Following the violet light from the wound

Hello dear friend,

At this dark moon night, I’ve finished my painting and my writing to go with it, and wanted to share it with you.  Thank you so for witnessing me.  I feel your kind thoughts, and always appreciate your comments.

Much love,

Cat

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(c)2016, Cat Charissage.  Acrylic on canvas

Following the violet light from the wound

The topic wasn’t grabbing me.

I’d gathered with other women one afternoon to paint on the topic of “Fearlessness!”

Wasn’t grabbing me.

Then . . . I listened to the niggly thoughts and barely felt awareness

that had spread like miasma through my days:

“Maybe it doesn’t matter, any of it.

Maybe I really don’t have anything of real value to offer or teach.

Besides, why would anyone want to hear it anyway from an achy old woman  who never lived up to her potential to do anything important?”  

(Okay, okay, I know I’m not THAT old.  But it’s only a matter of time, you know . . .)

“Maybe there’s nothing to learn, nothing to offer from a life of low level unrelenting struggle — psychological woundings, vicarious trauma, chronic pain.”

Well, anytime fear comes round, I’ve found that shame isn’t too far behind.  

“After all, things must be  somebody’s fault, right?”  (Wrong, but. . . )

And it’s most convenient and least societally disruptive to blame myself;

“I’m courageous, I can take the truth,” says the martyr within.

In my life self-blame has been so effectively fueled by the underside of

empowerment strategies,

new age healing commandments, and

just enough societal privilege to make me think I’m in control of my life.  

Self-blame fueled by half-truths, quarter-truths, and outright lies.

By this time I didn’t want to paint anything.  

I didn’t want to do anything

except maybe get a Dairy Queen Blizzard

to freeze out this afternoon that wasn’t going anywhere fast.

I picked up the paintbrush anyway. (“Whatever. . . “)

I painted a portal through which something fearless could emerge.  (“Yeah, right.”)

Around the portal I painted my life, my specific conditions of existence.  

I painted my church, my family, suburbia — the quicksand that had almost drowned me.

I painted my searching for wisdom, my openings to a larger world,

my finding love and colleagues broken and complex in a broken and complex world.

I painted my second adult life, dis-ease and disease,

my circles, my art, my Golden Cup.

I painted space for surprises, too.  

Then two women emerged.  

One, me, wondering.

The other. . . I don’t know.

Just there; I’m not alone.

And the wound . . . broken heart broken open giving heart.

The woman wondered,

and listened,

and saw by the light from the wound.

Encouragement — to give heart

Freeing what can be freed

Soothing what can be healed, with truth.

Forsooth!

 

The methodology of making lemonade:

What can be added to the lemons, the always sour lemons,

to bring refreshment,

and joy,

to quench thirst?

Oh, we are so thirsty!

What sweetness is needed?

Beauty, kindness, truth, compassion.

What if?

What if what’s already been done, what is now being done,

is enough, is plenty?

What if THIS changes lives:

beauty, kindness, truth, compassion?

Beauty, kindness, truth, compassion.

What if

THIS

is fearless?

Previews of some coming attractions

Yetzirah

(c) 2015 Cat Charissage

Dear Friend,

I’m in the process of learning how to extend my reach further than my geographical locale here in Southern Alberta, looking specifically at conducting individual sessions by video call.  While that is in process, I wanted to share SOME of my plans for the coming academic year.

In addition to individual sessions, ,my most transformative offerings have been the Story Circles I’ve facilitated here in my home studio. These are one evening a month, for 10 months September through June.  After much pondering and reflection, I’ve decided to offer 3 different Circles this year, plus a monthly Open Studio for art activities.    I would be honored if you could join me in one or more of them.
The Sheltering Soul Story Circle will be reading selected chapters from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves, the best-selling book of stories of the recovery of the wild woman archetype.  Dr. Estes has been my teacher and mentor for the past 6 summers, and her book has brought depth, spirit, and treasure to those of us who have sat with the stories and commentaries, and then laid down our own lives alongside those archetypal stories of the initiations, challenges, and transitions in a woman’s life.  It’s a map of  how to live a healthy, soulful life, and how to recover health and soul when these have seemed to be lost.
The Untie the Strong Woman Circle will be reading selected chapters from Dr. Estes’ other major work, Untie the Strong Woman:  Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul.  These are more personal stories from Dr. E’s life, stories of the challenges and gifts of responding to the call to love, fully and unconditionally, and the transformations in our and others’ lives when we can heed this call.  Most importantly, it is filled with stories of how this Love is always, always available to us.  We will be discussing how our own lives have challenged us in similar ways, and how we have come to know the archetypes of Holy Mother and Limitless Love through our own life’s journeys.
The third year-long offering is Nighttime Wanderings:  Wonderings about Dreams.  As many of you know, I have been recording my dreams for over thirty years, and studying dreams and their possible meanings and influences in our lives for as many years.  With further training in analyzing dreams, I’m excited to facilitate a group in which we will learn more about these nighttime journeys and have the opportunity to explore our own dreams with the help of the others in the group.  You don’t have to be a regular recorder of your dreams in order to participate; in fact, you can participate even if you don’t yet remember your dreams.  The book we will use as resource is Jeremy Taylor’s Where People Fly and Water Flows Uphill:  Using Dreams to Tap the Wisdom of the Unconscious.
Each of these circles will meet from 7 – 9:30 on one specified Wednesday night per month.  I have not yet decided which group will meet on the first Wednesday, which on the third, and which on the last Wednesday of each month.   The format is that after a brief check in, I offer writing prompts and a few minutes for each of us to write in our journals in response.   The prompts give each of us a chance to take in the stories on a deeper basis and allow us to examine its impact for ourselves.  Then we go around the circle and each participant has a chance to read some or all of what we’ve written, or to otherwise comment on the question.  Sometimes very fascinating discussions take place, and in any case, it’s never been boring!
These groups are offered on a “By Donation” or “Pay what you can” basis — I will have my little “Abundance Box” present at our meetings.  The whole issue of charging for this work is very fraught for me, as it truly turns out that many of the women I am most inspired to work with are not usually bringing in big salaries, and neither do most have lots of discretionary income.  I am deeply committed to making this work available for those who desire and are willing to actually do the work.    Yet at the same time, I, too, need income and/or an energy exchange that recognizes the amount and value of the work I offer.  This is not a hobby for me:  it is my life’s work, and I’ve prepared for this work with all the energy, time, and resources I’ve had.
So my policy is to offer some programs and individual sessions that I do charge for, and I’ll be sending out the brochure of those workshops in early September.  Then other offerings, such as these Story Circles, are by donation.  Please don’t let lack of funds stop you from participating in the groups  —  when you “win the lottery” or get that huge inheritance we’d all like to be waiting for, consider sharing the wealth then!  Yet also don’t minimize the power of a dollar or a few to pay for expenses like tea, photocopies, and the help to keep the bathroom clean and the walks shoveled!  Conversely, if your situation is fairly comfortable,  please consider donating the amount you’d spend on a comparable course or activity.
The first meetings of these groups in September are for all participants to check things out and see if it’s a fit for you.  For those who decide to continue, because of the cumulative positive impact of these Story Circles, I am asking for a commitment to make every good effort to attend all the meetings during the year.  Of course I totally understand that life intrudes, people get sick, and the unexpected does happen, and you may not be able to make each meeting — I’m simply asking that you take this endeavor seriously and make it a priority if it’s a fit for you to be here.
And finally, on the afternoon of the last Saturday of the month, I am offering OPEN STUDIO, a time to join myself and others in different art activities.   All supplies are provided, and I clean up the mess!  I will have the topics for each month listed in my brochure coming in September.  These afternoons are “By Donation”.
If any or all of these Story Circles are calling to you, please let me know of your interest.  Seating is very limited (a maximum of 7).  Check out the books and their reviews on amazon.ca, or feel free to ask me more questions.  To find out more about my background, education and training, please check the “About” page of my (in construction) website, www.catcharissage.com.  And please pass this on to any of your friends or colleagues who you think would be interested.
Looking forward to laughter and deep conversation,
With much love,
Cat

The Soul’s Lost and Found

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The Soul’s Lost and Found
—Cat Charissage, July 2016

“Mommy, I found you!!!
“I lost you!
“I looked there,
and there,
and there — but I couldn’t find you!
“I lost you!”
My son, at two, was just learning to talk.
Those were some of his first sentences.
I never took him back to daycare, and he hasn’t lost me since.

I, too, know what it is to look
there,
and there,
and there,
for someone.
You were lost, and I yearned for you,
for it to be like before.
I thought I might die, looking.
Then I wanted to die, if I could never find you.
Every day grey.
Had I made you up?
If you’d never been, why did I long for you so?

I kept finding places where you’d been,
but now you were gone.
I searched the stories,
the myths,
I searched in other people’s lives.
Even when they said “There! See?”
I couldn’t find you.
Gone, forever? Never been?

Walking the hills, the sun and wind pushing me forward
I dug and dug into the earth, my earth.
Found not just dirt, but soil. And life!
Critters and worms and roots of small plants,
taking my garbage and making compost.

Down there, I found you.
I found me.

Dead? No.
Asleep? Yes, dreaming our new world,
the earth my body, my history turned to gold.
Swirling life, making treasure,
giving treasure all the time I thought you were lost.

Who are you, oh Mystery? And who am I?
Who are we?
Making meaning, making soul.

 

Hello dear friend,

What is beginning in your beautiful life at this new moon?  For me, as I processed what I had taken in during my training in June with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I realized how deeply frustrated I am that I cannot easily speak clearly about that which is most important to me, about that which is the core of my life:  my search for and relationship with Great Mystery.  Sometimes painting and poetry are the only way to approach anything like an accurate communication with others.  

As many of you know, many years ago I had a strong faith as a Roman Catholic.  Suffice it to say that as I learned more, my faith changed deeply, and for many many years I felt both deep loss and anguish with discovering more about so much unmerited suffering of so many in this world and throughout time.  In the past 5 years or so the anguish has lifted; now I know how much I don’t know about “life, the universe, and everything”.  At the same time I commit to living out of as much compassion as I’m able to, and to an ongoing curiosity and study of all the ways that humans have made meaning throughout time.   And so I talk of soul, and mystery, and love, and life, and solidarity, and compassion.

This painting started out without any words or clear ideas.  I loved the idea of a woman of the earth, in the earth, of Gaia, of underground treasure.

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As I continued to paint I followed an intuition here, a color there.  I adhered crumpled tissue paper to the entire surface (and forgot to take a photo of that step).  For me it illustrated that life rarely goes smoothly.  The Buddhists’ first Noble Truth is that All is Suffering, which actually translates more accurately as “Everything is sort of messed up; life doesn’t fit; it’s all out of sorts.”

Yet I’d just been at a training entitled “The Heart of the Wounded Healer”, and I realize how it is also possible for humans to develop increased compassion and sensitivity, and including other gifts, if there are enough inner and outer resources as well as the deep challenges present.  My physical body is often in pain, and the wrinkled surface of the tissue paper expresses this well.  And somehow, I have accepted this life I have, and somehow, the wounds can also be accepted as potential gold if they are portals to new worlds and understandings.  This is when I added the gold into the woman’s body, and spirals of energy into the sky and sun. I also added my everyday self as the tiny figure, searching for soul.

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As the poem began to form, I added spirals of energy into her large body, and formed the hills to look a little more like the coulees here in southern Alberta.  There is much more to say, but that is enough for now.  Here again is the final painting:

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Thank you for witnessing and hearing the story,

With much love,

Cat

Look at the moon, have a cup of tea, know your own strength and wisdom

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Dear Friend,

Before this day is over I wanted to remind you all to look outside tonight and see the beautiful full moon.  What in your life is full to bursting, and is now ready to let go, start to take a rest, start to diminish and move into a more quiescent state?

I wish you could come to my study here and have some tea with me as we sit and talk about some happy d & r’s (deep and real things, that is).  Winter “House’s Choice” is Bengal Spice, summer’s is iced Lemon Zinger or Sweet Orange Spice.  Since this photo was taken I’ve gotten a few more comfortable chairs — if you want, you can sit in the lazyboy chair (just out of sight here).

There are many very serious and frightening things going on in the world these days.  Do not let yourself become disheartened and depleted, especially with too much media watching.  Figure out clearly what is within your reach to help and encourage.  Know where your own circle of influence is, and work within that.  Discern when you need to really understand all the details available, and when reading just the headlines will do.  Don’t wear yourself out on things you cannot immediately do anything about, but DO take care of yourself so that when you CAN do something that is helpful, you are ready, well-nourished, rested and strong enough to do whatever is needed.

Just now, take three deep breaths.  Find your strength within.  Consult your inner wisdom.  Now go forth.

And when it’s time to take a breather, come on over and have some tea with me.  It will be wonderful to talk with you.

With much love,

Cat

Resting, Watching, Praying

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(c) 2016 Cat Charissage

Dear Friends,

My latest painting is not yet named.  She is full of beauty, peace, and contained power. Below are some of the stages in the journey.  Writing will come later for this painting.

It’s a quiet time for me, resting, pondering the world, pondering my own life, pondering where I can most be of help.

I’ve started an 8-week course, The MBSR On-line Course, the mindfulness-based stress reduction program based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli out of the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School.  I’ve dipped into this program many times over the years, and do already have a long-term meditation practice.  I decided to do the course formally to see how it might help me manage the chronic pain, sleep better, and let go of the constant feeling I have of “having so much to do!”  I’m in week two, and it really takes a dedicated commitment of an hour’s practice every day — an hour that I need to carve out of the every day that already seems too short!  But I think it’s helpful.

How is your summer going?  Are you resting? Vacationing?  Are you happy?  Is your life full of people, activities, and things which bring peace, justice, happiness to your world?  I hope so.

With much love on a day filled with electrified air ready to call forth a fierce thunderstorm,

Cat

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Praying When God is Silent, Part Three

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— w.i.p.  Cat Charissage, (c) 2013

Dear Friends,

Here is Part Three, the end  of my article Praying When God is Silent.  Part One is here.  Part Two is here.

The painting with this post is only half done, just after putting the veil of a glaze over what I had painted.  I thought it fitting for this article, as I do believe that though we see through a veil, there is much behind it, AND there is much more to learn.  I often laugh that forty years ago I knew a whole lot more about the mystery we call God than I do today.  But that’s okay.  Whatever is here, now, is alive and growing into something even more  beautiful, just like the vines in my painting.

Also, an invitation to come to my “What I learned at Wounded Healer with Dr. E” event, here in my home studio, on Thursday June 30.  Email me for more info.

With much love,

Cat

Praying When God is Silent, Part Three

Short, small phrases, easy enough to align with our breathing are helpful in calming monkey mind.  One line of a favorite hymn or prayer can be used, or if this is too painful while experiencing God’s silence, you can create your own:  “Open to mystery, open to love,”  “I live with love,” “in darkness, bring light,” “in doubt, faith,” “in despair, hope.”  The rhythm and repetition of these short prayers is calming to our neurological systems.  They are also an ongoing reminder of our intent.

And then there is silence.  When our friends are bereaved, there is often nothing we can say that will help.  Our presence, though, is witness and comfort.  We can sit in silence for 10 or 20 minutes a day, focusing on a word, on a short prayer, or on our breath, and whenever our mind wanders we calmly and gently bring our attention back to the word or breath.  We can listen for the word from within, or we can listen to the silence.  The silence can become a refuge.

When God is silent we are left alone, whether in feeling or in fact.  What should we or can we do now?  We can discover how other people have dealt with this; we can look for metaphors that may help.  We can struggle to examine our own lives and actions; we can face the fears and despair.  We can write all this down in a journal, or we can speak of this with a soul friend.  We can treat ourselves with the kind of love we search for in God, and we can develop other practices for calming ourselves and keeping our loving intent before us.  And there is a kind of silence that can become a refuge.

Sometimes God’s silence in our lives is a temporary rough spot; sometimes it seems to have become our new way of life.  Why is God silent?  There is no answer to that question.  The only helpful questions are “How am I going to live now — with love?  In my depths, with whom will I live — with love?”

Yes, I will live with love.

Praying When God is Silent, part two

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— w.i.p.  Cat Charissage (c) 2015

Dear Friends,

Here is the second part of my article Praying When God is Silent.  Part one is here.   Also, if any of you live in Southern Alberta, you are invited to join me in either (or both) of two presentations on what I learned from the Dr. Estes training, The Heart of the Wounded Healer.  They will be held on Saturday, June 25, 1:30 – 4:30, and Thursday, June 30, 7-9:30.  Just send me an email at catcharissage at gmail dot com if you’re interested.

With much love,

Cat

Praying When God is Silent, Part Two

However, there have been a few metaphors that I have found to be helpful at these times.  One is that of stormy seas.  The surface of the ocean can be all churning, tempest, and chaos, but only 10 feet down the great depths of the ocean are calm, moving and flowing in ancient ways, holding mystery and life underneath it all.  The circumstances of our lives and the confusions of our psyches may be caught within a powerful and destroying storm of common human experience, but underneath, and not even too far underneath, there may be calm and a life-filled mystery.

Or we might be living as though on the very edges of a wheel for a cart, spinning around faster and faster as the horses, or the motor, speed up.  We will be crushed on the surface of the road; certainly we cannot see where we are going.  But each cartwheel spoke is connected to a hub, just as each of us is connected to our deepest self.  This hub or center of each wheel moves at a much, much slower speed and is protected from the mud and stones of the pavement.  Our hub can be our calm center.  As well, a cart has a driver, a driver who knows where we’re going, and who will bring all the cartwheels safely to their destinations.

Now I want to suggest a few practices that are helpful in times of confusion and pain.  These are things you can do rather than just think or talk about.  Are you taking care of your physical body?  A loving God would want us to be as healthy and as strong as possible.  So many things at times of crisis and pain feel so out of control, but taking good physical care of ourselves and those for whom we are responsible is under our control — at least a little bit.  Can you try to eat as healthfully as possible?  Will you continue to feed your children well?  Can you manage your days in such a way that you get enough sleep?  Can you create peace and calm in your home to nourish both yourself and your family?   Will you engage in gentle — or strenuous — exercise?  These, too, are prayer.

Sometimes when God is silent, our minds are anything but.  Our thoughts tumble over each other like lion cubs in play.   They jump around like monkeys swinging from tree to tree in some jungle of the mind.  Not only are all those thoughts tiring, but sometimes we’re bitten, or feel like we’re hanging by one arm with no tree to swing to next.

Once our thoughts are no longer useful in helping us to understand or strategize about our situation, once our fears have been catalogued in our journals or witnessed by an understanding friend, the spinning repetitive thoughts are no longer helpful.  Catastrophizing, especially, is not useful.  So what can be helpful?  How can we turn this into prayer to calm us and remind us of the immense love we yearn to know?

There’s no place like home! (and Praying When God is Silent, part one)

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—detail, painting, acrylic on canvas, Cat Charissage (c) 2015

Hello dear friends,

Happy Solstice and Full Moon!  Yes, I know it was yesterday, but I’m behind on a lot of things these days!  I’ve returned from my training with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her intensive The Heart of the Wounded Healer:  Walking in Two Worlds as a Way of Life.  Travelling is very difficult for me — I was so appreciative of my own bed, and of my comfortable lazyboy chairs dotted around my home.

The training was the first of a five-year series of trainings.  While the five-year series that I completed with her last year, The Mysterium,  was based on Jungian psychoanalytic teachings, this new series, Wounded Healer, is explicitly concerned with helping ourselves and others live a full human life WITH the spirituality included.  Among other things, Dr. E. deconstructed many traditional religious practices, separating them from both superstition and exclusive relation to a particular religious tradition.  We then learned the value of these kinds of practices in the full expression of both our humanness and our relationship with Mystery.

It was so worth going; it leaves me with a bit of a personal challenge, though.  Dr. Estes is fully comfortable with using words such as “Creator” or “Source without source” (which I quite like).  I, however, am still finding my language when it comes to that Mystery many of us call “God”.   Absolutely everything I am about is concerned with this Mystery and our relationship to/with that Mystery, yet I am not comfortable using traditional religious language because that language has been historically used not only to help and educate, but also to control, oppress, and obfuscate.  While Dr. E. is interested in recovering the treasure in that language, I am not comfortable using religious language unless I define almost every word to be clear that I’m not advancing the controlling and oppressive subtext that I believe has tainted most of it.  And that, of course, does not lead to smooth narrative!

I hope, with time, openness, and much reflection, to either discover or create that language.  Stay tuned!

In reference to my last post,  New Moon Wonderings: Have you never doubted?, I want to share with you an article I wrote several years ago in response to a friend who was deeply distressed when she no longer felt any answers to her prayer.  Since it is rather long, I will publish it in three sections over the next week or so.  Please contact me with any of your thoughts and ideas.

With much love,

Cat

Praying When God is Silent, Part One

I have heard from some of you about one of the most poignant and difficult of life’s experiences:  when God does not answer prayer, when God is silent.  At first, people bring this up to me in roundabout ways, because you know that I’m not a church goer, that I do not profess any creed.  Yet you also know that I used to be a devout Catholic Christian, so much so that as a young adult I spent 3 years in the convent, formally studied theology for 7 years, and have bookshelves groaning with the scriptures and wisdom literature of the world.  I seem a mismatch with my evangelical Christian and LDS friends, so when you tell me of God’s silence I know that you are suffering deeply and that your questions are not some idle intellectual exercise.  I do bear witness to your pain.  I, too, know God’s silence.

There are many ways that people have responded to this situation, but some of these responses have not been helpful to me, nor, I doubt, for you:  “This is God’s testing of your faithfulness.”  “God does not abandon us, so if you don’t feel his presence, then who moved?”  “Are you harboring some hidden sin that needs to be repented of?”  These responses seem to only blame me for my suffering.  Yes, we must examine if and how we might be contributing to our own pain, but once we know we’re truly doing our best, what do we do now?

Some other responses to those who don’t feel God’s presence are kinder:  “God is molding you in the dark; you may not see his hands on the potter’s wheel or his intentions, but don’t be concerned, for he is here.”  “God is our father, and just as parents cannot always fulfill their children’s desires but still love and guide their children, so God is doing so for us.”  “Sometimes God is silent, but he is there, just as the stars, though not visible during the daylight, are still shining in the heavens.”

Many are comforted by some of these responses.  Others are only left confused.  I have known only God’s silence for many many years.  One of the responses to God’s silence that is never voiced in Church circles is an obvious one, to me anyway:  “Well, maybe this is evidence that there really is no God at all.  Maybe the atheists are right, and my previous religious experiences were only the result of indoctrination, wishful thinking, or psychological projection.”  While rarely voiced, I know that many people are secretly tortured by this thought.

You may think I’ve wandered from my stated topic of praying while God is silent.  I want to encourage you, though, to go ahead and face all the discouraging and frightening thoughts that niggle in the dark corners of your mind.  God — if there is a God at all — is love.  That immense love that we call God is certainly big enough and strong enough to take any questions our minds can dream up; immense love can understand our frustration, our fear, and our anger.  And even if our worst fears turn out to be true and there is no God in the ways that we have been told, if God is only an imaginary friend, this exploration of our deepest questions is of value, for there is not time wasted when one asks sincere questions and seeks to find true answers.  This is prayer.

(Part Two will be published later this week.  Thank you for reading.)

New Moon Wonderings: Have you never doubted?

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Dear Friends,
Tomorrow I will be leaving for what for me is almost a pilgrimage:  I’m starting my travel to attend Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ intensive training “The Heart of the Wounded Healer:  Walking in Two Worlds as a Way of Life”.  Before I finish packing, though, I wanted to share a dialogue Dr. Estes and I had on her Facebook blog page.  She had written a piece on angels, here, on May 27, exploring in depth the different ways we know the messengers of the Divine.  She had started the piece by saying that she does not believe, but she knows.  Since I have learned so much from Dr. Estes over the years, I replied with the following question:
Cat Charissage Dear Dr. E., have you never doubted? How do you wrap your mind/spirit around suffering, around evil? I don’t expect you to have any concise answers around these big mysteries, but would love you to talk about them. I have suffered greatly from doubt, while wishing desperately to be able to believe or better yet, know, and from anguish around the suffering in the world. Thankfully I am not as anguished or paralyzed these days by this —- I know that I just don’t know, but that I CAN respond to my life and the life around me with love, and so I try. I also know that there is more than we can easily understand. But really, how have YOU dealt with the dark night of the soul?

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Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes Cat Charissage dear darling, the evil in the world I’ve experienced has come from overt and covert choices made by human beings. I’ve come to understand over the decades that most of us will never unravel the reasons or the ‘why’ of evil… because we are not.

My refuge has ever been the solidity of the world that is right here, its beauty created by Greater, and the world that is often not seen by those who have been blinded in various ways.

I have doubted some humans deeply, for evil truly walks right into some persons in this world, but I have never doubted, not even in my darkest griefs, never doubted those who have in those times been ‘the friend to the friendless’ me. I’ve not been swayed away from the sacred reality of los angelitos o santitos o antepasados, o ancianas or el Dio o La Diosa. I am clear that there is suffering and ways and means of our world that none of us can comprehend, and sometimes not mediate, at least not by ego that seeks causality.

I have never assigned being ‘saved’ from sorrow, nor to be given joy, nor needing a miracle via my belief in Creator. I grew up amongst the literally tortured, prisoners of war and the ethnically cleansed/ survivors of eye witness murder of their kith and kin. It could be said Where was G-d then? Why did G-d allow so many innocent people to be harmed all the way from Eu, to New Guinea, to Japan, to the Aussies, the NZs, the Mexicans, Central and South Americans, the Balkans to Russia, throughout Asia, to the island groups and more….

I only can offer this in answer.. In the famiily, the old people, the old, scarred up, torn apart, cheated, lied to, starved and beaten people, their farmlands and fishing rivers taken from them, sent into slave labor… they said that the enemy was always bellowing that “G-d was with them.” They said that was wrong. That G-d does not choose sides. BUT, my old people, my poor dear old people, said more important is that WE are with Creator. We are. With. Creator. That that was our truth. And I find it so Cat.

I am not sure Cat that ‘not being sure’ is a sign of anything other than being a dear human being. As you know from your long, faithful immersion with me as my learner, I have a category in my heart called “God’s business.” All my not knowing mysterious matters of sudden twists of fate, tragedy, abject and relentless suffering, goes to G-d, for I am far too unable in and of myself to understand, in part because I have to/ must save the instrument, care for the gift I carry, so I can strive to fulfill my callings in our world.

My dark night of the soul, la noche oscura, came not from G-d, nor from separation from G-d. It came from humans’ relentless dedication to destroying my gift, my life, my sense of selfhood, my child spirit, my heart…

and in my jagged fall-down, muddy efforts to run for freedom, the arms I ran toward when there were none to hold me, were those belonging to Greater.

Im feel pretty certain we were all born to love, to care, to minister to. I hear/see/sense that imperative as not coming from human beings, but from Creator, La Señora y otros of the angelic realm.

I would ask you Cat to consider that that is your true home also, and that there is, for many of our world, some confusion about where true Home really is. The overculture, as you know, along with cruel haphazard people, have often done a number on persons remembering where they came from, and in whose name, and why.

To me, Cat, faith, fe/ as in santa fe/ holy or even St. Faith, is not exactly something we ‘have.’ It is more so, a Someone, a force we walk with, that we learn from, that we question in order to learn about Home. True. Home. And how to bring aspects of True Home here to Earth where memory and cleaving to such, is often so healing and sturdyfying– each in her own way, each in his own way, as is most loving and most effective both.

You know me: I am not a fatuous person. I’m a pragmatic and a mystical being both. I recommend both, as you thread your way through Cat. Both. Two worlds held together make a third place to stand. That third place is where we can say we know certain things without wavering about. At last.

Hope that helps a bit, and we can talk more too and with others as well, because what you bring up is germane to many, esp in our overculture’s overreach, in not allowing people to blossom but instead telling them how it all has to be, or else.

To me the subject is fraught only because often how ‘faith and knowing’ is taught is fragemented, or just dead inaccurate, or else trivialized into some rote exercise. It isnt Cat, it is the living G-d come to dinner, not as guest, but/and as familiare, our relative, close “close-in” relative.

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Cat Charissage
Cat Charissage Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your ideas/wisdom. I will write more later. Time for my pillow now. . . .

Cat Charissage
Cat Charissage Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes Dear Dr. E., this is one of those times when I wish so badly that we could sit together on your porch or in my study, drink something warm together, and talk on this deep into the night. Not that I want to debate, far from it, but to hear each others’ stories of WONDER, and wondering, and awe and finding true home. Because you are someone who knows/has seen real suffering, and “has a clue” as to what’s what and how people act in this world, I wanted to hear your take on all this. Yes, I agree that suffering comes from other humans, and no, I, neither, make being saved from sorrow, or seeing miracles prerequisite to belief in Creator. It is a deep blessing that you have not doubted the presence of something Greater, of helpers/angels. In my earlier years, I shared a strong knowing like that, but then for tooooo long it felt literally taken away, stripped, with no felt access to God and no comfort, even though I deeply desired my old knowings and did all I could to “be with” Source without Source. Of course there are stories about when, where, with whom, maybe why, etc. I continued to HOPE for something Greater, searched deeply, as well as prayed many times daily, but could not find nor did I feel any evidence of this. This went on for a very long time (25 years is no exaggeration.) “Overculture’s overreach” indeed! Nowadays, though I do not have my old faith or knowing, I tell my overactive cynical voice of ego that what I do now see of other worlds, of that which is Greater, of Love, ARE real. My way now seems to be plunged in Mystery, but hey, I’m willing to swim in it! Full enlightenment with visions and other mystical experiences would sure be nice . . . . but in the meantime, here I am, finding true self, standing in Love, as best I can. Your notion of “God’s Business” for that which we do not or cannot understand is helpful. And this sentence, ” All my not knowing mysterious matters of sudden twists of fate, tragedy, abject and relentless suffering, goes to G-d, for I am far too unable in and of myself to understand, in part because I have to/ must save the instrument, care for the gift I carry, so I can strive to fulfill my callings in our world,” carries a message for me about fulfilling callings. While I do not “feel” calling, there is some way in which I do KNOW that I have calling. Thank you again for engaging in this. Will see you at Wounded Healer.

Come with me. On the Full Moon.

 

 

Dear friends,

My latest painting, “I see”.  It was a huge process, with many stages and symbols in the underpainting.  I came to the painting feeling pulled in many directions, feeling that I don’t have enough time to do even a small portion of all that I would love to dig into, and confused about what to prioritize.  Part of what she’s about for me is my inner self calling me to dive even deeper into the depth work I love, and from which I learn so much.  Here’s the poem that came with the completed painting, and some of the in process photos.

With much love,

Cat

 

Come with me

to between and among many worlds,

Some, visible; many, not.

Remember that coyote by the side of the highway, looking at you?

Remember the two wolves from your dream so many years ago?

They invite, call you.  As do I.

Come with me.

You are not leaving anyone behind.

You,

Come with me.

 

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