Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reflection Paper #1: The Grandmother Archetype

 At the end of every month —or "module"— of the CSS program, we are asked to turn in a 500-word Reflection Paper that captures the essence of our thoughts and practices based on the required reading, the conference call, and any teachings or assignments received by the instructors. We are not asked to polish up a finely crafted essay—simply to write from the heart. It feels a bit awkward for me, with a tendency to withhold anything that doesn't seem "perfect" (or at least "mind-blowing"), however I think it's wonderful practice for being fully present as my authentic self.

This month, we read Grandmothers Council the World: Women Elders Offer Their Vision for Our Planet by Carol Schaefer. No instruction other than the introductory conference call, so this is what I wrote:

The immediate feeling I sense is humility and gratitude to be on this path. Grandmother love is unconditional, with infinite compassion for all beings. It was the loving presence of an energy I call Granny that led me to this training, and I know that under her protection, I cannot fail. I offer my reflections with an open heart full of curiosity and trust. I offer my words in the hope that it may be of benefit for all beings.

Reading the personal histories of the women who came together to sit on the Council showed me so many ways to hear the call, to resist and struggle, and to finally accept one’s place in our grand dance with the Divine. For many years I’d felt like I missed out because I didn’t learn traditional ways from my own grandmother, that I didn’t even grow up in any particular religious practice to embrace or reject. Worrying that I have had to patch together some personal practice out of whatever clues I find along my way, I’ve struggled with the self-confidence to let my own expression shine. To learn that some of the Grandmothers rejected and resisted their calling for even longer and to more extremes than I have was a surprise that both comforted and encouraged me. To learn about the varied paths that converged into one voice of unconditional love and healing thrills me.

It is through our willingness to show up and reveal our complete, authentic selves— no matter how far from an ideal we may think we fall— that we have an opportunity to look past the conditioning that has made so many feel unworthy of standing up or speaking up for what we value. The diseased culture of “perfection” that has led civilization away from our gloriously wild and potent roots is, ultimately, unsustainable. That’s the bad news AND the good news. The many prophecies referred to in the book speak of an urgency to take action to change the direction of the world’s energies in a small window of TimeSpace. I sense that every heart that joins the Great Turning somehow widens that space, allowing more and more people to discover and appreciate this opportunity.

Although I am a passionate supporter of women’s power in the world, and recognize the need to address the particulars of women’s ways in the world media, I feel it is drastically important to offer more guidance to the masculine-identified than the message I often see, even in this book; “Men need to move aside and let the women take over.” When one of the men in the MTP program said at first he wasn’t sure men were allowed to participate, it reminded me of how unwelcome the male-identified can feel in these changing times. My own work with my family and my ancestors has shown me that this is a particular challenge for me to confront, and I hope to develop skills of inclusiveness that encourage enthusiastic participation amongst all types in the gorgeous diversity of life.

PS: I forgot to include that reading about the Grandmothers inspired a part of my daily practice, in which I smudge with sage a picture of the Council and name the Grandmothers and their origins and achievements, one-by-one, thanking them for inspiring me to follow in their spirit. This action of appreciation helps me feel connected to a greater community of spirit and intention.
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