Monday, November 30, 2015


One of the things I love about SoulCollage® is how the images you put together take on a significance you don't comprehend until you sit with them for a while.  I made this card yesterday (sorry for the crooked iPhone shot - couldn't figure out how to straighten it):

I actually began with the women in the background.  I had no idea this foreground image was even going onto the card.  Even when I spoke from the images with my group, I didn't really understand the card until I  began writing this morning to try to gain more clarity.  I let both the women in black and the woman in the spider web dress speak.  This is what they said.  First, the one in black on the right (the one I started with):

" I am one who walks the course, the route, the path laid out for me by my ancestors, my culture, my world.  The work is hard, but it is sacred, and I have company; I do not do it alone, and this is crucial.  If I do not isolate myself, if I remember that the work is sacred and for the community and the children, my garment becomes a comforting wrap of belonging.  Black gives me a sense of anonymity if I choose to be anonymous. I am one of many.  It is also an acknowledgement of grief, for women's work is full of grief.  We know that the work is vital and at the core of things, even if men have demeaned it.  We have had to assign our own value to it.  So, we stand tall and carry the burden in golden and silver pots.  We understand its worth and our own."

And then, the woman in foreground:

"I am one who weaves the web of life, wears it as an extension of my body, and dances the dance of life in it.  Webs are beautiful, fragile and patterned to be inclusive.  Each life occupies a node, a juncture, and all are part.  I protect and hover over the world, seeing the beauty, the pain, the sorrow.  The dance is one of joy and acknowledgement.  It is also a message to those embodied to do what I do - dance the joy, the pain, the sorrow, and dance with the joy, the pain, the sorrow.  See and know that you are not alone.  The women tread a difficult path, but they do so with grace.  What they bear is golden.  This card's name is Belonging."

I even gave the background a voice, which I don't remember ever doing before:

"We are the ones who are rock, memory and the snowy high peaks of rarified air.  We hold much beauty, terror and trepidation.  We are now in the sunset time, reflecting the red hues of the dying light.  It is a liminal time, a time between, just as life is liminal, a time between leaving the Mystery and entering the Mystery,  Even we will leave, in time, though we endure for much longer than you.  Your lives are brief.  Make the most of them."

So grateful for this process - it's so much fun, so easy to be creative, and goes so deep.

(I am very grateful to the artists whose images we use to deepen our own awareness.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Wear My Mother's Clothes

Another Day of the Dead grief ritual over.  So much beauty, so much tenderness.  We truly became the "sudden community" Michael Meade talks about.  It's a lot of work, putting this thing on.  Most years I have to get over some dread and resistance of my own to do it.  Not so much this year.  I'm not sure why, but maybe it was partly my desire to honor and grieve for my friend Leona.

Barry always says, "Well, we've justified our existence for another year" when this ritual is over.

When I went to get dressed for the day, I grabbed a black outfit that had belonged to my mother.  Pretty fitting, to wear something of hers for Day of the Dead.  Here's a poem that's come out of it:

I Wear My Mother’s Clothes

When my mother died,
my sister and I removed
the two gold bracelets from
her weeping arms and
put them on each other.
Later, we divided up
her jewelry, and took
some items of
her clothing.

I am 5’8” tall.
Mom was at least
six inches shorter.
You might think her clothes
would never fit me.
Well, they did.
Her full-length pants
became my capris,
her width became
my length.

Those first weeks,
I wore her outfits
almost every day.
I did not plan to do this.
When I would go to my closet,
these were the clothes
that came to my hand.
I felt some comfort
surrounding my body
with what had
touched hers.

Even now,
thirteen years later,
I wear those clothes
from time to time.
When I take them off
their hangers,
I think of her and smile.
I still miss her touch and
the sound of her voice, but
even this fading bit of contact
fills my heart with love
and gratitude.