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It's June 11. Laura Desert Rain's birthday. She died 15 years ago of cancer, just over 45 years old.

We got together on the new moon for years, to pull tarot cards for the coming month and talk. I have her Motherpeace tarot deck, although I haven't gotten it out in a long time. Maybe I'll pull a card tonight in her honor.

ETA: 9 of cups, "enjoyment and well-being."

ETA2: We met at a Witches High Tea at Gifts of the Goddess bookstore on Valencia St. in San Francisco. Took me a while to remember the name of the store, which is of course long gone, so I'm putting it here.
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[personal profile] rushthatspeaks' usual lyrical writing, in a tribute to Tanith Lee. A somewhat representative sample:
"Her work draws me back and back and back to yell at her. The Book of the Dead: STOP THAT THAT IS COLONIALIST BULLSHIT and also these aren't even stories this is literally a collection of images you have thrown at the page in hopes that some of them stick oh wait apparently that one did as it has appeared regularly in my dreams for years now DAMMIT Tanith."


I've bookmarked the post under book recs, for when my to-be-read stack is a little smaller, and I have a little more time for reading.
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Bike manners say that when you see a cyclist changing a flat tire by the side of the road, you ask, "Got everything you need?" and slow down long enough to hear their answer. It's less crucial in the city, but out on country roads you might save someone a loooong walk, or a miserable hour if they don't really know how to fix a flat.

I went shopping at my local coop at about 9pm tonight, and as I was swinging out of the parking lot on my bike, I realized the young woman behind me was wrestling with changing a car tire. I called back, "Got everything you need?"

She hesitated, and asked me if I had done it before. I said yes, and settled in to help. Actually, first I said, "I can stay and help, or leave you to it if you prefer. It's totally up to you." She opted for me to stay. Fortunately it's a nice warm clear night.

My main contribution was standing on the wrench and bouncing to get the lug nuts to loosen, and then just generally providing support and holding my bike light as a flashlight. She was reading the instructions and following them step by step, and would have been fine, except I don't think she was heavy enough to move those lug nuts.

Thing is, it's been something like 20 years since I changed a flat car tire. I remember doing it in 1989 when I'd first moved to California, and I think maybe one other time after that. Haven't owned a car for 12 years, so it's definitely been that long.

But my dad taught me to change car tires when I used to watch/help him do car maintenance as a kid, and I still clearly remember him telling me to tighten alternate lug nuts, not going around the circle in order.
sonia: Wellspring of Compassion book cover with woodland stream (Wellspring cover)
There is deep healing when we invite a younger part closer and say, "You matter. Your experience matters. Your truth matters."
Integration: Live into Both/And

New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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On the evening of Lag b'Omer, I went folk dancing, as I do most Wednesday nights when I can get a ride. Thursday I had a space in my schedule, so I biked down to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a spring-fed oasis cradled in the middle of Portland. All more or less coincidentally a lovely way to celebrate Lag b'Omer.

pictures! )

Happy Spring to all!
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As a perfect followup to this rant, I saw a link to Cancer Survivor Creates Empathy Cards for People with Serious Illnesses.

Also, this is a powerful, subversive story and much more to my taste than I thought it would be when I saw the rifle on the cover. Hunting Monsters by S.L.Huang (via)
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I've been taking piano lessons for nearly 5 months now (wow, the weeks piled up fast!). My teacher gathers her adult students occasionally to play for each other, and I played a short little Latvian folk song in 5/8 tonight. Not perfectly, but I did it. They were all kind, warm people, with a range of skills and performance anxieties.

We all went around to introduce ourselves, and most people had played a bit as kids and then come back to it in their forties, and then again at retirement. I wonder if I'll follow that pattern (except the kid part) or stay with it. One woman looked to be around 80. I want to be learning new things when I'm 80!

I'm liking this focus on music.
sonia: Peacock with tail fully spread (peacock)
I'm gathering resources and information about Kabbalah by women. I'll update this post as I learn more.

http://kolaleph.org/2015/03/30/jewish-renewal-omer-offerings-online/ has lots of resources, some of which I'm listing here. (via a coworker, who also said, "I liked that idea about not acquiring some already-formed idea like a feminist reading of kabbalah...but being a feminist reading kabbalah." I like that too.)

Through the Gates: A Practice for Counting the Omer by Susan Windle (link has a Kindle preview).

An Omer calendar with meanings for the sefirot, by Rabbi Goldie Milgram. Also Omer blog posts, sadly interrupted by computer troubles.

Daily Omer poetry by the Velveteen Rabbi, Rachel Barenblat (via [personal profile] liv).

Two books about feminist Judaism: Lynn Gottleib's "She Who Dwells Within", and Leah Novick's "On the Wings of the Shekhinah" (via [personal profile] batdina). I got one of these at Powells, and requested the other at the library, and hope I can keep up with the stack of books to read.

This search helps me notice how many wise strong Jewish women I have in my life. What a gift.
sonia: Peacock with tail fully spread (peacock)
"The higher truth is that our experiences are absolutely fitting for each of us." I thought the Holocaust would prevent any Jew from letting that pass their lips, much less committing it to writing in a "spiritual" book.

I find it personally, viscerally offensive. I can't live in a world where I chose or deserved, at any level, the terrible things that were done to me. Not as part of the Holocaust, but perhaps as a sort of backwash from it, since I was raised by people directly affected by it.

How could a Rabbi say that, one old enough that he might have been alive during the Holocaust? In a chapter about compassion and empathy, no less. Look someone in the eye and say that, someone with a number tattooed on them. Look at a photo of skeletal people rescued from a death camp and say that. Look at someone raped as a child and say that.

I was just writing with my aunt about her aunts and uncles, and she wrote, this one and this one and that one were assassinated in the Holocaust. (In Spanish.) They couldn't possibly have deserved that. Nor did my aunt deserve to grow up without extended family around her.
sonia: Wellspring of Compassion book cover with woodland stream (Wellspring cover)
The chakra system helps us focus on one kind of healing at a time, and notice what is going well in addition to what is difficult.
Check In With Your Chakras

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!
"Healing Developmental Trauma" by Laurence Heller, PhD, and Aline LaPierre, PsyD
"Wheels of Life" by Anodea Judith
"Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit

Psychiatrist recommendations
Do you know of a psychiatrist you would recommend in the Portland/Vancouver, Oregon area? I'd love to have some names when I get requests for referrals.

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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The Right Words to Say: On Being Read as White by Dahlia Grossman-Heinze

I read the first few comments, and they resonate with my experience even more that the article itself. I spoke Spanish before I spoke English, despite being born in the US. Going to preschool, I remember being uncertain about being able to talk to people.

I am of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, so I am white, I suppose, but my mother was born in Chile (my dad arrived there when he was two) and they both speak English with faint Latin American accents. I'm told my Spanish carries a flawless Chilean accent, despite having visited there only once, as an adult. So, I am sort of almost Latina, enjoyed my mother's empanadas and pastel de choclo growing up, loved listening to records of Inti Illimani.

So many things to come out about, against the tide of mainstream assumptions.
sonia: Wellspring of Compassion book cover with woodland stream (Wellspring cover)
The first step toward an easier road might be permission to make choices that lessen pain.
Choose an Easier Road

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!

"Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga" by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper
"Flying In Place" by Susan Palwick
"Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
sonia: Wellspring of Compassion book cover with woodland stream (Wellspring cover)
Consent is an unforced moment-to-moment agreement to participate in a specific activity.
Enjoy Enthusiastic Consent

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
"Religion Gone Astray" by Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon, Imam Jamal Rahman

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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Kids these days get too much praise: Praise, validation, and encouragement by Lis Coburn
When a child comes to an adult, dripping with defeat, and says, “I failed,” praise is, “No you didn’t! You did really well!” and validation is, “You’re really disappointed with how you did, hunh? That sucks.” And over time, if adults do nothing but praise, what children hear is: Your self-doubt and weaknesses are not wanted here. Failure is not acceptable, not even thinkable. I cannot accept you unless you do well.


Talking about racism in therapy by Lis Coburn
And often when I opened the door [to talking about racism], the immediate and enthusiastic response was the equivalent to, “I’m allowed to talk about racism? OH MY GOD LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE RACISM I’VE SEEN.”
[...]
Talking about race gave her power. It gave her the ability to change her circumstances for the better.


A Better Way to Say Sorry by JoEllen
I’m sorry for…
This is wrong because…
In the future, I will…
Will you forgive me?

This is a top-notch post about apologies, classroom management, and community. I wish JoEllen's About page didn't make my teeth hurt.
sonia: Wellspring of Compassion book cover with woodland stream (Wellspring cover)
Looks like I never posted this! Well, here you go, barely in January.

The sensation might be, "Oh, I didn't realize I was holding there!" as a shoulder drops, or "I have more room than I thought," as a hip moves back.
Explore Uncurled Posture

New book responses at Curious, Healing. Have you read these? Comments welcome!
"Knots" by R.D.Laing
"I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help" by Xavier Amador, PhD

Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.

If you want the monthly newsletter in your inbox, along with news about my practice, you can subscribe here.
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He wrote it down.
This comes with a trigger warning. It made me cry. Two women officially tell about past abuse and are heard and validated.


via Carrie Mook Bridgman
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I loved this story, Pocosin by Ursula Vernon. Read it twice through and then sat with it, savoring. It's about women and strength and good endings that include death and doing what needs to be done and being bone-tired and claiming rest, with lots of right-there sensory details about the surroundings.
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Last year's word of the year was welcome. I meant I wanted to feel welcomed, but it immediately became an imperative to make others welcome. And perhaps to make myself welcome.

reflections )

For this year, I'm choosing "music". it's important )I hope that making room for that in my life, and doing the work, will also make room for all the things I associate with music - consonance, harmony, connection, joy, presence, and letting myself be audible and visible in the world.
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Searched on McKillip, found this lovely story after Changeling Sea, which I own a copy of, but clearly don't remember very well. This story made me want to reread it.
Leaving the Sea (Turns out this one is from 2004, because I was in the full Yuletide index. Totally worth reading anyway!)

There's been a lot of not-knowing in my life lately, so this story fit right in, as well as being a finely-crafted followup to Phantom Tollbooth
From the Mountains of Un

A right and proper sequel to Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. Along the way, it addresses heteronormativity and history classes that only talk about dead white men.
The Piper

Tristan of Hed! From Riddle-Master of Hed. Long ago, that was the book I finished, held in my hands, and turned over to start again. This story lives up to that.
The Crown of Hed

ETA: Via [personal profile] castiron, a sweet vignette
Frog and Toad Forever
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I'm noticing some of my internal rules lately.

  • When I screw up, I should say so, apologize, and take whatever lumps ensue.
    • Did you know powdered sugar has cornstarch in it? Me neither. I claimed the cookies I made were corn-free to someone who doesn't eat corn products. :-(

  • Whoever wants more distance gets their way, no negotiating.
  • Relationships require radical self-disclosure, equality, and balance.
  • Give people space to be exactly who they are. Don't expect them to change. Don't expect them to stay the same (but it's the way to bet).
  • Don't talk about emotional pain. Painful things are "hard," or "uncomfortable."
    • For the longest time I thought "relationships are hard" meant that terrible pain was expected in relationships.

  • Talk about anger in past tense.


It feels like these rules have pain and fear behind them, attempts to Be Good in response to past disasters. It would be easy to allow them to close around me like a curtain, and erase whatever I might want or ask for. They're not necessarily bad rules, but it's interesting to notice them as imperatives I might have a choice about, rather than The Way Things Are.
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