Return to the Wild by Caryn MacGrandle

Everything is connected.

My son is into Alan Watts. He was speaking about him to me yesterday.  It made me think of an old blog I had from 2014 where I quoted Alan Watts.  

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone.”

– Alan Wilson Watts | 29 Best Quotes about Writing: We are Legion

Continue reading “Return to the Wild by Caryn MacGrandle”

Hekate, Goddess of Liminality and Intermediary by Deanne Quarrie

Deanne Quarrie

Let me share with you the Goddess most honored as the Goddess of liminal time and space.  It is our beloved Hekate, Great Goddess of the Three Ways, bridging Earth, Sea and Sky as we travel between worlds.

In modern times, She is seen by many as a “hag” or old witch stirring the cauldron. This idea was popularized by Roberts Graves’ book, The White Goddess. In early writings, however, she is portrayed as a beautiful and powerful maiden goddess.

“I come, a virgin of varied forms, wandering through the heavens, bull-faced, three-headed, ruthless, with golden arrows; chaste Phoebe bringing light to mortals, Eileithyia; bearing the three synthemata [sacred signs] of a triple nature.  In the Aether I appear in fiery forms and in the air, I sit in a silver chariot.” (Chaldean Oracles)

She was the only one of the ancient Titans that Zeus allowed to retain her power after the Olympians seized control. She shared with Zeus, the awesome power of granting all wishes to humanity (or withholding, if she chose).

Continue reading “Hekate, Goddess of Liminality and Intermediary by Deanne Quarrie”

Making a New Home: It’s Not So Easy by Carol P. Christ

I am sitting in my studio apartment with my computer on my lap on a cold, windy, and rainy day in Voutes, Heraklion, Crete. My little dog is curled up asleep, seeing no reason to awake on a day like this.

I made the decision to leave my beautiful home in Molivos, Lesbos last winter, renting a small Air BNB house in Heraklion the winter and a small house in Pachia Ammos for the summer. Then back to Lesbos for 2 weeks, on to the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for 2 weeks, back to Lesbos for 2 weeks, on to America for a speaking tour, back to Lesbos for a few more weeks with an interval in Thessaloniki, and on to Crete for the New Year holidays.

Things went pretty much as planned up until my return to Crete. There were a few glitches, but I enjoyed being in Heraklion and then in by the sea in Pachia Ammos, and I was beginning to make new friends. I enjoyed my time in Lesbos and my trips to the US and Canada. I was looking forward to my return to Crete. Continue reading “Making a New Home: It’s Not So Easy by Carol P. Christ”

Finding Peace in the Wait by Katey Zeh

In Flux Katey ZehHave you ever tried to download a number of large files to your computer at the same time? If you’ve purchased a TV series through iTunes or received high-resolution pictures from an important event that you couldn’t wait to view, you can probably identify with this scenario.

You sit impatiently as the progress bar barely creeps toward completion—one painful percentage point by painful percentage point. Maybe you get up from your chair, spend a few minutes doing something to take your mind off of the files, and return a bit later only to find that not a single file is complete yet. Argh! If you can manage somehow to sit long enough to watch this mind-numbing process, one file eventually finishes. Hurrah! Then another. And another. Soon enough the progress accelerates as fewer files remain in the queue and eventually the download is complete. The waiting is over.

Lately my life has been feeling like a collection of slow simultaneous computer downloads. My “files” include a book, a podcast, a new professional website, a training, and a number of consulting ventures. Although I’m disciplined enough to work on each of them at least semi-regularly, each effort gets a much smaller portion of my attention than if I were to focus on a single project. Even if I were able to shift my energies to completing only one of these at a time, all of them are collaborative endeavors involving other people. In the end a lot of the progress is beyond my control.

Over the last several months I’ve wasted a lot of energy feeling annoyed with this overall lack of progress in my life. Some of these projects have been going on for years at this point, those pesky “to do” items that I can never cross off my list. I can’t count how many times I’ve expressed to others, “I just want one of these to be done!” Like painfully watching the slowly downloading files, I’ve been sitting anxiously with an inner sense of dread: this process will never, ever be over.

Sometimes I find it somewhat amusing if not entirely useful to entertain briefly the worst-case scenario brought to the surface by my anxiety du jour. What will happen if every single one of these efforts fails? If my book is never published, how will I feel? If my new website is never launched, what will that mean for my life?

I keep coming back to this hard reality: I’ve got big stakes in a future that I have no control over. As long as I believe my self-worth lies in what is beyond my ability to shape, I am destined for a lifetime of suffering.

My go-to coping strategy in these situations is to make myself busy and do a bunch of stuff to make me feel like I’m holding everything together. This time I’m trying something different.

With the guidance and encouragement of wise women in my life, I have been attempting to shift my perspective on this period of anticipation and waiting. Rather than spin my wheels trying to find another strategy to try or project to start, I am beginning to experiment with doing less. Releasing expectations. Holding with curiosity and gentle attention the anxiety and fear of not measuring up to my perfectionistic standards. Instead of doing something to distract myself from them, I’m holding them in my heart with love—or at least tolerance.

Inhale. Breathe in compassion. Exhale. Breathe out love.

My perfectionism runs deep, but the Spirit of love runs deeper.

RA82Katey Zeh, M.Div is a strategist, writer,  and educator who inspires communities to create a more just, compassionate world.  She has written for outlets including Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service. Her book Women Rise Up will be published by the FAR Press in March of 2018.  Find her on Twitter at @kateyzeh or on her website

My Terrible Transition Year and the Return of my Humanity by Xochitl Alvizo

Alvizo headshot smallI have called it, The Terrible Transition Year, this year of finishing dissertation, uprooting from home, moving cross-country, and starting a new full-time teaching job. Last year at this time I was in LA for a 7-8 week stay, away from home – which at the time was in Boston – writing dissertation nonstop. I spent the holidays apart from my family and shared in none of my traditional holiday celebrations as I intensely pushed forward to complete the dissertation. After (seemingly) endless edits back and forth with my advisor and second reader, I finished the dissertation just in time to successfully defended it in May.

During most of this dissertation-writing time, I never had the sense that there would be a successful end to it all. I wrote and submitted each chapter-draft always with the underlying fear that I would be told my work was unworthy, my logic lacking, and my thesis unsubstantiated. So I vividly remember the moment (I can actually still feel it) when I got definitive affirmation that my dissertation would reach a successful end. I remember the shock, the relief, and the physiological rush that coursed through my body as I read the words of approval that came in response to my last chapter. I remember my body shooting up off the chair and saying, “No!” as I read the email. It was a “No” of disbelief, as in “Can this really be?!” And it was. And only at that point did I believe my dissertation would be successful. Continue reading “My Terrible Transition Year and the Return of my Humanity by Xochitl Alvizo”

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