Life

I Hate The Word Submission

 

 I am a woman. I have dreams, hopes, fears, desires, thoughts, opinions, aspirations. I have a voice. But often it is strangled into silence. Submission. 

I am a woman. What on earth could I have that’s worth contributing to the world? I watch other women stifle their voice, bury the woman they are at the expense of a man. They were taught that we are less than a man. A woman is made to support a man and be “submissive” to him. 

Oh, how I hate that word! Submission. Often times it appeared in life, spouted at me as my role as a woman. It’s the Christian way to be. A wife submits to her husband. It was used against me when I was married eons ago. I was to be quiet, subservient, speak when only spoken to woman. 

Sure, it says “submit” in the Bible. I know the verses. And I have an issue with them. Why must a woman submit to anything, especially to a man? But the more I think about it, the more I discern a deeper message, rediscovering the Sacred Feminine, the core of all humanity. And yet we have forgotten, or been denied, the depths of this mystery, of how the divine light of the soul creates a body in the womb of a woman, and how the mother shares in this wonder, giving her own blood, her own body, to what will be born.  Our culture’s focus on a disembodied, transcendent God has left women bereft, denying them the sacredness of this simple mystery of divine love.

What we do not realize is that this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself.  When we deny the divine mystery of the feminine we also deny something fundamental to life.  We separate life from its sacred core, from the matrix that nourishes all of creation.  We cut our world off from the source that alone can heal, nourish and transform it.  The same sacred source that gave birth to each of us is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish it with what is real, and to reveal to us the mystery, the divine purpose to being alive.

Because humanity has a central function in the whole of creation, what we deny to ourself we deny to all of life.  In denying the feminine her sacred power and purpose we have impoverished life in ways we do not understand.  We have denied life its sacred source of meaning and divine purpose. 

Did you know that the ancient religions on Earth celebrated women? We were revered, honored, worshipped. God was the Goddess. He and She were one. Women create life. We are the only ones who can do that. It’s a gift from the Divine. We were celebrated for that gift. The Divine Goddess was the Mother of All, Healer, Queen, Giver and Sustainer of Life. She is LOVE. 

The feminine IS the core of creation that is LOVE. Every woman instinctively knows that she is at the center of this great mystery of bringing life into the world – the sacred transformation of light into matter. Every woman intuitively knows that nothing can be born without the feminine Creatrix.

Sophia is a very ancient form of the Goddess of Wisdom. She is known in many traditions by different names but she carries the mantle of intuitive intelligence. Sometimes she is Isis, spreading her wings of ascension. Sometimes she is Asherah, the original bread of life. Mary Magdalene is said to have been an incarnation of Sophia.

The Old Testament’s King Solomon had a deep and profound relationship with Sophia. She was revered as the wise bride of Solomon by the Jewish people. In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom and weaving; the owl and the olive tree were sacred to her. 

The symbol of Sophia is the dove, depicted as the bird descending from the heavens, known in Christianity as the Holy Spirit. 

Isis is the Egyptian goddess of magic, fertility, and motherhood. She has gone by many names, such as the Queen of the Heavens, Star of the Sea, Light-Giver of Heaven, Lady of Green Crops, and She Who Knows How To Make Right Use Of The Heart.

She is the Great Mother of fertility, of creation, of life and death. Some see the Mary, the mother of Jesus, as an incarnation of Isis.

Women AND Men need to rediscover the feminine principles of nurturing, of love, understanding, compassion, insight, intuition, creativity, forgiveness, healing, and wisdom.

Women, we need to heal ourselves and allow our Sacred Feminine the breath of life. We need to stop denying who we truly are. We must celebrate our Divine Feminine, give ourselves a voice. Stop thinking you are less than and start believing and feeling you are more than! You are someone. You do matter. You have a voice. You are real. You are valued. You are loved. 

You are a Wild Woman who is free to be who you are in ALL your beauty and glory. 

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A Life List, Not New Year’s Resolutions or a Bucket List

Italian Echoes

It’s a new year which often means resolutions. A long time I decided that I do not like nor do I create New Year’s resolutions. In my opinion, it was just setting myself up to fail. And fail it did. Miserably. Instead, I’ve been inspired to create a “Life List” which is my version of a bucket list. It isn’t about the things I want to do before I die, but because I want to live. Lesley, at Bucket List Publications, shared a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I think says it well: “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” This applies to my art as well as my life philosophy. I always believe in trying something at least once. I may have fear, anxiety, and nerves about it, but usually, although not always (no spiders for me, thank you very much), the joy of having the experience outweighs the negatives.

Not only did I create a “Life List” of things I want to do, but I created a “Completed Life List” of things I’ve already done! It was awe-inspiring to look at that completed list and realize how much I’ve truly accomplished in my short 36 years. I highly recommend compiling both lists, and as you complete an item on the “Life List,” move it to the “Completed Life List.” The memories that come flooding back each time I read the completed list is one of my most treasured moments. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” Here’s to living life to the fullest!

Kat’s Completed Life List (So far….as I do and think of more, I add more)

1. Tour Italy
2. Drink fresh squeezed blood orange juice overlooking the Amalfi coast
3. Pray with the monks at St Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy
4. Visit Venice
5. Ride a gondola in Venice
6. Lay on the floor and gaze at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
7. See Michelangelo’s David
8. Visit the Catacombs in Italy
9. Paint a life-size mule for Miles of Mules
10. Have an article published in a magazine
11. Complete a military ropes course in the woods/swamp
12. Backpack the Delware Water Gap
13. Swim in a hot spring in Florida
14. Get a tattoo
15. Throw a coin into the Trevi fountain
16. Go white water rafting
17. Visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas
18. Walk the Riverfront in San Antonio, Texas
19. Go clamming in Maine
20. Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy
21. Visit Quebec
22. Visit Niagara Falls – Canada and USA sides
23. Visit Hershey’s Chocolate World
24. Visit Hershey Gardens to see the tulips in Spring
25. Visit Philadelphia Zoo
26. Visit the Metropolitan Art Museum
27. Visit the Philadelphia Art Museum
28. Ride an elephant
29. Participate in Mail Art
30. Swim in one of the Great Lakes (Lake Michigan)
31. Visit Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri
32. Visit Bass Pro Shops flagship store in Springfield, Missouri
33. Visit Longaberger Village in Newark, Ohio
34. Visit Longaberger Golf Club in Newark, Ohio
35. Visit all 50 states (Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Washington DC, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts)
36. Visit the Vatican in Italy
37. Have rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II
38. Visit LL Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine
39. Eat chocolate candy at
40. Dine at Shula’s Steakhouse
41. View art at Brandywine Museum (Andrew Wyeth)
42. Read one of my written stories out loud at a “reading” event
43. Go skinny dipping
44. Visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York
45. Visit the Vatican Museum in Italy
46. Visit the Liberty Bell in Washington, D.C.
47. Tour the White House
48. Sing a solo
49. See a Broadway play
50. Walked 42nd Street in New York (as an observer)
51. Ride the New York subway system
52. Visit the Reading Terminal
53. Visit the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Silence of The Catacombs

Catacombs of St. Callixtus, Catacombe di San Callisto, Italy

Filtered light refracted
Earthly catacombs descend
Martyrs and popes and babes.
Barely brushing the cobwebs
Parched dirt, moist air
Dank rendering pressing on my soul.
Airless brushes of tendrils
Caress upon my nape.
Epitaphs of human drama
Sofronia dulcis, simper vives in Deo
(O sweet Sophronia, you will live forever in God)
Death and mourning melted together
With passionate expression
Of the consoling faith.
A life beyond death,
A life among the loved ones,
An eternal life,
A life in God.

Silence of speech, of imagination,
Of spirit, fundamental to
Our dimension.
Belongs to our essence,
Guardian of our interior world.
The preliminary condition to listening
The necessary prelude of any
Human communication.

Silence of an ancient cemetery,
But not the silence of death, oh no!
It is a silence of fullness,
Filled with the voice of martyrs
Who have lived our life,
Courageously, perseveringly,
Witnessed their faith
In peace and persecution.
Silence of peace,
Of hope in a future,
A better life,
In the light of Christ’s resurrection.

A communicating silence
Speaks to the hearts and minds,
Dear pilgrims, reveals an unknown world.
We cannot quench this silence,
It speaks by itself,
Or rather shouts overbearingly.
Strepitus silentii
(The uproar of silence),
Evocative of life and sacrifice,
A privileged place.
The silence of the catacombs.

This atmosphere of silence, evocative of the life and sacrifice of the early Christians, constitutes a privileged place of spiritual meditation, of the review of one’s life, of the renewal of faith. Their courageous and faithful witness questions us personally: What is “our” answer to God’s love to-day, in a society which perhaps is not so hostile as theirs, but which is mostly indifferent to religious values?

The catacombs leave us a silent, yet clear message of faith, all the more necessary, as our age is affected with noise, outward appearance and superficiality. Words are here unnecessary, for the catacombs speak by themselves. In the footsteps of the martyrs and the early Christians, the spirituality of the catacombs will help us to celebrate the Jubilee with a true and deep renewal of our faith, in order “to live by the fullness of life in God” (Tertio Millennio Adveniente,n.6).

The catacombs are the ancient underground cemeteries, used by the Christian and the Jewish communities, above all at Rome. The Christian catacombs, which are the most numerous, began in the second century and the excavating continued until the first half of the fifth.

In the beginning they were only burial places. Here the Christians gathered to celebrate their funeral rites, the anniversaries of the martyrs and of the dead. During the persecutions, in exceptional cases, the catacombs were used as places of momentary refuge for the celebration of the Eucharist. They were not used as secret hiding places of the early Christians. This is only a fiction taken from novels or movies.

After the persecutions, especially in the time of pope Saint Damasus (366 – 384) they became real shrines of the martyrs, centers of devotion and of pilgrimage for Christians from every part of the empire.

I visited the these catacombs in the photo several years ago during a trip to Italy. I was haunted by the presence of spirits and thrum of vibrancy. The tunnels were small, confining, and dark. It was silent, but a loud silence. I was spooked and couldn’t wait to escape. I didn’t understand the singing silence until later as I realized it wasn’t a dark silence, but a silence of joy and celebration. Of a live well lived and loved. While I will never venture into the dark underground again, it’s presence has remained with me all these years. The catacombs and its silence has left its mark.

~ Kat

Follow Your Heart and Intuition

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~Steve Jobs

R.I.P. October 2011

~ Kat

After The Storm

After the storm
The sun burst forth
A moment of beauty so rare
I had to capture it while driving.
(Don’t try this on your own)
It’s in those blissful seconds
Serenity is found.

I was reminded yesterday by a fellow blogger that life is captured in the small moments, too. Sometimes it’s so easily forgotten.

Do something today, big or small, that you will remember
for the rest of your life.

 ~ Kat