nature

An October Story for the Children of the Moon and the Daughters of the Earth

An October Story for the Children of the Moon and the Daughters of the Earth

Conversations with my daughter enliven and exhaust me sometimes, especially when we’re trying to sort through stories about our beautiful, brutal, complicated world. Trying to put things into words she can understand when I realize I don’t even have the words...

Ultimately, these conversations offer the best stories and make me a better storyteller.

Darkness and Light Upon a Summer Solstice Strawberry Moon

Darkness and light upon a summer solstice strawberry moon #365StrongStories by marisa goudyIt is more difficult than we imagine to hold space with the ultimate power of the sun and the full revelation of the moon. But here we are on June 20, 2016. I’m so grateful to summer and thankful for its lush splendor. My eyes fill with tears that dry instantly on my cheeks in the face of a solstice sun at noon.

Is this what abundance feels like?

This first day of summer decorated by a full moon feels like a full belly and a hunger to show gratitude. It feels like being anchored in the light-drenched earth and flying into the air all at once.

Tonight, I know I will not sleep. I’ll curse that bright-as-day orb even as I long to dance through the yard, bathed in her silver glow.

My toddler and I just spent a leisurely hour picking plants that promise to be drought resistant. (I am assuming I can translate that into “hearty enough to survive the care of a gardener who is better at describing the act of planting and tending than she is at finding the watering can.”)

It’s time to rescue the flowers from the car and find my widest brimmed hat and start preparing our rocky ground. But all I can do is squint from the shade of the porch, dizzied with the luster of this Summer Solstice Strawberry Moon June day.

Today, the sun reaches its zenith. Tonight, the moon shines with her fullest glory. To be alive is to know such brilliant illumination - almost more than you can stand. And it is to remember, somewhere in the overwhelming bliss, that there will be a darkness as bountiful as the light. That is how the heavens teach us about the cycles of living until we die. The loss, the dissolution, the shadows we must cast if we want to make a home in the light.

I still want to cry. With joy and thanks. With the ache for all the lost friends and departed family who will never walk east with me at sunrise, chasing our shadows into a new morning.

I still need to weep with all the potential I feel too full to hold. All the love to give, the stories to write, the healing spaces to create.

In this day of all possible illumination I see that I am afraid of becoming parched, sunburned, bleached. I am in love with the light, but I am wise enough to name and allow my fear.

What does it mean to be so visible, to have every laugh line and squinter’s crease and typo brought into such sharp relief?

Up the Mountain by Guest Storyteller Sharon Rosen

Up the mountain by guest storyteller Sharon Rosen #365StrongStories“Thank God for those twice weekly yoga classes” is all I can think. It is a nearly straight uphill hike to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Madison Hut, where we’ll spend this first night in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I’m mid-menstruation, at the end of a sinus infection, and have a 27-pound pack on my back. This wasn’t quite the image I had in mind during all of our excited months of planning. One step at a time. I call out to my friends, so far ahead I’ve lost sight of them, grateful yet chagrined when one stops, waits and shifts her pace to mine.

I am aware of every muscle in my legs, hips, and butt. I thought I knew them intimately from my study of anatomy, the hundreds of bodies I’ve massaged, my erotic explorations with adventurous partners. But this has an intimacy and immediacy all its own.

Lift leg. Find footing. Shift weight forward. Bring body up, feel pack shift, breathe. Notice the strength the standing postures have given me — hips empowered from all that rising on one leg into Warrior Three —as well as the thump of my heart, the throb in my head, the heaviness in my uterus.

Up and up, one step at a time, 3500 feet in about 3.5 miles. It is a lesson in humility (but I’m young, I’m strong, I’m limber!). It is a lesson in pure presence and awareness (one slip, one wrong turn of the ankle and yikes). It is a lesson in activating strengths I didn’t know I had.

Finally at the hut, relieved of backpacks, my friends lightly take the last few hundred feet to the summit. I hang back, boots off and feet up, basking in the warmth of my tea, the crisp crunch of an apple. I savor every sip, every bite, every sensation as I await their return. Tomorrow will bring its own unknowable challenges.

Sharon Rosen #365StrongStories guest storyteller Sharon Rosen is a spiritual healer, mindful living mentor and author who helps women learn to dance gracefully with the rhythms of their lives. www.heartofselfcare.com

To Become a Stronger Storyteller, Don't Write. Explore.

Just for today: don't write. Go explore. #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudySometimes the best way to strengthen your storytelling and feed your writing practice is to take a time away from the page. When my husband asks me what I want for Mother's Day, "time to myself" is always near the top of the list. I was looking forward to an hour with my journal to write and mourn my mom and follow a thought from beginning to end without having to play referee or ask anyone if they needed to use the potty.

But then, as he started to pack everyone in the car, it became clear that I needed to savor an even rarer pleasure - time alone with my older daughter.

As a rule, she asks for more of my focused attention than I could ever provide. Today, however, as we explored the acres of awakening woods behind our house, just the two of us, we met unfathomable abundance. Amidst the unfurling ferns, the scattering of wild strawberries, and the countless fairy dens, I could give her all she asked for and more.

Was it the magic of the date on the calendar, when the ubiquitous celebration of mother love made me a better mama than usual? Can I think Nature's May display of infinite enoughness? Was it simply that my relationship with my daughter makes sense when we have time and space enough to hold it?

On Sundays, the #365StrongStories project is devoted to offering up a writing prompt. This week, I invite you to take part in a BEING prompt.

Go out and explore. Break a writing date with yourself and wander with eyes wide open. Say "yes" and spread your arms wide to the unexpected. When it's time, come back to the pen or keyboard and start something new.

Where the Water Meets the Earth Day

Where the Water Meets the Earth Day, #365StrongStories by Writer and Storytelling Coach Marisa GoudyEight long months have passed. Finally, the moment I have been longing for. I’m standing at the edge. I am home. Water. Sky. Frigid spring sand cradling my white winter feet.

It happens to be Earth Day, but that is just a coincidence. I am much more interested in the ocean than I am in the earth right now.

I call myself a mermaid who accidentally found herself living in the mountains. Over the almost twenty years since I left Cape Cod, the only thing more troubling than a landlocked existence is the way I’ve almost stop noticing the dull ache of my separation from the sea.

But finally, I am here. And I feel… nothing.

Maybe it is because my head is full of stories that are about everything but the natural world. Perhaps it is the habitual lack of sleep that makes it hard to be present in the moment. A lot of my distraction is due to the effort it takes to keep a two year-old from falling into the freezing cold water while she tries to wade after sister.

Either way, I feel like a failed mermaid and an Earth Day flunkie.

Luckily, the Bay will be there tomorrow. The sky and the sand and those squawking gulls will  be too.

The Earth and her waters and her ceaseless winds have a way of forgiving us not matter how many times we forget and lose our way.

Thanks, Mama.