about this but I didn't question her. It was around this time that a boy she liked kissed her and she did not like that experience at all.

I loved the part about being late for school and while running up the stairs to her class she experienced her first orgasm. You go girlfriend. She didn't have a clue what had happened to her but it sure felt good.

Her sister was older than her and so there were always a lot of older guys around paying attention to her. She really liked the attention but wasn't sure what to do with it.

Later her family moved back to California and it was very disappointing for her to move back to her hometown but rather than being given the opportunity to reconnect with all of her old friends, they moved onto the opposite side of town and she attended a different school. Later, when she reunited with them in high school after spending so much time apart, it was very awkward for her.

At about the age of twelve Ana was spending the night at her aunt's house, enjoying some very sexual feelings in her sleep. She spread her legs to experience more of the deepening sensations. She awoke to find her cousin at the foot of her bed with his hand up under the covers, exploring her girl bits. He immediately left when she awoke and she was very shaken by this experience. She found herself transported into a strange escape adventure. It was the middle of the night but she had to get out of there. She walked out of the house and immediately saw a neighbor riding by in the dark on his bike. This particular person had many suspicious rumors floating around about his devious behavior. She left the house and started walking--she just had to get away. She headed towards a school where there was a phone booth. She wanted to talk with her mother. She hear noises there that scared her and so she walked on. She walked down the highway, ducking from cars on the side of the road as they drove past. She headed for a truck stop where there was a telephone. She just so much wanted to connect with her mother. When she arrived there, the area was so lit up that she felt vulnerable and unwilling to expose herself. She decided to walk back to her aunt's and go to bed. The next day she didn't tell anyone why she was stacking beer cans in front of her bedroom door in an attempt to keep herself safe. The cousin who had violated her kept asking her what was up, and if she was ok. Fucker. She was able to contact her mother and the next day she was transferred to her grandparents. She really just wanted her mom and to go home.

Later, has Ana matured, she didn't know how to handle it when men noticed her sexually. She remembered once, sitting in the car with her parents and making eye contact with a man. She was just looking and offering nothing more. This man walked over to her and put his hand on the car door handle. Her mother quickly rolled up the window but Ana was "given grief" over what she had done to encourage him.

Guys whistling and noticing her as she rode by them on her bike was unpleasant for her. She learned to quickly flip them of to regain her power.

Then Ana recalled a trip with her father. They were in some foreign country, I don't recall which one. She remembers men goggling her as she walked by with him. Her father ignored the situation and she felt unprotected and unsafe by his response.

To be continued.

The Man Burns in 36 days!

The man burns in 36 days. That means we leave for the playa in 30 days!

Last year Yoda was our guide and he has remained on the dashboard of our car throughout the year. I think he is as excited as I am to be going home.

The funny looking object next to Yoda is something that my friend John LaPado gave me last year to burn for him at Burningman. John died on December 27.

Fear Less & Love More. My motto in life.

This is from a deck of cards I gave away as gifts at Burningman last year. I didn't plan on keeping a card for myself but I kept pulling it over and over after I would return it to the deck so I finally surrendered to the message.

The man. Last years theme was Hope and Fear. This year we have The Green Man.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Burning Man Pavilion 2007

Naked Green

I am so excited. The man burns in 37 days! I just had "business" cards made with these two pictures on the front and back. The cards are gifts for citizens of Black Rock City, to invite them to one of the tea ceremonies I will be offering. They will have the day, time, and location information on them. Jerry inspired me to use the word naked to name the tea ceremony and something about that felt very right. I came up with "Naked Green" Tea Ceremony. Naked is the awareness one is encouraged to bring into the tea ceremony and green is the BurningMan theme this year. And it's green tea, that lovely powdered matcha that we will be sharing as we all merge into "Tea Mind".

And even though this will be a playa style tea ceremony, which is adapted from a "California Version" tea ceremony, which was adapted from traditional Japanese tea ceremony, I will be wearing my beautiful antique silk kimono that was a gift from one of my Japanese relatives.

Unlimited Power

Unlimited Power

Greenwoman has tagged me to write on Unlimited Power In her Defining Spiritual Presence blog.

The instructions for this meme are to share your viewpoints on Unlimited Power. "It can be about challenges, reaching goals, achieving dreams or just living the life you want. It can be about Life lessons, Empowering Resources or Daily Habits. It can be about the past, present, future."

I've dedicated myself to experiencing the Unlimited Power found in the relationship of Self and Other. The name of my blog is Tell Me What Another Is. I try to make it a daily practice of inquiring as to "Who Am I?", What Am I?" "What Is Love?", and "What is Another?"

Who is it that is writing this blog? Who is contemplating Unlimited Power? What is Unlimited Power?

Here are my current goals/challenges in relationship pertaining to the Unlimited Power of Self and Others:

I've been working to clear my mind and body, attempting to declutter this path to Self. I'm meditating and living more in the moment, focusing awareness on my breath and staying out of my stories--at least noticing when I'm in my stories and making a conscious choice to either stay there or to get out. I'm continuously releasing attachment to what I want and accepting more of what is--practicing non-attachment & acceptance. I'm intending to know Self and I'm more consistently staying open to directly experiencing the truth of who and what I am. I'm allowing all the things that I've identified with in the past, and yet who and what I am not, to reveal themselves as lies and to drop away. I'm tired to co-conspiring with lies.

The clearer I am, the more I am in contact with Self, and the easier I'm finding it to connect with Another. This connection seems to happen through communication and what is communication if not understanding? I'm becoming more and more aware of my desire, my purpose in life to both understand and to be understood. I yearn for this connection. I yearn to uncover and expose the truth.

I'm practicing responsibility--The Ability to Respond to Self, Another, Life. I'm really beginning to get that I'm the cause and creation, the Unlimited Power of my life and I'm learning to accept that and to deal with whatever is in my life in a responsible way.

I'm learning to take responsibility not only for my communication but for the communication of others. After all, communication is not a one way street. If my goal is to understand another, how can I not take this duty on? It's all part of the communication package. As I become more and more aware of my own triggers and barriers in communication and understanding, I become more aware of other's triggers and barriers and I find that I must respond to this. Part of my process of becoming a better communicator is helping others to communicate better also. Understanding can never occur if I attempt to separate myself from this responsibility.
There is Ultimate Power in Responsibility, in The Ability to Respond.
I am learning to accept "no" as a legitimate answer to my requests. Isn't this a big part of communication and understanding? For example: Yesterday I took three of my grandkids and my son to the movies. I tried to arrive early enough to find available seats in the row I favor. As it turned out there were many extra seats in that row but only four seats together on each side of a man and his son. As there were five of us I requested the man if he wouldn't mind, to please move down one seat in either direction. It seemed a very simple request, one that most anyone would willingly oblige. As it turned out, my request seemed to annoy him and he refused to move. I was outwardly pleasant enough with his refusal but afterwards I found myself holding on to the encounter and judging him with negative assessments about his character. I caught myself and realized that I was attached to those seats and that I was not willing to receive a "no" to my request. Actually then, it hadn't been a request at all, but rather from my reaction I knew I had made a demand, in the guise of a pleasant request. As I had no power to control him, he got what he wanted and I didn't. I laughed at myself at that point and stopped begrudging the man his seats, right in the center of the aisle that he had arrived early to attain and that he was holding on to. At that point I was filled with compassion and only hoped that he wasn't holding on to our interaction in a negative way as I had been.

I'm interested in having loving and clear relationships with everyone in my life. I have some cleaning up to do. I'm finding it a mighty challenge to be relationally responsible! Of course, I can only do what I can do but I think that's a lot more than I've done so far. Oh, the Ultimate Power in relational responsibility. It's a cluttered path but I'm enjoying the adventure.

I tag Emma Kelly because well, after all it makes sense, Unlimited Power and all. Also, James at The Buddhist Blog .

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sexual Responsibility

When a friend brought up the subject of sexual irresponsibility the other day it got me thinking. What does sexual responsibility mean to me at this particular time in my life?

I find myself returning to my all time favorite definition of responsibility:
The Ability to Respond.
I didn't come up with that definition myself, but years ago someone used the term and it struck a cord in me. It's so simple and so right on.

Here are some dictionary offerings on responsibility: reliability; dependability; one's own initiative or authority; answerability, accountability; a duty; obligation; burden; trustworthiness; something which a person has to look after.

I like the simplicity of the first definition. Whatever situation I may find myself in, it really comes down to whether I have the ability to respond appropriately or not. Of course, each of us is the judge of our own appropriateness. When all is said and done, the measuring stick is how satisfied I am with the way I handled myself in the situation. This ability to respond relates to me living my life in general and certainly comes into play when doing the relational dance with self and others. As far as sex goes, I probably pay closer attention to my sexual urgings more than I ever have in my life. I've most always given my sexuality a lot of attention but I'm more focused and aware of sexual energy now and I'm appreciating it's potential as a sacred path to self. I'm interested in clearing out the kinks of my sexuality while simultaneously exploring some of its kinkier, less traditional aspects. It seems to me that some of the most intense human emotions relate to sexual relationships and I'm drawn to sexual pleasure as a powerful force for healing what's been wounded. I'm choosing to enjoy my sexuality to its fullest potential.

I've been reading Real Live Nude Girl Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture by Carol Queen. Sexually powerful women like Carol Queen both amaze and terrify me. I will write more on this later because her writing has a lot to do with sexual responsibility. I've also noticed a lot of reference/connection to sexual responsibility within the kink community. I'll be contemplating and writing lots more on this subject. This post is just a starting point.

I wasn't taught sexual responsibility by my mother or anyone in my family. It's interesting to me that even though sex wasn't discussed I can't remember a time when I wasn't interested in, or didn't have a fairly decent (relatively speaking) understanding about it. It seems to me that I came into this world bearing a certain amount of sexual knowledge. I taught all of my friends about sex, how the penis went inside the vagina and how women got pregnant and where the baby came out. I knew all of this stuff as far back as I can remember--perhaps at the age of three or four. I shocked a lot of kids who had been told some crazy stories. Some of them didn't believe me of course. I remember one girl who just had a fit when I explained some sexual facts to her in third grade, but she came back and apologized in sixth grade informing me that she now understood what I had been talking about. I don't know how I knew what I knew, but I did.

My mother had sex with exactly two men in her life, me and my brother's father and my sister's father. I assume she had sex more than the three times it took to conceive her children but I suspect not much more than that. Really. My step-father was this really crazy religious guy, deacon of the church, philanderer etc. On their honeymoon he told my mom that instead of having sex, they would be spending that time in prayer. She lived with both of these men a total of less than eight years and conjugal relations where not in abundance. At the age of 41 years old, my mother had a hysterectomy and divorced her husband. After that she never even dated. I would be knocked over surprised if I discovered my mother ever masturbated. I would bet money that she never did. And done with sex at the tender age of 41? It breaks my heart.

The climate around sexually in my house was very quiet but I was a wild child always exploring and getting naked. My mother was always yelling at me to put my clothes on as I walked naked in front of the picture windows after a shower or whenever. I laid topless in the sun in our back yard and when my neighbor saw me I was fired as her children's baby sitter. The standard in my life was that if you had sex, or a body for that matter, you kept it covered up, a secret. There wasn't an energy that sex was dirty or bad--just something private, very private. My mother didn't know what to do with me. And as it turns out, I didn't know what to do with myself either.

On one hand, nakedness and sexuality always felt very natural to me and I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. And yet I was very wounded. My step-brother who was seven years older than me, had sexually molested me for four years, from the time I was six to ten. My girlfriend's father first exposed himself to me when I was eight and later molested me and then basically stalked me for years. I didn't have a clue how to respond to either of these situations so I never told anyone, conspiring with both of them to keep their sexual secrets. Dirty secrets, lies, cheating, and taking advantage of little girls were all partners in my sexually formative years.

I masturbated and orgasmed from a very young age and I was inclined to intense sexual play with all of my boyfriends although I was determined to stay a virgin. That lasted until I was sweet sixteen. Later, when older or stronger or more sexually experienced boys/men would be sexually aggressive with me, I found that there was lots about sex that scared me and that I did not possess the ability to respond responsibly. I was never raped or physically hurt but I was fairly emotionally devastated several times and I never felt powerful or safe in my skill level of handling unwanted sexual advances.

I suppose then for me, sexual responsibility starts with taking care of myself first and foremost. This would relate to having sex only with people I want to have sex with. That has never been difficult for me. Only once in my life did I have sex with someone when I didn't want to. I was still a teenager and after dinner and a movie my date expected sex. I thought that having sex with him would be less of a bother than refusing him so even though I didn't want to, I did it anyway. But I've had a few strange unexpected situations where I experienced unsolicited and unwanted sexual advantages such as being kissed and or touched and each time I basically froze inside, retreating into that deer in the headlights response. Once when someone did have in his mind to actually rape me, I managed to get away by tricking him. I always did something to protect myself from those who where intent on violating me. I was inclined towards taking care of myself but I wasn't accomplished at it.

I've been fairly obsessed with my sexuality my whole life and even though I had some very sex-negative influences growing up that most certainly impacted my ability to be sexually free and true to my sexual nature, I'm doing ok. I have a friendly relationship with my sexuality and I'm on a healing path, still exploring and stretching my boundaries. I know I'm a bit tweaked here and there but all in all I'm happy and excited with the journey. I know that my sexual path and my spiritual path are intimately intertwined if not one and the same.

More than anything else for me right now, sexual responsibility is related to having sex for the purpose of communion with another. My heartfelt yearning is connection, not orgasm. Not that I don't fully appreciate orgasms. But I noticed years ago that the orgasms, the best and most satisfying ones, are most likely to come to me along with strong, being in the moment, heart connection with another.

I do not judge others who engage in no strings attached (NSA) sex, it actually intrigues me on many levels. If it's working for them, good for them. If it's not, they will figure it out and do something different. It's just not my tendency and doesn't seem to be a part of my path. Love and sex are hopelessly intertwined for me. It's not that I have to identify someone as my "soul mate" to enjoy sex with them. But I need chemistry, and I need to feel love for them as a friend, and to be committed to our relationship in some way, however it may evolve. I'm sure that in the right circumstance, this love for a friend could be someone whom I had just met and made a comfortable and easy connection with, but nevertheless, the desire for an intimate connection of the mind and heart along with the genitals needs to be present for me.

Sexual responsibility is taking into consideration not only my own well being and desires but the well being and desires of another. I want to be fairly certain that sharing sex with another will be good for both of our hearts. I consider having sex with another whose heart and mind have already melded with mine and we have the added benefit of a sexual attraction being added to the mix. Mixing genital pleasure into our already established sharing is for the purpose of deepening the level of communication and understanding. Increasing the ability to love.

I wonder if I truly possessed the ability to respond in a sexually responsible way, would my actual sexual experiences more closely approximate the sex I imagine I want to be experiencing? Or is it just about responding to the actual sexual energy and opportunities that present themselves to me, right here, right now? Both I suppose.

Either way, I am creating a lot of what I want and I don't have any real misgivings and I'm pretty happy with my current adventures. I might not be getting all I want but I think I'm getting everything I need. I have a lot to learn I'm looking forward to practicing more sexual responsibility.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ibuprofen and Whiskey

The temperature cooled off today--it was only 98 degrees. I just took a swig of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and 4 ibuprofen. Now I'm sitting naked on the couch with the fan blowing on me, a glass of water, and the computer on my lap.

I hadn't planned on neglecting my blog the last couple of days. It's just that my son, his partner, and their two kids showed up unexpectedly on Sunday. He had been living in Hawaii and recently moved to Santa Cruz--she has been in Colorado with the kids and all of a sudden they were all here in Chico.

Of course all of his siblings wanted to see him as much as possible so my house has been full of five adult children and their partners (ages 20 to 31) and 5 grandkids (ages 3 to 9). Besides them, I've been lugging my 84 year old mother who has Alzheimer's and can barely walk around to be part of the party and then to top it off, an old childhood friend showed up with her son.

My children tend to be loud and opinionated and very good at creating drama. They all finally left a few hours ago. Even though I was really happy to see both my son and his family, and also for everyone to have the opportunity to be together, it's been an intense few days that have lasted late into the night and I'm over the top worn out. Besides the physical exhaustion, visits like this always bring up lots of emotional stuff for me to sort through. Jerry just gave me a nice massage. The whiskey and ibuprofen should be kicking in and I'll be fine. I am fine. I love my family. They have good intentions and so do I. Everyone is longing for connection.

My computer power cord is broken and I have only so much time to spend on-line before it dies. I ordered a new one today but I may not have computer access until it arrives--if I'm lucky that will be tomorrow or the next day.

I thought this picture I found on the internet was a classic. Notice the countertop. Ah, the human condition.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Check This Out

Check out Mistress Matisse's new article Home to Mother in The Stranger Control Tower and Kink Calendar. She is reflecting about her up and coming trip where she is bringing her secondary poly lover, Monk, home to meet her family who love and adore her primary partner, Max.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Birthday Rosary

I've posted some on my fascination with the crucifixion of Christ here.
My path to understanding the cross has lead me to the rosary. Maybe all of this fascination is due in part to my intense attraction to Catholic boys. Maybe some is due to my attraction to the phenomena of teenage Catholic girls and their wild and rebellious sexual expression after breaking free from the confines of Catholic school.

Jerry has been helping me learn the Rosary prayers and he is being very good natured about it even though it's not such a pleasant memory for him as praying was usually associated with being punished as a child. He is a lapsed Catholic of forty years but still has some incredible stories. My friend Patrick loaned me his Catholicism for Dummies book but it's been hard for me to stomach reading it. I think I need something more mystical to study so I wrote down the titles to a few other books I found on his bookshelf. Probably some Thomas Merton would be nice too.

I'm learning to pray the Rosary. The top picture is of the Rosary that arrived in the mail yesterday. Jerry got it for me for my birthday. It's pearls and sterling silver with a gold Jesus. The center has the sacred heart on the front with and Mary and baby Jesus on the back.

So far I've ascertained (I'm a neophyte so please don't hold me to any of this) the purpose of the Rosary is to hold the mysteries in mind and to offer thanks and praise to God for them. The mysteries are twenty sacred events related to human salvation and they are divided into five categories: The Joyful Mysteries; The Luminous Mysteries; The Sorrowful Mysteries; and The Glorious Mysteries.

I can imagine that many of you will be bored out of your minds if you read any further but this is just something that I'm interested in and for whatever reason it's a path I am compelled to take for a while. Let's see where it leads me...well I do have a destination in mind--the sacrament of the Eucharist but that's for later.

The First Joyful Mystery is The Annunciation.
The spiritual fruit of this mystery is Humility.

The Annunication starts when the time was ripe for the incarnation of God as Jesus. God chooses Mary and prepares her to be the Mother of The Incarnate Word (Jesus). The Angel Gabriel shares this plan with Mary and she is shocked, dazed, confused, fearful and full of awe. Gabriel tells her not to worry, that she is going to conceive and give birth to a son. Well of course this troubles Mary who is an avowed virgin. But Gabriel goes on to tell her that she will remain a virgin, conceiving through the Holy Spirit and that her son will be The Son of God. Now that the proclamation has been made, the angel waits for Mary to decide if she is up for the task or not. She decides to go for it saying, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word."

The Second Joyful Mystery is The Visitation. The spiritual fruit of this mystery is Love of neighbor. Mary's cousin Elizabeth conceives even though she is quite old and Mary travels about eighty miles (a long and hard journey which takes four or five days) to help her before and during the birth. When Mary arrives she sanctifies John the Baptist while he is still in the womb. Elizabeth is really happy to see Mary and tells Mary how blessed they both are. Mary takes care of Elizabeth for three months until John the Baptist is born.

The Third Joyful Mystery is The Nativity.
The spiritual fruit of this mystery is poverty of spirit. That wording has never made sense to me--isn't the meaning material poverty and richness of spirit?

When Jesus was due to be born Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to comply with the census of Caesar Augustus. This is the second long trip for Mary during her pregnancy--this one is about 100 miles. Mary went into labor while in Bethlehem but there was no vacancy at the inn so Joseph found a cave for her to give birth in. Jesus was born at night, into very impoverished conditions to teach the lesson of detachment from earthly things. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Mary was joyful of course and nursed her baby. An angel announces to the shepherds the birth of a savior, Christ the Lord 'Today and the angelic chorus sang. The shepherds came to pay their respects to the baby Jesus and then the Magi arrived with adoration and gifts.

The Fourth Joyful Mystery is The Presentation. The spiritual fruit of this Mystery is Purity of Mind and Body (some sources say the fruit of this mystery is Obedience)

Mary and Joseph observe the custom of Moses by taking Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord. There was actually a law that the firstborn male of every family had to be consecrated to the Lord which basically meant that you give your child to God and then pay the temple money to get him back (pay the ransom). Even though Jesus is the Son of God and therefore not subject to the law of Moses, they submit to this law to teach obedience. And Mary as well, who is not subject to the law of purification after giving birth (since she was still a virgin) submits to this law also. Simeon sees Jesus at the temple and recognizes him as the Messiah and knows that he can now die (God had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah). Simeon lets Mary know the destiny of her child and then they return home.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery is The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. The spiritual fruit of this mystery is obedience (some sources say the fruit of this mystery is the joy at finding Jesus, otherwise known as spiritual zeal).

When Jesus is twelve years old Mary and Joseph take him to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. After it is over Mary and Joseph head back home but then discover that Jesus is missing and they go back to find him. They are really worried about him as they look all over for him and can't find him. Their hearts are heavy. On the third day they find him in the temple discussing spiritual matters with the wise ones there. Mary is upset and lets him know how worried she and Joseph have been. Jesus tells her that she should have known he would be at the temple attending to "his father's" business but he submits himself to his parents and goes home with them. This incident fills Mary's heart with knowledge of who her son really is.

I will continue with the other mysteries in future posts but for now I want to move on to the Rosary--both the rosary prayers and how to use the rosary prayer beads.

1. Make the sign of the cross and say the Apostles’ Creed
( hold cross)

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
Ouch. Ok, that doesn't work very well for me. Next.

2. Say the Our Father
(First Bead)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen
Ok, this does work for me...kinda. I learned this prayer as a child and for years we said it every night at the dinner table before we eat. We used the words forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors rather than the word trespass though and also added this at the end... For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. So I'm going to contemplate this prayer and see what comes up for me in regards to the actual meaning...such as deliver us from evil and that sort of thing. I think I can make it work.

3. Say Three Hail Marys
(second third and fourth beads)
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
I like this prayer but pray for us sinners tweaks me a bit but I think I can make it work too.

4. Say the Glory be to the Father
(between fourth and fifth beads)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
This works.

5. Announce the First Mystery; then say the Our Father
(fifth bead)

6. Say ten Hail Marys, while meditating on the Mystery

7. Say the Glory be to the Father. (In space)
8. Announce the Second Mystery; then say the Our Father. (on bead)

Repeat 6 (Say ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery)
(next ten beads--next space is left unused)

Repeat 7 (Say the Glory be to the Father) (in space)

Continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner starting with saying the Our Father and then ten Hail Marys.

After the Rosary:
HAIL, HOLY QUEEN, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Ok, this one is interesting and I both like it and get tweaked by it. I really enjoy the first line...Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! I'd kinda like to just leave it there as the rest really sinks into suffering but I'll work with it and see what I come up with.

It is suggested that the Joyful mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday; the Luminous mysteries on Thursday; the Sorrowful mysteries on Tuesday and Friday; the Glorious mysteries on Wednesday and Sunday. The exceptions to this are to say the Joyful mysteries on the Sundays of the Christmas season and the Sorrowful mysteries on the Sundays of Lent.

This is the first installation on my circuitous path to the Eucharist

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Heart Said Follow Through

Annie Lennox--I Don't Want To Wait In Vain
From the very first time I rested my eyes on you boy
My heart said follow through
But I know now that I'm way down on your line
But the waiting feel is fine

Clock's Breath

This is part 8 of my Foolsgold review. Susan read chapter 24, poppa's ashes, at her book release. I left with tears in my eyes. She gathers with her mother and two brothers to distribute her poppa's ashes. Cremation is taboo in their religious tradition but as her father was an atheist they seek unorthodox ways to honor his life and death. I wonder how my brother, sister and I will honor the unique oddities, the specialness of my mother's life and death after she passes?

In Chapter 25 Susan reflects on the creative act of seeing.
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.--Henri Bergson
Susan offers "elusive poem alchemy" in chapters 26 through 29. She shares her creative relationship with words, mixing dragonflies and haiku, nouns with verbs. I love her bold abandon in word play. She encourages me to create a 5-7-5 haiku. Nothing comes.

In Chapter 30 Susan brings word magic to Severely Emotionally Disabled (SED) kids and offers us Robert Bly as paraphrased by Rob Brezsny:
You came into this world as a radiant package of cosmic wonders, as an unspeakably sublime bolt of primordial resonance, as a barely coalesced jumble of blinding beauty--and all your parents wanted was a good little girl or good little boy.
Isn't that the fucking truth?

She is working with these SED kids and they are excited, engaged, feeling the creative spark of life within them. But their day together is coming to an end and I get a chill when I read her words--"and time is running out. Clock's breath." I want to cry. I've been feeling the pressure of clock's breath a lot lately and I'm reminded of Martin's words at a recent Enlightenment Intensive, "Time exists only in the mind." Awareness of clock's breath is an "instantaneous awakening, a tasting of the moment". Clock's Breath suffocates me, kills my creative spark. It takes me out of the moment, into time, into by mind. It's a nervous existence, hurried, never enough, overwhelming me into inertia.
Clock's Breath
A portal into the moment opens before me.

What better gift could she be offered? William, an SED fifth grader writes,
"I didn't want to say good-bye to that day."

Chapter 31 just touches me all over the place. Susan meets Paul, a man scarred by the death of his son. Susan tells him her story of re-meeting Jack, her old English teacher and he remarks, "Souls recognize each other. The passage of time is unimportant." Yes, that's right. This recognition often arrives as love at first sight. My haiku comes:
An old friend returns
We begin where we left off
And warmth surrounds us

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Loving What Is

I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday about wanting what is and he told me that that doesn't work for him because he is an agent of change. I've been sitting here contemplating what this really means to me and how to explain it in words that will facilitate clarity.

The night before last I found myself thinking of the Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Acceptance is currently one of the foremost precepts of my spiritual practice. Not only accepting what is, but wanting what is...no more than that, loving what is.

Lines from various songs keep popping into my head. From the Rolling Stones:
...you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you might find, you get what you need.
And from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young:
If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.
I loop round and round with this what I want versus what I need thing. It's a part of my daily life, and like breathing I try to do it consciously. I'm down with wanting. I like desire. I have no problem with my preferences because I came here into the physical realm to play, to create in my own special and unique way. I'm all about opening myself up as a channel for God to pour through this little ego of mine and the life I'm creating.

It seems to me that God creates through my desires (I've discussed the problem with attachment to my desires in past posts.) My wanting has a divine purpose--it's so God can play. Fair enough since in the big picture I am God, or as my friend would say:
God Is Not Another
Or as I would say:
That's the moniker I use with my best friends. It symbolizes the little me, the blended me, and the big me. I'm most interested in the blended me, my physical and non-physical self that makes up the unique purpose of who I am right now in this life.

My job is to open to God's desire and God's job is to either fulfill that desire or not. The fulfillment part is not my concern. From what I've observed so far, I'm figuring that I get what I need, whether I get what I want or not. Much of what I've learned so far comes from paying attention and adding up all of my 20/20 hindsight from over the years. It amazes me how often I get stuff that I think I don't want and it turns out to be so perfect in the end. I'm learning to have more of a wait and see attitude, not jumping to conclusions so quickly, just observing and trying to leave my judgments, evaluations and opinions out of the equation for awhile. When I release my resistance to what is, I keep noticing that seemingly negative circumstances often transform into something awesome. Sometimes what I get is stuff that I never even knew I wanted but once I have it I can't help but appreciate its incredible rightness.

And as for the if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with antidote? Well, this evolves beyond relationships with people. This is my intention for meeting all of life as it presents itself to me. If I can't be with the one I love, (or if I can't have what I want right now), I'm finding that it tends to serve my purpose to love what's right in front of me, what I'm with in the moment.

Ok, so this takes me back to what I said earlier about my foremost spiritual practice of
Accepting What Is
Wanting What Is
Loving What Is
This is where my friend said I lost him in the translation when I was trying to explain the natural progression of accepting what is as it evolves into wanting what is and then into loving what is. It's all the same to me. Sometimes I find it difficult to take what I know and organize it in my mind in a way that I can then connect it to words that reveal the true meaning of what I'm trying to get across. Ah, the sweetness of communication.

As for being an agent of change, many of us see things in our personal lives and relationships, in our communities, and the world at large that we would like to change. I sure have my own favorite causes and this is what I've learned so far that relates to creating any change I would like to see, starting with my personal life and stretching out the world:

My place of power is in the moment. Eckhart Tolle would call it the Power of Now. This moment is the only reality that exists for me. Right now is what is real. This moment is the truth. Therefore, whatever I am faced with in this moment is the truth that I must deal with. The truth of this moment is my power spot, my launching pad to create my future world, my vision of the way I would like things to be. The only way I can get what I want in the future is through wanting what is now. That's the connecting point. Wanting what is is my power. Loving what is right here, right now in this moment is the way I meet the present moment with kindness and compassion. Loving the truth, whatever it is is the connective glue. This truth is reality. Everything else is an illusion. How could I want anything else besides the truth? Love is all there is, therefore if I resist what is, I am resisting love. And I'm all about loving more, poly girl that I am.

Monday, July 16, 2007

California World Fest

Camouflage mandala that graced the inside top of our shade structure.

I'm home and tired and sunburned and still have the car and ice chest to unload but here are some California World Fest Pictures.

Very tall pine trees I love to look up at when I'm lying down and listening to the music relaxing.

This was just about the cutest baby I've ever seen and his parents were just as adorable. Momma had these beautiful tattoos that covered her arms like sleeves. I spend a good amount of time just watching this sweet little family.

This is my eldest granddaughter Buddha Lu, aka Lulu. There is always a great samba parade around the whole festival on Saturday evening. Jerry always plays music for this. This year my daughter came for the first time and camped with her three kids. It was really special having them there.

Umbrella mandala in the parade.

Frankly I was a bit surprised when I discovered this display of BDSM happening after the parade, right out in the open. I never figured this as much of a kink friendly festival before. Ya just never no about people...er, or dragons.

Festival butt.

This is our shade structure. I have a new idea for BurningMan this year and this was a great opportunity to check it out a bit. We will have three of these structures set up in an L shape and of course everything will be staked and tied down like crazy. The tent will reside under one structure, our living space under another and the third will be for tea ceremony, yoga, whatever. More camouflage netting etc. for a thicker cover and all but I feel encouraged that's it's going to work just fine. It was so wonderful pulling all the camping gear out and being covered with playa dust. Oh that feel and smell, I've been missing it so. Can't wait.

Inside the shade structure at night. I'm going to sew these particular prayer flags into a skirt that I'll be wearing at BurningMan.

This is a new Buddha head that came home with me from the festival. It's made out of lava rock from a sacred site in Bali.

Festival foot.

Festival breasts.

Tommy Emmanuel
is a guitar virtuoso. He was very personable and had some very hot licks. Sweet guy. He reminds me of my friend Dana who is quite the incredible guitarist himself, and I swear they look like each other and have lots of the same mannerisms too. He's the last performance we saw before heading home on Sunday. We were tired puppies and then Jerry had a gig a few hours after we got home. He's playing in the band for the musical Blackbird Sings. Shakespeare In The Park puts it on every year here in Chico and it's about one of the best performances I've seen locally. We are fortunate to have just great talent.

There was lots of good music this year at the festival and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves although nothing really grabbed us as the highlight like in previous years.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Dalai Lama and Me

This is a clip of the "Dalai Lama Renaissance", a documentary with Harrison Ford.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama was celebrating his 19th birthday the day I was born. I like that thought and I think it's auspicious don't you?

Ok, listen, I have a secret...George W. Bush also shares our day. And no, I'm not going to post a picture of him, or some You Tube video of him saying stupid things. Poly or not, I get to pick my partners and I'm just not into having a 3-way to celebrate my birthday. This post is for just the two of us, the Dalai Lama and me. There is something very sweet and special about pair-bonding don't you think? And a poly girl gets to pair bond with more than just one. It's nice to make special time to be alone with each partner/companion even though I enjoy being together in groups of three or more too.

Of course The Buddha is invited to this party too. Well, there you go, I guess that is everyone then. The Buddha is all inclusive. Better to not be exclusive for my birthday celebration--which by the way, lasts throughout the entire month of July.

Also by the way, it was They Call Him James URE at The Buddhist Blog who reminded me that the Dalai Lama and I share the same birthday. I used one his favorite pictures of Tenzin Gyatso, here on my blog too.

Aren't prayer flags just lovely? I have them on my front porch and I also just ordered 81 feet of them to go around our whole space at BurningMan. We were invited to be a part of Peace Camp this year and I've also volunteered to work at Santuary with MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) but I haven't heard back from them yet. I'm so stoked. I did my first shopping trip for BurningMan yesterday and I found some very cool mats for the tea ceremonies I will be offering. But I digress...

Another trailer. Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama

Baby Sweet Baby, Are You Alright?

I simply love and adore Lucinda William's music. I discovered her in 2004, the same year I turned 50. The same year I was hit by a tsunami love wave, swept off my feet and delivered back unto myself. I saw her live at the California World Music Fest in Grass Valley. She just melted my heart and I haven't been able to get enough of her since. She is just so hot and makes my heart go pitter patter and open really wide. Or if I'm feeling a little feisty and cranky, she's good for that too. Her music is kind of a country-folk-rock and the funny thing is that those are my three, least favorite music genres. No matter. Lucinda Williams rocks hot, sassy, and deep and she moves me. These three videos below are two of my theme songs, a dedication of sorts to love. The first one is of her performing Are You Alright?, from her newest album, West. The second two are the song Essence, which is on her album of the same name. The first of these two is a studio recording with pictures of Russell Crow. No, I don't have a thing for Russell Crow really but he is awfully sexy. I like the recording. In the second one you get to see Lucinda singing it live. Don't stop with these two albums though as all of her songs are incredible. She is an awesome poet, very sweet and oh so talented--one of my very most favorite musician performers. She sings so much of what my heart is saying.

Are You Alright?
~ Lucinda Williams

Are you all right?
All of a sudden you went away
Are you all right?
I hope you come back around someday.
Are you all right?
I haven't seen you in a real long time.
Are you all right?
Could you give me some kind of sign?
Are you all right?
I looked around me and you were gone.
Are you all right?
I feel like there must be something wrong.
Are you all right?
Cause it seems like you disappeared.
Are you all right?
Cause I've been feeling a little scared.
Are you all right?

Are you sleeping through the night?
Do you have someone to hold you tight?
Do you have someone to hang out with?
Do you have someone to hug & kiss you?
Hug & kiss you
Hug & kiss you
Are you all right?

Are you all right?
Is there something been bothering you?
Are you all right?
I wish you'd give me a little clue.
Are you all right?
Is there something you want to say?
Are you all right?
Just tell me that you're OK.
Are you all right?
Cause you took off without a word.
Are you all right?
You flew away like a little bird.
Are you all right?
Is there anything I can do?
Are you all right?
Cause I need to hear from you.
Are you all right?

Are you sleeping through the night?
Do you have someone to hold you tight?
Do you have someone to hang out with?
Do you have someone to hug & kiss you?
Hug & kiss you
Hug & kiss you

Are you all right?

Are you all right?

Are you all right?

(Edited) One of my kind readers has pointed out that the owner of this video (above) doesn't allow it to play embedded on my site. You can listen to it on You Tube by clicking this link here. But if you click on the menu above, it will bring up several Lucinda Williams clips that do play, so check them out. It's a little weird, it seems that you either have to double click the menu or click the menu and then the arrow over Russell Crow and then the actual menu of different clips appear. Play with it a bit. The clip below works fine.

Artist/Band: Williams Lucinda
Album: Essence
Song/Lyrics: Essence

Baby, sweet baby, you're my drug
Come on and let me taste your stuff

Baby, sweet baby, bring me your gift
What surprise you gonna hit me with

I am waiting here for more
I am waiting by your door
I am waiting on your back steps
I am waiting in my car
I am waiting at this bar
I am waiting for your essence

Baby, sweet baby, whisper my name
Shoot your love into my vein

Baby, sweet baby, kiss me hard
Make me wonder who's in charge

(Repeat Chorus)

Baby, sweet baby, I wanna feel your breath
Even though you like to flirt with death

Baby, sweet baby, can't get enough
Please come find me and help me get fucked up

(Repeat Chorus)

Your essence
Your essence
I'm off to the World Music Fest tomorrow. Last year was the first year I missed since it started--what ten, years ago? Jerry and I volunteered for the first seven years or so as our service to the happening new festival. We worked the beer booth for several years and that was a happening place to be. I remember the year the band FRUIT made it's debut and half the women at the festival couldn't help but feel the stirrings of their bi-sexuality--I'm not kidding. Last year was the first year I missed and darn, Michael Franti and Spark-n-Cinder both played. I was at a 10 day master training for the Enlightenment Intensives in the lovely Sierra Nevada mountains and the sacrifice was more than worth it. This year my daughter and three grandbabies (trash duty, an easy gig) are working the festival. Looking forward to a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Stuff

More Foolsgold.

In chapter 21 Susan leads us into the language of colors and I think of my relationship with colors over the years. When I was a young girl my favorite color was blue. My five year old granddaughter called me from Colorado on my birthday and asked, "What's your favorite color gramma Adrienne?" and I told her blue. Her favorite is purple. I remember a time when if you looked into my closet purple was the predominant color you would see. Then it was green. Now I mostly enjoy wearing brown, black, gray, army green, off white. And I like to highlight black with red and white. I still like to wear blue too, and green. I like the blue with my eyes.

Go here to read a color therapy chart and scroll to the bottom of the page and take the color test. It will only take you a minute and it's a very interesting experience.

In chapter 22 Susan offers up Rainer Maria Rilke
We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.
I hold on to, and go after things tenaciously. I think it would do me well to practice just as tenaciously, the art of releasing.

Susan works diligently to dig up an artemesia plant. She's making space for something new. She asks,
"Where do you need to let go in your life to make space for something new?"
As I contemplate this letting go, a sadness arises. I'm letting go of my mother, there's not much of a grounding with her anymore. She's 84 with Alzheimer's and although she could likely be around for many more years, I can't depend on things staying the same with her. I'm getting that the only way I'm going to be comfortable in my relationship with her is to go with the uncertainty, to just let her be and love her the best I can. Each and everyday my relationship with her offers me a new opportunity to let go and be with what is. The love is there. It's always there.

I'm letting go of wanting others to want what I want. I find that especially difficult when there has been a bonding in the past, a shared excitement and wanting of the same thing, a melding of minds and hearts and souls. Sometimes I think I just choose to be blind, trying to keep people in a box of the past, striving to keep the shared connection going when they have already moved on. When I realize they are no longer in that sweet space, I think they are rejecting me personally and I get my feelings hurt. I get so sad sometimes. Attachment is fun when I get what I want but it's heartbreaking when I don't.

Susan says, "What do you resist releasing...A habit, a fear, an idea, a belief...a person, a relationship."
god's mini-storage
This is the title of chapter 23 and I learn from Susan that the word God is abbreviated G-d in Jewish holy texts because it's considered sacrilege to write or say it. I always wonder where these type of injunctions come from, what the original intent was. As Susan talks about God's mini-storage, "Where things begin to coalesce. A vast, mysterious shelter for everything." I'm reminded of my move from hell, April before last. Jerry and I lived in our previous home for ten years and we were moving. We had rented one of those huge 10' by 20' dumpsters and had filled it to over flowing just seven months earlier. A lot of it was just trash, old appliances that hadn't been hauled off, along with lots of yard debris, but a good portion of it was STUFF.
Lots and lots of belongings that over the years, had filled our garage, closets and every corner of the physical space we had appropriated for ourselves. Now we were moving out and I was once again hauling things to the trash, filling boxes upon boxes to give away, along with more and more boxes that a friend came and picked up for a yard sale. Where does this STUFF come from? I was cleaning out and paring down. But my new home didn't have the available storage capacity that the old place had and I just couldn't let go of enough of this STUFF to not be obliged to rent a storage unit.

I'm not kidding when I say this was the move from hell. I descended into purgatory. I was definitely in God's grace but imperfectly purified and before I was going to be allowed into my new home I was going to be scrubbed! As I've written about before, I have a tendency to understand things through symbolism. I make a lot of meaning from the specific circumstances of my life. This move was a huge letting go of the past and moving on into my future, similar, on a much milder scale of course, to what I figure my death will be like some day. I realized that my storage unit was like being trapped in purgatory and I was going to have to sort through every last "box" before I would be able to move on from this life into the next. Death will be all the more difficult if I haven't practiced letting go and expertly honed my skill at non-attachment. All the unprocessed STUFF, of my life will be there waiting for me to sift and sort through. All my material possessions, the "to do" lists and important papers to organize, basket of clothes to mend, relationship issues to be tended to, lies to expose, truths to tell, all of it. I know very well what I need to take care of, what to put in its rightful place and what to let go of. I know. What I don't deal with now I will deal with when I die. I want to die peacefully so I know what I need to do. I know.

This was my own God's mini-storage experience and it was very, very intense. I got a preview to the coming attractions of my death. This is were all the STUFF of my life will coalesce when I die. I know it will be intense, like birth. But I think it doesn't have to be painful. The trailer (which was more like a virtual reality) was a showing of just one possible option. It woke me up and offered me some awareness about attachment, about taking care of business. It's my choice. I know. I'm going to do my work now, or later. It's going to get done. I know.

And my mom is teaching me lots about this right now. Lots. Thank you mom. It's a bittersweet pill but I acknowledge the gift.

Susan asks, "Is there anything is your life that needs to fall apart?" She says, "The mystical rabbis (including Jesus) teach that one has to be alone to contemplate and honor and enter Ein Sof, the infinite." She talks about being, "Alone and falling. Alone and shattered. When shattered...we can begin to mend, tikkun, hebrew for "repair". We can experience rebirth, begin to take in the infinite, through cracks that let in the light."

My love relationships, everyone of them are leaving me alone and falling, alone and shattered right now. My mother, Jerry, others...I'm just feeling a lot. I don't mean that things are bad or that my relationships are falling apart (Jerry is still my rock). Maybe they are just being rearranged, like furniture. I don't know how to use words to describe what I'm going through. I feel myself falling, shattering, and repairing all at once. It's intense for me right now. I have big cracks in me and I'm absorbing lots of healing light.
Teach me, like you, to drink creation whole
And casting out my self, become a soul.
--Richard Wilbur