Wednesday, August 27, 2014

While I ride through this heartbreaking life: necessary writing on staying centered through pain.

The long stretch of neglect from ignoring the will to create has an accumulating effect on happiness.  The longer the stretch is prolonged, the heavier the weight of it, compounding the maintenance of that happiness.  I can't stand much longer of ignoring the need to write, to make ritual of my body and my mind.  My heart can only take so much trotting along on worn out paths of grief and minutia, time spent only half rooted to the sacred ground I stand on.  If I don't stop to take notice of the always-available power I have to get through this shit, I lose it.  I end up right where I am right now- slipping off of the edge of the mountain.  I'm clinging to grass as the mother takes off with me on her back, grasping onto her hair as she takes me away.  

How do we come back to center when our whole world turns upside down?  Or when our meticulously designed routines are upended, or our stabilizers disperse?  The hardest thing can be remaining in clear sight of our truths when everything we've placed around us to stay in identity with those truths is in altered alignment.  What has become increasingly clear to me is that I'm too identified with the things outside of me- reliant on my beau, my home, and my ways to keep me rooted in what is ultimately designed to come from within.  I'm resistant to imagining myself as isolated and floating out in space somewhere in a vacuum of meeting my own needs all the time, and crave a balance between personal power and union, connection.  When grief strikes and I am forced to turn within, how is it possible to see through the fog of brokenness to the wholeness of me?  

I'm in the throes of this, so I won't put out any lofty answers involving personal practice, meditation, mindfulness, et cetera, although it's certain that they are involved.  There's a bigger picture for me.  Back to riding on the mother's back, riding the ground as it's tossed through time and space and getting a good enough grip on the roots of her hair for the leverage to wrap my thighs around her waist and get back on the saddle.  Mindfulness- seeing through the fog- is that leverage, among the many tools at my disposal.  Seeing the fog for what it is and not mistaking it for what is inside of this mother's heart and mine.  And keeping that feeling in my heart, the feeling of the wild abandon and safety of being secured on her hip, held close to her breath and the scent of her while I ride through this heartbreaking life.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An open letter to our men.

It's too soon to put us on the spot and start demanding solutions.  There are too many wounds to heal, too much trust to mend, too much power still left to reclaim from having demands and solutions thrust upon us.  Not enough time has passed where our men have simply put down their tools and listened, shown us that they are willing to sit through and bear witness to the pain and anger, to sit still in the rising tide of the mother returning to her power because of their deep knowing that after the storm, the fury, is the most complete beauty they will ever know.  Only then, when she has been shown who is still with her, will it be time to pick back up your tools.

Be very conscious of how terrifying it is for your woman to be truly seen in the world.  Honor her walls- they have served a great purpose.  Know the paradox that is integral to the essence of the feminine- you will only be heard if you whisper, the walls will only become stronger if you try to take them down yourself.  The only way she will fell truly safe- with you and with the world- is if she is the one that takes them down.  But you, our men, you must sit on your hands and watch.  You must be able to see when there are bricks coming down, when we are creating openings for us to shine through to you.  Never is this permission to jump in and help us.  We don't need rescuing.  We need- your woman needs- to see your patience and faith that more will come, your appreciation of what is being shared, the beauty that is slowly coming through.  

Your woman is desperate to trust you, to feel safe.  But everything you have been taught to do or be as a man has kept this mystery in hiding.  The lesson is now the unknown.  Can you sit without the security of tools or solutions, and just listen?  Can you relish in your goddess's glory and beauty without giving her guidance?  Can you trust that we will love you, appreciate your gifts as they come to us in clear sight and intention?

First, you must stop what you are doing and truly, deeply see your woman.  Don't come at her with tools- she's worn and beaten down from that.  Show her you trust her way of knowing by leaning into the discomfort of your uncertainty.  It's much more important than clinging desperately to what you know.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

polluted by pain

Not going to pretend like this is some grandiose manifestation of what I thought I could be, because the truth right now is that I'm in a self-limiting place, one where I can only see the fault lines in my psyche and soul.  Coming out on the other side is no hope at all because I always dip right back into despair.  My depression seems inevitable.  

My mother tells me that people say nothing but kind things about me and love to learn that her daughter is me, like this persona or contortion of a memory in my hometown.  I don't know how to feel about it, whether I should identify with that or brush it off as a projection.  It's sort of maddening to know that I don't see it in myself. 

I feel the rage and sadness and pain on a cellular level.  I feel like bashing someone's teeth in, throwing a canning jar at someone's head.  I feel years of abuse and disgracing my body trying to escape through my pores.  My skin is crawling constantly.  I'm just dying to get out.  

And sometimes I want to just die.  

I'm so sick of landing here as if the weeks of beauty and laughter never exist.  I'm left wondering if I'm just faking it, on my best behavior.  I'm tired of trying to buy in to some spirituality I don't feel from the inside out, putting patches on my broken soul.  I feel like I need the company of other broken people to feel any love at all.  Maybe that's why I don't care about breaking the people around me.  I don't know.  

There is such a profound difference between feeling and knowing.  But right now I can't tell what is what.  There is too much rotting around my heart to know if there's anything pure left on the inside, or if there will be anything left if I scrape those parts off.  I think my fear of that is keeping me from letting go.  The fear of being seen, the fear of not existing or existing in a pure form only to be polluted by pain all over again.  

I can't think my way out of this.  But I don't think there is a way out of it.  I've been telling myself that I can only go through it, but I'm so tired.  Right now I just want to check out, stop thinking, stop dealing.

But then what?  

Maybe if I felt worthy of the beauty that is my children, my life, then I could live up to it.  I just don't know how to wrap my head around the transient nature of change and the fear of having nothing in the end.  I'm always left wondering, what's the point?  

What's the point of loving if I can't ever feel loved??

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My herbal ally, Motherwort.

Motherwort, or leonurus cardiaca, is a beautiful wild plant, found in my prairie homeland in the Midwest in abundance.  This plant has an affinity for women's health, postpartum healing, but as its latin name indicates, it has profound effects on afflictions of the heart.  There is an abundance of information on this plant on the internet, including where it can be found, how it grows and is propogated, its plant relatives (it's a member of the mint family, as can be told by its square-shaped stems), and its other uses for ailments, but here I will discuss my relationship with motherwort and what I know experientially.  

As a doula and women's health educator, this herb comes up in my mind as a safe herb to turn to in order to address the anxiety felt in association to the burden many women carry.  Motherwort is a strong sister for the deep sorrows that wise women feel, which often manifest as anxiety, panic attacks, anger, a feeling of tightness in the chest, and depression.  

Susun Weed, my mentor and author of the Wise Woman Herbals, cautions that motherwort should be taken as needed, or PRN, as one can form a dependency on its effectiveness.  This is why I find it to be a wonderful alternative to pharmaceutical anxiety medication.  I recommend taking it in tincture form, as the tea is very bitter, in small doses (5-10 drops) in 15 minute increments until symptoms subside.  

Personally, I've turned to motherwort for historically violent mood swings, postpartum depression, heart chakra crushing anxiety, and weepiness.  I'm currently using it in combination with lemon balm tincture, another mint, to bring in a little bit more sunshine and carry me through very difficult emotional transitions.  Since moving to the Black Hills, I've missed being able to walk out to the gravel road behind my house, or the pasture at my child's school, and lop off the flowering tops each May, but luckily, since motherwort was in such abundance in my hometown, I made many ounces of tincture, some of which I am still using, and some of which I pass on to other ladies in need (mostly new mamas and PMSing women).  

For cross-referencing purposes, here is a list of motherwort uses and indications as described in Susun Weed's "Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year".  (Note:  The descriptor "childbearing year" is any fertile time in a woman's life, but you will find many uses for pregnancy, birth, and beyond.)

  • Motherwort is an emmenogogue (brings on stalled mentrual flow) when taken as an infusion (1oz dried herb in a covered quart jar with boiling hot water, steeped overnight).  This will be BITTER, but if you want to bleed bad enough, you will do it!  Warm it and sweeten with a natural sweetner (honey, maple syrup..)
  • For "even emotions", Susun says that it "calms without drowsiness, making it ideal as an ally at work and at home, whenever pressure and stress threaten to overwhelm you."
  • Motherwort is an antispasmodic, making it very useful for cramps as well as early labor contractions.
  • Because of its slightly sedative action, it is effective for taking the edge off of active labor pains.  Take 5 drops of tincture in a glass of water.
  • Although antispasmodic, it acts as a uterine toner as well, and is known to be given routinely by traditional midwives immediately after birth to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. 
  • Motherwort is AMAZING for postpartum afterpains.  Susun says it "helps tone the uterus and ease the nervous system."
  • It's a strong ally for exhaustion and tension.
Sometimes I meet women and I think, "Can I just give you some motherwort??"  Seriously, my relationship with this plant has been profound and is still evolving.  Her personality is one of a much older, wiser sister- she mothers me when I need mothering, when I need to tend to my wounds, and when my pain-body is stealing my attention.  

If you are interested in purchasing an ounce of motherwort tincture from my beloved stands in Nebraska, mindfully and sustainably harvested from the wild by yours truly, email  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why I Wear Makeup

Because I recognize the person I was pretending to be for so long.

Because my inner beauty is sacred and sharing it is scary.

Because I hardly leave the house.  

Because my lover tells me I'm beautiful anyway.

Because of the reflection, literally.

Because I maybe I won't look so damned tired.

Because then I'm more than a mother.  

Because it's just mascara and lipstick.

Because I don't have to.  Because I want to.

Because then people are surprised at how well I'm doing.

Because I can hide how much I have to do.  

Because I can look busy, important.  

Because babies don't care.  

Because for a moment, I feel like another kind of woman. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What is the MOTHER FRONT?

The relevance of this outlet has grown for me lately, causing me to evaluate what exactly my intentions are with the corner of the world I inhabit.  I've always saddled the line between professionalism and profanity, needing my blog to be a safe space for both.  I've felt a drive lately to dig deeper, and have a space where I can offer what's truly going on inside of me, to offer what it is that I want to share and do so in a way that I feel confident developing it into it's fullest potential.

I have so many ideas for this space.  And it turns out that people might be paying attention.

So I'm going to go ahead and answer the big question:
What is the MOTHER FRONT??

It is the space of consciousness that our earliest memories exist.  Earlier than time allows, earlier than we, as we know ourselves, were awake.
It is the place where the beauty within and the violence of this age collide, where we battle constantly to hear the truth of our own voices. 
It is the place where it is safe to cry in front of others.  To admit that we feel too much in a world that feels too little. 
It is what it means to be home.

In my work with child-bearing families, the most beautiful moments are the ones where I witness people finding this place within themselves.  Where people walk into their own power as fully embodied physical and spiritual beings.  And in the work I do with myself, I am constantly seeking the safety of this space, the refuge of my power.  I want to share this in a deep way.  I have a deep need to help heal humanity in my own subtle way.  

What does this look like?
Of course, it's political.
But it's a truth being hidden in the essence of ourselves, and we can all have a piece/peace of it if we give ourselves the tools.
Movement, meditation, relaxation.
Feeding ourselves purely, physically and spiritually.
And the honoring of the traditions of humanity.
Through our children.
Mother to mother.
People to people.
It's healing the lost art of love.

So watch out.  In the next few moths, I want to do something I've never done before, and that is to commit, full- and open-hearted, to this process and offer everything I know about how to do it.  This includes gentle parenting, primal motherhood and birth, guided meditations (which I'm really excited about recording and possibly broadcasting), and complimentary medicine lessons in bodywork, herbalism, and energy healing.  I will still journal here from time to time, and always post the tools that are relevant to me in the moment with honesty and emotion, but expect to see a major shift, because it's already happening.  

I'm excited to make this next step, to make the Mother Front a tangible thing in my life, and perhaps even possibly yours.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Loafing and wisdom of third trimester fitness.

Despite having basically no income (I'm at the bottom of the barrel of student loan money), I made some investments in my pregnancy that are probably pretty necessary, somewhat out of fear.  Eh.  Sometimes it's a good motivator- when you see yourself moving quickly towards an unattractive demise (i.e. a midwife chastising you for gaining too much weight for the second time, a second degree tear, a nearly nine pound baby, and severe diastasis), the best thing to do is turn around FAST in the other direction.  

First, I purchased one of the lovely books that Juliette de Bairacli Levy, the famed Gypsy herbalist that has had such a profound influence on other healers I've come to love, called Nature's Children.  I had to buy it after peeking inside it on Amazon late last night and reading her wisdom on pregnancy and motherhood.  It's simple.  A family is only as healthy as the mother.  She shares beautifully from her experience instead of theory her thoughts that a robust pregnancy, one where the mother stays physically active and alive, sleeps well, eats well, breathes fresh air and spends most of her time outdoors (such as the nomads she lived and birthed with) leads to a quick, often painless birth, as well as babies who are healthy and robust themselves.  

Here she is with her Afghan hound, the breed she always kept by her side.

Ah, a breath of fresh air!  What a philosophy to get behind.  So simple, yet so removed from the lifestyle I've adapted even up here in the Black Hills, overwintering, sometimes over-eating, and generally loafing around. 

So this morning I was determined to get up and get real, but of course, I perceived obstacles.  I'm not in the frame of mind quite yet to fully appreciate walks alone around the ranch (perhaps when I have more of my own projects going on, the garden growing, the chickens scratching around..)  The biggest piece of Julliete's wisdom I've taken to heart, mainly because I can actually FEEL the effects of having not, is exercise.  My 30-week belly has really been pulling me down lately, but I've let it.  Earlier, my solution was GaiamTV and the prenatal videos they offer, but when I went to renew my lapsed subscription, I found that- NOO!!- they don't play the beloved prenatal yoga video I found myself going back to over and over again.  While they have gobs of other amazing content (like recordings of my favorite spiritual teachers such as Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson, plus, um, Jillian Michaels), I knew what I wanted and I wanted it NOW.  

And I am PICKY when it comes to fitness/yoga recording.  Any slightly annoying inflection of a host's voice and I'm out.  I wasn't sticking around on GaiamTV if they didn't have what I wanted, to I went back to Amazon and just bought it.  Fuck it.  I'm worth it (and so is this little one).  

That said, I really can't say enough good things about Hala Khouri's Radiant Pregnancy.  As a doula and childbirth educator, I think that her approach to the sacred nature of pregnancy is gentle and not patronizing, and allows plenty of space for a mama to feel her way through her own experience (which is what a good yoga teacher does anyway).  Plus she's a generally bad-ass lady.  Here she is:

Now, if you can't get behind that, I don't know what you're doing on my blog in the first place (just kidding!  welcome!!).  I'm generally attracted to down-to-earth, fearless people, so I'm excited for Friday, when Hala Khouri will show up in the mail.  I'll let y'all know how I'm feeling in about a week.  My guess is that things can only improve.

Until then, I'm going to get dressed, get outside, and go shovel aged cow manure into buckets for my compost pile!  I think Juliette would be proud. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails