Being Human

Sometimes revelations of great importance come seemingly out of the blue. Or, out of the gray fog of dawn light, driving down the road with the windshield wipers on my truck swishing side to side, in an attempt to keep those tiny droplets of water from gathering to obstruct my view. It seemed like nothing at first, just a thought, that echoed around inside my body as thoughts sometimes do. “ there is nothing wrong with you Marianna.”

It is strange when thought is delivered into my consciousness from elsewhere and I receive, rather than create it. Strange that a belief this deep can kind of skirt around the edges. If you were to ask me if I thought I was fundamentally broken just by my humanness, I think I would say no. the concept of original sin makes me gag, I mean have you ever seen a baby? There is NO sin there, of this, I am quite certain. Yet under my conscious knowing, there is a deep shame and guilt associated with being human at this time, and in this way.

 

My individual suffering has its own flavor, I will not say it is a unique, Rather I would imagine that it is similar in taste and texture to the suffering of many other human beings. Wondering about our place in the world and society, fear of somehow trespassing or being wrong, shame about the unhealed darkness, the bruises, and imperfections we perceive in our character. I could go on and on, but you get the point, you may even be shaking your head to say yes, yes, this is my suffering too.

The thought that came to me this morning as I drove, was not related to this particular pathology, the swirling critical mind that seeks flaws in order to find a pattern and get to some semblance of safety. This part of the mind that seems to want to tear me apart, so that others don’t have the chance to do it first. No, this wrongness that my inner self spoke of was the unseen belief that by simply being in a human body I am wrong. How could I be right, how could I be ok, when my entire species has run amuck in a crazy carnival of destruction, hubris, and greed? This wrongness I feel in so many of my days is not personal, it is collective. It is the sense brought on by disavowing the original instructions, it is the poverty of power unchecked and forgotten promises that wreak havoc beyond our ability to comprehend. All of this is true, it is not subjective, it’s not a story, it’s a fact.

And yet, we individual humans, born into this wild mess, this end-stage capitalist nightmare of sorts, are actually not responsible for this entire system we were born into. Responsible, yes. Each one of us is responsible for the choices that we make, for navigating this world with intention and heart, to the best of our ability. For paying attention, and giving thanks, and being humble. We are responsible for these things. But so much harm has happened that is not in our individual ability to control. And it’s important to differentiate between the mess we were born into and our personal actions. For we are also responsible for stewarding our one precious life, we are also responsible for joy, and for choosing a life that gives us a chance to flourish.

Sometimes I think I have learned to believe that as a member of the human race, we the lost sons and daughters of creation, we the ones who have made themselves separate and so desperately alone, that I deserve a certain amount of suffering. That we deserve a certain amount of suffering. And perhaps that is true. Perhaps some of us have already received that suffering, and many of us, all of us, will most likely receive much more. And yet, the voice that told me, there is nothing wrong with you Marianna, did not lie. I am one human, consuming food and fossil fuels, the same as all the rest. American, we are the worst when it comes to consumption. I participate in a system and a lifestyle that I actually find utterly abhorrent, but I did not create this. And I am not inherently broken by my humanness.

There is a grief that lives in me that is so large. I frequently don’t know how to live in the presence of it. It is not only mine. For sure some of it is my personal bundle of sorrow and loss, but honestly, that seems small compared to the devastation I see all around me. It’s easy to slip into darkness. It’s easy to look at the carnage we humans create in our wake and feel my heart drop, waves of pain pass through my body… forgive us… we know not what we do. Or do we? If we know, truly know, it makes all of this a fuck of a lot worse.

And here is where it seems to get complicated. Human and beautiful, complex and aware, collectively and individually choosing a path of destruction, up against forces and systems so entrenched in extraction that we don’t know how to extract ourselves from their greedy clutching claws. All this is true, and still, I am not wrong. I am an animal. Born to love and play and fuck and eat as much good food as I can find. Born to mate and birth and howl and dance. I am the living body of the earth, the very earth I poison with the fumes coming out of my truck as I drive to work. Isn’t that a total mind fuck?

I also know myself well enough to know that if I let the despair grab onto my skirt hem and pull me under I will be of absolutely no use to anyone, least of all myself. And I believe to the very marrow of my bones that a profound piece of my work in loving the world is to find and experience joy. If I am lost in the waves of sorrow and guilt, joy is not close at hand. I believe that my ancestors, all of my people back and back, through deep time, to the very beginning have sacrificed, and paved the way for me to be here in my life. It is my duty to feel joy and pleasure, to share the incredible depth of wonder, passion, and excitement that I carry in my being with me into the world. How can I live in this paradox? How can I feel the true weight of my presence in the world, and the lightness and beauty of my body and spirit?

I hold this complexity in the palm of my hand. I rub it with my thumb, I turn it over and blow on it, I hold it under my tongue, I suck on it, and spit it out again, and still, I don’t know what to make of it. I know that I am not wrong, and I know that I have done wrong. I know that I love the earth and that I abuse the earth. I know that I love my sacred body and that I abuse my sacred body. Perhaps there are not supposed to be answers, perhaps my whole lifelong all I will do is find more and more questions. And weave joy into the sorrow. Weave song into the weeping. Weave human kindness into the harsh reality of human greed. To be awake to our own consequence in this life is a demanding undertaking. To understand the is and is not-ness requires my heart to grow large enough to encompass it all. Can I do it? I don’t know. But I am willing to try. To be broken open and gathered in again and again and again. My spirit is strong and for that I am grateful. My love is strong too, and I need that to survive. I need that to give away, I need that to make it another year, feeling with my fingers and my heart through the bleakness of these times. My spirit says take heart, my love. Look to the mountain, the moon, the sky. Don’t forget who you are and where you came from. You are the daughter of thousands, you are needed and you are not wrong.

The Voice of my Soul

I have sat down three times in the last week, preparing to write a post about a journey that I took, both an outer journey in the form of a road trip, and an inner journey, diving deep into my soul and the lap of nature, through the ancient practice of vision fasting on the land. I sit down to write, and yet the words don’t seem to want to come. My attempts at coaxing them have been trying and I think I’m going to allow that experience to settle into my bones a little bit more before I share it here, though pieces of it may come forward sooner.

However, there is something coming forward to be spoken tonight, something unbidden and wild and terribly alive. Something that came clear to me on my time on the land, and made clearer over the last 24 hours. My body hums with something electric in nature, it’s not exactly excitement, it’s not exactly grief, I think it might be purpose. I think it might be my soul speaking. I think all of this time of wandering around and saying “what shall I do with my life?” It was right here in front of me. No, inside ME. Begging to be birthed into the world.

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “sometimes you need a story more than food to stay alive “

I agree with this, and I believe this. And what has been coming to me the last week is this deep knowing that what we need, much more than food, is ceremony. We are starving for a ceremony. Our children are starving, our families are starving, our schools and public organizations are starving, our souls, especially our souls are starving. And this is not something to be taken lightly, or turned away from, or seen as inconvenient, or that we just don’t have enough time. This I believe is deadly. We are starving for ceremony, and without it we are dying.

Yesterday my older brother called me when I was at work. He asked me if I was somewhere I could talk, he told me I might want to sit down. This is never good to hear. He told me he was going to tell me something that it was hard to hear, but he wanted me to hear from him. God, what a loving brother. He told me that a dear friend of ours had died the day before, that it looked as if he took his own life. These are the things we are never ready to hear, never ready to cope with, cope is a crap word, but you get the point. These are the types of wounds and sorrows that rip us open, that can fester for a long time,that call us reevaluate things in our lives.

My heart sank, like a cold stone settling down into my belly, the only thing I could say was “we loved him so much “and Matt said, “yeah, we loved him so much” and we wept together then, me sitting in my small office, and him at home, but both together in this grief.

This friend, this man that went down never to rise again, was a bright light of a human. Beloved by everyone, cherished, valued, believed in. He was gracious, hilarious, connected, and so very alive. The sorrow of his death is rippling out through our community like a boulder dropped in a small pond. The stories of love and care keep arising. My own memories keep surfacing and growing in form and texture. The vastness of the hole he leaves behind astounds me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about heartbreak lately. About love and grief and the way that they are twins of one another, the way they are inextricably woven, wedded. Like an infinity sign looping back on itself forever and ever, where one ends the next begins and so on and so forth.

I’ve been thinking about how to truly love is to be broken open. To be broken open again, and again allowing love and sorrow to rip through the very center of your being, and to not turn away. To keep your heart awake and aware, to keep your eyes turned to face whatever comes, to truly love is to lose. Is the fall, is to be broken. To love is to mourn, to regret, to weep. This may sound dark, that is not my intention. Nor is it to say that all of love is grief, of course this is not true, blessedly. But to be willing to stand in the fire of what love really means, requires a certain fortitude. A certain willingness to be with the trouble. To make one self large enough to hold suffering more enormous than you thought possible.

Let me now return to ceremony. In my four days and nights alone, fasting on the land, I came into the presence of myself that I had never known before. Deep healing happened and seeds of the future were planted. Both in my heart and in the land. I came away with an inarguable truth and knowing that my path in this life, and one of my offerings to this life, is the gift of ceremony. It seems so clear now, so simple, as if everything I’ve ever loved or longed for has been leading up to this, to step into the role of serving myself, and my community through offering healing ceremony, working in conjunction with the land, my guides and ancestors, the more than human realm, and the fully human realm.

It seems clear to me that ceremony is the key to bring us back into right relationship with all of life. And that this return to our place within the order of things is the balm for the broken-heartedness of our times. Wise, well, initiated adults are what are needed, to heal one another, to pull eachother out of the darkness, to know our purpose. When we are on purpose in this life, it is to precious to even consider throwing it away. We need a return to the tried and true ways of becoming human on the earth. And I am stepping in. I am stepping all in to service of life through the container of earth based ceremony. 

My soul has spoken, and I have heard her. Loud and clear, the direction has been given, and to turn away now would be futile. The thing about the soul is she makes you work for it, she doesn’t deliver a full packet of instructions, she speaks in image, glimpses, urges and feelings. What does it look like for me to make my life a living vessel for ceremony to grow and to wrap around me, and my community? I’m not exactly sure yet. But I am sure that this is the healing that I am being called to, but this is the healing that is really needed in the world right now, and that I can think of nothing more important to do with my life.

Thank you for being here, for reading my words, for being a human in the world at least for one more day. If you need support in creating or tending in the ceremonial realm, please reach out to me. If you need an officiant for a wedding or a funeral, please reach out to me. Those are areas I have already had some practice in. As I continue to listen to the voice of my soul, and this calling from within grows and becomes more solid in form, you’ll be hearing from me. What a beautiful gift it is to travel through life together, hold your loved ones close.

Remember, Life is sweet.

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The Woman Who Weeps

I wake in the morning and pray for gratitude. In the darkness alone I feel only sorrow, even the birds songs, delicate and joyful, pierce me with their nearness, and the delicate nature of their singers, who hang now by a thread, species collapsing each day, the losses staggering. I can barely breath. I wake in the morning and the birds sing, and I weep.

Could my tears be a libation? An offering to the earth and her many children, an offering to my own broken heart, and to yours? I offer them as such, I of many tears, a woman who weeps, my lamentation pours forth in this time of trouble. I am witness and I will not look away. I hold a steady gaze through my tears.

How can a heart hold it all? This world we walk is so out of balance. Every which way lies a new disaster, a new ending, a new possible apocalypse. I try to remember the world never ends, she only begins again and again. I try to remember the transient nature of being, no-thing ever stays the same. I try to remember that the world has already ended for so many people, all across time. It ended for someone today, I am sure of it. How could it not? All over the world, individual and collective endings, sometimes it feels like it is all about to collapse. I try to remember to just take the next breath.

My name is Marianna. Mary from the Hebrew Miriam meaning something akin to, sea of sorrow, sea of bitterness. Or in some interpretations, longed for child. And Anna, from the Hebrew Hanna, meaning graceful one, of full of grace.  I am the bitter grace of the sea. I am the sea of sorrow. I cry salt tears for the whole world. As it all burns around me all I have left to offer is my mournful grace, my heart of sorrow.

Do not discount the power of weeping. It is said in some religions that the power of prayer is more potent when tears are shed. The sincerity of heart and the humbleness of weeping makes the Gods take notice, turn an ear to us.  The earth needs my tears, needs our tears, hell, you, reading this now may need my tears. I weep for you, wherever you are and whatever sorrow is lodged in your heart. In the words of the great Bob Dylan, “go on and give it me, I’ll keep it with mine.”  I will, I’ll keep it next to mine. Your sorrow nesting in my heart will cause no harm, the cult of happiness failed us long ago anyway and I walked away. Tears streaming down my face and my hair flying wild as a banshee.

I wake in the morning and the birds still sing, they seem to be saying “just do” – “just do”
And so I do, do. I climb out of bed and turn my face to the sky. I remember that I am a living emissary of my family line, and even if I can’t see the purpose, I have to show up for duty. I remember that my heart, broken as it may be is also broken open, and that means it is fertile ground for something beautiful to grow again. I wake in the morning and the birds sing, and I weep. And then I go to work. In the seeming impossibility of continuing this life as I know it, I go on, and the birds sing me to my car. I think ” I do not know if birds can cry, but am so grateful that I can.”
So the gratitude I prayed for in the dawn arrives, gratitude for the tears, my gift to life, my offering of one heart, broken open to the divine.

Mary_Magdalene_Crying_Statue

What is Disaster?

I wrote this short, unedited piece in my kitchen last week. In a flurry of madness to close the oven, wipe my hands, find a pen and give the words life before they abandon this host and move on to one more ready to receive them. The “bite” of a poem is a fast and fleeting as a fish on the line, if you are not ready, and your hands not fast, you may miss out all together. I have learned to drop everything and write, a charming first line beckoning in my mind seems to stale and sour if kept trapped for later in the notes section of my iPhone.

This poem is a response the fires burning in the amazon, and in my own life. I too, just as the Earth herself am in a massive die off, much of what I have held solid now melting away before my very eyes. I think of Joanna Macy’s language frequently, it seems business as usual has broken in my own life, and this is a great mercy. Could it be the great turning has come? Both within and without?

Disaster

They say on the news that the Earth is burning
the Amazon is on fire – Earths lungs scorched and charred
in a wicked rain of dust and ash.

I still have to get up and go to work tomorrow
and most likely- you do too
If the Earth is burning up – shouldn’t we stop and pay attention?

My heart longs for reckoning – meaning – action
but my body is so exhausted that I cannot even turn my face away
from that dreadful smoke filled screen.

What is it like to be a woman at the end of the world?
let me get some rest and I will tell you
just now- I am too bone-weary to even begin to think…

The world is burning up – but here it rains in August
my garden could actually use a little more sun
the weather is strange – but is it really a catastrophe?

Or is my own decimated heart
that old woman at work who never knows where she is
my daughter who may never know breath without fear again

These- are these catastrophes?

I don’t know
somehow from where I sit it seems
that both everything – and nothing means disaster

what becomes of meaning when there is no future?
It grows– oh god- it Grows

A woman at the end of the world
learns to love fiercely (she must)
or she has no chance at all.

Marianna  – August 2019 

 

Slowing Down-Breaking the Spell of Constant Doing

Tonight I am writing, cup of tea already finished and the house is quite. I’ve been off work most of the day, had a lovely lunch with my Mama, cleaned the hen house and pulled some weeds. Sun was shining today and though cold wind whipped and gusted being out of doors and not damp was a delight.

As I settle in to my study, letting the day settle around me I am just quietly content. My body tired, my heart full from love and laughter, an easeful feeling in my bones. Such a simple day, fulfilling for me one of my needs, unstructured, unscheduled time.

In my pursuit of a simpler and more spacious life I have been actually creating some of that space, working less, saying no to functions or requests, making simpler food. It all feels quite radical. And I am learning how much I need this- down time- see? we even have a phrase to name this, uncommitted, self directed time. It’s a rarity in our culture and must be guarded fiercely.

I am not a huge new years person, not reveler nor resolution maker, yet I found myself early last month, thinking about my life, my time, joy, commitments, mortality and what the fuck I am doing here…you know the everyday existential  dilemma. In response to all this swirling around in me it seemed the only solution I could find was to slow down. Slow down my schedule, my commitments, spending, consuming in all forms.

I said earlier that this feels quite radical, and you know it really is. Our whole society is telling us constantly in everyway to hurry up, do more, be more productive, spend more, earn more. Madness. Absolute madness. It is no great wonder why so many of us are sick, stressed, spiritually bankrupt and exhausted. How could we not be??

I want to take a moment here, to acknowledge that me having the space to consider such things and the implications in my life, is inherently a sign of my privileged life. There are so many women who’s lives do not bare space for such questioning. Let alone for working less and spending more time with their families. I bow in gratitude for the space and the safety I have in this life.

What does it mean to live a life of simple purpose? What does it mean to give up the pursuit of “becoming” something, anything…wealthier, more lovely, as long as it is something you have to work towards, something that makes you not actually – here.
I don’t actually know yet, because you see I am just beginning to discover, one choice at a time. And its easy to get distracted, and thrown off course. For me it is starting with paying attention, choosing rather than reacting, looking at what actually brings joy, and what resilience means… this is enough for now. It is an awful lot actually.

It’s winter, and my mind is tumbling around all sorts of things, my body snuggling in warm wraps, a hot cup of tea in hand and a good pile of books. I let myself enjoy some space, some time to rest. A period of calm before roots and shoots start clamoring for my attention and the evenings are filled again with birdsong and muddy boots. I just want to enjoy this thing called life, trust in the goodness of it all. Another day will come, and God willing I will greet that dawn, humble and quite, no words are needed when the chickadee speaks so well…
I’ll just feed the birds and go muck the hen house, simple work is good enough for me.

 

 

Climate grief- the sorrow of endings

I am stirring inside, something sharp teethed is nipping at my heals tonight. It is more than the restless wind that blows through my sails with some frequency, more than the weary discontent I know so well. This sensation of being pursued is darker, rougher, it has grit and weight. Its alive, real, and vicious. This, this stirring that is following me, brewing inside me, this is fear.

I see it on the news, though I do not purposefully engage in the habit of news watching, I still catch glimpses. Or I hear it on the radio. Homes burned to the ground in California, the fastest moving fire on record, starving children in Yemen, and Congo, and here too, in Oregon many are food insecure, though not( to my knowledge) starving to death. But there are houseless families in the streets, and folks lying on the side of the road in their own piss, as we all drive by. Too busy to lend a hand, or a dollar. Refugees wait at our borders to seek asylum, fleeing lives far darker than I can even wrap my mind around. This is happening all around me, the times are baring down now, its getting hotter and heavier, it’s hard for me to breath….

In the face of these sorrows I have mentioned, and the thousand more that wait in the wings, I feel the desire to run away. To run from the city, find a small patch of earth and live out my years in quite, maybe quite desperation but still, quite. I want to turn away from what I see, from what I feel, from this nipping at my heals, this fear, and maybe even more than fear – dread. Thing is, there is no where left to run, this whole place, our sweet and kind blue planet is heating up, systems changing. Even if I found the little patch of earth to live on, there is no guarantee that summer sun and spring rain will bless my fields, no knowing that life will go on as life has always done.

I have long espoused my desire for an all out revolution. Not just in America, but globally. For the people to rise up and say “No More!” In this dream we come together for the voiceless, we tear down systems of oppression and we are victorious, united, a human family. I have a revolutionary heart, an inner fire and the courage to stand for what I believe in. This has long led me to hold this belief that change is coming, and that we will all be ok in the end (cue the triumphant yet soothing end of scene music.)

I am somehow just now, at 37 years, seeing that this ain’t no Hollywood movie, this is real life, and revolution means blood on the ground, maybe mine, most definitely that of at least one I love. Even if we did somehow come together in the name of all life and stand  against the corruption and greed, would we have any where to stand? I guess I am saying – is it too late for us? Have we passed the tipping point and now all we can do is maybe learn to become human in the face of this heart wrenching catastrophe we face?
And if we see the days has come, and darkness gathers all around, can we find the strength to see this ship down. Or will we claw our way over top of the broken ones, fighting for the last breath of clean air, the last sip of sweet water, the last gaze of cedar reaching her tips high to the sky….

My mind keep spitting out lyrics to The Future by the esteemed and grieved over Leonard Cohen
“Give me back the berlin wall
Give me stalin and st paul
I’ve seen the future, brother
It is murder”
When I feel dark, and dread filled, I long for music that seems to mirror that back to me, or perhaps even increase the intensity of feeling. I want to wade deeper into the mire, feel the sorrow and despair rising around me, put aside all my over used hope and succumb. This is scary, we are slowly, and so quickly loosing the world that we know. And it’s not pretty, and we are not ok, and I am terrified, raging and desperately sorrow filled.

Even here and now, as I write these quavering truths, just feeling the immensity of this fear and sorrow, I find myself wanting to turn it around some how, find a positive hope filled spin. Finish it off with some well wrought words pacifying the gut deep fear for a moment more….I am not going to do it. I do not comply.

I am broken hearted, sometimes it feels finished, but no, life still blooms so strongly all around us. I hold my loves closely tonight…the future so uncertain.

May love be with you all.

 

 

 

Solstice Prayer

The sky is dark- clear and cold,
dawn did not come until 8 oclock this morn.
Frozen ground firm beneath my feet
the first sun of this shortest day
reflects off diamond dusted boughs of cedar
leafy holly, hardy grasses
All ablaze with light.

In days gone by when winter crept into our homes
and cold claimed penance of the skins of those like you and I.
When darkness came at dusk and lasted all night long – all long night,
with only glow of candles flame to keep the dark away and cold away
in those days, this day, this shortest day- had meaning
had power.

The longest night- rabbit, underground
lies buried deep, warm bodies of her kin beside her.
Goose has flown south by now, warmer climes await
Squirrel, now nested, acorns stored in plenty,
even worm is tucked away, slumbering.
Until soil warms and springs good work begins again.

Human builds a fire- to drive the dark away
to welcome visions of spring
call warm days back
recall the smell of sweet grasses
the taste of May’s first strawberry
remembering the living world will bloom again….

the dance now calls our feet to dance, our bones to move, our voices chant
to pound our feet upon the earth- voices raised in sacred laughter
faces ruddy in the firelight
Call back the sun! Sing back the sun!
Pound hard on frozen earth with joy!
We have survived this longest night, to see
a new years morn arise again.

The sky brightens with the dawn
we greet the day, alive and well and grateful
For all that has come before
and all that will come after
the magic of surviving
of belonging – here- on this land and in this time
New years sun above us once again
and kinships bonds to keep us warm.

 

 

Solstice Blessings to Your Home and Hearth.
Marianna

 

 

 

We’re going to die one day….

I might not wake up tomorrow morning. Yes I am 37, and in apparent good health, but this is not a guarantee of another day breathing, not for me, nor for you dear reader. No matter your age. Life is precarious. Unlikely in fact, and the fortune that finds us here, me behind my screen typing away, and you reading me on yours is almost to much to bare.
This fact that we are alive, alive! and breathing is enough to make me draw that same breath in sharply with wonder, the awe of it all….but only when I am paying attention. Which I do confess I am not always doing, and more likely than not, even though today I am writing of the incredible power, fortune and beauty of being alive, by tomorrow morning I will most likely be griping about going to work and feeling less than charmed by my circumstances. This seems to be the way of it for me, at least for now.

And yet even in that, the remembering and forgetting, the high and the low, is life.  In the words of Mary Oliver- my one wild and precious life. Which is not guaranteed, it has no warranty, no insurance, no claim, only presence. The only claim is the one I stake, the stake I put in my own fertile ground. How alive am I willing to be while I am still alive? How much can I love being here in this body? Today, it is enough to make me kneel and kiss the ground.

There is so much unlikely fortune at play in my life, small wonders that I so often take for granted, the spices and salt I use with such abandon, the foods in my fridge, my fridge itself! Water that runs clean, well reasonably so anyway, from the tap – warm or cold. I know my ancestors would have been in disbelief at these luxuries. My aim, my prayer is that my life be a living testament to the gratitude I feel for all this I am blessed with. For all this abundance and ease and wealth beyond what most women living in this world will ever see or know. These wealth’s I reference here are only a drop, a small one at that, of all that I am grateful for…truly. And sometimes I am still a shitty whiney human being. Sometimes I am pissed off cause I have to plan and cook my own dinner, and I am tired and worn down and so so lonely.

When I try to write about this I feel lost, spiraling around in my mind, the absolute wonder I have at being alive, the knowing that it will end. I will die, all this, all this beauty and wonder and love and aliveness will be gone…. I know it. I know it, deep in my bones kind of knowing, feel it in my belly kind of knowing. Its not a theory or an inkling, or an idea. I am going to die one day. Wouldn’t it seem, that in knowing this I would stay present to the magic that is my life? That I would each moment of each day be singing praise for all that has been given by this great blue planet and my ancestors that dreamed me into being here? If I am going to die, why in Gods name would I ever watch  a TV show?!

But I do, in fact Outlanders upcoming new season is being eagerly anticipated by me right now. I can’t wait for more Jamie Frazier in my life, or on my screen anyway.
So what gives with this dichotomy? Am I missing something, does my lack of vigilance with how I use my time mean that I am less than stunned by the beauty of this human beingness? I am not sure. I seem today to only have many, many questions. Perhaps there are more question marks in this post than any prior one I have written. I say perhaps because I have not counted and I will not, I have more important things to do! Like sit and type and wonder at the apparent insanity of my own existence.

I just don’t want to miss a thing. When I get to the end of this run, this life of mine, I want to leave knowing I drank every drop. Be it next year or 70 years from now, I want to leave this earth exhausted by the beauty of it all. So I wrestle with myself, with my choices, my done and undone deeds. I suppose it is human to do so, to take a tally every now and then. Thing is, I don’t think there is a score per say, only a knowing, a felt sense of purpose, fulfillment or lack there of, connection or disassociation. All in all I think I am pretty damn present to my life. And yet, there is learning to happen there as well.

As I go to sleep each night, I do take time to reflect on the beauty of my days and ways. As I rise I rejoice to feel breath moving in my body once again. I bless my food and know that it is not a given to be well fed and housed. I know I am here by the grace of those who came before me, my kin, human, animal, plant, stone…. the truth is, if I was truly present each moment to the majesty this all is, I would be weeping on the ground. It is to beautiful to ever fully grasp it. This life. To precious for words.

May I wake up tomorrow, another day to learn and love, and maybe even watch a little Outlander.  May you wake up as well. And if the Gods are willing, someday perhaps our paths will cross, and we can speak of such things as life and death, beauty and sorrow, the meaning of it all, the majesty of this life. Until then, may you be known by your old ones, and may you in turn teach your young ones well.

Marianna

 

In Defense of a Simple Life

I can’t sleep. Up too late with thoughts running circles round my mind. It seems that life is moving faster all the time, each year, no, each month, swifter than the last. I can’t catch up. Here, in this culture where woman wear busyness like a badge of honor, I just want it all to slow down.

I an eternal optimist, I can’t help it, I try to be surly at times but to no avail. I always optimistically believe, despite evidence to the contrary, that I will have more “free” time, sometime in the near future…but sometime is never here. It looms, ever in the future, just out of reach, I could almost touch it if I just reach a little bit farther.

The ideal of the woman who can do everything is a crock of shit. I know this,I feel it in my bones. I know how marketing works, how swindled we all are. If it isn’t a fashion mag we are comparing ourselves with, its that perfect remodel on HGTV. There is no end to the cascade of false ideals dumped on our doorsteps each day. How can we know what is real amidst this storm of consumerist coercion? It insidiously creeps into our minds, thoughts we thought were our own, when opened for examination have no origin in us. This is madness. This drives us to madness.

I myself, am in a daily struggle. The desire to “produce” more, be it income, social capital, or even beauty. Weighed against the truth that I am tired, and I don’t want to play the game anymore.  I cannot hold it all up, and hold it to the standard that I desire to. Things begin to crumble. I cannot be it all, I cannot do it all. I feel this, and I am in a two income family with one grown child. What must this feel like for my friends with little ones at home and bills piling up on bills? Is this the equality we have been fighting for? Somehow it feels like we have missed the mark. “killin it” seems to be killing us.
And yes, of course this is a grand generalization, and I can only speak from my point of view. Still, I see so many women suffering under the delusion that we can multi-task our way to a picture perfect life, that it is time to pull back the curtain on that lie, expose it’s ugly underbelly and begin to engage in some real revolutionary work.

Could it be that in my relentless pursuit of becoming, I have lost myself? Lost the thread I am meant to hold throughout my life, the thread that William Stafford calls to us to cling tightly to? If this is what matters, and I think it does, what has to be sacrificed? What must I lay down in order to have a hand to hold the thread in?

There is this thing, called “too much” that surrounds us. We are so inundated by the cultural messages of acquisition that we fail to see how deep this patterning is. Peers of mine who eschew the commercialized ideals of the “American Dream” (who knows what that even means anymore) still ascribe to the doctrine of acquisition and hope, through a Hodge podge of progressive spiritual ideals that are in fact selling us the same thing. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. I am not above this, how many weekend courses have I taken trying to become a better version of me? How many crystals and smudges do I have right now in this very room where I write? Spiritual capitalism at its finest.

It seems that the only way to get off this mad train is to turn and face it looming behind me. To stand firmly in my two shoes and say “no more!” I am unwilling to trade growth for depth any longer. I am unwilling to sacrifice the sanctity of my life to meet some ideal that is not even my own. I will no longer be 3 miles wide and 2 inches deep, I want to be a  well, a spring,  dig deep and find sweet water, here.

I am learning to identify barriers to connection in my life, competition is one, perfectionism is right up there as well. What can I reclaim, or claim for the first time to bring sanity back into my life? I’ve been thinking on this and simple as it sounds, and not surprisingly, I think it has something to do with vulnerability and acceptance. If I can learn to see all the ways I am striving towards unreal expectations or doctrines, than maybe I can turn myself around. Connection is the antidote to bullshit, in fact,  I am pretty sure it is the antidote to all the woes of western civilization.

When I allow myself to be vulnerable, to show my multi layered imperfection, I am open to connection. I can have friends at my house that is messy, I can eat with joy and abandon without concern for what others think of my size or shape, I can speak my mind and heart, not tip toe around others. Which in this PC world feels like it is more an more necessary. Truly, it is not. Disagreeing with someone does not mean you don’t love them. In fact, differing opinions are a healthy thing, if we are all the same it is pretty boring out there.

So I am learning to be uncomfortable, to listen when the feelings of ” I need to be….” arise. It takes so many forms, there are so many things and ways I have been taught I need to be to, to  be worthy, to be accepted. It is a lie. I am, and will be, a whole healthy human woman, even if I don’t meet the standards, even if I look a little frazzled at the edges. I am taking a stand. Because you know what? No one else is going to do it for me. I am going deep, holy well deep. I plant my feet on this soil I call home and I will stay here. I will joyfully  grow my food, raise my hens, sleep beside my husband. I will listen to the quite yearning of my own sweet heart, and stay, home. I will, day by day divorce myself from the system that says I must be more. I am enough. I am woman,  I am home, and I am grateful.

Marianna Louise Jones

*image is of St Fumac’s holy well, Canmore Scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Message From my Heart

I found this poem in a file, saved from years ago. I had forgotten this one, and as I read it so much flooded back to me form this time in my life. Writing is like that, a secret window to a time before. I am glad to have discovered again this sweet, small poem to share now with you.

 

I was walking today
and I saw in a window
a reflection of my physical self.
I said ” hello, you!”
that house so well my own
true love, my spirit, my heart.
My body staring back at me
with equal wonder in her eyes,
reflected the reverence of my soul.
I look so like a mountain, my head
held high, my shoulder strong,
my solid body filled with a thousand rivers of blood.
Of sacred Earth my heart was formed,
to sacred Earth I will return
a mountainside I will become
my heart returning to its home.

© Marianna 2011