sabrinamari: (The Star)
This morning I have been thinking about ruthlessness in its many varieties. Over the last couple of months, I've had the opportunity to see it, close up, in myself and in others around me. I think this opportunity has arisen because there have been so many upsets in my immediate environment, and emergencies tend to summon out people's Shadows.
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About tears

Dec. 9th, 2011 01:52 pm
sabrinamari: (Venus)
On of the things I've experienced is that it's really hard for people to know what to do around crying. Most of us want to fix whatever's wrong; we want to do something, to make it all better. Maybe that's a good thing when you're dealing with a little kid; I don't know.

But I'm not sure it's the most helpful thing for most adults.

Tears happen for many reasons: sorrow, joy, rage, processing, stress release, wonder. There's not always something to fix. In fact, usually, there's not anything to fix. Most often, tears are not about anything other than the interior world of the person crying, and just the favor of being allowed to express this---without shoving down one's natural responses or having to take care of the other person---is a real gift.

One of the best gifts I was given over the last two years was the chance to weep unreservedly with the full knowledge that I was not frightening, angering or upsetting the person who sat with me. What a rare thing---to be allowed to express without disturbing, upsetting or provoking someone else! What an amazing thing, to be helped by someone who is committed to not being too helpful and who can keep their own feelings out of the process until a bit later.

The most important thing, I think, is not to be afraid. If you can do that, and remember that there's nothing for you to fix, you'll be OK. Just witness. Stay solid. Stay present. Allow. Often, that's the best thing you can do.
sabrinamari: (Godhooks/Transformation)
I think I have two posts in me today: one is about imposing control in relationships, and the other is about colonialism. Really, they are about the same exact thing expressed at two very different levels: the harm that inevitably emerges from one entity's all-encompassing attempts to control another, whether the entities involved are individuals or nations.

I've been thinking about this a lot over the last week or so, probably because I've been making arrangements to go home and I've also been been watching and listening as friends and dear ones around me attempt to grapple with their own control issues.

There's also another reason: I always look at things through the twin lenses of agency (or lack thereof) and resilience, because (together with compassion) they make up some of the most important concerns in my life.
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sabrinamari: (Leaf on the wave)
sad. just sad.
sabrinamari: (Venus)
When I was small, things were sad in my house. My mom was an overwhelmed grad student, teaching too many classes, working way too hard and raising a small child...and then a few years later, another. My dad did his best to stay upbeat, support us all and keep everyone happy, but in truth, anger and resentment ruled our house.

It was a cold childhood, and for my brother and I, it was a sad one.

Difficult, painful and beautiful )
sabrinamari: (Inanna/Transformative work)
This article is called "When to Hold a Grudge," but I don't think that's the best way to describe the topic. I think it's actually a quick tutorial in boundary construction.

The section on "Gaslighters" is quite useful. It nicely articulates my experience with my first husband.

When To Hold A Grudge (Martha Beck)

Stood up by a friend? Let down by your sister? Thrown for a loop by a coworker? Martha Beck says the right-size grudge can shield you from just about anything.

In 1988 Bette Midler's production company released the film Beaches, a moving homage to friendship and forgiveness. It may seem a bit odd, then, that the Divine Miss M.'s corporate motto was "We hold a grudge." Can love, forgiveness, and holding grudges really go together? Yes, they can—depending on how you define grudge.

Some people will hold a bitter grudge against anyone who looks at them cross-eyed. "Suzy made a 'dumb blonde' joke," a friend fumes. "Well, I'm blonde. As far as she knows. That's it, Suzy is dead to me!"

This is like donning full-on plate armor in response to a playful slap: With anger so heavy and disproportionate, you may end up collapsed on the battlefield wearing an outfit the size, weight, and consistency of a Toyota Yaris. If you're in a constant mouth-foaming rage at someone, get away and get a shrink. But if you simply find your mood dipping whenever you encounter a certain person, I suggest holding a grudge.

A good grudge is simply an acknowledgment of another person's foibles—it keeps you at a safe emotional distance from people who could mess up your life. Depending on the person, you might hold a grudge as light as a parasol or as solid as a titanium shield. Here, in order of severity, are descriptions of people who deserve to be held at bay:

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sabrinamari: (La Virgen)
Today I met with two women who work in one of the clinics I frequented ten years ago. They had much to tell me.

During my dissertation research in the late 1990s, I followed a small group of HIV+ Puerto Rican women as they went about their daily lives. I was trying to understand how they managed to stay alive with so few resources and so many burdens. All were poor, all had children (and often men) to care for, and none had private insurance.

The answers to my question eventually became a book, but over the years I "lost" some of the friends who taught me so much. Now, ten years later, I'm holding my breath as I ask who is still alive.

The two kind women who sat with me today told me that Gabrielle (not her real name) is still here. She is living near her family, but struggling with dementia. One of the ladies said that Gabrielle sometimes wonders why she is still alive. "God must have some purpose for me," she says. Gabrielle and I were close, and I have often wondered where she was and what happened to her. Now, I may have the chance to see her again.

But Cristina (also a pseudonym) died a few years after I finished my research. Her story is not so happy. When I met her, Cristina had few friends nearby, and no relationships of trust with the clinicians who gave her care. As the only woman in a household of four, she did all the cooking, cleaning and work of daily life herself. When she was sick, the work went undone. Without family, friends or trusted allies, she was on her own.

When we last spoke, her brother had just moved in with her after being released from prison. Almost immediately, he returned to using drugs. She feared his influence on her son but could not throw him out---where would he go? She told me that she was stressed out and worried about staying sober herself, with so many pressures and so little help.

Cristina said she didn't think she had many years left to live.

I am sad that she was right.

Rest in peace, Cristina. I remember you, and I know you were brave and true.
sabrinamari: (La Virgen)
OK, I just had to give an opinion, and it's a little different from the popular one.

I did watch the clip, although I really hate reality shows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-KiGva9dV4

And it's true that the audience behaved badly, and the judges were cruel, and yes, the first part of the video showcased the audience's ugliness.

But there were other things in that video, too. Susan didn't just show them all. She brought a moment of transcendence and understanding to a group of people stuck in a terrible, bad place: a stunted place, an ugly place.

She brought healing, and understanding, for just a moment. And many have pointed out that this one moment will probably be insufficient to change who people are. There will still be meanness. There will still be cruelty.

But how do people change, except through many moments of understanding and transcendence strung together? How else can transformation happen?

It is easy, and even comforting, to express your anger at the people who treated Susan so badly. And it's good to speak your truth.

But let me ask you honestly...

Who among you has never been so cruel?

I have. I have been desperately, heart-wrenchingly, horribly cruel.

I have.

When I was small I remember standing in a ring with other children, taunting a poor little soul, sad and bereft, standing alone in the middle. We tormented her with the chant," You're mother's ugly! Your mother's ugly!"

And I remember with perfect clarity her face collapse, and her quiet, shaky voice say, "I know she's ugly."

I remember what I did and I will never, never forget it.

That moment has been a huge part of shaping who I am. That little girl was my teacher and my mentor, and at the age of 5 or 6, she set me on the path to becoming a minister and a Priestess at great personal cost. Partly because of her, I am a person trying every day to learn true compassion.

Have mercy, too, on the cruel. They are all of us.
sabrinamari: (Default)
My lovely and eccentric cat Luna, now almost 17 years old, died a few hours ago. Her kidneys failed and her body shut down. Luna's co-mother, Willow ([livejournal.com profile] huzzahuzzah), was with her and took very good care of her right to the end. I decided to euthanize her after the vet gave us the news: flushing her kidneys might give her a few more weeks, but because things were so bad, they might not. Even if Luna responded, she would be dying very soon.

I decided there would be no invasive interventions, no fearful waiting or overnight stays alone at the vet's office and no more terrifying trips there. I don't think Luna would have liked the procedures required to give her the possibility of those few more weeks at all.

Willow held her until the sedative put her to sleep, and then the vet administered the overdose. Willow petted her while it was administered.

Willow explained that Luna slipped away so quickly that she didn't even have time to pick her up again.

I am more grateful than I can say for Luna's fast, easy death. Thank you, Willow, for taking care of my girl and making her passing as peaceful and easy as possible.
sabrinamari: (Default)
I started using my SAD light again in the evening again a week and a half ago. This has helped immensely. Things are looking up a bit.

Read more... )
sabrinamari: (Default)
http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/uganda601/uganda-601.html?c=3qt

...a link to a 15 minute report on microlending. I got it off of the kiva.org website, along with this:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6668527

...a link to an NPR story about it, and how younger people are starting to engage in it as their way to be philanthropic.

Kiva.org is becoming something I do to feel better when I'm sad. It works. If you have $25 and need a lift, think about this as an option. It works as well as most retail therapy and it has real lasting value that you can see over time. When you lend, you get blog updates about the people you chose to help. It's cool. You can even give gift certificates so thet your friends can become international financiers, as wylddelirium pointed out.
sabrinamari: (Default)
For those who could not be there but wished that they had been: the full text of Geo's memorial service is beneath the cut.

EDIT: Thanks to Jen ([livejournal.com profile] jeneralist), I have added the lyrics to BREATHS and a link to an mp3 of the song at the end of this text.

Read more... )
sabrinamari: (Default)
Geo's memorial was good. What I liked best about it was that it had the touch of many minds and hearts on it. Different sections were drawn from the LJ tributes of people who loved him, Geo's favorite songs, Cat's ideas, a book Rill found, a book Cat provided me, Michael's outline of how memorial services usually go across religious trads, and on and on.

Michael made the most amazing prayer cards I have ever seen: they had almost a full-length photo of Geo on one side and a blue septegram on the reverse, along with his name and the first stanza of one of his favorite songs. I am sending a pack to Keith in Minneapolis to distribute.

Tracy, Kim, Amy and several other folks helped set up his shrine and make it both function and radiate beauty. Carmen brought a gorgeous quilt she had made to auction off for the scholarship fund. Meagan brought copious photos and created a photo board for the sign in table. Matty did a million jobs and was in six places at the same time.

Larissa helped clear and bless the space. The caterers were so wonderful that not only did they set up and clean up, they went out and bought us tissues mid-memorial when they realized we had forgotten them.

And the best part was when Judy Harrow walked through the audience with a wireless microphone stopping whenever someone raised a hand to share a memory. Boy, that was something. People shared a wide range of memories of all kinds. We laughed alot, and there was crying. So many people from so many communities Geo loved were there that I cannot even try to name them...I saw so many folk from FSG that my heart swelled with joy and pride in them, and with
gratitude that they had come. Not only did they come with love and comfort, they shared stories.

It was really, really good. Some stories were even a bit embarrassing, but people loved those, too.

Diana organized a pre-memorial dinner at the last possible minute and Mordecai set up the PA system and made/ran the music mixes Cat asked him to create for before and after.

Cat ordered food Geo would have liked alot. People ate it with gusto. Matty and Lori sang for Geo, and Liam, Judy, Lori and I read poetry and/or prayers. Mark and Paul and Mark acted as summoners and turned off cell phones that rang inappropriately, including mine ("Let the sunshine in..."). Larissa and Kate and Shannon played with Rowan and kept her company and Meagan acted as all-around support...the list goes on and on. Please forgive me if I have omitted your name...so many people contributed to that memorial that I cannot possibly list them all.

And it was good. He would have liked it, and I think we did too.
sabrinamari: (Default)
I am looking forward to Yule today. I'm going to do a bunch of self-care stuff and then go with Michael and trent. We have to leave early to pick up Michael's sister Kim who will be staying with us for 2 weeks or so. But I am really looking forward to this.

Tomorrow Michael and I will visit and prepare Geo's body and give him good things to take to the next world. Then we will pick up what we need to support the service, get Judy Harrow, who has graciously agreed to be mistress of ceremonies, and go to the memorial site.

Last night Kim and Amy told me that they were bringing offerings for a shrine for Geo. They offered to take me to Wegman's as they were driving me home and they helped me brainstorm an appropriate offering for him. I picked up some heavy cream. I will bring heavy cream and butter for his shrine.

Our community is really, really good. Even in rough times, we come through for each other in ways great and small.
sabrinamari: (Default)
I'm tired. I'm ready to go home for awhile. I want to rest.
sabrinamari: (Default)
For placement in:

'The Hunterdon Democrat' and 'The New Hope Gazette'

George Drews Marvil III, Entrepreneur and Community Builder

George Drews Marvil III, 49, of West Amwell, died at Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Hospital in Manhattan on Friday, December 15, 2006.
Born in Philadelphia in 1957 to George Drews Marvil Jr. and Genevieve
DiCicco, he lived in Whitehouse Station, NJ, Furlong, PA, Doylestown,
PA and Bryn Mawr, PA prior to settling in West Amwell. After
graduating from Perkiomen Preparatory, Mr. Marvil owned several small
businesses, including an SAT prep company and a printing/ graphic
design company; he also served as the artistic director of Interactive
Communications in Flemington, NJ. Turtle Hill Events, his most recent
project, planned and managed festivals, gatherings and special events
in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Marvil was a clergy member ordained in
the Blue Star Tradition and an active member of COG. He served as
president of the Free Spirit Alliance for two years and worked
tirelessly to nurture the multi-state organization. George Marvil was
the beloved husband of Catalina Castells and a loving father to Rowan
Lynne Marvil. Other surviving family members include Liam mac Lynne.
Relatives, friends and community members are invited to attend his
memorial service at the New Hope Eagle Fire House, 46 North Sugan Road,
New Hope, PA, 18938 on Sunday, December 17, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. In
lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Free Spirit
Alliance, P.O. Box 94, Lambertville, NJ 08530 for the scholarship fund.

EDIT and clarification: The New Hope Eagle Fire House is in New Hope, PA not New Hope, NJ.
sabrinamari: (Default)
A memorial service for George Marvil (Turtle) will be held on this Sunday, December 17th, at 6:30 pm in the New Hope Eagle Fire Hall at 46 North Sugan Road, New Hope, PA 18938.

The phone number for the New Hope Eagle Fire Hall is 215-862-2692, but you should probably call me, Matty or someone else (yet to be designated) if you need info. We'll figure out who is good at directions and designate someone to talk to you on site if you get lost getting there.

George would not want flowers, but he did love the Free Spirit college scholarship that he helped to create. If you would have sent flowers, please send a donation to the Free Spirit Alliance instead for his scholarship instead. You can send a check to:

Free Spirit Alliance
P.O. Box 94
Lambertville, NJ 08530

Please make the check out to the Free Spirit Alliance and in the memo section add "For the George Marvil Scholarship Fund".

Thank you, my dears.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Call me or text me on Geo's cell phone for the rest of today. It will be turned off soon, probably tomorrow. But for today, call me at ninezeroeight sevennineseven zerooneeightfour. I will be at Turtle Hill until this evening and will head home tonight with Geo's measure and an evergreen branch so that Michael can tuck them in with him. If anyone will be passing this way this evening and then heading out to the Scotch Plains area afterwards, please call and let me know---I may hitch a ride.
sabrinamari: (Default)
Matty has prepared an *incredibly* scented bath for Cat with Lush products (Green something bath bomb and Cerridwen's Cauldron soap) and we are all chanting, "pants, pants, put on the pants, put on the pants, put on the pants..." from Del's Pants Dance MP3.

Thank you Del for the most excellent Pants Dance.
sabrinamari: (Default)
After Geo passed last night we spent a little time at the hospital. Cat and Liam stayed with Geo a little longer to say a last good-bye and the rest of us wandered out into the ICU waiting room. A bit later, we walked to Cat's hotel, packed everything up, got in the car and Liam drove us to Turtle Hill.

There was a thick white fog covering the world, and at the end we could not see more than a few feet in front of the car. Everything felt so fragile.

There are thoughts of trying to arrange a Sunday evening memorial. We don't know for sure if that will be possible, but it is under investigation. Michael is caring for Geo today, covering his eyes with pennies, washing him, and treating his body with the tenderness it deserves.

Here at Turtle Hill, Rowan is working her healing magic and making laughter possible. As Cat says, she is the best medicine.

More news later.

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