Tag: Mourning

Bring Back the Black Armband!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5a/Ragamuffins.JPG
Orphans with black armbands to mourn their mother F.M. Brown 1865

 

I wish I had a black arm band, a sign to say I am in mourning.
I went online but can’t find any at Amazon.
Except police. They can get cheap bands online and so can teams who lose a member.
I discovered that “Black Arm Band” is a group of Australia’s premier indigenous musicians.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e88mz-b4kaY

When I visited the Aboriginal embassy outside the parliament of Australia’s capital, Canberra, a 40-year-old occupy” movement, I saw people who know grief.

My friend Martin, a doctor, once attended an Aboriginal “Sorry Camp.”  He joined a patient’s family in the desert outside of town the night of her death. Under the dark sky people wept and wept, held in each other’s laps saying, “Sorry. Sorry.” There was food and bodies that rhythmically bumped shoulder to shoulder. This was what their grieving body wanted.

My body needs to recognize the profound loss of a loved one. Mostly, I am doing this alone, yet glad that I don’t live in 18th century England.

“By the 19th century, mourning behaviour in England had developed into a complex set of rules, particularly among the upper classes. Women bore the greatest burden of these customs. They involved wearing heavy, concealing, black clothing, and the use of heavy veils of black crêpe…”widow’s weeds” (from the Old English “Waed” meaning “garment”).

… There was special mourning jewelry, often made of jet and with the hair of the deceased in a locket or brooch…Widows were expected to wear special clothes to indicate that they were in mourning for up to four years after the death, although a widow could choose to wear such attire for the rest of her life. …  In general, servants wore black armbands when there had been a death in the household.

One blogger says “The fashion for heavy mourning was drastically reduced after the Great War.  So many individuals died that just about everyone was in mourning for someone. By 1918 a whole new attitude had developed and this was hastened even further by the Second World War.”

The world had so much mourning that people couldn’t handle that much black? My husband, a hospice chaplain, said, “Maybe if all the women had worn black there wouldn’t have been a second world war.”

Death, the great teacher, is invisible on our streets, in our cafe’s and schools. So, I am considering a black arm band thanks to my good friend and muse Sharon Pavelda, a death midwife and persona known as Mortina DeKay, the merry mortician who asks, “What if the reaper isn’t grim?” She agrees that we need a sign that death has us by the sleeve.

If I find a black arm band I might just wear it until it falls off. How do you move in the world when death leads?

On this day of her roses

My friend Sharon Pavelda is a muse and mystic, a deeply inspired player. Check out her Facebook Page! Today, celebrating Guadalupe she wrote me this,

I smiled, knowing that as I was eating my oatmeal this morning, many were eating tamales and sweet breads in the gymnasium at Mission Dolores, some

My daughter and I found this while shopping ye...
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with rose petals still in their hair.

And I remember that on the night before he died, my father asked me, “When are the rose petals coming?”
“Tomorrow, Dad,” I said, remembering that I had promised to bring some to his room in the nursing home and would have to buy them at Safeway on the way home. I had a large cellophane cone of them in my hands early the next morning as we came into the room. The dawn was spilling pink and gold light over the slope of Camelback Mountain through the windows onto the bed where the body he had quietly left behind, lay waiting for the roses.

“..releasing into the divine.” Led by the roses. By our mothers and fathers. And by our friends of the heart.

Petals on your head and heart, Sharon

On all our heads and hearts!

Salvation: How shall I know what to do?

Panjab Hills, Bilaspur. Opaque watercolor and ...
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Sleeping on an air bed in Santa Cruz, I awoke from a dream. I saw a piece of paper and on it was my “soul contract.” It said something like “Share Somatic Wisdom.”Soul Contract is not language I use, but  I remembered that Carolyn Myss wrote a book called Soul Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential. The dream reassured me that I am on the right path.

A current challenge is that I’ve learned to manifest, draw some people and produce events. Yet, if I do too much I

  • overwork and loose grace.
  • discount my family.
  • hog leadership and hinder Collective Growth
  • make poor decisions (article on Decision Fatigue John Tierney)
  • rely on will instead of higher power (Synchronous, Magical Love).

As a Mystic my relationship with GREAT LOVE guides my life. Lately, operating by will with financial insecurity and “pictures in my head” about what to do literally stopped working.

I had to admit this and grieve.

Today I read the secret at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, a holy work with which I have almost no familiarity. HOORAY!   Krishna says to Arjuna

Hear further My supreme word, most secret of all. Thou art dearly loved by me; therefore shall I disclose (this secret) for thy Good.

Fix they mind upon Me, Devote thyself to Me.
Make every action a sacrifice (a holy act) to Me,
hold thyself as nothing before Me.
You shall come to Me truly,
I promise, for you are dear to Me.

Abandon all dharmas,
Take refuge in Me alone.
I shall liberate you from all sins,
Do not grieve.                                     Gita 18.64, 65, 66

Do not grieve!?!

September of 2010 I entered a “GREAT PRUNING.” In a dream I saw the Tree of Life growing out of the world and felt shock to see ALL of its branches cut off, leaving only the trunk!

The dream was prophetic. Life started lopping at my attachments: airplane engine failure over the Pacific, my mother’s personality taken by Alzheimer’s, Dad’s heart surgeries, dead hard drive (knowledge and information), salary reduction (financial security) and odd things like the breaking the zipper on my luggage.

Out of that season grew this blog, Mystic Tech as I also realized that I must prepare to let go of InterPlay roles. Guidance turned me back toward spiritual leadership. My calendar emptied. Circumstances slowed me down.

There are new lessons. I began to make amends to myself for OVER giving. For months my third chakra has complained with an ache. Real rest requires deep change, beyond trying to find balance. Thomas Merton said,

Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual…And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform.

How will I know what to do if I don’t MAKE IT HAPPEN? What is the difference between my will and my heart? You’d think an improvisational expert would know the answer to this, yet I am humbled by fear and anxiety. InterPlay creates space for the heart, but it is up to me to engage it.

As a woman I am glad for a strong will, taking responsibility for the power to create, and dancing the path of mutuality, collaboration and self-awareness.

I am grateful that I do sense that I am loved, both by myself and something greater. If I listen to the Beloved, will I know what to do next?

Things I can practice.

  • I will not fill my calendar. I will wait. I will rest.
  • I will open to and love the Beloved.
  • I will engage my heart to understand what I am to do.

I could be a beloved bit of nothing. I could take little moments and make a holy offering from a place of rest. I could wait and listen with my heart. I could be the one I am waiting for…

Ahhhh–that feels better.

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….

Friends—
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!

B’shalom,
Cassandra ZHRH

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