Sisters at the Well

In 1997 when I visited Rome, I had a transformative, informative experience. In the center of one section of town there was a stone well. It was at the heart of the neighbourhood. And it was here that the women came together to work the stains, dust and dirt out of their family’s garments. It was here that women used the narrative woven by wagging tongues which maintained civil order. Women warned one another what would happen should the undisciplined urges be followed. A tongue lashing was not trivial.
Gossip is a powerful manner of structuring mores and habits which are the foundation of any society. The cultural threads that make the fabric of society were woven, mended and attended while the women worked together on their laundry.
Side by side, they rewarded or castigated certain forms of behavior. While a woman repeatedly rinsed, and twisted her husband’s clothes, she could hear what would happen if she dared to indulge the secret flirtation she felt toward another man.

The heart of the sisterhood, the public laundry.

The heart of the sisterhood, the public laundry.

Alliances were formed. Problems were worked out. Questions could be asked and answered by those with more life experience. The repetitive actions of the hands, arms and backs were strenuous and soothing. There was a place where connection was customary and expected.
Today, we have lost the power of the women at the well. All too frequently the closest we get to one another is via text or sitting without speaking next to another in a coffee shop.
Or it is an artificially arranged, special occasion when women plan a networking meeting for some pre determined goal. But the habit of the women meeting at the river or at the public laundry allowed for the comfort of contact in a way we no longer experience today.

 

women meeting at the river

women meeting at the river

Women do better in all aspects of their lives when they are in contact with other women. The terms ‘connectivity’ and ‘social capital’ are used in sociological studies which show the benefit of women having frequent, anticipated interaction with other women. These women are healthier. They live longer. They are more cheerful. They are more likely to discover alternative methods of solving problems and thus thrive more easily. They meet challenges with a more relaxed, creative mind because they know they can seek advice.
And last of all, they are more light spirited. Because who doesn’t like to tell outrageous stories while doing repetitive, necessary daily drudgery!!

And, lasty, when society is mirrored back to us from advertising and media, women feel overwhelmed with choices, confused about the very manner of being a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend and a sister. The background anxiety is like the sound of violins in a scary movie.

How do I fit in? Where is my place in the world? Who am I as a woman?

The old, restricted cultural choices are rapidly disappearing; however, women still need their sisters to mirror back to them who they are to be in the changing world. We need to work it out at the well, or the river. We need support and advice.
I think society is much the poorer since the central meeting place for women is no longer a feature of daily life. But thank goodness, we no longer have to do laundry by hand. In addition, we have made progress by allowing greater choice and freedom in discovering what it means to move into the world as a woman. And for that I am deeply appreciative.

I just wish there were some middle ground upon which women could meet face to face in order to bond and prosper. Meeting at the well is no longer for the purpose of restricting our choices and locking us into a place in society. Now it would be an occasion to discuss and expand our individual version of who we wish to be. The companionship, advice, feedback and habitual contact is still necessary, however the world changes.

 

If Wishes were Horses….

Being in life, being in a body and standing on some floor or ground in wide bare feet, toes splayed or wearing shoes with toes strapped together, is puzzling.
To find a place to stand has been the journey for me. Wearing a body with the inherited stories chiseled into my DNA is confusing. I question where I begin. I question which decisions are done from intention and which from distraction. I question my questions.
There have been so many times in my journey that I liken to driving alone in a low-down to the road car in a where the hell did the world go blizzard. Is the road under me? Have I veered into some one else’s lane? Do I know how far I have come?
Even looking for the signposts, milestones, markers is hopeless because of the “obstructions”. The ego voice is chatting away, the memories replaying hijacking me into the past so the present just spins under my wheels unheeded, flattened out.

 

And the passenger was so frequently Anxiety nagging away in the seat next to mine.
With the massive amount of reading and study I have undertaken about inheritance, imprinting, brain formation, it becomes clear that everything is about habit. Forming a new habit is the ultimate act of faith. It is driving the road blindly knowing that the very effort of staying on that road will eventually lead to a clearing.

 

April workshop

April workshop

One day it will be easier. Up ahead will be a calming, a slight hill side which allows for a clear view.
At the present time, I am seeking to build out habits that will make me more fit, more deeply committed to my meditation practice and a better friend.
I found a site on line that lays out a fitness program and I am happily into day four. My arms and back are warm with the fresh awakening of those muscles. I am super feeding and every three hours I am eating a high protein meal. I make contact with my sweet sister/friends continually. These are the new aspects of my life that I have plotted on my GPS and as they appear I welcome in.
It is a life upgrade, new software, faster connection, better quality existence.
I am continuing to draw to me people who are in crisis with the feeling that there is no purpose in the life he or she is leading. I am continuing to run my week end workshops to teach others the science of how they became so blinded to what and who they actually are in the world.

maybe angels
My journey makes sense now. All of the broken bones, violence, chaotic turmoil of my childhood were for a reason. When I speak, people know I am not speaking down to them. I get it. I get it.
It is the struggle that makes us heroic. It is the continuing to drive blind with the hope that soon the weather will shift. Belief that we are on a road that leads somewhere, is enough to sustain our focus.
I am living on purpose. But it is not a magical fairy land. It is not a sparkling meadow of fresh singing streams and the lion snuggled up to the lamb.

Relax into life

Relax into life

This life takes courage and stamina and most of all someone who is further down the road who can call back to us the encouragement that it gets better. Keep going and soon you will be able to see where you are, what you have left behind you and it is easier to create a future. Just stay on the road, keep your hands relaxed on the wheel, tell the Anxiety passenger join you in singing a silly song.

Birds singing in Snow

I have been dealing with the pervasive, invasive panting existence of the “real” world. Getting the old, stained, stuck, peeling of paint, putty loosening windows to continue functioning reached the end of the story recently.
“How much longer can you live with this frustrating, compromising scare-city mindset situation?”
Well, for the windows, basically 24 years. I re-puttied the panes of glass with a kitchen knife, cleaned as far up the glass as my hand would reach, and struggled the warped inner layer open during the 41 Celsius heat summers for 24 years.

 

12661958_10153934467598615_8135412589752425350_n

I kept waiting for more money to come in; for just the right time; for my struggle scenario to stop because that would be the time to put an end to it.

In my Firestarter’s women’s group I asked my friends, “Should I get new windows. Is it time?”

They said,” yes” and so I did.

The grimy, chipped, leaking air windows with caught spiders between the inner and outer layers are now gone.

The Home Hardware crew put in a new fan over the stove and ended up having to pay additional money to get electricity to it. The extra cost triggered the old ‘dying in the alleyway of exposure and hunger’ fear.

Thinking about spring and getting the car out for longer trips, sent me to the mechanic for an oil change. It ended up being $1,400. The battery was gone and the steering thing a ma jiggy was mal functioning.

Then I broke a front tooth on soft toast.

Three weeks ago my furnace stopped starting or started stopping. I tried to plug in an electric heater and an entire wall of plug ins stopped working. I spend days flipping switches on the panels.

My internet began habitually dropping out. So I went on Youtube to watch what for me is someone speaking Urdu. You go here, you click this, then you go here, and set this up.

12321228_10153919055328615_8806434728994839976_n

“Stop,” I want to yell. I could feel myself like Alice in Wonderland shrinking after taking the smallerizing pill. I literally felt like a confused child unable to reach the doorknob.

It was time to seek help. I got the window replaced by a Home Hardware crew. A new actually functioning fan went over the stove. My car can now travel without the steering suddenly becoming possessed. I have a newly constructed front tooth.

I called my neighbour who is a certified furnace magician. He came over, looked at the metal sculpture with surgical concentration. He then removed the front panels which always causes me to gasp in wonder. And did something to make it come on again.

So now after almost three weeks I have heat.

The physical world, keeps butting up against my urge to be a floating mote creature.

In a few minutes, another friend is coming by to see what entities have possessed my internet.

Today, I am feeling more optimistic. But it has been a land of torpor alternating with turmoil lately.

So maintaining those things around me: the car, the furnace, the windows, the internet is vital. The problem I now sit here facing is that I do not know what else needs on going preventative care? It does not even register in my field.

 

Becoming an adult

Becoming an adult

But that is a good place to be, right? Coming to a point of wanting to know what I have not known is growth.

Sitting in a house with heat is like taking an anti-depressant.

A life has so many moving parts. And there is so much to learn. I am grateful for those who have skills that I lack and help me to keep my racing car on the road. The pit crew is so necessary.

I did my receipts and took them to the accountant. I told her that I could see exactly where I had messed up in my choices.

I was so proud.

“I think I am becoming an adult,” I told her.