On Monday and Tuesday I wrote recipes. I’m about done with the bone broth recipes and have moved on to lots of yummy things to do with that freezer full of broth once you’ve got it. The possibilities are nearly endless!
Wednesday brought a bit of a calendar melt-down, followed by a video meeting with Dr. Scott Mills, the Chief Evolutionary Officer from Planet SARK. If I were to tell the truth, I’d admit that the whole video meeting thing still weirds me out some but I’m getting better. (I seem to have early childhood camera traumas that still need some work!)
It was a great meeting, especially if you consider truckloads of new things to ponder to be a good thing, which I do. We talked about books. Specifically, the second edition of my Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope, which is in the works, and Let’s Boil Bones, which is close to done. We talked about things like marketing and positioning and list building and other things that are, for me, a lot harder than the actual writing.
They’re also things that are pretty important in the sense that I really want to help people build more love, stronger families, and–since we’re being honest–a better world! It’s a big goal, I know. That’s why I need some help from people like Scott, and the amazing SARK.
If you’re wondering what I did with all my truck loads of new things to ponder, I’ll tell you. I started knitting! Knitting helps me think. It has to do with something called cross-lateral brain motions and doing different things with each hand all at once. For many people it helps to get in touch with the creative centers in the brain. For me, the colors help, too, as certain colors tend to leave me feeling focused in a very calm sort of way. That’s a great thing!
I knit quite a bit Wednesday evening, stopping every few rows to jot down some new question or inspiration. Then I knit some more. When I’m doing the thinking kind of knitting, I do very simple, back and forth, back and forth, knitting every row type projects. And, as I didn’t want to take time out to go shopping, I was knitting yarn I already had, mostly leftovers, and that suggested winter scarves because they work well with small amounts of many different yarns.
I knit scarves for both my girls who live where the winter is likely to be colder than it is in Atlanta, still stopping every few rows to jot down the tiny lightbulb thoughts that kept appearing in my mind. Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that I needed to keep knitting so I decided to knit up a bunch of leftover yarn in to scarves I could take to the Open Door where they could be given to some of our homeless neighbors.
That plan involved sending Bill on an expedition to the basement to find more yarn. And I kept knitting. (I’m knitting still, but we’ll get back to that in a bit.)
On Friday I took a break to sit with some clients. One conversation surprised me. “How,” asked one woman, “do you be a grandmother? What does that look like in this world?”
Well, that was a pretty timely question!
Now, I’m not technically a Freudian or a Jungian, but I have a great deal of respect for free associations so I went with the first inspiration that came to mind and I introduced my client to the work of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, whom I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Specifically her myths & stories of the Wise Woman Archetype known as The Dangerous Old Woman.
Dr. Estes explains a traditional notion of sheltering others “under our danger” which means “under the protection of” very like standing under the strong and sheltering arms of a great and ancient tree. This rings so true for me…Well, not so much the ancient part(!) as hoping beyond hope to be that kind of strong sheltering wisdom and presence for my girls in many changing ways as they grow. My grandmothers, in very different ways, were surely that for me.
Friday evening brought more scribbling and knitting. The scarves were multiplying and I was getting clearer and clearer about the essential bits of my next steps. I was also getting tired.
On Saturday morning, one of my favorite recurring miracles happened! Sarah apparently decided that she would catch another nap before breakfast and let me sleep long enough to still be in bed when the sun got high enough to make its way to the east-facing window over my head. I lingered there a bit, in that odd sort of consciousness where dreaming wanders into the moment of awakening, bathed in sunlight and wrapped in one of my favorite quilts.
There my girls were, in my mind and heart, complete with their adorable new back-to-school haircuts and wrapped in a warm golden light like the sun. A light that my Qigong guru says is the frequency of wisdom and protection!
And I felt full of hope.
Then, in that same dreamy, golden space, came the missing piece of this puzzle I’d been knitting my way through for days and it came in the distinctive voice of Dr. Estes, herself. Just three little words whispered, confidentially, to me and to all of us who hear.
I’ve loved these three little words for several years now, but in that moment I heard them for what they really are. A message to all of us in these times.
Respect people — not convention.
Don’t settle. Don’t give up. Don’t cave in.
Listen to your own voice.
Speak your own truth.
Keep working to change what needs to be changed.
I know. I know. That message, in and of itself, doesn’t fix what so desperately needs fixing in our world. It doesn’t make life easy. It doesn’t heal racism or climate change or struggles to simply survive. It does, however, improve the odds that we can help raise people who will be less stuck and more free. I find boundless hope in that!
Oh, the three little words???
Behave yourself. Barely!
I have another meeting with Scott on Monday. And pages and pages of notes to remind me of what I’ve learned. Maybe I’ll make him a scarf!