Google+ Followers

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends!
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." - Hal Borland

This is my last post of 2014.  I can't believe that it has almost been a year since I left for Earthaven and started this blog.  Time, indeed waits for no one.  I have had a year of discovery; of people, places, things and myself.  It has been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs but plenty of thrills.  I am a different person because of all of life's experiences.

Last Sunday, the day of the Winter Solstice, I had a wonderful pre-birthday day with one of my besties, Octavia Jones.  We had brunch at Kitchen 64: crab benne, asparagus, home fries and a pitcher of Mimosa.  It was delicious.  Then we headed over to the theater to see "Annie".  We enjoyed the movie.  Then Octavia surprised me by suggesting we get dessert.  We shared Tarrant's Upside down Apple Walnut Pie (my favorite).  The entire week leading to my birthday was one I will remember.  On the actual day, Monday, I rested and did ritual to release what no longer served and to bring in what I want to see manifested in this next phase.

On Tuesday I went to DC to pick up my son.  He took the train in from NY.  We then had lunch with my daughter.  It was a nice pre Christmas gathering.  On Wednesday night my daughter came in and she and her brother joked with each other as usual.  Christmas day was quiet and nice.  All of the children weren't here as they were at Thanksgiving.  I didn't do the cooking that I did at Thanksgiving.  In my mind I wanted Thanksgiving to be extremely nice because I felt that maybe I wouldn't be in Richmond next year.  Prayerfully I will not.  The day after Christmas, the children gave me a new laptop, which I am using (smile).  I was overwhelmed with their generosity. 

On Saturday I attended the Kwanzaa celebration with my friend Iris.  A Yoruba priest spoke about the things that as a culture we tend to forget or have never known.  The music and dancers were amazing.  For once, the vendors did not have the usual items.  The atmosphere was festive.  There was definitely a sense of unity which is so important in these turbulent times.  Attending these festivals spark my creativity.  I want to sew and design and do everything that Spirit has instilled in me.  This year will be a year of action for me.  I am determined to "do" in the midst of being.  "For last year's words belong to last year's language.  And next year's words await another voice." - T.S. Eliot. That voice for me is saying, "You can do it!" and "I've got this!"

I've heard about a place in Asheville though my former Medicine Wheel housemate, Devi.  She just moved into it and asked me about moving there.  I am totally considering it.  I love Asheville!  It is so progressive.  It has many of the classes and workshops that support my interests.  In my spirit, I truly feel that this year is going to be a transformative year for everyone.  Saturn is no longer in brooding Scorpio.  It has moved into expansive Sagittarius; a time of learning and openness.  The next 29 year cycle should be awesome.  In numerology, the year 2015 is an 8 year.  Eight means new beginnings.  We are all ready for that, I believe.  We will take with us the wisdom experience has instilled in us and go on. 

Anticipating 2015 fills me with excitement!  This is an intuitive feeling.  I feel this song in my spirit by The Five Stairsteps: "Ooh Child" 
Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter
Ooh-oo child
Things are gonna get easier
Ooh-oo child
Things'll get brighter
Some day, yeah
We'll get it together and we'll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter
Right now, right now

For me that time is now!  2015, I await your greatness and mine!

Until next Sunday,
Merry meet and merry part again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle


Sunday, December 21, 2014

New York/Richmond VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!


Tomorrow is the anniversary of  my birth. The celebration started with the gift of a one day trip to New York City from my long time friend, Celeste.  We rode up on Greyhound at 1:15am on Wednesday the 17th.  Celeste was wondering if I would have another Greyhound adventure.  We arrived in NY at 8:15am.  After freshening up, we walked from Port Authority on West 42 and 8th Ave. to Macy's on West 34th and Broadway.  There was a chill in the air but it was invigorating.  We went into Macy's and looked at the decorations.  We also went over to the M.A.C. makeup counter, where a marvelous make up artist showed us some beautiful blushes and gave us tips.  We decided to go outside and look at the window decorations.  Macy's always has different, unique and beautiful window displays. 


After enjoying the displays and taking pictures, we walked to find a place for breakfast.  Lo and behold, the place was organic!  Celeste who was raised with organic foods really enjoyed the eggs.  After breakfast, we walked to the subway to go to Chinatown.  Celeste had to get a metro card and I just needed to refill mine.  When I put the cash in and the change came out, it was in coin form.  I wasn't sure at first if they were tokens or money.  While I'm trying to figure that out, my metro card which had ejected, went back into the machine!  I called for assistance and was told that I had to mail in my receipt and payment would be mailed back to me.  The clerk said for me to come to the other entrance and he would let me in to ride.  Moral: get card and check money later.  I usually pay with the debit card so I never had that problem before.  Live and learn!


I'm not that familiar with Chinatown.  I only know a few streets so we walked to find the area that Celeste wanted.  After walking for quite some time, a young woman told us where to go.  Most older Asians will not help.  In Chinatown, women and men are in groups on street corners. It reminds one of prostitutes except they are all trying to get people to buy their wares not their bodies.  "Psst, psst", they say as you walk by.  They become annoyed if you ask to see an item, which is on the phone camera, and then not want it.  We continued to walk until we saw some items that caught Celeste's eye.  There weren't many vendors set up outside, perhaps it's a weekend thing. 


Our next stop was Harlem.  We took the train and transferred to 125th Street.  There weren't many vendors out on the streets there either but it was warmer.  We did manage to see a pair of earrings we liked.  Then we were able to get some oils.  We also went into Nicholas, Sonya, your favorite store for all things health related.  We decided to have lunch before heading to 116th Street.  We saw an Applebee's and had a lunch combo, which meant we could eat the other half on the bus later.  We walked off the food as we walked to 116th and Lenox Ave.  The Harlem Market is there and full of amazing African items.  I mentioned to Celeste that the vendors expect one to barter.  Most Americans don't however.  If you say no to the price and begin to walk away, the price will come way down.  Celeste wants to go back in the Spring.


We took the train to head back to Port Authority.  Every transit clerk let me in to ride once I explained what happened.  That was a blessing.  As the train approached for 42nd Street, I said to Celeste, we can catch either of these I think.  A man who had been sitting on the bench said, "Follow me, I'll get you there."  We knew where to go and where to get off but he insisted and sat down beside me.  This man pulled out a bottle of Brandy and asked if I wanted a drink.  I politely said that I didn't.  He then began to loudly talk about the people on the train.  But he didn't stop there, he spoke about himself as well.  His name is "Silky" and he said he was a "NY hustler".  He said he was an alcoholic, a drug addict, an intelligent man, a handsome man and a well dressed one.  I asked him why didn't he change his life and he said he was trying, as he pulled the whiskey out of the bag again.  No judgment, it takes time to change.


He asked my name and I told him.  He seemed to want to engage in conversation.  I didn't want to set him off, having seen him go off on a man who placed himself in our conversation.  When we reached our destination, he walked with us to Port Authority.  On the entire walk he tried to put his arm around me and he asked for a kiss.  I had to draw the line, even if he cursed at me.  I told him that we didn't know each other and that his behavior was not permitted.  He laughed and then asked for money saying he was homeless.  This was probably the crux of the entire situation.  Celeste and I finally ditched him.  We walked around to satisfy a sweet tooth and then headed down to the bus.  We sat inside a restaurant while waiting but then I decided we needed to stand in line.  Our tickets were number 1 and number 2 and we were the first there.


As we waited a young woman, who spoke French, appeared to be ill and the bus clerk said she would place her on the bus first.  After waiting for awhile everyone could see that she was only "ill" when it suited her.  Our bus was scheduled to leave at 6:15pm but the clerk placed us in another line for the 6:30pm bus.  She said it was an express and we would get in sooner.  Finally we loaded the bus.  Celeste and I wanted to sit in separate seats because we were exhausted from ALL of the walking.  We were able to get the seats to ourselves and Celeste kept checking to see how many more people needed to get on.  We thought we were in the clear. NOT!  A woman who had gone past me, turned around and asked if she could sit next to me.  I gave her the seat and went over to sit with Celeste.  This woman had 1900 bags; how she thought she was going to sit with anyone, I don't know!  The remainder of the trip was uneventful.  We arrived in Richmond at 1am. 


I awoke the next morning and could hardly move!  My arms, legs and everything else were sore.   I couldn't get comfortable on the bus and it showed.  Later I had a mammogram and all is well, thank God/Goddess/ and All That Is!  That night some friends joined me in a pre birthday celebration.  It was great fun!  Today, I am being taken to brunch and to see "Annie".  Tomorrow, on my actual birth day I will rest and reflect on this past year, which brings me to the Winter Solstice.  Today is the Solstice.  It is the shortest day and longest night of the year.  It is a time of stillness and reflection.  As we release with love and forgiveness, what no longer serves us, we can then move forward.  Because this is a new moon solstice it is a great time to set intentions for the coming year.  What do you desire to bring into your life, what do you want to see manifested, what gifts and talents lay dormant in you?  Bring these desires into your consciousness and allow them to become embedded in you. 


Many people are not aware that the Solstice or Yule has been celebrated for centuries and pre dates Christianity.  It honors the returning sun as days will become progressively lighter from now until Summer Solstice.  Jesus was not born in December but in September.  I believe it was Constantine who combined the festivals, as a way to satisfy Pagans and Christians, when he converted to Christianity.  The Christmas tree has its roots in the Yule Tree.  The Yule log was burned at Solstice to release the past year.  Food and drink prevailed during this celebration of the returning light.  I researched this back in the nineties and was astonished at how many Christian holidays have their roots in paganism.  This season is a time of light for  many spiritual traditions. As an Interfaith/Interspiritual minister, I honor them all regardless of my path.  


It doesn't matter what month Jesus was born; it matters that he was and that he brought a message of love and peace.  The old ways have given us many blessings and the baby should not be tossed out with the bath water.  I value truth above all else as I seek to follow the light of love, peace and hope.  Happy Holy Days, however you celebrate this season of light!


Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Monday, December 15, 2014

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of light and love!
"The principle of resonance suggests that 'like summons like'. ...When something is of us, is for us, it sets off the tuning fork inside us. ...resonance is the surest guide to finding our own path. ...Resonance is the deep resounding of our truth, when we find it, or it finds us.  To hear it, one must be attentive, faithful, courageous. ...the willingness to open to depth is the chief way in which dignity and purpose return to life." - James Hollis, Creating a Life


Several years ago I read the book, The Red Tent.  The story is told from Jacob's only daughter's point of view.  It was my first introduction to the red tent.  It started me on a search for more of the ancient ways of women.  I've been following that path since.  I sat down to watch the movie version of the book last week and a quarter of the way in, I began to cry.  I felt a connection with these women as if I had been a part of that tent.  My reaction was so visceral that I couldn't continue to watch.  I didn't have that reaction when I read the book.  My friend Whitney said that we as humans, will respond in different ways to different things.  Seeing the story was more real than reading the story.


The ancient ways of women resonate with me.  There is so much that I want and need to learn about this.  I'm sure that there are other women who would like to know as well.  I like technology and the information we can now receive faster than a speeding bullet.  However, I don't believe in throwing the baby out with the bath water.  The ancient path is my path, my truth.  The "tuning fork" has been set off inside me and I am listening.  "Like summons like", is stated above or as we would say in spiritual circles, "deep calls unto deep".  When we hear our truth, we know it.  We don't all follow the same path nor would we want to do so.


Years ago there was a show called, Journey to the Center of the Earth.  That's what I am doing now on this leg of my journey.  We are the earth.  We were created from the earth, Gaia, our mother.  So I am traveling to my center in order to discover what I've forgotten and what I've never known.  As I wander through the peaks, rivers, valleys, mountains and the deep, dark places of my soul, I reconnect with my ancient self.  Spirit leads me to a place and whispers, "Stop here, rest awhile and look at this."  Sometimes I don't want to see what's in those places.  It's not always pleasant to see yourself; but it is always necessary.  After I've traveled to where I've been led, I hear Spirit telling me to visit another place in  my soul.  It's been quite the journey.


I am discovering more and more about me.  I'm finding places in myself that I never knew existed.  I'm clearing out some other places; releasing the dust and debris of what no longer serves.  I know what I will and will not accept from myself or others.  I have decided to be true to myself and follow the path before me.  As we approach the Winter Solstice, I have been reflecting upon the light returning and what I want to bring into the light.  This is a time of deep introspection as we enter the caves of hibernation to await the light.  When we awaken from our sleep, the seeds that have been planted will begin to sprout.


I am about to embark upon another physical journey in addition to this spiritual one, which is ongoing.  My time here has come to an end.  Things are ending that needed to end.  I don't know where I'm going exactly, I just know that I'm headed West.  I didn't need to be in the car to hear Spirit tell me which direction to travel.  The answers to my questions are waiting for me and I'm ready to receive them.  I have an altar that I sit before daily.  It is grounding for me and centers me.  I am clearly more focused than I have been since landing in Richmond.  I'm so thankful to Spirit for always teaching me.


On Thursday I asked Spirit to reveal some truths to me and over the course of four days they were revealed.  My spirit is at peace because I can trust what Spirit says and shows me.  And no one pours new wine into old wineskins.  Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. - Mark 2:22 NIV   The new me does not fit into old relationships or paradigms.  If I try to make me "fit", I and the relationships will be ruined.  The ancient ways of women are not old wineskins.  They are the truth of my being and the pulse of my life.  They are as relevant today as they have always been.  Those ways are the new me.  May the returning light brighten this path that I must walk.


Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be!,
Gypsi Mama Michelle










   

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!

"You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously." - Steve Maraboli

In February of 1986, I was on an annual forty day fast with Temple of Judah, which was the church I attended at the time.  I was praying in my youngest son Jason's room.  While praying I heard these words: "The LORD is in his holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silent before him."  I felt that the voice could not belong to God or anything having to do with God.  Why?  God certainly wouldn't interrupt me praying and I was praying in tongues, no less!  So I did what any legalistic, self-righteous Christian would do; I ignored the voice and kept praying.

The voice came back again stronger than before: "The LORD is in his holy temple.  Let all the earth keep silent before him." I knew I was the earth and THIS time I thought I had better pay attention.  I was very nervous.  I'd heard the voice of God before so that wasn't it.  It was the intensity of the voice.  At this point, I had a vision and an impression.  I "saw" two men dressed in the garb of an old English castle blowing the long horns with banners hanging beneath them.  I heard the sound and the impression was that a king was entering the court room.  I was extremely nervous now.

A different voice than before spoke (I assumed this was God) and said this to me: "I want you to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let my people go!"  My reply was: "When you said that to Moses, You really meant Egypt and Pharaoh.  What is Egypt for me?"  God said, "The hearts and minds of my people."  I asked, "And who is Pharaoh?"  The answer was, "Anything that keeps my people in bondage.  I want you to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let my people go!"  The presence and everything associated with it left as quickly as it came.  I pondered these things and kept them in my heart for sometime before I shared with anyone.  I kept asking, as did Moses, why me?  To ask that question when God has given a mandate is not humble.  I think it's more arrogant than anything.  It is ok to question God, but if God tells you to do something, it's because God knows you are able.  God doesn't call the qualified, God qualifies the call.

Later that year, in September, I was directed in prayer to Luke 4:18. "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free." (NIV) That was a confirmation of the vision I had been given.  I still had no idea from what I was setting anyone free or where I would speak.  In 1988, I was in a charismatic church and the Prophet/Pastor of the church gave me the Isaiah version from King James.  It speaks of "binding up the brokenhearted" and "the opening of the prison to them that are bound.".  The recurring theme is freedom to those who are enslaved, wherever that may be. 

I have known for quite some time that I am called to the empowerment of women.  I wasn't sure what I would be setting free, so to speak.  I wondered was it from abuse since I've experienced it. While that would certainly be a part of anything that I undertake, it didn't feel like it explicitly.  Sometimes I don't consciously think about the call from God but it is always with me. I am a seeker, which means I seek.  I always want to know more of God. Reading Iyanla Vanzant, in the nineties, led me to New Thought; Science of Mind and Unity Churches.  I know that some people, including my own children at times, have thought that I had gone off the deep end because of my current beliefs.  What I have discovered in life, is that when something resonates with us as truth, it is because it was in us all along, just unmanifested.  

Last week I started a Facebook page, Wild Women Gypsies.  A friend, Brenda, said to me that my page started her thinking about living life fully.  At first she said she didn't quite get it because of the way we, as a people, have been conditioned to think.  It occurred to me that some other women may have the same problem.  When I say, wild, I don't mean it in the sense that we normally associate with the word.  I am speaking about being the you that you were/are before patriarchy told you what is acceptable as a woman. We have been told most of our lives how to behave and act.  We are concerned with the opinions of others and even ourselves; yet we applaud women who are free.

Wild for some women may mean painting their lips and nails red, going to the theater and restaurant alone, speaking in front of a group, lounging all day in pj's, etc.  Everyone will not take a picture on or by a pole.  Leave that to me, lol.  It is doing what one normally wouldn't do or think they couldn't do.  It is living authentically.  It is living boldly, whatever that is for you.  So I am beginning to think that the "setting free: that I am to do, is to help women recognize who we are inside and not be ashamed of that. Also being a gypsy doesn't mean leaving hearth and home.  It's the gypsy spirit that matters; the spirit to live free.  Take day trips or spend a weekend in an exotic place or a place you've never been. Explore in the way that my friend Cher does.  

My friend Whitney did a Shamanic journey for me in October, 2012.  She saw women thanking me for being an instrument that aided them in living their truth.  As the quote above says, I have to live my purpose and do it courageously.  If I can cause one woman or person to think about being, then I am doing what God/Goddess asked, nay, told me to do! Selah!  Be you;  the bold, beautiful, freedom loving, free spirited person that you were created to be.

Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be!,
Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light!


"I don't need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled." - Paula Poundstone


"Most of us have been given more blessings than we have received. ...We may have filled our lives so full of other things that we have no room to receive our blessings.  One of my patients once told me that she has an image of us all being circled by our blessings, sometimes for years, like airplanes in a holding pattern at an airport, stacked up with no place to land.  Waiting for a moment of our time, our attention." - Rachel Naomi Remen. My Grandfather's Blessings


I had not had all of my children home for Thanksgiving in 10 years.  I've always wanted that to occur, but this year I felt it more intensely than ever.  I had this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that this would be the last time we would spend this holiday together as a family unit.  I am divorcing my husband after a ten year separation.  Although we haven't been together, we are still married and did holidays together with the children.  I don't foresee that happening after the divorce.  My eldest daughter, Zakiya, lives in Los Angeles and couldn't always come home.  My eldest son, Donald, would either be in another state or jail.  Either way, they were never all here for holidays.  My youngest daughter, Tiffany, and my youngest son, Jason, always came home.  Anyway, this year I asked her to come home, and because her father and brother helped, she was able to come. 


Zakiya thought she was going to miss her flight because of traffic but with prayer she didn't.  Her second flight from Phoenix to BWI was delayed, causing her to miss her train into Richmond.  After I checked flights, and she spoke with the agent, she was able to get a train into DC and board another train into Richmond.  Tiffany was going to meet her on the first train in DC in order for them to travel into Richmond together.  Tiffany didn't want to wait for two hours and said she would take the original early train.  Jason was on a train from NY that we didn't think came into DC, because of the time of arrival he gave us.  Zakiya and I discovered that Jason's train arrived an hour later and DID come into DC.  She let him know she'd be on the train.  In the meantime, Tiffany changed to that train as well but didn't tell them.  The three of them rode in together and had a wonderful reunion.  The moral is if we allow Spirit to be in control, everything will always work out.  My friend Celeste says all the time that everything will work out.


I always cook for Thanksgiving even if the family has been invited elsewhere.  In my experience people are usually hungry later in the evening for food or dessert.  So I cooked the traditional meal: Turkey, stuffing, gravy, macaroni and cheese, yams, kale, cabbage, green beans, rolls, sweet potato, lemon chess and coconut pies, and a sweet potato cheese cake with a caramel pecan sauce and homemade whipped cream.  Jason demolished at least 80% of the cheesecake but he warned us ahead of time that he would.  Zakiya was the same with the coconut pie.  We went to my mother-in-law's for dinner and I took two pies. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was jovial.  There were cousins galore, including my cousin in law, LaVerne, who came in from Boston.  It was good to see her. 


Even though I was supposed to attend an event on Friday with the in laws and some friends, I ended up spending the time with my children.  On Saturday we went to see Hunger Games.  Afterwards we came back to Thanksgiving leftovers.  Later we discussed several topics, solving the world problems. (LOL)  I have enjoyed the children being home and cooking for them again.  I don't want to do that on a daily basis but I was filled with gratitude to be able to do it.  The time spent with them has been a blessing  There are many blessings within blessings that aren't always as obvious.  There was the blessing of seeing the children reconnecting with each other; the blessing of them acting as they did as children; the blessing of hearing their conversations as intelligent adults; the blessing of listening to their thought processes.  I agree with the quote above; blessings are waiting to be bestowed on us.


According to the quote, we are filled with so many things that we don't have room to receive the blessings waiting.  During the holiday season, thoughts tend to be on food, partying, gifts (given and received) and family.  Time is not always taken to just "be" and listen.  Zakiya shared with me a story of a man who was a janitor on her former job.  In stopping to talk to him one day, he told her how he had taken time off from the busyness of life to travel.  He had been to several places in and out of the country.  Sometimes he purchased tickets through Craigs List.  When she said that, my ears perked up and I thought, hmmm, I can do that as well.  Of course that led to further thoughts of travel.  I'm still trying to travel to New Mexico by way of Colorado.  I'm looking into alternative ways of traveling.  If anyone has any ideas, I'd like to hear them


I think I've been so focused on the lack of a car or money to really travel as I would like, that I haven't been opened to other ways it could happen.  I've been opposed to buses or trains because I couldn't just travel sort of aimlessly by Spirit.  I liked the idea of not knowing where I was going until I got there.  But maybe the answer has been circling around me and I have been too "in my head" to hear it. As circumstances change, I have to do so as well.  As we near the end of this year, I am ending a cycle in my life too.  According to numerology, this year has been a personal 5 year for me.  That means a cycle of freedom, diversity, travel and different cultures.  It is also the number of change, chance, variety, choice, different belief systems, the sudden, the unexpected, the unusual, and the physical.  I will have to devise some resourceful and innovative ways to retain and expand my freedom, while being urged to do just the opposite.  Freedom defined is freedom denied. How true this is!  *Numerology information by Christine Delorey in Creative Numerology.* 


I had almost forgotten this information, almost.  Thanks to Spirit for reminding me.  According to astrology, it's the same for Sagittarius.  Change has been inevitable for me this year even more than usual.  I am grateful for my children all of the time not just at holidays.  It is the being together at this holiday, however that has caused me to see in a different way.  So I "take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled." as stated above.  I will close with this poem on the Creative Numerology site which sums up where I am in consciousness:


You are the person who has to decide.
Whether you'll do it or toss it aside;
You are the person who makes up your mind.
Whether you'll lead or will linger behind.
Whether you'll try for the goal that's afar,
Or just be contented to stay where you are.
Edgar A. Guest


Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again;
Blessed be!
Gypsi Mama Michelle












Sunday, November 23, 2014

Richmond, VA

Merry meet Friends,
Michelle here, bringing lots of light and love!
"I think we all have blocks between us and the best version of ourselves, whether it's shyness, insecurity, anxiety, whether it's a physical block, and the story of a person overcoming that block to their best self.  It's truly inspiring because I think all of us are engaged in that every day." -Tom Hooper


"Being aware of your fear is smart.  Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person." - Seth Godin


Do we know what the best version of ourselves is?  Do we have a clue as to what it might be?  Do we care about it at all?  Do we trust God/Goddess/All That Is, enough to allow that version to come forth?  Some of us know, some of us don't care and some of us, probably most, are afraid to find out.  We fear failure, we fear success, we fear not living up to our own expectations, let alone anyone else's.  And so, we hide behind a myriad of things to avoid seeing ourselves in the way that Spirit sees us. 


In my own life whenever I have been afraid to step out, Spirit has stepped in and events happened that caused me to act.  Almost eleven years ago I left my second husband.  I wanted to leave for years but wanted the children to have both parents while still in school.  At least, that's what I told myself and it was partly true.  The reality is that I was afraid because I relied on him for finances.  I was a housewife and stay at home mom.  When my youngest son left home for college, I'd planned to leave but decided I would see how life would be for us without the children at home.  It didn't change how I felt inside, however.  I still wanted to leave.


In a conversation with one of my best friends, (I'm lucky to have more than one) she spoke about her concern for her 96 year old mother living alone.  When we ended the conversation as I hung up the phone, I heard Spirit say, "Ask her about renting the upstairs in her mother's house."  I didn't want to do it, because we were friends and I didn't want any mixed feelings.  By this time, (2003) I was self employed with a sewing business and shortly afterwards I worked with AmeriCorps.  Being obedient to Spirit, I asked my friend and her sister. After checking with their mother, I was given a yes.  She charged me $150 a month.  We were company for each other.  She nurtured me during that difficult transition.


While living there, I ended the sewing business as a primary source of income.  I continued with AmeriCorps and through a contact with them I received another job.  I also started a part time job with Dillard's.  Shortly after starting with Dillard's, my car was stolen.  Luckily, Dillard's was on a bus line.  I had to take two buses to get home and there was a 30 minute wait between buses.  It would be close to 11pm when I walked in the door.  The walk to the house from the bus stop wasn't that far but far enough in the dark.  Eventually the car was found but it was damaged.  In August of that year (2004), I told Spirit that I wanted to move.  I was very specific about the area I wanted, the rent I wanted to pay and the type of place I wanted.


In that same month while on the bus I saw a woman with a hairstyle that I liked.  She gave me the name of the stylist and I made an appointment.  During one of the appointments I mentioned that I wanted to live downtown.  She said that she would keep her eyes and ears open.  In October, the stylist told me that she had seen a for rent sign in a house on her block.  I went by, took down the number and called.  It had the particulars of what I wanted in an apartment and the rent was affordable.  It was a 2 bedroom with a washer and dryer and eat in kitchen.  The closets were small and it had a shower instead of a tub but it seemed perfect for me.  I had no furniture except for a chair I reupholstered and a dresser.


My supervisor with AmeriCorps was moving to Maryland and sold me a love seat and an entertainment center.  My friend Suzanne gave me a bed and an outdoor table and chair set.  My friend Celeste gave me a futon for the second bedroom.  I made an ottoman for a coffee table and I made the window treatments.  Slowly but surely I began to buy accessories and the house became a home.  This was the first time that I lived alone without a child or husband.  I was scared but also excited!  I felt in charge of my life for the first time in a long time.  I stayed there two years.


In August (what is it with me and August) of the second year (2006), I made another request of Spirit for a place.  This time I wanted a walk in closet, a tub, and more space but I didn't know where I wanted to live.  I didn't know it at the time but Spirit was "increasing my territory" as the song says.  I was expanding my consciousness and my faith.  I gave a two month notice although I had no idea where I was headed.  My lease was up at the end of October and I had not found a place when October made an entrance.  In the first week of October, the daughter of a friend of mine told me that she had seen a for rent sign around the corner from her house in Church Hill.  I went there, but the only for rent sign was on a house.  I took down the number and made an appointment to see the house.  I liked it but it was too large and cost more than I wanted to spend.


It was now two weeks before my lease was up and I still had no idea where I was going. The only thing that I had was faith.  I forgot to mention that a month before my lease was up, I had been hired for another job paying more than the last full time job.  I didn't need Dillard's any more.  While living downtown my daughter gave me her car because she was moving to LA.  Anyway while having breakfast before going to work one morning, I heard Spirit say to go back and get the number for the house in Church Hill.  As I drove by I saw a for rent sign on an apartment house.  I took down the number and called when I got to work.  I asked to see it and fell in love.  It had everything that I wanted.  I moved in at the end of October.  The transmission blew on my daughter's car and I had to buy a car.  So a new dwelling and a new car was now in my life.


I had been there a year and a half on a month to month lease when I made another request.  This time I wanted a house; a 3 bedroom, dining room, eat in kitchen and family room house.  I didn't want to buy but wanted that option.  I didn't know that I wanted a house, it dropped in my spirit.  A lawyer that I met at the church I attended at the time came to see me to discuss my divorce.  I mentioned that I wanted a house.  She asked me if I wanted to buy or rent and did I have a preference as to where it would be.  I mentioned that I didn't want south Richmond and I wanted to rent.  She said she was asking because she had a house that she would be willing to rent with option but it was in Chesterfield.  I told her that I would see it.  It had what I wanted and she also let me keep the furniture still there.  She even let me pay the same rent that I had been paying.  Spirit at work!


Not long after moving in, I lost my job and car.  I couldn't continue to stay there and so I moved in with my oldest son and his girlfriend.  I moved there in February, 2009 and in May, my youngest son gave me his car to use.  In August (again), I sensed that it was time for me to go and I said to Spirit that I needed a place to stay with little or no rent because I didn't have an income.  I don't know why I didn't ask for a job.  In September of that year, my friend Melvina, asked me to apply for a resident manager position with her part time job, Daughters of Zelophehad.  I did and received the job.  In addition to living rent free, I received a stipend.  I had lost weight due to the Extreme Boot Camp program I attended in LA in 2008, because my oldest daughter felt it would benefit me.  It did.  I continued the program when I returned to VA and even incorporated jogging into my regime.  I felt great.


In August of 2010, I received an email from The New Seminary for Interfaith Studies in New York.  I looked into them when I was ordained in 2007 by the minister of the church I attended at the time.  I decided that I would attend the open house.  I applied for the two year program and was accepted.  In June of 2011, the resident manager position ended because the company took a new direction.  The seminary was undergoing changes as well.  I decided to apply for One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and was accepted and graduated in June, 2012.  With both seminaries I was able to fulfill some financial obligations with the help of people attending the seminary that God placed in my life.  I am forever grateful to them and to my long time friend Cher for her help on two occasions with other things.  "I get by with a little help from my friends."- The Beatles


In January of 2012, my best friend, whose mother I stayed with, made her transition.  I also started a new job as a residential youth counselor.  I unjustly lost that job in August, 2012.  In October I was in NY for a work study to fulfill my portion of a financial obligation with OSIS.  When I returned I was very anxious.  I felt that a life changing event was about to happen.  Of course breast cancer was discovered two months later.  In April, 2013 I lost the apartment and in November, 2013, I lost my possessions in storage.  On the surface, it appears that I am back to square 1 when I left my husband.  Everything that I accumulated when I declared my independence is gone.  I don't have a place of my own and I no longer have a car.  It's after losing my things that this journey started. 


In 2008, when I lived in the lawyer's house in Chesterfield county, almost every show on television had to do with homelessness.  I remember asking Spirit if I would be homeless at some point or if I were to work with the homeless?  Well it seems as if both have happened.  I'm not totally homeless, there is a roof over my head.  I just don't have a place of my own and I keep my things in boxes and suitcases.  But I'm not in the elements and I am grateful.  In a sense I am back to square 1 and it's not a bad place to be.  I can begin again.  I'm also free of all of my "stuff" and I had a lot of it!  For me, now, less is more.  I'm once again at a crossroads and not sure where I'm headed.  I only know that God/Goddess/All That Is is in control.


My friend Melvina asked me to apply for a position as a Mental Health Technician with Rubicon, a drug facility.  I did and as of last week they have been checking my references.  I need an income other than SS and I don't mind working.  Yet there is this reluctance to accept this position, if offered.  This has been my field of expertise for the last five years but I'm not sure if I'm up to that energy any more.  I am also wondering whether this is where Spirit wants me.  Having lost jobs either through termination or the jobs folding, I wonder if Spirit is telling me to "come up higher".  Is it time for me to do what 'thus saith the Lord" and fulfill my destiny?  Jeremiah 29:11says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  NIV  


I close with this: "Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting." - Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns


Until next Sunday,
Merry part and merry meet again,
Blessed be,
Gypsi Mama Michelle



































Sunday, November 16, 2014

Richmond, VA


Merry meet Friends,

Michelle here bringing lots of light and love!

                         

“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…..sometimes even physically.– Raquel Cepeda

“I am the now of the then.  My body is the embodiment of all my ancestors who came before me.  They live on in me.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

“Return to the land of your fathers; blood calls to blood.” – Horton Deakins

“When we have passed a certain age, the soul of the child that we were and the souls of the dead from whom we sprang come and shower upon us their riches and their spells, asking to be allowed to contribute to the new emotions which we feel and in which, erasing their former image, we recast them in an original creation.” – Marcel Proust, The Captive & The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6)

“When our hearts turn to our ancestors, something changes inside us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves.” – Russell M. Nelson

 

Since hearing my ancestors calling me home in September, 2012, I have been trying to figure out what that really means for me.  I don’t know which ancestors are calling.  I know next to nothing of my father’s side of the family.  A Haitian man with the title of Godfather told me that the LaForest’s were communicators.  That holds true for me, of course.  I don’t know any of the family stories, however.  On my mother’s side of the family, we have traced our ancestry back to the slave ship. 

I know that my Great Grandmother and her Grandmother were both midwives.  My Great grandmother, Rebecca, delivered most of the babies in Buckingham County at the time. She delivered my sister and a cousin.  She lived off of the land in Buckingham County/Farmville VA.  She had an outhouse, raised chickens for eggs and meat, and grew her own vegetables.  I did not like visiting her as a child.  Now I wished that I had spent summers with her and learned the ancient ways.  My Grandmother, Mary, was not interested in those ways and therefore didn’t keep all of them.  The women on my maternal side have always been very independent and strong; physically, emotionally and spiritually.  My Great-Grandmother was not tall in stature; what she lacked in height, she made up for in feistiness.  She was “feared” by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  She died on my 13th birthday. 

Grandma Earley, (as she was called), grandmother’s name was Amanda.  She was called Mandy and born into slavery.  She was as tall as an Amazon.  Her daughter Ida, my Great Great- grandmother, was born into slavery as well.  It ended when she was six.  The story goes that Grandma Mandy was married to a very short man.  Apparently they had an argument and he said some unkind things.  She picked him up and threw him against the wall.  When he picked himself up, he ran from the house and no one ever saw him again.  There is a saying among the women in my maternal family.  The saying is that we are not mean, we are firm.  I’m not sure Mandy’s husband would agree.

Grandma Ida was married to a free Indian blacksmith named Charles Lewis.  He was 31 and she was 14 years of age.  He purchased her off the auction block.  She was being sold because Judge Meredith’s wife didn’t like Ida because she was the judge’s child.  This is the same “mistress of the house” who stuffed the dishrag down Ida’s throat.  She was definitely a survivor.  When seeing pictures of Grandma Ida, one would think she was a white woman.  Charles Lewis was dark with a white beard.  My own father had a head full of grey/white hair; I suppose it’s the genes on both sides that I can attribute mine.  Grandma Earley had blonde hair that she could sit on.  She kept a plait of it in a picture frame. 

I felt that the “call to return home” meant to return to my roots.  Did that mean midwifery?  Did it mean farming?  I wasn’t sure.  As a child, other than the rain and playing outside, I don’t recall loving or even liking nature.  I wasn’t afraid of bugs or climbing trees but I guess I didn’t give nature a conscious thought.  As I’ve grown older, I find that being in nature is what soothes me.  I love the touch, feel and smell of the earth.  My time at Medicine Wheel in Earthaven instilled in me a love for growing my own food.  I’ve always had a green thumb and love growing house plants but had never tried gardening. 

Birthing or creating something from nothing is a passion of mine.  I have looked into midwifery and though I could see myself assisting in a birth and cheering on the mother, I don’t believe that I am called to that noble profession.  So is it farming?, I asked myself.  I definitely wish to live off of the land and grow my own non GMO food, so I do believe that’s a part of the call.  I think returning to my roots means something different, perhaps even ancient.  My friend, Reverend Whitney Blackburn-Lynch, shared with me how to do a Shamanic journey to find out where my soul was created.  I did and it was enlightening. 

My soul was created with medicine, magic, motherhood, wisdom, love, sex, beauty, fertility, the moon, birthing and the hunt.  The Goddesses Isis, Venus and Diana were there.  Medusa, whose name means “guardian” or “protectress”, was the one who led me to them.  She had locs instead of snakes for hair.  They were tossing each of those qualities into the fire and reciting words as they did so.  It’s interesting that I am born under the fire sign of Sagittarius.  Whether one adheres to mythology or not, I found it fun and interesting. 

The earth is our mother, Gaia.  I wonder if being called home has to do with being called back to the earth, to the ancient ways of women.  After sensing that call is when I became more interested in the ancient ways. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence.  The ancient ways of women include but are not limited to, the healing arts, midwifery, blood wisdom, growing herbs and a “knowing,” better known as intuition.  These ways and being true to their inherent nature is what caused many women to be tortured, burned, and executed.  It caused many more to hide who they were for fear of the same punishment.  The wisdom of women still causes some to be isolated, shunned and misunderstood, even in our modern society.

I want to know about my ancestry and what gifts the women in my family shared.  If anything was passed down from generation to generation, it stopped somewhere before I was born.  My ancestors, as does everyone’s, go back to the beginning of time.  Whether one believes the biblical account of Adam and Eve or not, we still had to have originated from the same source.  We all share the same ancestors and bloodline.  So I guess my lineage is the same as all women.

What I do know is that my passion/ministry is toward women; helping women to remember who we are and were before patriarchy.  I am not advocating a world run by women.  I am advocating a balance of power, however.  Is it wrong to want to do the things that are inherent in women?  Everyone does not want to learn or live the ancient ways and I am fully aware of that.  But isn’t it good to know from whence we came; to understand yourself, children and grandchildren; to know why we may be interested in certain behaviors?  I believe that when we as women begin to know and honor ourselves, that men will do the same toward us and themselves.  As I embrace more of the Crone and becoming an Elder, I find that I am increasingly drawn to the cycles of the Earth, the Moon and the Holy-days on the Wheel of the Year. 

I have always been one to question.  I like knowing how things began and why.  We have become so accustomed, as a people, to accepting things blindly as truth and acting upon them.  To illustrate this, I will share a story that perhaps many of you have heard.  A woman was preparing a roast for dinner as her husband watched.  He noticed that she cut a portion of the roast off and placed it on the side.  He asked why she did that.  She said that she had always seen her mom do it.  The husband was an inquisitive chap and wanted to know, and so he called his mother-in-law to ask.  Her response was that she had seen her mother do it.  This led to a call to the grandmother.  When asked the question, she laughed and said that she had done it because her pan was too small for the roast.  How many generations would have done the same thing without someone questioning?

The Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates in English to “reach back and get it (san-to return; ko-to go; fa- to look, to seek and take).  It is sometimes seen as the Asante Adinkra symbol of a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back.  Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”  This is why the Sankofa is moving forward in pictures.  We learn about the past to know our future.  In the story above, the husband “reached back” to get information which affected his future; (cooking all of the meat if nothing else).  It is my wish “to reach back and get it”, not only for myself but for all humanity.  “To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child” –Cicero.   My ancestors are crying to be heard.  They are saying, “Pick up the mantle.”   I am listening and obeying.


P.S. According to my cousin Debbie's comment, Grandma Earley delivered all of her daughter's children (her grandchildren) except one.  She also delivered one of her daughters, my grandmother, Mary aka Nana

Until next Sunday,

Merry part and merry meet again.

Blessed be!,

Gypsi Mama Michelle

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Richmond, VA


Merry meet friends!

Michelle here, bringing lots of love and light

“Why should we live in such a hurry and waste of life?...I wish to live deliberately…I wish to learn what life has to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived…I do not wish to live what is not life…”   Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Bob Marley said, “Open your eyes, look within.  Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”  If we’re not, then maybe it is time to make a change.  “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”   E.M. Forster.

What is the life that is waiting for me?  I have asked this so many times in my life.  As a survivor of sexual and domestic violence and breast cancer, I feel that there is a reason I have survived.  Of course, if I had not, there would be a reason for that as well.  But since I did, I would like to know why I did.  It’s not enough for me that I did, the whys of things have always been important to me.  I wrote this poem in 1977 which explains this feeling.

Purpose

I wonder what time

Has in store for me

I wonder what my purpose

In life could be.

We were all born to die;

We all know the reason why

But between birth and death,

There’s a space indefinite.

I can’t believe we’re put here

Only to exist

To say we’re only to survive,

To me is merely myth

There must be a purpose,

Something to fulfill

Perhaps I can find it,

I’m determined that I will.

What a moment that would be;

An everlasting proof

To know the reason for my birth,

To know at last the truth!

But until that day arrives,

I hope only to survive

This existence that’s so meager

Anticipating, hopefully,

A new rebirth so eager.  (Poetic license)

Michelle LaForest-Roberts © 1977

It’s extremely important to me to understand life and the meaning of it. 

I’ve always wondered why things happen as they do and what makes the mind work in the different ways that it does.  I believe that everything in life is energy emanating from the same source.  We are one with the source but are different expressions of it.  It’s similar to the waves in the ocean.  The ocean is in the waves and the waves are in the ocean but the waves are not the ocean.  They are just an expression of the ocean.  Some waves are higher than others and some are more forceful but they are all waves in the same ocean, none the less.  It’s the same with people.  We think and act differently but we are all still people from the same source.

I’ve been sad for the past two weeks.  I am an Empath so I never know when it’s my feelings or if I’m experiencing the feelings of others.  It could very well be my own though.  With the sun in Scorpio, which is also my rising sign, it is not unusual for me to experience sadness at present.  Scorpio is ruled by Mars and Pluto.  Mars is the planet of outward activity. “ Pluto is a force for change that can be destructive in its power.  As God of the underworld Pluto brings the deepest compulsions into the light.  Its position indicates areas of life that must ultimately become transformed as part of the soul’s evolution.  Scorpio is the most intense sign of the Zodiac, and is associated with sexual activity and with the symbolism of death and rebirth.  Their emotions run deep.”..Astrograph.com. I guess my innermost feelings are coming to the forefront in order to be healed.

I’m discovering that I am affected by the Full Moon.  I often forget this because it’s once a month.  The days, sometimes weeks, leading up to it is when I begin to feel it.  I didn’t consciously recognize this until my friend, Sonya Brown, reminded me.  Once the Moon is actually full or the second day of its fullness, I seem to be “normal” again; whatever that is.  LOL!  As of this writing, the Moon is in Gemini.  My Moon is in Gemini, so even though the Full Moon affects me in an emotional way, the Gemini Moon would have me feeling communicative, light hearted and playful.  Go figure.  I am in the process though, of accessing my life and looking at the places we/I would normally keep hidden from us/me. 

Who am I, really?  Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Based on this bold statement, it’s good that I am asking the questions.  I want to know who I am at the core.  “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”….Lao Tzu.  It’s not that I don’t know myself at all, it’s that I want to really know who I am.  What makes me tick?  Why do I act the way that I do?  Am I truly living life or am I pretending?  I refer back to the last part of Thoreau’s quote: “I do not wish to live what is not life.”  So what is life and how do I/we live it?  As my poem above says I don’t want to just survive.  I want to live, I want to live, I want to live!  If I’m feeling this way and I’m saying this, then it stands to reason that I am not living; at least not in the way my soul desires. 
But what is the desire of my soul?  That's another question that I've been asking for what seems like a lifetime.  The desire is to live but what does that mean for me?  There are the sayings of "Live out loud!, Live with gusto!, and so forth.  Does living life mean being who you are and not who people expect you to be?  Does it mean living boldly?  Does it mean living on purpose?  Does it mean no longer hiding from yourself?  For women, does it mean to let the wild, inherent nature out?  Does it mean howling at the moon?  Does it mean to just "be"? 
Am I over thinking this, as those close to me would say that I do?  How will I find the answers without asking the questions?  And as you can see, I have plenty!  As I become more of "me", I wish to express that.  Sometimes being me bothers people but sometimes it sets others free.  Thank you, Nessa Crescent Moon!  Howling at the moon can be so freeing.  It releases pent up feelings that we as humans suppress.  Observing nature and the animals can teach us how to live, I believe.  Eat when hungry, sleep when tired, eat from the earth and in season.  And definitely howl at the moon!

Life is a mystery to me and I have always liked mysteries since my Aunt Pat started us on mystery books as a child.  The process of figuring things out gets my adrenaline up and running.  But life is a mystery that’s still unfolding for me and probably always will.  I think every life is worth living, Socrates, however if what you stated is true, mine is, because I examine it to infinity and beyond.  Now that’s  some examining.  Life has twists, turns, ups, downs, mountain highs, valley lows, disappointments, exaltations, love, pain, beauty and creation.  All of these and more help us to “live life”.  Conan O’Brien said, “The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”   No, Bob Marley, I’m not always satisfied with the life I’m living, but it’s the one I have and I can/will make it count.  The journey continues.

Until next Sunday,

Merry part and merry meet again,

Blessed be…..

Gypsi Mama Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Richmond, VA


Merry meet Friends!

Michelle here, bringing lots of light and love!

“If I make a fool of myself, who cares?  I’m not frightened by anyone’s perception of me.”……..Angelina Jolie

“I’m not interested in trying to work on people’s perceptions.  I am who I am, and if you don’t take the time to learn about that, then your perception is going to be your problem.”…..Jim Brown

“Anybody who’s ever gone through a hard time – any outsider’s perception, no matter how much information they’re given, they have no idea what the person’s life is like.”….Amy Grant

 

The word perception is defined as…”the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses; a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression”.  I realize that for most people “Perception is reality”…Lee Atwater.  If that is the way something is perceived by an individual, then for that individual, it is reality.  However, that isn’t always the truth.  Our perceptions are borne out of our upbringing, experiences and other people’s perceptions.  Attaching a meaning to or labeling someone or something because of a belief system developed over time, does not make that so.

We all have a way we would like to be seen in the world.  As children we are told to “put our best foot forward”, “first impressions count”, and so forth.  But that doesn’t indicate who the person really is, does it?  Case in point, Ted Bundy.  Bundy made such a “delightful” first impression that he was able to earn the trust of 30 women before luring them to a secluded place to murder them.  How was he able to do this?  He had such kind eyes and was so charming, that his first impression led to their last impression of a ruthless killer.

I am a light-hearted, fun loving, flirtatious, curious, “frisky mentor”, studious, intelligent, wild, free, orphic individual.  Needless to say, this has gotten me into trouble in relationships.  It was my “way of being” that caused some of the domestic violence in my first marriage.  He was a jealous insecure man and didn’t know how to handle someone like me.  Once in my first marriage when I was in the car with my then husband, I saw a friend walking down the street.  I waved at him and he waved back.  I was hit for that action because I was accused of him being “my man”.  He continued to hit so much that a policeman stopped the car.  Apparently he could see him hitting me from his car. The policeman asked if I was ok.  Honestly, I was too afraid to say that I wasn’t.  I thought I would get worse treatment when I returned home.

Sometimes in life I have felt the need to play small, to not be the person I am, for fear of hurting those in my life.  I believe that even gaining weight, at various times over the years, has been a subconscious action because it stopped some attention I may have gotten.  It became a defense mechanism, so to speak.  It has taken me quite a long time to become the “me” that I AM and I am still becoming.  I don’t always make the best choices in my journey of becoming, but the choices have been a part of my becoming.  We learn as we grow, hopefully.

My mother used to tell my sister and me that a man could get drunk and stay out all night, and he would still be called Mr. Whomever in the morning.  But, she said, if a woman did the same thing, she would be called a whore.  I grew up in the fifties and I realize those were different times but have we really come that far?  As I watched Scandal, on Thursday, Olivia Pope corrected the President when he called Abbie a “bitch”.  She said that if a man had acted like Abbie, he would be considered assertive, a take charge person.  Men and women are seen in totally different ways.  Is that from years of conditioning, a skewed perception or because we have a patriarchal society? 

I am not against men, I have two sons.  I am however, against the perceptions that men have placed upon women.  It’s not only men though.  Women do the same thing.  We label women who act differently than what’s considered the way a “lady” should behave.  Mae West said, “Well behaved women rarely make history.”  I don’t believe Mae was saying to totally disregard morals and to have no respect for one’s self.  I do think she was advocating equality and not double standards.  So in this regard, I guess I am considered a feminist or more likely a womanist.

I’m on my soap box about this, because this week I’ve had to deal with someone else's “perceptions” about how I act and who I'm expected to be.  I am so tired of other people telling me who I am!  I believe that I am open about my sense of self.  I shared a post on Facebook that said, "I don't know how to act my age; I've never been this age before."  I have a sense of humor and I like to play.  I do believe in the Wiccan Rede: In all things, do as you will but harm none.  To be sure, we can’t always know what action may cause someone harm.  But sometimes, it’s not truly harm; it is the person’s perception of how they believe things ought to be.  Most of the time it’s about the way they think certain actions of another make them appear.  Ego, at its best. 

It is my hope that we become a society of people who will take the time to get to know someone and not judge them based on perceptions.  I wish to see equality for ALL.  As long as we hide ourselves behind masks, though, people will never get to view the real us.  Perhaps perceptions are all they have if we are not being real.  We can use intuition and discernment to “show” us those we wish to know.  I want to know as I am known.  I want you to truly see me and allow me to see you. 

In my first year, and on the first day of seminary at The New Seminary, we did an exercise that I have never forgotten.  It touched me in so many ways.  Each person went to another person and said these words;  “Hi, I’m Michelle (or whatever the name).  I’m here to be seen.”  The other person then said: “Hi Michelle (or whatever the name) I see you.”  We then reversed it for that person.  This was done for each person in the room.  Some people just did the exercise but some really took the time to see you.  My first year dean, Sandra Bargeman, was one of those who I felt really saw me.  I cried and it changed me then and there.  Peabo  Bryson sang, “Feel me, I want to feel the fire, yeah.  Feel me, I want to feel you, Oh”.  I know that the song was about making love but it was also about feeling on a soul level.  Let us see each other so that we may feel the fire of each other’s souls and connect, really connect.

Until next Sunday,

Merry part and merry meet again,

Blessed be,

Gypsi Mama Michelle