Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year’s Trans-solutions

This time, I’ve tossed New Year’s Resolutions out the window. Instead, I’m going to make New Year's Trans-solutions. Why? Because the usual resolutions, the usual solutions, just aren’t going to work in 2011. Our present time is defined by a multitude of changes and high stakes.

What’s called for? Transformation on all levels. These last two years have brought extensive and prolonged deconstruction. All around us, previously established structures are falling, and the ones that haven’t yet are ready to topple.

This isn’t just about letting go and moving on; this is about carefully rummaging through the rubble and recycling what we can in new and innovative ways. What is called for is restructuring. This requires creative solutions. Personally, resolutions don’t feel appropriate. They sound too permanent, unyielding, conservative, and conventional to be useful. They don’t feel appropriate on a global level, either.

Qualities that do feel appropriate, both personally and globally, are transmutation and transformation—so how about trans-solutions?

Definition? Solutions that are relevant, flexible, creative, transitional, and transformative. Solutions that can grow with us. Solutions that are, by their very nature, unconventional.

Wow! Do you feel the difference? When I hear the word resolution my gut and chest tighten. This word constricts. Perhaps this is because most New Year’s resolutions fail. In contrast, the (albeit, made-up) word trans-solution, carries expansive energy. Trans-solutions, by definition, cannot fail, because, in times of great change, they are essential to our survival. What trans-solutions lay in your 2011 path?

Let us know. I’m off to contemplate mine.

*Would you like to hear more about trans-solutions, resolutions and transformation in 2011?
I was Melanie DewBerry Jones' guest on her radio show, Everyday Spirituality, "Resolute THIS!" on Monday January 3, 2010 4pm PST. You may listen to part of it here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Without Cycles

I lucked out. I was headed to Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Book Tour for The Art of Non-Conformity, by myself, at night, in the traffic and the pouring rain. (Chris Guillebeau is an amazing soul. I’ve named him a Freedom Teacher of this generation. Check him out!) The usual twenty-minute trip took over an hour. And as I was madly wiping off the windshield steam (note to self: apply that anti-fog stuff that’s sitting in the back of the car) and had lost the ability to daydream (dangerous move, given the weather and traffic), I felt myself slipping into regret and, then, dragging myself out of it. Pep talk time. Chris will be amazing. He’s such an inspiration. It will be well-worth it. (…if you make it there alive…Go away, saboteur!).

I lucked out. Not because I made it there alive (although I am truly grateful), and not because Chris exceeded all expectations (he did), but because one of my dear friends, Marjory Mejia (@sacredflow), showed up. I saw a flash of her, in the darkly-lit room, and, then, as quickly as she appeared, she disappeared, and I thought I was hallucinating. You see, she had told me that she wouldn’t be able to make it, because she was attending a women’s conference. But there she was. When I expressed surprise, she answered, her hot Peruvian blood boiling, “I can’t believe what that doctor was telling us!” Say what? What doctor? She continued [paraphrased]: “At the conference. She was saying that it was okay for women to skip their periods, to not have any bleeding. Not just okay, but that it was preferable. She said there was a lower risk of ovarian cancer when women are on hormonal suppression. That’s ridiculous! Like we’re all supposed to not have periods!”

She was so upset I couldn’t get a word in. I nodded in agreement. Ah, yes, the predominant M.O. of our American society. Obtain study results that show a lower incidence of ovarian cancer (true, a deadly cancer, but, also true, an unlikely one), and healthcare professionals and individuals alike are more than willing to support the hormonal suppression of most women’s cycles. Evidently, this doctor’s talk about the benefits of contraception had morphed into a plug for hormonal-based contraceptives (such as birth control pills and the hormone-containing IUDs).

It was difficult for me to stay out of reactive mode. It wasn’t too long ago that I shared my friend’s heated reaction. In fact, in my talks, I often use our society’s willingness to override or suppress our menstrual cycles as an example of how out of balance the masculine and feminine have become. This strange position we hold seems even stranger after my frequent trips to Greece. Greek women are quite hesitant to place anything foreign in their bodies-- oral contraceptives, IUDs, tampons even! [To my healthcare colleagues: please do not conclude erroneously that I am against contraception. Quite the contrary. I wholly support contraceptive choice and feel they can be credited for empowering women and, equally important, conscious conception. I’ve seen far too many women with undesired pregnancies and motherhood.]

I find it fascinating how easily we, as a society, are willing to override the natural cycles of our bodies for the sake of convenience, that our everyday lives have become so out of balance (i.e., out of control) that this is our “best” alternative. I had this very same discussion with my acupuncturist many years ago, when he noticed, while taking my pulse, an imbalance in the energy related to my cycles. Then he remembered I was on the pill, and said “Oh, that’s right. You’re on the pill.” I was, understandably, alarmed that he could detect something out of balance because of the pill, and asked him if I should discontinue it. I will never forget his answer: “Because the situation you are in right now (residency) is so abnormal, your body on the pill is probably in a more natural state than off, so, no, I wouldn’t advise you discontinue them at this time.”

The cycles of our bodies and of our lives are so important that I am devoting an entire third of my book project to just this. Our current state is so out of whack that being on the pill can be more beneficial to our bodies than being off. This speaks to the conditions of our lives and the choices we make. True, being a health and wellness renegade isn’t easy. Everything conspires against us. Furthermore, using medications to treat an underlying imbalance is usually, at best, a secondary or tertiary cure. Often, it does not address the underlying cause. It’s like my childhood friend, an insulin-dependent diabetic, who used to increase her insulin dose to cover her triple dose of candy.

To make different choices from those dictated by the conventionally-structured world takes courage, or desperation, or both. This is where our conversation about overriding our cycles actually overlapped with the content of Chris Guillebeau’s talk.

Hmmm. Funny how that happens.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010: Year of the Moon –Year of Women

This is the time of year when we review 2010 and prepare for 2011.

Two thousand ten. There is so much that can be said.

It was a wild and crazy year. Massive change. Most of us were thrown out of our comfort zone, pushed to the edge.

Did you jump? Or did you get pushed off?

Those were the only two choices in 2010.

And we made it through to arrive at the total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice, an event last visible in North America in 1638! Monumental!

This eclipse sums up the year for me:

Magical. There is something awesome about a total lunar eclipse. It brings out the mystical in each of us. In times of great darkness magic appears.

Unexpected. Our weather forecast included clouds and rain. The irregular dance of the clouds revealed and concealed the progression of the shadowed moon. Minutes after the sky turned completely dark, the clouds suddenly parted, revealing a bright burnt-orange colored sphere. Our weather and our lives have become unpredictable. We are learning to expect the unexpected.

Earthly. Yes, earthly. The moon became the color of the red-orange earth, reminding us that this constantly changing orb is intricately connected to our earth and to us.

Feminine. We think of the moon as feminine, but, in fact, the ancients credited the moon with both feminine and masculine qualities. 2010 was a year in which women played more dominant roles, and the plight of women, world-wide, gained unprecedented attention. The seemingly opposite and cyclical properties of the moon remind us that bringing the feminine back into balance means bringing the masculine into balance as well.

Cyclical. This year, more than any year before it, we have become acutely aware of the cycles of life and death, how everything is connected. There is a time to expand and a time to contract. Unrestricted growth can no longer be supported at all cost. Dissolution and restructuring are a necessary part of growth.

Light. With great darkness comes great light. 2010 was a year of great darkness and of great light. Within the shadow, watch for the light.

Missed it? Watch it here:

Want more? You're not alone.
Here are some of my fav Lunar Eclipse/Winter Solstice posts:

Visionary  artist, writer, and feng shui consultant Marjory Mejia on her Sacred Flow site:  Winter Solstice and Rebirth 

Karen Sharp’s Sister Moon

Life and relationship coach, leader, writer and musician Kathy Loh: Winter Solstice Surrender - Into the Light

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Surviving the Financial Crisis: The New Pioneers

The Greek equivalent of making lemons out of lemonade

It seems late to be addressing our financial crisis, but I'm noticing a second reaction is when our fears can transmute into apathy, numbness, submerged anxiety or underlying depression. Many do not feel they can express their concerns any longer, simply because this has become old news. We're being told that we can never hope to achieve the standard of living most of us have grown accustomed to, that it will take years for our economy to recover, if, indeed, this is even possible. Most of us have lost a substantial portion, if not all, of our retirement accounts and savings. Many of us have become even more isolated, accompanied only by our fears. All of us have had to make enormous changes.

Some of you know that I recently returned from Greece. Their economic situation is bleak. Most families have at least one family member out of work. Many families do not contain a single working adult. Their situation is as bad, if not worse than our dire one in California, and, yet, their reactions differ from ours. I’m not quite sure what I expected to find, but, from the outside, life appeared to continue as usual. One midweek evening in Volos, I went out with friends. It took us awhile to find a taverna with an empty table. Our friend turned to me, waving at our first choice-- packed from end-to-end--and proclaimed, “Our financial crisis!”

Don’t get me wrong; they are hurting. Most of my friends are experiencing extreme difficulties…so how is it that their mood was generally better, that they were the most generous, ever, to me? I remember seeing an article, earlier this year, in a major U.S. news publication commenting on how little the Athenian nightlife reflected their economic depression. One possible conclusion is that of escapism and denial, but it was clear to me that this is not the case.

When I returned to the U.S., friends and acquaintances greeted me with the usual comments: “How lucky you are!” “So great that you have the freedom to do this.” “Wow! I’ve never taken a six week vacation in my life, let alone each year!” When those same folks realized that I haven’t held a salaried position for over two years, they became silent and didn’t know how to respond.

This led me to reflect not only on the differences in our resources (Greece vs. U.S.) but also in our choices. I remembered this again, recently, when I met the mother of a local TV show host. Her mom--now in her 70’s—lost her husband many years ago and single-handedly raised five children, who now have ten children of their own. All her children are well-educated and successful . She was a hard-working mother, who, in her words “did what needed to be done without thinking about it.” She reminded me of my mother.

I realized, for some, the adjustment is so great they don’t even know where to start, but much of it boils down to choices. And most of us will not make the hard choices until we’re pushed into corners—deep, dark, lonely, crowded corners.

I may have not been surrounded by mentors to help me negotiate medical training or start a business, but I do have a mother who modeled choice. On my parents’ two-teacher income, my mother of three children found a way—a way to build a summer cabin in the mountains where we all spent three months each year, a way to feed us, clothe us, and pay for our university educations, a way for us all to learn how to snow ski (on brand new equipment purchased at a pre-season sale… When the check-out clerk rang up clothes and equipment for a family of five—a whopping $600 sale—he said to my mom “Your family must love to ski!” I’ll never forget his expression when she answered, “Yes, we will, after we’ve had our first lessons.”), a way to obtain her PhD--in her 50’s--while working a regular job, a way for us all to travel to Europe together for the summer (exchanging homes and cars with a family in France), and the piece de resistance, a way to buy a home in the most expensive area of our city when most women her age would be scaling down for retirement. One of my mom’s happiest moments is reflected in a newspaper article on her wall. It shows our entire family during graduation week. Why? Because four of us graduated earning five degrees within one week of each other.

How did she accomplish this? Hard work and choices. We shopped at discount stores; we bought used cars; Mom cooked, rather than dining out. Did we compromise on the things that were important? No. We lived in a nice home. My entire family loves to cook—mom prepared gourmet meals (Coquille St. Jacques served in half shells and Dobos Torte), and don’t forget the higher degrees from great schools, skiing at our mountain home, and European travel.

I made different choices than she did, but I learned from Mom that I had choices. I chose to structure my life the way I desired, knowing full well it would set me apart from most physicians (so much so, that I’d be harassed by the IRS for not making enough money!). Given limited financial resources, I chose how best to use them, given that “resources” spanned more than finances. Many other elements contribute to the richness of my life.

Enter: the Greeks. I realized, my family shares with the Greeks a strong sense of community and shared resources. Neither is common in the U.S., and so we struggle. Most Greeks live in houses tiny by our standards. Most live on a small percentage of our budgets. Most work many more hours than we do, but also spend many more hours in the company of family and friends. Most have few material possessions. Many have experienced hard economic times and have previously lived under a dictatorship. I believe all of these differences give them strength to persevere. Having the support of family, not just emotionally but physically, provides power where we are weak. Are there disadvantages of sharing a family home or living in small quarters? Of course; however, in times of hardship or need (pregnancy, newborn, young children, one-parent households, job loss, illness, family deaths), they have a built-in support system that most of us lack.

We can use this information to our advantage. Most of us are having to make tough choices…what stays, what goes…but it’s also a time of creative restructuring—and I’m not going Pollyanna on you. It’s time to ask the tough questions, like “What is most essential to me?” “What are the most important aspects of my life?” “How do I want to live my life?” “Where and with whom will I create family and community?” “What do I want for me and my loved ones?” “What am I willing to give up?” “What do I want to create?”

It may not feel like it right now, but the advantage we do have over the Greeks (and most other nations in our world) is our freedom of thought and opportunity to create anew. With established structures and modes of thinking crumbling all around us, it’s time to get real and find creative solutions--and, when we do, to share our solutions with each other.

We are the new generation of pioneers. It’s time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Eyes of Abundance

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Ancient Greece
What is your reaction to scarcity?

With the financial crisis, I have observed a lot of constriction. This may, in fact, be our first unconscious response to the illusion of scarcity. One need only look at the stock market to view the typical American reaction.

But not everyone responds this way. Thankfully. Several brave souls begin to see this shedding of the old, the unnecessary, the unsupportive of life, as not only liberating but as a treasure trove of possibilities. I, perhaps ignorantly, or, better, blissfully, am one of those souls – glad for the opportunities to move on, to reach for my dreams. When better, when there is nothing to lose and everything to gain? And now that I am in Greece, I’m reminded of what it is like to live from this place of abundance all the time.

I am reminded of how during my first trips to Greece everything was on strike (and I mean everything – banks, garbage collection, electricity, travel agencies…) for two months, and life continued as usual. The Greeks are used to operating in the midst of unknowns. What looks like scarcity to us Americans just looks like everyday life to Greeks. They have mastered living in the present.

Twenty years ago, on the island of Skopelos, I was in awe of their dedication to recycling—this they did out of necessity, reusing everything from paper to boxes to string to glass. Lovely gifts were decorated with small sea shells. No food was thrown away; there were plenty of hungry animals to feed.

I hesitated to come in the midst of their economic crisis. I was worried I would not be able to handle their depression, but I was wrong. Give the Greeks an economic crisis and most are generous to a fault. Has crime increased? Yes. My professor friend’s car was broken into. Banks on Alonissos were robbed. Athenian friends are scared to walk their city’s streets at night.

But none of this has stopped their generosity. Although every family has at least one unemployed member, they find the means to give give give.

Their gifts overwhelm me.

My landlords in Athens announced, several months ago, that I would stay in their lower level flat as their guest this year. And as if that weren’t enough, they had me over for dinner each night. My landlords on Skopelos invited me to a family celebration, an eight hour feast, in which we must have consumed one of each of their farm animals and drank more wine than I’ve seen in my life. Another friend embroidered a bookmark for me in the time it took me to name my favorite color, and then announced she would make another for my five-year-old nephew, who is proudly reading any book we place in front of him. My landlady just gave me a huge jar of preserves. The gifts go on and on.

Yes, I am overwhelmed.

How different our lives are when we view them through the eyes of abundance. It feels biblical—like the loaves of bread and fish multiplying in the loving arms of Christ—arms we all share.

What would change in your life today if you viewed it through the eyes of abundance?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Dark Side of Independence

This comes with a warning. It’s not the post one would expect for a Fourth of July celebration. For me, “independence” has become a bad word. I mean, as women in our country, what has “independence” brought us…certainly not freedom, not the freedom we all need and desire? More women than ever before are working harder, longer hours, for less pay.

Don’t get me wrong. We are blessed. We are a great nation. Our independence is the basis of all creative expression which, initially, made us a planetary leader. But this same independence also created disasters, both personal and global.

Independence is a necessary and masculine quality. We all must leave the nest, so to speak, to discover our own potential, to develop our unique internal gifts, to become self-sufficient…but in the U.S. we’ve gone over the deep-end. Somewhere, along the way, we’ve left interdependence, responsibility and community on the wayside. Like all feminine qualities, they are so devalued that we’re suffering the consequences. We have, in fact, been suffering the consequences for generations, but it is only now that we’re at the point of no return.

Now that we no longer sit at the top of the economic world, we no longer have the highest number of well-educated individuals, we no longer have the greatest amount of resources at our disposal (because we’ve already used them up, turned them into non-biodegradable rubbish, and discarded them), what do we have? We have our creative expression, our freedom of expression. Because of this, I am hopeful. We still have a major role to play in creative solutions to the multiple problems that face our planet. Despite my faith being shaken by the inability of even our top scientists to come up with a viable solution to the gulf spill, I still believe that we hold this ability, this opportunity, and this responsibility. We must be the ones to come up with solutions, solutions for all the disasters we’ve participated in creating. We have no other choice.

So, what does all of this have to do with women, with the feminine? As women, we’ve learned how to act independently. We’ve learned this so well we’ve forgotten the importance of interdependence. We live in a society that has also forgotten. And here’s the key. If the problem is a predominance of independent action, then the solution is interdependent action. We forgot responsibility. We forgot the results of our excessive push forward. The answer is solutions that come through creating community efforts, taking into account the consequences of each action, acting in a responsible way. And this type of action is second-nature to most women, to most mothers and some fathers. How do good mothers make decisions? Without thinking, they first answer the question, how will this affect my child, our family? Mothers make extraordinary decisions and changes both during pregnancy and beyond that they would never make for themselves. They quit smoking, they eat healthy foods, they change jobs, they change their lifestyle, they let go of all that is non-essential, they look at the bigger picture, they see how every decision, every action, affects their child’s future.

This Independence Day I challenge us to celebrate our interdependence. I challenge us to accept the responsibility that came with the incredible freedom we’ve been given. I challenge us to make our decisions the way a mother would. I challenge us to value our women and children, our earth, our world.

Happy Interdependence Day, Everyone!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Collapsed column, upper site, Delphi

Have you been feeling unclear, uncertain, unsettled? If the “un”s describe you, don’t distress. You aren’t alone. I’ve lost count of how many friends, this last week, have said they feel on the precipice of an abyss. Some have described the ground crumbling away beneath their feet. Others have been anxious and fearful without understanding the source.

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and flashfloods, coupled with human disasters, such as the BP oil spill and continuing financial crises, have left usually solid souls grasping the eroding cliff’s edge.

If this description is familiar, you are not going crazy, although it can certainly feel this way. Instead, you are probably more sensitive than you realize. You are picking up on tremendous change. Just as animals detect and flee forthcoming natural disasters (elephants, for example, are quite good at detecting earthquakes), so do you. Your body and psyche are linked to the greater whole and are registering enormous change--and it’s scaring the bejeezus out of you.

But, here’s the thing. We all know that these changes are inevitable. We need to shift big-time, both personally and as part of the human race. So, if change is coming no matter what we do, doesn’t it make sense to go with it, rather than halt and defend? Remind me-- what exactly are we defending? An old way of being that is completely unsustainable?

A wise friend shared this pearl with me long ago: deconstruction is inevitable, necessary even; creation follows.

In order for anything new to be created, the old must fall away. Eventually, everything deconstructs into its essential building blocks. If we allow this, we may find that what we built wasn’t as solid as we thought, because the building blocks, themselves, weren’t solid. Solidity is almost impossible to determine from the outside in. The truth becomes clear only when we allow inessential elements to fall away.

So, if you think everything is falling apart, you are correct. But rather than trying to protect the old flawed structure, let it collapse. Gather solid building blocks, and place your attention on the structure you will now build, the one that is sustainable, the one that will last for the rest of your life. You’re older and wiser now. Imagine what you will create!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Black Gold Metaphor

As the oil spill in the gulf continues, I can’t help but see this as a metaphor.

Oil. It used to be our answer to everything… fuel, energy, plastics. Yes, we’ve become dependent on oil, addicted, even. You’ve heard it all. This once black gold has been blamed for war and countless deaths. We seem unable to function without it. And as with all addictions, all places of stuck-ness, we aren’t willing to let it go until we have no other choice--until our relationship to it becomes so abusive that the decision is made for us--and then we go through painful withdrawal.

No matter what BP does, the leak continues, the effects multiply, and the catastrophe spreads. Yes, natural wildlife is destroyed, mutated, affected in ways we cannot conceive. And now, the first signs of untoward effects on humans surface. I’m not speaking economics; I’m speaking illness. Weekend national news broadcasted a scene from the cleanup crew’s condensed four-hour training session. Employees were warned that one out of seven (did I hear correctly?) could develop exposure-related cancer. No one left the room. WHAT? Let me say that again. No one left the room.

What does it take for us to wake up, to accept responsibility? Just as BP execs are scrambling, so should we.

Here we go. What part of you is leaking energy at such a tremendous rate that it cannot be controlled? What will it take to contain it? How much of your life and the lives of others will be destroyed because you couldn’t walk away; you refused to move on to other more sustainable forms of energy? What once was your black gold that is no more? Pounds of caffeine, sugar, fat or animal protein? Drugs or drama? Escape? Physical or emotional addictions? Are you hanging onto an old job that is killing you? An old relationship? What’s keeping you trapped? Fear? The hole has burst open. Nothing will close it. Is it too late to repair the damage you’ve caused? When will you finally let go and move on? What will it take?

Supposedly, BP had a bunch of backups, and they all failed. When something is defective or just plain wrong, there’s no going back. We can come up with all kinds of excuses, the same ones we tell ourselves, but we know it’s time—it’s been time—to move on.

For more, see 10 Life Lessons Learned from the BP Oil Spill on

Friday, May 28, 2010

Note to Self

Recently, Jessie May Kezele, a coach for "quarterlife" women, asked her tweeps if they would like to guest post on her blog Blossoming Brilliance. There was one catch. Her call went out to women young enough to be my daughters (can't believe that day has come), because Jessie is a life coach for women in their twenties and thirties. I love what she is creating and wanted to take part, so I contacted her and asked what if I write a letter to my younger self? Would she have a place on her blog for ancient me? She was very gracious, and Note to Self is the result.

I hope you enjoy it, no matter if you fall into the elderly category, like me (before I get a mailbox full of comments--you know I'm kidding, right?), or you're young enough to be my daughter.

What note would you write to your younger self?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Responsibility and the Greek Crisis

Many friends have been asking for my POV about the current situation in Greece. I am speaking about the financial crisis and not about the recent deaths.

I’ve been hesitant to address the demonstrations, because I haven’t been clear about what to say or how to say it. The situation is complex, but everyone rushes to simplify it by assigning blame, typically to one party. If we can just blame someone, anyone, find our scapegoat, then we do not have to take any personal responsibility. A lot can be learned by observing how each political party/person/country is reacting to a situation such as this.

I watched the same thing happen after Michael Jackson’s death. A respected doctor (I won’t name this person), was oh-so-quick to blame MJ’s doctor. And, apparently that wasn’t enough, because this same physician went on to blame a whole slew of “doctors of celebrities.” This person was on national news, within minutes of MJ’s death, blaming an entire group of individuals. I was furious. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that MJ’s doctor or these doctors are not to blame or that they do not carry any responsibility. We have a legal system to sort that out. It angered me that this type of quick finger-pointing (that the media adores, by the way) relieved everyone else of any personal responsibility.

Yes, of course there are crooks in this world. There are billions of bad decisions made on a daily basis. Some individuals are malicious and corrupt. But, still using the example of MJ, by so quickly attaching blame to one party, we lose the opportunity to address the other important issues, such as, in this case, the nature of addiction, how the public fails their celebrities, or the long-term effects of emotional and physical abuse.

I so wished that this popular physician had addressed these areas, in front of millions of viewers, because we are in great need of healing.

We’re also in great need of taking responsibility—responsibility for our health, our actions, our beliefs, and our choices.

And so it is the same with the current crisis in Greece. I’ve lost track of who (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book) is on the who’s who list of responsible parties: Papandreou’s administration , Karamanlis, Goldman Sachs, the United States, the European Union, the Greek police, the Greek people, the demonstrators, the anarchists, the government workers who did not strike… Who is asking the bigger, harder questions? Most are content with scapegoating one group, one party, one county. But when we take each issue and ask the real questions of why and how, we begin the process of unpeeling the gigantic onion. As we go through the layers, the stench fills the room and our eyes burn. Impotent tears stream down our cheeks. They cannot clear us from our contribution to this mess.

Please don’t take me literally. Perhaps there is no way that you are personally responsible for what is happening right now in Greece. But, this doesn’t matter if you are American, because many of our decisions affect the rest of the world anyway. It has only been recently that we’ve had a taste of our own medicine. Prior to this financial recession, many of us had no clue as to the effects that our economic and environmental decisions have had on those outside of our own city, state or country. Ask a person from a small European country like Greece, and they won’t hesitate to share this information with you.

The time has come. We can no longer ignore own responsibility, whether it’s our health, our spending habits, our lifestyle choices, our parenting skills, or our environmental practices, we all carry multiple responsibilities that affect our fellow inhabitants of this earth. Time to pay up, literally.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is there any area of your life for which you have recently claimed responsibility? How have your actions affected our global companions?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, nurturers and creators.

I would like to share with you some of my favorite Mother's Day posts this year:

Julie Daley's lovely post on her blog unabashedly female: Mother, You Are Enough

Nia Vardalos' post, especially for friends and family of those who want to be moms: If you don't have anything nice to say on Mother's Day...

Sophia's post on Global Greek World: Happy Mother's Day!

Marcia G. Yerman's post on her blog: The Mother's Day Conundrum

Have a joyful day, everyone!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Career Confessions

When lovely Monica asked to interview me about my career, I hesitated. At the top of her original Career Confessions webpage were the words: "All participants are successful in their line of work." Was I successful? I certainly don't define success in the same way as the majority of my medical colleagues...or Americans, for that matter. But I told my inner critic (for the umpteenth time) to shove it and have fun answering the questions! Then, when the post went up, to my delight, these words were no longer at the top of the page. So, I'll add question #13 to the list: How do you define success, and do you consider yourself successful? 

Your answers to these questions are infinitely more important than mine. When you can carve away a bit of time, do yourself a favor and answer them!

You can find my answers and, more important, the twelve questions here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Red Eggs and Rebirth

The most important celebration of the year in Greece, Greek Easter, occurs on the same Sunday as in the U.S. this year. This doesn’t happen very often, so it’s always a treat when it does. Unlike in the U.S., Christmas is not Greece’s greatest holiday; Easter is.

Although many Greeks will argue this point, I am not Greek, at least not in this lifetime. I am Assyrian. My grandparents were Christian, members of the Church of the East, and, Easter was also their greatest holiday. I had often noticed similarities between my heritage and that of the Greeks, and this included religious celebrations. I was not raised in the Assyrian church, but, each year, my Assyrian cousin, who has been a prominent figure in the Northern California wine and food scene, hosts Easter. He invites all the relatives; there are often several who I have never seen before. Folks travel across the country to take part in the festivities. Although it’s certainly not the same as the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (e.g., my cousins aren’t all named Nick) we do have the entire lamb on the spit, loads of relatives and a fantasy-land of food and drink. Instead of the ouzo or tsipouro we have a lovely assortment of wine and spirits. Sometimes there’s even Assyrian circle dancing, although this year we’re hoping for a soft-shoe number performed by my seventy-eight-year-old mother and one of my talented teenage cousins. (*See video of Mom's debut here!)

Along with the lamb, we have dolmas (Our version contains cubes of lamb and is dressed with thick yogurt). And then there’s my cousin’s special traditional plates, including desserts, such as his chocolate decadence and his infamous mudslide cookies (huge chunks of chocolate barely held together by cookie dough that do slide down one’s throat quite easily—one year the kids found the stash and ate the majority of them before dinner!). There are other similarities, too--like the deep earth red-dyed Easter eggs from onion skins, and the crack the egg battles. As a child, I was so impressed by their rich color that I did my science project on natural dyes. And, yes, the onions skins beat the beets.

When I finally was fortunate enough to spend Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα (The “Great Week” leading up to Easter) in Greece, many years ago, I was impressed by how similar their celebration, combining food, family and the Divine, was to the spirit and nature of my family’s own celebration. It leads me to reflect on the role of ritual amongst family and friends and the back seat it takes in our culture. It also saddens me to see such a de-emphasis on the message of this universal Holy week. Spring is here. Rebirth is here. Once again, all is possible. And it leads me to ask the questions: How do you choose to honor the cyclical nature of life? What rituals will you share with the dear loved ones in your life?

Happy Easter! * Happy Passover! * Καλό Πάσχα! * Shalom! * Shlama’lokhun! * Happy Spring!

Greek-American Actress Rita Wison talks about Greek Easter on The Washington Post.
Learn how to dye Easter eggs using onion skins here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Caught Between Winter and Spring

Spring is here! Are you ready? I can’t say that the Equinox crept up on me this year. Let’s face it. The weather these last couple of weeks has been quite strange. Two weeks ago, while on my walk, I was tricked again. Lovely sunshine beckoned me out of my comfortable cave. I took fifteen steps, froze, turned around, ran back inside, and grabbed my winter coat. Sun, how dare you mislead me? After forty-five minutes at a vigorous pace, my body adjusted, and, as soon as it did so, I was pelted with spring showers from a seemingly blue sky. Those clouds were so far away...does rain time travel?

It took several minutes before I caught on. The weather was a projection of that particular moment in time. After a fifteen-month retreat into my cocoon, a long sleep, an extended winter, I was suddenly propelled forward. More had happened in the last twelve hours than in the last twelve weeks; heck, more had happened in the last week than in the last year. It was March, after all, and Mars would finally go direct in another week, but it still managed to catch me by surprise.

Fast-forward one week, and we were having summer weather. Yesterday, I was (pun not intended) hot in my tank top! Today, the sun is hiding again, reflecting my hesitation to dive in. But, spring is here! Are we not ready?

I’m not quite there. I don’t know about you, but if those around me (and the weather!) are any reflection of the whole, I’m going to assume that I’m not alone. If you’ve found yourself caught in between winter and spring, you are not alone. Since Mars went direct, a few days ago, friends were commenting on feeling “stuck.” Or worse, they were feeling caught in between retreating (winter) and forward movement (spring). And to be caught in between two equally strong and opposite forces is much more actively uncomfortable than the word “stuck” implies.

Astrologers have cautioned that although Mars is now direct, it may take up to two months for its momentum to assist us in moving forward. So, all of this is to say that if you feel stuck or caught between winter and spring or feel like you’re slipping backwards or don’t seem, yet, to have the energy to move forward, don’t despair. You are right on target with the earth, the seasons, and the stars.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re going back to old stuff for an indefinite stay. This is your last chance to let go of the old (yes, the same letting go we were discussing at the beginning of the year). The next two months are an ideal time to consider the changes you are about to make, the new growth that is to blossom in the next two months, so that when mid-May arrives (and it will come quickly) you will be ready to move forward.

Happy Vernal Equinox, Everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Music, the Light of the Soul

On January 21st, I wrote the following. Fortunately, life has improved since then!*

There has been a lot of darkness lately, and I’ve been hanging out in it, longer than I’d like. Are you trapped in here with me? If not, then no need to read on.

Plenty of drama. Lots of change. Much letting go. Even more to reveal. Worlds are colliding. Not just the outer worlds, but the inner ones too. One of my friends recently wrote an eloquent post about the negative effects of travel on the environment. She concluded that overpopulation is our most significant contribution to the destruction of our earth. The earth wasn’t meant to support such a large number of humans.

And as we collide, drama and disaster mount.

I use the small town in which I grew up as an example. Even though it’s located in a major west coast city, it carries the title of “village.” That’s what it used to be, a quiet little village. But in the time it took for me to grow up, everyone else did too…and created families, and acquired SUVs…and, suddenly, my once sleepy village turned into a mini-Manhattan.

The negative effects of this population explosion go beyond the destruction of all things green. In my opinion, overpopulation also accounts for the majority of stressors. For example, it creates unbearable traffic, filled with a populace at its screaming angry rageful worst. I lived in Yarmouth, Maine for two years. There, driving was a pleasure…except when Bostonian weekenders showed up. You could spot them a mile away, because they were driving so damn fast. If you happened to catch a glimpse of their faces you’d see the same expressions of those stuck in the worst traffic jams—the underlying anxiety, the permanent crease in their foreheads, the victimized look in their eyes. You would witness the daily price they paid for their urgency-fueled existence.

It terrified me, because I recognized that all-too-familiar look that had stared back at me in the mirror, the one I had been too busy to notice.

And now everyone wears this mask.

My patient Twitter followers have had to endure my poor reaction to the largest of these stressors--noise. One would think that I’d be able to handle this, having spent my college years in crowded Berkeley coffee shops. Or how about all the years I’ve lived in Greece, where structural insulation is poor, every building has marble floors, and all of its occupants wear hard-heeled shoes? And even if the shoes come off, there are always the raised passionate voices, the rumbling of motorbikes, and the cacophony of traffic horns. One such Athenian apartment building that I inhabited was located next to a construction site. For those of you who have seen the Acropolis, on what does it rest? That’s right. Solid rock. Well, that same solid rock competed for space with the new building’s foundation, so, for weeks, I was assaulted by jackhammers chipping away at my soul.

You’d think that I could deal with a couple of noisy neighbors in a poorly-insulated building. I mean, surely there is no competition between this situation and the Athenian one.

But apparently, I can’t. Step 1: I admit that I am powerless over my reaction to the constant banging of pots and pans, angry shouting, and the incessant slamming of doors and drawers. Step 2: Find life-saving iPod and permanently attach ear buds to ear.

Step 2 is life-saving…not to mention a preventative treatment for insanity. My first iPod’s battery ran out, and I almost lost it. Almost. Its replacement, the infamous hot pink one,  arrived to save the day.

Honestly, I don’t know what I would do without music. I have an incredibly long way to go before I become Eckhart Tolle, Jr. In the meantime, music is a more realistic solution. Is listening to Sarah McLachlan or Ivy bringing me into the present moment, or is it just an escape? I don’t care. It keeps me sane. It feeds my soul.

They say that the olfactory sense takes us back to our oldest memories. That may be true, but I think my ears take me back to my strongest memories, the most significant ones. When I hear a Bach fughetta, I’m back to the age of ten, playing on my upright piano in the downstairs hallway, with my five-year-old brother running down the steps to bang on the bass keys. When I hear Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini I go back to my first ill-fated childhood love affair (the kind that’s all in your head). When I hear A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliet, I’m transported back to the fifth grade, sitting at my school desk, wearing my favorite dress with the mod five-petaled flowers.

Then there are the sixties tunes, and visions of Haight-Ashbury and Telegraph Avenue flash before my eyes. The original American Woman plays and I hear the content of all three boxes of my precious forty-fives. Then, I flash-forward to my first Greek boyfriend playing the same song in a Skopelos disco when I walk into the room.

Thus it goes, on and on. There are the teenage coming-of-age songs, the college songs, the med school years and residency songs (shudder). There are the Maine songs and the Greek songs (sigh).

What else holds this kind of power? Certainly not noisy neighbors.

So, next time you feel stress rising from noise pollution, grab your MP3 player, turn on the CD player, click on YouTube, or visit Blip FM. Don’t let the noise-polluters get you down!

Oh, and thank you, Tweeps, for putting up with my ranting. I hope to do better from now on.

(Yes, I’m writing this in an extremely noisy coffee shop, but couldn’t be happier because I’m listening to the songs that you will find at the bottom of this page or here.)

*Afterthought: I’m happy to report that in the time since I wrote this original post I have made more positive adjustments, including joining a church choir to perform Brahms’ Requiem and purchasing a piano keyboard. The last time I had participated in either was over thirty years ago. It is wonderful to have music back in my life! What do you need to invite back into your life? Spring is on its way. It’s time to make a change!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Revisiting the Void

After a fourteen year hiatus, I revisited New York City. When I had a free moment, did I head out to the hottest Broadway show? Did I rush to the latest newsworthy restaurant? How about a trip to Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, the Statue of Liberty or, perhaps, the Met? No. None of the above. Out of hundreds of spectacular choices, I headed straight to the Guggenheim.

The first and only time I had experienced this curvaceous feminine oddity in a world of linearly-structured museums was as a young teen. It left a lasting impressing on my hormonally-affected adolescent mind. I loved her curves, the illusion of having no beginning or end, the seemingly empty yet pregnant space in her center, the ascending spiral to the Gods. So my return to Manhattan would not be complete without paying homage to the Goddess amongst museums.

In the midst of a noisy dinner, I received a phone call from Mom, alerting me to a special event at the Guggenheim. I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying—just words here and there…Guggenheim…anniversary…void…exhibit. But it didn’t matter, because I had already decided that it would be my first stop.

On Sunday, I made my way uptown, constantly rechecking the cross streets. It should be close. There’s Central Park. Where is it? The Guggenheim is neatly hidden away behind a row of angular apartment buildings. Her curves are nestled behind their sturdy frames which stand guard like overprotective husbands, fathers, and brothers sheltering their wives, daughters, and sisters. This reminded me of her Greek sister Goddess at the Acropolis, suddenly appearing above in the most unlikely Athenian places.

Although the Guggenheim’s outside appearance is impressive, enter within her for an unimaginable experience. During my first trip, I was too young to contemplate, analyze, or evaluate her with my mind. Instead, she found her way into my heart. This time, with years of experience and a bit of wisdom, I was overwhelmed. And just in case I didn’t get it, her Fiftieth Anniversary (which also coincided with my fiftieth year) included the striking exhibit Contemplating the Void. You see, Frank Lloyd Wright and many others got it too. They understood that the gestational center, the Void, isn’t empty at all, but contains all the necessary ingredients for new creation.

This time I did contemplate. Visiting the Void is quite common to midlife journeyers. For those of you who fear revisiting this vital center, remember that this is the place from which all is created. There is absolutely nothing to fear, unless you are set on holding onto your old way of being. Only then is there everything to fear. Those of you at midlife recognize this conflict. We must revisit her center. Our new creations will then radiate outwards, just as they do at the Guggenheim.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Rude Awakening, Appreciated

I woke up this morning to jarring, banging, pounding—as if someone was trying to demolish the building. It upset me, but only for a few seconds, because, courtesy of difficult neighbors, this is how I had been awakened for months on end. A few minutes later as my mind cleared, I realized the noise was different than usual. Rather than door slams, crashing pots and pans, and shouting, this time, someone was actually building something. Was that a drill? And, yes, there was a hammer. The whole building shook, but that was nothing new.

There was another big difference. The neighbors weren’t here! This was perhaps the third time in months that they were gone. Why? Because, this time, someone else was making noise loud enough to disturb them. I think it was coming from the stairwell, but, by now, this noise had become a part of me, stuck somewhere in the outer layer of my emotional body.

When this began several months ago, I thought perhaps I was being warned of an upcoming earthquake; after all, California is due. I also realized then that this was a metaphor for my life, a life that had become shaky at best, one whose foundation was threatened. Not a comfortable seat, even though I had been the first to rush forward and claim it. A bit later, I mused, perhaps this is what happens when you ask for inner peace? The divine chef of the universe serves you up the noisiest most obnoxious din she can muster. This seemed even more likely since the message was coupled with the external illusion that these were nice people who weren't capable of screaming obscenities or producing a jarring, shaking, pounding clamor every five to ten seconds for hours on end. Surely, they were only cooperating to further my own life-education.

By now, you may be wondering why I’m still living here. As I write this, I can’t help but wonder the same.

But something happened this morning when I realized that this noise was created by actual construction, rather than disturbance and chaos. I remembered that, just two days ago, a ten-year-old leak in the bathroom sink had been fixed. And the plumber had been good enough to repair the tub faucet as well, just in case. One of my Twitter friends reminded me that this represented energy that had been dripping out of me for, well, ten years. I knew exactly what kind of energy it was. Water, our feminine energy, is also our life force. Appearing through our emotions, it is the energy that is often suppressed, that goes unnoticed. This bathroom leak, in fact, had been slow, barely noticeable, until I placed a cup beneath the faucet. I had been surprised by how significant this drip-drip was. It added up at the end of the day...week...month...years. This vital force, the emotional expression of the passions that fuel my life, had been leaking out for as long as I could remember.

This is the same force that is apparent when our emotions come out in a flood. Once, one of my colleagues tried to warn a laboring patient of the dangers of postpartum hemorrhage. Searching to find an appropriate illustration and fueled by a sense of urgency, she walked over to the sink faucet, turned it on full blast (water droplets dancing and exploding into the room), and said, “See this? This is how quickly you can bleed out.”

I realized that I had lost the entire content of my suppressed life force over and over again, slowly but steadily…drip-drip-drip-drip

Yes, this day was different. The drip had been fixed, and I was feeling stronger, already thankful for the extra energy. And this time the very structure that had been shaking beneath my feet was being repaired. And it was in the stairwell.

Now I have a functional sturdy exit.


What aspects of your life are leaking your life force? Do you recognize this only when it comes rushing out? Are you on steady ground? What foundation or structures in your life need repairing or reinforcement? Have you been heeding the signs?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Timeless Beauty

Once again, I am thankful to Twitter for connecting me with like-minded people. More and more women are exploring our society’s refusal to accept death and aging, and, lately, they’ve been tweeting about it. Elissa Stein, author of FLOW is working on her next book project, Wrinkle, and her recent Huffington Post piece, The Age of Invisibility, was about our mistreatment of the elderly. Through twitter, I also learned of photojournalist Robbie Kaye’s documentation of her Beauty of Wisdom interviews with women in their seventies and older, conducted at their beauty shop appointments.

It’s time to address this peculiar societal dysfunction.

In the not so distant past, the anorexic teenager was our society’s single representation of beauty. The Twiggy template lived on, decades beyond her actual owner. Dove’s relatively recent campaign was one of the first to use normal-looking normal-sized women models. Their famous Evolution video revealed the false representation of the final icon of a female model that appeared on a billboard. By the time the initial picture was adjusted, it was so far removed from the original that it was difficult to connect the two. Our sense of beauty, both outer and inner, has become unbelievably warped.

It took my traveling to Greece to become aware of just how culture-specific beauty is. I was relieved when I discovered that the Greeks were blind to the dark hair on my body that was deemed socially-unacceptable in the U.S. I was thrilled that women who we would consider overweight showed no hesitation in wearing tight clothes in public or bikinis on the beach.

But there was another difference, and this one had more to do with inner beauty. In Greece, the elderly were cared for, honored, and respected by their families. Often, these elderly women provided the structure and foundation for the family. Many of my Greek friends were raised by their yiayias (grandmothers). Because the Greeks are a very social people, I had more conversations with elderly women there than I did with one of my own grandmothers. I could not return to my apartment without talking with a yiayia who lived in my neighborhood. She would pull out a seat cushion and rush to make Greek coffee when she saw me approaching her marble steps. In fact, I had to add an extra thirty to sixty minutes to my trip home if I didn’t return during her afternoon nap.

These grandmothers not only shared their life wisdom with me but provided me with such a strong sense of family and stability that it eased the 6,000+ mile distance from my real family. Looking at the world through their eyes provided me with an immediate sense of what is truly important. Linear time disappeared. Relationships and relating became crucial. It was clear that what we do is not as essential as how we do it, and that those we love are more important than anything else in this world. The emphasis on artificial physical beauty disappeared in a land where nothing could be more gorgeous than the dramatic scenery, weathered by the same natural elements that wrinkled the lovely faces of the elderly.

I became aware of another striking difference. These Greek women lived each day in the present moment, just as children do. In fact, they lived their entire lives in this way. This was a country in which the natural cycles of life were recognized and death was accepted along with life. The Greeks understood that in order for anything new to be created, the old must dissolve. They remembered what we have forgotten, that unrestricted growth is unsustainable and undesirable.

Both of my biological grandmothers died long ago. Now, more than ever, I absorb my mother’s memories of her mother and her mother’s generation. Not wanting to miss any of their wisdom, I grab hold before it disappears forever. By forgetting her, I lose. By forgetting them, we all lose.

Ours is a young nation. How can we expect to mature without the wisdom of our elders? Without this wisdom, we continue to destroy our earth and ourselves. The longer we hold onto this notion of unrestricted growth, the more this destruction continues. When will we, as a nation, begin to face our fears about aging and death and, instead, honor the hard-earned wisdom of our elders? When will we see their true beauty? Until we do, we will remain blind to our own.

You can read Robbie's letter to her Beauty of Wisdom women on the Feminine Revelations site.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Nightmare Day Martin Luther King, Jr. was Murdered

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Yes, you all recognize this famous quote by the late, great, Martin Luther King, Jr.

I remember the day he was murdered. Assassination is too mild, too clinical, a word for what happened. He was murdered, plain and simple. I was in elementary school in a small privileged hillside section of Oakland, California. My city was (and still is) predominantly African-American, composing over 80% of the population in the 1960’s. My mother, a public school teacher, reading specialist, and, later, professor of Education, had spent her entire life teaching minority children to read in the Oakland Public School system. She, herself, returned to school in her 50’s, to obtain a PhD in Education, which she then used to educate public school teachers. She held firm to her belief that any child can be taught to read as long as they had the prerequisite training.

Although my mother was acutely aware of problems with public education, she was a strong proponent. Even though the system fell short multiple times, she kept her children in the public school system. In fact, we remained in this system through college, all of us obtaining our undergraduate degrees from her alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley.

But the public school system failed many times. I remember the day that Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, because that day, this small elementary school failed its children, miserably.

I remember being released early into a vast sea of children. Outside, it felt like a war zone. I don’t know if I actually saw the riots or if I just felt them. To this day, my memories are surreal, as if it didn’t really happen, but was, instead, a terrifying childhood vivid that it remains impossible to distinguish from reality. All Oakland teenagers and young adults had emptied into the streets of Oakland. Rioting was everywhere. It was a war zone. So different than what this remarkable gentle loving giant had tried to model for us all.

Every elementary school child was released, including my younger brother, who was in kindergarten. Parents weren’t notified. Older siblings weren’t instructed to pick up their younger siblings before walking home.

I did what I always did after school; I walked did all the older children. My younger brother went outside to stand on the sidewalk in the usual spot where he always waited. My mother, however, had no idea that we had been released early until she saw school children walking up the street. She rushed to the school to find my brother, who was waiting unattended and unprotected outside the school.

I have so many memories, all bad, of that day. Hate, fear, anger, violence, lack of responsibility, danger, disappointment... No not fear. Sheer terror.

Today, two of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s other quotes come to mind:

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’”

So, when everyone recognizes Martin Luther King, Jr. today, it brings back all of these mixed fillings, all bad, all sad. I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted it this way, but, honestly, have we learned anything since then? It has been over forty years. What would he think if he could see us now? Not to belittle the changes for which he so peacefully fought, and certainly not to ignore the advancements made in civil rights—no, that is not my point.

I’m asking, have we decided to stick with love? Have we recognized that hate is too great a burden to bear? What are we doing for others?

For more quotes from the great Martin Luther King, Jr., see this Huffington Post Article.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Solar Eclipse of the Century

I have no idea from where this picture was taken. I can only hope that I have permission to post it.
 If not, let me know, and I will remove it!

If you happened to be in Burma today, you had a pretty good view of the longest (annular) solar eclipse of the century, not to be repeated until 3014. Unless you believe in reincarnation, you probably won’t be around to see it the next time.

You may not have been able to view this eclipse at all, but even if you live on the other side of the world, as I do, you may very well have experienced its effects. To say that the last few weeks have been eventful is an understatement. Most of us are still struggling with the end of year clearing and our New Year’s resolutions. We haven’t quite dealt with the slow-downs common with mercury retrograde, and we’re smack dab in the middle of another “longest record,” that of the longest cleaning spree of the century.

Add a catastrophic earthquake in the middle of all of this, and one wonders if the earth is doing a bit of major house-cleaning too.

I find it a bit strange that the moon tries--albeit fleetingly--to protect us from the full light of the sun. It’s as if we can’t bear his full force and Mother Moon makes a last-ditch effort to shield us from the glaring truth that only he can reveal.

I’m struck by this metaphor in my own life. Is she, in fact, protecting me from me? What is it that I cannot bear to have revealed in the full light of day? What have I willingly covered up, tried to ignore or escape from? Unfortunately for me, the answer composes a long list. I can’t help but believe that I’m being placed on notice. All is now revealed. I no longer have Mother Moon’s help. The nurturing cyclical feminine can no longer protect me from the harsh piercing revealing light of the masculine. There will never again be such a lengthy solar eclipse, not for the rest of my life.

So folks, for me, the day of reckoning has come. A choice stands before me. I can ignore the message and face dire consequences or, once and for all, deal with the truth.

It might be a reasonable time to assess your own truth. What is being revealed to you in the full solar light? What has the feminine in life tried to protect you from? What truth(s) have you covered up, tried to ignore or attempted to escape from? Are you being placed on notice too?

The good news is that we have a choice, of sorts. There really is only one choice, and it may be the one that we haven’t yet chosen…but it’s there, and the time to choose it is now.

I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel better sharing this with you, knowing that I may not be completely alone. Why don’t we resolve to face our truths head-on?

Perhaps this can be our New Year’s Resolution.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pray for Miracles

I honestly didn’t expect that within hours of writing my last post (that’s right…the one that explained that my word for 2010 is “Miracles, simply because there is no way that I or anyone else is going to make it through 2010 without them”) a devastating earthquake would hit Haiti and the whole world would be praying for miracles.

One advantage of social networking technology such as Twitter is that we are all drawn together within seconds. We feel each other’s pain and distress. Devastation is no longer just on the evening TV news, but all over the Internet. We, literally, would have to unplug ourselves from everything electronic and all human contact to escape it.

When I was a teen, my mom would chide me for my disinterest in current affairs and politics. I was the one who ran to the bathroom when a family member grabbed the Trivial Pursuit box. I’m shaking my head as I write this, because now, no matter how hard I try, I can’t escape this information. Even consciously turning off the TV and disconnecting from the Internet does not spare me.

Those of you who are premenstrual or have gone through menopause may have a first-hand experience of how human suffering connects women. We are the iron shavings of the tremendously powerful unifying magnet of loss, anxiety, fear and despair. This is the negative side of emotional or somatic intuitive knowing. It’s the same knowing that alerts us to the next dangerous move of the car beside us and, at the same time, causes the constant driver-anxiety we feel, regardless of traffic.

So, this nightmarish earthquake is the next event in what will most likely be a series. We are acutely aware of tremendous suffering and, yet, paralyzed. It is a horrible place to be—to feel such distressing effects and, at the same time, not take action. We all need to be able to transform these feelings into action. On Twitter alone, numerous helpful Tweeps (twitter people) have listed trustworthy relief groups to which one can contribute. You are probably aware that you can even text as small an amount as $5 from your cell phone (text YELE to 501501). Many others have also reminded us of one of our greatest calls to action: prayer. You certainly don’t have to practice a particular religion or even believe in God, for that matter, to pray. You must, however, believe that there is more to this world than a bunch of egos and that, alone, we rapidly run into the limitations of our own power and control.

Was it a coincidence that one of my new Twitter friends, Amy Oscar, posted “Whatever” to her blog today? In it, she discusses our self-created anxiety produced by the limitations of our personal power and control. It rapidly became one of my favorite posts, because I (and I’m sure I wasn’t alone) could see myself in her honest reflection.

Her post also reminded me that it is our own inability to relinquish control that interferes with our call to prayer. We do what we can, and we make sure that we is the biggest we imaginable.

We pray for miracles.

Eight Specific Ways to Pray for Haiti
Lists of relief organizations can be found at this site, this site, and at this one: