Wolf Moon

I haven’t had a deliberate moon practice in a bit, but the Wolf Moon of 2015 seems like a good starting point for me, particularly as it relates to protection of self, hearth, and family (my idea of it anyway). I have a huge gold glass ashtray from my mother’s smoking days and it’s perfect to burn my sage in, as well as slips of paper I’ve written on — guilt, judgment, fear, clutter and doubt. These are things I am looking forward to releasing in the coming year — a huge task for me, but if I were going to have Colleen do a phrase for me, it would be what I remind myself when faced with big ideas — “baby steps.” Mother, may I? And a resounding “yes” is what I hear.

New Cape/Old Cape

This is and isn’t the cape I left back in the 70’s. The pace is much faster, while the characters and drama in local politics remain static. Kind of like a remake of an old Hollywood movie, not necessarily any better than the original. Same roles, different names and faces.

It’s interesting how the vision and culture seem to mirror the topography. Thankfully we are surrounded by ocean, sky, and horizon…the broad expanse helps balance the narrow land. Nature imposes a balance on our culture and community one way or another.

The dominant culture here changed dramatically while I was in Vermont. Or perhaps, I had changed? most likely, a little of both. The cape felt more conservative and stifled to me. Gone were the hippies and bohemians of the past, replaced with retirees and nouveau riche. Or so it appeared to me on the surface. According to Ana, I needed to create what I most needed to find here, and she was right. Something I’d done unconsciously in Vermont for years and had to learn to do here. And in discovering that I could do it here, remembering that I’d actually been doing this all my life. I was a military kid used to bases and the unique bonds forged with other military families. We were gypsies, vagabonds and I learned early what Darshan was about even though I didn’t have a name for it then.

I rarely drink coffee, I like my tea just so, and you’d better be an exceptional baker if you’re selling because if I can do it better at home…then I will. I am not your typical consumer. It’s an experience I’m seeking, more than a commodity. And imperfection? I love to tolerate it if you have the Darshan I seek.

The cafe, the garden, the work of art, the library, the bike path, the market or shop? That’s just the vehicle to get me to the experience. It’s the people or the trees, the color, or the thrill of the discovery I encounter when I arrive that matters to me.
It’s what Rumer Godden in “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep” says is a Hindu belief that people will travel miles to see, touch, taste, sense, smell the presence or essence of a person, place or thing, with the belief that they will catch some of its spirit or soul to carry with them – this is what I seek in my journey. Darshan. Connection. The need to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When I walk to the Caribbean Market in my downtown neighborhood, I am not just going to buy the ginger tea that reminds me of a place in Amherst from my daughter’s college days. I am also going to hear the musical singsong of Patois speakers, to smell the sharp spices of Jamaican cooking, to pretend I’m in the South Carolina of my birth, to remember my own immigrant grandparents and how hard people work to make a new life for themselves, to create a new home. So, all this being said, I will share with you some of my favorite places on Cape Cod where I experience Darshan. This may include places that aren’t perfect but they always have good people, vision, and the feeling that that place is loved.

This is and isn’t about a place called Cape Cod, how it’s changing, how I’m changing…it’s about home…the home we make for ourselves wherever we are, because it’s about us and the people. It’s my guide to recognizing that home is right where I am.

Ground Hog Day

“Let’s get small.”
~Steve Martin

There’s a great movie Bill Murray did years ago called Ground Hog Day about a schmuck of a guy who has to relive the same day (Ground Hog Day) over and over until he learns to act decent. It’s kind of how this whole event organizing process has been. (Minus the schmuck learning to be considerate).

And I think after going round and round over different details, I may finally have it right. Still working out some of the changes, but some changes mean I’m paying attention to Steve’s suggestion: Let’s get small. So I’m working on some reductions — in the fee, the number of participants, and possibly the number of classes. Reducing the number of participants means beds are all SINGLES. That’s right, no shared beds.

I mentioned early on that it may turn in to more of a love bomb event — stay tuned, more news in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I’m loving revisiting the SNL gang.

Who are you?

In my journal yesterday, I created a persona for a blogger I’ve become friendly with and it reminded me of Mia’s and Stephanie’s workshops. And got me thinking about my own goddess self and who she is. As I watch 1930’s movies, read female writers of that era, and reflect on my grandmothers (one born in 1899, Gardiner, Maine; the other born in Doon, County Limerick in 1905), my goddess persona is beginning to reveal herself to me. But I’m not ready to share her yet. So I’ll share this other femme fatale —

Booknut007 is her handle. Definitely “Film Noir”, trench coat, Chanel Red Lipstick, and truly espionage worthy. Complete with fedora (and an engrossing paperback stuffed in her pocket). She has one of those mini-cameras I always wanted as a child. Slim as a lipstick tube. Hey wait a minute! It is her lipstick tube.

She drinks a lot of coffee, but is particular about her joe — it’s gotta the original (like her) that got the trend started in the first place — Dunkin’ Donuts. None of the fafa stuff for her. Good thing, because her contact is also a DD fan and what better place for clandestine meetings — easier to blend into a mob scene and it’s a rare Dunkin’ Donuts that isn’t a mob scene.

Her handle is scrawled across her lower back in a sensual script from bygone letter writing days circa 1922. Her only tattoo. One is enough and it says it all. Booknut007. Watch out!

Me? I can’t drink coffee so I’m envious of that Booknut chick. Oh yeah, I can drink decaf, but gee whiz — decaf is my Shirley Temple to her Jack Daniels. No, I drink tea. Chai to be exact. Think Rumer Godden, Passage to India, saffron, Kipling, elephants and monsoons. Mystery, magic, life and joy living out loud even in the face of despair.

The tattoo? Don’t got one. Still haven’t figured out where I can hide it from Marty (he abhors tattoos). So I have the pierced nose. And I dig Mehndi in a big way. More India. But that’s all I got for now — what you got??

** photo attributed to this awesome site — it would be the UK natch!

The Ruby Slippers

“Our soul is about the process while our ego is about the product.”
~Julia Cameron

Laura’s reference to Julia’s quote synchronized with what I had read in Petra’s post about process and product the other day. In the midst of writing and rewriting a comment to her post, I checked my email to discover an email from Christine Rathbun, a spoken word performer who was unavailable to teach at Bear because she has another performance debuting that weekend.

Turns out we have a mutual friend, Diane Hanna, who is teaching at the retreat. And Christine was inviting me to join her in February at O’Shea’s open mic to present my work. Which brought me back to Petra’s post about her first photography show. Because this would be my first performance sharing my writing through storytelling, a path the sweetest Jen Lee inspired me to follow. (Incidently, Jen is hosting another retreat in April with this teacher, someone I hope will teach at the November retreat, along with Christine, Antje and a couple of others).

Petra mentioned how much she loves the actual doing of her art, rather than the results of her effort, something I can totally relate to. I love process, pulling things together, all my varied interests — people, food, places — but once I get them all together I’m at a loss as to where to go from there. Because, like her I’ve had my fun, and I get bored doing the same thing repeatedly. Which is why the retreat’s a little different for me. Each time can bring together different people, different processes, different ways of being in the world and so on.

I like that process is so important because it’s my favorite part. But once I reach my goal, I’m usually ready to try something else. I get bored easily, I like constant change, movement. But I haven’t reached my goal with this yet. Or have I? I’ve said from the very beginning of this process that I wasn’t sure where it would all lead or what I would learn from it or even if the ultimate product was an actual retreat or if it would morph into something else. I started out creating this retreat simply because creating something like this is play for me. I have a ball doing it — connecting with people, traveling, checking out chefs and menus, meeting new people, and doing the proverbial pig in sh*t dance I do whenever I get near anything to do with expressive arts, the soul, tools for gaining deeper self-knowledge, the collective psyche and just plain hanging out with kindred spirits. I like the many twists and turns a path can take.

Unexpected adventures arise. And reading the Julia quote and Petra’s post reminded me that this is why I am one of those people who hasn’t yet figured out what to be when she grows up, what to do with her life, what her calling is. I have so much fun with the process, I forget about the original product. And I’ve been realizing, what if the retreat doesn’t end up being the product after all? What if most of it’s about journey, in my case, my journey home? To myself. Who knows?

I do know that while originally I wanted to offer a retreat scholarship, I realized it would be more fun to do pledges to favorite causes. It’s a way of nurturing the social justice activist in me. Like Petra wrote about her photography show, she doesn’t really like framing her work or promoting it. Ditto — me neither. But what is fun for me and is something else I’ve always wanted to do (besides creating retreats and other ways for women to gather) is to play philanthropist. So, I’ve mentioned the Uniform Project before and I’m going to mention it again. Books, schools, kids, India, I love it all. My goal now is 20 retreat registrations by the 2oth of February, the deadline I’ve set for making a go of this retreat project. If I meet that goal, I have told Jessica at the Uniform Project that I will write a check for $600 (the cost of attending the retreat) to the project. And then I can look forward to moving ahead with the November retreat and another cause.

My Goddess

i used to dance
a long time ago
egyptian ballet african hip hop cuban butoh roth 5rhythms dancemeditation

anything to move my body
shake out my sorrows
jazz out my joys
share my sisterhood

awakening the goddess was what got me going
and my goddess awoke
she rose like the phoenix

but she’s been gone awhile
i don’t know what’s happened to her lately
she returned to ashes

but it’s time
for her to rise again

Natural Love

It’s very hard for me to pick just one thing, but for bloggy giveaways from folks whose work I admire, I will always attempt a choice —

“tell me one non human thing in the natural world that you love the most and why” (from Resurrection Fern), so here goes:

Trees — because we burn them, chop them down and more yet they never give up…their roots are deep and they will push up new growth wherever they can, even through concrete…their tenacity inspires me when i feel discouraged…

Now go tell her yours here.