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Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Do I want you to become a vehicle for my grief? Some days, yes. Like Fridays, the day of the week my mother died. Seven weeks today. I was reading an article on the Sabbath that Oliver Sacks wrote shortly before he died, and besides the fact that I agree with him about keeping a Sabbath, I also thought of how much my mother would like the idea that she died on a Friday, the eve of the Jewish Sabbath. Blog, we both know how much Rhoda loved all things Jewish and Judaica. We even talked about how possibly her Davis grandfather, Frank, may actually have been a Davidovich at one time. But I’m straying off-topic.

The point here is I don’t always know what to write in you, so many times I just don’t. Then I remember I have dozens of sketchbook journals I could cull through to share bits and pieces of here, which I may consider eventually, although I do like something fresh.

Oh sure, when I’m driving or walking or listening to music and my imaginary conversations with myself start, the ideas flow, the words spill all over, but I usually have no way of transcribing until I get home, and you know how that goes. By then, I’ve moved on to something else and the solitary act of writing is neglected. It’s hard to write, and I don’t want to turn into a blogger who believes her mission is to teach others or enlighten them or constantly be a source of wisdom. I just want to share a few words now and then so that someday, somewhere little bits of my life and the lives of those who have touched mine will be noticed. And maybe remembered. Because none of us want to be forgotten.

The Year of the Blog

I came here today to write that I finished the website for the retreat, adding Mia Adams and two more classes for a total of 8 to choose from. It’s a great group of teachers — all unique but also synchronized to a similar vibration.

I am finding that the more I stay open and pay attention to what I encounter along my path, the more synchronicity I find. Synchronicity — Love that word. Thank you Dr. Helen Languth (referred to in this post), and Dr. Carl Jung. Went to Lavender and Limes website today and read of her giveaway. I’d forgotten all about that, I just happen to like her blog, plus she’s only a hop, skip and a jump from where I live. I’d love to catch one of her classes at the Learning Connection this month, but evening classes don’t work well for me, especially if I have to travel far.

So where am I going with all of this? Oh yeah — synchronicity — for me it was Christine writing that this is the year of the blog for her, and setting a minimum of 50 comments to follow through with the giveaway — smart girl! Good for you! I’d love to do some sort of giveaway regarding the retreat, a 20% discount or some such thing, but it is wise to set parameters.

I have a blog goal this year too, pretty much in synch with Christine’s, when she says “…this is the year of the blog for me, I want to spread the word about Lavender and Limes, increase readership and participation, and continue to generate original content. I also want to hear from all of you who visit me but haven’t yet commented…take a minute, introduce yourself. I’m not too scary and I won’t bite, promise!” to which I say “ditto!”

When I was taking the Mondo Beyondo class back in October, I nearly fell off my chair when I checked my blog stats one morning and saw more than 10 visitors! Double digits! I’m laughing now as I write this because for a while there I was checking my stats daily, but I sort of got out of the habit, so now it’s only occasional. Would I like more blog visitors? Hell, yeah! Would I like more comments? Hell, yeah! (except for the rocks, that is.)

** the above photo is what blogs are sometimes about for me — the sharing and connection…Eileen’s one of my longtime friends, Corinne I’ve known since she was two. She’s on her way to Afghanistan via Indiana first, and Eileen’s heartbroken. Please send her some love and prayers.

Words


My brain is hemorrhaging words lately — I have books in progress (reading them, not writing them) all over the house and I’m also trying to keep up with some daily writing. Thankfully, I get a wee break today as Stephanie has graciously sent an incredible class description as well as her bio —

I met Stephanie through Pixie, whom I’ve followed and admired for some time now. Dreaming of Pixie teaching a class someday but thrilled to have Stephanie. She’s been encouraging me through my doubts as have the other teachers I have on the agenda and for this I am truly blessed. I believe 2010 is going to be a very good year.

And without further ado (I’m so written out lately, been writing all over and everywhere, time to get back to neglected reading), here’s the sensational Stephanie Anderson Ladd in her own words:

Meeting and Manifesting the Triple Goddess
, a 2-day workshop facilitated by Stephanie Ladd, artist, writer, therapist

Introduction:
The goddess is an eternal archetype in the human psyche. She has shown herself from the earliest days of civilization to modern times and appears in many guises — in nature, in movie stars and heroines we admire, and within ourselves as we learn to love the divine feminine that we each contain and reflect. The triple goddess can take many forms, such as the three virgin goddesses, Athena, Artemis and Persephone; or Hecate, the triple moon goddess whose three faces represents the new moon, the half moon and the full moon. But for the purposes of this workshop, we will explore the three life stages of the triple goddess represented by the maiden, mother and crone. It doesn’t matter which stage you are currently living in the outer world, we all have access to these three aspects and portals of inner vision at all times if we know how to call them forth. In this 2-part workshop, we will both meet and manifest the triple goddess within and honor at least one of these aspects by creating a 3-dimensional shrine and doll to take home.

Day 1 Meeting the Triple Goddess

In this 3-hour workshop, goddess participants will be taken on 3 guided journeys to meet the 3 aspects of the Triple goddess: Maiden, Mother and Crone. Each woman’s inner journey will provide them with a unique experience of their higher goddess Self in the three stages that we all have access to no matter what stage we’re at in life: the innocent, dreaming maiden; the active, nurturing mother; and the wise, experienced crone. Participants will journal and share their experiences and gifts they receive from the goddess within the circle. Before the end of the workshop, we will construct a shrine, gluing the parts provided so that they can dry overnight for the next day’s manifesting.

Day 2 Manifesting the Triple Goddess

In the 2nd 3-hour workshop, we will start with a nature walk and meditation in search of gifts from the goddess to include in our shrine and to use in creating a soul doll or effigy of one of the goddess aspects we wish to honor and work with. Then, goddess participants will play, decorating their shrine with paint, paper, fabric, collaged images and found objects and making a soul doll/goddess effigy to put in their shrine. We will then share our process and outcome with each other and close the circle with ceremony honoring the triple goddess within each of us.

About Stephanie Ladd: I love working and playing with the goddess within each of us, connecting with the divine feminine, and finding ways to manifest these qualities and share them with each other and the world. I am a licensed therapist who works with transpersonal psychology and creative ways of healing from the inside out, using archetypes, symbols, myth, writing and art to gain a deeper understanding of our soul and higher purpose. I have led many workshops and women’s groups and bring all of my experiences with Native American shamanism, Jungian psychology, and years of spiritual and psychological exploration to safely and gently guide women on their journey of self-discovery.

I love the photos I’ve chosen from her site, called Owl and Crow — both regal (or presidential I first thought, but I like the word regal better) and playful. Welcome Stephanie — we’re gonna rock the goddess kingdom!

This entry was posted on December 30, 2009, in words, writing.

A Story — Part 1


I used to love talking names with my pregnant aunts, then my pregnant self and friends and even business names with folks birthing a business. I once named a sewing shop for someone — I was just talking off the top of my head, but she liked the name enough to use it, so the Nimble Thimble opened in Newport, Vermont back in 1980. Still have a thimble and ruler with the name stamped on them.

Personally, I don’t like trite, or something that sounds too limiting. For example, even though I refer to my retreat as BEAR, for Bay End Art Retreat, I don’t necessarily want to call it that. My first two retreats will be at Bay End, but who knows? I love to travel and may want to create retreats in different venues. So no names that are venue specific. I’m not sure what it will be but something that is wordplay of a sort, branding — when someone types in BEAR, this retreat will hardly be at the top of the search engines. Now I bet if I googled Squam it would be right up there. Or Verizon, Comcast and so on. So as this dream unfolds, so too, will a name.

Now, go make a cup of tea and maybe grab a snack (I have some salty oatmeal cookies that I love), because I can have a knack for making a short story long. (I rarely write long blog posts because it’s hard for me to read other’s long blog posts — too much info on a screen rather than a page can overwhelm me sometimes).

I’m not sure I fantasized about creating women’s retreats when I lived in Vermont, but when I moved back to Cape Cod twelve years ago, I mourned my beloved Vermont (I still do). Was I crazy?? What was I thinking? I beat myself up for giving up not only an incredible house, but also a strong support network I’d built of friends and local community. There was always someone I could connect with in person, so important for me. I didn’t have to seek hard to find connection when I needed it. A few weeks ago I reread my pros and cons list I wrote when I struggled with the decision to stay in Vermont or leave, I didn’t have the distance from it that I do now — clear as day! — 2 negatives and 6 positives for Vermont, and 2 positives (one, a job that I left within a year after moving back), and 6 negatives for the cape — go figure.

I found a wonderful, very cool (and very old) psychiatrist to help me work through parenting struggles, guilt and grief. Her office was in her home down lanes that twist and turn. The bathroom wall was a mural of Lascaux. She turned me on to Jungian psychology, Carolyn Myss (and her book The Anatomy of Choice, to help me come to terms with my choice of leaving Vermont), synchronicity, the Celestine Prophecy and so on. Those books led me to others and I started dancing, too (one of my longtime friends at the library had told me about belly dancing). Katrina, my dance teacher turned me on to more books and resources — Goddesses in Everywoman, Women Who Run with the Wolves, and more. I was insatiable. I even went back to church for a while — at a church in Baltimore I heard a priest tell us for the first time about the divine feminine, who was there in the very beginning — Sophia — wisdom. I was thrilled to finally hear a priest speak of a feminine power beyond Mary.

Each step I took brought me deeper into a wonderful spirituality and connection I’ve found hard to maintain over the years, and yet that was what sustained me at that time, brought me joy, made me feel good, and gave me a great community to heal and grow with. The community changed over time, as communities do and with that change it became harder to sustain. I stopped dancing, but never stopped reading. I turned to blogs more and more and found another community, still not enough.

I think blogs are beautiful; they have been lifesavers for me in very lonely, dreary times, but I still long for conscious connection in real time, however I can get it. Finding kindred souls is not easy. Maintaining connection is not easy. It takes time, and many people are too busy with hand to mouth survival to take that time. It’s hard, but I do believe it’s something we all need — to take the time.

What I am learning is maybe I need to take the time to be the person to create the connection I seek. And so I begin. Again. More in tomorrow’s post.

** the above photo, taken almost 5 years ago, represents a piece of me that’s still in Vermont

Overwhelm, Fear and What Ifs


When my laptop crashed a few weeks ago, I’d been in a fairly regular blog writing groove, but am having trouble lately getting back into the swing of it. Sometimes the thoughts are flying by so fast, I just plain can’t catch ’em quick enough. Then there’s other days where it’s just a struggle — I’d rather tell than write. Maybe it’s the Irish in me and the long line of storytelling history that goes with my heritage. Whatever, here I am today trying to spit something out. Actually, I’ve been working a lot on the BEAR retreat planning — every week brings me a little closer to the pieces beginning to come together and fit well. I have almost all the teachers worked out and can’t wait to introduce them, I believe I’ve finally found a chef, and am hoping to start registration by the end of the month. I know, good timing, huh? What with the holidays and all? But still, just gotta go with it and put it out there. Sometimes I get a little fearful and overwhelmed and the doubts creep in — all the what ifs? One of my mother-in-law’s favorite sayings was “ifs don’t count.” I used to not get it and even begged to differ, but I don’t know, sometimes I think she had a point. She had so much wisdom.

** the photo is one of my beloved niece, Mairead when she was about 10 a few summers ago (modeling one of our crazy vintage hats from our site)…remember when you were 10 and the world was still your oyster?

How Things Are…or Not


“We do not see things how they are, we see things how we are.”
— paraphrased from many sources but the original source I saw was the Talmud so I’ll stick with that (plus it’s easier for me to remember).

As I work on my writing, good or bad, just getting it done (think Portfolio Project), what I write does not always reflect my true feelings. Sometimes what I write is more in the interest of the flow, and how the piece will read — will it be halting and stumble over just — the — right — words, or will it flow and move over the words lightly, not worrying too much. Will the easy words be the ones that cut those who read too deeply? I hope not — in the interests of the story, I tend to write lightly, very tongue-in-cheek, and pretty much how I talk (not always good — I am the queen of foot in mouth syndrome, still learning to think before I speak) . It’s kind of like sharing our parenting “horror” stories to lighten them up a bit (considering how scared or angry or embarrassed we were at the time), or our war between the sexes stories (Nick and Nora, Spencer and Hepburn, Ralph and Alice).

That’s where the Talmud quote comes in . I could tread very softly, and measure every word or I could recognize this kind of seeing in myself, accept it in others, and not take so much to heart.

** polaroid from my hotel at UMass in September

Canceled


I’d just finished writing a little thank you in my journal this morning — for my shift today. A few minutes later it was canceled. My patient died. Canceled. Needless to say I’m actually more bummed out at his loss than the loss of my shift. I was really hoping he’d rally — he was such a sweetie, an ex-Marine truck driving Korean war vet — the tattoo (smudgy dark green) always gives those vets away — a sign of seeing the South Pacific, let’s say.

So, what I’d planned on doing tomorrow I’m doing today. Haven’t written descriptions for Little Pink Dress in a long time, but if I want to get away from here this Halloween weekend I have to help my man out with his business. Gonna bite the bullet, be a trooper and write about vintage dresses.

Sophie, of the bodacious booty-luscious behind modeled for us Friday. She was great — totally down with it like I’ve never seen her before. For an actress she can be shy, but I think California’s opened her up in a good way. Now if I can ever learn photoshop beyond cropping and adjusting brightness levels, I’d love to use her pic to develop a logo for Brabarella.

This entry was posted on October 27, 2009, in work, writing.

A Georgia Peach

“Wouldn’t it be better for you to discover a meaning in what you write than to impose one?”

— Flannery O’Connor

This entry was posted on October 17, 2009, in writing.

On Vessels…

where my writing’s been all these years — buried in the works of others who spark my soul… and in my life’s journey, er, journals (yes, there too)…it’s time to let the words out and howl the eternal yes…i am a writer (with a capital “I”)….I am a writer! Yes!

…been catching up on Jen Lee’s archives (the creator) as well as Blue Poppy’s (the curator)…

(Andrea’s MB assignment for today was to say yes to something scary — my something scary is putting it out to you, World).

The Oldest

Jen Lee is an inspiration to me and turns out she is also the oldest of four (girls, too?). I love this video she did and Brene Brown shared on her blog. At squam, her spiral book spoke to me and more of her stories have snuck up on me. I’d like to take a class with her. I wish for a wild writing group in my neighborhood similar to Laurie Wagner’s or perhaps something with Jen Lee. My mondo beyondo starts today.

This entry was posted on October 5, 2009, in writing.