I know, I know. It's the holidays. You are, maybe, frantically checking your bank balance daily to make sure that you can cover all the food, feasting, gifts, events, clothing... Or maybe you're super organized and have it all in hand, carefully budgeted.
I want to encourage you to give yourself this gift. A gift of a new way of seeing your life story, and your path into the new year.
Mother Holle and Baba Yaga are well known in their home countries. They are powerful expressions of the wild feminine. Both have been pointed out as expressions of pre-Christian goddesses hidden in tales for children. Mother Holle rewards the good and punishes the bad. Baba Yaga, in her chicken-legged hut, provides information, wisdom, and initiation, but only to those who follow her rules and don't get themselves eaten in the process.
What will you get out of this work? A stronger sense of your own power to understand and choose your life story, artistic and writing invitations to take you deeper into the stories, and a potent technique for shifting your viewpoint when you feel stuck, overwhelmed, or lost in the woods.
We will be exploring two stories together over the course of four weeks. Want to know a little more about the kind of work we'll be doing? Check out this post: A Taste of Story-Reading.
Maybe you feel a little lost or fearful, or maybe you are downright terrified. Maybe you are searching for a new start, or a new way forward. Maybe you feel lost in the woods. Or maybe you feel like you are finally coming into your own.
I'd love to support you through story. My Story/Readings are an opportunity to explore your life story through the lens of fairy tales. Together, we venture down these ancient paths to find the wisdom you seek. From high, far-off cliffs and from humble cottages in the woods, we find a new perspective and new possibilities.
I've lowered the price on my story/reading sessions and simplified the offerings. It would be an honor to work with you.
Want to try it? Click here!
Questions? Comment below and I'll answer!
They have their own stories and struggles.
no one wants to hear how tired you are, how late you were up,
how the baby wouldn't sleep,
how work was hard, or just long.
No one really wants to hear about your aching feet, or head, or heart.
Unless you are willing to punch through the tired, the ache, into the source, into the deep
Pull back the tight-wound layers of it all, the election,
the dishes, the words bitten back, the ones you regret,
and take a moment to tell me
what the moon looks like tonight.
tell me about your anger, or your sorrow, or your need for something
you can't quite name.
It's so much more than tired.
No one wants to hear
they want too much to see, to touch, to hold.
to hold you up.
to hold your hand.
to hold on when you are so ready to let go.
I'm tired of battle metaphors. I want a metaphor of building.
less tearing, less fighting, less struggle.
No one wants to hear how tired you are.
I want a soft pillow, and a gentle hand, and strengthening sleep, not just for me.
for you, and for them, and for the person who made you angriest.
Goodnight. Tomorrow, the sun will rise,
and we will go on building.
originally published 11/5/2014
:bring on the daily posting!!
fairy tale of the day: The Devil and the Three Golden Hairs. Read it here: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~spok/grimmtmp/022.txt
The lovely Jana Kingsford has suggested that starting my workday with a blog post is the way to go. Remember how I did that "NaBloPoMo" thing a couple of years back, and posted every day in November? That might be what's going to happen here, with Prolific Posting becoming more important than Amazing Content.
There are some who will tell you that the whole point of a blog is to attract readers. And for some people, that may be the case. I came up in the world of Live Journal, though, and dial-up BBS services, so for me, it's more of my letter to the world. My open-book journal. My place to pour it out. And that still makes me incredibly leery, because LOOK! This is an open platform -- what I put here is going to live on into eternity, thanks to the Wayback machine and other such things. My first blog, back when we called them Weblogs, was at PITAS. I can no longer remember my password, so I don't know how on earth to remove the account. At least my friendster account has gone the way of the dodo, along with friendster.
I'm feeling better today, but also feeling really sad about the rough day my poor kiddo had yesterday. "Everyone thinks I'm such a brave kid," he says, "but I'm scared of a lot of things." Halloween is rough on him, because he loves costumes and magic and candy, but he HATES the gruesome ghouls and floaty, gauze-wrapped skeletons everywhere.
And lately, I am butting up again and again against the pull of video games and cartoons on my son. I am not totally anti-media, but I feel like I'm getting sucked down and powerless against the riptide of violence and the addictive quality of screen time. He's still little, thank God, so social media isn't a concern yet. But UGH.
Sparkle Stories is always a help in this whole ordeal. They are what my son turns to when he can't sleep, when he needs some comfort, when the world is too much. Funny, heartfelt, touching, and full of truth, beauty, and goodness. There are five free Halloween stories on their site right now; that's where we'll head tonight.
I'm sitting down to write, and I feel empty. A beloved guest from far away is staying with us, and my panicky only-child self is at war with my desire to spend time with my dear visitor. So I over-extend and do too much, and don't set boundaries, and then wonder why my heart is racing and I'm snapping and sniping at my child and spouse...
And our time together is good. A mirror is being held up, though, to how much i rely on my own routines and patterns to get by.
I hate that I'm letting my child soothe himself with tech -- games and cartoons on the iPad -- when I retreat to my phone and computer to tune out.
I hate that my kid is eating so much sugar, when I search the cupboards for a quick snack instead of a meal.
I hate being begged for a toy or soon-to-be thrown away thing, when I am letting money run through my fingers and bills are piling up while I don't work enough.
Im in a rough and whiny spot tonight, and angry with myself for not being happy.
This photo is from last year. The dogwood never got this colorful this year. Writing feels like wading through moving water. I'm pushing along but not making a lot of headway. In my big project, I'm at the point where I'm really doubting what I set out to do, and I feel like what I'm doing isn't any good anyway. Other writers assure me that this is part of the process...
I'm forcing myself to blog, just doing it, just ten minutes of actual writing that isn't for money and isn't related to this one project, this one project that has gotten so narrow and yet so big at the same time. I've been burned before by what I've put out into the world, by daring to be open and talk about how I feel in public, and that being seen as unprofessional. What do you think? Is it unprofessional to talk about your feelings? To say, "I've self-imposed an unreasonable timeframe on this work?" To acknowledge that the work is bloody hard?
I remember being fifteen and weeping hysterically to my mother that it was so important that I be who other wanted me to be. That if I didn't, there was no place for me in the world. And to a certain extent, I still behave that way, afraid that if I talk too much, shine too brightly, stand out, or, conversely, if I don't shine, if I let myself need help and need support from other, if I talk about my problems, I'll be outcast. And I wonder, what is to be gained by staying within parameters? and what is to be gained by breaking out? And can I get back in?
SO I'm still working on being more authentic, and at the same time, at molding who that is, who is that person who is still learning and growing and feeling like a child in so many ways at forty?
And there is October, this month of glory, and I don't want to miss it. It's passing by so quickly, and we still need to make a costume for kiddo's halloween, and to decorate and carve and store up the sweetness of summer for the long winter ahead. We've been told to expect a long, snowy winter this year, and my heart is full of dread. Trying to sway that, to turn it around into expectation and wonder.
Leaves of red and gold are littering the grasses now. Some trees are already bare. Others are blazing and delighting. And on the edge of my consciousness are test results and scans and a lingering unknowing. Best to blaze now, isn't it?
I'm a woman in America. This means that my life has been defined by certain outside forces. I'm a queer woman in America, in a relationship with a woman. We have a child. I'm white, middle class, educated. We live in a house. Somehow, the bills get paid.
All of these facts contribute to my experience of the world.
It would seem that I ought to work from a "modern" understanding, that I ought to relate mostly to stories of "modern" women.
Where I find my deepest resonance, is with fairy tales.
Perhaps, to you, fairy tales are unrealistic, misogynistic tales, told to keep little girls in their place, emphasizing making a good marriage and giving up agency.
I find them to be the opposite. Perhaps it is the fairy tales I choose, but my heroines are brave, resourceful, kind, and adventurous. They do not wait around to be saved. They save their loved ones, trick giants and kings, weave shirts of nettles, create worlds.
They are invincible in their vulnerability.
Recently, I worked with a woman with the tale of Tatterhood. For her, on first hearing, the story was of how the brave and exciting Tatterhood gave up what and who she was, became acceptably beautiful, in order to marry the prince. "Wow," I thought. "That is so far from my reading. Why is that?"
Together, we explored questions of what it is that is being unveiled when Tatterhood removes her hood. What conditions have to be in place for us to remove the veils we use to keep ourselves safe from others? What is the question we need to hear in order to take that step? And how do we get someone to ask when we need it?
I love these stories. I love the depth that I can get to so very quickly through their wishing-well of images and archetypes. I would love to share them with you.
My kid is feeling good about himself right now. He's in the back yard, helping an older boy whom I've hired to clear a bunch of weeds. I wasn't looking forward to this afternoon. I had envisioned sweating in the heat, attacked by mosquitoes, as I assist two little boys in pulling weeds. Instead, I've stepped back, sprayed them with bug spray, and am sitting in the shade writing while they work. They feel good about what they're doing, I'm here to help if needed, and we are all winning.
When we step back, and allow others' competence to create magic, a sense of calm and peace can arise. That is a gift. It's a gift to ourselves, and it's a gift of trust and belief in the abilities of others to contribute. This is especially true when those we are allowing to shine are young people. I forget just how much my seven-year-old can do for himself. I forget that an eleven-year-old can handle sharp tools and responsibility for another kid. But when I remember...
Just a quick update -- steroids are amazing. Yes, I'm feeling tired, run down, and unfocused, but
I CAN SEE! My vision in my left eye seems to be back to about 80%. This is extraordinary. I am still waiting on test results and I'll have more MRIs tomorrow, but for now. For now, I am so very grateful.
Did I mention it's my birthday next week? Want to give me a present? I'd love for you to join me in supporting charity:water. My birthday campaign is here -- I set the bar low so we can blow it out of the water, so to speak! This is an opportunity to really change lives, folks.
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.