“We must refocus our collective memory. The necessity for this has never been greater as we discover that the path of ‘progress’ is extinguishing the very conditions for life on earth.”
― Marija Gimbutas
This is my work in progress right now, this morning I added the Carpathian mountains to the top as a sign of love and care for the land of my ancestors and those living there now.
Prayer is more than positive thinking.
More than a wish for something good to happen.
More than hoping something hard will come to an end.
Prayer is the active engagement of a human being
in relationship with the Divine unfolding.
In collaboration with all of creation.
Raising up your hands and face in prayer
I am a part of everything and I will do my best
to do my part
Knowing what and how to do one’s part
often begins in prayer.
Some of us pray in physical structures,
others in the tress or the sea,
some chant their prayers and others dance them.
My prayer is whispered into the fibers of creation.
Red Thread Letter #876
Big Love and Prayers for Ukrainian People and Land
Dear One Sarah,
I send you greetings from the redwood trees in Sonoma. I write to you with the heaviness of heart that comes when such harm is being committed. When hard things are happening in the world, people often write me to tell me to say or do something. I often feel so devastated that I wonder what I could possibly do that would help anyone?
So I just begin to pray, follow my intuition, write and see what comes up. This is what is coming up personally regarding Ukraine. I am so very sad that we are still behaving in this way as humanity when we know how it all turns out. I lean in so that I can learn and love.
I usually begin by studying the tragedy at hand. Who is involved, who is hurting the most? Is there someone doing the hurting? Why are they doing that? What hurt have they experienced? What can I do? I also ask Jonathan and get a history lesson for context. This is a strange kind of devotion for me, not just reading headlines but doing things like looking at maps, overlaying maps, looking at art from the region, even playing music from both places. I read comments online, not from news sources, but from people who live there or near. I just rabbit hole and feel and learn and integrate to try and stay aware.
This is a strange prayer of discovery to get close to the hurt and not let myself be numbed by it or disregard it. Diving in. I know this isn’t for everyone. But for me, I want to lean towards the suffering, not away from it. But only when I am well enough. When I am not well enough, I don’t do it. But when I am, I go in deep. Many people say that nothing is personal. For me, it feels like everything is personal if you love with a big loving heart the way I do. I want to love with a big love, and I want us as a community to learn how to love big. To do the work, somatically, energetically, emotionally to live in the big love place.
This morning’s devotion, and that of the past few weeks, has been with Ukraine and the hearts of Russian families who do not wish for war. What I know is that many of the people I have heard of/from first or second hand, whether Russian or Ukrainian did not think THIS was going to happen. Even yesterday they did not think so. Jonathan did because he was a soldier and we were on edge all day and all week. My family in Ukraine has asked for prayers. Some are elders who are sick in the hospital. Others are right in the mix of it. They think this is madness. They are being brave. They are devastated. The patrilineal side of the family is from Ukraine at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains.
For some reason, I can’t help but think of horrible history playing itself out again and again. I can’t help but think of the Matrilineal culture, Cucutini Tripillia, from the area of the Ukraine, Moldovia, and Romania that was wiped out by force long ago. The middle phase of the culture c. 4000 to 3500 BC, built the largest settlements in Old Europe with thousands of structures and temples and inhabited up to 46,000 people. This culture honored life and they were incredible artists. So much to say. Can’t say it well enough. Old European culture is not like how we think of Europe today.
Today in my search, I found that some of my living family live within a short drive from some of the oldest megasite temples of the Cucutini Tripilia era. I have no idea if we were those who conquested, or those who were conquested. Either way, I am feeling these ancient rumbles in my heart and belly. My connection to the culture of my ancestors in these areas has been immense all of my life through my Grandmother Helen. Jonathan and I were even married in the church of my ancestors. Even though much of what they believe isn’t a part of my practice at this point in the cycle of the great unfolding. I have never met my family living there, but still, the big love place has me feel love for them and what they are going through.
Sometimes during my devotional discovery, I build an altar and make some art. I usually include it in whatever painting I am working on, in some way. Today I will be including Ukraine and the Russian people who are against this force in my painting. You too can enter the big love place by including these kinds of tragedies on your altar and in your paintings. I invite you too – and share with us. If you have a visual prayer, post it so people can see and feel this care coming from all over the world. The red thread cafe classroom and imusea app are our community spaces to bring your images and prayers.
Sidebar: Just a little advice, be mindful of saying ‘the Russians’ or just Russia when talking about this. The Russian Government is different than the people of Russia. I rarely feel represented as American, and I often stand against what the US Government does. Let’s be rigorous in our language distinctions about citizens vs. government, it is not the same thing.
Last night I prayed to Mother Life. Today I pray to Mother Life and Mother Death. Knowing all things are in cycles. That is my piece of the red thread, to lean into suffering and send love to all beings. To just FEEL and be real. To be fragile when I am fragile and to let my soul shake in the wake of this horrifying episode in our sweet old world. We haven’t always been this way ya’ll, remember peace in your bones.
“According to the myriad images that have survived from the great span of the human prehistory on the Eurasian continents, it was the sovereign mystery and creative power of the female as a source of life that developed into the earliest religious experiences. The Great Mother Goddess, who gives birth to all creation out of the darkness of her womb, became a metaphor for Nature herself, the cosmic giver and taker of life, ever able to renew Herself within the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.” ― Marija Gimbutas
I know we all process things differently, but I also know we will be better together in the big love place. If you have any connection to Ukraine or those in Russia who are not behind this – reach out to them, make it personal. And if you do not, this post makes it personal for you. You know me, and my family lives there.
Let us continue to turn towards love. Let’s keep our eyes open and our paintbrushes set upon the mending of ourselves and the world. Let us continue to call our prayers out and let the weave of creation be threaded with love. This big love place won’t protect us from harm, yet it will invite us into an actively engaged relationship with what is here. The Carpathian mountains are steeped in mystery, myth, and lore from many cultures, including that of the Ukrainians. They have found their way into my heart, into my art, and into my story.
However you think, pray, dream, stand in solidarity or courage for what is good and just – do that. If you can’t do anything but just add a heart do that. If you can paint, do that. Every time I see requests for prayers, I try to respond – that is one of the gifts of this era of social sharing, collective instant prayer. It isn’t that I fantasize prayers are enough or will stop this madness, but it is the beginning of action and collaboration in my own life. Today I painted. Today I connected with my family and my ancestors. Today I cried tears. Today I stood in my imagination at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains and gave thanks for my life.
Big Love and blessings from my heart to yours,
This week I enjoyed some much needed painting reprieve with my goddaughter, Hazel Grace. She is the talented and beautiful daughter of my dear friend, Jenafer Owen #artistinresidence ❤️
If you can’t pray a real prayer, pray
hypocritically, full of doubt
God accepts counterfeit money
as though it were real.