Moderator’s Note: We here at FAR have been so fortunate to work along side Carol Christ for many years. She died from cancer in July, 2021. To honor her legacy, as well as allow as many people as possible to read her thought-provoking and important blogs, we are pleased to offer this new column to highlight her work. We will be picking out special blogs for reposting. This blog was originally posted March 26, 2012. You can read it long with its original comments here. Carol mentions a book she was writing with Judith Plaskow at the time with the working title: God After Feminism. The book was published in 2016 under the title of Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embedded Theology. You can find it here.

Many women’s dreams have not been realized. How do we come to terms with this thealogically?

Although I am as neurotic as the next person, I am also really wonderful—intelligent, emotionally available, beautiful (if I do say so myself), sweet, caring, and bold. I love to dance, swim, and think about the meaning of life. I passionately wanted to find someone with whom to share my life. I did everything I could to make that happen—including years of therapy and even giving up my job and moving half way around the world when I felt I had exhausted the possibilities at home.

For much of my adult life I have asked myself: What is wrong with me? Why can’t I find what everybody else has? Even though I knew that there were a lot of other really great women in my generation in my position and even though I knew that many of my friends were with men I wouldn’t chose to be with, I still asked: What is wrong with me?


Last Tuesday Night by Marcia Mount Shoop

It’s been just over a week. Last Tuesday night to be exact. That’s the night the four of us huddled around our beloved companion of sixteen and a half years and said goodbye. 

Buck became a part of our family when he was three months old. We were living in Oakland, California at the time. My son was five and my daughter had just turned one. My husband was coaching for the Raiders and he was gone all the time. It wasn’t a great time to get a puppy on paper—but our hearts said otherwise, so we did. 

Just a little over a year earlier I had said goodbye to Tino. He’s the Blue Heeler that found me in a dream when I was living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That morning I woke up and just had to get a puppy. It was a visceral pull. And I went to the Santa Fe Human Society and there was the puppy from my dream. He didn’t look like any dog I had ever seen until my dream the night before. 

Continue reading “Last Tuesday Night by Marcia Mount Shoop”

Moving towards the Dark… “Elder”berry Musings…by Sara Wright

“I wake up under a tropical dome that has been with us most of August. The thick air feels like it is smothering me, and with emphysema that may not be my imagination. I can no longer walk or hike in this weather. Migraines and other peculiar headaches come and go – dizziness too – the former probably due to changes in pressure; As yet I have no diagnosis for the latter. I am feeling old because I am getting old. I move into my 77th year trying to adjust to increasing physical limitations.”

On the first harvest moon that occurs in August, (according to ancient teaching by Northern Indigenous peoples) I harvested elderberries under a burning sun, sloshing through mud, thorny bushes and cattails to reach the clusters of ruby beads that would soon become a tincture that I knew would help me resist colds flu and perhaps also the Covid variants. The world health organization in Europe is presently researching elderberry because studies have indicated that it apparently block viruses from entering cells (it does with H1N1 virus), but I have been using this remedy for years and know that it mitigates the effects of colds and prevents flu, at least for me. While removing the berries from their tree – like stems my fingers were stained the most beautiful purple, reminding me of a story I had written when I turned 70 about becoming an old woman… In this tale, I imagined that an Elderberry woman came to guide me into the future.

Continue reading “Moving towards the Dark… “Elder”berry Musings…by Sara Wright”

On Duty and Compassion Towards the Elderly by Vibha Shetiya

At the outset let me state that this post is mostly a collection of musings, rather than having a definite thesis statement.

I’m currently in India. I had to think hard before coming here for many reasons as you can guess. I finally decided to take the risk especially since there’s no telling how long this situation is going to last. After all, I’ve canceled twice and my parents aren’t getting any younger.

My father is 89, mum 79. When you visit on a yearly basis, that which eludes the daily eye becomes quite obvious in terms of reminding one of parents’ mortality. Wrinkles, aches, pains that develop over months and years seem shocking to the interim visitor, and in recent years, I’ve always left with the hope that I get to see them again.

Continue reading “On Duty and Compassion Towards the Elderly by Vibha Shetiya”

How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Imagine this scenario: You agree to meet with some beloved friends or family who are not in your Covid pod. You’re nervous about safety, but you have a detailed discussion beforehand of exactly what Plan you will all follow in order to protect everyone. You decide to meet outside, wearing good quality masks, staying six feet apart. If people want to eat or drink, or remove their masks for any reason, they will go farther from the group, more like 20 feet away. If anyone needs to use the inside space, such as the bathroom, they will be sure no one else is inside and will keep their mask on the entire time.

“We can do this,” you tell yourselves, “We are smart, educated, considerate, careful people who love each other and want to keep us all safe.”

You arrive at the gathering. You greet everyone, masked from the proper distance. You find your seats, six feet from the seats of other pods. Within a minute or two, a beloved friend or relative approaches to give you something, h/er mask hanging down on h/er chin.

Continue reading “How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Vigil by Sara Wright

The third day
dawns under a cloud.
 Mourning doves
spread their wings
across leaden skies.
I am walking on air.
Two restless
nights – a huge
truck in the yard –
my stomach lurches.
I read Tributes
 in a daze.
Fierce Little Flower
Warrior Woman
 a torrent of waves.
She is bridging
 raging waters
forging a New Story.

“Weaving the Visions.”
Oh, now I remember
where it all

She hugged a tree.
 I plant a seed.
Listening to rounds of
 “light and darkness”
 I let my body lead.

 A serpentine path
guides me
 back to
Her Garden.
Cradled by Ancestors
Rooted in Body
I shed another
  patriarchal skin.

Continue reading “Vigil by Sara Wright”

Perilous Passages by Sara Wright

Old Woman cackled on the wing
a pterodactyl with claws
crimson black and white
a great wind
was howling
and she was too.
Passages she screeched.
Her wrath undid me.

The Way was Narrow.
  Cushions of moss
calmed wet cavern walls,
steep stones threatened
 uncertain footsteps,
echoing my descent.
At the bottom
of the well
Silence rang out
like a bell.

Continue reading “Perilous Passages by Sara Wright”

From the Ground Up by Sara Wright

As a 76 year old feminist who lives alone (except for animals) I have been struck by some recent experiences I have had with kind men, men that I would call “Mothers’ sons”. Overall, throughout my life I have had negative experiences with males beginning, of course, with my own father, which is why I eventually made the choice about 30 years ago to live alone.

 These Mothers’ sons seem to have little or no interest in power or control but appear to live by another code, one that is not predicated on domination. As this prose poem indicates one such man is replacing the rotting timbers in my house, a difficult and labor – intensive job for one person. He is working alone, not out of choice, but because he cannot find one person who isn’t busy building million dollar houses for outrageous sums of money that are sprouting up like weeds in Western Maine. I have been looking for someone to do the work for five long years without success, and with a growing sense of desperation. Because it is men like these that we need to help restructure our toxic culture my burning question for the readers of FAR is how do we help create and support men like this one?

Continue reading “From the Ground Up by Sara Wright”

Addiction Matters by Karen Leslie Hernandez

A few of years ago, a video from the Civic Center Bart Station in San Francisco went viral – showing a line of people in the station, shooting up and passed out due to drug use. With the tagline on the evening news, “Bart Junkies,” I was interested in the language explaining the video – “Shocking,” and “Unacceptable,” etc. The comment section got to me too, for each and every one illustrated a stereotypical idea of what or who an addict is. The lack of regard for these lives that have been tragically affected by addiction was apparent and the labels, “trash,” “human garbage,” and so many more, illustrated how isolating and harmful addiction is to every human on the planet.

The fact is, we all know an addict of some sort. Whether they are in recovery and have been sober for 1, 5, 10, or 30+ years, or they are still using, we all know an addict. We work with addicts. They are our family members, partners, neighbors, colleagues, and friends. They are faith leaders, government officials, teachers, techies, doctors, bus drivers, performing artists, and flight attendants. They are homeless, living in their cars, on their boats, and they are also living in million-dollar homes. And just like in the video from the Bart Station, they are shooting up, drinking, snorting cocaine, and popping pills. Addiction is addiction. It is no prettier or excessive in a Bart station, than it is in your friend’s or family’s home.

Continue reading “Addiction Matters by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

“Finding The Mother Tree” by Sara Wright

Susan Simard received her PhD in Forest Science and is a research scientist who works primarily in the field. Part of her dissertation was published in the prestigious journal Nature. Currently she is a professor in the department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia where she is the director of The Mother Tree Project. She is designing forest renewal practices, investigating the ecological resilience of forests, and studying the importance of mycorrhizal networks during this time of climate change.

Susan’s research over the past 30 plus years has changed how many scientists perceive the relationship between trees, plants, and the soil. Her intuitive ideas about the importance of underground mycorrhizal networks inspired a whole new line of research that has overturned longstanding misconceptions about forest ecosystems as a whole. Mycorrhizae are symbiotic relationships that form between fungi and plants. The fungi colonize the root systems of plants providing water and nutrients while the plant provides the fungus with carbohydrates. The formation of these networks is context dependent.

Continue reading ““Finding The Mother Tree” by Sara Wright”

A Thanksgiving Litany for Living through Fractious Times by Alla Renée Bozarth

Alla Renée Bozarth, Philadelphia 11, Philadelphia ordinations
All things being relative, remember
that collective and individual histories
are cyclical but open-ended, and discern
the kind of moment you are in and part of.

Remember how to make it better
by holding on to all that is dear in life,
and becoming more prayerful and thoughtful.

When deprivation comes, return to what is essential—
first, beauty, so look for and create beautiful behavior 
and encourage it.

Continue reading “A Thanksgiving Litany for Living through Fractious Times by Alla Renée Bozarth”

The Song of the Forest by Sara Wright

My friend


When He comes
I forget who I am.
My story vanishes.
Boundaries dissolve.
Emerald green,
leaf filtered light,
clear mountain streams,
trees, lichens, moss –
become ‘all there is’.
In the still dawning
animals speak.

Nature’s ultimate gift is that given the chance S/he dissolves the artificial socially constructed boundaries that humans have erected to separate themselves from the Earth who is burning in the Fire, unable to breath, as many of us are beginning to do now.

We have a choice to re-establish interconnection – to become part of the original family that birthed us into life 500 million years ago… regardless of outcome.

Developing an intimate connection with Nature allows us to disappear into the whole. Ironically, dissolution of self is where peace is found.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

Gardening Through the Storm by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee

I spend a lot of time thinking about gardens. I think there might be something to them.

It seems strange to talk about gardens during such an intense time. The crucible of injustice, laid so bare during the pandemic, is overflowing all around us in a volcanic eruption of protests and retaliation. And more and more, we understand how it’s all connected – poverty, violence, choking black men, choking women, a choking planet. All connected in a huge, toxic river of greed, fear, destruction, and death.

Continue reading “Gardening Through the Storm by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”

Seeding In by Sara Wright

I watered the soil thoroughly because it was so dry. Like my foremothers and the women who came before them I intended to plant seeds, and May has been a month of bizarre weather extremes. The last waxing moon frost occurred this week with temperatures in the mid 20’s. Finally, it was time…

When I awakened during the night a light drizzle sweetened the air as a solitary gray tree frog trilled from the brook. At dawn I was disappointed that rain had barely wet the leaves and yet the sky was soft with dark gray clouds, and it was delightfully cool, a perfect day for planting.

I felt excitement rising as I gathered my chosen seeds and began raking smooth the damp sweet earth, marveling of the fact that each seed contains the miracle of its own becoming. I was imagining the riot of color that would be visible by early August as I poked each seed into its home, tamped it down, and afterwards, watered again. Nasturtiums and Scarlet Runner beans would provide the back-drop for the perennial flowers in the lower garden all of which had escaped the frost. I was well pleased. Because of the light drizzle the seeds would not dry out today, I thought, with some satisfaction.

Finishing with the rock garden I moved up the hill to my herb patch. I planted four basil plants, the dill seedlings were nestled next to the lettuce, with parsley in between; happily the lemon thyme was recovering from its winter ordeal. Finally I seeded more basil directly into the soil and poked more trailing nasturtiums around the lettuce because the latter would be gone before the nasturtiums were big enough to shade the plants.

This simple little herb patch gave me as much pleasure as having a big vegetable garden once did. It was the relational act of co creating with the earth that mattered.

Afterwards I walked to the pond in the still gray air. I love humidity when it’s cool because the moist air holds the scents of so many trees plants, bushes and flowers. The combined effect is intoxicating. Especially now with the lilacs.

When the rain began I was back in the house. Instantly my eyes witnessed electric green emanating from the trees – all plants were breathing, saturating themselves with moisture. The evergreens stretched their fingers out, and the deciduous trees turned their leaves upward opening them to the sky. The grosbeaks, red wings, and cardinals sang love songs. Everyone loves the Cloud People.

Seeding in officially marks the end of heavy garden work for me. For two months I have been digging and moving plants from the big cottage garden into a smaller one that I can see from the screened and glassed in porch, our summer living room.

Reflecting over the past few years I remembered becoming disenchanted with gardening – the work was becoming too hard – so much so that I thought I was ready to let go. I was wrong. When the grass began to crowd out the delicate spring flowers and other old fashioned perennials so dear to me I realized I was missing my old friends.

At that point I left for the NM desert where I tried to garden in a hostile environment on land that did not belong to me. After attempting to create an oasis in impossible heat and wind I was forced to give up gardening for a second time, this time out of necessity. In that process I had developed a new perspective on gardening in Maine. It might be hard work but the rewards were worth it. I was ready to try again.

When I returned home this spring I knew that necessary construction would ruin what was left of the old fashioned overgrown cottage garden. Trusting that this work will happen ‘sometime’ motivated me to move plant after plant – choosing carefully what to keep and what to let go. The result is that I have created a lovely cottage garden that contains my most beloved perennial flowers. Hopefully I can care for these, at least for a few more years. It’s been quite a process, and I have learned the hard way that gardening is as necessary to me as breathing.

June’s full moon is upon us. Because so many wildflowers are sprouting fruiting bodies besides strawberries I have re named this solstice moon the Berry Moon… There is an old purple Berry Woman that lives in this forested wood inside an Elderberry bush I recently planted who can be coaxed out of hiding if the need is great. I hope she will help me break out of the  paralyzed state I find myself in. I need help believing that I can find the builder, the help I need…

Once, a few years ago she left me a seed…


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.

“What If We Touched Ourselves Lovingly Every Day?” by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I watched her hand stroke along my arm, so gently, so lovingly. Her voice whispered, “I love you, Trelawney. I love you, Trelawney.” The soft, tender caress felt poignant, healing, magical. I wept with gratitude.

It was my own hand stroking me. My own voice. Continue reading ““What If We Touched Ourselves Lovingly Every Day?” by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

A Beary Peaceful Day by Sara Wright

Photo by Sara Wright

It is overcast and a few drops of rain are falling. I have been out talking to Tree Bear (TB), a yearling who has brightened my life in these dark soul days. Tree Bear comes up the mossy pine strewn path to the clearing and peeks at me from behind his white pine intermittently as he snacks.

There are so many old felled trees full of tasty grubs and ants now that the spring grasses have matured and gone by; soon the berries will ripen and Tree Bear will begin to put on weight. Acorns will be the choice of food for fall. Few people know that Black Bears are 93 percent vegetarian.

The other night I watched TB in the cherry tree, sitting in the branches like a monkey calmly combing out his thick under fur as he munched on cherry leaves and hard green cherries. He is a healthy looking and very beautiful yearling with brown eyebrows and a bump in his nose that is only visible from some angles. He probably weighs 50 – 60 lbs and has some brownish fur in places.

Continue reading “A Beary Peaceful Day by Sara Wright”

I’m Going Over the Cliff: How About You? by A Friend of FAR

Standing on the Edge

It appears that I am getting a divorce.

My husband and I have struggled – well, we have struggled – our entire eleven year marriage. We’ve had a lot to deal with: court problems with my first husband, lost jobs, financial struggles, blended family issues, in-law issues.

Not health issues. We’ve been blessed that way. And we’ve been blessed with two daughters who are seven and ten years old now.

But it has been a rough ride. And we have been on ‘the edge of the cliff’ just about our entire marriage. And it seems as much as the both of us have been determined not to fall off the cliff for such good reasons: we cannot financially afford a divorce, we both love our children so much and do not want to ‘split’ them, we’re both ‘good people’ at heart. It’s hard enough trying to raise four children (two sons from my first marriage) with just the two of us. How do you do it on your own?

Continue reading “I’m Going Over the Cliff: How About You? by A Friend of FAR”

Woke Men, Stop Shitting On Women by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Woke Man is often a Leader of some kind, someone Well Respected for his Work in some sort of Important Progressive Cause. Woke Man may, understandably, think pretty Highly of himself. He’s got quite a Clever Sense of Humor, you see. He’s got Helpful Insights and Wise Advice. He is Compassionate and Committed to Justice. He’s forgiven for being a bit Smug, because he is Popular in Certain Circles, or Admired in the Movement. He is Smart and Well Read, and/or good at Expressing his Informed Opinions. Often Eloquent or Pithy, he enjoys a Good Debate and likes to Sneer at inferior chumps who are Ignorant and Conservative, especially those Troglodytes who thump their chests in a brainless display of Toxic Masculinity.

He has Lots of Women Friends. Many of them consider him an Ally because of his Outspoken Criticism of certain problems such as Rape and Intimate Partner Violence. He may even Support these women when they bring up subtler issues such as Language or Equal Rights. He Proudly votes for Women Politicians and even Condemns the media for its Sexist Bias.

It must be hard for him. I get that. Our culture roars continuously at him in a deafening media cacophony that females are inferior, males are superior, and any male who is not clearly dominant in “masculine” forms of social currency (physical strength, wealth, fame) must be failing at manhood. So men who are getting older, or who are frail, or a bit on the plump/skinny side, or short statured, or less than wealthy, or losing their hair, or small-jawed, or didn’t do very well in school, or haven’t climbed far up a career ladder, or are rather Unremarkable… our culture tells them that— well, perhaps they aren’t particularly Successful at being Men, but at least they are Male.

Continue reading “Woke Men, Stop Shitting On Women by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Winter Solstice Drama by Sara Wright

Last year I attended a bonfire on the night of the winter solstice at a friend’s house. As my companion and I walked towards the ledge where the fire had been the year before we were both astonished. Where was everybody? We stood in the dark confused. Minutes passed.

After suggesting we leave, my companion remarked with annoyance, “What the hell is going on here?” A Rhetorical question. I sure didn’t know.

Sudden hooting split the night and some dissonant musical sounds seemed to be coming from out of the bushes below us.

Following the sounds we descended the steep hill and discovered that the fire was at the river’s edge, and that a few people were already gathered there.

Unbeknownst to either of us the location had changed, and from our vantage point on the hill we couldn’t see the fire or hear any sounds. I had been looking forward to this celebratory turning, and liked the idea of sharing it with friends. Yet, now I felt uneasy.

Continue reading “Winter Solstice Drama by Sara Wright”

Becoming Scrub by Sara Wright

In the precious hour before dawn I walk down to a river that no longer empties into the sea – the circle of life has been broken – the earth’s veins and arteries are hopelessly clogged by human interference (stupidity) – the birds and animals that used to be able to rely on the river waters for food and resting places can no longer do so because dams control the water flow and westerners “own” the water. This morning black stone sculptures appeared overnight because the water level has been dropped another foot. And yet, acknowledging the flowing waters in their death throws seems like an important thing to do. For now, at least, the river turns crimson, reflecting the raging beauty of a pre dawn sky, and I am soothed by water rippling quietly over round stone.

I open the rusty gate to enter the Bosque, a place of refuge, for the cottonwoods and for me. Now I am surrounded by desert scrub and graceful matriarchs arc over my head. As I traverse the well  – trodden path I enter a meditative state without effort. Soon I am walking in circle after circle passing through the same trees and desert scrub hearing voices.

Continue reading “Becoming Scrub by Sara Wright”

A Predator by Sheree La Puma

Feminism and Religion Project Art work designed by Jaysen Waller –

“Have I had two roads, I would have chosen their third.”
― Mahmoud DarwishIn the Presence of Absence

Now I tell myself that I’m street smart. I did the Jack Kerouac “On the Road” trip when I was 18, driving cross country in the fall, even sleeping in my car. I’ve volunteered in the projects, been a motivational speaker in correctional camps. I’ve shooed away drug dealers south of Marrakech, been lost in the woods in Michigan, and lived in L.A., N.Y. and London. Despite the occasional bump and an oft damaged psyche, to this day I trust when I shouldn’t. There is some small part of me that longs to see good in everyone…believes there is something redeemable in the worst of men.

The problem is I need to remember that I am not the one with the power to heal the broken. That job belongs to God. My magical thinking has brought me to the edge of a precipice and as my partner of 13 years tells me “I worry about you because there is EVIL out there and you don’t see it.”  I used to scoff at that idea. After all, what does evil look like?  I’d surely recognize it.  But as I look back at past behaviors…picking up hitchhikers on the side of the road at 16, driving homeless drug addicts to recovery, meeting strangers posing as “men of God,” and “writers,” to help them get their careers going, I realize I’m exposing myself to harm on a daily basis.

Continue reading “A Predator by Sheree La Puma”

Imagine. A Relationship. by Karen Leslie Hernandez

A relationship.
So painful.
So needed.
What it needs.
To be.
Yet the
For what.
For what.
A relationship
That’s not.
Doesn’t exist.
A relationship
That strives
To go.
No where.
A relationship
Of fear.
A grave.
Of nothing.
Never having.
But instead.
A vacuum.
The pain
To end.
Those who cause
As only
They can.
And it must
Be enough.
It is.
From birth.
Not from
Not from
From duty.
Deep seeded
If only
In a soul.
Felt only
Of Birth.
Not from
Or acceptance.
The time
Who cause
Are gone.
Will it be
With sorrow.
For what
Never was.
Never could have
Never had.
A relationship.
Without words.
Create hatred.
Of self.
Of them.
Actions that
Show desire.
To see.
To know.
A relationship.
A relationship
With one.
Who isn’t
Yet somehow
It feels.
To love.
To hate.
Have anger.
At what
Will be.
With sorrow.
With question.
Why don’t you.
And instead.
Love me.
Just love.
A relationship.
That boasts.
I am broken.
I am broken.
I was broken
At birth.
As you are.
And have been
Can we be.
A relationship.
Karen Leslie Hernandez is a theologian and interfaith activist. She has published with several media outlets including the Women’s United Nations Report Network, The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue/Studies, the Interfaith Observer, and she is the only Christian to have published an ongoing Op-Ed Column with OnIslam out of Cairo, Egypt. Some of her past gigs include designing and teaching an Interfaith Dialogue workshop with Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, as well as spending three years working with United Religions Initiative, in several different positions. An Over-Achiever, Karen has not one, but two theological master’s degrees – one from Andover Newton Theological School, the other from Boston University School of Theology. She did her BA at Wellesley College, graduating with honors in her major, Peace and Justice Studies, where she wrote her thesis on Al Qaeda and their misuse religion for political gain. Karen currently lives in California, works at two faith based non-profits, teaches workshops throughout the Bay Area, is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Claremont School of Theology, and she is also a certified domestic violence advocate.

Blinded by the White by Marcia Mount Shoop

mms headshot 2015White supremacy culture is on full display day in and day out in America.  You don’t have to strain to see it—the President’s recent comparison of the impeachment proceedings to a lynching is the latest example.

Of course, even such an extreme example is still defended by white people of all shapes and sizes: senators, voters, talking heads, and the offender himself.  The grotesquery of such a distorted perspective is emblematic of a sickness in our country to be sure.

But there are even more sinister forms of white supremacy that afflict our collective lives.  They are harder for many white people to see. And they are, therefore, harder for us to believe. This kind of whiteness is the whiteness that blinds us. This is the whiteness that creates the conditions for the extremes to be mistaken for the whole problem.  But more importantly, this is the kind of whiteness that creates the conditions for whiteness to be even more tenacious in some dangerous and annihilating ways.

Continue reading “Blinded by the White by Marcia Mount Shoop”

A Place Below the Cattails by Sara Wright

As a woman with Passamaquoddy roots when I first came to Abiquiu I was invited to participate in the six pueblo celebrations along the Rio Grande which made me feel blessed, grateful, included, and at “home.”

My own people’s lives and traditions were  destroyed by colonial peoples centuries ago.

Yesterday I was invited to attend a river blessing on what I call Red Willow River a tributary of the Rio Grande by folks of Spanish and Indigenous descent who live here in Abiquiu on the mesa. These people, although local, are of mixed descent and do not follow the seasons and cycles of the year as the surrounding pueblos do. There is a heavy overlay of Spanish colonialism along with a restrictive (to me) Catholicism that sets this village apart from the pueblos.

Still, I was looking forward to this celebration

That was supposed to be led by Tewa Women United from the neighboring pueblos. It was a beautiful day, and of course we were all on “Indian Time” which means practically that ceremonies start when the time was right.

However, this blessing of the river didn’t come together at all. People milled around aimlessly. Some left. The children some of whom were dressed in regalia played for a while and eventually got hungry. Some complained they had to get back to school for a game.

Continue reading “A Place Below the Cattails by Sara Wright”

A Blinding Light? by Sara Wright

Nature is a Living Being. Animals and plants have souls, and a spirit. Each species is unique, and yet we are all interconnected, human and non – human species alike. This is more than a both and perspective; its multi-dimensional.

Many books are written about using nature to heal humanity of its ills. ‘Recreate’. Climbing a mountain, or taking a walk are common examples of using nature to help ourselves, but how many of us are asking the question of how we can give back?

This is a question I was obsessed with for about thirty years and may be the reason I gained entrance into this seemingly secret world that we call Nature.* When I experienced unconditional love from both animals and plants I needed to reciprocate in kind. This idea of reciprocity between humans and the rest of Nature is probably similar to what Indigenous peoples experienced because they loved (or feared) and learned directly from animals, plants and trees. They respected animals, for example, for their unique qualities. Indigenous people never psychologized Nature the way westerners routinely do.

I rarely read books about Nature anymore because I am so troubled by this psychologizing. From my point of view psycho-babble is just another way of dismissing the reality of Nature as a living feeling, sensing, sentient Being.

Continue reading “A Blinding Light? by Sara Wright”

The Truth About Humans by Natalie Weaver

I have greatly enjoyed an odd little book I read over the summer.  It is Lucy Cooke’s The Truth About Animals (Basic Books, 2018). Cooke takes us through a journey of animal behavior, chronicling the curious narratives that naturalists, philosophers, theologians, and other high-thinking professionals impose on animals to render their behaviors meaningful, moral, and relevant.  Cooke shows us how tempting it has been historically for people to seek and discover confirmation of human values in all those other pairs so happily coupled on Noah’s Ark.

It has often been an important tool for feminists, as with other sets of thinkers, to make these connections as well.  And, as one familiar with the classical charges that women are more inherently corporeal than their spiritual-intellectual male counterparts, and that therefore women are more animal than the more accurately “human” form that their male counterparts represent, I understand the feminist investment in nature.  I appreciate that it involves a sort of ownership and redefinition of the slur; an acceptance of space and place as limited and essentially animal; an awareness of environmental sustainability; a deep sense of connection to the continuum of creaturely being that is the giant ecology of our planet.

Continue reading “The Truth About Humans by Natalie Weaver”

Movement of Moving and Spiritual Journey by Elisabeth Schilling

It looks like it is time again for me to pack up and drive a few hundred or more miles to a new destination, a place I will finally try to plant roots, this time offering commitment + endurance, hoping to build a life of more balance and authenticity. I assume I will need a constant reminder of gratitude, quelling the entitlement that can bubble up when I think “this should be easier.” I’m not sure when, why, or where I’ve picked up that refrain, but I see it in others and myself and wish for an alternative.

With the help of several people, I’ve secured a full-time college teaching position on a beautiful college campus of a kind of institution I am certain is doing its part to heal the world. At least that is what I feel when I serve at a community college, a place where I feel inspired and challenged by students who have a diversity of needs. I’ve been teaching in such institutions for so long, I’ve fallen in love and know, by experience, that I can help in such spaces.

Continue reading “Movement of Moving and Spiritual Journey by Elisabeth Schilling”

All Are Our Teachers by Elisabeth Schilling

Art by doanminh0205

What can we learn from each other? Some people teach us that we need help with boundaries. Some remind us that we are easy to love. We can observe the way some lovers make us want to escape, simmering a queasy feeling in our stomach that we practice patience and non-attachment with so that we are not harmed too much whilst in their presence and other lovers are always ready with a supportive word, assuring us that what we desire is valid, that we do not need to justify our path.

The people who we react to the most intensely, most of the time negatively, are these people our lessons? That sounds rather crass when thought to apply to anyone in an extremely oppressive and/or abusive situation. I would not suggest we apply this to anyone but ourselves, if indeed, it works for us. This is not the fatalistic idea of people belonging in a certain state or being punished for something. This is more a strategic curiosity of looking at our own agency from a back door. For example, my body might contort in frustration and sadness with someone, which could indicate I need to not be in relationship with their energies, but until I can create another path (maybe due to work commitments, relational obligations, financial situations, etc.), I feel more empowered reflecting so that I can learn about myself and others so as to perhaps not invite the same energies in during the future or to not have them affect me so harshly so that it doesn’t matter.

Continue reading “All Are Our Teachers by Elisabeth Schilling”

Start, Stop, Continue: 2019 Mid-year Check-in by Xochitl Alvizo

It is the first of July—half way through 2019. I remember that I and many of my friends were very glad for the end of 2018; it was a hard year of many heavy events and we looked forward to a fresh start, a new year. It’s hard to accept that half of that “new year” is over. What is different? What is new?

In the United States, we are still suffering the same president. Women’s rights over their bodies and reproductive autonomy are still under attack. Immigrants and refugees are subjected to purposefully cruel treatment under the current administration—humanitarianism not a U.S. priority. We are entering another high-stakes election season that is sure to raise all our blood pressure. Not to mention larger global concerns regarding the destruction of our environment and survival of our planet, about which Karen Hernandez recently wrote.

All of this while we also deal with our own personal work, relationships, communities, and day to day responsibilities. We attend to our practical micro concerns always in the midst of overwhelming macro realities. How are you holding up? Continue reading “Start, Stop, Continue: 2019 Mid-year Check-in by Xochitl Alvizo”

Surviving My Recovery by Esther Nelson

For the past fourteen months, I’ve been going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what ails me.  Specialists I’ve seen included wonderfully competent people immersed in their individual disciplines of nephrology, cardiology, rheumatology, and neurology.  At long last, the neurologist diagnosed my condition (accurately, I believe), and I’m slated to have surgery in July.

I’m overjoyed to finally have a diagnosis, with a positive prognosis no less, offered to me.  My everyday life has become more and more constricted over this past year.  I can’t walk far without pain.  I can’t stay in one position for long without pain.  I can’t practice yoga without pain.  I can’t do those everyday chores—grocery shopping, vacuuming, laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, and washing dishes—without pain.  Pain wakes me throughout the night as I attempt to sleep.

I do have concerns about how well I’ll tolerate the upcoming surgical procedure, but am even more concerned about my recovery period.  For six weeks after the procedure:  No lifting.  No bending.  No twisting.  No exercise except for frequent, short walks.  How will I ever manage?

Continue reading “Surviving My Recovery by Esther Nelson”

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