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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Clean and Sparkling

It has been a bit of a difficult time for me recently. It's not smooth sailing once you get grownup - the old questions still haunt you and as your children grow, you see that they are haunted as well, and life goes on. Was I ever going to make peace with myself? See the truth? Figure out what it is all about?
When I am troubled, I turn to housework - at least the house can be sparkling and all the material things in their places, and a brightness to the air, a fresh smell, even if your soul is in turmoil. The other day I was hanging out the laundry.
There's the laundry line - and there are most of the people I love.
But they had gone back to their respective tasks, and I was alone on the hill, stretching the clothes and cloths tight so as to maximize the sun and wind's potential to dry and brighten the material. And the smell of the laundry soap, the smell of the wind, the feeling of the sun on my face; the feel of my son's anima in his work jeans that he left - the memory of the day on the beach in that Sponge Bob towel (who on earth left that here?); and then I remembered that, of course, we have been hanging out our mens' clothes for decades, centuries, dare I say millennia? And the love, peace, and longing that is there in our hearts as we birth them, raise them, and love them, is there for me in the simple act of hanging out the stuff they wear, the material they lie and dream in, the T-shirt my son wears when he wants to look good, when he wants to attract and maybe take part in the next generation of love and longing.

Laundry hung, I went in to prepare lunch. And I chose to cook some of the potatoes that "Mountain Lady" brought us from her garden. When I say garden, I mean that in the loosest term. A patch of forest, dug and planted, stolen from the wild boar, badger, and deer. And of course, as I peeled those mountain tubers, I felt again that sense of stretching back. It wasn't just me, who finished lunch and went to check my emails. It was also the beauty who was hiding in a cellar, the sailor, the old lady preparing a potato for her husband, the new bride who could only boil.

Giving birth is that way. I met a couple yesterday who were looking at my book, and they started telling me their birth stories - aggressive and rude midwives, cervix closing up, the man feeling impotent....

Giving birth, doing laundry, peeling potatoes, these are our tasks, and they are begging to be done with attention, with presence. Do not give these tasks away to others! Peel a potato! Fold the laundry! Take back your own birth and do not allow rudeness, aggression, or ego in your birthing room! All of the women through history will accompany you as you labor.

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