WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

WHEN THE WRONG ONES WILL DO

WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

MAKES ME HAPPY

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

AWARENESS...

STAYING AWAKE TO THE REMARKABLE IN THE ROUTINE

AWARENESS...

Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

“The Heroine’s Journey for these times is a journey out of the Wasteland. Each of us has our own unique set of stories to tell…  Telling those stories helps us to understand ourselves — not just the place that we’ve come from, but where we might now be heading.” ~ Sharon Black, “If Women Rose Rooted”

For Christmas, Steve gave me two DNA test kits. Both provide genealogy information but the one from 23andme.com focuses on health while the one from Ancestry.com is more focused on information about ancestors. Ancestry.com is also the website where you can sign up (and pay) to put together your family tree.

I’m betting this was a popular gift this year. So many people I know have been researching and putting together their family genealogy for years. I’ve never been interested myself, which is kind of odd, given that I’ve been obsessed since I was a child with finding my birth family and learning more about them.

Since finding my family, my curiosity has been centered around learning their stories – all the things I missed out on because I wasn’t there. I’ve discovered it’s not easy to get to know family tales. I’ve heard a few but can’t remember the details by the time I’m able to write them down.

It may be that stories cannot be known if you weren’t there or haven’t at least seen the family photos or letters that accompany the plot. These visual representations of the past are the sorts of things you pull off the shelf and page through with others, laughing and exclaiming, “Oh! Remember this!”

Stories… they are how I make sense of people and the world. Writing my memoir was my way of trying to make sense out of my own life. And the revision that follows the draft? Elizabeth Jarret Andrew can explain that journey so much better than I can.

“As we learn to revise, we gain skills in listening, letting go, creating, communicating, enduring, and trusting our intuition. Our voice gets stronger… We claim our stories despite their brokenness… The changes we need to make in our text are minuscule compared with the changes revision demands of our hearts.” ~ Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, “Living Revision”

One of my cousins drew my attention to a podcast called Adoptees On. I listened to an interview with a woman named Nicole Rademacher and was blown away when I heard her explain that when she found her birth parents, she learned they had gotten married two years after giving her up for adoption. I thought I was the only one this had happened to! We all assume our birth parents were very young and for that reason, didn’t end up together. According to Nicole, birth parents getting married is a surprisingly common occurrence.

Nicole is an artist and she is working on an art project where she seeks to express her experience as an adoptee who has found her birth family. She uses a thaumatrope (19th century optical toy) to combine an image of her biological family with a photo of herself from the same time period. You can see what a thaumatrope does here. The effect is that she is continuously added and removed from the photos.

Her art sounds similar to what I’ve wanted to do with writing – to take my family’s stories and drop myself into them somehow.

I have no idea how digging for genealogical information serves this story seeker. I do feel driven to do the search, so maybe there’s a reason, and I’ll know it when I find it.

dogs running

“Rose walked in search of the Fata Morgana. The castle seemed to glow with a transparent
inner light, the color of darkness if darkness could shine.” ~ “The Twelve Wild Swans”

In the book “The Twelve Wild Swans” by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine, the authors use an old European story about how twelve sons were changed into twelve swans by an ill-fated wish by their mother. The woman, who was a queen, longed so much for a daughter, she was willing to trade her sons to have one. There are several versions of this story, depending on which European country you are in, but I’ll stick to the one that I read.

Continue reading

dog running

A slight play on words… speed of light, speed of life… they are both very fast.

It seems like what I planned to write about becomes out-of-date faster than I can write about it. Regardless, I’m going to go back two weeks, to when I went to a restorative yoga practice. The event was called “Yoga in the Yurt” and was at Will Heal Farm.

I almost didn’t go because I was so tired and achy. And I didn’t feel like I could spare the time. It was a Sunday evening and I had to work the next day and needed to do laundry so I’d have something to wear.

It was actually Steve who reminded me how much better I feel after these yoga sessions. There is at least a few hours of residual happiness and calm I get to take home with me, which he probably appreciates.

I like the group of people who attend the classes held at the farm. I don’t get the chance very often to hang out with or work with people I feel that kind connection to. It’s important to get a dose of shared-mindedness and space every once and a while.

It makes me do a little happy dance…

dancing dog

The floor of the yurt was quickly filled by women carrying yoga mats, pillows and blankets. There was cinnamon tea and Golden Milk to drink, along with candlelight, and a wood burning stove to warm us. We were each given an eye pillow to shut out the light and a rock from Lake Superior to hold during our practice. I don’t know anyone who lives in Minnesota who doesn’t feel a certain love for the North Shores. I held my heart-shaped rock in my hand, against my stomach, and remembered the sound of the waves that I knew so well.

I don’t know if we all came to the yurt for the same reasons, but I’m guessing everyone was looking for a feeling of peace and to let go of whatever worries and busyness they were carrying, at least for the two hours we were there.

The focus in this session was on “contentment,” which Allison Miller, the yoga instructor, told us was a combination of gratitude and letting go. Whenever dark thoughts fill our heads, we can replace them with thoughts of what we are grateful for. It may turn out that we will even feel gratitude for the dark times someday, when we are on the other side of wisdom and can see what lessons were learned and new strengths found.

dog standing on a rock

After the practice was done, I went to the farmhouse and bought some of Will Heal Farm’s honey, garlic, lavender body butter and facial serum before I drove home.

One other thing that Allison said during the class was how an article she read reported that the warm, grateful, awe-struck feelings we experience at certain times in our life can be re-experienced when we share the story with others.

So here I am sharing and reliving a bit of the contentment I experienced.

It’s my way of slowing down the speed of life and taking a moment to be grateful for Allison, Rachel and Pat at Will Heal Farm, all the women who attended the yoga practice, Steve who prompted me to get my priorities straight, and for you, the other like-minded peoples in my life, who have come here to read this. Thank you.

walking in the woods

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