While I know this post starts out with “Five Favorites,” this week, I only had time for ”four.” Please accept my apologies – yet, enjoy the four I have listed. And as always, please comment and let me know how you liked them and, by all means, comment on their sites as well…
Favorites #1 – This week it seems many folks focused on Valentine’s Day. I found several very good entries about the holiday, including one about the story of the bones of two people who appeared to have been cuddled up for the past 5000-6000 years found in Northern Italy this past week. Chilihead over at Don’t Try This At Home gives the story a wonderfully flavorful spin in her post “What Really Happened: Love Games.”
Favorites #2 – Staying with the Valentine’s Day theme, Peg over at Peggy, As She Is, dedicates a wonderful poem entitled “The Art of Marriage” to her husband of almost seven years. I believe it all; nevertheless, it can sometimes be difficult.
Favorites #3 – Is your brain wired well? Dr. Michelle Tempest at The Psychiatrist Blog provides a fun test at her post “Brain Questions…Keeping Alert!” where you’ll receive immediate answers on just how quick you are on your “brain feet.”
Favorites #4 – star8278 at Life’s A Dance You Learn As You Go posted “Emails” which, I take it, represents several emails she has received. Take a look at the first grouping which has to do with friendships. If you like dogs and children, you’ll love this entry. Scroll down a little further on the page, and you’ll discover an email she received that tells of a distinct sign that you’re driving too fast (especially if your dog is hanging out in the back seat!). It’s just a plain funny post.
Have a great weekend!
I’ve joined MyBlogLog, and I must say, I really enjoy it. I’ve discovered some great blogs with great content, which means I get to learn alot about alot of things from alot of great people from all over the world! For those unfamiliar with MyBlogLog, take a look at the sidebar at the space where you see pictures of folks. Those are people who participate in MyBlogLog and have visited my site.
One of the things that I was a little nervous about when I signed up for MyBlogLog was the request for some type of picture to identify who you are. I noticed lots of folks were submitting their own personal photos (some very nice photos indeed). And while that’s okay for some people, I was a bit uncomfortable with that. That might change someday, but right now, I opt not to include it. (No, I’m not unsightly or anything like that!)
I am a high school teacher (see my “About KWiz” page). One thing I don’t mind my students doing is doodling (for some students, it helps them to concentrate – don’t ask me how – I know it works for some kids). One day a couple of weeks ago, one of my students drew the most incredible picture of an eye. It captivated me when I saw it – so much so that I asked my student if I could use it. With some color modifications, here it is:
My student entitled it “My Third Eye,” and I thought it was so appropriate to what I think my blog is about. It is wisdom that I seek, and that, through others, I seek to impart. I may not get it right all the time, but necessarily, acquiring that wisdom requires the use of in-”sight” – looking within, seeing inside, discerning. It’s not always looking at what you can see with your natural eye, necessarily. It’s acquiring that which can only be perceived on the inside sometimes.
What is this third eye for me? For me, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that allows me to see beyond myself and get the understanding I need. It is the Holy Spirit that enables me to communicate insight to you. That third eye is essential in my daily living – for without it, I will live foolishly.
So that is how I identify myself on MyBlogLog. When you see that eye, you’ll know I’m attempting to use it to gather up some wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and to comment on what people are saying as well.
That’s what’s up with the eye…
Running Toward The Wild Woman! – Part 1
We are continuing our study of Women Who Run with the Wolves. Last week’s discussion centered around the importance of using stories to begin the work of reclamation of our souls. We continue, then, with a story Dr. Estes entitles “La Loba.”
“There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows in their souls but few have ever seen…She calls herself…La Loba, Wolf Woman.
“She creeps and crawls and sifts through the…mountains…and…dry riverbeds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing…
“…she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out…sings some more…sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe…and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away…suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon…
“So remember, if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired…La Loba may take a liking to you and show you…something of the soul.”
This story is a great one, because in it, a miracle occurs. It is a resurrection of that which was once buried inside, that which represents the real woman, the real you, the real me. That woman who is passionate, devoted, relateable, loyal, loving, strong — all those things we, as women, were meant to be. We are speaking of a resurrection of the soul.
It is, according to Dr. Estes, La Loba, that resides within each woman. But how, with La Loba, do we experience that miracle of resurrection that allows us to reclaim who we are?
Dr. Estes refers to Carl Jung’s work with “the collective unconscious” and “the objective psyche” to explain how to access this reclamation, to begin to experience the miracle of resurrection. It is at this point where things get a little fuzzy to me, but according to Wikipedia, the collective unconscious/objective psyche is “that part of a person’s unconscious (such as memories of mental patterns) which is common to all human beings.” “It contains archetypes, which are forms or symbols that are manifested by all people in all cultures. They are said to exist prior to experience, and are in this sense instinctual.”
What I gather here is that instinctual work plays a crucial role in reclaiming who we are. Nevertheless, it is a work that goes much deeper than just reading a book for guidance, for example. It requires a sort of “religious experience” in which one perceives God in one’s soul and through that, undergoes some sort of life change (my language and interpretation). We begin that life change through, as Dr. Estes states, “deep meditation, dance, writing, painting, prayermaking, singing, drumming, active imagination, or any activity which requires an intense altered consciousness.” (I must qualify myself here; I don’t believe in attempting to have altered consciousness experiences – but I do not want to exclude it because of my own personal beliefs centering around Christianity. I offer it here because Dr. Estes presents it this way, and I want to honor that.) Dr. Estes continues with, “She arrives there by deeply creative acts, through intentional solitude, and by practice of any of the arts.”
Wow! That’s a lot for me to try to digest and communicate to you. What I would ask of you, before we can go any further, is determine for yourself what creative acts do you think would allow you to move forward to experience, for yourself, the miracle of resurrection in your own life? Do you dance? Do you play an instrument? Are you a painter, photographer, or sketch artist? Do you journal (online or on paper)? All of these activities, and many which are not listed, can help you reach that place that will allow you to begin to regain what was lost. It is necessarily an intentional work, one that cannot be approached lightly. Make a determination that you will use whatever creative act you need (this is a personal decision) to begin to experience this miracle.
(Personally, when I am consistent, I enjoy prayer and journaling as that which allows me to gain access to the Source of my inner contentment. I tend to lose myself and become detached from my soul when I don’t engage in these “creative” acts.)
I think a great example of this type of work can be illustrated by the Peanuts’ Schroeder playing the piano. If ever you watch any Charles Schultz cartoons during the holidays, Schroeder is in his own world, allowing no one, including Lucy, to disturb him. It seems there is nothing that can break into his world while he is “at work.” It is what he seems to do when he needs to contemplate, to meditate, to get within. Now, granted, I’ve gone a little overboard here, but it does show the type of intensity that might be required to enter in this inner work:
It also gives me an excuse to place an image in one of my posts!
Next week, we’ll take a look at the next story, “The Four Rabbinim” in the same chapter, “The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman.” In this story is a lesson on the attitude with which we approach this inner work.
I look forward to your comments!
It’s that time again…the five posts I discovered this week that I enjoyed and added value to my life. Click and enjoy!
Favorite #1 — The Law of Attraction is big these days, and I can definitely subscribe to some of the tenets. Nevertheless, I can’t help but to know that the proverb that the principle most subscribes to is “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 3:27). I wrote a post on having balance with regard to the Law of Attraction, but Paula Neal Mooney really captures it on her recent post, “The Secret DVD: God On Steroids.” Take a look.
Favorite #2 — With all the talk about diversity in the world (actually, the conversation goes in waves depending on who’s being focused on in the media), this post entitled “If There Were Just 100 People In The World” at The Challenge Of Life provides a great twist. Very intriguing and gives much to think about.
Favorite #3 — Last night, I was rushing to get my daughter to bed so that I wouldn’t miss any of “Grey’s Anatomy.” I felt guilty afterward because I didn’t take as much time to read to her as I think I probably should have. Fortunately, I remembered this post at Silicon Valley Moms entitled “I Confess.” For moms who feel guilty thinking they should’ve done “this or that” with their child, PLEASE READ THIS POST!!!
Favorite #4 — There are many personality tests out there. But did you know that crayons are the true indicators of personality type? What color crayon represents the person who is ambitious, determined, and ready for anything? Jane at My Many Colored Crayons presents the opportunity to take this personality test at “Because this is my crayon box after all.” By the way, I’m a blue crayon!
Favorite #5 — My husband believes ”a woman is a man’s most valuable resource.” Of course, you all should know I appreciate that conviction quite a bit. On his blog, When Least Expected™, his post, “The Power Of A Wise Woman’s Words,” features a wonderful poem by Ms. Sojourner Truth delivered during the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in December 1851 entitled “And Ain’t I A Woman.” Yes, I’m partial, but I also think it’s a great post.
Thus ends this week’s edition of Five Favorites For Friday…
Let me know what you think!!! And by all means, post lots of comments where those posts are featured!!!
Since I’ve begun blogging I’ve been hearing alot about the Law of Attraction. And Oprah featured the movie “The Secret” today (2/8/07) on her show, featuring the Law of Attraction. According to this principle (from Oprah.com),
“…we create our own circumstances by the choices we make in life. And the choices we make are fueled by our thoughts—which means our thoughts are the most powerful things we have here on earth.”
I can definitely understand that the way we think affects the choices we make. And those choices can definitely have a positive or negative influence on our lives. However, I think we need to really exercise balance here.
I have a very dear friend who was in a car accident in 2000. Actually, an armored truck rolled into her from behind at a traffic light. That accident affected my friend’s back so much so that it drastically affected her everyday movements. What you must know is that my friend is one of the most positive people I know. Yet, she experienced not only one accident, but three in a matter of 3 years. None of the accidents were her fault – at all! And yet, her back continued to get worse with each accident. She had great faith. Her attitude remainded good from the beginning. But she had car accidents.
It seems according to the Law of Attraction, the reason she was in the car accidents to begin with was that she attracted them because of what she was thinking. I just really think that’s extreme.
I’ve certainly attracted some negativity in my own life based upon some poor decisions I made. Nevertheless, sometimes, I believe, life just happens. I had complications during my pregnancy three years ago to the point where I ended up on hospital bedrest for 12 weeks and an additional 2-1/2 weeks bedrest at home. That was absolutely no fun at all. Yet, I would balk if someone told me that the reason I ended up in the hospital was as a result of my thought processes. I ended up in the hospital because I had a short cervix and it thinned and opened up when I was 22 weeks pregnant! Human anatomy, I think, not mind control.
I don’t know…I think it is important to think positively. Controlling one’s emotions is necessary if we are going to live a fruitful and blessed life. However, there are just some things that are out of our own hands. We can’t control everything, even by our own thoughts. I read an interesting post by Jacob Glass at Jacob Glass Ministries that sums up what essentially I’m trying to say. He says this:
“…the Universe is most certainly NOT a giant catalog in which you can order anything you want and it is childish and spiritually immature to think so. However, the possibilities available to us are far beyond what we have been taught and as we grow in our understanding and love we are able to draw to us a greater and greater experience of life than anything that could be found in a catalog or on a wish list.”
Now that I can live with – and think about.
What do you think? Do you live by the Law of Attraction? If so, share your experiences about how it has influenced your life. If you live by this principle, how would you explain it to people who reside in Third World countries, for example, who are living under oppressive conditions they cannot control because those situations are government-run and led? There are other examples, but I’d really like to understand how this principle can be billed as universal.
I confess that I don’t always understand my husband very well, even after almost six years of marriage. It has been difficult at times, but his graciousness, warmth, love, compassion, strength, determination, and passion cannot be matched, at least in my book. I read a poem today by Nikki Giovanni in her new book, Acolytes: Poems, entitled “Brave Man Dancing” that describes sort of what I’m struggling with right now. Here it is:
Brave Man Dancing
(for Richard Fewell)
When brave men dance
When courageous men bask in that midnight sun
Who understands their pain
When men of hope and men of dreams write poems
Who listens to the beat
Of a brave man dancing
My husband is brave, courageous, full of hope and spectacular dreams. He, himself, writes wonderful poetry (you can see his poetry at his blog here) which articulates a vision that expands far and wide. My brave man dancing, who helps me understand, who communicates his pain, who’s teaching me to listen specifically to him.
Some of you know that I teach freshmen and seniors at a Christian, college-preparatory school. A couple of days each week for one period are dedicated as assembly periods. This past Friday, February 2nd, our assembly featured a wonderful African drumming ensemble called “The Drum Cafe.” Their performances are designed to promote interactivity while emphasizing not only the power of diversity but the power of unity within that diversity as well.
Because it is billed as an African drumming ensemble, I thought that having them perform would be a great way to begin Black History Month, a month that many schools throughout the country celebrate in some way. When I sat down, I noticed three people from the ensemble were on the stage who had taken to their drums that morning – two men (one who was African-American and one who was West African) and one woman (who was white, South African). That was okay, until the white woman got up to lead the group – the Drum Cafe as well as our assembly of students and faculty.
That scene grated me.
Why, you ask?
As a Black woman who teaches at a predominately white school, I was uncomfortable with the fact that the Black men were in the background while the white woman was in the foreground “leading” us in rhythm and dance. I felt personally slighted that the Black men seemed to have been forced to take a subordinate role. I felt uncomfortable because the white kids at the school didn’t experience any of the leadership the Black men could have provided other than participating in the beating of the drums (though extremely vital and crucial to the success of the performance).
So during this performance, at a school that places hardly any emphasis on the importance and value of Black History Month, I was faced with my own prejudices, my own stereotypes. Trying to take into consideration that here was a woman who was on the side of justice, not the side of bigotry. Trying to see that she could have symbolized the tearing down of the walls of racism. Trying to see that there are lots of people in the world that value what people of color have to offer.
I don’t go around looking for bigotry and racism everywhere I go. Nevertheless, with the emphasis on race surrounding the upcoming Democratic primary and presidential race, the fact that the Super Bowl featured two Black coaches, being in a great school that unfortunately doesn’t take to Black History Month well, and the conversations swirling around it all, I tend to get a bit sensitive. I’m just confessing – yes, as a Black woman, I, too, have my biases.
(The performance was great, by the way…)
How Wild Are You?
I’m excited! Today begins our first day in our study of Women Who Run with the Wolves. And as I said last week, we’re starting with the introductory chapter, “Singing Over the Bones.” Dr. Estes begins the chapter with:
“Wildlife and the Wild Woman are both endangered species.
Over time, we have seen the feminine instinctive nature looted, driven back, and overbuilt. For long periods it has been mismanaged liek the wildlife and the wildlands. For several thousand years, as soon and as often as we turn our backs, it is relegated to the poorest land in the psyche. The spiritual lands of Wild Woman have, throughout history, been plundered or burnt, dens bulldozed, and natural cycles forced into unnatural rhytms to please others.”
Yes, and what a great way to begin…
This first chapter was insightful for me for a number of reasons:
I discovered the characteristics which should be a part of who I am as a woman deep inside. Dr. Estes states,
“Healthy wolves and healthy women share certain psychic characteristics: keen sensing, playful spirit, and a heightened capacity for devotion…women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength…”
She includes many other characteristics, as well. According to Dr. Estes, I should be playful, loyal, relational, inquiring, strong, adaptive, brave, have great endurance, and intuitive, among other things. And while I can lay claim to some of these characteristics, I can’t say I’ve always done them well. For example, I’ve been “experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances” in my own life, but I haven’t necessarily adapted well. Most often, I think I may have adapted out of necessity because I was tired of fighting the change.
I would love to know what characterizes you as a woman? Are Dr. Estes’ characterizations of woman accurate? Is there anything you would add? Is there anything with which you disagree?
“Life” (this is how I interpret it) happens to a woman that results in her instinctive nature being pushed down to where she can feel bound up and trapped. When this happens, the true nature of a woman hides. A woman begins to feel as though she doesn’t know who she is. According to Estes, the hurt and pain life brings can result in a plethora of symptoms of a woman losing touch of who she is: depression, confusion, fatigue, feeling shame, being uncreative, being volatile, feeling powerless, being out of touch with God, being fearful, and a whole host of other symptoms.
While I couldn’t put my finger on it until I picked up this book, many of these symptoms plagued my own life. Doubt about who I was and my relationship with God stayed at the forefront of my mind for a few years. Much of this had to do with how I worked within my marriage. For example, when things went wrong in my marriage, I took the blame most of the time, resulting in my own feelings of inadequacy.
Another characteristic Dr. Estes mentions is “life-sapping choices in mates.” Because of some awful relationships in which I encouraged myself to become involved, I felt the need to have to protect myself. And granted, while Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life,” that can be taken to the extreme, to where one can become, as Dr. Estes says, “overprotective of self.” I’m still dealing with this now, though I believe it has gotten better.
Did any of the symptoms she mentioned ring true for you? If so, can you think back on your own life and determine what events and/or people were “contributors” (and I personally believe that you are your own contributor as well) to your current state of being? What happened in your life that has resulted in you living without inspiration, that you feel stuck, that you are uncertain, fearful, anxious? Examine the list and reflect. This is serious work, especially if you want to recover who you were meant to be.
We can reclaim who we, as women, were destined to be! We can live “wildly,” and be “Wild Woman,” that is, we can live a natural life with integrity and within healthy boundaries. We can look within ourselves to begin reclaiming ourselves. But how do we do this? Through stories. Within stories, whether fairy tales, legends, myths (and I personally want to include stories in the biblical narrative as well), we can find ourselves. We can ask questions of the stories to gain revelation into our own souls. Dr. Estes says,
“Stories are medicine…we need only listen…The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories.”
“…story is a medicine which strengthens and arights the individual…”
“Stories are embedded with instructions which guide us about the complexities of life.”
While it may seem simplistic, stories can be powerful ways to look within yourself. That’s why book clubs are so popular. You can see yourself in a character in a book and say, “Yeah, I can relate to that.” It’s like, “I’m not alone in this life. Others are experiencing this same sort of thing.”
Can you see the potential in the transforming power of stories? Why or why not?
Dr. Estes has provided a way back to our true self – through the examination of stories. About what Dr. Estes offers us in her book:
“…here are some stories to apply to yourself as soul vitamins, some observations, some map fragments…to guide the way back to…our psychic home.”
“Stories set the inner life into motion, and this is particularly important where the inner life is frightened, wedged, or cornered.”
“This is a book of women’s stories, held out as markers along the path…to assist you toward your own natural-won freedom.”
“The material in this book was chosen to embolden you. The work is offered as a fortification for those on their way, including those who toil in difficult inner landscapes, as well as those who toil in and for the world.”
“The wildish nature does not require a woman to be a certain color, a certain education, a certain lifestyle or economic class…in fact, it cannot thrive in an atmosphere of enforced political correctness, or by being bent into old burnt-out paradigms.”
“Unfurl the bandages, ready the medicine. Let us return now, wild women howling, laughing, singing up The One who loves us so.”
These are just some of my insights on the introductory chapter. I’d like for you to share your own insights, maybe something you felt was more important or relevant that I missed, or just how you’re feeling about your own personal journey. This is an ongoing conversation, so we can take our time with it.
In the meantime, while we are discussing and reflecting, let’s begin reading Chapter 1, “The Howl: Resurrection of the Wild Woman” for next week. In it, she tells the story of “La Loba,” Wolf Woman, whose only work is the collecting of bones. It is a miracle story, a story of resurrection. She also tells the story of “The Four Rabbinim,” where Dr. Estes describes how we begin gathering the bones.
We’re on our way…
It was time for my daughter to go night-night. I love to read to her, and she loves books, so when it’s getting past her bedtime, I tell her, “You can choose one book.” So she chose one of my favorites, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Because it’s one of my favorites, I said, “Good choice, A.!” She replied,
“I’m making good choices!”
Pardon me if I feel just a little bit proud. She’s not yet three years old.
For a moment, I felt like I did something great, like I taught her to make “good choices.” The fact of the matter is she learned that particular saying from her teacher at daycare, Miss V.
Since Miss V. has been teaching “A.” and her friends, she’s done finger-painting, hand-painting, regular painting with a brush, collaging, and drawing, coloring (I know I’m missing something), in addition to all the other activities of ”play” they do each day, including singing, dancing, reading, swinging, playing dress-up, building towers…all the activities toddlers engage in to help them learn. She’s not learning Spanish (at least not yet), there are no flashcards, and there is no rigorous “curriculum” where they are overscheduled to the point to where her brain would take exception and holler “Stop!” “A.” and her friends are allowed to be toddlers. They are allowed to be 2 and 3 year olds.
And because of Miss V., in the midst of learning through play, my daughter ”makes good choices.”
Thank you Miss V.!!!
Here they are…Enjoy!
One of the best things about doing a weekly favorites post is that you get to read posts that you would have loved to write yourself, but didn’t have the time to get to. This week, the paparazzi took a picture of Tyra Banks in a bathing suit looking a little heavier than she did when she was on the runway (go figure). The media ran with that story. But Andrea Amador of “The Juicy Woman” thankfully ran in the opposite direction in her post “Tyra Banks: The Juicy Woman’s Role Model For A Healthy Self-Esteem.” Great post for those who struggle with issues of weight (or know someone who does).
If you are a mother, how many times have you been at the grocery store with your child and a complete stranger tries to give you advice about how to raise your child? Or, are you the one who gives unsolicited advice to mothers when you see them out with their children? At “The Shizzle Life,” Lisa (I think) tells her readers how detrimental it can be to offer unsolicited parenting advice to others in “Why I Think Parenting Debates Rank Up There With Horse Manure.” As she says, “You never know when you may have to eat your words.”
Death is a very personal issue, and each person handles its resultant grief differently. But “Chatty Crone” provides for her readers a very personal look inside her own experience of losing both of her parents on the same day (they lived in different cities) and how she so graciously and courageously handled her own grief and pain in “Death x 2 = January 30, 2003.” This post might help someone else who is going through the pain of losing a loved one.
I love Wendy’s posts at “eMoms At Home” because she likes to examine how to bring the most value to her readers. One thing she is concerned about is ensuring that what she writes “accurately conveys” her message to her readers. Take a look at “Blogging Ethics: Should We Be Congruent?”, as she reflects on this issue using a real life blogging experience she recently had with two male bloggers. This is a very important issue for all of us bloggers, especially those of us who take what we do here seriously.
Finally, here is a comic from “bLaugh” about understanding women (or not understanding women) that may relate to Wendy’s post above.
Actually, I’ve provided the actual comic, but “bLaugh” has lots of corny cartoons, all related to blogging in some way. I just figured I’d add a little humor to the mix…
Enjoy, and let me know what you think of this weeks “Favorites!”