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creatura1Yesterday, over coffee, my friend Elizabeth asked me if I meditate.  I didn’t know how to answer her because I wasn’t sure if she would agree that what I do is mediation.  I know there are lots of ways to meditate and sometimes I do these more traditional ways, but what I do most is not listed in meditation books. 

I dream on things. 

I might sit and consider possibilities or call a concern to my mind in the times between waking or sleeping.  I let go of my mind and watch it follow a thought from one place to another.  In this way I can pull together complicated ideas or expand on more simple concepts. 

I am able to get results from this which help me to be my personal best. For example, I will lay down and dream ona subject before Ibegin to write my term paper.  This practice feels very indulgent, but I find when I skip this process that I get stuck and frustrated.

I looked up the etimology of the word meditate on www.etymonline.com.  It is a dictionary which tells you the original use and meaning of words.  Some of the meanings I found relevant to the kind of meditation I have been describing come from med which is to think over or consider something. But my favorite derivitive of that root, mederi means to heal.

A more personal etymology for the term dreaming on comes from the movie The Missingwith Cate Blanchett and Tommy Lee Jones.  Jones plays the father of Blanchett.  He has spent a good portion of his adult life living with and as a Native American.  I believe the movie is set at the turn of the century.  The father sits with his granddaughter and appears to be sleeping or at least napping.  He is playing over in his mind the possibilities of the day to come. He explains to her that he is “dreaming on” what will happen.  Later, the little girl uses that  process to vision the life she and her family will have together. 

missing_ver3

I had discovered that tool for myself years ago but found Jones’ term gave a worthy name to it. 

Most recently, I have been dreaming on what feels like an intricate matrix of knots which are presenting themselves for untangling.  Every person has something that keeps them from living their fullest potential.  For me, I have a complicated series of inter-related events, beliefs, and responses having to do with my relationship to my body which keep me from being my best. 

In Gestalt therapy, there is a concept that talks about how an individual becomes mindful of disturbances which come to the forefront of their awareness.  The healthy individual has a dynamic interplay between the formation of these disturbances that come forward and the destruction of the disturbances.  My knots have come forward to be destroyed. I am hopeful that I have what it takes to heal that for myself.

As I contemplate what has come forward, I find images and metephors that are helping me make sense of how one thing is related to the other. I have been doing some art about this and talking about it a bit, but because of how complicated it all seems here in the beginning of the process, dreaming on the matrix is the least overwhelming thing to do.  It is a way of looking at the beast without touching it…so that I can discover its heart.

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lunaclaydesign

(This is a pendant made from a glass slide.  It is from www.lunaclaydesign.etsy.com . I love her work.  This piece has a lot of story wrapped up in it for me.  Her other pieces seem to offer their own stories, as well.)

At six months old, I learned to walk. They said I looked like a living doll, so small but moving like a sized-down adult. I was petite for my age, charming, and bright. At a year old, I went to court with my parents to make my adoption legal. My mother waited in the courtroom. They told her I would be with the judges for 15 minutes. An hour later, the judges brought me back, explaining that I had entertained them, dancing on the table and singing.

Pictures of my young childhood tell the story of an active little girl. My skin is a healthy olive color from playing in the sun. But in the third grade, something changed. My eyes seemed more vacant, and my body began to take on more weight. I went from being one of the smallest children to the largest. I no longer took dance lessons or danced with my parents. When I did, I saw the shame in their eyes. Somehow the weight created a barrier to the world of dance.

 

artmaven(From artmaven.etsy.com, Megan Chapman’s abstract, Fire Cross the Barriers, has wonderful color and movement.  It’s impending redness distracts from any calm that might be promised by the cool rythums of the blues.  It does a fabulous job of putting me on edge and reminds me of the fiery barriers I let the world push me up against.)

ladyatlarge(Speaking of roundness, check out the undulating curves on this underwater beauty by ladyatlarge.etsy.com.   She seems to dance with her koi friend in a celebration of movement and marvelousness.)

I met a woman  several years ago as round as I was round. She taught dance classes in a small portion of the larger community I live in. They were more than dance classes, really. They were fall-in-love-with-your-body classes and discover-the-sacredness-of-movement classes. I would often sink into tears during the dances. I could feel myself coming home to a place in my life I had pushed away.

The reasons were both simple and complicated. Why does any woman begin to hate her body? Because we are taught to, because we have had our protecting voices silenced, because they are powerful instruments of creation?

One week while in the small bohemian community nestled within my South Texas town, I danced 19 hours and wished for more. It is a feeling I will never forget. I understood things about myself that I would never have understood without the dance. I knew about my flesh, my spirit, community, ancestry, and about my genuine self.

After a year or two, our small community went through a big change. Many of us moved away or found our own paths. I grieved not only the loss of community but the loss of the opportunities I had had to dance. I became overwhelmed with finding an equilibrium. My body habits changed, and then my body did. I put the dance away.

My body has suffered, as has my spirit. In saying this, I struggle with the idea of body acceptance. Self-love and self-care have been the touchstones of this last year’s journey. I never realized how twisted the thinking about my body had become. Layers of hate, distrust, abuse and disgust buried the peacefulness I am learning to uncover.

Can I love my body as it is in this moment? At this weight? In this condition? After what it has been through, after what I have done to it and made it do? The answer is yes. AND, I know my body wants more. Never mind what my culture….what society wants….never mind what the media says or what I assume others think. My body and spirit long to move and be moved. They are lovers that live within the context of my existence. Married to one another in a way, but sleeping apart. Recently though, I feel them longing for one another again.

Allowing myself to dance, encouraging myself to move, rarely just comes easily. There is stigma about moving a round body. It takes courage to take up more space than what is the cultural norm. And what if someone sees something jiggle where they believe no movement would take place?! These are the struggles that play out in my unconscious, right beside the wish to move.

I have connected once more with my dance friend. She is pregnant now with her husband away in the service. I have asked her if she might like to meet to move. We have plans to meet soon.

 

kennebugboutique(This lovely,  handmade pendant is by kennebugboutique.etsy.com. I am dreaming of having one for myself in a year or so.  I thought it was interesting that I found one in her shop that said chance…that’s what I feel like I will be taking. But I know it will be well worth it!)

Ahh, but back to my awareness. I know that childbirth is a form of creativity. And the body becomes its instrument. In practicing dance, I believe I can give my body a means to its innate desire to create. But instead of creating a child, I can create movement, nuance, emotion, story and perhaps the most important thing, healing.

isabellasart(This shadow puppet from www.isabellasart.etsy.com  rides in front of the light, casting dancing shadow stories on the wall for all to see.  )

This is my own personal advocacy of self. A demonstation of free will and self-expression. I will move the fleshiness of my body…not to lose weight or to exercise, but to become a priestess to the holy union of body and spirit for the sacred right of re-creation. To reclaim a part of myself which has been hidden away, secretly waiting just out of sight, grooving in the shadows.

The last year, I have been focusing on how what it means to show myself love and care.  This is especially true when it comes to treating my body in loving ways.  This might sound easy, but I have found that my life was set up in a way that was based on fear and judgement a good portion of the time.  When I made the decision to practice self-love, I looked for ways to improve on some of the good things I was already doing and to find new ways to do some of the not so loving ways I treated myself or thought about myself.  The journey has been rich.

disney 677

To flesh this idea out a bit more, let me talk about skin.  This past month, I turned 40.  Looking in the mirror, I am starting to see little changes.  The skin under my eyes is less taut.  My lipstick blurs at the edges, and my neck has a new, unfamiliar texture.  The changes are a bit scary, which tells me that I am afraid to grow old.  Funny, I am also fearful that I won’t have the chance to grow old.  Ironic.  I have taken this as an opportunity for creative living. 

How do I want to feel about my skin?  Do I need to stay constant and unchanging?  Does this change how I fit into the world? 

I know that when I look at women who are covered with the marks of a life lived, I see tremendous beauty in them.  My practice of self love encourages me to begin to cultivate that same love for my wisdom marks. 

So for Mother’s Day, I indulged in a variety of soaps and skin creams.  And decided to do the same for my two mother-in-laws. 

First, I headed over to the local farmer’s market where my friend Nancy sells soaps made from the seaweed that washes up on the beach at Port Aransas, Texas. 

Corpus Christi's Farmers Market

Corpus Christi's Farmers Market

 Port A is a little community on the water, not far from where I live.  I bought a vetiver bar soap from her and have been using it in our downstairs bathroom.  When I was a kid, I hated washing up, but nowadays, I can not wait to smell the essential oils from Nancy’s soap on my hands.  I even take extra trips to the soap bowl to smell it when I am feeling stressed.

Nancy also had body butter  at the market from Farm Fresh Soaps.  My morning routine has become a ritual of self-care as I adorn my neck and arms with the bitter almond richness of this product.  It is thick and creamy and feels almost sinful to use it on myself.  I have had to fight my tendency to hoard it.  But once I have scooped out my daily allowance, I never regret it.  It is candy for my 40 year old senses.

http://www.ffsoaps.com/baby.htm

For my husband’s moms, I decided to turn to Etsy for inspiration.  They both live out of town and by dealing with an Etsy shop, I could have it mailed and support the creative efforts of another at the same time.  I found one shop to take care of both gifts.  Lynette Gooch of Tuscan Heights has beautiful soaps and oils.  She had the perfect gift baskets for the Moms.  Iris, who is a master gardener got the Master Gardener gift pack, and Donna, who enjoys playing tourist get The Weary Traveler.  Both called to say how nice the packages were.  This is the way to shop!

Tuscan Heights Lavendar Farm

www.lynettegooch2002.etsy.com

In searching for the gift soaps, I came across a shop with soap formed into rocks.  One of our bathrooms has a nature theme.  We had to do some repairs to it when we first moved in.  Our carpenters where more like artisans, so we let our imagination run wild.  We have carve away part of the slate tile to create a dry river bed that runs from our mesquite stump bathroom sink across the floor and into the shower.  The rock soap was a must-have.  The picture below shows the edge of the tree pedestal for our sink basin and the iron sculpture beside it along with the new soap.

mermaidwithsoap

www.amethystsoap.etsy.com  I got the turquoise soap and the amethyst.  They rock!

I think I am going to continue this love of natural soaps.  My skin feels happier, and I like knowing that I am putting things from the earth on my skin rather than chemicals and fake fragrances.  Isn’t it amazing that chosing natural products should feel indulgent?  Perhaps someday that will be natural for me. Until then, I will enjoy the feeling of this new form of self care.

Creatively yours,

Rae

My Etsy Shop

http://laughinglane.etsy.com Photobucket

Robert Alan

The creative spirit is one of the most powerful driving forces in human history. Creativity in the arts can inspire new insights and understanding for generations. Inventive creativity has helped transform our society time and time again, helping to make life better for countless lives. Creativity helps bring meaning to one's life through unique self-expression. When focused on uplifting humanity, creativity can help to create a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. How will you use your creativity to help create a better world?

Henry David Thoreau

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

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