All Bodies, All Souls

IMG_0228

photo by Ginny Schneider

“The Body Is A Fragile Thing” is the name of a poem written by Judith Deem Dupree. It’s title and opening line has stuck with me now for two and a half decades. It rings true because the body is fragile, and yet, fiercely strong, strangely tolerant, and puzzlingly persevering. This week I faced both a potentially fatal infection in my daughter’s leg, and a potentially fatal surgery on my sister’s liver. Two scenarios. Two different hospitals.Two bodies. Three (thankfully) resilient souls (including mine).

I am always astonished at how the marriage of body and soul creates vows that are so secretive, yet so powerful. My daughter’s vows must have included, “I promise to trust you, stay with you, and relax into the possibility of a cure as long as it takes.” My sister’s might have been: “I will love you and fight for you until the day I die!” Both great vows for sure.

I wrote a poem a year or so back entitled, “The Marriage of Body and Soul” that included my own set of vows. It started like this:

“Do you, elbowed and ankled form take this soul to be your lawfully wedded wife?

I do.

Do you, sobbing, smiling, sentient, seeker take this body to be your patient earthly partner?

I do.

Do you promise to embrace her flesh in the full times, the fat times, the thin times, and in the ever-fluctuating ever-fascinating in-between?

I do.”

So, I guess my question for you today, my question for all of us, is, during this season of “all souls” and “all bodies”, do you  and will you always say, “I do”?

A welcome and a warm hello

a cup of tea in the room of stories

a cup of tea in the room of stories

My girl was turning 14. I looked up “rite of passage for women” online and got various stories of female circumcision and menstruation rites. With my nose crinkled, and the bottom falling out of my parental heart cavity, I knew I wanted something different than these options- something beautiful, something meaningful, something indelible. Shouldn’t every child have the chance to go through puberty with a bridge intact and shining adults holding hands on either side of it singing them into adulthood? Yes, my heart pumped, every child should.

Shining adults. I knew so many. My mom was one, kneeling at the side of my bed since childhood, ushering me into the world of spirit, praying in the darkness, while my eyes swirled in my head searching for connection to the otherworld. My good friend, Tricia was another. A pillar in my daughter’s life since birth. The one woman who took a stand to fight for dignity and freedom in my life when dignity and freedom were not a part of our family structure. My friend, Sharon would be another. Solid soul of commitment and questions. A beauty forging through the dusty paths of difficulty with at times, murky direction.  Nancy could be a third. Artist extraordinaire.  A sculptor from scraps. Her craft boasting both a method and a life lesson.

The list was filling out. But so many could have fit the bill: Karmyn, Maril, Valerie . . . . Each possible person could have filled it with a contribution, a purpose, a message, a gift they bring to this life. If it weren’t sculpting or praying or rescuing, it would be letter-writing or storytelling, or quilt-making. Each person has a part to play on the shining bridge . . .

which is why I’m choosing to write this blog.

I hope to::

  • explore the rich possibilities of rites of passage for girls
  • share life affirming examples from close at home and far way
  • provide a meeting place for ideas and encouragement in creating your own original celebrations

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’m glad you’re here! I treasure every comment and look forward to responding to each one. See you on the shining bridge!