Here is to the next 43 Years

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43.
And I feel like my life is just beginning
The sap is rising 😉
And there is a joyous, awestruck, exhilarated Wild Woman
ready to go the next lap,
ready to dance it, sing it, fly it

So here’s to the next 43 years
Here is to dancing into freedom
Here is to singing and swinging my joy
Expressing my rage, my power, my grace, my beauty, my delight
My Is’ness
My divinity
My unquenchable optimism
Not because I have anything to hope for
but because I have touched and keep touching
the miracle of this life, this existence

A soul in a human body
learning to inhabit the freedom of soul
in the expressive, creative, and yes beautiful constraint of body

Here is to dancing freedom, to medicine woman me, to lioness priestess, to motherhood, and loverhood, to friendships across time and space

Here’s to the next 43 years
May they rock my world
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Choosing to Live *My* Life

Inspired by many readings with Angela Deutchsman, and friendships across many lifetimes

Something is changing in me
Deeply

I am noticing that I am more able to stay engaged
to stay open
to whatever is going on
even when a big part of me would like it to be Not Quite So

I am noticing that
I cannot close any more
the sun is shining
and my blossoming soul is unfurling
Almost choicelessly

To tend to this blossoming
requires letting my being breathe
expressing my joy
letting my love flow

Sometimes letting my being breathe,
takes me into the depths of darkness
where breath may have been suspended
for years on end – perhaps even lifetimes

Can I love the dirty, sordid parts of myself?
As I touch them, and begin to dance with them,
I discover that they may be richly stained
but not sordid, not dirty,
those very words are a judgement
perhaps of something that I have not been ready
to face, to own, to claim.
With it comes
power
Immense, raw, creative power
My warriors cry sounds loud and strong

I am noticing
a clarity
a sharpness entering my field
a sharper, clearer, stronger me
as I become more and more open
unapologetic for who I am
choosing from joy,
learning that I have nothing to hide
And what a relief this is
I can breathe freely

I am discovering that my most important work is to be Free
My most important work is to be Me
and not just any me
My responsibility, I am recognising with increasing excitement,
is to choose  that which makes me the most alive, joyful, expansive, and vibrant self –
to choose that – and nothing more

And ironically – or perhaps not so ironically –
this enables me to offer
the greatest gift to those
around me

The permission to choose in that direction too
And
The benefit of a more vibrant sparkling Maaianne 😉

I long for a world in which we can each show up,
as our vibrant sparkling stained selves,
joyful, expansive, alive!
dancing to our own beat

Until it dawns
I will dance My dance
increasingly freeing myself to dance the tune
that resonates most deeply with my heart

And I invite you to join with yours

Here I am
Here is I

Showing up
Ready to dance
Dancing

Dancing
My life

Dancing
Life

Life
Dancing
Me

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With Gogo Bev at Mana Pools, delighting in Life

Celebrating Freedom

Today is Zimbabwe’s independence day.
Technically we are celebrating 34 years of independence (so young!).

I have decided to join the celebrations today.
And to celebrate a slight different aspect than the political technicalities of freedom.

I am celebrating today the freedom that dances in my cells.
The freedom that is rising in people everywhere –
And in the people of Zimbabwe.
to follow and live our own deep Joy

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I am choosing to make today a celebration
for all those of us, in ways big and small,
Who are making space in our lives
for that which brings the deepest joy
different for each one of us,
equally valid for each one of us

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For me, personally, it is the freedom
To dance each morning,
simply because it makes me feel deeply good
The freedom to love my dogs insanely (I just finished feeding all five of them) 🙂
To serve the children,
to create a safe container for their free and beautiful spirits to flourish
as we create a school that can be big enough to love and hold and support them in their journey

The freedom to follow a path of calling forth the medicine of women
beginning with my own
The freedom to fall in love each day, many times over
with whatever connects to my heart and soul
trees, people, animals, life, you name it!

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I celebrate today
The freedom that I am experiencing at Kufunda
As people are choosing increasingly
to show up as themselves
instead of what our culture has told us to be
Sikethiwe, Fidelis, Admire, Tsitsi, Anna Tenis, Maria, Enock, Ethel,
and so many more
slowly but surely standing up to be yourselves
I honour you deeply
I see your deep grace, power, beauty,
And thank you for showing up
Life is richer – infinitely – with you in it 🙂

IMG_0620IMG_6387I celebrate today
The freedom I am experiencing in all our children here
as they discover that their curiosity and delight
are gifts that we treasure and welcome
Tino, Maki, Joseph, Emily, Claudia, Alice, Ayemu, Ngoni…
and all of you that I haven’t mentioned by name
You are sooo beauitful
Your gifts are already taking us all by storm

 Today I celebrate 
The freedom I experience in pockets of Zimbabwean society
freedom to speak, to sing, to dance,
to express the soul of this place and this people
To make choices that go against the grain of so much of what is here
Simply because it is what our free souls must do

Freedom to choose love over hate
Simply because hate feels heavy and toxic
and love brings joy and space and possibility and grace
Today I brought Mugabe into my dance
With gratitude
for all that he has taught us
May we learn the lessons well
Aah that he would join this dance of celebrating
the deeper freedoms that are rising here
One day perhaps he shall

For now I celebrate
with a light and overflowing heart
with delight in my being
for the joy and the freedom
that live here already
And for the MUCH more of it
that I know is possible and is on its way
as more and more and more of us
begin to choose
the dance of freedom

 Dancing on into freedom

…. At 42 I am exploding into my freedom and into my Self
All the old, boring, limiting nice-ness finally being swept away
by my dancing feet, and drumming heart
All those limitations of old
Fuelling my desire and clarity for Shift
That welcomes each of us
To Fully Show Up
in connection
To be Here Now
As the Noble, Awesome, Shiny people we each already are 🙂

Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.
Me, Alice, and my late Grandmother. Taken years ago.

 

Children at the centre
Lucia at Nyeredzi

 

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Fidelis Masimba

 

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Tsitsi

 

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Emily, Lillian, and Mary

 

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Hlekisani hugging Joseph

 

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Mukudzei dancing with the village

 

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Gogo Zonde and friend on their way to build compost toilets

 

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Community women celebrating at the funeral of Auntie Marie. Yes celebrating her life and her death with exuberant human joy

 

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Anna and Patricia – Stripey ladies at Women Are Medicine

 

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Prayer, Admire’s son

 

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Ethel


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Gratitude

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Coming

Reflections from a Dance with my Heart – Part 1

These reflections are from a recent weekend dance workshop with Caroline Carey in Johannesburg called the Four Chambered Heart.

*******************
IMG_7315I woke on Sunday morning after the first day of dancing.
I woke with grief
I felt how I was born into a world made far to small
Far too small.
How I was straightjacketed to fit into it
Becoming smaller and smaller
Being trained to fit
To fit
Into something so minuscule
Too small to contain the beauty and power of my soul
My SOUL
Full of fire, light and space

I cried for my own learned limitation
And for that of all the children
All those who once were children
being shut down, being taught to close themselves in
to fit into a world made smaller and straighter and more grey
than is the wild wondrous reality of it.

I cried that morning
For all those years of denying my deepest roots,
of shaving off my wild soul,
denying her
like Peter denied Jesus

I recognise the moment
in my vision quest some years back
where I fell to the earth
crying, howling even,
touching immense grief
in my return to Mother Earth.
The grief of experiencing how deeply disconnected I have been from her.

Yes there is joy in returning,
but first
a chasmic grieving in experiencing
the pain of separation.

So that was my pain on Sunday morning
even as I felt my soul returning
I cried for all the years of banishing
essential
parts of myself

I woke up that Sunday morning feeling the fullness of soul return
Breaking through old constrictions
dutifully put in place by my parents, and their parents before them,
and theirs before

It broke through with sobs and tears
Breathing out, gasping for air,
Aaaahhhh
Opening into
the vastness of this being that
I Am

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This is my Work – And Yours?

I woke this morning and danced – yet again. It no longer matters how I feel when I wake, the dance calls me to enter. As I whirled with fire and water I found myself thinking how wonderful it is to dance and then to go to work more open and free.

And then I had an insight positively rush through me saying THIS IS YOUR WORK.

Perhaps this is the most important work I have to do at this time. Dance, woman, dance. Dance your soul free. Dance your Self Expression. Dance! Feel your body; touch your spirit; experience grace, power, and life moving through you; Dance!

What a relief. To let go of the labels in fact. That there is my work and then there is my leisure and my dance. No.

This is what I came here to do.

Kufunda is one of those things.
Dance is one of those things.
Loving my children is one of those things.
Touching the earth with reverence is one of those things.
Being a woman is one of those things.
Creating Community is one of those things.
My heart knows – and Loves – those things.

And so when you ask me how work is going? I can honestly say it is whirling, moving, flowing, rising with beauty, grace and potency.

What is your work? What did you come here to Do? What did you come here to Be?

May your day bring you in touch with that – may you Live it in your each moment.

It is your gift to us all.

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Dancing the world more Open

“So here it is – I feel like a shell that I was in has cracked open and the fullness of the world is streaming in to meet me. It comes with so much light, I almost have to keep my eyes a little squinted. Light, love, joy, beauty. I walk past people and love them. Some of them can’t see me – perhaps they are still sitting in their shell. Shell’s are safe and snug, but not so good for meeting the world. Greeting the world. There is a bounce in my step and I want to dance into and through my dance. I guess I am. I see the sun’s rays touch a clearing in the woods through the clouds, that have opened for a moment and it takes my breath away. I am awash with gratitude. I hear a song that rocks and I laugh out loud. I hear the sound of the waves retreating from the beach, a sweet gentle swoosh and my skin crawls with delight.

I don’t think the world has changed radically in the last few weeks – so that is how I have come to my shell analogy. Something in me has cracked open so the sunlight can truly touch me.”

Journal entry January 9, 2014

It is not like everything is always hunky dorey. As I sit here writing I am tired. I often wake tired during these days. But then I get up, and dance. As I dance my body wakes, and my soul returns from wherever it may have gone at night – and I see the grass and the trees and the rays of sun outside, and I marvel. And I cannot be anything by filled with delight for all this beauty sharing  my world with me.

Yesterday in my marvel I thought of all the people who don’t have the garden I do, (or the friends, or the community), and thought perhaps it was harder for them to wake in the morning and marvel at their surroundings.

Surely that is true – and yet…

I know that I did not always feel so much gratitude flowing through my veins. I know that I did not always feel that my life was the best thing there is. Even with the very same trees, and grass and sun and dogs and life right out there.

So what exactly has changed?

I am not entirely sure, but here is my best shot at capturing some of it….

1. The dance is opening my body – Literally. Making me less dense. Where there was stiffness I am learning to find flow in the movement, where I was stuck I am coming open – perhaps even undone ;-). And I am learning that space is healing. Space creates lightness. We are mostly space, the density is in many ways an illusion. The dance is connecting me to the space between molecules. And where there is space there is freedom. I am becoming light and more free in the dance. I bring the density of mind into my dance and feel it dissipate beneath my dancing feet :).

2. I have made a choice a few years back to only do that which brings me joy. When I am filled with joy, my light shines brighter. So whilst it is in many ways a selfish choice, it is one which has benefited my family and friends so very much. I am literally becoming more luminous as I choose in accordance to my joy. What does joy dictate for me? Such things as: Dancing more, spending more time with the trees, playing with my dogs and my children, bringing more laughter and movement into the meetings I host, cleaning up my mess…. It aint a bad task master at all!

3. Gratitude. I am developing a habit of expressing consciously and oftentimes out loud with friends and family my gratitude. Gratitude is such a magical river. The more we express it, the more there is to express. So the more I touch my gratitude for the two enormous Msasa trees in our garden, the more I fall in love with them, and the more grateful I am, and perhaps it is that gratitude that spills over to the grass blowing gently in the wind, and the dance of the wind in the leaves of all the trees. It is full of magic and grace and power and beauty. And I stand in the morning at the end of the dance and am filled with gratitude for what is mine to touch and feel and live.

How can I not marvel at my life?

At yours?

At ours?

Safety Warning!

It makes me a little more vulnerable. Or perhaps a lot. This newfound openness. Stories of pain move me more quickly also. But I treasure that. I feel some relief in fact for being open to both, to all spectres. Sometimes it means retreating from others because it is too much to be open and connected. I am learning that balance, though, and thankfully I have friends that can call me back if I go into myself for too long.

And here we go. The journey continues. On with the dance.

While I dance I can not judge, I can not hate, I can not separate myself from life.  I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance.”- Hans Bos

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Tending to Myself

Or:  Putting Relationships in their Rightful Place

This piece is inspired by a reading I did in 2011 with Angela Deutschmann,

and the journey that has followed since.

 

I just came back from a wonderful week in Europe, attending and co-facilitating the ALIA Europe Leadership Programme. If I am to be honest, as I was leaving Zimbabwe, it felt like a bit of a distraction to leave everything that was going on here, at home in Kufunda, but it turned out to be a week of deep connections, with others and myself. It was a sort of coming home away from home. Much of what I have been working on during the last weeks and months came into clearer perspective, being in a rich community of friends and fellow travelers on the journey of becoming more fully human, more fully me.

I returned home, after ALIA, to a house full of people, my family and friends who were visiting from South Africa with their kids. It was lovely to return home to a sense of community: Children running free and wild, dogs excited to see me, other kids visiting from the farm, and the trees, that are increasingly becoming a part of my felt sense of family and community, standing in their deep stillness as an anchor for me. They were calling me to come and greet them in the forest. It took a few days before I heeded the call, and yet it was only after this that I felt that I had truly returned home.

And so as I reflect on my last few days, I see that I have lived through – in a microcosm – the challenging balance that I am learning my way into in a bigger way. On paper it sounds simple and perhaps even quite easy. In reality I am finding it incredibly difficult.

It is this: To not forget myself in my relationships – to not devote more energy and attention to my relationships, than I devote to myself.

I realize I am writing in the negative. So let me turn it around. I am in a process of learning to honour my relationship with myself, and to nourish this. It includes my conversations with Life, my musings and ponderings, my connection with God, with the Trees, with the quiet voice inside me. It is tapping into and following my Joy, my Me.

I know that taking time to stay connected with myself makes me a much more interesting and wholesome person to hang out with, and yet – and yet when it comes down to it, I struggle to prioritise this most important relationship in my life – being a mother, a partner, a colleague, a friend seem to distract from my essential relationship with self. In the midst of the busyness of life it often feels a little selfish to attend to Marianne. And this was my experience this week of returning. Of wanting to go and spend a little time just with me, to touch in, to integrate – and yet initially not finding the clarity to simply claim it – even though I know that no-one would have resented it.

In a reading I did last year, this came up as a strong theme: Learning to put relationships in their rightful place. It appears that this is a area that girls more so than boys grow up struggling with. As we grow up we put on masks (all of us do) to fit more fully into the world. And many girls, it seems, pick a role that has at its essence (in its many different manifestations) to make relationships the point of life. We learn the art of pleasing, of making mom and dad happy, siblings, teachers. We learn to sense into what is wanted, needed, required of us, and we offer it happily, because it gives us a sense of belonging (and perhaps also to an extent because of a nurturing instinct). Most of us are very good at it, and yet, it is for many of us, or at least for me, also a defence mechanism. Instead of my true, full, wondrous (and sometimes wounded) self showing up – it is more often the self that has learnt the way of earning its worth and place in the world that is actively present. I show up geared towards making you happy. And that is not to say it is being manipulative. Until the reading I was not particularly conscious of this pattern of focusing on other, over myself.

However  the point of my life is not the quality of my relationships, at any point in time. Nor is it yours. This may seem somewhat startling, but let’s take it a little further. My message was simply this: If the quality of my relationships comes at a cost of my expressing my authentic self, then it is not worth it. My relationships cannot be more important than my joy, the longing of my heart, my freedom, my inner life and so on. If my relationships override these, they will come with a hint of resentment, of subtle strings attached (a need to be thanked and acknowledged for everything I am giving, because I give it instead of tending to myself).

And whilst this can be turned to seem profoundly selfish, the beautiful paradox that I know to be deeply true is that:

“When you put your relationships in their rightful place, they in fact get better. People can feel, even if they can’t articulate it, even if they can’t process it cognitively, even if it is subconscious, people can feel the weight of your expectations or hopes on what their relationship with you is meant to deliver.  It is a service to your loved ones to allow those relationships to be valuable, but not to dominate your life.  The quality of your relating with your loved ones will improve when they are not the most important part of existence to you.”

What a liberating invitation this is. And a little terrifying :). And how incredibly difficult to step into.

So here it is, I can choose to claim my full freedom, and in that be a richer member of my family and community. I have made this choice for myself, and in it I am learning each day just how difficult it is to let go of years of conditioning that have taught me that to be a ‘good girl’ I should put others first, even if I do so reluctantly and resentfully. I am learning the balance and the peace and the grace that comes from following my soul’s desire, even if I don’t do it all the time :). I am learning ever so slowly to cease to do from a place of should. To show up strong and clear and beautiful, because I am tending to myself. And sometimes I show up messy and confused (I am human after all), but at least with a sense of being in the right place for me – being on my journey, not yours.

It is like the oxygen masks on the plane – we must put them on ourselves first, and our children second. Not because we are selfish, but because we know that this is the way to care for others: To make sure we are okay first.

So this is the journey I am on. And I experienced this last week, having come home from a strong and important learning journey to Europe, to a house full of people, how hard it was for me to leave the wonderful madness of my family, and go out into the forest on my own. To listen to the needs of my soul. I figured it out eventually, but it took a good few days, of not really arriving because the choice for Me seemed like a radical one to make when I was surrounded by others.

It is early Sunday evening as I complete this. I am feeling gratitude for this journey that I am on; that many of us are on. I am beginning to have more and more lived experiences of the wisdom of tending to me.

It is when there is a fundamental imbalance between my soul’s priorities and my intellects’ (my shoulds for example) that I feel the stretch and tension. And it is when I am not tending to myself that I lose touch with the voice of my soul. “You will not really feel any difference between self, work, marriage, children when you are in deep connection with your Divine voice.” It feels a little like a new relationship, with an incredibly interesting, wise, witty person who I had no idea existed inside me. What an honour it is to be getting to know myself – My divine voice even :). We each have one.

How much time do we spend getting to know it? And to follow its wisdom for our life? Dare I follow my wisdom for my life? The release is in beginning to recognize that if I listen I can find my way.