Sunday, February 19, 2012

The 12-Year-Old Boy's Question

Culver City, California
Sunday, February 19, 2012
1:08 p.m.

Since returning from our 6 1/2 month mother-daughter cross-country American walkabout which began last March and ended in September, I have not added to the 33 “Gathering WOmentum” blogs.  The last one was written in late November, 2011.
In the last few weeks, however, I have begun to share something of the essence and flavor of our journey with a few groups of friends with the understanding that in time we hope to produce a book and a documentary film about our journey.  The working title we have come up with is, “The Mother’s Road:  A Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Matter.”
Recently, I was captivated by the straightforward question of a 12-year-old boy when he learned I had spent half a year walking the American landscape with my daughter, Viveka.  “What did you learn?” he asked.  What follows is my attempt to answer his question.
*   *   *
After some reflection, I have come up with 13 things I have learned.  But the first of them doesn’t really count.  Let’s call it “ZERO,” for it is the ground zero, the context, or center point from which all things begin.  The first, or “zero” point is not something I learned, but something, rather that I knew and had forgotten.  You might say I had to “re-learn” it.  THEREFORE:  
Even before the beginning:
0. KNOW thyself -- meaning, know that you are loved unconditionally and that you are (already) worthy as a creation of G-d.  This means knowing what, who and whose you are.  If I had not forgotten this, I might not have ventured out, so I am happy for all the richness that forgetting has brought into my life: the joy of re-learning and re-discovering.  This is both the starting point and the ending point of all my exploration.
I learned that we are all on a journey virtually without distance:  from Source back to Source and that we have co-created and are presently co-creating our destiny with Spirit / Source from start to finish.
Because I had lost sight this perspective it was as though I knew it in my head -- conceptually -- but not in my heart -- experientially.  Therefore, the journey of the greatest distance turned out to be the 16+ inches from the head to the heart.  At first it seemed as though I had something to prove, something to fix, a wrong to right, and that was my mission or “reason” for the trip.  In the process of taking the journey, the reason for taking it “magically” disappeared.  The mission somehow fulfilled itself by virtue of finding the courage to take it and see it through.  Does that make sense?  If so, then you will have no trouble with the 12 additional things I learned.
Along the way I also learned my A-B-C’s.
A.  In the beginning:
1. BEGIN with the end in mind.  Have a shining image or thought form of a destination so you know your conditions for fulfillment, always referring back to “0” above. Know the difference between a goal, which will be attained (or not) and a purpose, which keeps you moving forward through goal after goal after goal.  My goal was to reach Washington D.C. and meditate under the capstone of the Washington monument.  I was hoping to receive a new vision of America and for our time in which women are equally valued decision-makers in partnership with men worldwide.  Ironically, the monument has been closed for earthquake repairs, so that particular goal was not attained.  My purpose, however was of a different order:  “to know G-d in every person I meet.”  And that purpose is ongoing.  That purpose always refers back to “0” because in truth, there is only One of us here!
2. MAKE a plan -- all the time knowing that “If you want to make G-d laugh, the best way to do that is to make a plan.”  Still, it is always important to start with the map, and to create a design.  That way, no matter what befalls, the map will be useful in getting back on track.  Submit the plan for higher approval, and also, surrender the plan, letting go of it.  Spirit often has an even better plan, so don’t be too attached to your own.  Our map served us well to help us get back on track, even when we were blown “off course” by following and obeying the leading of Spirit.
3. COMMIT -- Nothing really happens unless you do, and this will involve 
    1. standing up and being counted;  
    2. stepping up and signing up;  
    3. stepping out into the flow of life; 
    4. stepping beyond your preconceived limitations established by the fear of the unknown.            
The immediate rewards of commitment are astonishing:  The Universe rises to meet you and bring you aid you had not dreamed of.  I kid you not!
4. RISK -- To risk means to have something valuable at stake.  The death of something is assured to bring about new life in you.  That “something” can be a  physical or an emotional or a mental “reality.”  Are you willing to trade an old life for a new one?  Caterpillar for butterfly? “Life is either a bold adventure or it is nothing,” said Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf!  This is where alchemy comes in.  To bring about transformation, there must be something to be transformed:  the lead must become gold; the seed must die to sprout.  Something must be placed on the altar to be altered!  You have to risk the possible loss of something of value with the understanding that transformation and change can look very threatening to the old order of things.
5. INTEND -- for practical purposes, intention is everything, for it is what gathers momentum, and gets the ball rolling.  Even the word itself leans into the enterprise.  On your mark, get set . . . intend.
B.  In the middle:
6. TRUST all of the allies, guides, mentors, friends and angels who appear along the way.  Rely on their support, and above all, trust your self and your intuition to choose the best path forward.  Obi Wan Kenobi taught Luke Skywalker to trust the Force within himself.  Sometimes, when flying blind you just have to surrender to higher guidance and higher wisdom, which can come in an unexpected form, like Marcelina, the lame street vendor who sold me a “magical” amulet, a hematite necklace of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  This symbol of the Divine Mother served as a   symbolic reminder of the universal mission we were on, which transcended any and all religions.
7. FACE all of your fears, anxieties, shadows, enemies, adversaries and hecklers,  because although they appear as obstacles to be overcome, these are, and will prove to be your greatest teachers.  You will thank them profoundly in the end.  Jesus warned us that our greatest enemies would be those of our own households and families. . .  If I wanted world peace, as I proclaimed, I learned that after my own heart, my family was the best place to start.  Like all true spiritual gifts, peace is an inside job.
8. PERSEVERE -- through the tedious times, the unforgiving minutes and hours, remembering, always, to choose the most positive possible interpretation of any given circumstance.  At the risk of being considered naive, it pays to look on the sunny side, and choose to be upbeat.  You may not always be able to choose the circumstances, but you can always choose your attitude toward your circumstances.  This is not denial, but it is reframing to affirm a positive outcome.

9. LAUGH along with G-d.  Joy is the sure sign of the Presence of G-d.
10. DIE and be resurrected.  But also know that you do not have to die in the body to die to the false self (ego)!  Death is not the end of life, it is merely a change.  Andrew Cohen rightly said, “Everyone wants to be enlightened, but nobody wants to change!”  A miracle is the change that always results when love is chosen over fear.
C.  In the end:
11. PASS all of your tests -- not by the ego’s might or will power, but by consistency, fidelity to purpose, and especially by humility, trusting in G-d’s grace and guidance through the Holy Spirit which is as close as breath and breathing.  Let SIMPLICITY become a lifestyle choice, and it will become an ally and a great source of strength and renewed energy.
12. SHARE, with gratitude, the healing elixir you have been granted.  The precious learnings and gifts of your journey will inspire and support others on theirs, as they, in turn, learn to choose to follow their bliss.
* * *
But there is more:

Taking the longest view, if it is all just a play in the mind of G-d, as the Hindu worldview purports -- (maya = illusion; lilas = the play of G-d) -- it will all disappear, “an insubstantial pageant faded. . . leaving not a rack behind,” as Shakespeare said in The Tempest.  If this is indeed so, then by developing the ability to play one’s role with impeccability, witnessing the joys and sorrows, the achievements as well as the atrocities with compassionate equanimity, we will truly be of service in healing the suffering and heartbreak of the world.  We will not be deceived, but will clearly be awakened as from a dream.  What a relief!  What freedom!  What joy!
This glorious possibility: not just to wake up in the dream, but to wake up from it -- is the most important thing I learned on my pilgrimage.
The greater, collective healing always begins with healing oneself first; finding the source of one’s own heartbreak and receiving the healing there first.  It was precisely because I had lost touch with the source of my own original buried traumatic incidents that I kept manifesting them as projections upon my outer world and circumstances.  There they continued to appear and reappear and threaten me (and us) until I recognized my own role in creating them and took responsibility for that.  
That is precisely why I set out on this journey, apparently, to tilt at windmills, believing them to be monsters, until I realized what and who the real enemy is:  the disenfranchised shadow self.  Some have called this Satan, some have called it ignorance, some ego, and some “maya” or illusion.  Regardless of the name, the effect of this negative force is the same.
The original buried traumatic incidents seem to be universal:  fears of abandonment, betrayal and inferiority.  All of these are supported and fed by the one ultimate fear:  annihilation of being, which is the ego’s nightmare.  This is what the ego imagines death to be. 
We are all on this journey of self-discovery.  A few of us have completed it and have directed all of their energies to helping the rest of us complete ours.  These are the avatars, the masters, the bodhisattvas, also known as the angels and spirit guides, etc.  If you want Spirit/God/The Divine as a partner in fulfilling your Divine Plan, you must be willing to live the TAO, which I see simply as a path of Trust, Acceptance and Obedience.  
The TAO simply means “The Way.”  It is the same “Way” Jesus’ first followers understood, and saw exemplified in him.  Before they were called “Christians”  they called themselves “followers of the Way.”  Jesus taught “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  I believe that what he meant by that is:  to arrive at the destination you must not only find  the way, but walk in it to the extent that you also embody it, as he did.  In dedicating his life to walking the way of Truth, he became that Way, or that bridge over troubled water that we also can become which connects us -- and others -- with the Kingdom or Promised Land.  
And when might we expect that?  Must we wait for some vague future time, “afterwards”?  Or may we realize that we are in the Kingdom when we are fully present in this NOW moment, and the next NOW, and the next.
When your life is a pilgrimage, every step becomes a prayer, connecting you with the eternal present, the TAO of the NOW, and its ever-new joy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fade to White

Windsor Fountains Condo
Culver City, CA
November 30, 2011
9:49 a.m.
Fade to White
There is one story and one story only that will prove worth the telling. . .
                                                                              -- Robert Graves
Joseph Campbell suggested that myths are public dreams and our own personal dreams are our private myths.  We live in a time of shifting public dreams, with not much certain to believe in “out there,” although many of us cling to traditional paradigms for the comfort they provide.  Others of us turn to our private myths to provide meaning for our lives with the hope that at least we may be able to control -- or at least influence -- the environment “in here.”  These, who are increasingly tuned to “the beyond within” are the individuals who would be “masters of their fate,” but who realize that such a course must be undertaken with the greatest humility -- surrendering the entire outcome to a much greater destiny that shapes our ends. 
Where do I stand?  Somewhere between comfort and mastery.  I’m not ready to buy the old myths just because I’m attached to the stories and their happy endings.  Nor am I ready to throw out all that has gone before just because it seems to have failed to provide all the answers.  I do want a sense of control, a sense of “destiny,” to “take arms agains a sea of troubles,” not simply to be a passive observer, paralyzed with fear, on the deck of a sinking ship.  I want to find what is “mine to do” and to do it -- to play my own role to the best of my ability in this great human drama, in which I seem to be a single point of light in a vast tapestry of immense design.  I think of the musicians who played “Nearer My God to Thee,” as the Titanic went down.  It was a choice they made as a group.  If that is my role, let me play true until I can no longer breathe to blow my flute. 
*   *   *
I undertook the cross country walk with my daughter with a specific myth in mind:  I was Demeter the outraged mother, she was Persephone, the daughter who had been abducted by Hades, King of the underworld and taken to his underground realm.  Viveka’s husband, Richard was Hades.  The story was complicated, for Persephone’s father, Zeus had approved the marriage to his brother, Hades, without consulting Demeter, who was sister to the two brothers, which made Persephone Hades’ niece.  (Incest was common to the gods, apparently.)
Believe it or not, this ancient Greek myth fit my relationship with my daughter Viveka and my son-in-law, Richard to a remarkable degree.  Richard is much older than Viveka, more like a brother to me than a son-in-law.  I was not consulted about this match beforehand, and there were many things about it that angered me, not the least of these being the fact that Viveka had been living in a marginal, depressed and “underworld” environment ever since she married Richard.  They had suffered great reversals of fortune, and were living hand to mouth.  I had been called upon many times to “rescue” my daughter by loaning money, even buying property for them to live on, but the fact remained that my outrage and anger were always lurking beneath the surface.  Something about this family situation was not “right.”  I wanted to get to the bottom of it and discover what was really going on. 
What I discovered -- to my surprise -- was that Viveka had felt abandoned by me when she became an emancipated minor at age 16 in order to pursue her film career.  I did not feel I had abandoned her, after all this is what she had wanted, and had begged for.  It was a decision I must have regretted on some level,  for I also discovered remorse and a feeling of responsibility for Viveka’s (apparent) inability to manage her life.  I did have to acknowledge that I felt grief over signing away my parental responsibility before she was emotionally mature.  This fact was the source of my guilt and contributed to the anger I was feeling -- anger at myself for letting her make the choice, and not insisting that she enjoy a few more years of childhood.  I was afraid she would blame me in later years:  “I could have been somebody, and you stood in my way.”  It was a Catch-22.  There was no “correct” choice.  I did what I did.
So as the 198 days of our cross-country Sole 2 Soul walk fulfilled themselves we discovered that we were filling in those lost years.  We were completing her teen-age years, and I was fulfilling my responsibility as a parent.  Richard was really not the enemy.  The real enemy was the unacknowledged feelings of grief and anger and outrage over decisions that were made in my family history where I and other women had no part in the decision making and therefore had no say-so, and no control.  I truly got in touch with this deep cause of anger, and could identify with women throughout time and history, literally back to mythological times!  
Here is the real issue I had to confront:  cowardice.  
If one makes a decision one has to live with the consequences and take responsibility for it.  If one lets a decision be made for her, she can be a victim and blame others.  She takes no responsibility, but she can be angry because she was not part of the decision-making process.  But this is entirely dishonest.  The truth is she chose not to choose.  Why?  She was afraid.  She was more afraid of choosing than not choosing.  And still she does not want to be accountable for choosing to be a victim!
The answer:  
Getting in touch with the confusion and the anger smoldering underneath.  Seeing that it is misplaced.  Knowing that it is anger with myself for making a choice from fear instead of love.  But how could I have known this?  Without this bitter experience I could not have known the difference.  Therefore, coming from love, I can now forgive my unfortunate choice and start again with a clean slate.
What did Demeter do?  
She was not a coward, but she was a women in the company of very powerful men who weren’t disposed to consider her point of view.  She protested in the only way she could:  she threw a tantrum.  (See my blog on Tantrum Yoga.)  But what a tantrum!  Since she was the Goddess of harvest and fertility her tantrum meant that the earth did not produce its fruits.  The people were starving.  So the plight of the people found its way up to Zeus who had sanctioned and permitted, even suggested the marriage of Persephone to his lonely outcast brother, Hades.  Zeus was asked to resolve the world crisis.  How did he do it?  With the aid of Apollo (the Sun God) and Mercury (the messenger of the gods) a compromise was reached.  Persephone wanted to be returned topside, but she had eaten some pomegranate seeds and this meant that she was in some measure bound to the King of the underworld.  How many had she eaten?  3? 6? 9?  
The resolution / compromise: 
Zeus decreed that Persephone could dwell in the sunlight with her mother for a number of months of the year, but must return to the realm of the underworld for the rest of the year.  This created the seasons:  Summer and Winter.  How long will winter be?  3? 6? 9? months.  In different parts of the world the length of the seasons differ.  The world would suffer no more, but would harvest the grain and fruits in their seasons. 
*   *   *
Here is my challenge to all readers of this blog as I conclude:
Get in touch with your personal myth -- something that resonates with you and informs the story of your life.  Plunge deeply into the subconscious and unconscious sources of this strand of story.  It is like a piece of wood floating after the shipwreck.  Grab it.  It has the power to carry you along.  It is no accident that this particular piece of debris has come to your aid.  Its appeal is both personal and universal.  It reaches out to you.  It sings to you and will bring you to shore.
The reason it appeals to you is that you are the hero / heroine in this story.  It can be no other way.  When you find that story it will be like a key that will open up the starry night like the stories of the constellations have always opened up the cosmos:  from the standpoint of the merging of both the collective and the individual mythos.
And is there only one story?  Yes -- and -- no.  To be sure there are many individual stories, but the hero and the heroine’s journey have common structures that bind them all together:  a going out and a coming home with the elixir which brings joy and healing to those at home in the community.  And those waiting at home are of two types:  (1) those who are waiting to venture out -- the youth; and (2) those who have already ventured out -- the elders and ancestors.  All are waiting to welcome you home with the gifts you bring.
*   *   * 
Viveka and I will be making a film about our adventure, G-d willing.  It may take a year or more.  There will be some surprises, for I have not here told the whole story.  For example, Viveka’s version of the story differs from mine, as might be expected, which leads to some interesting moments of truth.  Another surprise involves the fact that the hero’s journey is not the same as the heroine’s journey.  And this is an important aspect of what we discovered.  For the purposes of this last blog, I have merely suggested a story-line, which we will be fleshing out with the footage we have gathered.
Stay tuned. . .
. . .Fade to white

Friday, November 18, 2011

Home 'n Stuff

Windsor Fountains Condo
Culver City, CA
November 17, 2011
2:15 p.m.
Home ‘n Stuff
Does a girl have to have cancer to make a wish, or have a dream come true?
                                                                                          --Viveka Davis
This is blog #32 in a series of 33 -- the next to last.  It’s time to look back and see if anything still needs to be said before we turn our attention to making a documentary film about our adventure, which could easily consume the next year -- or two.
Yes, there are several things.
First and most of all, I would like to acknowledge my mother, Viveka’s grandmother, Joanne, who not only made our journey possible financially, but who made it necessary and desirable emotionally.  You see, Joanne (may she be remembered fondly) was of that “Rosie the Riveter” era -- some have called it “The Greatest Generation,” who weathered the great depression and waged World War II, and wanted to see their children have a better life.  “Better” to them meant more affluent and better educated.  They succeeded.  Because they provided for us materially, we had the luxury of hanging out in libraries and coffee houses, marching in protest parades and starting a revolution against the very values that our parents had made such vast sacrifices for.  I realize, with great gratitude and appreciation, that these words are being written because my mother, a child of immigrants with an eighth grade education, believed in me, and provided a way for me to have a voice.  She did this by working in her little beauty shop, dreaming of a better future for me and my brother, one pin-curl at a time.  Thank you Mother.  May your labors of love not have been in vain, and may the beauty you brought to others forever abide with you as well.
Second, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Cahokia Star Knowledge Gathering in Collinsville, IL 11:11:11 which Viveka and I participated in both as attendees and presenters.  Here is a description that went out prior to the event:
Chief Golden Light Eagle and many others invite you to join us for the 11:11:11 Cahokia Star Knowledge Gathering

The energy of the 11:11 has been building for many years, and the long awaited 11:11:11 offers us the opportunity to step through a portal of love, a window of opportunity to transcend from third dimensional beings to the next step in our evolution of consciousness to functioning as being multi-dimensional beings and honoring our connectedness with all there is.

During the Gathering we will focus on the importance of our Guardianship of the EARTH, AIR, FIRE, and WATER. What better place to merge with all there is than Collinsville, IL, near the WATERS of the Great Grandfather Mississippi River in the Heart of Grandmother Turtle Island (North America).

Your heart has the memory of the 11:11. Join us as we activate the memory and answer the Call to Awaken.
Now, writing one week after the fact, all I want to say is that I hope that you were in ceremony or in some spiritual gathering on 11:11:11 which allowed you to experience the remarkable energies that found expression on that occasion.  I and many others witnessed with great joy as we, as a planetary consciousness, passed over a threshold to mark a milestone in our evolution as a species. 

When I left on my journey last March, I cleared out my apartment so that I could rent it.   Because I lived in an RV for 7+ months I got used to the discipline of “stuff-less-ness.” I discovered that there is very little that I actually “need,” and it can all fit in a few suitcases.  What freedom!  Now that I am back I am faced with the “problem” of what to do with all of that stuff.  Part of me wants to dump it ALL at a charity thrift store.  Another part of me wants to sift and sort through it, and re-establish the attachments that time and distance have severed.

The truth is that the person who is returning home is not the same person who left.  She sees with different eyes, hears with different ears, and feels with a different heart.  She has tasted the freedom of detachment, and is not willing to enter once more into the bondage of things.
In any case, it is a high class problem to have, and I see it as a luxury.  In my next -- and final -- blog I will let you know how it all turned out. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Are Decisions Made? (Part II)

WildeRose Guest House
Rogers, KY
November 4, 2011
8:57 a.m.
How Are Decisions Made?  (Part II)
“If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.”
                                             -- source unknown
Ideally, here is how I make decisions:  I gather the most complete set of facts and information available; then, using my reason and logic, (left brain) I consult further with my intuition and imagination, (right brain) and I select a course of action from an array of possibilities that best serves my highest ideals.
I said “ideally” because that is how I believed decisions “should” be made.  However, as a result of this recent cross-country trip with my daughter, Viveka, I have had the opportunity to observe my decision-making process in slow motion over the past few months.  I have concluded that I very rarely have the opportunity to make the “ideal” kinds of decisions.  In fact, I’m not even sure that I make decisions at all, although very often I do exercise my preferences, and seek consensus with others.  What I have called decisions in the past are merely the means I use to keep myself believing that I am in control.  And I am not.  
Am I a fatalist, then?  Do I believe in predestination?  No, neither of those.  But I have seen that my so-called free will is limited to a very simple kind of choice: not what actually happens -- for that is determined by forces far more complex than I could possibly command or control -- but only what attitude I assume about what actually happens, i.e. what I make it mean.  That is what I can control.  And only that.  I have direct control over my happiness when I choose or “decide” to accept it all with gratitude and joy, and learn the lesson that reality is affording me in this now moment.  What a privilege!  This is what I call “practicing the art of the possible,” a concept given me by a wise Guatemalan woman, Yoland Trevino.  
That is why, as the adventure unfolded I grew less and less fearful and appalled by circumstances that threatened our progress, and more and more amused and delighted with the seeming obstacles that turned up in our path, for example  a sudden death in the family of our driver (which called him away unexpectedly); our rejection / banishment by 1/2 of our team members; our vehicle’s mechanical failures; and the difficulties we had in keeping to our “schedule.”  
Because of the people we met and the relationships we formed, very often it was no simple matter to say goodbye and move on.  It was as though we could not leave certain places until we were “released” from them.  That was certainly the case with Sedona and the Santa Fe, Kansas City areas.
So we came to ask ourselves: “Who” or “what” is calling the shots and doing the “releasing”?  As we surrendered more and more to “Divine Order” and “Divine Will,” which we often referred to as “The Divine Feminine” or “Divine Mother” we found that our path was strewn with blessings.  Amazingly fortuitous things happened every day to convince us that we were living out a script or a plan that we could not possibly have devised.  And it was all designed to provide me with an opportunity for optimum, joyful spiritual growth.
But the grandest obstacle of all was encountered in Kentucky in August when my adversarial relationship with my son-in-law flared up.  This brought up all of my issues of personal heartbreak from childhood involving my mistrust of men, and brought to the forefront my need to work on my own shadow and heal my wounded inner child.  (See blogs entitled “Tantrum Yoga,” and “Golden Wedding Day.”)
*   *   *
The successful completion of the walk and the inner gifts I received from Spirit as a result, coupled with the work with Andrew Harvey at his Sacred Activism retreat in Oak Park IL early in October have given my life a new sparkle and verve.  What I am learning is to live my life more consistently and consciously from the inside out, taking into account the rich array of options in front of me.  It is as though half of me is sensitive to the beauty in things -- I’ll call that the feminine part -- and the other half is sensitive to the truth of things -- I’ll call that the masculine part.  There had been unnecessary misunderstanding up to now about the nature of these two ways of appreciating reality.  But, as with the ages-old conflict between religion and science, there now appear to be ways to reconcile these alienated partners -- who actually started out side by side on the path to human knowledge.  
Just as science and religion are attempting to answer different questions:  the how and what (science) as opposed to the why and wherefore (religion) so the “masculine” and “feminine” parts of my make-up are giving me two different versions of human value.  But I am now clear that one is not more “valuable” than the other.  They must work in partnership as the poet John Keats suggested in his poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”:
  Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. 
I can only begin with myself.  My heart is both an art studio and a science laboratory for this grand experiment.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Game's Afoot! (But Why Am I Walking?)

November 20, 2010
Culver City, CA

(Please note:  Originally published in 2010, this blog was the first in the series.  It was recently revised to correct an error.

*   *   * 

Rev. Doris Davis, a 72-year old Interfaith minister and three others, supported by an RV and driver, plan to walk 2700 miles from Oceanside, CA to Washington D.C. in the 6 1/2 months from March 8 to September 21, 2011.  They expect that local walkers -- both women and men -- will join them along the route (Oceanside / Phoenix / Albuquerque / Denver /  Kansas City / Indianapolis / Washington D.C.) for a little or a lot.  They will welcome the companionship and the conversation.  She writes:

Why Am I Walking?  
First of all the dates are significant:  March 8 is the 100th Anniversary of the International Day of Women, and September 21 is the International Day of Peace, declared by the United Nations.

Why Am I Walking?  
People always want to know.  But really, I want -- and need -- to know, and I ask myself many times a day, and get different answers.  If you ask me a year from now I may have a better answer, I may even have a book put together about what I saw, felt and learned from this adventure, but at this point, as I begin my training, I can say that I am inspired by a group of women ( who are imagining a world where women are equally valued decision makers all around the world in partnership with men.  The call has gone out for women to step up, step out, and step beyond their previously perceived and accepted limitations to make this happen in meaningful ways.

Why Am I Walking?  
As a 72-year-old White-Anglo Saxon-Protestant (WASP) woman who has had the benefits of being a wanted child, born into a stable, prosperous and orderly society, I have been blessed by abundance, opportunity and good fortune.  I have had a first class education, enjoyed excellent health, raised beautiful, healthy children and found meaningful work and advancement in a society where I have been free from want and fear.  I have no complaints whatsoever.  But I know that the blessings I have received are simply not available to billions of my brothers and sisters across the planet -- especially my sisters.

Why Am I Walking?  
Really, there are two kinds of answers:  outer ones and inner ones.  Outer answers are the ones people want to hear so that they can label them and perhaps dismiss them more easily, like: "I am walking to help cure cancer," or "to end world hunger" or "for nuclear disarmament and world peace."  But always between the goal and the reality there necessarily stands a great abyss.  The kindly well-wishers will say, "Good luck."  The cynical will add under the breath "That will never happen."  And quite often the bottom line will be the amount of money raised because that seems to justify everything in the end.

But the inner answer, the one that satisfies me and gets me up in the morning is more mysterious:  I am walking for no reason that I can put words to.  I am walking because in some deep inexplicable way I know that I was born to do this very thing -- crazy as it may seem.  It is not a matter of survival, it is a matter of completion.  Knowing this, I have arrived at a very meaningful and joyful place -- by G-d's grace.  I aim to be celebrating my gratitude every step of the way.   
Let me be careful to explain that last paragraph, because it is important:  I am walking because I have already arrived at a place where I can see that  ALL ARE NOT THERE YET.  Still, I want to draw others -- especially women -- out of striving and efforting into the circle of celebration, where they can experience the perfection and the completion of the NOW moment.  I am walking because I can, and because I choose to integrate walk and talk;  because my life is about the unalienable right -- meaning the power and freedom -- to CHOOSE to have my life be exactly the way it is.  All else flows from the first choice to be at peace from within.  With my head in the clouds and my feet on the earth I am choosing to integrate the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects of my existence in the most meaningful way I can imagine.  I am literally walking my talk.  This is a pilgrimage, and every step is a prayer.

Why Am I Walking?  
When men's feet touched the surface of the moon and walked, there was great rejoicing.  A small step for man was a giant leap for mankind.  Similarly, I am holding a vision for this walk:  When women's feet walk the earth with that kind of intention we will see giant strides for humankind.  The sleeping sister giant will awaken with all of her latent potential for decency and compassion.  The Dalai Lama said in 2009, "The Western woman will save the world."  The Dalai Lama and I agree, and I am walking to gather the WOmentum for the next quantum leap in our collective evolution.  There are many ways that men as well as women can join this movement.  For details, e-mail me at

And Finally:  Why Am I Walking? -- NOT!
Firstly, I am NOT walking to demonize or blame men or "the patriarchy."  I am not walking to defy, fight against, or change anything.  I doubt that anything can be changed until and unless it is fully acknowledged, as experienced,  and therefore completed.  It must be allowed to be just the way it is, and the way it is not.  No doubt the critical change I want to see in the individual and in the collective will come from within.  I will be writing more of this in future blogs.

Secondly, I am not walking primarily to raise money for myself or for any cause.  All I want is for people to use my example and whatever inspiration it may spark to get in touch with whatever it is that they are passionately committed to, and to find a way creatively to embody the new paradigm that they want to operate from in their own reality.  Yes, our little expedition will have need of money, for gas and food and many contingencies unforseen, but we are stepping out on faith, knowing that our needs are known before we ask and therefore we will be provided for.  Love offerings will always be gratefully accepted in the name of the Divine Mother.

Always Victory!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Are Decisions Made? (Part I)

WildeRose Guest House
Rogers, KY
October 28, 2011
5:16 p.m.
How Are Decisions Made?  (Part I)
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”      --Yogi Berra
One of the main themes of this Sole 2 Soul adventure -- which began last March as a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day, and officially ended on September 21, 2011, the International Day of Peace -- has been the issue of decision-making.  As an individual, as a pair of partners, as a group, as a family, a tribe, a nation, the same question always begs for clarification:  How are decisions made?  When faced with a choice of paths forward, how do we eliminate all but the one we select?  How do we settle on the one that shows the most promise?
It’s complicated, as brain research is showing us.
I have often assumed the popular notion that our human brains, divided into left and right hemispheres somehow affect the decision-making process.  And I must confess I have often greatly oversimplified the matter by assuming the left brain to be associated with the more rational, linear, focused kind of thinking, hence “more masculine.” and the right brain to be associated with the more emotional, global, and intuitive kind of thinking, hence “more feminine.”  
For the purposes of our cause -- i.e. women as equally valued decision makers, whose full participation and contributions are essential now to resolve our local and global challenges -- it was convenient to say that if there was an imbalance in the world, it was because we had become too weighted in the direction of left-brain thinking.  Therefore, we were advocating a shift in the balance, loosely identifying this as a greater emphasis on “feminine values,” and in an even more mystical and dramatic way calling for “The Return of the Divine Feminine.”  
I have recently seen a presentation which casts a great deal of light onto this subject, and I invite you to consider it as part of this blog presentation, which I am calling Part I of a two-part series.  Instead of reading anything more I have to say, please take 12 minutes to view the TED presentation by psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist:  “The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.”  McGilchrist, a psychiatrist makes the case in a very engaging and humorous way -- supported by brilliant graphics -- that left-brain thinking has tended to take precedence.  A very notable imbalance has resulted, which some might call a cultural bias. 
His summary conclusion works to correct our previous oversimplifications.  He says, “For imagination you need both [hemispheres] and for reason you need both hemispheres as well,” implying that both imagination and reason require cooperative interaction of the whole brain.  
He does not make the case that one kind of thinking is “masculine” and the other is “feminine,” for the fact remains that both men and women have both attributes.  But he does state that the divided brain offers us two versions of the world, and that there has been a tendency to value one kind of thinking and hence (my inference) one kind of decision-making over the other.  
After having viewed the presentation several times, I am struck by the fact that all of the cartoons (with only a couple of exceptions) are of male figures -- doctors, patients, historical figures, etc.  I am also struck by the fact, supported by the research, that the right hemisphere tends to lack a voice with which to express and project its views, whereas the left hemisphere is more comfortable with the control of the media of conceptualization and expression. 
He concludes with a striking quotation from Albert Einstein:  “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant but has forgotten the gift.”
This blog will be continued in Part II, and I heartily invite comment.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Grandmother's Lesson for Advanced Beginners

WildeRose Guest House
Rogers, KY
October 20, 2011
11:09 a.m.
A Grandmother’s Lesson For Advanced Beginners
To move forward the understanding that women’s full participation and contributions, in partnership with men, are essential now to resolve our local and global challenges and to create the positive future we all know is possible!  
                                      --Mission Statement of Sole 2 Soul Walk -- 3/8/11 - 9/21/11
For several months on our cross-country journey I had been considering how to summarize and condense what I was learning about what might be involved in a movement which could be described as “The Return of the Divine Feminine.”  I see this as a mighty and powerful possibility dawning on the world horizon, but which, I learned, is by no means is a shared reality in our collective experience.  The journey of the past seven months has taught me that turning a possibility into a reality begins with intentionally creating a conceptual framework which can be used to organize thoughts, feelings and actions.
At the conclusion of Andrew Harvey’s Sacred Activism initiation retreat which took place October 1-7 in Oak Park, IL,*  each of the participants was given the floor for a few minutes to teach a wisdom lesson.  This would be our “graduation ceremony” and evidence of our readiness to bring our gifts into the world.   
What follows are excerpts from my platform talk -- a very simple teaching designed to reach any human from the preschool age forward.  It was given before  30 fellow “classmates.”  I dedicated my talk to my own mother, Joan, who gave me the priceless gift of unconditional love, and to my very earliest elementary teachers -- I still remember their names and faces -- who grounded me in the beauty of their radiant mother wisdom.
*   *   *
The lesson begins:

“Here we are all ‘Advanced Beginners.’  So I would like you to remember your kindergarten teacher.  In kindergarten teachers often teach lessons with their hands (she makes the movement of the “Eentsy Weentsy Spider climbing up the water spout).  
I’d like you to start by drawing the outline of your left hand with your right hand, starting at the base of the thumb.  Remember, we used to do this, and we drew a handprint which became a turkey for Thanksgiving, when we colored in the feathers, remember? Or we made an impression in clay, which our mothers cherished, remembering that your little hands made that with so much love for Mother’s Day.  
I want you to feel your left hand when your right hand draws around it, and know that when the right side of your body engages with the left side of your body, the two halves of your brain light up in a special way.  Wholeness is experienced in a neuro-psysiological and neuro-psychological way.  And now I am going to drop the adult language and speak to you the way I would to my 3-year-old grandson, Ashton.
*   *   *
“Ashton, there are five things your grandmother wants you to know -- and these may sound like big words, but I know you can understand them because there is one word for each finger of your hand.  As I speak, do as I do with your hand.  It will help you to understand.
(Pointing to left index finger with right index finger, with left index finger pointing upwards)
“The first one is CONSCIOUSNESS.  (tapping on the index finger) Consciousness is yours -- It is how you know that you are you.  And it points upward, reminding you that your little consciousness is connected with God -- the biggest consciousness of ALL.  Never forget who you are, and your connection with the creator, the All in All.
“The second one is next to it.  Because it is next door it is a neighbor, or a sister, or a brother, or a friend.  And you discover it after you go down into the gap between them.  (Drawing the “V” space between first and second finger)  This finger is called COMMUNICATION.  Once your consciousness realizes who it is, it wants to communicate with the one next to it, and it does this by words and movements.  And words and communication are the second thing I want you to remember, because with communication now, there is a bond between you and the other -- and any and all others.
“The next thing -- and by the way in order to get to the next thing, you have to go through the gap once again.  I’m going to name those gaps for you.  The first gap was called COMPASSION; and the second gap is called COMPASSION . . .  (laughter).  I think you see how this is going to go?  
And when you go through the second gap of compassion you come to the third finger:  CULTURE.  And this is what your grandmother wants you to know:  (Reviewing by continuing to count on the fingers) 
Connected with God, communicating with one another, we create, always through the journey of compassion, a culture.  We agree that certain things are important, certain things are valuable, and this becomes our shared culture.  It’s the story of us -- of who we know ourselves to be, in relationship with the one (pointing up) and the many (counting on the first three fingers).  If we value peace, for example, we create a culture of peace.  (Makes “Peace” sign with fingers.)  And we Work together for it.  (Three fingers make a “W”.)  But that all comes later, much later, when you begin to learn the alphabet!)
“For now, I just want you to know about the next finger -- about this pinkie here -- the littlest finger.  This one is a little weaker and a little smaller.  It is called COMMUNITY.  It means all of us together in a family or a tribe or a nation or in the world.  But I want you to know that, even though community  can be weak, through compassion, once again (tracing through the gap) community can also be strong when these four stand together.
“And these are your fingers, Ashton.  And do you notice that even though your fingers are all different, they are still all the same!  They look like a family.  Like your family!  They can stand tall, and they can fan out, and they can curve and bend, and wave and wiggle.  Show me what your fingers can do!  Isn’t that fun?
“But I know you want to ask me about this guy here.  (She sticks out her thumb.)  Who is this guy?
“Your thumb!  That’s right.  He’s not a finger.  He is different.  Did you notice that Consciousness, Communication and Culture and Community all start with the sound “C?”  That is the letter “C?” and we will get to letters and their sounds later.  But for now, what about him?  Is he part of or apart from the rest?  Let’s see.  The compassion gap between him and consciousness is the greatest of all.  And he does stand apart.  He stands in opposition.  He’s short and thick and a bit squat.  Definitely odd.  So what do we do with this guy?  Do we ignore him?  Do we cut him off?  Pretend he is not there?  Make him disappear?  Make him ashamed?
“We will call him the CONTRARIAN.  The one who won’t fit in.  But again,  if we use the power of compassion to move in his direction, to really get to know him we can see that he has a very unusual ability to give power and energy to all of the others -- if we work with him and let him work with us.  He is not a finger.  He is different.  He is a thumb.  But he gives power to all of us -- if we work together.
“He is that which, by his opposition, gives wholeness and strength and articulation to our hand -- intelligence.  That’s right.  The thumb makes the hand much smarter.  He is the one who helps us to be different from the animals who only have paws.  He is the one who can make a fist, or a wonderful tool. He wants to be useful for carrying and caressing and giving and helping.  He helps us to grasp things!  What a wonderful power he gives us.  And someday, Ashton, you will understand that because of the extra power he gives us, our minds have grown to understand and grasp a great many things.  The way we use our hands makes us intelligent human beings!
“Ashton, this is your hand.  Give your hand to your hand.  Shake hands with yourself!  Make friends with the two halves of yourself, and use your whole self to do good things, like making friends, and seeing the wholeness in others.
(She uses her hands to make the gesture of namaste.)
“And remember that it is your grandmother who taught you these important things when you were just a wee beginner.” 
See previous blog posted October 13, 2011 -- “Sacred Activist:”  Is There A Badge For That?