Broken for You, by Stephanie Kallos
I’ve read this several times, drawn in by the story of this young woman, an unusual building of relationships, breaking old patterns, the role of art in healing. I’m inspired by the coming together of shattered pieces that become part of a healing mosaic.
Poetic Medicine inspired me to write poetry, taking my stuck places and opening them up through images and words. Poetic Medicine: the Healing Art of Poem-Making, by John Fox
In the early 1990’s, this book was central for my inspiration. I read it with two other women, Joan Miller and Shirley Sauder, which deepened the reading and helped me integrate new insights. I regularly go back to Estes’ chapters on creativity, the seal mother, what to do when we experience blockages…
Excerpts: The seal is one of the most beautiful of all symbols for the wild soul… Like the seal woman in the story, sometimes seals are unaware of the intentions of others, and that is when the seal skin is stolen…Most of the time this major theft creeps up on the person from their blind side…because of naivete, poor insight into the motives of others, inexperience in projecting what might happen in the future, not paying attention to all the clues in the environment, and because fate is always weaving lessons into the weft.
We lose the soulskin by becoming too involved in ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic, or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied—about self, family, community, culture, world—and not saying or doing anything about it, or by pretending we are an unending source for others, or by not doing all we can to help ourselves. Oh, there are as many ways to lose the soulskin as there are women in the world. (excerpts from pages 262-266)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barberry (the book and the movie) A story of 12 year old Paloma, the hiddenness of Renée who is the concierge of Paloma’s apartment building in Paris, and a Japanese tenant, Ozu. A best-seller in France, the book seems to have quite mixed reviews here in the U.S. I loved it, the characters, the journaling and art, the motley crew of people.
Excerpts: In the first half of life we try out many different things. We try to make the world into something we can understand. We learn rules and receive a container in which to function, we find our identity. We live out of a performance principle—wanting to live “on top”. Life is about collecting (as an extension of one’s self) and ordering and controlling values. We think we can engineer our future. We see things as either/or… This is good for the first half of life but doesn’t work in the second half of life.
In the second half of life we challenge those rules in order to go deeper. Something happens to us that isn’t “this or that.” The previous dualistic thinking doesn’t work anymore. The Torah/law of the first half of life doesn’t fit us anymore. We stumble across something (a precipitating event of pain) that opens up new freedom…It is often experiencing an overpowering event, a loss, humiliation or failure, the loss of being seen as ’good’, that leads us into the second half of life. In the second half of life we need to move away from our simplistic understandings and explanations, either/or thinking, our imperial minds where everything is categorized: this is good, this is bad, this is the pecking order…to move away from the arrogance of thinking that you have the answers. We need to leave our dualistic thinking behind.
NPR’s “On Being”
If you’re not familiar with Krista Tippet and her interviews, check it out. Here are a few I’ve loved, finding inspiration and challenge.