The pelt in this story is not so much an article as the representation of a feeling state and a state of being – one that is cohesive, soulful and of the wildish female nature. When a woman is in this state, she feels entirely in and of herself instead of out of herself and wondering if she is doing right, acting right, thinking well.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. Women Who Run With the Wolves
Although it is a bit early for this, I have been thinking a lot about what my word for 2011 will be. Knowing that resolutions don’t do it for me, for the past few years I have hopped on the blogger bandwagon and chosen a word – a theme – for my year ahead. I started looking at words like joy and home, but nothing fit until I read this post by the remarkable Pixie Cambell and felt a stirring deep in my soul for more. Wanting to read the story of Baba Yaga again, I pulled my copy of Women Who Run With the Wolves out and instead of searching, let the book open in my hands. Instead of Baba, there waited the story Sealskin, Soulskin, and I found my word: pelt.
According to Dr. Estes, when we lose our pelt, our soulskin, we must return home.
While home was going to be my word for this year, pelt takes it one step further. Pelt is finding the soul-home within myself so that I can feel at home in the world. Pelt is taking care of my body and the Wild Woman within by feeding it with real and whole foods. Pelt is getting quiet and listening to my inner knowing again, feeling when the hairs on my arms stand up when I feel or sense something and knowing what to do then. Pelt is moving the muscles under my skin and feeling strong and agile and beautiful again. Pelt is putting my instincts back into use, learning to engage with and understand my fears and to live in the world knowing that I can deal with whatever comes my way. Pelt is the home I have been longing for and the grown woman I’ve been hearing roar in my heart for a long, long time. Pelt is my own uniqueness and my own beauty and my own life.
So there it is – my word and my theme and my focus for 2011: pelt. I hope that you will join me here in this place and let me know (with a link if you like!) what word you have chosen.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” – Mother Theresa
Yesterday I opened my mailbox to find two messages waiting for me. The first was an email full of stuff I could buy – stuff so pretty I couldn’t possibly live without it – stuff that for a brief moment I toyed with purchasing. The second email was from my rockstar friend Letha from Wrap Up Africa. After I read her email, without a second thought I hit delete on the first. I was so inspired by something that really matters, I wrote and asked if I could share her writing with you. Here it is, I hope it inspires you.
“This is a photo of a friend of mine named Susan.
She was my first Ugandan friend and in many ways the inspiration for Wrap Up Africa. Susan passed away last year from Burkitts Lymphoma, a highly treatable cancer that likely would not have killed her had she been born elsewhere.
As most of you know I have just returned from Ethiopia and Uganda where we spent a lot of time in the hospital wards. As I was playing with the children in the hospital in Ethiopia (many of whom have been living in the ward for years) I kept thinking to myself “all I want for Christmas is to be able to help you”. I was having a real moment of sorrow for these children and fear that I would not be able to help get them care in time. Then I thought, “I can’t do it alone but with help anything is possible. It’s time to ask people to join me in trying to get these children into treatment”. The holiday season is so full of promise and magic and seems to me a good time to try for miracles.
We are launching our Chemo for Christmas fundraising event. We need to raise $400,000 for 365 children to enter into care (approximately $1000 per child). That may seem a large figure but if we break it out it is only $25 a month from 1,000 people. If you can give, please do we appreciate your support, no amount is too small. We would appreciate your sending this request along to your friends and family, the more people we have helping the easier it will be to reach our goal of one child for each day of the year (365 children) and less than half of the kids that need our help. Kids like Susan.
The majority of the cancers the children have are highly treatable. In Uganda 85% of the children have a cancer called Burkitt’s lymphoma, which responds 90% to treatment when caught in time.
At this time of year I always take stock of my life. I think about what I have, how grateful I am for all of it and what I hope to do in the year to come. This year one of the things I am most grateful for is that my son and family are healthy. My goal is to try to help the children who are not lucky enough to have their health. I hope you will join me. Working together we can help these children take back their lives and have a fighting chance.”
Learn more about our mission and how you may help at: http://wrapupafricafoundation.org
“Anything more or less is bad luck.” – My Grandfather
It is a funny thing, memory. I have been saying seven “White Rabbits” (see earlier post) for years only to write a blog post and find out from my Father that it was eight!
Now this is big news. What if I have been operating with bad luck for all of this time? What if he was right? My Grandfather was very superstitious. He wouldn’t pass on the stairs or seat 13 at the table, and he certainly would never have allowed his Granddaughter to say the wrong number of rabbits. What if I have been sabotaging my own efforts by lacking a rabbit?
If the rabbits are part of the story, what else have I been sabotaging without conscious knowledge of things? My reactions to grief surprised me recently. I have to ask what else is there in life that I just do, believing that that is the right thing? And how many things do I do without questioning why? Why rabbits? Is it really lucky? Or am I just enjoying remembering my Grandfather once a month and feeling a little bit connected to him? Did he know why there needed to be eight or was it something his mother taught him? Do lucky rabbits have a place in my personal mythology?
Yes, as long as my luck changes. Because what if he was right?
So it’s eight “White Rabbits” to you this holiday season then. (Good catch Dad!)