Grabbing the Throat

My apologies for the unsettling photo, but I’m using it to help me exorcise a dream.

In the dream, I and three friends are moving our things into a room where we’ll be staying. Our beds are laid out in a rectangular pattern, so there’s sort of a room within a room. Suddenly we realize that there are snakes under our beds: several really large and a couple small ones. Their bellies are creamy yellow, and their backs fade back and forth between blue and green, with some patches of orange in the lines between belly and back.

We leave the room and someone comes to get the snakes out. I remember in the dream telling myself (and this might be my conscious mind intruding) that snakes actually represent all sorts of good things and there’s no reason to be afraid of them, but I was. I was terrified. (And snakes ARE a powerful symbol, holding many different ideas. And even though I like snakes, I can’t ignore the startle factor.)

When we get back to the room, we check for the snakes, and they seem to be gone, but when I go to lift my stuff, the largest one rears out, fangs beared, and lunges for my throat. I manage to put up my hand to grab its throat, and then the image freezes.

Just before I woke up, the image was frozen for what seemed like seconds, with the snake lunging with immense fangs toward my throat, and me grabbing it by its throat.

The Dream-Mother speaks:
Who gets to tell your narrative? If you don’t actively cultivate your story, speak your truth, interpret for yourself the life you have been living, others may begin to control that narrative. There is danger in letting others control your story. It make take some active and powerful work to keep your own throat safe so you can interpret your story.

You cannot control how others see your story, but you need to take great care that you don’t let others’ interpret your story in such a way that you begin to believe their version.

Also, acknowledge your fears. Simply telling yourself and others that you aren’t afraid of snakes does not make it so.


Gratitude List:
1. My supportive colleagues. I’ve landed into a tender community.
2. Speaking my truth. Interpreting my own story instead of letting others tell me how it should be interpreted.
3. Cool fall weather.
4. All I am learning as I learn to pray the rosary.
5. How the world is alive. How everything speaks. Everything listens.
May we walk in Beauty!


“Self care is not an individual act; it is a collective act.” —Yara Sallam


“The enemy of a love is never outside, it’s not a man or a woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.” —Anaïs Nin
***””
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” —Frederick Buechner


“To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things. ” —John Haines


I haven’t yet read The Shack, but this passage makes me think I oughta:
“I,” she [the Holy Spirit] opened her hands to include Jesus and Papa, “I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active and moving. I am a being verb. And as my very essence is a verb, I am more attuned to verbs than nouns. Verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing, and on and on. Humans, on the other hand, have a knack for taking a verb that is alive and full of grace and turning it into a dead noun or principle that reeks of rules. Nouns exist because there is a created universe and physical reality, but the universe is only a mass of nouns, it is dead. Unless ‘I am’ there are no verbs and verbs are what makes the universe alive.” —Wm Paul Young, The Shack
****”
Thomas Merton:
“There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist. . .most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work. . . . It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her). . .work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”


“I can’t control the world, but I can control myself. And you are not going to coerce me into hating.” —Ruby Sales


“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.” —Mark Strand


“A characteristic of feminism is to think twice about what you know.” —Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi


“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” ―Iain Thomas (not Vonnegut, as everyone says)

Things Work Out

Same photo as yesterday, sent through a rainy filter.

Gratitude List:
1. Wonder. When I was a kid, my teacher had us fill a jar with wet paper towels, and then poke seeds around the edges, and we watched the corn grow roots and sprouts. Last fall, I brought a jar and some corn into my classroom, and set it on my desk, hoping to get around to doing it in my classroom, just to see what would happen. (I’m a high school English teacher, but wonder is wonder, and science belongs everywhere.) Last week, my students were asking me about the jar, and one of them went and filled it with wet paper towels, and I poked the little kernels in, kind of doubting that it would work as I remembered. But the roots have been growing down, long and strong, and several sturdy green shoots are shooting upward. My students are loving it as much as I am. We’re all rooting (ha!) for the little plants. I guess I will have to transplant them soon, and then I’ll have sweet corn this summer! (Next up: beans.)
2. The power of personal narrative. We do a lot of personal narratives in writing classes. It can be a little challenging to keep it fresh, especially when you have the same students in a couple different classes, but it’s part of the deep curriculum at my school: We want our students to be able to self-examine, to understand who they are.
3. Colors. A student of mine introduced me to the game I Love Hue, an app that sets up a grid of colored squares, and then rearranges a bunch of them, and you have to move them back to the right places in relationship to each other. Sometimes I am a whiz at this game, and sometimes I am terrible. My brain is not consistent in its recognition of varieties of hues. I feel like I’m learning and improving my sense of hues, especially as they shift around the grid in relationship to each other.
4. Books. A friend recommended The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. It came in the mail yesterday. I want to read it with Josiah, and we’re currently into Avi’s Ragweed and Poppy series, so it will wait, but I am excited to get started. (We were reading The Book of the Dun Cow, but I had forgotten that the basilisks killed Pertelote and Chauntecleer’s three chicks, and that was a deal-breaker for us. We stopped the book.)
5. When the planning works out. My brain was so foggy last night that I went to bed without a plan for Speech class, but I woke up with a very clear picture in my brain of the file where I had last year’s plans for the same thing, and I found it this morning, and it’s brilliant. I don’t know what foggy-brained-me was thinking, trying to re-invent the plans all over.

May we walk in Beauty!

May All Beings Find Their Waters

May all beings find their Waters:
those who grind and punch,
those who crack and strike,
those who shout and crunch,
who scrape and gnash and chomp.
May Waters smooth and soothe them.

May all beings find their Waters:
those who fritter and dither,
those who flitter and twinkle,
those who flutter and pitter,
who skitter and wheedle and wheeze.
May Waters calm and caress them.

May all beings find their Waters:
those who boil and bubble,
those who smolder and steam,
those who stew and simmer
who pop and sizzle and seethe.
May Waters restore and refresh them.

May all beings find their Waters.

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Today the Fool wandered through the realm of Water. Tomorrow, let’s take her into the realm of Earth. What will ground her? What will support and hold her? What will nourish and sustain? Earth is the realm of that which is manifest, which is made physical. Tomorrow the Fool learns about Earth.

Gratitude List:
1. This question from Chapel this morning: What is the narrative that shapes your life? So many stories to live by, to center on.
2. Water, how it refreshes and calms and soothes
3. How the words sometimes find their way, even through a brain full of fog
4. The angle of shine in the dawn
5. Universals

May we walk in Beauty!