January 31, 2018

Dream Kiss

Dream Kiss

As I wake with your dream kiss
wet upon my lips,
still warm and embodied,
deeply received within my heart,
upon the skin of my opened mouth,
this one kiss a quenching
of a life time of thirsting,
I wonder.....what if?
What if, worn and weathered as I am,
I could turn towards my own face
and resting it gently
between my palms,
love it like it was the night sky,
filled with mysteries unknown and untold, 
every line a journey towards belonging,
or the exile which carries us home,
every blemish and spot a landmark
of trial or tribulation,
received and overcome,
or at least survived?
Every wayward discrepancy
to the projected and expected ideal,
a triumph of wild wolfishness
over tame complicity,
in order that I could arrive here now,
to this loving of myself,
so exquisitely.

What if I could, with my own awareness,
behold the preciousness
of my own perfect body,
with all its wayward landmasses
and engraved tributaries,
and worship the sacredness of every cell,
no place unworthy of my devotion,
no other body to know but this one,
no thing to compare it to,
just this beautiful, flawed,
homely, safe, ecstatic,
imperfect body
that tells a story of how it has lived,
how it has withheld,
what it has given,
what it has carried,
what it has managed to put down
to be here now,
ready for this love.
Ready, not because it has finally
somehow become worthy,
but ready because this has always been
what we have each deserved.

What if I could know
beyond a shadow of a doubt
that I was the one
that I was always meant to love,
to be the one who I choose,
beyond all others,
to be the one through which
all women become loved,
because this one is chosen
as the one to receive the love
of the All Woman
through the one?
What if each and every one of us
became the one
most worthy of love,
as each of us are?
What if we allowed ourselves
that much magnificence?
What if I could love myself like this?
So that I could know at last,
the brevity of perfection
that lies within each one of us,
that rises to the surface,
like a fresh pink bloom
when met with devotion
and attunement to what is,
the glory of our flawed embodiedness.

What if now there was no one else to love
but this one,
this rejected, shamed,
objectified, compared,
criticised one,
this purity of flesh and blood,
just as it is,
just for what it is,
a life-giving creature
of experience and love,
a shade-offering garden
of belonging
and spacious accommodation
of existence,
longing to just be,
to be beheld,
by this magnanimous gaze
of loving acceptance
and erotic celebration,
without the filters of comparison,
without the brutal gaze
of not enoughness,
no shaming for what is not,
when really what is here
is all there is,
a microcosm of the universe,
radiant and dangerous,
damaged and pure,
keening to know oneself as love
in the gaze of a holy eternity.

What if I could curl up
with this purity of love
for long enough that the world
within me would die,
and I could be born again
in the gaze of my own perfection.
My body unchanged
but the beholding made new,
intimate and innocent,
like a newborn star,
as yet unperturbed
by the ravages
of space and time,
and vast in it’s capacity.

So much time spent
on my knees in the dust,
taught by my culture
to ponder the shortcomings
of my facade,
berating the cracks and crevices
in the temple walls,
when all along there was 
a sensuous feast laid out for me,
and all the Gods
and all of the mysteries
dancing their wild
and sacred songs
How little they care
for the brittle surface
that houses their divinity?

Could this be enough?
The completeness of your dream kiss
and this devotional turning in,
towards the immaculate love
within my own body,
the temple which houses,
and through which I can know
the spirit of woman,
fierce and fertile,
unashamedly generous,
and the spirit of man,
implacably tender
and immeasurably pure,
in union as God
within me.

Maybe then,
and only then,
when I no longer need you,
might you come
and offer me
your mouth

in such a way.

Text and image © Lucy Pierce 2018

January 27, 2018

The Turbulent Waters

I’ve just returned back to my home after a week at a remote camping place by the rugged and exquisite South coast of NSW. We did a lot of walking and swimming, wild food gathering, sitting, feeling the wind and the rythmn of the waves, singing to the churning sea from rugged cliffs as the sun sank from the sky, exploring multitudinous rock pools by day, other universes of diversity and curiosity and magnificence, I slept very close to the earth and retired and rose from sleep in much more alignment with the natural rythmns of earth and sun and moon than I do at home, in my artificially lit dwelling, full of the lures of electronic windows into other, netted realities. I was in the company of a beautiful collection of humans, adult and child and in between, conversation and silence wove their way seamlessly through our days. We sat by the fire and ate delicious food. We were wet by the rain, kissed by the sun, our hair and skin salty from the oceans blessings. Heart happy and grounding back into the more real reality of embodied connection to the earth that sustains us, aware of my own relative ignorance and internal separation from her terrifying magnificence and multi-dimensional power.
In the past few months prior to this trip I had lost all connection to my dreams. Normally a part of my life I nurture and cherish and work hard to maintain a connection with, but through the business of the end of year celebrations and completions, holding a big space for my family, starting a new job, balancing the tenuous weave of my existence in place, my dreams had slipped away. As I slept on my holiday, snuggled in the curve of dark earth, in the follaged shelter of a rugged cliff, serenaded by the ocean tide, my dreams returned to me and each night I received several strong recollections upon waking which I wrote down to muse upon. None of them were easy dreams, there were themes of violence and predation, of lost and unprotected children and three times there were big ceremonies commenced and initiated and then interupted and left incomplete. In each of these dreams I woke with my throat choking with unwept tears and straining against a great tide of emotion. My heart physically hurting and my belly warm and soft and open with feeling, urgent for release.
Yesterday I drove all day, back down the coast, and fell exhausted back into my own bed. Again I dreamt and this time I was in a room of women and there was an aboriginal woman and her children there, beautiful dark skin, but heart broken visage. She was telling her story of dislocation and pain and the need for support and resource. Many women in the room were busy responding, offering clothing and other items to the children, arranging housing and support, but I stood frozen in a corner of the room. All of a sudden a sound arose from my body, a strangled sob and the amount of emotion inside my body was excruciating, tears flooded and strange sounds, desperate keening sounds erupted from deep inside. Eventually I was able to turn to this mother and her two children and tell her that I felt her story inside of me, that my body grieved with her, that I shared her pain inside of me. In my dream we were then back at the beach, at the tumultuous churning waters of a tributary leading from a lake out into the ocean, it was low tide and all the waters of the lake were powerfully flowing out into the greater body of the ocean, we were watching the nuanced rivulets and ribbons of current surging through.
For the past year I have been studying Soul-Centred Psychotherapy, and as I have learnt about character structures and defences I have come to see the ways in which from a young age I was unable to process the level of emotion I felt in my body, there was not a place for it to land and so I split off into other realms of being that felt less distressing, the imaginal and the realms of thought and fantasy became my safe place, because my body was full of things I wasn’t able to express and still be safe. I understand that the misplaced people, and the unprotected children in my dreams are aspects of myself that are trying to come home, trying to find a safe place of holding to be felt and integrated, released and attended, so that I can come to belong more deeply to my own life, my own body and my own story. 
I am doing this work, and it is long and mysterious, meticulously unlocking each nuanced knot and bind of disembodiment and suppression. It may take more than a life time to undo all the choices I made before, to dam the flow, to remove myself from the agony of too much feeling, a lifetime lived within a world that asks for smooth surfaces and self-reliance and productivity. There is a great threshold to be crossed inside of myself, a very nuanced permission needing to be teased out and given, from self to self, to unfurl and to trust, to become and to transmute, the unimaginable into embodied expression, to cultivate the fertile ground, the internal capacity for kindness and fierce witness, the unflinching presence of love within, to allow myself to become all that I was born to be, the beautiful and the ugly, bravely holding all my gifts and all my wounds, compassionate towards my own self-betrayal and tolerant of the parts still afraid and clenched and not yet trusting of the ground, to let the delicacy of a bare-souled foot to lay itself, fully feeling down upon the wild ground of my being.
But I also wonder if there might be something collective to be gleaned from this dream. I remember being in a home that I was visiting with my young first-born daughter many years ago, when she was still young. Someone was watching The Rabbit Proof Fence on television, we sat and watched it for a time. Clearly a mistake on my part, a moment of neglectful advocacy for the tender hearted child in my care. I should have removed my young child from the space because before we knew it there was a scene of white men arriving and tearing children from the arms of their wailing mother. I tried to take my young child away from this vision, too profoundly distressing for one so young. It took me so long to soothe the distress from her body and being, she was so deeply traumatised by the viewing of such brutal and unnatural betrayal of the mother /infant bond and the unthinkable pain that would stem from such unfathomable violence. Her grief was enormous, her pain unbearable. When I think about this now I wonder why we are all not more distressed about these very dark aspects of our shared history. I wonder what it would be like for us to no longer hold ourselves back from the vast body of grief and horror that lies at the heart of our National history. For us to turn to one another and say I am willing to feel your pain with you, inside my own body, to weep the tears with you, to sing the keening song of our collective loss. What if we were able to use our whole embodied expression to lend feeling to the pain body of this story that we share as a nation, to empathically understand the enormity of what has been done, the masacres, the slavery, the colonisation, the loss of culture, language, knowledge, the removal of children, the rape and torture and murder, the incarceration. What if we were able to open our hearts to empathically share the burden of these stories with our fellow Australians of indigenous descent? And on a another level, collectively, the systemic and family and domestic sexual abuse and violence, the epigenetic trauma, the addiction and mental health issues, suicide rates, the inequality and pain. What if we could share the burden, of feeling the grief and horror of what has been lost and desecrated and broken in this modern age? The agony of being so brutally severed from the natural systems and ecology of our true existence in a diverse microcosm?
This is my work to do in my own small life, to attune to the stories of my own pain body, to attend to the recurrent hungering for ritual and ceremony and collective holding that will allow the great vast body of feeling that has been withheld, to break the sand banks and stubborn edges of encapsulation, so that the waters can flow, the feeling can release, the tears can fall and the pain can be given voice, so that the waters of the inner lake can merge again, in the wild tumultuous dance of the twirling tributary, turbulent volatile waters, surging out into the greater body and vast collective rythmn of the ocean, the coherent body of all our waters merged and integrated and pulsing with vibrant cohesive life.
I feel changed by this time upon the wild earth at this fecund threshold between land and sea, changed by my dreams and the musings that arise within the interface of my own mytho-poetic threshold, through personal memories arising and insights emerging. I feel changed by the giftings of place and the teachings of landscape and all the ways they interact with our own internal, rugged landscape. In the porous breath that unites the personal and collective consciousness, and the soft gaze that blends and melds the inner narrative with the outer one. That potent gushing tributary that I stood beside with my children in the bold summer sun on our camping trip is a part of me now, I have dreamt her inside of me and she has taught me things about new possibilities of being and the courage to let our inner landscapes change, even when that means embracing the chaotic and uncomfortable upheavals of change, letting the old safe shape of things go, so the new can birth herself eternally, in the inner and outer landscapes of our collective being.
I wonder, who is this desecrated indigenous woman of my dream? No doubt she exists in the greater world around me and it is true that there are so many who are willing to come to her aid. She also lives inside of me, the one who has been severed from her deep ancestral roots of belonging to a truer more earth-embedded way of being, to mother-tongue and culture, force fed the hollow, brittle, plastic equivalent to belonging our modern age offers. She has been brutalised and what is sacred within her has been desecrated.
What arrives within me in the wake of this dream and this visit to the wild waters of our coastal getaway, is the way in which for all of us, our consciousness has been colonised, it has been sanitised and rationalised and cut off. Encapsulated from the great, vast body of the collective unconscious. The way in which we seek to know the world and to solve the problems of our time are so narrow, so brutally bullied into the linear, mental realms of a colonised reality. And yet there was a time, in the distant past of each and every bloodline, when we sought to know the world and to gain our answers and collective direction from dream and ritual, through dance and story, signs and symbols, songs and numinous pathways, through the vibrant living interface with landscape and the animate consciousness of the Earth. A world view in which we are but a strand within the majestic tapestry of diverse agendas, all seeking cohesive co-existence and innovative ways of thriving and belonging.
In my dream and in my lived reality I am choked with feeling, excruciatingly hungry for a revolutionised consciousness that makes space for truth and embodied integrity and integrated wisdom and a myriad of tendriled pathways to embedded and embodied knowing. I ache for and excruciatingly seek the cohesive circle of ceremonial holding, strong enough to offer witness and embrace to the birthing of what has been unlived within, and the great tidal purge of our collective grief, so that we may meet life awake and emptied, on the other side of our unfelt pain, our collective trauma, that we may gaze at the spangled night sky and the treasured rock pool and the winged ones and the finned, the standing beings and the creepem-crawlems, the ancient stones and the rhythmic waters, the tendriled light and the dark earth, within and without, and be available to receive the new dreaming for a new way forward together, upon this planet, grief literate, collectively shouldering the true measure of our wounds and our histories and deeply listening at the sacred wild edge of a de-colonised consciousness, for the whisperings of our shared hearthsongs, beyond the separation from our own feeling bodies, each other’s stories and the earth upon which we depend.

© Lucy Pierce 2018

The Soulcraft of Motherhood

"Held By Spirit"   by Lucy Pierce

The Soulcraft of Motherhood

I want to say something about motherhood, about my children, about my journey of growing myself as a mother, through years of making that choice to be at odds with the world, through years of moving into discomfort and wounds and stories of lack in order to forge a deeper capacity to know myself and therefore to hold space for my children’s unique interface with life. It is my belief that the care of small humans is a mammoth, life-changing, unending magical mystery tour of world-building proportions, it is not a journey for the faint of heart or for those who require life to stay safe and clean and within one’s control.

I want to talk, vulnerably, about a dawning realisation that I have never respected my children enough, that I have never respected enough their need for care and time and stillness and attention, for teaching and honesty, and the humble work of re-purposing energetic patterning., to serve rather than hinder their evolution, because I have been battling the stories that my formative years and my culture grew in me, of inadequacy and unworthiness, lack of advocacy and protection. It has taken so much for me to re write these stories and to discover within this new capacity to offer love and holding and infinitely tender compassion to my broken parts, that this is in fact the birthright of all those that are born unto life. Our survival and capacity to thrive and prosper is deeply dependant on the depth of our care givers capacity to love, care and protect. 

Even as a drug free, natural/water/home-birthing, breast feeding, co-sleeping mumma. I have always struggled to fully own the power and significance of the profound work I have been doing in raising these small humans, because I live in a culture that brutally minimises and subjugated the task of mothering. There have always been ways that I have berated myself for being too attached, too enmeshed, too unhinged from the ways of our world. There have always been times when I have turned my back on my children in order to seek succour from the dry breast of my culture, the hollow identity of something the world might validate as worthy, seeking to become less of the mother that I was unmistakably becoming, trying to make less of myself again, make my children’s needs less obtuse and ever present.

Birthing a baby is an incredibly profound and arduous and transformational experience. Birthing oneself as mother is in one sense an aftermath of the experience of birth. On another level, birth is but the beginning of the altogether more complex experience of midwifing the emergence of the distinctive qualities and embodied presencing of “mother” into being. There is a far more subtle and prolonged process of reaching through the veils of time to retrieve our primitive maternal instincts, while simultaneously reaching forwards into our evolutionary pathways to bring through the capacities that the bloodlines of our future will demand of our grandchildren, correcting the overbearance of our ancestors, predicting the birthrights of our progeny. This is a much slower and less inevitable unfolding that requires our constant attention, formidable courage, gracious humility and evolutionary tenacity, especially in a world that is actually predicated on hindering this powerful movement towards awakening our full human potential through a path of radical self-determination.

I have long felt frustration at the way our world is so ready to institutionalise “child care” as though it were something easily quantifiable and replicatable. For me as I have navigated the terrain of caring for my children it has stretched me to become a much more fierce and unruly creature. The unique needs of my children’s blueprints calling forth unfathomable strands from our ancestral lineage to be rewoven into new, less restrictive patterns. They have triggered to the profound depth of me, the particular misconfigurations of my own conditioning and I have been asked again and again to reform myself, surrender outdated beliefs and limiting perceptions, that have hindered my capacity to facilitate their own energetic evolutionary interface with life that I signed up to facilitate to the best of my ability when I opened my body to receive, gestate, and birth them earthside. I have come to realise that I am perfectly designed to endure this bone-crunching work, because I share blood and lineage with them, because their souls chose me as their mother and mine chose them. Because the universe had orchestrated these particular relationships to converge on this earth plain, at this time, to aid in the evolution of humanity as an embedded aspect of the co-creative universe.

It is not easy work, growing one’s motherhood, it is a path of immense sacrifice and immeasurable joy, of gruelling labour and the most tender of becomings. In this work we are constantly birthing and growing love upon the earth, with the currency of our care, we are healing the wounded interface of the world with our kisses and our conversations, with our boundaries and our bodies. In our world those that care for children are always having to leave them behind to attend to the world, to work and to social engagement as so few social activities are designed to enrich and meet the needs of adults and children alike. We live in a very child unfriendly world, and I cannot help but wonder what the future of that world will look like.

As I age and grow and endure the forging by fire of aspects of myself required to be fully available to the psycho spiritual tasks of life, I see how it is the very parts of my self that have been wounded by patriarchy that are the parts required for fierce, attuned parenting of my children. My fierce instinct, the subtlety of intuition, the strength and power to know and to act, to hold space, strong boundaries, powerful self respect and the capacity to serve the other with devotion and astute endurance. For me having a child has never been something I have been able to hand over to the state. It has been in the grit and grind of finding ways of stay connected and alive to the needs of my children that have grown me into someone worthy of the task’s gravity of stewarding in members of our future generation.

I feel keenly all the ways that internally I have set them aside energetically to grapple with my place in the world, and my lack of capacity to simultaneously attend with soulful attunement to heir needs and to make a living and find a place for myself in the workforce. I have catagoricaly failed on the workforce front, but I feel that the internal struggle to own my impulse to fiercely mother my children and to energetically fight the world for my right to do so, has impacted on my capacity to offer my children their rightful sense of importance. When the carer’s psyche is continually fighting for her right to care, those being cared for are to a degree abandoned.

As the gruelling work of motherhood has grown me, I have become more conscious of my own worth and value as a woman who is mother, I have begun to sense, and attune to and to claim the qualities of woman that are required of an instinctual warrior of tenderness and love, of righteous advocacy and exquisite care, that true motherhood requires. I see how in my early years of motherhood I struggled to parent as a wounded, self-effacing, boundary impaired, uncertain, shame-carrying, obedient female, struggling to learn the power and autonomy required of her to honour her children over the world, to nourish the seed of the future rather than feed the ghosts of the past. There are still days when I struggled and fall, falter and fail.

We live in a world where children are often deeply disrespected, medicated, poisoned with toxic overload, passed over to underfunded institutionalised care, so that those born to care for them can continue to respond to the impossible demands of a consumer driven economy. As a woman I have felt the world inside me undermine the very qualities the soul of motherhood inside me required to grow in order to do the job of raising bonded, secure, awake, alive, empowered humans. I have felt the annihilating disrespect of the feminine that my world inhabits hinder my capacity to offer comfort to my children in their real human need for these selfless qualities of unbridled compassionate care. I have felt my own self-loathing and shame be the weapon that has in subtle ways shamed and imbued to my children that they don’t have the right to ask that their true human needs be powerfully and deeply met in this life…but actually they do, they do have that right. 

Our children have every right to autonomous power, to full emotional expression, to a full-bodied bondedness to earth, community, family, self, an alive and heartfull relationship of self love and a knowing of their right to ask for their needs to be met, to expect that they can advocate for their own particular needs and energies, that are birthing within them, to steward in the next chapter of humanities evolution. I cannot know what my children will need to grapple with in their futures, but I know that they need me as their mother to do as much work as possible now, to dismantle the internal structures of a soul destroying patriarchy within my relational paradigm, so that as I unshackle myself from the subtle and overt disrespect and internalised shame, they are more free to know of their own power and agency to rebuild the human world as a force of reciprocal indebtedness to the magnificence of all creation.

I am apologising to my children for all the ways I have let the world inside of me diminish their importance, put aside their needs, belittled or silenced their hunger for space and care, to attend to my place in a system that is destroying our planet. I want to claim more fiercely, the full gravity and weight of my responsibility to the soul of the world, which I accepted when I birthed these babes into existence. I feel proud of the ways in which I have birthed within my own being a fierce, empowered mother, who is learning to advocate for her children’s full bodied existence, for their right to clean food, air and water. This is the force that will shape a world worthy of our children, it will require all of our evolutionary stretching into the uncomfortable unknown, as we dismantle the financial imperatives of a plundering culture and attune to a care driven economy. For me it has begun in my tenacious incapacity to let go of this gruelling work of the soul, that is becoming mother, a job that takes a lifetime and every inch of grit I have within me.

I want to change our world so that it is easier for new young mothers to find their way into fierce advocacy and powerfully attuned care for their tender hearted babes. I want these future mothers to have the unshakeable support of those of us who have gone before, to draw wisdom from, to take stock with, so that we can get our priorities straight. Having a child is a magnificent and astronomically life-changing event, learning to care for that child, to really care, ongoingly and impeccably will take more than just the unseen battle of a solitary woman forging her heart to love in the darkness of her own tears of struggle and isolation. Although that is a courageous beginning, it will require a culture that sees and celebrates the true value of this powerful work, of becoming custodian to the seeds of tomorrow, so that as a people we are fully alive and embodied and empowered and awake, fully versed in the language of our love and connection to the self and the all.

I want to find new ways of radically supporting those who are radically raising the custodians of our future, these children belong to us all, and while mothers are a really good start, and a mother and a father is a really really great start, and a strong extended family and friendship is wonderful, and a wider culture of advocacy and support is also imperative. These children belong to us all, let’s help them become as powerful and magnificent as the blueprint of their soul’s incarnation can allow them to be.

The daily skills of motherhood are varied and rare, the willingness to wield a firm and life-giving No; the capacity to remain present and calm and unattached to outcome in a wildly chaotic domestic landscape; holding the world of “to dos” at bay in order to hold and heartsing a babe to sleep and wholeness; navigating the push-me-pull-me maelstroms of the emerging will of the child, without wavering or shaming; staying awake and immutable in the face of blood and gore, snot and tears; putting yourself aside again and again and again because someone else has need of you, it is a path of alchemy, an act of revolution, to stay and grow these capacities within oneself, in service to the future of the world.

I want to wrestle this work back from the outrageously impossible economic imperatives of our age. I want to bestow swathes of acclaim on the parents raising their children alone, single handedly holding the world at bay and crooning to the insecure questions of a child that knows there is meant to be more holding than what this one harried human can offer, while simultaneously attempting to slay the dragon of “mutual obligation” and economic stability.

I am not criticising the choices of parents who choose to outsource this work, we all do what we must and can to survive in these times, but I do want to hands down salute all those beings who lean into this labour of love, who do without so much in order to be the one who is there, tending to the wound of the uncared for soul of the world. I honour all those beings who support a partner financially so that they may care for children, this transcends gender, but we cannot transcend the deficit of genuine heart-centred care and the legacy of pain it leaves in the wake of its absence, that is nestled in the cradle of our modern world and it’s parenting culture.

It does take a village to raise a child, and that starts in the nucleus of the primordial matrix of care, with honour and support to the mother, and the father, and the family, and the world, from the centre out. The core of our village is rotten and only our children can teach us the skills we need to learn to build a new one, when we stop long enough to turn to them and ask what it is that they are needing us to grow within ourselves for them to fully arrive into the vast offering of growth and potential, for homecoming and healing, that dwells at the heart of their care.

I want to stop minimising my motherhood and the needs of my children, I want to claim that even though I don’t get to do yoga everyday, parenting is a daily practice I show up for every living day of my life, without fail, rain, hail or shine. I don’t want to try to make my children fit the space my culture has allotted them because they’re bound to loose some vital psychic limbs if I do, and I want them to belong to the all of life, all the time, not just when it’s convenient for the world. I want to create a world that has a more heartfull regard for children and families, one where children are not relegated to the outskirts but are nested at the heart, as the future custodians of our people and planet, the future ambassadors for the living now, and where those who choose to do the hard work of caring for them are not relegated to financial and social invisibility and alienation, but rather shine and are celebrated in the satisfaction of this powerful lifework of sustaining life, growing humans, guiding and supporting life, creating life, from the depths of the heart, the body, the mind and the soul.

Prints and cards  of "Held by Spirit" available on my Etsy site.

Text and image © Lucy Pierce 2018