healing haven

May 2, 2013

Link Party Lists combined with Project Life

I came across the Shabby Blogs site (http://shabbyblogsblog.blogspot.com) where she is conducting a Link Party List that comes out each Tuesday.   Check it out if you are interested in either participating or checking out the links: 

ShabbyBlogs Tuesday Ten

ShabbyBlogs Tuesday Ten

I thought this would be  great way to combine her project with my Project life album I have been keeping, so I made my list of 10 random facts about myself in the form of 4×6 cards I made that I can print out and insert  in my page protectors:

5-1-13 List- random things self-front-cr

and the next 5 items on page 2:

5-1-13 List- random things self-2nd pf-cr

This was a very interesting way of combining the two different projects.  I am looking forward to continuing creatively incorporating blogging and Project Life.

April 29, 2013

Leaving the world of the 1928 treadle Singer sewing machine

My retirement has given me the opportunity to branch out in various creative endeavors, some of which I have done before but in a limited way, others I have never had the time to try, and still others whereby I expanded what I had been doing over the years.

My mother taught me how to sew and my grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet. Even in the early years of marriage, as we struggled with trying to make ends meet, we chose not to have me working but to be home with the children.  This made these handcrafts an imperative.  I sewed clothes for myself and for my children, drapes and slip-covers, all  on a 1928 treadle Singer sewing machine that only went forward (it was hard turning around all the material in a sofa slip-cover in order to get stitching backwards, but one could sew if the electricity went out.)  And I made numerous knitted things for my husband as well as the children and myself.   All very practical; all a part of ‘making do’.

But with retirement I started a quilt for my granddaughter which I had to stop because of problems with my eyes not seeing well enough on the dark-colored material of dolphins and whales in the ocean.  What could I still sew?

Then I remembered the Memory Bears made by a volunteer while I was working in hospice.  I used that pattern and made a University of Arkansas Razorback Bear for my teenage grandson. 

University of Arkansas Bear

University of Arkansas Bear

The picture above is the Bear holding a baseball key chain.  The one below is the Bear wearing a University of Arkansas (hoghat) baseball cap on.

UofA Bear wearing a University baseball cap

UofA Bear wearing a University baseball cap

Needless to say, he loved the Bear and its accessories, particularly the ferocious looking baseball cap. 

Time had moved on in many ways: one was I no longer had the 1928 treadle Singer sewing machine but did have one which sewed both forwards and backwards, which was a great help.    Another, I was sewing something for my grandson, not my children.  And yet another, I was doing this because I wanted to, not because I had to.  Time keeps moving on.

September 26, 2009

My Gratitude Flower

Filed under: appreciation,Gratitude Legacy Journal,healing,Hestia,hospice — by thalia @ 8:18 am

 

For the opening of the hospice workshop this year on Gratitude, I asked everyone to fill in a gratitude flower I had created.   The petals of a sunflower seemed like an appropriate way to express gratitude since the petals allow for individual items and the sunflower is associated with sunshine and good feelings. I drew large petals surrounding the inner circle and made copies for everyone.  Each person was to fill in the items he or she were grateful for, and then paste their picture that they brought along for this purpose, in the center of the sunflower.  The finished project became the first page in their new Gratitude Journals that would be worked on throughout the day (for another see Timeline Goals in A Hestia Project).

 

My Gratitude Flower-filled in-cropped. 

This was my page which I then added my picture to.  I have since put it in my Gratitude/Legacy Project, but am not sure where it will wind up since it has to do with general categories I am grateful for rather than about specific people.  I do plan to then take this same sunflower outline and put in the names of people I am grateful for, probably having to add more petals to make this work or to break down the people into specific categories for each sunflower.  Perhaps then even use one sunflower per person with their picture or name in the center and listing the various aspects of them I am grateful for.  Since this is an ongoing project, there is no telling where or what this will develop into.

September 19, 2009

My Medicine Bag

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,Temple of Solace — by thalia @ 7:26 am
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All those years I wandered over our 25 acres in the Ozarks, I carried a medicine bag with me.  It was more practical than esoteric.  The outside material was made of bleached and faded out old denim, in a pattern of light and dark blues.  It was about 10 inches square, with a flap of the same material secured by Velcro to keep out bugs and leaves that might otherwise fall into in. There was also a long strap made from the same material so it could be slung over one shoulder, thus allowing my arms free range to move bushes aside, or to pick some delectable wild green. 

Within was a material divider: on one side were various sizes of plastic bags to use for placing various foraging items I would come across.  On the other side were a small knife to cut off leaves or flowers suitable for eating and a small field identifier book for those items I found that I still did not know. 

 sorrel-cropped

 I would spend hours foraging through the woods and the meadow looking for tasty possibilities for supper salad: various greens, perhaps a mushroom or some wild persimmons, or violets growing by the stream for putting into cookies or scones.  In the fall there were also plentiful persimmons, only to be collected after the first frost so they wouldn’t sour your mouth and before the turtles and other critters got to them, wild passion fruit and wild grapes.  In the spring were new sprouts of poke, cardoon, dock, chickweed and dandelion greens, as well as mulberries and wild strawberries.  And in the summer prickly pear cactus were to be found and the more mature greens like sorrel and even dandelion flowers and rosehips.  Winter might find nuts or acorns for the deer but also great for making muffins or cakes after rinsing off all the tannin and then drying them out to make into flour.

Those were my practical years, when we were attempting to live off the land as much as possible and be self-sufficient.  Hard years, but with many wonderful encounters with the natural wildness of the land and its inhabitants.

Now, my medicine bag would contain different items, many of which would be hidden from the physical eye.  I use this medicine bag when I am with people who are sick or dying, sad or depressed.  It is partially the aura or soul cape that has developed around me.  Just the other day the hospice chaplain came in and asked if he could “set a spell” – he needed “some serenity.”  I know from people’s reactions and comments there is something carried around that others find healing.

Another item in my medicine bag is a listening ear (which conjures up an interesting picture.)  Most people do not have people in their lives to listen to them.  If we all did, we would not need any psychiatrists.   Listening is a gift I received from my mother that I can pass on to those who need someone to do nothing more than to let them know they are important enough to be listened to, who takes the time to listen.  With everyone in a rush, no one wants to take the time to listen.  And with everyone so into voicing their opinions as if it is “The Truth” – no one wants to listen, all want to talk.  So a listening ear is a very important item.

Hands that comfort are another part of the healer’s medicine bag.  Touch is so important for everyone, but permission does need to be asked for first.  You can’t assume everyone will benefit from a hug since so many people have been abused in their lifetimes.  Yet we all need touch, particularly when we are sick or dying.  So many people back away at those times that a person can feel very isolated, maybe even shunned.  A touch, a hug, a hand relaying concern, hands massaging another’s under the guise of putting lotion on dry hands and feet, a pat on the back, rubbing someone’s neck and shoulders – all are ways of using touch to communicate connection.

Also, vitally important is a compassionate heart: a heart that has known sadness and abuse, joy and love, frustrations and disappointments as well as fulfillment and success.  A heart that appreciates the differences in people and yet connects to the similarities.  A heart that finds patterns in life that transcend the individual manifestations of chaos.  A heart open to give as well as receive, for one must renew oneself if one is to keep on giving.  We can only give what we have: if we have money we can give money to others, if we have compassion we can give compassion, if we have time we can give time to others, if we have peace within we can give peace.

This medicine bag holds many other items that are available when needed.  But one of the most important is intuition, of coming from the heart.  We never know what may be pulled from us by someone’s need, but we should be open to the moment and trust in the process, and what might be contained in our subtle-medicine bag.

 sunset-cropped

 

 

September 5, 2009

A Hestia Project

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir,SoulCollage — by thalia @ 7:00 am
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Many years ago, when I felt there was a possibility I might die within a year, I went to the store and picked out greeting cards that came the closest to what I wanted to say, to my husband and my children, and others I loved.  The cards came close – sort of – but didn’t encompass all I wanted to express.  I didn’t die, and when I came across those cards a few years later, I realized they didn’t express my feelings – just one small part.  But it was a quick, easy way to leave a legacy to my loved ones.

 Then a few years ago, I put together a much more involved Legacy for my family: children and grandchildren, siblings and their children.  I used the regular genealogy pattern for one page, with dates going back through the ancestors.   But then I added many pages of stories, memories and pictures going way back and bringing it all up to date with recent pictures.  I rested on that for a while, feeling I had left some good information and memories there along with other memoir items I had put together.

This year I was preparing for the annual Hospice volunteer Retreat utilizing the book A Year to Live, as mentioned in my blog writings (http://osbethsview.wordpress.com).  I decided that a section on gratitude flowed well from the Year to Live idea and so started researching ways to use for the usual collage/art section and exercises for our Retreat.  I always include art and writing projects so the volunteers can have some fun as they create and learn new ways of exploring and expressing themselves.  In the process I developed some work pages so that at the end of the day, each person would have the beginnings of a gratitude journal and a page of goals of what they would like to achieve or do if they only had one year to live.   And as always, I worked on my own pages so as to show the volunteers some possibilities.

 Timelaine - A Year to Live

And so my Annual Hospice Volunteer Retreat project morphed into something my Hestia/crone aspect loves.  I’m doing journal pages essentially, filled with gratitude – my gratitude for particular people.  I wound up doing individual pages for my loved ones, as things come to mind.  Right now I am keeping the individual pages in a loose-leaf binder with sections for each person so whenever I should die, in a month, a year or a decade, there will be a collection of things I wanted to share ready for each.

I also wanted to include little one-liners as they occur, i.e., “I really appreciated your call to share news of your engagement with me.  Even though I don’t see you as frequently as I would like (because of the great distances between us) I care about you and what is happening in your life.”   Using scribble paper initially, I at least get the thoughts with date down even if they are not in final form.

In order to further facilitate this, I am slowly putting decorative pages in the binder for each person.  I transfer what I might have scribbled already, and then write down thoughts of gratitude and love as they occur right on the page along with the date.  I may add collage, a poem or quote, drawings, paintings, colorings, frames I’ve made, pictures, clip art – who knows what – to decorate each page.  In time, no matter how much or how little time I may have, there will be a collection of reasons and pages as to why I am grateful for that person in my life, using words and art to convey my feelings – my legacy for that person.   And if there is enough time, I may have to separate out each person’s pages so there may be booklets for each person, containing their pages, a legacy from me – for them alone.  I am also doing pages for my deceased loved ones as things come to mind.  These pages will be a tribute to them and will also pass on to younger people the legacies of these people they might not have known.

Mike-raspberry page-cropped.Anne-apron page-cropped.

This project feels so right as it combines my creativity with my legacy, and further compliments the genealogy and memoirs I’ve already done.   And it is personalized for each person.  And it can be added to casually, rather than as a big project – in which case it probably wouldn’t get done.

And one never knows where it leads.  When I put in the two sentences related above to my niece, I found myself remembering another memory I had of her from when she was small, so I went on to include that on the scribble page since I don’t have a formal page for her yet.

These are my stories but they are focused on the other person and how I feel about him/her.  Whether there will be only one memory/gratitude or many when each receives their pages, they will have something personal for themselves.

This will be my Hestia Project for these next months and thereafter.  An ongoing art/writing project about gratitude: my abundant gratitude for the people in my life.  What right now is one art journal kept in one binder about the various people in my life will become, when the time is right, many individual art journals of gratitude for many people – the people I love and appreciate.

August 6, 2009

The Hestia Spiral

Filed under: healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir — by thalia @ 4:54 am
Tags: ,

 

Hestia has spiraled throughout my life

                First, having a mother who was a model Hestia

                there to listen to us when we came home from school every day

                there to cook and bake for everyday and for holidays

                there to sew my dance costumes and make peach jelly

                there, always there for us, my siblings and myself and my father.

 

My life spiraled on to marriage and children and Hestia was there

                She was part of me as I created a home using little money

                She was there as I cooked creatively fixing hamburger 89 ways

                She manifested as I sewed clothing and quilts and made crafts

                all because there was no money to do otherwise

                But in the process it all created a close, warm, loving family 

 

Even when we lived in a tent for 3 months Hestia was a part of my life

                As she displayed that same warm loving atmosphere camping

                in a 12 x 12 tent – 2 kids, husband and wife, German Shepherd

                All centered around the glowing fire in the evening

                telling stories and roasting marshmallows

 

We built a house – literally built it – putting in plumbing and electricity,

                wall boards and kitchen cabinets, bathtubs and toilets,

                painting and sanding, building a fireplace, climbing scaffolding carrying

                cement blocks up so my husband could erect the chimney

                All creating an environment of love and coziness as we gathered

                 around the fireplace and enjoyed the food feasts

                 even as we became vegetarians and I baked all my own bread,

                 it was all done with love

                as I listened to my children as they came home from school

                canned tomatoes and black raspberry jelly, froze green beans and corn

                 all from our garden and stored like money in the bank

 

Children grow and leave – and we decide to move and become self-sufficient

                growing more of our food, cutting all of our wood for the woodstove

                Sitting close to the woodstove since it was our only source of heat

                Digging through rock and clay in the Arkansas Ozarks to create gardens

                with overflowing abundance until the grasshoppers ate much

                Outhouse until well and running water available, shovel and woods before

Perhaps a bit too much Hestia

 

Divorce leads to a soulmate, a house with Bermuda grass to chop back, 

                to turn into a garden and now tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers

                needing to work to afford the house

               so it seems Hestia has gone for a bit

                even though I still cook but don’t bake all my bread,

                eat tofu and gluten but don’t make them anymore

 

But then I realize that my work in hospice

                   allows others to be Hestia and stay at home while we help

                   support their loved ones process – at home

                   Everyone wants to be at home

                  whether they are enjoying life and need a refuge

                 or are dying and want to be amongst familiar surroundings

                 with their loved ones and pets, where their comfort has been created.

 

So I not only have Hestia spiraling in my life,

                through listening, and supportive caring

                but my work allows others to have that same refuge

                and provides support to others so they can have the healing haven

As we all need Hestia in a world gone difficult and crazy.

October 18, 2008

A Day of Remembering: Making Descansos

Years ago, a hospice volunteer mentioned each patient and caregiver she spent time with was like a pearl in a necklace—over time, the necklace grew and grew.  I decided to use that idea as a theme for the Annual All Day Volunteer Retreat I facilitated for my hospice volunteers this year.  I had also come across Heather’s Soul Food Site “Descansos” which familiarized me with the term.  I then thought about how this theme could apply to hospice and to our Retreat.  Combining the two ideas, I planned a “Day of Remembering,” with the creation of a pearl necklace becoming the descansos made by each attendee.

 

Starting with a visualization to activate each participant’s memory about their loved ones, whether personal or hospice patients, we all thought of eight people we wanted to remember, and a few words about each that reminded them about what they received as a legacy from the person.  The legacy might manifest as an idea, a trait, or an actual item; such as, a recipe, a love of cooking, or a well-used rolling pin. 

 

I previously drew eight circles of varying sizes, on a piece of paper, with each circle touching the next, forming a completed chain.  This would become our necklace.  The largest circle in the necklace was generally reserved for a personal loved one, with the others filling in for hospice patients. 

 

The grief of hospice workers, and other nurses, doctors, and aides, etc., is considered disenfranchised grief—not acknowledged as real grief since the health care worker only knew the patient for a relatively short time compared to if the person was a beloved parent, spouse, child, grandparent.  However, one can become quite close to someone and still need to deal with their loss when it occurs.  When the losses are ongoing, as with health care workers, and one is then on to the next patient, those losses aren’t acknowledged and dealt with, and so accumulate, leading to eventual burnout.   So I try to allow the volunteers an avenue to know it is all right to grieve for patients, to provide an avenue in which to grieve and express that grief in a different way each year.  We’ve done “Legacy Writing,” “Ethical Wills,” “Rekindling,” “Inner Child” and many others in the six years of having Volunteer Retreats.

 

We each wrote the name of the remembered person in one of the circles.  Then we perused magazines to find pictures or words describing the person and their legacy to us, or used colored pencils or crayons to draw pictures or words.  There is something so therapeutic in using scissors and colored pencils, in smelling glue and crayons that takes us back to childhood.  The volunteers know by now every creation made at our Retreats is considered a work of art, and so have resolved any lingering critical voices in their heads from childhood.  Even the men get involved with creating and sharing.

 

Snip, snip, snip go all the scissors.  Sniff, inhale deeply beloved smells of childhood.  Oh! Look at this! Wow! intersperse the proceedings as people move about seeking the perfect picture or accessory like ribbons or beads, small flowers or feathers, yarn or thread, crayon or colored markers.  Anyone see a lilac bush in bloom?  How about a man fishing?  Here’s a woman baking.  Who was looking for that?  Looking for oneself as well as looking to help others.  Sharing as part of the process of creating, usually considered a solitary activity.  And sometimes it got quiet as each was busy getting it “just right.” 

 

Finally finished, or as finished as it can be in the allotted hours.  I asked each to bring in a fairly recent picture of themselves.  Now those pictures were glued into the middle of the picture, and we each truly had a pearl necklace going around our necks: a descansos of our legacy from losses of loved ones.

 

Then the verbal sharing started.  Each, in describing their necklace, gave a eulogy for the pearl-people (in their necklace), telling of the legacies they received from each, telling stories and activities, sharing the love they felt with others in a setting where they were really listened to.  And what stories!  Fortunately, I brought many boxes of kleenex, which were needed during the three hours of sharing.  Powerful legacies from patients one was with only a short time but where a real connection was built, showing we might never realize the influence we can have on others.  Three hours later, we all felt as if each of us had honored our loved ones in a eulogy sometimes more pertinent to the person than that done by the “professionals”—ministers and funeral directors.  Our hearts filled with inspiration and the goodness of so many people, including the volunteers telling their stories.  Truly “A Day of Remembering”, by making a pearl necklace, a descansos of our loved ones.

 

This was so therapeutic I went on and made a pearl necklace honoring my personal loved ones and using their pictures as part of each pearl, as well as individual collage cards honoring my memories of each person and their legacy.

 

July 18, 2008

Tholos Forgiveness

 

The sounds of bubbling water enhanced her awareness.  She felt serene in all aspects of herself.  This is a good space in which to live, where one is totally at peace.  And what a wonderful place in which to die—in a hammock in water—not drowning, but just floating in water in the ocean or a lake or, even a pool such as this.  She lay still, attempting to remember her dream, or was it an experience?  So wonderful, but what was wonderful?  Oh, yes.  I was told to prepare to leave at any moment.  Made total sense at the time, but what did it really mean?  That I’ll die so I need to be unattached to the world and centered, or a crisis is coming and so I’ll need to be prepared to leave the house?  The water sounds so happy…bubbling and frolicking in the pool.  Does the water carry the fumes of the oracle to me?

 

I remember reading in the American Book of Dying: Lesson in Healing Spiritual Pain where the authors Gross and Klauser talked of a medieval l’Hotel-Dieu–God’s Hotel–in Burgundy, France.  In the 15th century A.D., this hospice served the social outcasts and was built over a river with a glass floor underneath the beds of the patients.  This way they could hear the soothing sounds of the moving water, as I am now.   I can tell this must be a special place, because I’m not aching from lying on the mossy ground.  This hospice had clean linens, also, almost unheard of in that time, even for the wealthy. 

 

Now I remember, another dream or experience, where someone in high authority asked if I wanted to go back and redo or eliminate some difficult times in my past. My parents were there, too, even though both are deceased for many years.  No, I said to all of them.  I wouldn’t change anything, as difficult as some things were at the time.  For then I wouldn’t be who I am today.  I wouldn’t have grown into the life I have, but still be stuck in the mundane, never having to be forced to have the opportunity to forgive both myself and another I deeply trusted, never having understood the great gift it is to be placed in a situation where one had to learn to forgive a deep wound.

 

The deeper the bond of trust with the person,

 the deeper the hurt and wounding,

the harder it is  to forgive,

 the more precious the gift of forgiveness

for oneself and for the other.

 

 May all  people who have been so hurt

 come to this gift of forgiveness

in the time that is right for them.

 

 

 

 (see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/tholos-forgiveness/#comments)

 

July 12, 2008

Rainbow from Tholos (12)

 

Thalia followed the guidebook and signs to the Tholos.  As she climbed upward, she smelled the pine trees before she eventually arrived at a grove of the trees.  On either side of the entrance path leading into the grove were snakes on the trees.  Their serpentine motions reminded her of the medical caduceus and of the chakra-energy swirls ascending from root to head, weaving in the familiar sine-wave pattern. 

 

When she thought of this energy, and how we are all energy, she became aware of her third chakra starting to knot, quickly slipping into the total wounding of the fourth chakra—the heart.  She remembered her recent flash of anger, quickly turning to hurt and disappointment, and in turn, feeling the tears catch at the fifth chakra—the throat—as the pressure built up before tumbling out yesterday.  For the moment, it didn’t seem fair.  

 

Right now I feel some anger and, by hook or by crook, these snakes won’t keep me from entering the grove.  I stride in, with no fear even as I don’t want to become a woman as obnoxious as many I’ve known as they claimed their power and were determined not to allow a man to control them.   No, I don’t want to be like that even though it seems they get what they want because of their sometimes arrogant, demanding ways.  Maybe I need to change what I want, or better yet, allow for the real things I desire and release the old wants and needs.

 

She approached a clear pool.  I would love to sink into the soothing water.  She hesitated, then slipped off her clothes and melted into the warm water.  So clear… so wonderful…  Finding a comfortable, sloping ledge just perfect for reclining and being mostly submerged, she found, as always, in a warm bath, concerns and heartbreak wash away.  I always feel better in the water.  I really wish I could be gently floating in a hammock in the ocean, or even in a lake, able to view the beautiful surroundings, as I am dying.  Would be easy to drift away with awareness and gratitude for my lives as I leave it all behind and transform higher.  As she floated and closed her eyes, she relaxed easily into a place of peace, of the Oneness of All things.  She breathed deeply, releasing her inner toxins carried on air currents as well as those toxins carried on energy waves.  

 

She lost track of the time.

 

With a start, she climbed out, noticing her discarded clothing had been somehow replaced without her being aware.  Her satchel was gone, too.  Not that I’ve needed anything in it recently.  But it is was a leftover from the “be prepared” days, and frequently something within was helpful.  How much makes sense to be prepared and how much is trying to stay in control?  Always a thought.  As she slipped into the long flowing white gauzy dress—flowing and free—she was aware of a voice nearby saying her clothes and bag would be returned afterwards and to please follow.  The hazy outline of a woman led her into the Tholos. The music is so faint I am not sure if it is coming from within or without.  An altar!  I don’t have anything to leave on the altar, for even my concerns and questions are gone, so I’ll offer my gratitude such places even exist.

 

In respect, she nodded at the altar as she passed and continued to follow the misty outline down the tight, circular stairs, which reminded her of the winding stairs at the satsanghar at Dera.  This memory further centered her as it re-set her priorities.

 

Moving towards a labyrinth, she entered it, walking slowly and mindfully.  Such a serpentine way to walk—with folds undulating this way and then, that.  Perhaps that is why snakes guard the entrance.  This labyrinth reminds me of the first time I walked one—the huge canvas one at the Hospice Volunteer Inservice, so large I had a hard time finding a room large enough to hold it.  Needed to use the auditorium at the Health Department.  That kernel blossomed into the outdoor one at the new hospital built from our prompting.  To walk the labyrinth, tucked down low among the trees and near the fountain, between the overwhelming emotions emanating from the hospital on the hill and the overwhelming frantic-ness of the nearby traffic, seemed surreal.  The hollow the labyrinth was in was outside it all, in its own space and time.  As I am now…     

 

She weaved in and out the folds of the labyrinth, getting ever closer to the center and finally reaching a small pool where water bubbled up.  She realized she was alone, but wasn’t sure when the wraith had disappeared.  Reaching down into the water, she let the bubbles play with her hands.  She drank from cupped hands, then allowing the water to pour over her head and onto her heart.

 

A mossy area on the side of the pool formed by the underground springs looked so inviting.  How comfy looking!  Maybe I’ll just lie down here, I feel so dreamy.  Eyes closed, she listened to the murmuring, bubbling spring, and inhaled a sweet smell.  Is this the effects of the ethylene vapors the oracles used?  Plutarch said it was as if “the adyton was sending forth the essences of the sweetest and most expensive perfumes from a spring.”  Or is this from my being relaxed and un-anxious, everything harmonious… peaceful… our natural way of being…

       

Floating… drifting… She watched facets of her life as if she were in a boat with the people and events lined up along the banks in vignettes of moments.  This isn’t exactly my life flashing before my eyes so I guess I’m not dying.  More like a leisurely stroll through my life.  Maybe I can discern patterns better this way.  Yes, I was such a serious child… don’t make noise… don’t run in the apartment… everything will be better.  Mostly a serious child with bursts of fun. Mostly vigilant with moments of trust… look at the lilies of the field… quietly reading and writing… processing my life, processing me.  The woman over there  looks like Thalia, Muse of Comedy, from the Mouseion.  What is she saying to me?  Oh, “Lighten up.  Ride the rainbow.”  What rainbow?  I don’t see a rainbow.

 

She was floating in the sky now, amidst the stars as comets whizzed by, way above any river of events.  That comet seems close, and it’s coming closer.  I thought the tails of comets contained ice and rock, but this one seemed to sparkle.  Maybe the limited light is reflecting on the ice.  One particularly interesting piece drifted close, so she grabbed onto a natural outcropping on it and rode the comet.  I guess this is what Muse Thalia meant.  What an exhilarating feeling!  Like a roller coaster, but way higher.  What was it that Aristotle called a comet?  Oh yes, a star with hair – kometes – hair of the head.

 

The comet plunged on in the dark sky.  In the distance was a smudge of something. She and the comet drew ever nearer.  It was revealing itself to be a planet, growing ever larger as they approached.  Down they flew.  Are we going to crash?  Maybe I should get off?  Maybe I should wake up from this dream.  an I wake up?

 

Moving through a layer of clouds, she recognized they were going to crash into a rainbow—a huge rainbow.  Before she could duck or hop off—or wake up—she was immersed in the rainbow.

 

Ohhh! So many colors… so beautiful.  Droplets of mist of all colors.  Looks like a box of crayons.  Her ice chunk was melting as comet and rainbow merged.  She was on her own—flying downwards with the rainbow.  As it approached the ground, she could see this part of the rainbow wasn’t made up of mist or water droplets, but what appeared to be, shavings of crayons and colored pencils, of pastel chalk and paints.  Bits of the alphabet were interspersed: letters, words, phrases.  Even snatches of music notes and chords played. 

 

 

This is the rainbow my Muse Thalia meant.  The Rainbow of Creativity—lighten up—ride the rainbow—be creative.  Ram Das said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”  Lighten up!   Laughing, giggling, enjoying the blend of color and words and music—she couldn’t help but to dance amidst it all.  Swirling, twirling, as the rainbow eased her down to the ocean and the beach.  She saw people on the sand, arms upraised, reveling and dancing in the creativity rainbow, as she gently landed. 

 

What a ride!  The Creativity Rainbow from Tholos.  What beauty!  Do I wake up now or am I already awake?

(see also http://enchanteur.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/rainbow-from-tholos/#comments   and http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/rainbow-from-tholos/#comments)

(came across this quote by Robert Fulghum weeks after writing this post: “Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon.  A happiness weapon.  A beauty bomb.  And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.  It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air.  Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas.  And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight.  Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in.  With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.  And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” )

 

June 24, 2008

The Hall of Remembrances (9)

 

Come, m’lady.  The child took a step, pulling on Thalia’s hand as the others started moving further within the catacombs.  Thalia stood up, grasped the torch and followed, being led by the child who pulled ahead yet glanced back at her shyly.

 

She sent out her thought to the child.  What is your name?  A mumbled something touched her awareness.  The woman’s thought was clearer:  Later.  Just come.  We’ve waited a long time.

 

They walked in physical and mental silence, turning down one tunnel after another.  After a while, as the darkness deepened, she couldn’t help but wonder how she would return to the entrance, but figured it would happen naturally.  She thought of the stories she encouraged from hospice patients, volunteers and staff.  Of how patient memoirs were so treasured by their loved ones after the patient died, sometimes even revealing stories the loved ones didn’t know about.  She thought of how her own memoir process unearthed the web of patterns that helped clear misconceptions and resentments she had carried. 

 

Yes, we saw that in you, that which Is what we need done for us.  The man’s thought broke through her own.  Some of us have been waiting a long time to understand what happened in our lives and sometimes even in our dying.

 

Thalia felt momentarily confused.  But I record their stories before they die, not after. 

 

The woman stopped and turned around.  But you told the stories of your ancestors after they were dead.  And you’ve written poems and stories about when your loved ones appeared in a so-called “dream” and shared with you.  What is so different? 

 

Nothing, I guess.  I just never thought of this aspect until now that you mentioned it.  And never thought a walking tour in the City of Ladies would lead to this deep part of the catacombs.   I remember being intrigued by Orson Scott Card’s book Speaker for the Dead.  What a great book.

 

The woman resumed walking forward.  Just come.  You’ll see.

 

After a few more twists and turns they entered a large cavern with many, mostly marble, sarcophagus’ and statues along the walls and throughout the room.  Marble benches were scattered around.  No one else was in the place.  The trio escorted her to a bench in front of a large, ornate statue of a weeping angel. 

 

 

The little girl’s hand started trembling.  Thalia looked from the statue to the child still clinging to her hand.  Looking back at the engraving, she read: 

                                       MARIA ESTAL…   (part was missing) 

                                            9 YEARS OLD  

                                 MUCH BELOVED DAUGHTER

 

Is this your tombstone?

 

The child bobbed her head.  She seemed small for her age.  Thalia sat down on the bench and drew Maria close.  What would you like to share with me?

 

With tears running down her face, Maria’s thoughts gushed forth.  It says my papa loved me but how could that be?  When he did those things to me?  The priest said it was wrong and papa was bad.  He couldn’t have loved me.  Her weeping escalated into sobbing, so holding her and waiting was appropriate.  Finally the sobs subsided.  Then the sickness came for mamma and me.  They all said it was because papa was bad but he cried when we were sick on the bed.  Then mamma died of fever and I got worse.  Papa said he loved me but the priest said he was bad and didn’t love me.  Was I bad?  Is that why papa did bad things to me?  Is that why I died?

 

No, you were good.  Your papa did things he shouldn’t have but you were good.  It wasn’t your fault he did those things to you or that you and your mama died.  Tell me more about your papa.

 

Maria wiped her sleeve across her nose and continued.  Mama said papa had been in a war, fighting far away.  When he came home he was different.  Then there was another baby coming and papa started touching me.  Mama was busy with the baby and didn’t see.  They argued about things that happened during the war, but I didn’t understand.  There was a long pause.  Are you sure I am good and not bad?

 

Yes, I am sure.  And even though your father did some bad things doesn’t make him all bad.  His actions were bad but he could have also loved you.  And sometimes war changes people and makes them act bad.  After being away in a war you might have looked so clean and fresh that he just was glad to be home, and he wanted to be part of your innocence and freshness.  What he did was very bad, but he could still love you.  Maybe he was sorry about what he did.  Look at the weeping angel—maybe he picked it out because  it represents him weeping for what he had done.  Can you understand that?  Thalia thought of all the adults who could only see the world in black or white, and couldn’t understand shades of gray in people or allow for forgiveness.  Their anger festered for years, or even for their whole lifetime, and made their lives bitter and the lives of the people around them miserable.  They couldn’t separate the action from the person.  If adults couldn’t understand, how could a child?

 

I think so… maybe.  I’ll try.  I always thought the angel was weeping because I was so bad. 

 

No, that’s not why the angel is weeping.  We grow when we can learn to forgive.  It’s hard, but important.  Forgiveness heals us and is more important for us than for the person we forgive, but both are important.

 

Maria moved to gently touch the weeping angel and the engraving of her name and where it said she was the beloved daughter.  As she sighed, she smiled.  Thank you, m’lady.

 

No, I am not a “m’lady.”  I am just a woman on a walking tour of the City of Ladies.  Now I am not sure where I am.

 

A new-energy thought chimed in.  We will call this place the Hall of Remembrances.  Will you come back and help us tell our stories?  There are many stories here needing to be told.

 

She looked up to see many other pale figures emerging from the walls and statues, clustering around this latest thought-speaker.   He appeared to be the one with authority.  In his outstretched hand was a coin that seemed to have real substance.   Remember us! 

 

The coin was suddenly in her hand, solid and heavy.   A male head on one side and a woman standing on the other side. 

 

 

She looked at him, as he stood there with more physical essence than the others.  That’s Apollo on the one side; the muse Thaleia, as I know her, on the other.  Take this coin and remember us.  We await your return.  Others like yourself are welcome, also.       

 

I will return now and again, and perhaps others will also come to help you.  Thank you all for sharing with me and inviting me.  For now I need to return and continue the tour.  But I will be back to the Hall of Remembrances for more of your stories. 

 

And suddenly she was back at the entrance to the catacombs, coin in hand, ready for the next adventure, even as she wondered why Apollo and Thalia were on the same coin.

 

 

 

(see also http://cityofladies.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/the-hall-of-remembrances/#comments)

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