Archive for the ‘Reclamation Projects’ Category


The Holy Days are upon us…

November 27, 2010

and I have been insanely content! Everything seems to be unfolding effortlessly without much effort on my part… without me needing to control and contrive and consult and confound. Effortlessly…. without effort.

The last time I felt this way was April, 2007. Not that there haven’t been times of contentment in the intervening years, but it has been a journey through the towers of ivory and hasn’t always been obvious what the lessons are and which teachers to let in and which teachers to discern out.

And now, advent is coming and in the midst of the holy days, I am going to don my purple robe and claim my hood of humility.

I am over the moon happy!

And you? Where are you in the life cycle as the days lengthen here in the northern hemisphere?



April 21, 2010

I am taking a class in Clinical Hypnosis. I took Level I last summer and this spring I am in Level II. I am finding it a wonderful addition to my toolbox. At first, I was using just the guided imagery / progressive relaxation aspect of it with people – and they loved it.

I find it heartening that people are able to go into the wellspring of the imaginal world so easily and find peace, respite, healing and wholing inside themselves.

I have done this work myself through Deep Imagery, through Active Imagination, Dream Work, Inner Work, Visual Arts, Mandala, and more but this is a new step for me to bring it into my work with others and I am finding it exciting.

My guide in this work has been asking me to step up my work from using the skills I come by naturally, to working with specific scripts for anxiety reduction, ego strengthening, etc. I am just starting to shift in this way, and the results have been astonishing.

I am so grateful to have wise guides as I apprentice to this work.

Where in your life do you have a wise guide who recognized and nurtures your potential?



June 6, 2008

Today will probably be the hottest day of the season so far – and it is the day I have off to work in my home garden and the community garden. Last night I worked in the community garden – until I saw the first glimmer of the crescent moon. We have had tons of rain the last few days and the soil there is a heavy, shrink-swell clay – the same soil that we had twenty years ago.

All those years of amending, amending, amending means that even our worst soil on our property is rich and vital compared to the rock hard, slimy wet clay in the community garden. I have amended so far with a 3-4″ layer of organic material so far and for the most part, the soil has absorbed it and begged for more.

The plot was an overgrazed farm field before it became this garden so there is abundant quack grass, thistles, and other perennials weeds. The effort to work that garden is enormous. So this morning, I have been puttering around in my own garden – where the soil is 18″ – 24″ of wonderful organic loam in raised beds. It feels like eating dessert first!

I was stirring the compost and cleaning up a bit and startled a baby snake. We both took stock of one another – me grateful because snakes are such wonderful guardians of the garden and the snake a bit annoyed that I am cleaning and tidying up and altering her hiding place.

“Tis a balance…



May 26, 2008

Psychoanalysis – analysis of the Psyche.

Psychosynthesis – synthesis of the Psyche.

One of the more common search strings that people enter and arrive here is “Loyal Soldier.” I learned of the LS from Bill Plotkin and Dianne Timberlake when I participated in the Sweet Darkness Intensive with the Animas Valley Institute. Of all the courses, workshops, intensives, classes etc. that one continues to reverberate in my psyche. During that time I was introduced to the work of Angeles Arrien and David Richo among others. Although I had heard of Jean Houston, it was here that I learned to practice becoming my larger story. Arriving at the intensive, I already had a deep relationship with the soul poets – Rilke, Rumi, Oliver, Whyte, Wagoner. Being with a community of seekers allowed me to share those emerging parts of myself that I had yet to claim. I came away with the seeds of a four direction practice that I continue to use. AND I came away with a fascination for psychosynthesis – I just didn’t know what it was yet.

A few weeks ago I came across the work of Richard Schwartz in Internal Family Systems. There was an immediate zing! of recognition. Reading his work I felt myself coming home to myself. He speaks my language. As I began to gather more information – I read that his roots are entwined in Jung and Psychosynthesis! No wonder I felt so at home.

Salmon boy once teased me and said “We are all multiple personalities” when I was trying to work something through with various subpersonalities. In IFS – Schwartz refers to these as parts. There is a part of me that wants to do X and a part of me that is afraid of X and the crux of the work is to disidentify with the parts to make room for the Self. The Self is that wise part of us that acts in our best interests – not in the interest of our ego – even if it is a healthy, differentiated, individuated ego!

This is the same Self that speaks in dreamwork – the part of us that always comes in service to our mending.

In IFS, subpersonalities can be managers, firefighters, or exiles. Just the words chosen evoke archetypal imagery for me. There are parts of me that manage anxiety, rush in during emergencies, and parts of myself that are cutoff and languishing in the shadows – exiles whose energies are not available to me – exiles that keep my manager parts and firefighting parts really busy!

One of the things that appeals to me about the psychosynthesis model is the incorporation of a gratitude practice. Instead of exterminating, killing off, disowning, or maiming the parts of ourselves that cause us interpersonal difficulties or intrapsychic pain, we befriend them. We ask what they need from us. We thank them for protecting us – that is what a Loyal Soldier does – protects us.

The Loyal Soldier is the internal part of ourselves that developed at a young age to protect us from the vicissitudes of an uncertain world where our literal lives depended on us figuring out how to conform. It is such an ancient part of our being and so ingrained and entrenched, that it often becomes invisible to us – we think it is “just who we are.” And it is! It is a part of who we are – and there are other parts. AND this part of us needs our gratitude AND this part of us needs our adult Self to help it grow up and learn to be of service to us in a different way – a way more appropriate to our lives as nurturing parents or generative adults or wild indigenous explorers.

There are no shortcuts! There is no Bluebeard in the psyche that can be exterminated and then we are free! Gratitude practice takes patience and persistence and devotion and practice, practice, practice. Did I mention this is a practice?

Psychosynthesis is one of many paths to Self and it is path that resonates and reverberates with my worldview – we speak the same language and use the same shortcuts for ideas and ways of being.

What path calls you to devote yourself to a daily practice?
PS Although I first heard of the Loyal Soldier subpersonality from Dianne and Bill – I believe that Molly Young Brown was the first to use the story of the actual soldier to create the energy of the subpersonality. Does anyone have different knowledge?



April 24, 2008

In addition to my own garden, I am also spending time at a community garden plot. Community is definitely something that is part of my pathwork right now. Being accepted into the family at the INSTITUTE was disconcerting. Most of us who got that early morning phone call welcoming us and inviting us to participate were thrilled. For many of us, the path to this portal had been treacherous and hard scrabble. In talking with Salmon boy, I realized it would have been easier if they had told me I wasn’t good enough. Rejection – I know that feeling – and I thrive on it. It is my wound and my gift. The gift propels me to be inquisitive, resourceful, curious, and a creatrix of synthesis. Acceptance is such a difficult state for me. What does it mean to be accepted into this community? to be welcomed with open arms? to allow myself to matter to others? to allow others to matter to me? It scares the living daylights out of me!!!!!!!

Solitary I know. Independent I know. Alone I know. Loner I know. One on one is great. Small group is possible. Large community of seekers and questers – yikes! Already I find myself falling into familiar patterns of seeking out the intimate one on one relationships within the greater whole.

I take all these reactions into the garden. I weed out the bindweed that keeps me constricted. I am making space. Just as giving up Divine Feminine Wisdom created space for me, weeding is creating space. And the new plot in the community garden is only space. It is a 20 x 20 plot of tired soil that had been farmed heavily and then reverted to a thistle infested grassy field. Transforming it into the deep, black, organic rich soil that I have at home cannot happen in a season. It will take patience and time. This 400 square feet is teaching me a lot about time and patience.

The Shenandoah Valley is traditional in many ways. Looking around the plots in the community garden, most are laid out in linear rows with a path between that can be howed and kept weed free. A few, are using the square foot method. My plot is the only one with chipped Christmas tree mulch in the paths, sieved mulch on the beds, and an array of beds – 3×3,  4×4, 3×10 and other shapes. In the geometric center of my plot, is a round circle that I intend to fill with towering sunflowers.

When I look at all the plots, there is a part of me that envies the simplicity of the perfectly howed straight beds. I imagine that the men and women who tend these beds are happy. I imagine that not because I have any reason to believe they are happy, but because I recently heard about a study that found that people who don’t consider the world as complex, are happier than those who see the world as shades of gray and impossibly rich in possibility. My 20 x 20 plot is complex, complicated, beautiful, and invites curiosity.

I think I just described myself – complex, complicated, beautiful, and inviting of curiosity.

What does your garden say about you?


~~~Soulskin is shimmering~~~

November 28, 2007

I needed to take some time to tend to my sealskin. Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks of a woman’s need to periodically moisten her sealskin/soulskin and for the last several years – this is an annual practice for me.

I spent some time reading, writing, doing a bit of art – not as much as I would like to. I walked the forested dunes and swamps between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. I bathed in the light of our moon mother and joined her as she beckoned the tides to creep higher and higher onto the sandy shoreline.

Walking, breathing, thinking until my thoughts were gone and my mind still and empty.

Re-reading Joan Anderson’s A Year by the Sea and An Unfinished Marriage.

Laying in my sleeping bag, watching the moon peek through the clouds and then hide her face.

I chose to do this retreat on my own – even though it meant I missed Weaving Soulful Community. My tribe of fellow questers were in my heart even though I wasn’t at Seven Oaks to join them. Perhaps next year…


Nurturing Parent of Me

October 28, 2007

Sometimes when new women come into Divine Feminine Wisdom, we use ideas and shortcuts for ideas that are part of our common language. The brave and courageous women who come to the wisdom circle ask – what is that? Or one of my co-moderators reminds it is time to revisit some working principles. Thankfully gmail lets me keep all my emails from the last few years and makes it easy to search and find things.

As I read the things I wrote preparing for my vision fast – I am reminded of how very ready I was to go empty out into the west of me. I am also reminded how vulnerable my mother wound was and why that made me particularly sensitive to not having my needs for physical safety and shelter met by my female guides. Unwittingly they recapitulated my mother wound. I am still not clear on how helpful that was to my journey. It gave me one more thing to rail against and one more thing to cut me to the quick. Not having that experience of abandonment would have allowed me to recognize my own inability to accept and receive. Yet I was able to go to someone who I perceived as maternal and caring and ask for what I need. So it is still a jumble.

The last few posts have been from my work with the circle and I have been feeling courageous – full hearted and brave hearted and shared them here. I am astounded at the level of connection that they make with people who read these odd musings of mine and it inspires me to continue to be vulnerable and undefended with my intensely private inner world and work.

I ask that you listen with the ears of your heart.


I am almost tired of saying this… but not yet…

Warming the Stone Child was the way I learned to create an internal
mother. I listened to that tape so much I just about wore it out. I
cried, and cried and cried…. Clarissa just said there, there, and
stroked my hair.

I had to make it real – I had to take the ember that exists in the
heart of the unmothered child and literally put it in my fire pit.
Then I got very tiny bits and pieces of dried things and built tiny
little fires for weeks and then little fires for weeks, and then
medium fires for weeks, and then I worked my way up to a fire that
would create a large bed of warm coals – and I would curl up on the
deck and watch the embers how they glowed and talked to me…

The last part was to internalize the bed of embers and the fire in me.
Then when someone tried to “rain on my parade” I checked with my
internal mother first – she would glow warmly or if needed she would
BLAZE up and after listening to her wise counsel – then and only then
would I entertain the person “raining on my parade.” Sometimes they
were right – often they were wrong – but together my internal mother
and I would figure it out ourselves.

Since then – I never have that sinking feeling in the pit of my
stomach when someone dislikes me or disapproves of me or chastises me
or snubs me or is ANGRY at me…

I believe in the power of the internal mother…

BTW she lives in the north – in the land of thinking…. The shadow
side of the north is the tyrant, dictator, codependent, enabler,
victim etc. In the four-fold path that I am working with – the
warrior also lives in the north… It took me awhile to integrate them
– but then I realized that my internal mother STANDS up for me. She
encourages me to take a STAND.

The north is all about showing up and being present and expressing the
powers of presence, communication, and position.


  • I show the power of presence by standing tall and having an undefended heart.
  • I show the power of communication by speaking from my own experience without pointing fingers at others.
  • I show my power of position by accepting my leadership role and healing the tyrant, dictator, manipulating bitch of myself.

The wounded child lives in the south in the land of feeling… When
the wounded child is made whole – she graduates to the wild woman!

The internal mother of the north, goes to the wounded child of the
south and loves all the parts of her.

No work in the west should be undertaken until the wounded child is
healed enough to ask for help from the internal mother.



Reading this now – a year and a half later – I don’t think I would be so strident about some of my statements – I think I would leave more space for ambiguity – but that is who I was in that moment and I adore her.