Monday, August 4, 2014

Piko, piko

"each of us carries
in our chest
a song

so old
we don't know if we learned it

some night
between the murmurs
of fallen kisses

our lips
surprise us
when we utter

this song
this is singing
and crying at once

--Francisco X Alarcon,
Body in Flames

Piko stones of Hawaii

Today, and tonight is the last of the four 'Ole Moon. The season of summer is now, hot, and only a sliver of wind moves the tips of the alder outside my door. As I write, the wind makes himself know with more presence. The salmon berry dances, too. It is a good season for gathering energy, a season of ritual gatherings where life is put back together. Put back together in a fashion that it has not experienced before, but yet, all the good and beautiful winds itself into the rituals. Raven calls in the nearby, not right above me, just out there. He too winds into the rituals of gratefulness making this day the gift that it is. The 'Ole Moons are the occasions when the moon offers me, a woman, time to reflect and consider what is good and beautiful, and what is not. Seasons come. Friends and family come. We sit at the wooden table in the orchard and we tell stories. We listen. The Sun, Moon and the every body else listen too. I am being initiated this summer to the power of the piko ... the belly button, that ancient and present connection to being born. Again. Before. I am a learner (being initiated) as I look again, feel again, and heal again this summer.

Last week I went to visit one of my Medicine Women to get her opinion on my injured ankle. I hurt it a week prior, and had been applying the remedies of self-care that made sense for me. There are healing plants every where in our orchard. We grow wheatgrass. I put the two together in our juicer and extracted the blood, kept the plant bones and made a poultice of them. For a week I am wrapped with this healing poultice. Still, I wondered whether an x-ray was necessary. I questioned my confidence with self-care.

Fortunately for me, my Medicine Woman has one foot in the system of allopathic medicine while the other integrates all other healing paths. It is good I found her to partner with not long ago. We sat under the trees and she asked me for my stories at this time. I told her of the progress with my season of grief, I told her of my study with the rituals and practices of the second-half of life. She asked, "What are you learning?" I told her about my rattle work, and how rattling is such good medicine. After I was done with my story, she laughed a full face laugh and thanked me for reminding her about how important the rattle is. My Medicine Woman made a special rattle years ago. It seems she had forgotten about that medicine, until that day under the trees.

After most of our story medicine, the Medicine Woman knelt at my foot and I unwrapped the ACE bandage and the green sock soaked in the poultice from the night before. She felt and asked me questions, and had me flex and move my foot. It was her opinion that the dressing and poultice were "awesome" and there didn't seem to be any sign of fracture. "But," she said, "I may by deluded, and I don't have a problem giving you a prescription to have an x-ray." In the end I did decide to have a scheduled x-ray close to home, and did what was necessary to be in the clinic. My x-ray was normal with no breaks, but there is some soft tissue swelling. "Keep doing what you're going," the Medicine Woman emailed me when she reported the results of the x-ray.

As I say, this is a summer of initiations for me. Times when listening deeply to my intuition and the voice that is as Mexican poet Francisco Alarcon writes, "each of us carries in our chest a song so old
we don't know if we learned it ..." I came across Francisco Alarcon's quotation when I opened to a page in The Four-Fold Way. Along with the study of Angeles Arrien's The Second-half of Life, I am integrated her earlier work from The Four-fold Way. I am infused with the energy of Leo energy (that's now!) and find myself open to outcome without (as much) attachment or control over outcome. I'm practicing that ritual. Weaving as a storyteller can when the scent of a story is both sniffing me, and leading me, I was heading to the place where a new series of stories is being drawn in the sand. It's a series of stories that I am writing and collecting for the Medicine Woman's grandchild. She asked me for them. It is something I had not thought about, till then. But, as it happens the Mexican poet with a name so similar to my grandfather's (Francisco Calizar) had something to add to this gift of a day. And then, I did a little searching and found this quote, and nickname that sticks to Francisco Alarcon.

""Bellybutton guy."
The moniker refers to both the origin of the word Mexico and the title poem of Alarcón's second award-winning children's book, From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems:
whenever I say "Mexico"
I hear my grandma telling me
about the Aztecs and the city they built
on an island in the middle of a lake
"Mexico" says my grandma
"means: from the bellybutton of the moon"
"don't forget your origin my son"
maybe that's why whenever I now say "Mexico"
I feel like touching my bellybutton"
-UC Davis Magazine

Oh my, how wonderful is the magic of story and storytelling. In the Hawaiian culture, the bellybutton is called the 'piko' it is the center. It is the place of your beginning. And, I found today, the Aztecs of Alacon's beginning have led me to remember my piko.


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