And We Are Singing, Singing for Our Lives! by Carol P. Christ

Last week I wrote about the grief I feel for the state of my nation (the United States) and of the world. A few days later one of my favorite writers, Katha Pollitt, asked why we are not all in the streets all the time, keeping alive the enormous energy that came together in the first of the women’s marches against Trump and that continued for several months thereafter in protests women’s rights, for immigrants, for the planet.

After reading Pollitt’s essay, I thought: we should be weeping and wailing in the streets. Instead of pink hats we should be wearing black, the color of mourning. But then I pulled myself up short. In the symbolism of our Old Europe, black is the color of rebirth and regeneration: the dark place where seeds must be placed if they are to germinate, the color of rich and fertile earth. If we are going to protest the racism of the Donald and his followers, we must be careful not to repeat the Indo-European binary in which light is associated with truth and goodness, while the devil and all that is evil is dark.

Nonetheless, I like the idea of acknowledging our grief for all that is being lost publicly and with others. Continue reading “And We Are Singing, Singing for Our Lives! by Carol P. Christ”

If Holly Near’s Simply Love Album Were a Musical by Elisabeth Schilling

For many of us, listening to women-loving-women songs is a spiritual experience. That is because somehow it makes us feel seen, puts a sense of hope into our world as well as daydreams of romance. We can understand the challenges and the regret or guilt that comes with disappointing others and ourselves, them for not being who they wanted us to be and for us, not being who we are for far too long. Holly Near’s Simply Love album narrates a story that I might envision as a musical theatre production, and I really wish someone would ask me to write it and then hold the casting call (yeah, I’d want to be in it too, so save me a part). I offer some of my thoughts on two central songs in the would-be musical in hopes of sacred liturgy on a potential stage.

Simply Love has 28 songs and was released (according to Spotify) in 2000. I think the synopsis would be surrounding Cassandra, in a loving relationship with her partner, reflecting on her journey to this place of authenticity. I can imagine how it might be living one’s live in an exploratory way and coming to new revelations later in life.

Continue reading “If Holly Near’s Simply Love Album Were a Musical by Elisabeth Schilling”

Holly Near’s Music and a Holistic Feminist Perspective of Peace by Elisabeth Schilling

It’s hard for me to be dignified and peaceful sometimes. To produce and sacrifice without rewards, making sure I’m not “sacrificing” in a way that quells my truth and power, making sure I look at dignity in a liberating way. Words continually need to be unpacked, and I do that. I know the work. According to the OED, it means “The quality of being worthy.” For me, ‘dignity’ is just being aware of your self-worth and celebrating that. It feels hopeful and romantic and raw. To sacrifice, to me, in the way I’m using it in this moment, is to be life-giving and co-creator; I think of it in the same way as what the earth does, so that it can continue. Like a leaf fallen to nourish its own soil.

The OED definition of ‘sacrifice’ I like is “The destruction or surrender of something valued or desired for the sake of something regarded as having a higher or more pressing claim.” We can decide what is more pressing. For me it is the ethic of generosity and production in a non-greedy way. I do not sacrifice in this more self-empowered, law-of-the-universe way I’ve recently come to understand much. But I would like to. Sometimes, though, I feel tired in my production, like I need more feedback, even if it is another woman willing to listen to me, which is why posting on FAR is so healing and life-giving because there is all of you.

I’m glad I have wisdom in my body. Even if “I” (my mind?) goes chaotic, feels overwhelmed and lost, my body has this natural intelligence to heal and regain balance if I can listen and get out of its way. That reminds me a lot of the earth—regions harmed by human mindlessness have been known to restore itself, even after radiation or toxic explosions, when humans leave for awhile. But if “I” equate myself with my mind, isn’t that also a part of the body? Wouldn’t the mind (the brain? the processes that help mental consciousness and thoughts arise?) then be wise, seeking balance? It just does not feel like it. So if anyone can weigh in on that. . . why so easy for my body-body but not my mind-body?

Continue reading “Holly Near’s Music and a Holistic Feminist Perspective of Peace by Elisabeth Schilling”

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