Sunday, March 25, 2007

Moving out, Into the World

Inanna comes to teach about inner strength and inner wisdom. She had descended to the depths and returned, aware of what she had lost-all her outer trappings of Queenship-and aware of what she had gained-inner strength, and the ability to rule her people well. My descent began August 11, 2003, when I fell at work.
I didn't know then that I was going to lose many precious things. So much went: my career and marriage, which were such a strong part of my identity, and my connection with my partner's family who had become my own, and all but one of those I thought were friends, and financial security, and a reasonably pain free life, and 220 pounds, and all the food I loved, which had protected me from the world, and the list trails on, pathetically.
Inanna returned from the underworld to take up her duties again, to be a wise and fair and beloved Queen of her realm od Sumaria. I am called to begin a new life, too, one in which I am useful, but balanced, using what inner strength and wisdom I have garnered over the last few years, and indeed my whole life.
And I have actually begun to emerge, feeling naked, blinking my way into spring, like Persephone emerging from Hades, into the delighted arms of her mother, Demeter. Though I seem to have disappeared from J-Land, the truth is more that I have begun to have an outside life, and am finding it rather more exhausting than I'd anticipated. So I am resting or reading or sitting spaced out in front of the boob tube, instead of interacting with my friends on line. Eventually I will grow stronger and have more room for both lives-real and cyber-spaced.(My "computer friends" are very important to me, but Inanna came to push me out of my complacency, making me face outward for a bit.)
I finished the training for The Gentle Touch and Guided Imagery Program for the local hospital. My friend Robin (who runs the program) was right. I'm a natural, for two reasons.  I've spent a lot of time alone in hospitals where no one but nurses and aids touched me, and then very briefly with blood pressure cuffs, or holding my arm to draw blood. We all know how short handed the whole system is. I blame the administrations of hospitals for the shortage, not the nurses, who are almost always overworked, tired and cranky. (I apologize to all good nurses out there who really do connect with their patients, especially those patients who are totally alone. I wish I could run across you whenever I am hospitalized.)
I see the opportunity to go into a hospital and rub someone's feet or hands or head very gently for 15 minutes, pampering them in a way that is almost unthought of as a patient, to be quite amazing. And leading guided imagery, before or during the gentle touch, is a gift for both me and the patient. When done well, it gives us both sustainance. I've been doing guided imagery for myself and others for nearly 30 years. For those who wonder, guided imagery is a way to help someone slow their breathing, relax deeply, and get away from their pain and sometimes even body, while one guides them to go to some place of their choosing to "escape" the hospital for even a bit.
This is a poor description of guided imagery, but I've used it in my spiritual meditations, with Meg when she was hurting in someway, in my various women's groups over the years, and most recently, with the HIV+ inmates in prison. After settling down 18 frustrated, often angry or resentful inmates, felons and murderers and prostitutes. all at various stages of HIV/AIDS, I am not worried about doing it with one patient at a time while I massage his or her feet very, very gently! I won't be able to start, however, until I get back from visiting my parents from April 7 to the 21st.
I have also started a Yoga class. It's a small group-two of us-taught by my friend Jayne, who just got her teaching certificate. The second woman has arthritis. Jayne is adapting it to chair yoga, simple moves to start with. I am in serious pain by 20 minutes into the hour, but the movements are good for me, despite the pain. (One thing I learned during my first shoulder rehab is that it doesn't get better if it doesn't hurt. This may not be true for all injuries, but I'm remembering the pain all too well this second time around!) After an hour and a quarter, I am so tired I can barely drive home.
And now I have taken on another volunteer job. I am elder-sitting an Alzheimer's patient in a local convalescent home for 3 or 4 hours once a week. She fairly with it, can't talk much, but seems very happy. Unfortunately she wanders a bit, which is where I come in- I'm to help her to wander safely. Eventually, we'll be able to go out in my car for ice cream and visits to not-to-big stores. Apparently she panics in malls and Wal-Marts. (I understand this-neither place appeals much to me either.)
And I still have physical therapy twice a week and various doctor's appointments. Phew! Now that I've listed all this, no wonder I am tired all the rest of the time. No wonder I'm exhausted! I know that these activities are for now, for this first stage of moving outward after too many years of withdrawal due to one medical problem after another.
Inanna came to me to teach of Inner Strength and Inner Wisdom, to remind me how much I've gained and learned over the years, so that I can make my first moves into new life. I have emerged thin and wobbly but still ready to begin the journey into new life and the realm of the Wise Woman, the Crone.
Blessings, Margo

Friday, March 2, 2007

Inner Journeys

As usual when I have disappeared for a couple of weeks, I have been struggling with a number of issues, and feeling down, being much too hard on myself. I only have to go back a year or two in this journal to remind myself that I do work on my issues in my own inimical way. I  actually am doing quite well these days. Then I have to ask myself why I need such reassurance when sometimes I really do know my worth. I still seem to need a lot of outside reassurance that I have worked hard-perhaps because so little has changed on the outside in the last four years. But I have indeed changed.
I am still at home, mostly, still in pain, still recovering from surgery, more alone really than ever before-all on the outside. On the inside, I keep on keeping on, working the issues brought up by the myths of goddesses whose names seem to rise up into my consciousness from somewhere deep inside (or maybe down from heaven), because I need the lesson.
A couple of weeks ago, I was happily driving along a nice back road, singing along to Mad Agnes (, when the name Inanna floated into my consciousness. My immediate response was, "Oh, no, not Inanna," and turn the volume up in the car. I sang louder, too. At home, I cleaned and fixed myself good protein and turned on the TV and the computer, and shut the name Inanna out. Firmly.
Unfortunately, I knew I was only putting off the inevitable, for my past experience with Inanna had been depression. Now, in case you are not caught up on you ancient Sumarian Goddess myths, Inanna was Ruler/Queen/Goddess of all of Sumaria, who decided she needed to visit her sister Erishkegal, Queen of the Underworld. She wanted to gain her sister's knowledge. Putting on seven layers of protective garments, she descended to the Underworld. At each gate, she had to take off one layer, until she faced her sister naked. Erishkegal immediately reduced her to a piece of rotting meat, hung on a pole.
Inanna first came to me many years ago now, before I was divorced from Meg's Dad, in the form of chronic, long-term Stygian depression. I truly was the meat on that pole, the emotional pain was so bad. Inanna was rescued, finally, to return to rule earth in a much wiser and insightful way, claiming and holding the wisdom she had gained in the underworld to herself, while ruling her country better than before her descent. I found a better antidepressant and went into therapy.
When Inannna's name drifted into my mind, all I could think of was that depression would once again move in and shut me down. Surprisingly, the depression which lurks just below my surface didn't deepen. A wise woman I know pointed out that I had already lived the first half of the myth, and needed to look at the second half, after Inanna returned to earth.
It was hard at first to imagine me, the me formed by such childhood pain that I surrounded myself by layers and layer of fat, as wise and insightful, holding my hard earned wisdom close to myself. Me, not squandering wisdom on the overly needy, Me, having the discernment to know when to share what I know about life, and when to keep it to myself, as Inanna does.
Then I passed a mirror. I am not the Margo I was, guarded by fat, wanting to please, to help everyone, anyone, so I could know I'm good, capable, worthy, valuable, and begging (passively aggressively) for outside assurances. I am at goal weight, I have traveled far without moving, and it will manifest in my life as time goes on. Not that I won't need outside assurance anymore, just less of it, and from the people in my life who I have come to value.
If none of this makes sense, it doesn't matter because I get it.
And I have begun to move out, open to attracting joy into my life. To manifest this, I asked Judi HeartSong to paint me a Goddess/Woman named Joy. She is the #7 of the latest Light Series ( At the bottom of the webpage look for "previous posts," and hit Light Series '07 to see the paintings. I asked her to do a Light Painting named Joy in November or December, saying there was no hurry, and She has been worth the wait! Once She is framed, She will join Hope, a Light painting Judi did for me nearly two years ago, when I needed hope was all I had to hold onto as I struggled through one medical problem after another. And I survived, on hope that rose from deep inside surgery after surgery after surgery, most of them alone
And so I am moving outwards, slowly,believing this year will be better than last. I am taking a 2 day training so I can volunteer with the Gentle Touch/Guided Imagery program at a local hospital. And I have joined a very small Yoga class run by a newly trained Yoga teacher who is a good friend. She wants to eventually work with yoga and the elderly or disabled, so I'll be her guinea pig, quite happily. And waiting for what comes next.
Enough for today, I bid you well.
Blessings, Margo