Archives for category: Self Determining

 

The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us.

– Marianne Williamson

REFLECTIONS

Unearthing the Un-lived Life

As I near the end of my year long journey, I am excited to begin the process of summarization. The otherwomanblog has concluded a decade of transformative steps, culminating in an epiphany of spirit. An epiphany, that wondrous and sudden realization of a great truth, seems to occur in a split second, but in reality, comes after a period of dedicated work…work which expands and deepens the interconnectedness of body, mind, psyche and soul. This process is necessarily slow, ensuring we maintain psychological stability, thus avoiding an imbalance that might see us in a straight jacket.

Psychological Equilibrium is Critical

Psychological Equilibrium is Critical

Psychological equilibrium is as critical to the body’s health as temperature, blood sugar, acidity/alkalinity etc.

In my 40’s I was drawn to novels about women who had walked away from the very lives they had spent decades creating. Metaphorically, women ‘dropped their aprons to the floor‘ as they turned away, leaving their kitchens…their homes…their workplaces…their lives. It was as though these women, seemingly against reason and on a whim, walked away from everything they had achieved. Eventually, they would resurface, often in remote settings and in reduced circumstances, but on a personal mission from which they would not be budged. Friends and family, left behind, would attribute such uncharacteristic and bizarre behaviour to a “mid-life’ crisis. In hindsight, I realize that my drive to read about women making unexpected turns in mid-life acted as a preparatory foreknowledge for the psychological and physical struggle which was about to unfold in my life.  

So much ink has been spilled trying to define and understand the mid-life crisis. Stereotypes abound!

Are These Women to be Admired or Shunned?

Possibly the answer lies in the psychic depth to which a woman in mid-life crisis goes! If the process stops at the ego, manifesting in the purchase of a ‘hot’ car or ‘hot’ bed-partner, a facelift or a tummy tuck, shunning may be justified. But if instead the woman attempts to fulfill her higher calling, by restoring wholeness to her personality, then I feel such a woman is to be admired. I have come to believe that each of us has a talent, a passion, unique to our soul. And when this passion is pursued and shared with others, the world is made just a little brighter!

In the first half of my life, like most, I gained an education, life skills, a career, a family…demonstrating self-discipline in a myriad of ways…all necessary tasks if one is to be a contributing member of our civilized world. But once all of this was achieved, a pesky little question erupted my calm…“Is this it?” I had to accept that although I had fulfilled numerous goals, my true calling, my life’s purpose, was still to be unearthed. 

Going Through Hell to Reach Heaven 

In my 40’s, although tantalized by the idea of women who changed the status quo of their lives, I lacked the necessary courage to take a real step away from my familiar, materially successful life. In my version of ‘transformation’, I was in control! I would decide ‘the look’ of my new life and plan its unfolding. But the picture I created was just another version of what I already knew…some ego driven perfection that would ultimately be unfulfilling. The aspect of transformation I did not want to endure was the breaking down of my ego… an ego that held rigid views of what was worthy and what constituted success…an ego full of stereotypes and prejudices…I also had to acknowledge my weaknesses and unpleasant character flaws. In short, I needed to find humility and become humble.

There is no simple, pain-free way to crack the ego. Our ego cracks through the ‘hell’ of the mid-life crisis. This ‘hell’ comes in many forms, all with the express purpose of shattering the status quo…hell may come in the form of an infidelity or a severe illness or a horrible accident or an unexpected loss of status or employment or the development of a phobia…some form of status crushing, life altering, attention grabbing event!

My life altering events came in the form of 2 near death experiences and temporary blindness. Impossible to ignore, I was forced to move away from the known, into the void that is the unknown. Healing my body restored my sight and then imperceptibly, but fantastically, I began to become acquainted with my inner riches. The struggle to heal drew me into the depths of  my soul, allowing me access to the unbounded love and creativity of the Universe. This is the Heaven that follows the Hell.

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

-Henry Ward Beecher

 

 REFLECTIONS

COTTAGE AS HERMETIC SEAL

As soon as I finished last week’s post, I began to live as I have never lived before. Feeling congruent within myself, I was excited to test my new found voice in the outside world…I felt ready to move beyond the transformative walls of my hermetically sealed cottage. In ancient times, alchemical transformations were believed to occur in the presence of three elements; the material body, the soul and the spirit. These are symbolized by the square, the circle and the triangle…the Hermetic Seal. I removed myself from old habits and familiar surroundings and went into seclusion. Living as a hermit, allowed me time to realign my material self with my soul, allowing the transformative power of a spiritual awakening to occur.

In 2004, I knew I needed a ‘room of my own’, a physical space, that would one day transform into a psychic space, separate from my husband, children and friends. A room in our Alberta home did not give me sufficient distance from my habitual dependence on those around me. Drawn by forces stronger than my fear, I scoured the coast of British Columbia searching for a place that touched my soul. 1000 km and a small cottage by the sea were the eventual solution. In my first burst of defining my boundaries, I called this lovely abode, Kathy’s Cabin. I proudly displayed a defining kitchen magnet and I bought a very feminine purple couch. For me, all bold steps. I was used to acquiescing on everything from restaurant choices to television shows. 

Marking Boundaries

Marking Boundaries

In the past I had been an industrious, methodical and earnest worker. I was accomplished, but everything I achieved missed the song of my soul. I would have regretted my very life, if I had never found my way through the labyrinth of my psyche, to reveal the spirit at my core. Above all else I wanted to feel congruence between my heart’s desire and  and my day to day endeavours. At times I felt drawn into this deeper, soulful life, at others I was dragged…against my will, but for my own good. 

PSYCHIC LABYRINTH

PSYCHIC LABYRINTH

SORTING THROUGH THE LABYRINTH OF THE PSYCHE

I would love to live

like a river flows,

carried by the surprise

of its own unfolding.

~John O’Donohue

Surprises of the Week

The Spitters or The Deep Bay Babes

Early this week, when I was in my front garden, a group of ladies with dogs walked by. After a chatty exchange about my monkey tree, they invited me to join them on their daily walk through the forest minutes from the sand spit on which we all live. For 7 years I have wanted just such a group but never felt confident to form one, and then, just as I was ready to join the world, the group appeared…smart women walking, otherwise known as The Spitters or The Deep Bay Babes!

Sun Bow or Sun Halo

On June 4th, I saw for the first time in my life, a ring of colour around the mid – day sun. The sun bow or whirling rainbow is considered to be a sign from the Unified Field/ Creator, marking a time of great change or transformation. This full-circle rainbow around the Sun, some elders say, can be understood as a signal, entreating us to live in harmony with all plants, animals, water, minerals, fire, wind and each other. Filming such a phenomenal event with my iPhone, made me chuckle, but it captured what looked like the eye of a power beyond all power. It is the perfection and protection of this power that has given me faith to sing my song to the world. 

A CAUTIONARY TALE – DON’T LET THE CROW DEVOUR YOUR SONGBIRD

 One day into my sojourn to Victoria, feeling as delighted as a newly awakened Songbird, I was shocked into a state of alarm. It was a lovely sunny morning. I was enjoying breakfast at my friend Suzanne’s. We were sharing our latest stories while re-establishing a healthy caffeine to blood ratio. Our bliss was interrupted by the crunch of a Songbird against the picture window. Slightly dazed, the Songbird flew to the fence to collect herself. From the deck, Suzanne and I clucked out reassuring sounds to the beautiful, tiny bird. 

But within seconds a huge, black menace swooped down and grabbed the Songbird by the throat, ensuring it would never sing again. Appalled, I felt an immediate affinity towards this Songbird’s plight. I thought, this is a cautionary tale, Between2Marys…guard against the black menace within yourself and others, when you venture into the world. Protect your newly established voice against any swooping crow.

 


Like a French poem is life; being only perfect in structure when with the masculine rhymes mingled the feminine are.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REFLECTIONS

From Seedpod to Bloom – Synergy of the Sexes

Part the earth and plant a seed. Mother Earth’s fertile, moist richness willingly receives this seed. Her power lies in her capacity to initiate the process of transformation. Mother Earth provides the nurturing receptacle that will ignite the life of the seed. But then, the plenipotent* masculine must arise and thrust through the surrounding earth. Only when the masculine and feminine interact synergistically, in perfect symbiosis, will the plant reach its zenith. Metaphorically then, my ideas are created and nurtured in the bountiful Feminine, but need the drive and determination of my action-oriented Masculine to become a tangible product.(Jung named the masculine energy within the woman, the animus)

In creating theotherwomanblog, I have given voice to my desire to be a writer. I am excited, impassioned and fulfilled every time I sit at my computer, and give birth to a new post. This experience is the symbiosis of the feminine and the masculine. Like a great river in nature, ideas flow endlessly, exciting my soul as I venture along this unparalleled creative path. I feel the pounding surge of new life within me, reminiscent of watching my daughters squirm and stretch in utero. But ideas, just like babies, must be born…given the chance to live outside the safety of the womb, the heart, the mind. If the ideas remained in my head, as they did for years, never manifesting into a sharable product… then I would be now as I once was in my old life…near death…like a stagnant river without flow, lacking vitality, gasping for air. Thus is the perfection of creativity! I am fed inwardly, soulfully, while simultaneously feeding and nourishing outwardly, by sharing my product.

Can I Manifest Other Dreams?

I have been trying to universalize my writing experience. Can I live other aspects of my life in a way that feeds my soul, while enriching the souls of others.

Here are just a few of my dreams:

1. I want to design my own garden, ending my reliance on my talented gardener, John.

2. I want to visit Vienna in July, as an empowered woman, open to the riches of the city.

3. I want to write a memoir or novel encapsulating theotherwomanblog experience.

4. I want to cycle Lake Constance in Switzerland.

5. I want to create a workshop, with an accompanying manual, in which I will help women free themselves from captivity…reducing their tendency to capitulate or coerce or kowtow, and instead find the courage to overcome the obstacles to living an impassioned life..

Tending My Garden – Dream #1

A few days ago I asked myself, Between2Marys, what do you hunger for? The answer came quickly. I hunger to create my garden, digging in the earth, planting and caring for all the life that has found its way into my yard…and then the reverie ended and I froze. Here was a clear desire, but where was my confidence to execute it? For 8 years I have watched with envy as my gardener, John, effortlessly designed and created my garden. His work seemed like magic, and beyond my capability. Logically, this was never true. Of course I was capable, but each time I thought about creating my garden, a judgemental, negative voice would descend upon me, leaving me feeling inadequate… not up to the task…forcing me to leave the execution of my dreams to the ‘experts’.

Invoking My Positive Animus

I needed to invoke my newly developed positive animus, to be my helpmate, to act in loving service to me…to help manifest my ideas and ideals. The attributes of the inner masculine include strength, decisiveness and a quality of protectiveness. Embracing this newly developed positive animus, I got in my truck and drove to a Garden centre. Once there, i became overwhelmed and almost drove away. I sat in the truck for 15 minutes until I felt strong. I then walked between rows and rows of plants, until their very presence calmed my anxiety. Step by excruciating step, I began to create my dream. 

New Life

Exhilarating Labour!

Exhilarating Labour!

Tools of the Trade

Making Peace with the “Father Complex”

In this year of theotherwomanblog, I wanted to free the woman within, to give voice to my creativity, ensuring I live with passion and purpose. My newly found voice has come from making peace with my ‘internalized’ man. Through the myriad forces of family, culture and my own actions, I developed a very deleterious, menacing animus. My one-sided, negative view of the masculine nature affected my interactions with men. To me, men were self-serving, emotionally unavailable betrayers.

It is amazing that I ever had dates, let alone marriages! My brutish stance devastated the men I interacted with, as well as leaving me questioning my ability to think or act. This year’s journey has given me the opportunity to examine my early years with my father as well as society’s attitudes towards women. I have dug very deep into the truth of my long held prejudices towards men, ultimately realizing that the perspective I created as a child, no longer served me, the adult woman. 

It is crucial for me to have within my psyche, a devoted, wise and lovingly present animus. Not only will this result in loving relationships with men, but this positive inner energy will give me the strength to realize my dreams!

GLOSSARY

plenipotent – invested with full power

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.

 Harry Emerson Fosdick 

REFLECTIONS

As I approach the 52nd week of The Other Woman Blog, I have 2 very strong and opposing emotions…joy and fear. I feel joy from recent manifestations of unbridled love but I also feel fear when facing the indeterminate future. The tension created between opposites has been the fundamental energy behind the transformative power of my year. Pictured below, is the image that initiated my Blog…Christ’s arms held apart, in surrender to a greater power, a greater wisdom, as He transitioned from life as he knew it, to life beyond the known. This gesture, metaphorically, became my mantra throughout the year.

Transformation Occurs in the Space Between

Transformation Occurs in the Space Between

Transformation Occurs in the Space Between the Old Life and the New Life

 I was existing in a life that no longer served me but I was far too terrified to step off the edge into an unseen, unknown, unfathomable new life. Herein lay my greatest lesson. The longer I stayed in the old, afraid to leap into the void, the deeper my feelings of depression and despair. When a dam holds back natural flow, stagnation occurs in what is contained…be that a body of water or the body of life. Self-induced repression is death to the spirit, to the soul, to the psyche and eventually to the body.

Stagnation is Death to any Body of Water or Life

Stagnation is Death to any Body of Water or Life

Stagnation Creates Dis-ease

The longer I held myself on the edge of change, too afraid to spring into the new, the greater the build up of repressed energy, the greater the symptoms of dis-ease…To trigger the Old Life/Death/New Life cycle of human transformation, a plunge into the void has to be made. So many times I stood on the edge of the familiar, ready to jump to the unknown, but I couldn’t leap. Instead, I stayed stuck in the rut of the familiar, complaining and blaming. 

We Need Courage and Desire to Face the Unknown

Vienna in July? -Transformation from Mother Mary to Mary Magdalene

I lived in Vienna for 7 years, necessitating innumerable trips between Canada and Europe. I am planning to spend July in Vienna, to celebrate the completion of The Other Woman Blog. Considering I have travelled to Europe many, many times, going this summer, should be very easy to do!

Oh but were this true!

Instead I face the fear of leaping into the unknown…travel as a free and empowered woman!

All of my previous travels to Europe were done in service to others, as wife and mother. When in the nurturing role of Mother Mary, I was purposeful and proficient…no challenge was beyond me. In 1991, with the help of my 11 year old daughter, I moved us into our new home in Vienna. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. My husband was working in Pakistan. During our 7 years, I planned family holidays throughout Europe with ease. In 1996, 1 month after my Mother died in Canada, I flew back to Vienna and organized our move to Albania. My husband was working in Tirana. I am a very competent woman…but only in service to others! Now, in trying become empowered in service to a new life purpose, I am immobilized! I am standing at the edge of the void, afraid to jump into the unknown. I am afraid because I do not and by definition, cannot know the future. What will happen to me in Vienna or worse still, will nothing happen to me in Vienna! I’m equally unnerved by both possibilities.

What will be the impetus for my leap into the void? What force is stronger than fear? I think this force is DESIRE! I must desire the new more than I fear the old, or the courage to leap will elude me. The paradox is that in wanting a new life, its characteristics must be unknown or it could not be called new! Yet it is always the unknown that frightens!

CAN I BRING COLOUR TO  MY VIENNA EXPERIENCE?

MARY MAGDALENE AS ROLE MODEL

I desire the multifaceted characteristics of Mary Magdalene, as she is described in the Gospels. She was a woman that stood by Christ through his life, his suffering, his death and beyond. To me, Christ symbolizes the life-death-new life cycle of a soulful, meaningful existence. Life, congruent with our soul is life where dreams come true, where purpose is felt, where endeavours have meaning. The earliest writings of Mary Magdalene, depict her as a woman of substance, a disciple of Jesus. Her changed status to that of prostitute, came about as the church was gripped by patriarchy. Despite her centuries-old disreputable depiction in religion, art, literature, and in recent prominent fictional books and movies, such as The Da Vinci Code, it is largely agreed today that not a shred of solid biblical or extrabiblical evidence suggests she played the role of harlot.

Thus, symbolically, Mary Magdalene represents the aspect of the strong and spiritual self that stands by in witness to the transition from the death of the old, to the resurrection of the new. The space or void one enters, symbolized by Christ’s cave, may be occupied for some time. Alone and in the dark, one must rely on inner resources for survival.

But in withstanding the pain of a psychic death, the new life, once present, blossoms with spirit, love and creativity.

I have come to believe in the power of the space between thoughts, between breaths, between stars, between old life and new!

Creativity, Love and Spirit in the Space Between the Stars!

Creativity, Love and Spirit in the Space Between the Stars!

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