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I followed a river … west

August 14, 2013

I’m currently in New Mexico, attending a retreat for women writers, so only one part of me is welcome. This morning there was a presentation on “Embracing the Feminine” by a woman older than me. Lots of goddess imagery, most of which was apparently unfamiliar to much of the audience. 10 years ago, I would’ve been thrilled. But these days I’m post-Pagan. I don’t need to dislodge the patriarchy so much as embrace all sides of me.

I’m part of a small group that is creating goddess figures out of a riverbed’s clay. I created . . . a primordial egg.

I have outed myself as a mystic to 1 individual, and my small group, but I kept quiet about my fluid gender identity.


To me, my spiritual progress feels painfully slow — I’m 47, and I’m only now reaching the mesa of deeply communing with my habitat(s). Geez, what’s been taking me so long?!?

I might say I feel far ahead of where the older women in my group are on their own spiritual paths, but I don’t think we are walking the same path, or even similar paths.


My new name announces what I value, and many people have asked about it, but only a few “got” it.

At lunch today, someone asked me what my “real” name had been. To her, “given” names are Real. (I refused to share that former name.) Then, after I’d explained in some detail (in answer to a question) my journey to changing first a last name, then a first, this same person asserted that “changing one’s name was always traumatic.” Um, no. Obviously it was for her; choosing my own names continues to free and nourish me.


This trip feels like destiny . . . and I don’t believe in destiny.

The land knows me. I understand my selves better here.


I dimly sense where the river might take me.


I’ve written 2 poeia seeds. I’ve connected with 4 interesting people (not counting the friend I stayed with in Socorro last week).


I’m growing so fast I can practically see and hear it happening.


I’m learning how to be myself, without camouflage or subterfuge, when that’s never what anyone else expects. (Or, mostly, wants to be around.)

(The 3 people I sat with at dinner . . . 2 never even looked at me. But I couldn’t have participated in their conversation about children left at home, or close-knit extended families, anyway.)


I brought a bit of Maryland with me to New Mexico (not just metaphorically, but literally as well — seeds, leaves, flowers, feathers, rocks — for a collaborative art project later this week) . . . but New Mexico has knit itself into my bones. It flows within my blood. Our shared past mingles oddly with the present, here.

Perhaps I’ve become a strange sort of hybrid creature — not wholly salamander nor whiptail, mahogany nor maple, arroyo nor estuary.


I followed a river . . .

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