Archive | Ritual

my prayers.

I’m taking a class on reclaiming the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fantastic. I have grown in new ways and really, deeply accepted some pieces of myself. I feel stronger.

One of the things the teacher asked us to do is name our prayers. That which we seek as a means of keeping our balance as we grow. Our prayers are our throughline. The thread that holds us together as we grow in a zigzag way.

I pray to this:

my journal of words and images

watering my plants (a new, simple, exquisite way I nourish myself)

facing my beloved, chest on chest, with hugs or kisses (or both!)

deep kisses with soft lips

curling up on down comforters

popcorn + rootbeer on Saturday nights

tequila

breathing into the orgasm and feeling it explode my whole body like a mandala

boot cut jeans

black leather boots. steel-toed.

rubbing my children’s legs as they fall asleep

English tea.

buying books. real, paper ones. reading them.

a dark wood with cedar trees and ferns

comfy chairs to curl up in.

magical things.

William Stafford’s words.

the feel of a good pen.

abstract art. art the size of whole rooms. 

music. 

lighting the candles for meditation + solstice.

listening to their stories + offering medicine.

laughter.

dancing.

Seattle. green moss. pine trees. mountains. streams. ferns. the smell of cedar.

my bed.

Kripalu.

making things with my hands. wood working.

alone time. alone time. alone time. 

friends who hold me up. miracles.

the feel of writing. 
the feel of writing.
the feel of writing. 

 

“Prayer is what keeps us keeping on.
Prayer is where we allow for more.
Prayer is connected to what we are proud of,
what we covet, and our passion.”

– Renee Magnusson

 

 

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I Waited 26 Years for This Fantasy to Come True

Yes. Sometimes anticipation can be fantastic, and sometimes anticipation can be a bitch.

::: ::: ::: :::

My entire dating life, I was never asked out. Except Paul in Junior High who asked me to go out via a Hangman game. But otherwise, I was a self-made woman in the dating department.

From the age of 15, when I really, really liked Christopher (the tall, blonde runner) I started asking guys out. I distinctly remember hearing about women doing that- asking men out- on the radio or TV at that time (~1990 or so) and thinking, ‘that is a great way to get what you want instead of waiting.’ Because waiting for 15 year-old boys to ask you out was often a long game.

So, fuck that. I figured out that as long as I could handle the worst outcome (a ‘no,’ maybe even a rude ‘no’) I would be fine.

I asked dudes out.
It went great!
I went out more and got what I wanted- dates. And kisses and allthegoodthings.
And dudes readily confessed that they liked being asked out- had been hoping I’d do such a thing.
[Ego boost is always nice.]

But there was always a little part of me that wanted to be asked out.
Of course there is a part in each of us that wants to be chosen.
To be sought out because of who we are.
To be deemed ‘special’ and ‘worthy.’
[This is a bit of a problem for women, as we are asked to constantly judge our worth by whether someone wants us or not. Separating that honest human desire from social conditioning can be tough.]

::: ::: ::: :::

Cut to last year, I’m 41, happily married for 18 years, together for 20. My husband and I went to our local town’s “Grown Ass Prom” the previous year and were planning to go again that next year.

My husband, who didn’t ask me out when we dated- but worked hard to chase me down one afternoon at a tattoo shop after work!- knew that I wanted to be asked out. It was a dream I shared with him several times over the years, and he was always kind about it.

A few months before the prom, we were making dinner one night and chatting, there was a lull in the conversation and he did the sweetest thing: he grabbed me by the hand, pulled me close as if to kiss me, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Would you go to the prom with me?”

I did not need a ‘prom-posal.’
I just needed those simple words. That 8 word question.
What a thing it was to be asked.
Even after 20 years, twenty years of so much asking for so many things, he asked me to the prom.
It was just what I wanted.

I waited 26 years for that fantasy to come true.
And it was so fantastic, I cannot even tell you.
There were no teenage worries, no fear.
Only love and support and a desire for fun.
I soaked in every bit of it- pulled all the details into my heart to remember them.

The guy I wanted most asked me to the prom, you guys!!
Fireworks, inner squealing, jumping with joy- it all happened.
It was so worth the wait.

::: ::: ::: :::

We went for the third year again last night. Below are the pictures of that night from the second year (me, because I looked fabulous). We had such a blast.

Meriwether in leather.

 

All the details in place.

 

We fulfilled every ‘prom’ fantasy we ever had that night. I got my hair done in a faux hawk; nails and toes, too. We didn’t see each other before the final reveal moment. We wowed the crowd at the restaurant and on the dance floor.

 

Official prom photo.

Yes, my husband wears eyeliner. He went in an ‘Adam Ant’ outfit and he looked fabulous. Do you know what kind of balls it takes to pull that off? You gotta be real secure in your sense of self to do that. You have to know who you are. My man is fearless. Which is why I love him so. Even as I write this, it turns me on. We’d do anything to support each other- and we do.

 

The morning after.

Our prom night fantasy ended the way it should- with my dress on the floor next to our bed. A good time was had by all.

 

 

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Twenty Years of Sex With The Same Person

[and if that thought terrifies you as it relates to the person you’re with, you need to find a new person.]

Today is about half way between the night my husband and I got engaged and the night we had our first date. This year will be our 20th year married and our 21st year together. We’re better than we’ve ever been and I find myself in gratitude for him every day lately. We ain’t perfect, but we’re really, really good. And this is to say: so is the sex.

And the sex is good because the respect is good. And the sex is deep because the trust is deep. And the sex is delicious because the communication is delicious. Twenty years and we are getting better and better at this.

This is my gift to him, between these days marking the highlights of our love.

Twenty Years of Sex With The Same Person

We met in our 20s, but sometimes
we double back to younger times-
I wore my high school sweatshirt
you had to pinch my nipples hard
through the cotton
we fucked like 18 year-olds
because we could
to fulfill the fantasy of us-
wishing we’d had
this
back then.

 

Other nights, we remember 35,
Bone-deep fatigue
and yet so desperate for skin + connection
like when the babies were small.
Our love-making habitual
our bodies so well known to one another
producing the needed orgasm
and the dreamless sleep of a thousand years
together.

 

This very moment we are mid-lifers
new worlds happen because
we communicate, fantasize, and explore
my orgasm an icicle blue mandala
the portocorano tinkling between my breasts
something new, even at this age
I come best with my mouth full.

 

I imagine what comes next-
30, 40 years together
The books and my crones tell me
Other hills and valleys to traverse
with these bodies
this love
We will find a place on the hill
in the sun
and tease each other
the warmth of the hours heating us
and the waves of love and lust
crashing again
like they always have.
Older, wiser, no less sexy.

 

Growing and wild in this vine of love.
All our years together.
All our years to come.

 

::: ::: ::: :::

Perhaps because of this mid-point in my personal love history, perhaps because Valentine’s Day is nearing, I keep thinking of engagements. V-day is one of the top days for engagements. I wonder if some men who propose that day are secretly thinking, “If I do it on Valentine’s Day I’m gonna get sex and a blow job every year because I can remember what day we got engaged. Har har har…” (Yes, I am going to diss a dude for thinking that.) Women may think it’s romantic until you realize that’s probably why he picked the day.

If you’re thinking of getting engaged on V-day- pick any other day. Literally any other day. Pick the day before, tell her you couldn’t wait. Pick the day after, tell her you were just so full of love you couldn’t contain it one day. Be creative. Connect it to something special between the two of you. (Plus, it’s my birthday, you want that hanging over the day? ha ha ha) Because, when you’re in love with someone, really in love, you want to celebrate them and lift them up on special days. You don’t look for excuses to not celebrate them or double up on your ‘show them you love them’ duty.

Maybe that’s why this all comes to mind now. There have been difficulties in my marriage, big ones. But our love has never been a chore. We have been dedicated to its growth, but never bored with its duties. I hope you find a love that grows deep, that fucks well, that lets you become your full self. Because that is what love does.
 
 

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new moon in Aquarius

Alright rebels. This is my time.

Tonight is the  new moon- which is my fave! And it’s the new moon in Aquarius- which is my sign.

Apparently, for the people who know, this is a huge time of shift and change, especially with regards to masculine and feminine energies. Which would be consistent with uprising of feminine energy at the Women’s March (hell yes, I went) and the downward spiral of the toxic masculine that is The Donald.

So, let us begin.

::: ::: ::: :::

Elephant Journal has some very interesting stuff in terms of Twin Flame connections. (FYI: twin flames= lovers across time, space, and gender; soul mates= rattling your cage this time around.)

“Due to these sacred partnerships causing a variety of emotions to arise within us, we can find ourselves questioning whether the person we feel bonded to is someone we want to have as a permanent fixture in our lives, as they often bring extreme emotional turmoil.

As Isis and Osiris conjunct on the new moon, it is the perfect opportunity to discern what the mystery of our twin flame connection means.

It’s important to determine whether we have connected with the peaceful, loving energy of Osiris or whether there has been a twist and we have in fact connected with the soul energy of his vindictive brother Set, and we have fooled ourselves into thinking that we’ve met our twin flame.

Unless we are in tune with ourselves and trust our emotions and feelings, we will find it impossible to trust the motives of those around us. Therefore, we may find that we attract dysfunctional relationships rather than ones that compliment, nourish and balance our mind, body and soul.”

The whole article is worth you time if you’re interested in masculine/feminine dynamics and soul mate/twin flame stuff.

 

January 20 – February 18. The 11th sign of the zodiac. Air sign. Rules the legs, ankles. Aquarius is the collective, friendships, community. Aquarius is consciousness, intellect, science, technology, the future, equality, fraternity, visionaries.

 

From Bairavee Balasubramaniam:

“The Venus-Chiron conjunction asks us to be open to wounds (from the past, from relationships, from karmic dynamics) and potential sources of healing and/or inspiration that aries through our connection to Spirit. Tread gently in the knowing that everyone is bound to be easily triggered at this time- including yourself. But also bear in mind that you are more likely to find an emotional or spiritual resolution if you are willing to face the issues that plague you. Escapism, often, does not help…

…keep your eyes set on the skies and know that whatever you are clearing, healing, transcending or integrating now is part of the process- one that will allow you access to expand your consciousness, beyond what you expect is possible. 

…Otherwise, you may want to consider the symbolism of the serpent and how it may be highlighted in dream-time messages, wordless inspirations, or simply to appear out of nowhere. This is an excellent time to ‘spit out the venom’ that you’ve been holding in- not at others, not to harm- but simply to unburden the self. Be sure that you’re not using others as vessels or punching bags in the process. No one needs to play that role for anyone else. 

Let it all out and send it to the Earth. Holding on to blame, shame, and guilt empowers no one. That does not mean you do not hold others accountable for their actions, you are simply no longer victimized or held hostage by it.”

Mystic Medusa has these awesome tips:

If you need to ‘conk out’ this dark moon, do so.

“Curating things, purging what does not spark joy, and getting super on point with your organization can feel healing with the Dark Moon.”

“Do spells and rituals. Even really, really basic stuff like throwing all your sheets in the laundry with the intent to wash away psychic residue or feelings of alienation along with the micro grot…Generally speaking, if it was something you once loved or relied upon, you thank it for the purpose it served but say aloud this is no longer needed.”

Hermiticize. Aka Hermit Exercising. Exercise alone if it feels good. And especially if you need to keep moving.

“Dream analysis. Dreams don’t have to be yesterday or even recent to be relevant. Sometimes the dreams from a long time ago but which have stayed with you can be SO relevant.” 

::: ::: ::: :::

So, that’s what’s happening tonight, tomorrow, maybe even Saturday. (I swear, people put these celestial happenings on different days- drives me crazy!)

I am, each cycle, beginning to see how the moon and other celestial bodies seem to guide my energies and ideas. This isn’t true for everyone, of course. We all have different tools we are energized by and attached to. If the moon hits you, so be it. If it doesn’t, so be it. We are all walking the path, just in different ways.

I keep thinking about writing in between the moon phases, but I just haven’t had the time, dear friends. I will try to do better, because the ideas and questions and wisdom still knock at my door, asking to be invited to the party.

Until then…big love, fellow travelers.
Joanna :: xoxo

 

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the wisdom + the dreams

On Thursday I thought my next post would be about ‘goodbyes.’ It’s the end of the year, there have been so many losses of good and beautiful people, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue here or not. ‘Goodbye’ seemed a useful way to explore that.

Instead, it is the age old question of the New Year: what wisdom will we bring with us from this year and what dreams will we create?

2016 was nearly universally recognized as a crappy year. As the months rolled by, everyone I know seemed to have to deal with some kind of issue or problem or recurrent bullshit. 99% of people I know are ready to see the back of this year as it walks its ass out the door of our lives. We hope 2017 will be an improvement.

But as I began to ponder the year for myself, what I realized is that 2016 was a year of learning things we did not want to learn. And yet, they were still things we had to learn. Life was directing us, instead of the other way ’round. We think we have it all under control; 2016 taught us better.

Thinking about it this way, that Life taught me what I must know this year in order to be prepared for my future, makes the lessons easier to accept. Still, they were not pretty.

Boundaries. I had to learn that sometimes love, concern, care, and loyalty are not enough in a relationship- whether it is with friend, lover, or family (there are times when ‘love’ cannot be the deciding factor in whether we stay or go). There were situations where my own spiritual and emotional health suffered and I had to draw boundaries in order to be healthy. So many times, with so many people, I said, “I can make this work,” and “I will make this work,” and “I will learn something about myself to make this work.” Over and over until I finally realized I was hurting myself. I had learned all I could, and going back was simply destroying my own mind and heart.

We can compromise so much to make something work (and sometimes we need to compromise so we can grow), but in the end, if it destroys our health in the process, it is no longer useful. I learned to create these boundaries this year, even though I did not want to.

Self love. The act of setting boundaries and taking care of our well-being is an act of self love. Refusing to be treated poorly, by ourselves or others, is huge self love. I learned that killing myself for another person was self cruelty, the opposite of self love. I learned to stop hurting myself and began to treat myself kindly and well instead.

Letting go. I wrote often about letting go this year. And it wasn’t just people I let go of, but ideas of myself and my life. I did the exceptionally hard work of closing off my heart and killing love (which is really the opposite of the way I am built- it was very tough work). I worked through the grief. I got better. As before, this wasn’t what I wanted to learn, but it was what I needed to learn. I already see ways in which the skills I have gained from the difficulties of this year will serve me in the future. I’m much more informed, aware, and choosy than last year.

Realizing my own racism and classism. Ah, the wake-up from my middle class bubble happened on November 9th this year. And how awful it was. I thought America was a reasonable place. I thought it was pretty fair. But no- it is not. And my eyes were opened that day. I am grateful for this- I have felt a lot of pain around it and started the process of digging out the poison within my own mind and heart and healing. I am feminist, anti-racist, pro-choice, and laud diversity in our country. I’m proud to say it, and I am doing the internal work that will allow my actions to line up with my convictions and values.

Being the change. Before this year, I knew what I cared about, but I wasn’t ready to fight for it. 2016 taught me to take action for the things I love. To know what I would die for and be prepared to do it. I was never much of an activist before 2016, but I will be now. Integrating activism is part of what I will carry forward as wisdom from this year.

a sky full of stars reminding us life is fleeting this new year and always

 

As I look at them now, I can see that all these lessons reconnected me to my values: health, truth, and love. Probably because of them I was so challenged by the lessons this year- I wanted my values to be beautifully expressed, always. Instead, I learned about them by their opposites. But learn I did.

I am also grateful to 2016 because, for so many people, it became a year in which they simply would not tolerate the bullshit anymore. I’m talking about artists who are making protest impactful and beautiful, such as Nona  Faustine. Writers (Desiree Lynn Adaway, Christian Fabien, and Kelly Diels, of course) who are opening my eyes and making me smarter so I can be a better fighter. And everyone who has decided to tell the truth of their life because it is time. These make me so grateful for 2016.

One of my favorite thinkers and writers, Brene Brown, says courage is born from struggle. And I think this is true. For those who struggled with difficult situations this year, I know they are stronger, wiser, and better prepared for their life. I am more of an adult than I was December of 2015. And I am grateful for it.

This is the wisdom I will bring with me into 2017.

Dreams for 2017? Yes, I have those, too. Some are simple, others complex. Some reach for the stars, others place me squarely at home. Most of my dreams are experiences- I want a life rich in experience. Of course, we don’t know what 2017 will bring- I might be writing from a nuclear fall-out zone next winter. But wisdom + dreams keep life worth living.

Was 2016 hard? Yes. But only because learning is hard. Learning is also worth the effort. I am so much more happy, free, and healthy than I have ever been before. It was a good year, too.

::: ::: ::: :::

If you want to gain some wisdom from your own year, try these questions:
[And seriously, take some time with them. A few hours and a journal- alone. A long, long walk in the woods. You will have ‘right away’ answers, but the good stuff comes after a little quiet has settled into your body and mind. Wait for the deeper stuff; the gold will rise.]

Who, what, or what experience did I over-value? And why?
‘Why’ is probably the important part. Lots of willful ignorance or old family issues stuck in the ‘why,’ usually.

Who, what, or what experience did I under-value? And why?

When fuck-ups happened, what was my part in them?
Answer: at least 1% of any given situation is your responsibility. No one is utterly innocent.

What do I need to learn from my fuck ups/this year?
What do I want to learn from my fuck ups/this year?
[[ You can also use these questions in positive mode. ‘When good things happened, what was my part in them?’ etc. ]]

 

 

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