An affirming newsletter for Lesbian Women and their Partners
October, 2008- Vol 1, Issue 1
|In The News|
As you know, Prop 8 sits on the ballot for decision by California voters. If it passes, Prop 8 will write in discrimination against same-sex couples to bar us from marriage benefits and protections under the law. There are many opportunities for you to get involved, contribute and support the cause for your rights and the rights of future generations of Lesbian and Gay Couples.
Check out these resources for information about email campaigns, phone campaigns, and answers to your questions about the legal changes you can expect with the right to marry:
NO ON PROP 8
HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS
You can still register to vote online - deadline is October 20,2008! Here's just one of the many places you can fill in your voter registration form, print and send it in!
Welcome to the October 2008 issue of
REFLECTIONS. I'm excited to share this new format with all of you, and hope when reading, you will come away with both insight and inspiration!
| L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center Hosts Mind, Body & Soul: A Lesbian Health Conference for Women Who Love Women.
The Conference is this Saturday, October 4 from 9 am to 5pm. A day of workshops and trainings on the health and well-being of women who love women.
* Girl Sex 101
* Coming Out
* Nutrition & Fitness
* Family Formation
* Aging in the Lesbian Community and more.
They are providing free lunch and childcare!
Contact Farina Dary
at 323-860-7394 to register.
New Support Group Forming In Orange County!
*A circle of lesbian women dedicated to support, non judgment and confidentiality
*A gathering around to share in a theme of discussion and sharing
*A space to ask questions, to wonder, and to receive support
For more info: Click Here
|FAMILY: The Effects of Sunsets on Moment to Moment Mothering|
| My daughter turns 13 in 60 days.
It's a sobering realization. Like a beautiful sunset, sinking into the pacific-her childhood is slowly giving way to an emerging adolescence.
She's been dealing with this transition in her own way. She plays dolls with her younger sister rarely and unpredictably. Returning to stories that once absorbed them for hours on end. On these days, the living room was filled with artifacts gathered from all over the house, to create a world in which she and her sister understood and managed the dreams and possibilities, as well as the losses, the fears of their own lives, through the language of story.
With mom in the kitchen, these young creatures would envelope me in their world of play-to provide sustenance for the journey. Some days, I was the kind old woman who filled their little bags with food to take into the wilderness constructed of chairs and pillows and blankets. Other days, I was the goddess who could provide the transformation and healing that they sought.
The dolls gather dust more and more. There are fewer trips into this world of play and imagination. Her mind and her body have grown too big to be held there for long.If you've ever returned home to your childhood bedroom, or the park you remember playing in as a kid-you know the feeling. Its familiar, but its smaller. You've outgrown it. And so I watch as she surrenders these visits to what she knew, in favor of the unfamiliar terrain of 13.
I too am venturing into this new era. As I observe my daughter, daily, sometimes hourly-becoming. I realize that she inhabits a world that is more truly her own. A world of friends, teachers, and a larger culture that she experiences without the safety that our living room provided the world of her doll Kaya. An internal world, that is filled with dreams, fears and questions. Will she return to seek me as the provider of what she needs- shelter, sustenance, direction and protection? Will I recognize her signals?
My daughter and I have too few hours and fewer days. Most of the time-what we have are moments. But isn't that all any of us ever have? And could that realization-help me be perk up and listen for the subterranean signals that teens use to relay information to their often oblivious parents? What if I lose contact with her and she becomes a stranger? How can I help her feel confident that I will be here-that there no matter what she faces- she has a safe refuge here at home.
I've been contemplating this theme of awareness for a long time. I've sought ways to increase my sense of enjoyment of life. I want to step off the hamster wheel of my own mind that can sometimes relentlessly demand performance and accomplishment. On the wheel, life, like a beautiful sunset, was something I noticed in a "oh, isn't' that lovely" kind of way, while flying down PCH at 70 mph. I began to realize, that I wasn't really seeing the beauty. I wanted to stop. Breathe. Really take it in and experience it. I found a discipline that helped me learn to do just that-mindfulness meditation.
Its amazing how something as simple as being with the breath, moment by moment- the way that John Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, and many others, teach, can not only transform your experience in the moments you are practicing-but transform your life experience in a larger way. Like the ripples on the water of a still lake-the pebble of mindfulness has slowly worked its way into every aspect of my life-enriching it and enabling me to live more out of gratitude.
I'm not saying-I've conquered all anxiety, fear and neurosis. I will be learning and growing until the day I take my last breath. But every breath is new and unique and every moment is too.
And that has become my mantra as a mother of an almost 13 year old daughter who has a younger sister, just a few steps behind. Parenting has become a kind of moment by moment meditation of its own. I breathe and take in the moments as they come. Each moment: on the way to school, making dinner together, swimming in an ice cold lake in the Sierra's, playing, or simply saying goodnight is a chance to stop and take in the beauty of the moment. I stop the hamster of my own mind and I listen. I am simply, with them, in those moments.
I've been reading Queen Bees and Wannabes (Wiseman) about raising adolescent girls. Wiseman says that if your teenage daughter is hanging around you for no apparent reason-pay close attention. So, I curb the impulse to respond to this opportunity by asking "have you--cleaned your room, done your homework? Don't misunderstand-there's a time for those questions, but I'm listening for the space in which they may want to open up or connect. That is far more important than the socks that might be on the floor.
More and more, I find myself simply taking this moment as the gift that it is. Like the sunset- I stop, I breathe-I take in the beauty. And I listen.
And I notice that as I shift into the moment by moment way of being with her- she hangs around more. She talks more. I learn about her day-her friends. She tells me a funny story or something that really bothered her. And had I not stopped and just waited. I would have missed the signal.
My dream is that she will have a sturdy and supportive space to which she can return from the thrill and the onslaught of adolescence with all of its angst and adventure. That it will seek refuge in the relationship with the people who love her. And like the world of Kaya, who I often provided with shelter, magic potions as well as cookies and milk-she will find what she seeks.
Of course-not all monsters can be slain. And there are many monsters for teen girls- bullies, queen bees, humiliation, are all rites of passage that she will face. So I'm equipping myself, with tools and weapons to assist her and to quell my own anxiety about what lies ahead.
But all of that is future. And all I have is now. So moment by moment-I watch the sunset of her childhood and I am grateful for the beauty of it. I stop, I take it in, I breathe.
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
Meditation for Beginners
by Jack Kornfield
Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Rosalind Wiseman's online resource for young girls and their parents and mentors.
Your vision will become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
- Carl Jung
In next month's issue:
Sexuality and Spirituality: The search for full personhood
Be well and happy,
LisaLisa Maurel, MFT
"Growth is in your hands"