Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Black Madonna

As a woman who follows no established religion, I find myself drawn to well-known archetypes. I prefer to pluck those archetypes out of their religiously imposed limitations and get to know them in a more pure, more Universal sense. Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, the Buddha and Archangels all command my attention and interest. But right now, in this transitional moment, it is the Black Madonna who comes to call.
The Black Madonna can be found throughout Europe, known as Our Lady of Czestochowa. She is much less known in America. She is a Christian icon, yet she carries a Buddhist element, as her number one calling is compassion. For me, she is larger and more important than the narrow niche allotted her in the context of religion. For me, she has much more to say and contribute. I, for one, am willing to listen and consider her suggestions.
Over breakfast this morning and a cup of tea, the Black Madonna told me of a great need. At this point in time, it concerns her deeply. The need, she says, is to nurture. The world is falling apart at the seams because human beings do not nurture each other in ways that elevate esteem and worth. Human beings do not make the time and space to simply hold each other. It is so basic, she says. The arms and lips and hearts and hands of human beings are the greatest known healing agents. If more people were held, if more people were embraced by the soothing energy only human bodies can offer, less people would be ill. Less people would be distraught. Less people would be angry.
The Black Madonna says, the answers to so many concerns and needs are made clear when a person is given the simple, free, extraordinary energy that vibrates in the cells of God's highest creation. She says we need to open our arms more and welcome others in. We need to hold the heads of those who suffer from headaches. We need to kiss the wounds that are slow to heal. We need to wrap ourselves around someone from behind and squeeze, to let them know we have their backs. We need to let our bodies and our hands offer our love in palpable ways. We need to be willing to receive the same.
Nurture, nurture, nurture, says the Black Madonna. Nurture ourselves, nurture each other. Spread the love. Every single human being needs to be nurtured, well past childhood. We need to be nurtured from birth to death, and we are well equipped to do so. Only our minds and cultural limitations keep us separate and sad and longing for wellness. Open up, she says. Spread your loving arms, spread your loving wings. Go forth and heal each other.
{Stock photo image of a Black Madonna statue from a small church in Italy}

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wind In The Willow

Come, said the Willow. So I came.
Dear One, said the Willow, give me your sorrow and stresses. So I told the Willow my concerns.

There is no sorrow God and nature cannot heal, said the Willow. Do not hold onto grief. Release it into my bark and let it flow through my roots to the Mother. So I pressed my cheek to the creviced trunk. I felt the grief flow outward.

You are safe, said the Willow, and your heart is strong. So I kissed the Willow and shared my heart and bowed my head in gratitude.
Dear One, said the Willow, this is my message for you: Live well. Love fully. Hold nothing back. Embrace the winds of change. And dance.
So I draped myself with fingertip-leaves and danced with the wind in the Willow.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Reclamation

I am being reminded I need improvement in the areas of nurturing, nourishment and love. Towards myself. Physical discomfort and longing for activities I weaned from my life have stirred my brain into wakefulness. I have put too much of myself aside and it is time to get my priorities straight. It is time to reclaim the dreamer, the daughter of nature, the balanced and happy girl.
Boundaries have been playing a heightened role in the reclamation of myself. The needs of others, the opinions of others, the well-meaning-but-not advice and reprimands have worn me down. Now, my hand, palm facing forward, goes up rather quickly. If anyone wishes to take from me without giving back, or not even attempt to understand my needs and concerns, my friendly demeanor turns just sharp enough to stop the trespass.
In order to balance myself and declare, "I love my life!", some boundaries need to come down, and some need to go up. I'm discerning which is which. Where have I exhausted myself needlessly with people and situations that simply suck me dry? Where have I denied myself the simple pleasures that keep my soul moist and pliant? How am I going to move beyond the people-pleasing program? What actions am I going to take to reclaim the girl who loves to be happy?
I'm working on all of it because my physical well being depends on it. As does my happiness quotient. As does my ability to help and serve others. Nurturing myself through healthy boundaries, time to engage in activities I love, connecting with people who know how to give and receive, and yes, indulgence in chocolate and cheese, will reclaim the girl set off to the side. The girl I wish to be. The girl I am.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We Have The Answers

I've been thinking. Pondering. Testing a theory. The theory is this: what we need to better our lives is right in front of us. The keys to solving riddles, moving forward, overcoming adversity and embracing more bliss exist within the life we are leading today. The key, the information, the piece to the puzzle can usually be found in our homes, in our relations, in the routes we travel on a regular basis.
The Universe at large, through God-orchestrated synchronicity, provides everything we need and works mightily to get us to notice the simple answers to all our concerns and questions. Hints are dropped, words are spoken in passing, something suddenly catches our eye. In reality, our questions are answered before we can even ask them. But we're so busy living our frantic lives, when panic and conundrums and concerns come up, we claim to be lost and unsure and very confused as to how to solve the riddle.
If we sit with the concern and the riddle for a time, the Universe will gladly remind of us something our friend said 3 weeks ago that applies to the concern of the day. Or lead us to the magazine pile that reveals the information to ramp up our happiness. Or we simply become aware of our craving for fresh fruit. In most cases, the route to betterment is mapped out before us. In most cases, we choose to stick to the route that continues to enable our helplessness.
So, it all comes down to choice and free will. We're not stupid. Mostly we're lazy and afraid. Afraid to make the changes the Universe has clearly mapped out with a flourish of gold ink that says, "Do this and your life will be better. Way better." But we piss and moan about how hard it all is, how unfair it all is, how the effort seems too much to ask. And we become more afraid.
Let's choose to look carefully at the lives we lead, the homes we live in, the social connections we have. Our entire mundane lives are set up by Forces more clever than we to support our highest and best. We have the answers. If it is not a complete answer, we have, at the very least, a perfect starting point. Let's choose to look around our known worlds and help ourselves in simple and direct ways. Let's make the effort and choose the changes that bring more bliss.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Comfort Comes

Life carries on and comfort comes in many lovely disguises. Flowers and cardinals and rip-roaring thunder. Raspberries and tea and wishes from people afar. Love is everywhere. Love is here with me. Love does not cease.
Angels have come. My beloved Mary has come. Invisible paws have come, walking silently at the edge of my vision, guarding and restoring order. If all is not quite well, well is on its way.
I am blessed. I am comforted. I am healing. I am thankful for everything.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Last Gift Of Romance

I rang the bell. Now the girl-in-fur who stole my heart from a bottom cage 11 years ago, lies wrapped in a pink towel under a slab of stone in my backyard. The last several days have been hard. No, make that excruciating. For me, not for my cat. I cried so much my throat is raw. I hardly slept. I made anxiety my constant companion. And all the while, she purred.
In the turmoil and second-guessing and straining to hear her every move, my beloved Romance kept her motorboat running. I spent every possible minute with her, the last 4 days of her life. I lay beside her in the hallway. I cradled her in my lap. I stroked her gently for hours. I sang to her and thanked her and was completely honest with her. I even managed to find a few little things she would eat.
I did everything I could to give her comfort and peace, even if I could not give those same things to myself. As the end was looming and the bell was scheduled to be rung, we faced our last night together. In that good night, I received one of the most beautiful gifts of my life. The gift came from Romance herself.
As I lay down in bed, Romance jumped up and set herself beside me. I started to cry and she started to purr. She put her face less than one inch from mine and continued her purr. The entire night. We lay nose to nose, wide awake. Me, not wanting to miss a split second of this never-before-offered gift, her, seeking mightily to comfort me. She circled me throughout the night, never venturing more than inches away, pressing herself against my thigh when I broke down sobbing at 3am. Never once halting her purr. I don't know where her strength came from, but it came and it lasted and it gave me comfort and peace.
Then came her final gift. As I lifted her into the towel-lined laundry basket for traveling to the vet, she purred. As I put her gently into the car, she purred. As I sang Happy Birthday to her on the ride over, she purred. As she lay on the exam room table, she purred. As I knelt before her and held her sides and whispered, nose-to-nose, "I love you", she purred. As the tranquilizer flowed through her veins and I told her the angels were waiting, she looked me right in the eye and continued to purr. Romance purred for me into unconsciousness.
Just as her heart stopped, an angel whispered to me, "I've got her!" I told the angel to treasure her new gift, to be sure to enjoy those big, pink ears and mismatched eyes, and to know each purr she receives is a blessing and a prayer.
Update: August 10th~ Thank you all for the warm and wonderful comments. Each one has made a positive difference for me. I wrote about my cat in hopes that it may help even one other person face a difficult situation. My recommendation would be to follow your own gut instincts before the advice and possible contradictions of your veterinarian. What most medical professionals do not know is that LOVE is such a powerful energy, it is Universal pain management. Do only what your heart, as connected to your animal, says to do. And for yourself, have a supply on hand of Bach Flower "Rescue Remedy", in the spray bottle. It's calming and clarifying affects allowed me to face the task at hand. Use it for all situations that cause mild panic. Find it at health food stores. Thanks again for the blessings.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Sweet and White Romance

The clock is ticking. It's winding down. I'm waiting for the final bell to toll. The bell that chimes and ends my long and love-filled days of Romance.
It has been 4 days since my beloved cat, Romance, has chosen to eat. She has told me it is not a matter of if she will go, but when she will go. She has been unhappy since her favorite servant, Rain Dance, went on to new adventures and left her behind. She has cried and begged for food non-stop since May. Then, 2 weeks ago she told me she needed a new companion. Being dutiful to the Queen, I began my search and found her a new subject on the first try. Only, now I understand the new subject was for me all along. Romance had plans and needed to be sure I was taken care of before she could depart.
And so she has become a bag of sweet, little bones, purring and reassuring me God's plan is in order. I am in hospice-mode, doing everything in my power to make her comfortable. Guarding her, kissing her, cleaning her as her bodily functions break down,and keeping water bowls filled. I'm crying buckets too. Through the weepy hours, I remind her of the first mouse she ever slew and dropped so proudly on my bed at 3 am; of her inspiring ability to play with pipe cleaners for hours, of the motor-boat purrs and big pink ears that melted my heart everyday. I remind her how, since the day we found each other, she has filled my life with love and grace for 11 years.
Nature is more wise than me. I am doing my level best to honor the progression of the natural order unfolding in my home. But I am loathe to let some one I love suffer. In posing the question of "what should I do?" to my experienced cat-friend, Lisa, she replied, "She has been with you for a very long time, and if you follow your heart now, you won't be wrong. Listen to her, and listen to yourself, and do whatever you think will bring you both the most peace. Every decision that you make is made with love, and therefore, can't be the wrong choice."
Will I wait for the bell to toll on its own or will I decide to ring it? I don't know in this moment. It is not the moment to decide. I am too weepy and am contemplating my great appreciation for the gifts she gave everyday. But answers will come in one form or another, and Lisa's advice will cradle my heart in these, my last moments of a sweet and white Romance.