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Archive for January, 2014

La Luna

The people of the village use their torches to light up the dark bog and together they remove the heavy boulder off of Mother Moon. Her radiant face shines with such beauty she touches the hearts and minds of all the villagers and fills the bog with illumination. She lifts into the sky and fills the village and the world with light.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes goes on to talk about her insights into the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. She talks about how the bog in the story represents emotional wounds both in us personally and in our world. She suggests that the way to work with our wounding is not to avoid it, but rather go into it, feel it, be in the center of it metaphorically and meditatively. While being in the center of the wound, feeling with intensity, we can find the light, even if it is just a flicker. We grab that light and fill ourselves with it, we can come back into our lives and into our world being that light for others and ourselves.

After I finished listening to this second cd of “Theatre of the Imagination”, I checked my Facebook page. A friend had posted a story about a man who had gone to a school where there was a tragedy and he stood in front of the school as a bodyguard, helping everyone feel safer. He came everyday to stand as a bodyguard. No one asked him to. No one paid him. He went right into the center of that wound in that school and in that town, and he was a light.

How can we be a light to each other, our world, and ourselves?

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Photograph copyright Theodore Herzberg

Saturday, I went to a storytelling workshop by Ruth Strotter, founder of the Dominican College Storytelling Program, who is also a folklorist and international storyteller and teacher. Seven storytellers gathered. We learned new techniques and hopped right into telling stories. As the day flowed and undulated with the sounds and movement of the telling of tales, I experienced the magic and mystery of the oral tradition.

There’s something about the oral tradition and the alchemy of symbol and metaphor as elixir for the soul. It engages the imagination, yes. But there is something more that happens. Something I can’t quite put words too. But there is a shift, a change that happens, people are renewed. You can feel the spell, a real sense that magic is happening. You can’t see it but you can feel it. Mystery is engaged.

After the experience I wanted more, so I listened to Clarissa Pinkola Estes Volume One CD’s of “Theatre of the Imagination”. I listened to the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. Mother Moon is lured from the sky into a dark bog, trying to help a lost old man, but she is tricked, beaten, hurt and shoved deep down into the bog, covered by a heavy boulder.  The people have to work together as a community, creating light together to help rescue Mother Moon.  

The telling in it self is enough to start creating movement in thought and feeling, but then Clarissa enriches the telling with insights and more stories. Mother Moon is wounded in the story, and Clarissa talks about how the origin of the word “wound” is related to wonder. And later talks about how within a wound there is a door. If we go sit in the center of a wound, we can open a door. We can be the light that walks through that door, a light for others.

In the words of a dear friend, “there is magic in the telling”. 

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I went for a walk with a new friend on some of my favorite trails and sacred places. We stopped at the Gathering Place – a stone chair covered with moss, surrounded with bay trees, nestled between two hillsides. We sat on the mossy chair and talked about singing, healing work, sharing stories and ourselves. 

 As I listened more deeply, I heard my friend, a gifted soundhealer, tell her story of making up songs and stories when she was a child. I also remembered a story that Rhiannon shared in her new Vocal River book that as a child she used to make up songs for animals and buried them when they died. I thought of how I started singing and storytelling. I remembered that music and stories were always a part of my life but it wasn’t until I had my own children that I started singing and letting stories flow out of my songs.

Listening to my friend and remembering how I started singing and storytelling helped me to connect with the authenticity of who my friend is, and of more of who I am. It’s like when someone asks you “what do you do?” And you reply, “I’m a healer,” “I’m a storyteller,” “I’m a musician”. But really how do you express that uniqueness of who you are? Yesterday I touched that through story, through hearing and feeling someone’s passion and fascination with story and song, and remembering my own.

Recently, I have received other people’s music and stories in ways that inspire me to express my voice and truer self. And what I have been discovering is this incredible and delicious freedom to express my creativity in all its unique ways and expanding that into collaborations, really it is creative play, with others.

Our hike through the woods meandered to where the Manzanita’s in all their cherry colored splendor dance and laugh amongst the orange-green Madrone. My friend stopped for a moment, and quietly began to sing, in her gentle intuitive way, singing with the wind. I felt an urge to start telling a story. At first, I held back, but then I went for it and a story about a Madrone Tree Spirit flowed through.

As we continued our walk and talk, insights flowed in and out of the conversation for both of us. It seemed to give us both greater direction. That’s the magic of nature, of co-creating with nature and others. That’s the magic of song and story, and of friendship. I’m inspired to keep creative playing!

 

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Imagine the dancing Goddesses with their candles dancing with the trees.

Imagine the dancing Goddesses with their candles dancing with the trees.

This is a slightly different post. My previous posts have had a lot of emphasis on nature. Last year I spent a lot of time unwinding and singing in solitude in nature. With this New Year, the Year of Gratitude beginning, I am exploring ways of expressing myself through sound, movement and story in collaboration with others.

Recently I went dancing with a group of women. I was new to the group. Everyone else knew each other. I wondered how to begin dancing, so I followed the cue of others and began with stretching, listening to my breath, and the breath of others.

Others started to move to their own intuitive flow in synergy with the music. I moved to the music tentatively at first, slowly unwinding, acquainting myself to the floor, the music, and the dancers until I started to feel my own flow. Feeling the flow I became the rhythm, being the music, feeling the presence of others I opened my eyes and saw another beaming face whirling past me. I stepped out of rhythm, stumbled in choppy steps, swaying my head and body, feeling separate from the group. I embraced the cacophony.

Feeling, accepting, flowing, I found my rhythm again, being the rhythm, the breath the music, being the other dancers, all as one. Being the flow, I danced fast, building to a release, witnessing sorrow and judgments. Flowing with them and through them, moving past them. The music slowed down, the dancers slowed down, my breathing slowed down. We dancers smiled at one another and settled in a circle lighting candles on paper plates. We danced with candles!

The lights lowered and we danced with our candles, moving slowly, ever so slowly in circles, sitting with the flames, pondering, honoring, respecting, praying. Two dancers with candles above their heads swayed in unison, gracing the hall with their movement. Hands danced across flames, weaving mudras, kissing the air with wishes and dreams.

It was an evening of freedom of expression and acceptance of that expression. Absolutely stunning! Absolutely liberating! It was a wonderful opportunity to discover more of myself dancing with community. I am thankful!

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