Creative Therapy

I haven’t been writing.  I mentioned that in my last post, The Wound, as well.  People ask why, and I have to be truthful… I have been immersed in serious, soul-searching, life-renewing therapy.  It’s intensive.

My therapist:

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The truth is, my writing is deeply rooted is some pretty painful places… I don’t know how to do it without connecting to the very center of that raw ache, and without naked honesty.  And for so many reasons, I just haven’t been capable of it for a large part of 2014.  But when it is simply too much to write the words down, I run straight into the waiting hum of my Pfaff. I have been holed up in my attic, cutting up beautiful fabrics into small pieces, and putting it back together to create something new, born of something else.

There is something so safe and so true in this act, I have found myself spending most of my time here.  Making dolls.  And purses.  And quilts.  And little snack bags.

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Often, with the meditative act of pairing one scrap of fabric to the next, I feel as if I may be stitching my own self back together.

It is amazing how finding the perfect fabric for the perfect head of doll hair can be a method of reconnecting myself.  And in that, I have had experiences in the last six months I never could have imagined.  Joining artist groups, sewing banners for a parade, painting rocks for a town wide treasure hunt, trading owl bags and quilts for facial cream and artwork, selling at holiday shows, being on TV.

http://www.wfsb.com/story/27353715/handmade-holidays-weha-artists-emporium?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=10836890

I used to believe that being creative was the same as being blonde.  Or green-eyed.  Or tall.  Some of us got dished out a whole lot more than others in the genetic pool we sprung from.  I must have waited in the tall girl line, and forgot about creativity….

Not so.

We have all been born out of creative energy… it is our life force.  Spirit.  God.  The very essence of who we are is this creative source.  Some were born with a deep sense of that energy within, and some have not fostered that connection.  Somewhere in their childhood, that place was snipped free, and we “uncreative” ones became untethered from the source.  Its tragic, and not without repercussions in our lives, to feel separate from the source of our humanity.

This may sound a little woo-woo to you all… and don’t worry.  Me too.  It’s coming from a woman who has spent a larger part of 10 years trying to scrub all things “spiritual” from my world.  More likely to spell out the word G-O-D than any choice four-lettered expletive.  And I have spent most of my childhood as well as adulthood actively rejecting all things Martha Stewart… including dyed wool felt and cotton batting and quilting thread.

Those eye rolls and f-yous are a part of my spiritual crisis now, and some of the reasons I am sewing up piles of little dolls and snack sacks. IMG_6769IMG_6770

I can revisit that later.  For now, I am relieved to just be writing a few hundred words.  And to feel that some part of my Self was stitched back together in the piles of fabrics and spools of thread.

So check out my goods… what has sprung from the therapist’s chair.

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Message me if you want any, or check me out at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.302818606570850&type=1

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Gratitude, the Collective Cup

“Invisible threads are the strongest ties.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche

I can not stop watching this video.  I found it on Brene Brown’s blog, where I was seeking solace from a very difficult morning…needing a bit of inspiration and a lift in spirit.

I needed to find a place of gratitude to reset myself.

What an instant spirit boost… it worked after the first view, but I like to be extreme about everything, so I have, of course, watched it about ten times.  Ok  fifteen.   Well, maybe more like twenty.  

What an amazing experience for these kids.  I love the amazing feeling of community and interconnectedness that washes over me just watching the video.

There is something transformative about participating in something so collective and beautiful.  It is a reminder of our unity and wholeness, Continue reading

Open Me

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Birth is a powerful force, uncontrollable and raw.  It brings us into our most primitive, simple forms.  The design of our bodies, the synchronicity of our composition.  It is a compact, intense and potent experience…our whole life collapsed into a single moment.  The moment we become.

Become a living, breathing expression of our soul.

Become a mother, the soul inexplicably and forever tethered to another in the most cosmic and physical sense.

 

I have spent many years searching for the latent and omnipotent meaning behind this soul-altering experience.   I have also been searching for something.   A lost part of my spirit.A way to turn ON the dead parts of me that I have shut off and let die.

I have been aching to define it, give it words, give it LIFE…give birth to this need for the something I can’t even outline.

 

Recently, I have been drawn into working as a doula… a woman who is hired to support a mother during labor and birth.  I have moved into this work with a powerful sense of purpose…there is something here for me to learn.

 

To see.

 

To experience.

 

I need to be here, doing this.

 

Getting into the work has been exhausting.  Emotionally and physically draining, and challenging my patience and communication skills constantly.  I teeter on the edge of quitting, turning tail and running, cutting the stress and expectation and difficult  relationships loose and being freed from it all.  But I stay.  Because there is something here, in this work.

 

Something that I am meant to do.

 

What is it?  What is birth meant to teach me? Continue reading

We are the SAME

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Shel Silverstein

Minutes after posting the “bleeding spirit”, I had a brave mormon friend on FB message me a response.  She was expressing her genuine dismay at my pain, and we started a conversation.

There are several popular explanations in mormon culture for why most people leave the LDS faith.  These concerns were highlighted in my FaceBook conversation with my friend within a few minutes.  These are the most common reasons… I know them because I comforted myself with these explanations as a child being raised in a mormon family and as an adult trying to live and spread the gospel. I now face these false assumptions as an apostate, talking to my family and friends about my choices.

#1.  I succumbed to the temptation to live “in the world.”  The strict rules and regulations that mormons live by are too difficult to bear, and I am unwilling to sacrifice my time to worship and/or serve the church and it’s members.  I can not live without coffee or alcoholic beverages.  I can not handle the modesty requirements of temple garments (mormon underwear).  Being a member of the One and Only True and Living Gospel is simply too hard for me.

#2.   During my time as an active mormon woman, I was not doing my part.  I was not living a “worthy” lifestyle.  My heart was not pure and contrite and repentant enough. My inability to feel spiritually fulfilled, or even more drastically, the sensation of my spirit dying away, suffocating, was due to my own sin.

#3.  I was afraid.  I did not understand Jesus’s sacrifice for me, the concept of Grace.  I felt too much pressure to be perfect, live perfectly.

The following is part of my FB response with a worried friend, a woman who was also born, raised and married in the LDS temple.  Just as I was.  I will title it with the most important point, one that I have been unable to get an LDS person to believe.

 WE ARE THE SAME.

My inability to be a mormon woman has nothing to do with grace or fear of failure or feeling like I am not measuring up. It is exactly the same thing as you choosing every day to be a mormon. You chose it because it is real for you. You feel comfort and love and a closeness to God. These are wonderful things. I am glad you have this in your life.

Mormonism simply did NOT do this for me. It suffocated me. It made me feel disconnected and distant from God. The same still small voice that we were both taught since infancy to listen to…that voice was telling me to let go, to move on, that it was not the place for me anymore. This voice was loud and insistent and forceful. You and I both were taught to honor that voice as the voice of the Lord. You are doing that, and in doing that, you are fulfilled spiritually.

I am doing that too. Finally.

The fear for me was in stepping into the unknown, of following that voice even when everyone in my world told me not too. Sometimes following your inner guidance is very hard. We are also taught this in The Church. To stand up for what you believe in, at great peril even. Mormons applaud this bravery when it comes to people joining the church, even when they have great opposition in their family and friends.

There is absolutely no difference between you and I  in our desire to follow God’s plan for us, to experience spiritual growth and enlightenment, to feel our souls nourished and expanding. You and I are the SAME. We grew out of the same soil. Told the same things, took them into our hearts, believed them. We found good, honest, loving, stalwart, gospel loving men to marry and carry us forward.

The difference lies here: I was told to get off that mormon path. It is not about “worldly things” or “rules and guidelines” or that I couldn’t “cut it.”

It was spiritual.

The same spiritual things that keep you an active mormon woman. The spirit that I was taught to listen to…it was leading me somewhere else. Staying and ignoring that insistent, still, small voice would have been easier than leaving. To leave was to risk every important relationship in my life.  My children.  My husband.  My parents.  My siblings.  My grandparents.  Aunts, Uncles, Cousins.  Friends.    My SELF. My sense of who I was.  It was a stepping off a ledge, unable to see the ground below.

 It was the hardest, bravest thing I have ever done in my entire life.

But I did it because as you know, listening to that guidance is at the foundation of all belief.  The foundation of who we are.

The only difference between you and I is that your doctrine makes a real conversation about this impossible. I know, I understand that doctrine. I was there. I lived it with every ounce of integrity and love and passion and commitment and worthiness as you are now.

This is what I mean by fear: It is the challenge that I represent…the idea that the one and only true gospel would not work for some people. That the still small voice would in fact lead me “astray.” You absolutely have no room to accept this. You simply can not and will not be able to understand that the SPIRIT guided me away from the gospel.

The same SPIRIT that binds you to it.

The same pain and anguish and darkness you may experience if you left the church and tried to do without it, was what I experienced in being a mormon woman. If you were to leave The Church, the nourishment of your divine spirit, perhaps you would find yourself curled up in the fetal position, weeping in bed every night, feeling that your spirit may cease to exist entirely.

I hope you never experience this kind of spiritual anguish. You probably will not, as you have found and plan to stay in your spiritual home.

I plan on doing that too.

Bleeding Spirit

“The authentic self is the soul made visible.”

-Sarah Ban Breathnach

I tried holding my breath, but the tears streamed into my ears. Obviously, the driving force of despair building within me did not need oxygen as a catalyst.  I could sense Rick’s awareness, though his back was turned to me in bed.  He was probably still praying, silently pleading with Heavenly Father to soften my hardening heart.  We had finished our nightly ritual, praying aloud together in the dark on our backs, fingers intertwined…a suggestion of our solidarity, which I felt unraveling faster than we prayed.  “Our dear, kind, Heavenly Father..” he would begin, and so would my tears.

Night after night, it was the same.  Lights out, prayers spoken, and my anxious heart, not hardened as our scriptures suggest, would almost seize in my chest.   I would lay in the dark, and assess myself, asking… “Do I want to die?  Will I take my own life?”  I knew unequivocally,  the answer was NO.  My baby girls slept in adjacent rooms, my life ever so much more precious than it had been just two years before.  Then what?   Am I ill?  Is something poisonous, cancerous, growing inside me?  Is it disease creating this pervasive, encompassing awareness that I am ceasing to exist?  These questions trumpeted loudly in my mind, an effort to drown out the answer I already knew.

 I must abandon my life.  Not my babies.  Not my husband.  But my faith, my religion, my testimony…my God?  We were mormon.  Married in a mormon temple for time and all eternity.  We had callings (mormon jobs) and sacred underwear, temple recommends (worthiness cards), monogrammed Book of Mormons (well read), and pictures of Jesus on our walls.   Friends.  Family.

I am an impostor.  A living, breathing, broken lie.  Performing a mormon life like a mime trapped in an airtight glass box…and running out of air.  But to leave my religion would be to dissolve all I have ever known.  Maybe, I would dissolve with it. Like a sugar cube in bowl of warm water.   All that was beloved could be ruined…I could lose everything.

My sobs shook my shoulders, and Rick came to me. He held me and kissed my eyelids and stroked my hair and took deep breaths into the crook of my neck.  His desolation and helplessness  hung thick in the dark above us, a dark monster ready to overcome us both.

My soul began to plead with him. Inside I was screaming. “Help me!  Help me pleeease! Save me!”  But I could not ask him to do it for me. To leave God, for me.

Months on end of the same scenario had played out, until we fell into exhaustion and slept.  But this night was different.  Tonight, I knew the monster would win, that some how, I would die.  I tried again to find words to express my anguish, the urgency.

“Rick, if I were laying here next to you…and I was bleeding.  A wound was open and I was bleeding out in front of you… you would save me.”

“Of course, I would save you Meg.”  Fear distorted his voice.  I began to shiver violently, my jaw chattering, even my insides shook.   He was terrified, gripping my quivering shoulders.

“We are leaving.  We will leave.  We will stop going Meg.  We don’t have to go, we don’t have to be mormon.”  He said them…those words like a tourniquet, it slowed the bleed of my dying spirit.  He held me against him so tight the shaking calmed.  We held each other, aching and heartbroken, until we slept.