Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stretching Definitions and Storytelling

My husband and I are doing the work of studying elder work. Together and separately Pete and are listening to the teachings of The Second Half of Life recorded by Angeles Arrien, and also reading Arrien's book of the same name. It's a well-timed investment for us, as Pete has just celebrated his 65th birthday, and I am well into my 66th year; we are young elders in the sixties decade. We have much to remember, and learn as we appreciate what life has been thus far, and inventory our willingness to stretch the definitions of "old", "aging", and "death". When I began to apprentice with Aunty Betty in the study of What Makua O'o means, she passed to me the basic tools of this practice of elder-in-training. During the two decades since our first days together, the journey of elder-in-training has stretched me, and stretched the definition. I have folded into my path, and unfolded again and again. As Pete and I reflect on the first few days with Angeles Arrien's teaching many thoughts, visions and inspirations surface. We share those things between us at breakfast, sometimes after watching a movie, and often as we lay in the dark before sleep. For me, one thing is being strongly reinforced as I reflect and begin to integrate the teachings from The Second Half of Life: storytelling is important medicine!

During the next few weeks my posts here may be lean, as I focus on the study and build the inventory of my storytelling medicine. Many shamanic traditions believed it was essential that a great storyteller have (at least) one hundred stories in her medicine pouch. As I considered that I danced through the stories I have, and realize, "Oh that is what I will spend the rest of my life with. I have a few more stories yet to write, and once they are written, they must be told."

Here is the latest of the medicine story written today. Link to it ... It's a story about the silent winged visitor, Pueo. In this story, attend to the images, memories, or feelings that are triggered as you read. This, and all the parts of the medicine stories are there to inspire, heal, and beckon to your fullest heart. Woven throughout this story are the teachings I have discovered in the work of Angeles Arrien. Stories that have worth pin themselves where they can do the most good. That's the safety pin again, still as good as it has always been since my mother wore them to hold her pants up in place of a button.

Monday, July 14, 2014

To Begin Initiations: Marking hands and feet

"Many cultures of the world would purify or mark hands and feet before or after an initiation in recognition of their capacity to bridge the profane and the sacred worlds."- The Second Half of Life

 Barefoot, my feet are cleaned and stand upon the many healing herbs of the male laukahi that grows like ground cover throughout our orchard. Link here to learn more about laukahi and its medicinal uses. Note the size of the laukahi is broad, not spear-like. These are male, kane, plants.
I was given this red hibiscus temporary tattoo several years ago, and have safety pinned it in its protective covering all those years. Waiting for just such an occasion as today? I think so. It's a beginning, a continuation !

Today is the first day of study with the elder work and practices described and shared by Angeles Arrien in her book The Second Half of Life. It is a beautiful day to mark and cleanse my hands and feet for the process of entering and leaving the 8 gates of wisdom to fully develop as Makua O'o.  I began the day with a morning chant of E Ho Mai, and then gathering the medicine (tools and company) to prepare for the day. I am writing my process down in a private online study space. For so many people the Summer is a busy time of activity, we are at our most robust exploding with the energy pent up during winter, and potent with blossom in the spring. I use the next eight weeks of summer to feed myself for the lessons offered at the 8 Gates as I rigorously for the rest of my initiation into the elder years.

There is space for you in the study group if you are ready for the rigor. Contact me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pain (Saturn) for nothing?

My favorite astrologer has a timely set of questions to mull over in the next few days. Elsa writes, "...If you’ve not seen any magic lately or if you’ve forgotten how to cultivate it in your life, here are some ideas…" She's writing about the astrological timing and direction of the planet Saturn (task-master) in the sign of Scorpio(deep water). In a few days (July 20, 2014) Saturn moves forward/direct after appearing to be moving backward repeating and reviewing any and all of the hard issues/relationships/secrets we human beings are tasked to mend-amend-release. I read Elsa's post and left a comment to applaud her advice and her timing. In essence, I said 'I'm in!" ... I get what the mulling questions lead to and approach those answers with my study of The Eight Gates of Wisdom, described in Angeles Arrien's book The Second Half of Life (click here to read my post "Growing the Rituals of Elderhood").

This snippet from the "Introduction" of the book tells me, "Each gate chapter opens with an image of hands and ends with an image of fee--both symbols of the process of entering and leaving the gate. Every initiation or transition has the potential to expand our love, to teach us more about giving and receiving, and to manifest more balance and creativity in our lives--all concepts that are embodied by the hands and feet. They symbolize the power to love, create, move, or change..." That study time begins next Monday, July 14, 2014. I've set up a private on-line study space where I, and any other elder-in-training might want to exchange discoveries or questions.

Incredibly beautiful connections are being made in my life as a result of the harsh and painful experiences of death ... re-birth and transformation? I think so. The process is life. The people who show up to be present to clean things, issues and resentments are unexpected relations. Pushing on the boundaries and borders is what's going on. In the not too distant future (2015) Neptune will dissolve borders in big ways. Elders, wise and integrated with life experiences will be needed to man the life boats on both sides of the gate between the living and the dead. Sound eerie and witch-crafty? No, just look at the dissolution of the borders in North America for real-time collective examples. Personally, my life as makua o'o is a lifetime affair with basic tools, common magic and a constant reminder to be willing to change. I hold fast as a Scorpio, but at the same time know the depth of the deep sea is mysterious, unknown territory. Sometimes I cry from the pain. The salty tears connect with all birth.

"Don't be afraid to cry. It will free yourself of sorrowful thoughts."
-Native American Proverb

Monday, July 7, 2014

Apply the salves of story and silence

"Summer is here on Whidbey Island. The sun warms up the woods and the communities beyond the small world where we live. The stories that are my real life cross into the medicine stories healing, mending and transforming the sorrow that requires much more than a prescription; quick fixes don't apply. What summer does teach me though is how Nature moves. Change happens. Not usually at a rate that most humans appreciate, it makes no nevermind. Nature will change at Her pace..."

 Nature truly does move with regularity. As I move slowly through the natural process of mending a grieving heart, it is story that helps me with the messy yet essential alchemy of accepting. What lives dies. What dies is never truly gone. JOTS my sweet black cat and I walk through the process and find silence is the other ointment waiting to embrace me. The medicine story I have been writing picks up once again. It's nice to know story is patient. To read the new installment of the medicine story go here.