White Owl: a poetic song of thresholds

DSC_0090

I sit here in northern New Mexico, while standing on the lip of the end of the month of April, experiencing with you this month’s poetry of the human story, both tragic and triumphant. I reflect on these things while in this great land of red clay and shadow because I, myself have just crossed a threshold. The two year journey of my formal spiritual director’s training has come to an end, and I find myself joined into the larger journey of providing rich opportunities for the safe and the sacred- lovingly held spaces for people to mine the gems of their own souls. The threshold of new vocation or pathway is also a sacred “rite of passage”.  I’d like to share with you a portion of the lyrics from a Josh Garrells song, entitled “White Owl.” It is a song (and a poem) that has became dear to me as I have gingerly tiptoed across the many changes occurring presently in my own life.  Enjoy and dip into the imagination of the colors of this song and your own current threshold; “take the flame tonight.” For an even richer experience, check out the video as well:

White Owl
When the night comes,
and you don’t know which way to go
Through the shadowlands,
and forgotten paths,
you will find a road

Like an owl you must fly by moonlight with an open eye,
And use your instinct as a guide, to navigate the ways that lay before you,
You were born to, take the greatest flight

Like a serpent and a dove, you will have wisdom born of love
To carry visions from above into the places no man dares to follow
Every hollow in the dark of night
Waiting for the light
Take the flame tonight

Child the time has come for you to go
You will never be alone
Every dream that you have been shown
Will be like living stone
Building you into a home
A shelter from the storm

Like a messenger of peace, the beauty waits be released
Upon the sacred path you keep, leading deeper into the unveiling
As your sailing, across the great divide . . .

Be wrapped in the warmth of love and peace . . . .

First rite of passage: reflecting your own journey – “Turn Around”

400784_2685797898044_1049298351_2764987_262665904_n

Me, age 6.

One of the tunes I chose to share at my daughter’s first rite of passage was a real tear-jerker. I didn’t choose it for that reason. It was a song recorded by Nanci Griffith that happened to pluck at my heartstrings just at that moment, resonating with the internal music of my daughter’s coming of age. The song was “Turn Around” and I’ve included the lyrics further below.

Sometimes you need to make room for the rite of passage (your own) within the rite of passage (your child’s). Don’t negate your own feelings during this time of change. Honor them as well. As your daughter, or son, is crossing a threshold, so are you. Your shining bridge is a parallel one to theirs- equally important, equally paved with bitter and sweet. Take the time to take the time. Savor the flavors of this journey for yourself. “Turn around” for just a moment.

“Turn Around”- composed by Harry Belafonte, Alan Greene and Malvina Reynolds

Where are you goin’ my little one, little one? Where are you goin’ my baby, my own?

Turn around and you’re two

Turn around and you’re four

Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of the door

Turn around, turn around, turn around and you’re a young girl going out of the door

Where are you goin’ my little one, little one? Little dirndles and petticoats, where have you gone?

Turn around and you’re tiny

Turn around and you’re grown

Turn around and you’re a young wife with babes of your own . . .

Kind of old fashioned lyrics, I know, but it spoke to some ancient mothering place inside of me . . . perhaps to you as well.

DSC_0246

Me, reflecting, age 47.

First rite of passage: a celebration is in order!

DSC_0107

moving and grooving to the likes of Celia Cruz

DSC_0129

Ginny and I celebrating to Squirrel Nut Zippers

DSC_0110

Could this be a reprisal sing-along to Dar Williams’ “As Cool As I Am”?

“Everything is created from moment to moment, always new. Like fireworks, this universe is a celebration and you are the spectator contemplating the eternal Fourth of July of your absolute splendor.” – Francis Lucille

Nice. What a good quote. It feels magical and momentous, just like a good celebration. The culmination of a rite of passage with one 14 year old girl, and 9 committed, experience-laden, long-distance-driving women had to end with an all-out doozy of a fireworks show, not literally, of course.

I tailored the celebration to what I had (let’s see, some blue and red tissue paper, some pre-used paper luminarias, twinkly lights, and who was coming: “Karmyn, could you lead us in some riotous celebratory dancing?”) and we were off! Gyrating to the Gypsy Kings, holding hands to the Tarantella, and stepping the steps of the hava nagila. Then as a culmination, we rocked out and Irish danced to a collection of Ginny’s favorites that I had put together on a c.d..

We ate, danced, and made merry. The room of celebration (which took place in my backyard) was fully regaled with women feeling the fullness of life and community. And a girl, as they danced in her honor, looked on with amazement and wonder.

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” – Ray Bradbury

 

Rite of passage licorice pizza (oh, yeah, records!): what were you spinning at 14?

Ginny rite of passage 047

All right, all you readers, followers, and passers-by on Shining Bridges! This is your chance to share your most memorable song at age 13, 14, or 15! We’d love to hear it! Think back to those days in junior high or high school. What song made your heart beat a little faster, tickled your adolescent fancy, or felt like whenever it came on the radio, or played on your turntable or cd player it was “your song”. If you know a few of the lyrics, post those as well. I’m sure it will give some of us a knowing smile. And I’d love an explanation of what this song meant to you . . . (what fun this could be hearing from folks at home and friends from other parts of the world . . . and genders . . . yes, guys! We’d love to hear from you, too!)

And, if you’d like, include a song you know now that you would have loved to have heard at that age; perhaps it would have encouraged, motivated, or given you a new perspective on things- shifted your internal paradigm a bit and made it a bit shinier!

Bring it on! Let the sharing (and the music) begin!!

First rite of passage special post: a little musical foray

IMG_0073

photo courtesy of Ginny Schneider

That first conclave of quilts and women draped around my living room did not invoke a cool deep dip in the pools of contemplation. It brought on a raucous, riotous sharing of a variety of music ranging from artists like the Indigo Girls to Marlo Thomas (yes, Marlo Thomas; do you remember the album “Free to Be You and Me”?). As I mentioned in the previous post, women could choose songs that piqued their teenage interest at age 13, 14, or 15, and/or they could choose songs that speak to them today- those tunes that would have been an important voice in their adolescent lives, if they could’ve had access to them back then.

A smattering of the offerings that first rite of passage day included songs like “Let It Be Me” by the Indigo girls (if the world is ni-ight, shine my life like a light, great song, hold up your cell phones or lighters and sway, please!), “Trouble Me” by 10,000 Maniacs (there’s more, honestly, than my sweet friend, you can see. Trust is what I’m offering if you trouble me . . .), and “As Cool As I Am” by Dar Williams (I will not be afraid of women . . . I will not be . . . afraid of women, great song with a powerful message, trust me).

Some lyrics were light-hearted, others, serious or powerful. But Ginny, getting to experience the rich explanations and stories behind these choices (after the optional sing-along portion of the program), allowed her a picture-window into the lives of these mentor-women at a time in their lives much like hers. I remember looking at Ginny’s face, noticing moments of comfort, recognition, and uncontainable glee as she watched these valued women chanting their teenage stories, no holds barred, through the vehicle of music.

And now, looking ahead to  my next post . . .  hmmmm . . . I wonder what songs were burbling in your teenage brain back in the day? . . . .  more to follow.

First rite of passage: music! music! music!

DSC_0005

Maril reading the lyrics to an important song from her teen years.

I first came up with the idea when I thought back to those days in junior high school, and asked myself, “what was I listening to back then?” And then the follow up question, “what do I wish I would have heard back then?”

After pondering those two questions and reliving the experiences related to the answers, I realized that collecting important music in people’s lives helps share the hopes and struggles of a moment in time. I wanted the exploring of music as personal time capsule to be a learning place for Ginny on others’ timelines. This desire eventually became a solid piece in the puzzle of creating a memorable rite of passage for my daughter.

Most of us, I believe, have connected with music at particular times in our lives, and some of  us, at almost every moment of our lives. Maybe it was the lyrics: “day after day it reappears, night after night, my heartbeat shows the fear, ghosts appear and fade away . . . (Overkill by Men At Work)” or it could have been the overall message: “love is like oxygen, you get too much, you get too high, not enough and you’re going to die . . . . (Love is Like Oxygen by Sweet).” Regardless, music often had an impact and became a touchstone for a certain transition in our lives, good or bad.

So I invited the women of this first rite of passage to dig into their memories, and pull out songs that had an impact on their lives during their 14th year, or thereabouts. When the songs of both tragedy and triumph were busted out at the event (yes, even “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music), there was much laughter, and a few tears, as well as some robust singing along as one of the women d.j.ed the compilation c.d (later given out to guests), as it played out parts of our earlier selves.

We still play that collection six years later, sometimes dancing without reserve and singing with complete abandon into our plastic soup ladles.

DSC_0031

Ginny, listening to the women with glee and wonder.