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Dancing with Death

Thank  you for your condolences. You are a spiral of beings, a DNA-Dancing Network of Artfulness. If I visualize my relationships as a vertical spiral, looking from above, we appear close together rather than scattered far and wide. This comforts my heart.

We are not alone. Isn’t it curious that Together is “To Get Her.”  One friend said to me, “Now we are each other’s mothers.”

How do you relate to a mother who has departed? Please comment. Thank you as well for your provocative comments about ways to grieve.

Mom died two weeks ago.  I am watery. I’ve had two small home memorials and continue to find ways to make grief holy. Ritual grounds me.

Today I bought a skull on a staff. It was an impulse buy. I was on my way to get a black armband embroidered with Lurley Katherine Wentworth at Eclipse Alterations (perfect name). I walked by a shop and a woman was holding it. I couldn’t resist.

I fantasized about taking the skull staff to Minnesota this weekend for High Play: InterPlay and Ritual to lean on. Will I be able to lead, guide and dance in a state of grieving? I’ll report next week. Fortunately, I will be surrounded by friends in the spiral dance.

Meanwhile, I need to postpone the launch of Mystic Tech community sharing until March. I lost my hard drive. Can you believe it?  Death slows things down. I’m on divine time and mystery has me by the heart.

Are you interested in a community of mystics engaged in deep imagination body wisdom and creativity? Click here to see more.

See the side bar to the right. Scroll through the Mystic Tech members to see the levels of participation. March 1st will be the new subscription date. You can pay by paypal or send me a check.

If you have already indicated interest I’ll email you. If you don’t hear from me let me know and share any feedback about interests or desires as I move forward. Your wisdom is invaluable.

In the dance of life, death, and great love,

Grief asks for no explanations…


Because there are people who care, because there is enough support, because each visit I see her diminish, slowly curling up in spite of best efforts and the gleam in her eye, because of all this my heart aches, and unexpectedly I heave with grief as I unbirth Mom.

Grief asks for no explanations. I try to trust my body in a world where I hardly see the unbeauty of letting go.

Is Alzheimer’s disease our Master teacher of letting go?

Tisha B’va

I hang out with mystics. These are people who groove with mystery, dance with shadow and light, and go deep into their own universe. Cassandra Sagan is one of these. She lives in Portland, does InterPlay and is a Maggid, a Jewish storyteller. She wrote today….

As many of you know, my beloved grandson, Sidney Lev, was stillborn last year on Tisha B’av, rendering this day powerfully and eternally significant for me and my family, and I will be telling a very personal story about that loss at our minyan in Portland tonight.  This morning I woke up with this image in my mind: Tisha B’av is like the intentional bee sting to an arthritic joint, a healing dose of intentional sadness.

Rob Brezhny who wrote PRONOIA, An Antidote to Paranoia, a book about (the very Jewish topic of) how the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings, recommends that in addition to HAPPY HOURS we take time occasionally for SAD HOURS. Days of Mourning and intentional sadness are built into the cycle of the Jewish year, and I think that in addition to  simply NOT FORGETTING the tragedies of our collective and individual past, they are also an opportunity to heal some of the associated trauma. As we all know, the story lines of sadness, loss, and tragedy are connected to each other through energetic and neural pathways; each new loss or sadness or betrayal seems to “light up” the whole sad string of lights, reactivating unhealed trauma. And each year, each time we come to Tisha B’av, we are in a new place in our own spiritual development, and by hanging out with, or at least playing tag with, touching on, having a safe container for a glimpse of our deepest grief and loss, we have the opportunity to bring new insight, light, strength, and story to what we hold in our bodies from the past—restorying, restorative.

I know most of you are understandably not fasting this Tisha B’av, or perhaps even NOTICING that it is Tisha B’av, but I do want to gently recommend that you take even a few minutes of silence on this day, when the gates of healing are opened to the collective Jewish bodywisdom, to reflect on, or write about, or davven on or dance on behalf of a little SAFESOMETHINGSAD, just a tiny sadness or loss or memory. TAKE THE BEE that’s here today for the taking. The Mystics say that Mashiach will be born on Tisha B’av; may she be born in you today, just a little!

Cassandra ZHRH

Thankful for all who play in the big spirit of life!

No longer refusing shame

fluir en  vol ( tornare ) - To flow in flight ...
Image by all-i-oli ( Jordi@photos ) via Flickr

I recently wrote about having dysthymia, a mild form of depression and InterPlay as medicinal in that regard. I’ve felt unexplainably crappy and needed to evaluate where I needed support. Two specific  ideas popped up

  • Move Your Muscles
  • Paint

I hate to exercise but enjoy moving. On the weekend I moved living room furniture and cleaned my deck. Monday I danced with Wint It! That helped!

Then, I dropped in at Chris Zydell’s Wild Heart Painting studio, where I’d gone last winter in the midst of a big pruning of attachments to mom, safety, and income. Four sessions of “process painting” offered insights, emotional connections, and a ritualized container to update my view of who I am. As a visual thinker this was powerful.

In the studio this week after a brief check in with Chris and the other painters, I selected a palette of black and gold and green and began painting images of my guiding metaphors. As I painted a black hole arose in the corner, a dark moody fish diving among life’s darker truths. I honestly feel fond of this ability.

At bedtime I reached for The Biology of Transcendence by Joseph Chilton Pearce, a master teacher and proponent of play, nurture, transcendence, and evolution, stuff I root for. I forgot how much I underlined in his book.

In the AM I picked it up again and read that fear and anxiety necessarily prune our brain back toward basic survival thinking when the times are too difficult to allow us to evolve. On the other hand did I, by painting, allow my brain  to evolve rather than stay back in the survival mode.

I fear the shame of failing at my dreams and yet I dream big, ridiculously counter cultural dreams, like “lets get dance and the protestant work ethic together” and lets put the body back in wisdom.

I deny shame. I must have an inner Atilla the Hun against anything that impedes my relationship with the divine, creativity or nurture. It’s outright refusal. But this refusal has become a problem. I expend psychic energy that I need to create. What if I could loosen my grip on refusing shame?

I tried it out. My legs, achey from climbing steep hills of effort, felt a tingling flow of energy. Wow. Have I been fighting shame for eons?

Fear of Shame

i have refused
your cold wand, hot pyre, wax heart
your giant loppers and wet blankets smothering dreams
i have refused
your roadside spit, office glare, juried sentencing heart turned sideways, arms crossed.
But today shame is no bastard,
she’s a birthchild along with fatigue, frustration, hate,
mine to care for and hold lightly.
I relax and feel free.