Tuesday, June 24, 2008

(Stop) Shoulding Update

Dearest Goddesses,

My girl came out of surgery just fine yesterday – thank you for sending her love and light.

In honor of Oya and change, I wanted to give you an update regarding the commitment that I made last week to stop shoulding on John – since I recognized the vicious cycle living inside a "should" world is. And since I was rebelling against his should – why wouldn't he be rebelling against mine as well!?

The beginning of the week was challenging because John was traveling with an investor. I recognized that when things were even further out of my control – my need to should increased tenfold. But then he was home and I found myself relaxing a bit and getting centered inside of my commitment to figure out the requests behind my shoulding and I've got to tell you I feel like I'm married to a different man. He's of course the same guy, hasn't changed a bit – but suddenly the lenses that I see him through are a different color. Now don't get me wrong, he still gets on my nerves – I just feel like I don't need to spend the energy making him "get it".

An insight that I did have was that I felt like I needed to set myself up against all the women of history who fought for women's rights. So instead of a man in 2008 – John became a represenatative of all the men who take for granted the women in their lives, I was a representative of all the women who have fought for equal rights and our relationship was suddenly a battlefield of righteousness. When he left a dish on the table, suddenly I was back at my grandparent's house for Thanksgiving wondering why the boys were off playing while the girls were dutifully in the kitchen washing up. When he requested a glass of milk, I would look at him with contempt thinking that he had 2 perfectly good legs to get his own damn glass of milk, when he would do something impulsive, I was of course the wounded martyr always sacrificing for her family. The weight of the PAST – and boy it wasn't just my past that I was throwing in there – I had history inside of the relationship! It became very crowded. There's a big difference when a request for a glass of milk is just a nice thing to do for a fellow human being rather than some historical precedent that I need to beat out of this man I married. I think sometimes when we stop to think about it – we're not even fighting our fights – but the fights of our mothers, our grandmothers and the founding mothers of our world. I'm sure there are better ways to honor these women than fighting over a glass of milk.

So the past five days have been remarkable. And now, inspired by Rowena, when I feel my crankiness emerging, I can now give myself a 35 minute timeout (a minute for every year!) so I can get centered and rejoin my world more powerfully. Another thing – very simple – that has worked remarkably well for me this past week has been consciously enclosing things that I'm worried, stressed, or obsessing over into a box in my mind. I sit and visualize the thing I'm obsessing about (yesterday it was Ginny's health – I had convinced myself, for no rational reason, that she had died) and then I box it up – I covered all sides and I place it on the shelf. I was amazed the first time I did it of the physical relief I felt the second the cover went on. And it wasn't like I needed to use willpower to simply force it out of my head. The box can live there for as long as it needs to and maybe I'll do a cleaning once a month of the old boxes that I don't need anymore.

Patty's Challenge: What can you box up that you don't need to be spending time or energy on right now? Visualize placing it in a box (I was using a nice crate with a latch on it) and making sure all the sides are covered and placing it on a shelf.

Love to you,


P.S. I've shared one of my favorite authors with you – Sanaya Roman. Go to her website – you can download a series of 3-7 minute meditations from Orin for free. That is what I did during my timeout yesterday and it quickly shifted my energy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Changes: Motherhood

Dearest Goddesses,

We woke with a scare this morning. Ginny hadn't been feeling well for several days – just not her tail waggin, vivacious self. Her appetite didn't change (she could always be found perched at the stove when we were cooking) she was going to the bathroom fine – but when she woke up this morning with a horrible discharge (I'll spare you the details – I'm sure you're grossed out enough) we woke the vet up (Sunday morning!!) It turns out that she has a uterine infection – which is apparently common in bulldogs – and the only solution was to get her spayed. John and I had been talking about the idea of finding her a mate at her next period and have a litter. Although we were disappointed that there wouldn't be little Ginnys running around (isn't she cute??) we were also relieved. No more periods, no monitoring a bulldog birth – which apparently is extremely challenging. On the way home from the vet, John turned to me and said – I guess the universe is telling us that we're not supposed to have babies, I corrected him…puppies you mean. Right…puppies.

As a married woman in her mid-thirties, I am asked at least once a week whether I have children. While I sometimes I like to think it's because I live in Costa Rica and women traditionally have babies fairly young, I know it would be the same in the states. And when I answer no – there is invariably a follow-up question of why not? Don't you want kids?

Sometimes I think of myself as a victim "How does this jerk not know that maybe I've been trying for years and simply can't have babies – how is this question supposed to make me feel??"

Other times I feel like I've got to defend myself "No, not yet, but we're trying!!"

My usual answer is "When it's time, it's time" (of course in my limited Spanish, I'm not sure it translates great!)

I suppose the truth would have to be "To be honest with you – I just don't know if I do…"

There's a whole flood of junky garbage that goes through the mind of a woman in her mid-thirties who's still not sure she wants (or can have) children. While I'm not obsessive about cervical fluid or temperature, we're actively seeing if it happens. I notice a lot of pregnant women and think longingly about having babies and then I see a mother schlepping her screaming brood around and am grateful that I'm not. Every month I get that twinge of hopefulness that I am – and can't help but be a bit disappointed when I'm not, and then I go about my month and love my freedom and how relatively low maintenance my dogs are. I've been on the "Am I pregnant?" websites and I've felt angry at my body for the few days of deception. I've felt the feeling of failure that my body hasn't produced even a glimmer of life, while those around me seem so fertile. I've felt the pressure of the clicking biological clock. I wonder if my choices, my indecision, my failure to log cervical mucus and Basal Body temperature, will seem like wasted time when I'm 40 and my chances are even slimmer? Will I be okay with the question – how come you don't have any kids, in 10 years? When the ticking gets louder in a couple years, will I head to a fertility clinic and start dosing myself with hormones? I don't know – I like to think I won't – that I'll accept that although I won't physically give birth in this life, that I am still Mama Spice (I once asked John what my Spice Girl name would be – he said Mama Spice…!) That I'll join the ranks of the many beautiful, talented, passionate, loving, giving, women I know, who have chosen for one reason or another not to have children.

The truth is, I just don't know. I like being Auntie Patty, Tia Linda, Uncle Patty (to Jonah!) to the kids in my life. I love hearing about their successes and seeing them grow up. I love their precociousness and their questions. I love their laughter and how they can fall asleep anywhere. And I really love going home and sleeping through the night without a bad dream, or a bedwetting, or an I don't know what's wrong, how can I make it better, why won't you just go to sleep?

I suppose in all of this, the most effective answer is – when it's time, it's time. And if it's not? Well, I certainly hope to have given birth to creation, to possibility, to miracles, to growth…

And so, while my baby is at the Vet having surgery tomorrow morning (send her light!!) which will end her chances of motherhood – I couldn't help but ponder my own.

Love to you,


Oya - Change

The following is excerpted exactly from The Goddess Oracle, copyright 1997, by Amy Sophia Marashinsky and the illustrations are by Hrana Janto.


I work in ways deep

ever present

always moving

I work in ways dramatic

with thrunder and lightning

sweeping and uprooting

I work in ways subtle

pushing and prodding

wearing and tearing

I swirl you and twirl you

I shock you and rock you

I clear the way for what is to come

I can be slight or stupendous

brief or long lasting

uproaring or uprising

What I can't be is ignored.


In Africa, Oya (pronounced oh-yah) is the Yoruban Goddess of weather, especially tornadoes, lightning, destructive rainstorms, fire, female leadership, persuasive charm, and transformation. She is also one of the most powerful of Brazilian Macumba deities. When women find themselves in hard-to-resolve conflicts, she is the one to call on for protection. Wearing wine, her favorite color and exhibiting nine whirlwinds (nine being her sacred number), she is depicted here with a turban twisted to appear like buffalo horns, for it is said she assumed the shape of a buffalo when wedded to Ogun.

Meaning of the Card

Oya storms into your life to tell you that change is calling, beckoning, and camping out on your doorstep. The way to wholeness for you lies in embracing change. Have you been too busy, too stressed, to attend to the changes needed in your life to nurture yourself? Is change so fearful a concept that you push it aside play hide-and-seek with it, or just ignore it? Have you arranged your life so perfectly that there is no room left for potential? Time for change. Time to sweep out, sweep up, and be swept away. Perhaps you are in the midst of the Change (menopause) and are having trouble accepting it. Resistance to change brings more persistent change. Choosing to dance with change means you will flow with it. Let yourself be unsettled, prepare yourself for growth. Enter deeply into change's chaotic dance and you'll be richly blessed with abundant possibilty. It is time for something completely different. Oya says that the earth must be dug up before anything can be planted and that change always brings you what you need on your path to wholeness.

Ritual Suggestion: Enlisting Change as Your Ally

This meditation can be downloaded for $2.00

Find a time and a olace when and where you will not be distrubed. Sit or lie comfortably with your spine straight and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and release it slowly. Take another deep breath and this time release it while making the sounds of the wind. Take another deep breath and, as you release it, see, sense or feel yourself walking along a path. The day is beautiful, perfect for a walk. The path takes you up and the path takes you down. You follow the path, surrendering to where it leads you, feeling more and more relaxed, more and more at ease.

Now the path begins to climb steadily. Up, up, up you go. Soon you have to climb hand over hand. Still the path climbs upward. You finally pull yourself onto an immense plateau. You have arrived on the Plain of Vision where the winds blow cool, clear, and clean. Here you can see clearly what you need to see.

Allow yourself to experience the swirling of the winds as your vision clears. You call Oya and she comes. She scoops you up in a powerful embrace. She asks you why you have come. You aks her, "What can I do to enlist change as my ally?" and she answers. Envision the answer clearly in your mind, then thank Oya for her help. She asks you for a gift and you give it to her with gratitude and an open heart. Oya embraces you again and vanishes.

Now it is time to return. You climb down slowly and carefully. Down, down, down, feeling calm and refreshed. Down, down, down, feeling at ease and centered till you are once more on the path. The path takes you through and the path takes you around. You follow, feeling a sense of peace. The path takes you down and the path takes you up, as you feel more and more awake. Take a deep breath and, as you release it slowly, come back into your body. Take another deep breath and open your eyes. Welcome back!