Archives for posts with tag: transformation

REFLECTIONS

A month of productivity and joy and then yesterday, Saturday, was a day on the couch watching yet another British Mystery Series. At 7:30pm I drank 2 glasses of Malbec, ‘fell asleep’ and missed the 7.7 earthquake off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sunday morning is now upon me, and I pause to ask ‘Why?’ and not to the reason for earthquakes, but the reason for my melancholic state. I know I will not evolve into The Other Woman, if I say to myself, “One day of laying around, eating poorly, having a couple drinks, is nothing, you deserve a break, some down time.” I am aware that I have a super charged work ethic when it comes to ‘Personal Growth’ and relaxation and fun are therefore, valuable experiences for me. But what I did yesterday was not fun or relaxing. The feeling I had throughout the day was one of disquiet and self loathing. This is the feeling I have whenever I try to burrow my consciousness into the bowels of the earth. The season of blooming is finished and I am descending into the dark. What lies beneath the surface? What faulty belief have I internalized, that begs to be revealed and subsequently released, allowing me to live closer to my heart?

I was then startled from this reverie by the ‘ping’ of my iPhone, alerting me to a new message…and here is the miracle of the Universe’s guiding hand! Below is the poem delivered via GoodReads….

The day misspent,

the love misplaced,

has inside it

the seed of redemption,

Nothing is exempt

from resurrection.

             -Kay Ryan

Kay Ryan, the American Poet Laurteate, reminds me that there is nothing more exquisite than the feeling of having the burden of oneself borne off by a poem…not the self, just the burden…just for a moment. She writes in her PJs too!

Creating in PJs

What am I to redeem from that misspent day? that misplaced love?

First I will reflect on my week’s virtual chats with men. A mere 7 days ago, I had not spoken to any man other than my husband and male friends, for 20 years. Thanks to Plenty of Fish, that has changed. Boldly, honestly and clearly, I have spoken from my heart. Amazingly, only one man out of the 11, has stopped writing to me. I have promised nothing, use only my pen name Between2Marys, and decline requests for my name, email address, phone number or coffee dates. I am creating a new me vis a vis men. I have liked the positive, ‘low-key’ attention from men. So why then did I collapse into a tiny ball of angst? Heavy sigh, deep breath….preparing to be honest…my life long lament…I’m not attractive enough for a man to love me for who I am, so I must transmogrify, from the Loathly Lady, into the lovely princess. Only then will I be loved. What this means for me, is, that I must subjugate my desires and attend to ‘his’, as a compensation for my physical lack. Sadly, I have believed this behaviour necessary, even when I was young.

Naturally this perception of the price I must pay for love was born out of my relationship with my father. I loved yet felt intimidated by him. He was unpredictable. I believed I had the power to lessen the parental tension in our home, by being desirable in my father’s eye. I believed that my father’s behaviour towards my mother and my brothers might improve, if he felt pride over his creation of me. I tried to be any and everything I thought he might value. My father was a man’s man, a good looking ‘bad boy’. My mother married him against the advice of her more refined family. He was not a philandering husband, except for his Irish lass, during the Second World War. But, he made no effort to stifle his ‘appreciation’ of a women’s exterior. His entire life, he whistled  with reverential glee at women who epitomized the 1940’s ideal; a thin hipped, well endowed, blond haired bombshell…as I remember him saying…again and again…oblivious to me standing before him with dark hair, average cleavage and above average hips.

Bad Boy Stan, My Dad

I could never have achieved his idea of physical perfection. My physical appearance, demoralized me from age 12, when he counselled me with the following bit of unsolicited, soul crushing, fatherly ‘advice’. “My dear, no man likes a woman with hips as big as 2 battleships.” Being a Navy Officer, he liked to use nautical terms, to drive a point home!

Me around 12 with my Brother

I never again looked at my strong, muscled thighs with any feeling but betrayal or derision. So began my efforts to compensate for my looks. I became attentive to the whims and desires of men, at the expense of my own.

This painful, yet liberating insight, is what I have redeemed from my misspent day, my misplaced love.

 I went into a funk, because I faced a dilemma. Can I continue to speak of my desires as boldly and freely as I have written them?  Or will I continue to compensate for my hips, by cloaking my desires in niceties and placations? Or more likely, will I avoid the issue entirely by burying myself in another British Mystery Series?

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 17 OF 52

CHANGING FROM THE LOATHLY LADY 

 In the Fairy Tale, ‘Sir Gawain and The Lady Ragnell, the loathsome Lady Ragnell, bargained with King Arthur. She agreed to tell him the answer to the riddle, “What do women desire above all else?” in order to lift the spell over his life. In exchange, she desired to be married to his nephew, Sir Gawain. He was known as the most handsome, skilled and compassionate knight at the Round Table. Sir Gawain willingly chose to marry the Hag Ragnell, so that his King’s life would be spared. The spell cast over Ragnell, had turned her into a loathsome Hag for half of each day, but left her as a lovely princess for the other half. When Ragnell asked her husband, Sir Gawain, if he would rather she be beautiful by day or by night, when she is alone with him in bed, he wisely gave her the right to choose, having learned that above all else, women desire the right to have sovereignty over their choices. Sir Gawain understood the greatest dilemma of any woman’s life. In giving the Hag Ragnell the right to decide when she would be beautiful, the spell was lifted, and she was beautiful all day long.

So now, in Week 17 of 52, I must have the courage of Lady Ragnell. She was transformed, not by the kiss of a handsome Prince, but by the pursuit of her own needs and desires. Ragnell symbolizes the journey all women must make to achieve a self-determined and therefore, fulfilling life. To this end, I will talk(on the phone) with a man, as myself, hips and all, maintaining the confidence I feel in a virtual conversation.

I want to acknowledge the wisdom of the Analyst, Polly Young-Eisendrath. For a more comprehensive elucidation of this topic, read, ‘Women and Desire, Beyond Wanting to be Wanted.

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REFLECTIONS

This morning my plan had been to write as soon as I woke up. But first, like most writers, I cleaned a fairly clean room and then I sorted some drawers and files…then I procrastinated some more by reading quotes about procrastination.

“As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” ― Paul Rudnick

After reading this, I gave into the mood 100% and descended into time waster’s hell…British Mystery Series. In my attempt to download Blue Murder from a ‘legal’ site, my computer froze on a pornography pop-up. This has never happened in the countless times I have used ____.com to watch British Mysteries(a fabulous life sucking, soul shrivelling site that will not be named).

Incredulous Me

In the 45 minutes it took me to wrestle my computer out of the hands of this Porn Industry computer hacker, I had a transformative experience with the naked young girl posing on my screen. Here she was, the other woman, entering my life, uninvited yet again!  My first reaction was anger and judgement after a furtive glance at her body. I mentally chastised her for luring men away from decent women. And I think I am enlightened and compassionate. I took a deep cleansing breath, and worked my way off my self righteous pedestal. I looked at her again, searching her eyes, to see her for the person she is…to stop my objectification of her. I then experienced a transformative shift. I felt a surge of compassion well up in my heart for this sad-eyed, young girl who believed that this job was her only option. That her only talent was her willingness to let others use her for their gratification.

Once again, fate intervened and my post was jettisoned in a surprising direction. The most uncomfortable of subjects…sex… Argh. Too personal, too confusing… I think I’ll get me to a Nunnery…But before I go, I will try to unravel some of the complexity around women and sexuality…the whore/madonna complex.

If I intend to be embody The Other Woman, I must attempt to end my androgynous persona. I am comfortable now, having men only as friends. I cannot imagine flirting, kissing and God forbid, anyone but me and my doctor, seeing me naked.

When I was single, immersed in the dance of finding boyfriends and husbands, emphasizing my sexuality was expected and condoned. I felt comfortable in this role and like most women, I was never more attractive (or thinner) than on my wedding day(s). I enjoyed being pursued and desired. But the feeling of desirability is long gone, a distant memory. Mothering and sensuality seemed antithetical. Mothers are meant to be available – perpetually opened armed with a ready lap: soothing, encouraging, nurturing…the antithesis of alluring. 

How am I ever going to find the other woman inside of me? I’m not a mother of young children any longer but neither am I The Other Woman! I’m definitely Between 2 Marys, in some androgynous zone of ambiguity. Perhaps the extreme duality of the whore/madonna can be tempered, even though centuries of history seem to indicate otherwise. In 16th Century Venice for example, this Italian city was founded in the myth of Venus rising from the sea. Two iconic yet disparate images of the goddess Venus reflected the mores of Venice; one goddess image is the pure and inviolate virgin, the other, its antithesis, the licentious goddess…seeker of pleasure and love. In viewing paintings of the disparate goddesses, the virgin is in white, alone or with angelic children, while the libidinous goddess is with a man, half-clothed,  the colour red prevalent!

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 Venetian women with a sizeable dowery, could marry a rich man. As his wife, the woman was a cloistered creature, without education or financial independence, her life being devoted entirely to home and family. Women without fortune chose to enter the convent  or to become a courtesan. But Venetian courtesans, unlike the wives, could mingle freely with the rich and famous and acquire an education and wealth of their own. They could  participate in literary, political and intellectual circles, publish any works, and importantly, all the sensual pleasures were available at her beckoning. Although the 16th Century Venetian courtesan lived a somewhat enviable lifestyle, this did not last. Religious zealots blamed the plague and war on the courtesans’ debauchery, and ended the delicate balance that allowed both sets of women to coexist.

 The polarity between the virtuous and the licentious became intensified. 500 years later and this tension still exists. Can a woman be compassionate and nurturing in ‘kick-ass’ high heels? Can a woman who enjoys a sensual life, have the respect of her society?

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 15 OF 52

CHANGING FROM MOTHER MARY TO MARY MAGDALENE

Where to start on this? How to move out of my comfort zone of intellectualizing The Other Woman, and become her? As this Blog is an open forum, ideas are welcome!

I will share one step I have made…I purchased  a beautiful, deep pink lipstick…and I am wearing it! This colour is more bold than any I have worn in years… if I wore lipstick at all. I feel good applying it to my lips. It certainly makes me more visible.

But most importantly, I must once again, see men as more than friends…I can barely type I am so nervous. I’m afraid of what I might commit to in my zeal to finish this post. I am driving back to BC and am scrambling to pack and schlep my stuff down the 3 flights of stairs.(not complaining too loudly dear daughter who has taken her Mother in).

See how quickly I can avoid the subject at hand!

Here goes…for Week 15 of 52 in my desire to move from the Mother Mary to Mary Magdalene, I will create a profile of myself and post it on a singles dating website. ARGHHH…

REFLECTIONS

And Mama said, “Some weeks would be like that.” I’ve had one of those weeks – not externally, but internally. External Realty: I saw KD Lang in Victoria, visited with friends and my daughter, rode my bicycle up and down the sand spit, read and wrote to my heart’s content and ate delicious BC fish and veggies, to name a few of the joys of my day. Internal Reality: I have felt a tightening in my chest and stomach, which has created an impulse to crawl into a hole and hide until the discomfort abated. If I try to ignore or stuff this negativity away, and just give attention to the joyful aspects of my life, I will miss an opportunity to transform. It is tempting to acknowledge only the happy moments of life, to share only the successes, to complain about others’ shortcomings…but in being as forthcoming about the sad times as the happy and dealing with my own shortcomings, instead of complaining about others, I have a hope of living a richer, more rewarding life. I used to believe wholeheartedly, that if the people in my life behaved better, my life would be better. No one changes with finger pointing…doing my own work and letting others be responsible for theirs, is the only path to transformation!

The beauty of the Blogmoir is that I have created a place to share my internal reality and know someone is listening. Thank you to my readers for giving me the love and support I need to unravel this other woman conundrum.

Firstly, with what I have been discovering about the Unified Field Theory, finding The Other Woman would mean letting go of my pre-conceived notions of how she would manifest in me. This elusive other woman won’t be found by embracing a new diet or exercise program, or a new wardrobe or following someone’s advice (no matter how well it worked for them), nor by moving to a new city or taking a trip, or anything so known and easily grasped. To find this ‘other woman’ energy I must do  more letting go than taking on. I must embrace the unknown…literally impossible obviously…so what does this mean…what do I DO? This ambiguity does not come naturally to me, as I have lived a literal life. It makes me anxious, uncertain of a direction.

Secondly, last week, for the first time, I began to talk about ‘the other woman’ and the marital menage her presence created. My stomach turns as I allow these feelings to surface. My shoulders begin to ache, and my eyes are rheumy. It’s time to dissect and release my stories and my stores of betrayal.

Childhood

I felt loved by my father until I was around 6 years old. Then my mother got between us. Dad became the first man I lost to another woman. Years later mom confessed to me that she had felt jealous of the love my father so easily gave me but not her. She severed my father’s tie to me by bombarding him with Dr. Spock’s wisdom(child rearing expert of the 60’s), citing that fathers should insist on more grown-up behaviours from their young daughters…browbeaten Dad obeyed and withdrew from me…no more playing, no more hugging, no more shoe tying, no more relationship … This incomprehensible change in my father’s behaviour registered in my heart as betrayal. This betrayal left a sizeable divot in my heart.

Heart with Divot

Adulthood

Unconsciously my adult self recreated this familiar, if painful, dynamic, by choosing the husband that I did. I knew he had problems with fidelity 3 weeks into our relationship. I’m certain I would have walked away then, easily, if I hadn’t had to resolve my deep childhood experience of betrayal. As a child I could not process the complexity of my parents behaviour, so I stored this pain in my heart until I was old enough to look at in again …disturbingly, I recreated this love triangle in an ironic duplication of my first trauma.

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 11 of 52

CHANGING FROM A BROKEN TO A HEALED HEART

I watched this scene unfold with utter fascination. The man looks uncannily like my father. I would have loved to have been that young woman, openly angry at my father, for his inability to take a stand against my mother’s tyranny. But I didn’t…I was eternally polite while my body ate itself in despair.

And as much as I wished I could have been angry, I would have given anything for that embrace of understanding that finally came from her father.

So now I have a choice. I can continue to tell my sad tale and cling to my pain or I can dance…literally and figuratively! In the comfort of my own space, I now do the wild dancing I missed in the 70’s. I was wound so tightly I never listened to anything that hadn’t been composed at least 400 years ago. I played the flute in a very uptight Chamber Group.

As much as dancing frees my soul and keeps me from my Escape Artist, so does creating art. I pulled out some magazines that I like, and began to look for words and images that caught my attention. I had no idea what I would create – I let the ‘knowingness in the Universe’ be my guide, having faith that whatever I needed to understand would come clear…just as fog lifts from an ocean to reveal the beauty of a distant shore. While rifling through magazines and cutting words and images, I cried, I laughed, I was intense, I was loose…and after some time, 2 themes began to emerge. On the left, the detritus of the Patriarchal Father now visible in my marriage. On the right, a path to a new place, giving me freedom  from this emotional prison.

Marriage Melange (click on image to see large size, click again for really large)

Marriage Menage

Cosmic Connection – Open To The Universe

Open to the Universe

So for Week 11 of 52 I will remember that a damaged heart can heal if I let old pain up and out. It hurt going in, so it will hurt coming out…which is why I have avoided this for years. But surprisingly, although intense (I yowled like a banshee) the pain didn’t last that long.

REFLECTIONS

I’ve had a week to ponder why I was drawn to an exploration of  the unified field theory of the world versus particle theory. Until now, I have found it somewhat comforting to embrace particle theory because it accounted for the physical phenomena in my environment. Objects are solid and inert, immobile and  stable and change only if something is done directly to them. No mystery here. Logical! If A=B and B=C then A=C  This works with numbers so I extrapolated this logic to the rest of my life. This is what particle theory has told me… everything can be explained. ..everything that happens is a result of direct, observable, analyzable, cause and effect.

Particle theory remains, not because it is accurate, but because I, like most, prefer theories that match my reality. If, as quantum physicists maintain, the world is one massive energy field, unifying absolutely everything and not a series of discrete parts, well, I can’t see, touch, count, weigh or measure that, no one can, so believing such a preposterous idea, would take a leap of faith. Maybe this is akin to the resistance the average person had, to the spherical world theory. Pythagoras postulated the earth as round in 570BC, but it took 20 centuries and a reality check (thanks Columbus) before the non-scientific community  would embrace a round world. Scientists today know Newton’s Theory is simplistic and incomplete (it can’t explain electricity or nuclear reaction), but the shift to believing the theory of Quantum Mechanics is slow for the rest of us.

I was going to send Alex Paterson a note of gratitude for his elucidation of the complex scientific theories of Newtonian vs Quantum Physics, but he deserves the full orchestration.

Embodying The Other Woman via PARTICLE THEORY

If I want to embody The Other Woman, I must first  identify her attributes and then, I must create a list of appropriate actions to achieve these attributes, and then I must execute these actions. BINGO!! I will be The Other Woman! Simply put, through the principle of cause and effect, I will transform.

So I began.

In July, when I launched The Other Woman Blog, I asked my delightful friend Suzanne for her help. We attended a Writers Workshop, abuzz with women. Independent of each other we tried to spot this alluring creature, The Other Woman. After some woman gazing and a discussion, we realized that Other Woman-ness was not easily quantifiable. Such a woman would possess an essence that we felt we would recognize when we saw it but she defied simple description. Intriguing to men and women alike, The Other Woman is so much more than a simple inventory of desirable traits.

So began my problem with Particle Theory. I needed specific attributes so that I could create my action plan. Would The Other Woman be thin, full-figured, or muscular? Different action plan for each of these. Would The Other Woman exude sexuality, sensuality or androgyny? Very different looks, very different action plans. Would she be high spirited or contemplative? Would she literally have to be someone’s mistress to possess The Other Woman energy? I felt deeply frustrated in my inability to quantify her characteristics. Without a list of qualities, I could not have a clear action plan, which meant defeat before I even started. This defeat forced me out of my comfortable world of the known, into the mystery of the elusive. Who exemplifies this enigmatic woman?

Embodying The Other Woman via Quantum Mechanics Theory

Does the image of Mona Lisa epitomize The Other Woman? She is often described as enigmatic or mystical, her image eliciting conversation 500 years after its creation by Leonardo Da Vinci. Her silent communication with her observer seems to welcome him/her into a place of unfathomable depth. Might a journey with Mona Lisa take one to places yet discovered? Just as the painting’s roads, river and mountain pass, have no clear end, neither can the journey of one’s life nor the journey with another. So I’ve begun to accept that The Other Woman is not a simple list of quantifiable characteristics. She has an unfathomable mystique, unique to each woman and discoverable through exploration of the mystery within oneself and the rest of the world.

Mona Lisa

ASPIRATIONS FOR WEEK 10 OF 52

CHANGING FROM MEMOIR TO BLOGMOIR

Two years ago I met a lovely woman named Deb Dewar. She intrigues me because, without fail, I feel better about myself after being with her. The other day, she asked me what the impetus was for writing my Blog. I vacillated on what I would say, but finally decided on the truth.

Marital betrayal started my obsession with ‘the other women’. Years of anger, rage and feelings of unworthiness filled my life. These very negative emotions became the reality through which I saw the world, while my pride compelled me to project the persona of a happy, fulfilled woman. Denial is really much more than a river in Egypt! My obsession and my rage consumed me, resulting in me becoming extremely ill.

To release some of this pent up emotion, I wrote pages and pages in journals, with accompanying art work. After some years of Jungian analysis and more years with my Herbalist, Annette, I underwent a physical transformation. The debilitating arthritis that had crippled my body and made me blind subsided to a great degree. During my 5-6 year physical transformation, I was frustrated by the lack of memoirs detailing recovery from crippling arthritis. Books on cancer abound, but in reading these accounts, I found I didn’t relate. So I promised myself that I would write a memoir describing my path to the restoration of my life.

Although I have always wanted to be a writer, I have never written much other than To-Do lists and journal rants. Until 2 years ago,that is, when my husband, in a loving gesture of support, bought me $200.00 worth of  Elizabeth J. Andrew’s time. She is a Spiritual Memoirist. She is also that rare combination of intelligence, heart and beauty, and has gently guided me to myself in my writing.

Writing is a solitary endeavour and although I can happily spend more time alone than most, I needed a more interactive medium in which to write. I needed an audience!  In the many years of singing and reciting and accordion playing in festivals, the single event I loved participating in, was story telling. The only time the audience didn’t wince in empathy for my discomfort, was when listening to me recount “Bad Mousie” by Martha Ward Dudley! I loved telling this story!

My daughter has been writing her Blog, called dearandersoncooper, for some months. I liked the format, so under her guidance I launched my blog! I thought I’d coined the word Blogmoir, silly me…some young’n was there ages ago!

So for Week 10 of 52, I will write with honesty and remain open to the communiques from my soul and the ephemeral world!  The whole is so much more than a sum of its parts!

Between2Marys

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