Weaving Threads of Women’s Transformation through Changing Times

A series of powerful experiences have come together to shape events over the next few months in Circling San Francisco Bay .

East: Last fall, Daniel Foor, Carolyn Clebsch, and I put together a circumambulation of Mt. Diablo; among various processes, the group bore witness to atrocities involving Native Americans committed on that mountain and throughout California. This pilgrimage opened a window to the long-term effects we carry of these and other related generational wounds.

North: A series of Scandinavian mystery writers (Steig Larssen and Henning Mankell in particular) have emerged, laying bare unexplored generational wounds in that lineage, as well as multiple challenges unique to the emerging global community. These stories have catalyzed readers in dozens of countries; literature has the power to expose issues, invite dreams and attention to unfinished business, and express private untold journeys through someone else’s story.

West: Another important book came to my attention. “When Everything Changed: the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present” addresses issues and challenges of our mothers’ lives. Its perspective allows us to see their stories in a broader context, creating a brilliant opportunity to re-shape how we may carry personal relationships with our mothers, and the effects of their journeys on our own lives.

South: During a recent gathering, the shaman Don Juan Nunez del Prado shared with us approaches to being present during Pachacuti, the time predicted in the tradition of the Inkas for the total transformation of life on the planet. Nearly 20 years ago at sacred sites in the Andes, I’d been in the first group of people not of the Inka lineage to receive from Juan the Great Initiation, Hatun Carpay. Practices of shamanism have profoundly affected my personal and spiritual journey. Now as we move into that long-anticipated transformation, they’re an inspiration in meeting the world being turned on its head environmentally, spiritually, and economically!”

Books and events led me to invite a small group of women to gather together the evening of Mother’s Day; we met in the Medicine Circle in my garden to share photos of our mothers – and then shared stories of our mothers. Simple and yet profound, we were astounded at their power.

There were common threads – among them, the support and encouragement many mothers extended not just to their own children, but as a life stance toward the community as a whole. They responded to needs they sensed in others, often without honoring their own.

Another common thread of these decades was frequently an underlying unhappiness or lack of satisfaction. Although not expressed directly, it was often harbored as anger or a sense of hopelessness about things they felt couldn’t be changed. Humor was bouncy castle an important survival tool, but daughters sometimes bore painfully the brunt of mothers’ personal dissatisfaction.

In our circle of daughters, we laughed and cried together – and realized that stories still need to unfold. The stories leave unfinished business.

On my website, you’ll find invitations to a series of ecopsychology events that will help our stories unfold. Some gatherings will involve nature spirituality, as we work with the energy of sacred places, using practices of shamanism, meditation, and deep observation. Others will be local day-long spiritual retreats involving movement, tales, talk and soul collage. Let’s tickle the unconscious, and see what jiggles loose. I invite you to continue – or begin – to explore the visions and journeys of our mothers, discover ways to release pain we’ve taken on. We can bring to the surface the strengths they relied on, the dreams they carried. Distance from events, and a broader perspective, can support change in how we’re holding experiences. We can bring to bear new understanding from traditions of shamanism and Buddhism.