Beautiful, warm, sunny weather--gloriously warm, seventy degrees yesterday. I am wallowing in being able to walk around inside my house without a coat on--it's as if I can finally de-contract all my muscles. So delicious.
This past day or two I've mobilized around next career steps. About fifteen years ago in a co-counseling session, I came up with a mission statement, a la Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. (Yes, it's cheesy, but there's some good stuff in there.) My statement was: "I am an artist in community." I knew I wanted to create things, art, and I knew I didn't want to do it in an ivory tower. It was short, sweet, and simple. It worked.
There's another mission statement lurking around inside that wants to come out now. Something about serving and raising and uplifting the divine feminine, something about women and children. I've always felt it, ever since I worked with Haitian refugees and was so moved by their spirituality and the intense love I felt passing between us. I felt particularly moved by the "feminine" aspects of the culture--the earthiness, the practicality, the emotion and ritual, the female as well as male gods in the voudoun pantheon. Africans have a revered place for the Mother, both in society and spiritually (even though there is abuse of women there just as everywhere.) I responded to it hungrily.
This last year, going through the self-defense training at IMPACT, hearing the other women's stories and reflecting on my own, I felt it rise up again in me: this protective love for women and the feminine, this desire to serve what Robert Bly calls The Great Mother, the feminine force in life that nurtures and protects. (Not that men don't have it too, C is extremely nurturing, and so was Alan my first husband, and so is my father.)
I called a friend who runs a Domestic Violence Center in Oakland and she suggested I take a forty hour Domestic Violence training. There is also a 40-hour training in Sexual Assault. I want to take both. I have been calling and emialing around to find a training that I can take and so far have been unsuccessful. But I know this is the direction I want to go in. It feels exhilerating to follow up on it.
Meanwhile, we are jogging along--the in-law is almost complete. My story is out in The Sun. I finished the fifty millionth rewrite of the self-defense essay and sent it to Modern love, so now I am waiting with fingers crossed. I still have to work on the Carla article; it just won't gel yet. I am starting to try and get buff for the wedding, which is seven months away--building swimming back up again. I heard about a great aikido teacher, so I am going to investigate his classes.
I introduced C to Boggle and now he is addicted to it as I am. We went to see Rachel Getting Married the other night--a great movie, wonderful acting, terrific writing--but the hand-held camera was so jiggly it literally made C seasick. I looked over about three quarters of the way through the movie. At first I thought he was weeping because it was so emotional. Then I realized he was struggling hard not to retch. I passed him my hat and whispered that he could puke into it if he had to. Instead he fought the urge down and eventually put the hat down and pulled it over his eyes to protect him form the motion onscreen.
The next night we watched Peggy Sue Got Married with Kathleen Turner. I saw it twenty years ago when it first came out. All these movies about getting married--stepping over the threshold. Part of me, the old rebellious part wants to minimize that it's a big deal. We've been living together for over a year, it's just a piece of paper, what's important is the committment between us. I don't want to give our personal power away to a ritual. That's ego, my ego.
Because it is a big deal. It's a big vulnerable mysterious deal. We've got a lot going for us as a couple--mad love, humor, some skills, and perserverance (read: stubbornness) on both our parts, and a strong desire to really do this right. But we also know that 50% of marriages fail, that the statistics are even worse for second marriages than they are for first ones, that we both have individual failings that will make this enterprise challenging, and that sometimes it's just hard to compromise, give up power, surrender.
So here we are, not dramatic, but vulnerable. And open. And curious--that of all things, may save us.