Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Mighty Atom

Dearest Goddesses,

So, John is reading this really great book called A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and he’s been sharing some snippets which are just mind boggling. For me, science has never been easy – but I feel like the bits that John has shared with me has taught me more than all my science classes and has certainly lit a fire under John to want to study Physics!

Below is an excerpt from the book in the chapter called The Mighty Atom:

The basic working arrangement of atoms is the molecule (from the Latin for “little mass”). A molecule is simply two or more atoms working together in a more or less stable arrangement: add two atoms of hydrogen to one of oxygen and you have a molecule of water. Chemists tend to think in terms of molecules rather than elements in much the way that writers tend to think in terms of words and not letters, so it is molecules they count, and these are numerous to say the least. At sea level, at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, one cubic centimetre of air (that is, a space about the size of a sugar cube) will contain 45 billion billion molecules. And they are in every single cubic centimetre you see around you. Think how many cubic centimetres there are in the world outside your window – how many sugar cubes it would take to fill that view. Then think how many it would take to build a universe. Atoms, in short, are very abundant.

They are also fantastically durable. Because they are so long lived, atoms really get around. Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms – up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested – probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name. (The personages have to be historical, apparently, as it takes the atoms some decades to become thoroughly redistributed; however much you may wish it, you are not yet one with Elvis Presley.)

So what does this mean? Well I took two major points away from these two amazing paragraphs:

  1. The same atoms that made up some of the greatest people in our history are a part of me. That I’ve travelled through stars and tree leaves and volcano lava – all that is within me – within us! So when I feel like I’m not good enough, all I need to do is think about the greatness that is within me – of the historical greatness. And when you think that DaVinci had more talent in the fingernail of his right thumb than you do? Well – maybe, just maybe you actually are made up of the atoms that made up DaVinci’s thumbnail!! Ha!
  2. That the atoms that are a part of me are a part of the same atoms that make up the guy across the street, the bum that sleeps on the side of my house, of my best friend, of the co-worker that drives me crazy, of Barack Obama, of George Bush! A part of what makes me up – also lives inside of everyone. We’re related, we’re one. What differentiates friend from enemy; family from foe is simply our experience, our stories.

I happened upon a site from an old student of mine and it was of a step dance performance from Bard College - really fun to watch - and I usually never take the time to read any comments - but for some reason I did last night and was just appalled. There was only comments about how fat the girls were and the racial makeup of the group. I just think if we all took the time to celebrate successes rather than finding ways to create distance - it might just be easier to be the great human beings we already are.

Phew! Very cool stuff. If you have a chance to check out the movie What The Bleep Do We Know, it puts a lot of the concepts of Quantum Physics into an edible form.

Don’t be afraid of the deep end!

Love to you,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hide & Seek

Dearest Goddesses,

I feel like I've been forcing these posts lately - like I don't really have anything to say. I know that it is mostly a function of my hiding - from life, from love, from being creative. I just figured I'd tell on myself. The truth is, hiding is no fun unless it's part of a game and people are actively looking to find you. I like to play hide and seek - only I don't really tell anyone that I'm playing and then get sad when nobody seeks me! Ah, if only everyone could read my mind. In order to really be sought, you've got to be out there, not hiding.

This reminds me of something I read recently - where if you have the belief that people that you smile at on the street smile back - you will subconsciously only choose to smile at the people who will smile back at you. If you have the belief that nobody smiles on the street - you will choose to smile at people who don't smile back. If I'm hiding and believe that nobody will seek me - no matter how "out there" I am, I find that nobody actively seeks me and when I get over myself and am open to receive - then I find that I am pleasantly surprised. It doesn't always work - and I think that has more to do with my openness and my expectations. But hiding only makes me feel more lonely.

Well, I am willing to get out of my turtle shell and receive. I suppose telling on ourselves is the first step. If you've been hiding, like me, how can you tell on yourself? Where might you need to ask to be sought?

Love to you,

Changing Woman: Cycles

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


I am what comes round again and again

what can never die

I renew myself in the seasons

in the cycle of time

the great round

I bleed yet do not die

I keep my blood within and become wise

I dance the spiral

and keep changing


Changing Woman, or Estsanatlehi (self-renewing one) – as she is called by the Navajo and Apache – can change her age merely by walking into the horizon. White Shell Woman and Turquoise Woman are among her many names, which correspond to the changing colors of her dress as the seasons change. The Navajo say that she was found by Coyote, after being born of Darkness and Dawn on Spruce Mountain, with a blanket of clouds and rainbows, secured in her cradleboard by lightning and sunbeams. Her gifts to the people are the Blessingway ceremonies, the seasons and food.

Meaning of the Card:

Changing Woman comes spinning into your life to tell you the way to wholeness for you lies in learning to honor your cycles. Menstrual cycles are an important aspect of being female. We bleed but do not die, and therefore can bring forth life. As we continue to dance our cycles, we reach the time of menopause when we leave our childbearing years behind and hold our wise blood within. We can then be a resource for our loved ones and community by becoming hags, which means “women of wisdom.”

Do you celebrate your menstruation and view it as a time for you to go within? As a time to let go, let die, so the new can come? Or have you bought into the patriarchal view that it is a curse, something unclean, something to be hidden away? Does menopause automatically fill you with fear of becoming old and ugly, no longer valuable and worthy in a culture that adores youth? Do you feel invalidated in a society that urges women to hide their bleeding times, regulate their hormones by taking pills and postpone menopause through ERT (estrogen replacement therapy)?

Honoring your cycles also means honoring your own unique process, your own unique path in life. You may be in the midst of a particular life cycle that you need to surrender to and honor. Changing Woman says that wholeness is nurtured when we reclaim the power of our cycles by paying attention to them and celebrating them. By celebrating our cycles, we celebrate ourselves as women.

Ritual Suggestion: Celebrating Your Cycles

Find a time and a place where and when you will not be disturbed. Sit, stand, or lie comfortably and identify the cycle you are in. You may choose to find or make a symbol of your present cycle. Cast a circle by calling in (speaking to the elements and asking them to be present) or by becoming the elements (see Vila, Shape Shifting) If you are using a symbol, place that symbol in the center of your circle. Walk around the outside of your circle and fill the inside of the circle with respect and honoring. You could fill it by putting on your favorite dance music and dancing around the circle, thinking or chanting, “I love my cycles, I love being a woman”. You could drum or play a musical instrument. You can do anything that celebrates you and your cycles. Be sure to notice if any feelings come up and allow yourself to express them.

Continue until you feel the energy in the circle is strong, then step in and breathe it deep into your cells. Lie, sit or stand in the circle, whatever is comfortable for you. Let the celebratory energy you have built up nourish you to the very core of your body/mind/spirit. Feel its healing power reweave the torn wounded places inside. F eel yourself as a woman, proud to be a woman, proud to bleed, proud to hold your wise blood within, proud to be in the midst of whatever cycle you are in. When you feel full, give thanks to Changing Woman, to yourself, to your womanhood. Step out of the circle. Release what you have called in. Welcome Back!