Medicine

Jpeg

Jpeg

Medicine for Surgery:

 

Mindful view of glass-paned greenscape, incoming-

the gloss and black-masked glaze of a cedar waxwing,

floating onto a branch from the larger greyworld.

 

Rose honey- in a jar- “good for the heart” my visiting

alchemist said, “scientifically, not just metaphorically”,

the antiquing beige petals floating in a sweetness sea.

 

Words, words, words, words. Flowing through the

portals of Facebook and phone call- friendly chatter

cresting in a light crescendo of levitation, laughter.

 

Small, simple grace of an extra helping of sleep amid

cries from the deeper wound seeking to heal Itself

through pains of a red inner world unseen.

 

Music- Melody. Blood-red beets on a salad of flowers.

Appearances on the stages of dreams. Colors in my fingers

foraging forms from cuttings, crumbs of origami scraps.

 

Breathing. Baring. Bearing. Being

here now.

– Gina Marie Mammano

Advertisements

The Eternal Gift Shop

DSC_0108

The very first episode of my very first self-hosted radio show aired last week. The show is on Whidbey Air and is called “Ear Candy (a piece of sound candy for your mind to suck on)” and the episode was called “The Eternal Gift Shop”. The scripting went something like this, and is purposely in sync with the season:

Welcome to the The Eternal Gift Shop.

What’s in this ethereal souvenir booth for tourists and wayfarers like you and me? Postcards from the edge”? Trinkets wrapped in soulful paper? Things that jingle, dangle, tinkle from the inside out? Surprises?

In childhood, there’s an expectation, an ideal; there’s magic to gifts- it’s that thing you’ve always wanted sparkling in your mind’s eye, rattling lifelike in the toy store of your imagination. . . and sometimes it’s that thing you’ve never ever wanted or never even thought of before, but it appears to you, as a gift from the world’s lost and found, something like Phil Harris found in his song “The Thing” (I’d recommend looking up the lyrics, it’s quite funny, and crescendos with ‘get outta here with that boom boom boom before I call the cops!’ A “gift” with some unpleasant twists for sure).

When it’s our turn to be the giver of gifts, we get to turn the twist around; we get to surprise others and hope their eyes will shine. Even if the gift is not worthy of what the receiver should receive, there is something so shiny and shimmery about the act of giving itself, the gift . . . of giving. I heard someone once say, “it only lives when you give it away,” (Bruce Cockburn).

Some gifts can truly surprise us, not wrapped in silver or slathered in pink frosting, but by themselves, naked, without paper or ribbons, sitting quietly under our feet or scented subtly under our noses; they are legacies, remnants of love from the people who love us; they are acts of service, acts of kindness.

Gifts can also be treasures disguised as hidden pennies at the root of a sycamore tree or the outlines of birds costumed as the outlines of our souls taken into pure magical flight. Mary Oliver once said in her poem, “The Uses of Sorrow”, that “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

They come in so many shapes and sizes, don’t they?

What gift will you unwrap in the darkness or in the starlight or in the splendor of broad day?

What will you take away from the Eternal Gift Shop?

Thank you for “listening”.

A New Year Heavy with Desire

IMG_0325

As I cross the threshold into 2014, I don’t want to heave across my shoulders a backpack full of resolutions, but a backpack heavy with desire. Let me explain. Resolutions, even good ones, like eating healthier, volunteering more, spending quality time with important people in our lives are just that: resolutions. “I resolve to do this!” But, in reality, I can resolve and resolve, but inevitably, as I learned this year, there are many things out of my control. I have quietly, in essence, resolved to fail in the things that wash unasked for and ephemerally out of my hands.

But desire is another thing. If my backpack is heavy with desire, it blushes with the things I truly want to accomplish, experience, and enjoy-  oozes with it even. And often it is double-heaped with twin deeper desires. For example, “I desire to write a memoir this year” becomes (deeper desire), “so that I can bring a little bit more healing into the world by giving hope through my own experiences.” Or, “I desire to eat healthier” becomes “I desire to learn more about my body and become a better caretaker of it so I can live my life more fully.” Working with the contents of your load can ripen the fruits you hold within.

So I’ve resolved this year (o.k., not resolved, but desired) to heap my bag full of desires. Which, I know from past experience, if not completely fulfilled, will often wonderfully transform into stepping stones, pathways, and bridges into broader envisionings of that initial heaviness- and become so sweet, so full-flavored, and eventually, so deeply satisfying.

Second Rite of Passage: This One’s for the Girls!

IMG_0217

Now, you can’t leave a kid with only tunes from troubled teen-hood, can you? You’ve got to bring her up to date with your current “poems, prayers, and promises” (well, in a manner of speaking).

The next activity up for sharing was “a desired anthem”- the song we wish we could have heard in our late teens. As we shared our picks, we realized we were not only singing them to Ginny, but also to ourselves. It was salve to the heart . . . . Here’s a few tidbits from a few songs. Imagine getting to hear these lyrics sung to you as a young woman:

“Her face is a map of the world, is a map of the world. And you can see she’s a beautiful girl, she’s a beautiful girl. And everything around her is a silver pool of light. The people who surround her feel the benefit of it. It makes you calm. She holds you captivated in her palm. Suddenly I see, this is what I want to be . . .” from Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall.

“In the easy silence that you make for me, it’s okay when there’s nothing more to say to me, and the peaceful quiet you create for me, and the way you keep the world at bay for me . . . the way you keep the world at bay . . .” from Easy Silence by the Dixie Chicks.

“So sit down and write that letter, sign up and join the fight, sink in to all that matters, step out into the light . . . so many years from now long after we are gone these trees will spread their branches out and bless the dawn . . .” from Planting Trees by Andrew Peterson.

“Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are, and I want to add to the beauty to tell a better story; I want to shine with the light that’s burning up inside . . .” from Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves.

“This one’s for the girls who’ve ever had a broken heart who’ve wished upon a shooting star; you’re beautiful the way you are; this one’s for the girls who love without holding back, who dream with everything they have all around the world; this one’s for the girls,

yeah, this one’s for the girls . . .” from This One’s for the Girls by Martina McBride.

You get the picture . . . . what song would you have wanted to hear at age 18?

First rite of passage: the language of symbols

DSC_0030

Japanese “Girl Day” doll balancing the buckets of life.

I found her on Ebay and she was absolutely beautiful. A Japanese “Girl’s Day” doll, bearing the face of a sweet child while hefting two watery buckets. She looked like a silken interpretation of the scales of justice. The doll was managing both youth and adulthood as well as balancing both beauty and hard work, all on her kimono-graced shoulders.

That’s her. I thought. That doll is my daughter at 14. Young. Determined. And yet, trying to figure out her life still blushing with the pink hues of childhood. I knew that when choosing this special gift, it painted a picture, created a symbol, of where she might be right now in her life. I also kept in mind when looking for that special something, her great admiration for all things Japanese. I knew this would be a winner.

On the day of the rite of passage event, along with the girl doll, there were also other symbols that gestured toward my daughter’s own uniqueness and the theme of “coming of age”: a collection of beads to string together “the stars and moons” of her life, a candle moving from room to room to gently reminding us all of the ongoing presence of light in our lives, and a swath of diaphanous fabrics draping around shelves and furniture, subtley nudging us toward thoughts of mystery.

A well-given, or well-placed symbol is a thing of beauty. It does not demand explanation, but when given, it brings rich layers of meaning into its form, shape, presence. The small acts of placing thoughtful gifts of your own awareness into the path of others, are offerings that are deep and lasting.

DSC_0035

Beads to string the “moon and stars” of your life.

First rite of passage: unwrapping the gifts of mentorship

DSC_0082

Sharon and Ginny amused with a question in the “room of blessing”.

I wholeheartedly believe that in the world of those who live and those who learn, every person has something to offer. There are value-laden opportunities in almost every conversation and around nearly every corner. Mentoring isn’t just about sitting under the bodhi tree of wisdom, it’s also about sharing vulnerable stories about adolescent crushes, demonstrating how to replace a chain on a bicycle, or teaching a kid to cook broccoli. According to dictionary.com, a mentor is really just a “wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” Someone who has something to contribute. Someone worthy of trust in a given area, whether it’s quilting or quantum physics.

So in the spirit of mentorship, in preparation for this first rite of passage, I had an assignment for each participant: fill a 4 x 2 inch wooden thrift store Chinese herb drawer with as much wisdom as you can. You can do it with objects, pictures, symbols, words, trinkets, whatever you want, but just make sure each item represents to you something of value to teach Ginny about womanhood.

Simple. Anyone could fill a 4 inch box. Simple, but ultimately, extremely profound. Only each individual could fill a 4 inch box with themselves- the wisdom, insight, enlightenment, and creativity that comes from that singly unique soul. Every stone explained, every word expanded upon, every trinket from today or time past would open up Ginny’s world into the wisdom and inspiration of one soul’s walk on the edges and main thoroughfares of womanhood and humanity. And in doing that, I knew that mentorship could be contained within the perimeter of the palm of a hand, but also leave indelible lifelines.

DSC_0010

the simple, but incredible magical, Chinese herb chest