Monday, June 28, 2010

This is my paper from the Women's Conference. The theme was "Walk with me, mentors, elders, and friends". I still think it is sloppy, but apparently a lot of people liked it, which was sort of a surprise to me!

When I think of a mentor, an elder, my mind immediately turns to a wise old goat I once had. Now, lest you take offense at this analogy, I would like to point out that the scriptures are thickly woven with lessons we can learn from animals, from Baalam’s donkey to the lost lamb. Although we humans with our nimble fingers have our technology, animals have the distinct advantage of not having these advances, of being able to see and tend to what truly matters in life. There is much we can learn
from the natural world, which is probably why it is utilized as a source so often in parables, fables, folklore, etc.

Goats are matriarchal; bucks may have some degree of status within the herd, but there is always a queen doe who keeps order. If she dies, the nest most dominant doe will be queen. Sometimes the new queen will be the next oldest doe, or it may be the old queen’s young daughter, but chaos will reign unless and until the herd has a leader.

Delilah was such a queen. If only the world’s nations could have such wise and thoughtful leaders! When there was danger, the herd huddled in the barn while she stood outside the doorway to assess the threat. She decided when it was time to eat, and even whether certain items were safe to eat. If she turned down a new food, making it-tastes-bad gestures and sounds, the other does would refuse it. If she went somewhere, the rest went too. Sometimes there would be status-related fighting as other does tried to move up the herd’s hierarchy. Delilah would walk over calmly, interject her head between those of the battling does, give them both a stern, motherly eye…and that would be the end of it. She somehow kept peace in the herd with very little effort, because she wasn’t domineering. She was intelligent, quiet, dignified, and kind, and everyone else usually followed her example.

I sometimes think that in our drive for progress, profit and yearning for what we don’t have, we lose this sort of kindly direction as extended families are left behind. Our educational system is such that teachers are hardly known before a new one takes their place. Our society has grown disjointed and then we wonder why there is stress and chaos…like a goat herd whose queen is gone. The yearning for mentors can be seen on the TV talk shows, as people desperately seek advice and guidance, even at the risk of national humiliation. Our meetings can and should fill this void. As for me, if only I could be more like my own goat!!

Goats are so cool. I really miss them. :-/

Saturday, June 26, 2010

This house (I have just moved to it) has bad energy. Usually, when people talk about bad energy and good energy, I roll my eyes and think sarcastic things because it is generally very feely, emotional crap in my opinion. So, when I walked in here and felt overwhelmed with anxiety and "bad energy", I wrote it off as stress and imagination. But I still had trouble relaxing in the place.

And then I found out that the people who lived here before had 5 kids that were being abused, neglected, and deprived of food. We found a dresser on whose side was scrawled "help me" in a childish hand. The fridge has the remains of a child proof lock on it. The kids went to foster care because conditions were so bad.

So, despite my disbelief in good/bad energy, "vibes", etc, I am now thinking about how to make this place feel calmer and happier...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Impressions and random observations about the PNW Quaker Women's conference (both the conference itself and the surroundings):
  • Ugly, morose, sad dark little fish on the dock. It looked like it was shocked and horrified to see the light of day before it died. It looked ancient, as though from another time period. I was charmed by that homely, gaping face...
  • The air was good. Fresh sea air, moist and full and soul-nourishing. Yeah, I know...that makes no sense. Still, every breath was like a tonic.
  • The people, generally speaking, were extremely nice. Unfortunately, by the time the shyness and social anxiety wore off, I was sort of peopled out and had to take a lot of solitude in order to function well, just when I was starting to really, really like the other women.
  • Rules re: no food in rooms (pest control). Discovered that I still have a food deprivation anxiety issue. Embarrassing, inconvenient, something that will have to be dealt with eventually.
  • Not ony do Quakers allow women to be pastors, there are a LOT of female Quaker pastors/ministers. Amazing, pleasing! Finally, a group that isn't entrenched in the dark ages!
  • Even better: at least some of the meetings/churches are welcoming to GLBT people as well as married same sex couples. It's sad that this should be shocking in today's so-called modern age, but frankly, I would not join a group unless it were inclusive (as opposed to "tolerant").
  • Lots of vegetation I didn't recognize, including a massive tree that I climbed. Had Abies-like needles, cedar-like bark. Scent of needles: fresh, citrusy, pleasant. Climbing that baby was a blast!
  • Forgot socks, underwear, *and* pajamas! Ugh!!! I somehow forgot the interesting little detail that two other roommates would be inhabiting the room, making these niceties fairly necessary. Sleeping dressed is a drag... Next time: bring boxer shorts (double duty)...
  • Quaker women are really intelligent, talented, and interesting, unlike mainstream women. Also, virtually no makeup, so they all looked real.
  • Found and orchid in the woods. Species? Genus? Heck, I don't know... Definitely not a Goodyera or Cymbidium, other than that, who knows?
  • Note to self: pack Hitchcock's Flora of the Pacific Northwest next time, along with those boxer shorts....
  • I have got to come to this conference every single year from now on.

I am still processing, and will have a tighter, more structured post on the subject later.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Well, here I am, on the WA coast. I wish I could say that I'm right off the open ocean, but it appears that the water is a part of the Puget Sound. Still, it is fantastic to be here. I am deeply in love with the sea, the fog, the overcast skies and diffuse light....

The reason I have the opportunity of being in this lovely place is that I am attending a Quaker Women's Theology Conference. This is a bit of a surprise even to myself. I don't particularly consider myself a Christian, which is what's great about the PNW quakers. Traditional doctrine does not apply here, and we are all allowed to (even encouraged!) to perceive the divine however we want to. In my case, I guess I would have to say that to me, the divine, or what people call "G-d" is nature/science/the processes and balancing of nature and science and evolution. I have yet to see anything in nature that I could call truly ugly or evil...if I look at it long enough, deep enough.

Otherwise.....I took a hiatus from blogging due to the custody battle, which I lost, based partly on the fact that I have Asperger's, and that I blogged so openly and pretty much said whatever I wanted to. I thought that shutting the blog down would be a protective measure, but in fact, people called as witnesses can lie under oath with impunity as long as there is no solid way to prove they're lying...which is harder than one might think. Silly me!

Also, I have changed my major. I still and always will love plants and sustainable agriculture, but I just do not have the endurance for the higher math and 3 solid years of hard chemistry. Art has always been my first love, and I'm sick of listening to people who say that you can't make a living at art. They're wrong. Besides, boatny jobs are even harder to find than jobs in the fine arts.....and I am actually *good* at art, whereas the Chem classes were horrible.....

Life is certainly fraught with change and surprises!