It is very early in the morning and the blue light is sprinkling her magical dust through the opening in the red and gold curtain. I have lit my candles and turned on my heater and curled up under my favorite faux fur blankie in my pajamas because I get to write to you this morning. The snoring kitty is laying one couch over and the streets are quiet. Before the world wakes up in your own neighborhood, is a good time to write letters.
I get to enter a conversation in some cosmic way, with you. If you were here I would want to know, how you are feeling about the world right now. How your plans are working out. How our economy and it’s blessings and challenges are changing how you live. I would ask you about your loved ones. Who is happy and who is not doing so good. I would want to know, most of all, about your heart. And what you are doing to nurture it.
Matters of the heart reside in a holy place in which we learn about two of the most important things. Well, ok, three of the most important things.
This month, I have been experiencing Lent. And one of the most significant things that has happened is my consideration, and deepening into love and how it lives in us. I have been amazed at the concept and experience of how much more love was available to me at any given moment, but that I had to BE the shape upon which that love could light. I had to BE the place where it could come to rest and do it’s work in me like cool waves of grace pouring over places hot with neglect and despair.
Thoughts like this one began to pop up:
It is by focusing on the openings, instead of the obstacles,
And this one:
The presence of tragedy and bliss are like two old friends sitting side by side at the local café having a conversation about how to work together. How to improve systems. Decrease our Footprint. Improve our Possibility. These friends have worked together since time started moving her long body across the landscape of humanity. Bliss and Tragedy make their mark along her body like a series of tattoos, punctuating her existence with both the beauty and the pain which literally takes our breath away.
And the writing #99 Deep* (featured in part of the left) poured out after reading a wonderful new book, given to me by one of my most faithful collectors. The book is called, This Flowing Toward Me by Marilyn Lacey, a nun who works with refugees. In it she says things like:
In this life
I don’t know what else to do
and I don’t know what is true
but when I do good
I feel God.
I am here, to do good,
As far as writing goes, I had planned to write every day during Lent – but I did not meet that plan, and you can read about it in my blogpost about Oxtail Stew* on the first day of lent. I could try to write even more about my Lenten journey – but this quote by Leonard Cohen pretty much sums it up.
“Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir,
So dear ones. It is time to do some writing and some loving. When we write, we reflect. We pull upon that which is hidden within, that we do not always have access to when thinking, or when talking. Writing creates a red thread of connectivity between our inner world and our “right now world.” When you sit down to write imagine a red thread of connection between your pen/keyboard, and a rich luscious deep interior world where your own personal infinite wisdom dwells. Then write.
I want to close with a writing that has recently come to my attention, which is the earliest known written prayer to the Virgin Mary from 250 ad. And with this prayer, I send you my own prayers – and wishes for wellness to be in your body, love to be in your heart and creativity to be in your spirit.
Let’s just start with saying, that I have never been so happy to see Spring in my life. But my husband says that I say that every year. New energy is being freed up, and the blooming trees along my street are like snapshots of heaven.
I cannot even believe how many wonderful women and girls I have been meeting and painting with! And chanting with! And writing poetry and eating cake with! And having conversations about what is going on in the world and what WE can do about it!
My Higher Nun showed up and gave me a big giant heavenly permission/command slip, made of cloud particle, stardust sparkles and copy paper, and it said:
Do good better.
A video is in process, but for now, click here to see some of the photos
Well, I have finally launched my blog, and it is IN PROCESS to be sure, but at long last it is up. I resisted up to the last particle of my being, then I JUMPED IN! WHOOSH and now there is a space for my, what Ani DiFranco calls “urgent napkin poems”, only now, mine are digital and I have entered the cyber journal world with millions of others finding their voice. At least, we are rasing up a generation of writers!
In fact, so many of your wrote last time when we announced the Leading A Legendary Life Mentorship asking for an on-line or long distance course – well –
when you first brought it up I said – NO WAY. But as the requests continued to come in from everywhere but the Bay Area, I allowed myself to consider what it would look like. Then suddenly, through meditation and writing, it came to me, how I could do it and give the value through conversations, partnering, some video, a network, conference calls and more, oh my! It starts in May and we are now taking registrations from all over the world! Leading A Legendary Life On-Line! We sold out immediately for the first mentorship, so we have added the next one starting in July. (FYI – the registration part of the calendar is not fully complete yet, but you can put a deposit on anything to hold your spot or just e-mail Mary at email@example.com
Since the mentorship began, I have had the pleasure of working with TEN Legendary women who showed up for the six month journey and I am completely blessed and amazed by what is happening in their lives, and in my own life. Each woman is creating a 3X4 painting of her legendary self, the sheroe of her saga. Then, she is writing the saga as well, a Novella to be exact, which chronicles the fictional and factual tale of her legendary self. In addition to that we have creative practices, themes for each day, and an on-line social networking platform for our daily((ha!) blog practice and to work with one another on the development of our character. The vision of discovering our legendary selves and giving voice to them, unleashes within us what Clarissa Pinkola Estes brought to light in our world, the Wild Woman:
Painting and writing go deep when we do it as a real consistent practice. And this course is making me do it too. We have SO MUCH within us that is just not given to ARENA in which to COME to light. Our symbols, and songs, our totems and tomes, or ideas and illusions, our very possibilities.
I sought a theme and sought for it in vain,
I sought it daily for six weeks or so.
Maybe at last, being but a broken man,
I must be satisfied with my heart, although
Winter and summer till old age began
My circus animals were all on show,
Those stilted boys, that burnished chariot,
Lion and woman and the Lord knows what.
And the famous last lines:
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.
Anyhow, if you have not read it in it’s entirety* – please do so and consider your own circus animals. My mother once led a workshop for our family called the Essential Elijah and she brought this poem to our work, asking us to consider our own circus animals and what they might be… our own themes sought in vain. It has stuck with me for over 11 years even though it was a small part of the workshop, we never do know what it is that will spark us – so what are your circus animals?
My Mentor, Sue Hoya
This weekend I am excited to once again be teaching The Awakened Heart with my own Mentor, Sue Hoya Sellars. We are such a great team because we often share the opposite technique or teaching, but in the end, it creates the fullest writings and paintings because our approach seems to cover so many angles! The Awakened Heart is one of my most favorite classes because the theme is so central to my work: painting as sacred practice. Women leave the workshop with a painting, and a practice that contributes powerfully to who they are and adds to their own practice to bring the kind of fullness creativity empowers in our lives.
Speaking of Sue Hoya Sellars, I have exciting news which I will tell you more about in the next newsletter, but we are finally launching our Mountain Mama Retreats up in Anderson Valley. Some of the time will be with me, and some with Sue. Painting, Drawing, Visionary Thinking – combined with working on the land and walking in the woods. This experience is one only many women over the years have been able to enjoy – as this has been women’s land for over twenty years. But now we are opening it up in a new way – with only four women at a time. Did I mention we get to learn how to use a chainsaw? We will also be planting a garden together.
If you have not had the pleasure of working with this masterful artist, you are in for a treat. Sue, who is at the Wisdom House Gallery on Monday and Tuesday is one of the most amazing women you will ever meet. Her paintings, like the one above called Peace on Earth Good Will Toward life are absolutely enlightening!
And, it is because of her that I am a painter. She made me. Join us, so we can make you do art too! (just kidding, but we do make it easier!)
I wish I could have a cup of tea with you right now, so we could figure out together, what is next. What we should do. What we can do. I would like to read what you have written and to hear where you are going to create next. I would like to encourage you right now, if you are on the edge, don’t give up and don’t give in.
Fly if you can. And if you cannot, sit back and tend your wings a while so thy can become stronger. Peace will come again, and indeed is coming all the time. There is a time for our anger, and a time for us to sit quietly. There is a time to set boundaries and a time to open our wings. I send you courage, and love for your journey, and wings of strength…