Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Sweat Lodge

June 25, 2012

The last official Bridging Worlds Mountain Retreat Center event is about to begin. This is the quiet before the arrival, the spirits of the land and the ancestors are gathering now to welcome the guests, I feel it viscerally.

This event has been on the calendar for a year. A young woman who did a Vision Quest with me some years ago, and who came for a sweat lodge weekend with her then boyfriend some time after that, had the vision and foresight to ask for a 3-day event in which to gather their closest loved ones during this, the week before their wedding. The power has been building, and the poignancy of the timing could not have been anticipated except by the ancient ones.

The bride’s greatly loved grandmother died rather unexpectedly just a couple of weeks ago. Her son, the bride’s father, is grieving as are the bride and her brother. All of them are attending. The family had anticipated that their mother/grandmother might be celebrating at the wedding with them, but now find themselves in some shock and grief over her loss. I just read the bride and her father’s very well-written, heart wrenching reflections about this woman’s rich life and peaceful death that were spoken at the funeral.

So we will gather, listen to each other’s hearts, work on dreams, be held by love, land and ancestral spirits as we prepare for the ancient ceremony of the sweat lodge which we will enter tomorrow evening after a day of fasting and preparation. It is a beautiful miracle that this time to enter sacred space together was already planned. I know it will help the family process events and prepare for the power and joy of a wedding so long anticipated.

And, as it turns out, as these miracles go, today is the 1-year anniversary of the death of my own beloved mother, Kathryn Whitlow. I miss her deeply. The traditional year of mourning ends this day, so possibly a corner is being turned in the journey of our souls. The universe is so precise. Exquisite. I am grateful.

And as it turns out, my daughters left just yesterday after traveling long distances to help me go through the stuff of their childhood and our family life that had been moved from California into my barn 8 years ago, untouched and unprocessed until now. The cleansing and clearing has been enormous, we sat around a big bonfire in which we thoughtfully, conscientiously burned some of it. The spirits must have wanted that done before we sweat tomorrow.

Big blessings to our dear bride and groom. May we be aligned with all of the best intentions of spirit in these days. So far, so good.

Proud to be Human

September 5, 2011

I am aware that I haven’t written on my blog for a couple of weeks, maybe more. Very odd for me. The times they are a changin’.

What do you say while the hurricane blows? I think you just watch. Bigness is blowing in on personal and collective levels everywhere. I am watching, listening, doing what I can as fast as I can, considering it all.

I’m proud to be human. Everyone appears to be trying so sincerely to rise to the occasions. Even much of the language and posturing among community leaders and news reporters seems to be shifting. There are still, of course, what seem to be intractably stuck, fearful places in our collective psyche; everywhere you see the little Dutch boy archetype in us with holding a finger in the dam. But I begin to feel that at a deeper level we are finally beginning to realize that many of our structures are totally unsustainable. I mean psychological, spiritual, economic, political, environmental and emotional structures, which are really all one thing. In spite of delusions of control and power, and ideas that we can just put a patch here and another there, I think we’re preparing ourselves for the big one — the time when we see through the illusion, like Buddha under the bodhi tree. It’s obviously a chaotic time, frightening, but also very exciting.

In my personal life, the hurricane blowing is the wedding of my first-born daughter, the astoundingly bright light of a human, Josi Ann Ward. On September 17th she is marrying the love of her life, Eli MacEndarfer, who I feel thrilled to welcome into our family. He is a generous, kind, conscious, capable, smart, love-magnet of a human. Everybody loves Eli.

Weddings are bigger than birth, bigger than death, bigger than anything I am starting to think; maybe simply because I have been standing in the middle of preparations for some months. Watching the images of hurricane news, familiar lives suddenly uprooted, what was quietly inside drawers or closets suddenly blowing all around on the outside scattering change everywhere, I empathize.

My daughter is possibly unique in that she does not want to go through the motions of this wedding following someone else’s trail, allowing for any traditional thing without awareness and personal decision-making about whether or why to include it. Her choices are deliberate. Her great heart and powerful mind are like incisors cutting through illusions and old habits of thought. With ease, beauty and grace she affects this, like a blossoming flower breaking through stone. The emergence is delicate but the courage and strength required seem miraculous. What she and Eli are doing and how they are doing it is ground-breaking. Old internal structures come down, big healings happen, new life emerges. And this is barely the beginning.

I am proud to be human. Proud to be a Mother, and a soon-to-be Mother-in-law, or Mother-in-love, a term my dear friend Ruth Hill prefers. I’m proud to be in the creative tensions of life with every single person I know and don’t know. It’s a worthy endeavor, filled with such raw beauty that I easily weep when I allow myself to feel it too much.