Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Harming, Healing, Hope

The following is a post from herbalist Aubrey Ellen Koch. I met her years ago when she was a teen and had the pleasure of making some wearable art for her. She was then and continues to be an empathetic, creative, and gifted person.

In the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, she posted the following on FaceBook and has given me permission to share it with you. Take heart! Let us all be healers, each in our own way.

“On this day and on so many days in the past few years as I watch the rising tide of acceptance for, and indulgence in, deep hatred and white supremacy I have felt hopeless. I feel small and impotent against this deluge of hate. I struggle every day with my own trauma, my own gaping wounds, my depression and the aftermath of the things that were done to me as a child. I struggle with the horror I feel as I see the unfolding of massacre after massacre of people just like me. I struggle with the ancestral memory of the members of my family who died in concentration camps. I struggle with the indelible image of a girl with my face, my body, blown up larger than life in a room at the holocaust museum.
“In the end I am not a violent fighter, and I have no power for revenge, but I pledge myself over and over as a healer to reach my hands out to all who are in pain, who are exhausted, who are fighting for themselves and their families and their community. I pledge myself to those who have been displaced and have no home, who are seeking any safe place to exist. I pledge myself to lift up as many as I can and to be the foundation for anyone who has the heart to fight. I am yours and I will support you with all that I have.”

Aubrey Ellen Koch, back

Spring, Mitochondria, & New Life

As I crawl out from under a bout of influenza A, which was made dangerous for me by my anti-rejection drugs, I contemplate genetics, and how my family has been seriously impacted by auto-immune disease. Somehow aspects of my environment triggered my immune system to go into overdrive and attack the biliary mitochondria in my liver as though attacking a foreign body. My transplant has not eliminated my body’s tendency to do this; it was not a cure. It has given me some more years if I am fortunate, and I struggle to understand what has happened to me and to adjust to my new chimeric life.

 

While spending day after day in bed recovering from the flu, I read Carl Zimmer’s book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, about the history of heredity and the impact of science upon our understanding of it. The book ended with the author pondering about gene editing of human eggs and embryos (CRISPR), which is currently in the global news as scientists struggle with the ethics and wisdom of using this powerful technology. My head is spinning with all this: I am creeped out by it, and can envision disaster resulting from gene editing, but had the gene(s) responsible for my immune system’s unwarranted attack  been successfully edited away, my transplant would have been unnecessary, and I would not have passed such genes on to my children and grandchildren. That is a heavy burden. If, if, if.

 

Although I learned about mitochondria in science class in high school, it was Madeleine L’Engle’s science/fictional account of Charles Wallace’s illness in A Wind in the Door that first reawakened my curiosity about mitochondria when my children were young. At that time I had no idea how important mitochondria would become in my life. However, it was not L’Engle’s forces of cosmic evil which messed with my mitochondria, but genetics and environment. My love of science fiction is accompanied by my life-long love of science. After all, my father taught genetics at the university level. <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wind_in_the_Door”>

 

Myth, science, science fiction, religion, folklore, myth….I love it all. It is about trying to understand our place in the cosmos and on Earth. In a confusing, fast-paced, and precarious world, Spring brings me hope. Spring = new life. Today is my donor’s 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Robb! I would not be here without your extremely generous and miraculous gift of part of your liver. I am grateful every day.

Clematis

By the door of the studio, clematis is producing many flowers after the rain. Today the sun was bright, and I could almost see the flowers opening before my eyes.

 

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The flowers look like a creature’s maw when they open.

Clematis opening

The centers are amazing!

Clematis center

 

Such beauty.

Clematis group

 

 

Happy St. David’s Day!

Daffodils, March 1, 2013

Daffodils, March 1, 2013

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Daffodil Closeup.3:1:13

Dydd gwyl Dewi Sant Hapus!

Spring Is Upon Us!

In February the snowdrops blossomed, and now the crocuses have joined them.

The bees, fuzzy with pollen, luxuriated in the blossoms.

New Life

New life in two senses today! I finally recovered from a wedding over the weekend ~ AND

today Sidney was born – on Frodo and Bilbo’s birthday! My niece Anna gave birth to her first child. To celebrate new life in both senses, I attended an O Baby consignment sale, where one of the things I bought was one of my favorite books: On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier.

“Welcome to the spinning world,” the people sang, as they washed your new, tiny hands.

“Welcome to the green Earth,” the people sang, as they wrapped your wet, slippery body.

And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear, “We are so glad you’ve come!”

Descent to the Underworld for Wisdom

The Autumn Equinox ~ Stepping into the power of the dark part of the yearly cycle.

This is the time when the dark, which has been growing, is in balance with the light. We are grateful for the Harvest, but we also know that Life is waning.

This is time of year when Persephone descends to the Underworld to access her deep wisdom and compassion in caring for the dead. It is the time of her mother Demeter’s grief and sorrow, and with her we weep for our losses.

This year, Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox, is especially meaningful for me. In the past few months I have gone through losses due to an autoimmune disease signaled by a medical emergency in May. Since then, I have not posted much, because I have been resting, regaining strength by walking, and most difficult, getting used to my new life. Some days are good, others are not so good. Until I wake in the morning, I do not know whether I’ll be incapacitated by fatigue, or whether I’ll be able to do some work or visit a friend.

Some days I feel that life is indeed waning. This Equinox I enter the underworld of chronic illness and seek whatever wisdom I am able to glean from this dark place. Certainly I am learning much about patience, loss, compassion, and stepping into my power as I deal with the medical community. The dark also feels womb-like at times, and I can even appreciate how this hermit-life may suit me. This is a perfect time of year for introspection, for seeking wisdom.

Will you be descending to the underworld this Autumn?