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Myself & My Self

For the past year I’ve been gone on a journey. This has taken me far away, far from myself. I nearly lost all contact with my spirit. But if I thought the journey was harsh, the return is even harsher yet. Although I see more clearly how much grief I cause myself by getting in my own way, I’m not sure I’m ready to rise to the next step. This transition is difficult, it feels like settling into new skin. In coming back into myself, I’m also breathing new life into my business, revamping the work I’ve conducted for years now as a licensed massage therapist. With that, I am having to reinvent the professional image which I present. In asking the simple question “what can I do to be of service to others/how can I help?” I find myself revealing more honestly who I truly am for all to see. This is a very vulnerable position. I am having to be more honest with myself about myself…For Everyone To See. For instance, I’m sitting down to write a resume, reflecting back on all the work which I’ve been trained to do, the things I’m experienced in, and the services I’ve provided in trying to heal and help others. But then I stop to reread what I’ve written and I’m horrified by what I see.

All the lies I was told as a child come to the forefront of my inner dialogue. “Who do you think you’re kidding? You can’t do all that. You’re the biggest liar.”

And I panic. I’m scared. I don’t want to put myself out there. I’m uneasy about presenting myself as an energy- and spirit-worker. I’m nervous what will happen when people start to expect it of me. Will I be able to deliver?

Then a quiet voice from the deep ripples over me: But you have done it before. You know how. And when the time is right you will know instinctively what to do.

I’m shaking inside. This new phase is all about giving away; my time, my spirit, even my artwork which is a hard thing to part with when it’s very much a piece of me. But I have to be brave, I have to be unattached. Being in service to others, making myself available to help in every single way that I can with a heart for the community, is fulfilling my purpose and strengthening my medicine. (Oh, Turkey medicine, what a curse.) This revelation and transformation has given birth to spirit-hands.com

And really, anyone who has taken a plunge, gone out on a limb, started a new business, or put themselves out there has faced these feelings and survived… At least, I hope they have.

Hummingbird

image

8 3/4″ x 6″ shimmering watercolor and graphite

Sister Hummingbird, who travels through this world from one beautiful flower to another, you know only love and joy.

Teach us to move gracefully in all directions, inspire us to find the beauty that is everywhere and to taste the sweetness that is all life.

Divine Mother

It was a laid back kind of weekend, nothing was really happening around town, and I suppose Red wasn’t looking to go back home just yet so the car kind of moseyed itself into the parking lot of the little second hand shop around the corner from where I work. I think he regretted this idea later when he saw how many coffee mugs I fell in love with (the saleslady had to fetch me a basket). Passing by the jewelry counter, I noticed a round basket containing an ugly tangle of rosary beads, all kinds. White ones, plastic ones, homemade ones, glow-in-the-dark ones.  Even though I’ve never been of the Church, I thought, “How disrespectful! To discard sacred tools in such a thoughtless heap!” and set myself to the task of undoing the spaghetti mess, setting each string of prayer beads in their own neat pile, when out of the bundle tumbled this odd piece. It was dingy with aimagege, a thick 24″ chain that felt peculiar in my fingers and a solid, weighty pendant of 1½” with a comforting presence about it in my palm. If you’re familiar with older posts, then you have some idea how I’m drawn to the iconography of Mother Mary. I told Red, “I’m trying not to be attracted to his one,” but I couldn’t just leave it there. It was calling to me. I warred with myself whether or not to get it; I figured it’s just going to end up cluttering my jewelry box amongst all the other fascinating pieces I simply never wear…but for two dollars, I’d rather regret buying it than regret leaving it behind. This necklace had a strange allure about it. I didn’t want the clerk to take it away from me to bag it. Not yet out the door, I couldn’t pull it out and rip off the tag fast enough. I thought, “I really should smudge it first, who knows what kind of energy could be attached to it,” as I eagerly pulled it on around my neck in spite of the chunky turquoise piece I had earlier chosen to wear for the day. All that night, my fingers invariably found their way to it, needing to be reassured it was really, truly there and I tried to be discreet when gazing at it, mesmerized by its aura. I was overwhelmed by this intense sense of certainty that through the pendant some consciousness was there, aware of me, loving me and confirming that I was headed in the right direction. Even my grandmother commented, “It makes you wonder where it came from.”

Then I made the mistake of polishing it up, rinsing it off. As soon as it passed through the stream of the faucet, I felt it as distinctly as if someone had flipped a switch; the deep, solid connection was gone.  All that energy, that certainty, that very strong female presence, gone. It’s still a gorgeous piece. It’s still weighty and reassuring, and I love keeping it near me. Even as I sleep at night it is on the nightstand beside me. But the magical spirit is a ghost of what it was, diminished in strength, reduced now to a faint memory. I suppose it’s up to me to give it a new memory now.

My Beginning in Clay

wpid-queenwitchpicsay

11 ½” x 3” mixed media figure

Sculpey oven-bake clay, glass tile mosaic, leather, and costume jewelry combine to depict a romanticized image of the classic American witch in ceremonial garb with sacred tools. I didn’t allow myself to be the perfectionist here, I let the art remain a little raw and rugged in hopes of attaining a rough-hewn, primitive look. Working in clay, even this synthetic polymer substance, is such a grounding and sensual process that I can’t help but feel there’s something God-like about artistry, reaching into the void with our hands to give shape and life to what was once only emotion and vision, ourselves becoming A Creator.

By Jenna McCarthy

When I encountered this book title, my little hand instinctively made a bee-line for the 1-Click checkout button, no questions asked. Call it woman’s intuition.

Little girls dream of someday being a bride, standing hand in hand with their dashing prince charming. And grown women absorb bridal media (whether shamelessly or covertly) and contemplate their own dream ring and wedding day details. The act of getting hitched is a rite of passage heralded in our Western culture as the ultimate must-do if one is to be taken seriously as an accomplished adult and decent human being. We’re coerced into taking the plunge from our parents, enticed by government benefits, and bribed by insurance policies. But what happens after the wedding? Most girls assume it’s an automatic Happily-Ever-After, case closed. If It Was Easy, They’d Call The Whole Damn Thing A Honeymoon is how Jenna McCarthy goes about peeing all over that nonsense. In a relationship/marriage/self help genre largely dominated by Christian counselors, the ever-cynical, sarcastic and secular McCarthy assumes the stance that two completely individual adults sharing the same space for the rest of their lives in a state of sexual monogamy must be a trending social anomaly as it betrays nature. Arising from this imposition is a cruel laundry list of universal clashes between the sexes, issues which she has granted chapter titles such as “Can We Talk? Obviously Not,” “Gee, Honey. Are You Sick? I Never Would Have Guessed,” and one of my favorites, “It’s The Thought That Counts (But Thanks For The Blender).”

 

To support the case McCarthy’s making, she calls into evidence the testimonies of more victims, other women equally disenchanted by the strange-ass-shit their own men do. At some of these confessions I was chuckling for I am all too familiar with them myself, others had me rolling my eyes at the women for being so petty, and then there would be one now and then that made my jaw drop in horror—habits so downright bizarre and unimaginable that no woman should ever be subjected to it and some mother somewhere should be slapped. And though I couldn’t particularly relate to universal concerns like wrestling over the television remote and the hot mess that is marital “date night,” reading other people’s complaints had me analyzing my own relationship and such is the aim of this book: for those of us who have yet to marry, do you really know what you’re in for? And for those of us who are already married, you are not alone in your pain. But McCarthy also challenges the axiom that perhaps the grass is not always greener on the other side and invites readers to contemplate if we could trade in that one thing that drives us nuts about our man in exchange for another, would we? Most likely not, provided our options here. In fact, if you’re anything like me, this book will have you counting your blessings. So much of this stuff, my guy does not do. And so much of this stuff, I do not care enough to even consider complaining about. Worse yet, I felt sorry for my guy because I came to realize how much he’s got to put up with about me! It made for a very interesting read.

 

Whether or not you agree with the book, relate to any single point, or just end up donating your copy to someone else’s yard sale, you’ve got to at least giggle once or twice at McCarthy’s sense of storytelling. Now, I’m a picky bitch and the first to call fraud when a book is pitched as laugh-out-loud-funny and it’s in fact not, so I’m proud to say this one did me in. As an astute writer and a natural comedian, McCarthy goes on these ridiculous tirades about personal exchanges between she and her husband, or her own theoretical explanations to illustrate why women and men are genetically dissimilar, making me laugh, snort, and interrupt whatever it was my guy was doing so I could reread it aloud to him. Needless to say, I found myself feeling a little sad as I ran out of pages to read, wanting more of McCarthy’s quirky, cynical wit.

 

And for the record, in spite of her listing off every point of contention that has ever arisen between she and her husband over a 13 year span, including flinging profanities, roadside abandonment, and the occasional flying cup, McCarthy’s relationship does not come across as toxic or dysfunctional. Despite the book’s presentation, it’s not all bleak. In fact, the only person McCarthy comes down on harder than her husband would be herself. The matrimonial monster spares no one as she razzes herself plenty (albeit tongue in cheek condemnation) when it comes to shopping, toileting, and gift-giving. In the times that Jenna is at her worst, her husband shines his best and she manages to sneak in a few mushy-gushy awww moments for us to see what a marriage really looks like; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

If It Was Easy… is a darkly comical review of human relations that hits the domestic nail right on the head, which is somehow still endearing when we find someone we can love in spite of these peculiarities and perceived flaws. Marriage is a matter of push and pull which we subject ourselves to for the sake of para-bonding; McCarthy doesn’t make an attempt to understand the phenomenon, but only to turn the spotlight away from the glamorized wedding bells to the cold, steely death knell of the very serious—and very seriously underrated—commitment that is legally binding, sexually frustrating, self-contradicting, morally fraught marriage… and she does so laughingly, because that’s the only way we’re going to get through it.

 

The Worst Fight

Slowly she put down her fork, stared at her plate for a moment and the food that was on it: Would you just say something for crying out loud? Talk to me. Tell me something, anything. I don’t know how to help if you don’t tell me what you need.

He was pushing his own food about, studying the composition, the colors, the ratio. And he took his time on each bite, chewing harder than necessary, concentrating. The muscles in his jaw flexing: You’re smothering me… I hate the way you tiptoe around, watching me, waiting. Even when you don’t speak, you’re still nagging me with your eyes and I can’t stand it. I can’t stand you. Just leave me alone. Give me some space already.

She took a shy drink from her glass, looked down at her lap: This is so typical of you. Things get a little hard and you shut down on me completely. Some partnership this is. Maybe my mother was right about you.

Without realizing it he was haunched forward, arms around his place setting like a barricade, elbows rigid, gripping the fork in his fist like a tritan: All you do is flip out over the tiniest shit. The whole world won’t collapse if you chill for one fucking minute. But that’s how you are; on top of everything, always, smothering it. You used to be fun. You used to love me. Now you’re just a nagging bitch. And nothing I do is ever right.

She had sat back in her chair, distancing herself from the table: I have to do all the work around here, don’t I? You never do anything. Just look at this God damn meal! Why should I try? So you can sit around and stare at a screen all night ignoring everything else? I have a job, too, and when I come home I still have to bust my ass. It’s never-ending. This place wouldn’t function if it weren’t for me while you can’t even get dirty socks into the freaking hamper! And how about that pile of shit you were going to fix? Just throw our relationship right on top of it. A pile of broken shit, that’s what we are. You can’t even talk to me like a normal human being. We’re dying here and you don’t even care.

He began collecting his dishes, headed for the kitchen: All I need is to be able to breathe—for one fucking minute, please. I can’t even breathe at home. It’s my house, I’m paying the mortgage, and I can’t even relax in it. …I’m fucking suffocating and you’re no help.

Left behind in his place were crumbs; with her hands she swept them up and dropped them on her plate. She listened to the swishing of his coat as he gathered it from off the rack, the scraping of his keys being scooped up from the marble bowl, his footsteps on his way to the door.

“See you after work.”

“Bye.”

Our 2013 Yule

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