Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better.  It's about befriending who we are already."

I read this last night and it caught me.  My journal is full of notes-to-self and to-do lists that chart a course away from who I am today in search of some other, better, holier-than-I-am, more successful, more creative, more everything me.  But this quote invites me to accept an inconsistent, imperfect, petty, wacky, stressed out self.  Love her, as is, today.

I'm approaching meditation in an effort to heal my body.  Eve, the nurse practitioner who is coaching me through my postpartum rehabilitation, recommended two books that she thought may teach me how to relax.  Was it clear to her that healing my body (I am So Frustrated with my broken body) required another kind of healing within?  I'm grateful to her for the suggestion.  It was beyond my imagination but now it feels obvious and real.

Thank you.

Chodron, Pema. Comfortable with uncertainty: 108 teachings. Boston: Shambhala. 2002. p. 11.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

my love

here's an excerpt from Kathleen Norris' poem "The Wedding in the Courthouse"

I can picture Lucille
chain-smoking: surprised
and pleased
to interrupt routine.
And the Deputy Sheriff,
a young man, blushing,
loaded gun in his holster,
arms hanging loose:
he looked at his shoes.
But it's the words
I remember most. It was as if
I was hearing them
for the first time.
Lucille put out a cigarette
and began: "Dearly beloved,"
and we were!

I have long loved this poem. A conversation today at work brought it to mind - Miss M and I were discussing weddings. Her boyfriend is eager to marry her so she's considering what she'd enjoy and could afford. She'd like a simple courthouse ceremony and then a great party with all of their friends.

I gushed to her about the simple joyful wedding L and I had. A hand-me-down dress. The deck of a ferry. My oldest friend officiating. The applause of strangers. A discreet on-board reception. But what I couldn't communicate at all was our great joy. The joy of "dearly beloved."

"The Wedding in the Courthouse" as found in Sewell, Marilyn. ed. Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality. Boston: Beacon Press. 1991. p.189.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

for Brova & his mother

Mary's Song at the Cross

I am Miriam
my name means bitterness
and I will mourn
mourn and not be comforted
for the Lord God has dealt bitterly
with his handmaiden

Once I said yes
be it unto me according to your will
I am Miriam
my name means rebellion
and now I say no
the holy one will not win
what the holy one wills
he shall not have

For I am am the mother
and I say my son shall sleep
sleep in my womb
sleep until he rises
rises with the sun

I am Miriam
my name means bitter rebellion
the angels are round about me
And you shall not have him
terrible one, you shall not
you shall not have
my son.

Brova was his mother's only child, a son, and she was a single mother. She lived for him. She saw him into his early manhood - and he was precious.

Brova worked as an intern at the company where I am an admin. He was bright, funny, and kind. He left to study civil engineering at one of the top programs in the country. All of us who worked with him liked him, laughed with him, and wished him well. We knew success was his.

Brova died last weekend in a swimming accident. It doesn't make sense to anyone who knew him. It doesn't make sense to any mother who loves her son. It certainly doesn't make any sense to me. I resist it, and deny it, and refuse it.

This quote is posted in memory of Brova, in sympathy with his mother, and in defense of my own jealous love for my son.

Mary's Song taken from Elizabeth Cunningham. The Passion of Mary Magdalene. Rhinebeck, NY: Monkfish Book Publishing Company. 2006.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ani knows

"Love is all over the place,
there is nothing wrong with your face"

In the same vein as the previous post - this line is taken from "Present/Infant," a song on Ani DiFranco's upcoming album Red Letter Year. The song shares the story of Ani's own struggle with self-image, self-hatred, and the bright challenging mirror her baby holds up to her.

All the love we feel for our babies, all the love we want them to know and have for themselves, they teach us to extend to ourselves.

Monday, August 11, 2008

like a woman's

"I like mine, both of them, and they don't match."

After you have a baby everything changes.

One morning, a few weeks ago, my husband was taking our son to his six month check-up. Still in my pajamas, I dashed out of our apartment to catch up with them and hand off the baby's new insurance card. While jogging across the street, in front of a line of cars stopped for the light, during rush hour traffic, my arms instantly pulled up against my chest in a reflex of protection and, frankly, support. It seems that "the girls" don't have the same resilience that they once did.

I feel like an adolescent wading through puberty. My body is permanently altered, unfamiliar, and uniquely my own. I am learning to love, again, the skin I'm in.

quote from Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, first edition paperback, page not known.