At Rising Forth, which is this website, and the core mission of my work, I stand for women’s voices. I work in the realm of the literary and visual arts, laced with ritual and ceremony that connect us to nature, in order to build community.
And I get lonely.
I get sad.
I get overwhelmed.
I wonder if I am on the right path.
My kids don’t write me enough.
My husband is busy and distracted.
The political scene wears me down and convulsively worries me.
I miss my friends who live in far away places.
I feel desperately sad for the many ways that our human mistakes have altered the Planet and daily do harm to the beings that live here.
You too, huh?
Where do we turn?
I start with hot tea, a lit candle in the early hours. I sit in meditation. I pray.
Then, I write in my journal.
It provides me sacred refuge.
Then, I seek connection, in all the many ways that might happen.
But there are always things to do, commitments to keep, and the integrity of my work to tend to, which keeps me from a vigorous social schedule.
I love my work, I love to do my work, and now that my children live in other places, the immediacy of my main job, motherhood, has shifted.
It is easy at this point of overwhelm to circle the drain of social media. Instead, I do tangible tasks that are nourishing. Tangible tasks reduce the crush of the news stream and give me a sense that in fact, I am doing something positive for the Planet today, one small step at a time.
I walk the veg scraps out to the compost.
I pick a few nasturtiums to put on my desk.
I stir the oatmeal, and then share a bowl with my husband.
I move toward my work with a sense of partnership with the real world. I have smelled it, tasted it, touched it, listened to it…I feel better prepared to do the work I do, some of which draws me on to the Internet and makes me vulnerable to the latest bad news. I don’t avoid the news. No way. But I must shield myself and plug in to what I can do.
I fiercely protect my work time, the hours I have to write and create. And I seek companionship with others who mutually honor their own daily practice, where there is a sense of forgiveness around not texting daily or making multiple phone calls every day.
Did you see the Full Harvest Moon rise forth?
Last night, women’s circle that I have been part of for almost 20 years now, met, as we always do. At least 12 Full Moons a year, plus one Solstice gathering and maybe a blue moon, means that our Moon Circle has met well over 250 times. My friend Lil McGill has a similar sisterhood that meets on the full moon and makes nature offerings. She wrote a book about it here.
We made a mandala out under a pine tree. We formed it with things found in our friends garden, and shaped it quietly, admiring the leaf shapes, gently arranging the pine cones, all to honor the offering that the Planet gives us in the most ordinary objects we almost forget to notice. A leaf. A blossom. A sheath of grass.
We set things in to a shape that holds the energy of the gathering.
“It felt like shelter to speak to you.”
Emily Dickinson’s line I wrote in my journal today describes how I feel when I am in close touch with people who honor time, honor the way we spend it, and live lives engaged with purpose. While I was in the throes of active motherhood, I learned that even that job which can be so repetitive and undervalued by society, that living with purpose meant honoring even the most ordinary parts of life.
For the next four weeks I will be on the road.
I have some really cool things happening here in the US, and then I depart for Armenia.
Tuesday evening I interviewed Marisa Moks-Unger about writing the zeitgeist. This free event produced by the International Women’s Writing Guild looks at Marisa’s project in Erie, PA that took root during her tenure as Erie’s Poet Laureate and the awakening of the 2016 Presidential election results. You can see a video of this event here.
This coming Sunday, I am on a Women’s Panel as part of the Milford Readers and Writers Festival. Invited by my friend Amy Ferris, the group of women speaking on this panel are fierce in their stand for truth and integrity as we share our stories in these difficult times-where the validity of a woman’s story is highly questioned when contrasted by a man’s story.
It ain’t over yet sisters.
The important work of finding mutual respect women’s stories is now.
Do not give up.
Picking up your journal is an act of courage, every single day you do it, even if it seems just flowers and tea and soft thoughts about love. Pick it up. Write what is true for you.
Let the accruing sense of shelter build as you make a home for your words in the world.
That is what Rising Forth is all about.
That is at the heart of the work I do in Armenia with women artists.
That is what I do in the early hours of every day.
I seek shelter in my journal, and I find it there.
I love thinking that we are doing it together.
Please leave me a comment. Tell me one true thing.
PS If you want to learn more about my work in Armenia, please go here.
I keep a separate mailing list for that project.