Do you spit or do you swallow?
What! How dare you ask me that!
The question is relevant
Do you spit or do you swallow…
Some women seem to have a natural gift
To spit it out, to reject it
Or they simply refused to be dicked around
In the first place
I am in awe of these women because for years
I swallowed and
“Taking it like a woman” to
Keep the connection
To secure the attachment
To be a good girl
For the men I wanted to love me
To praise me
To adore me
To let me play on their field
Even though I was more talented
More flexible and
A hell of a lot stronger
By swallowing the shame
Internalizing the misogyny
Being the version of a lady
They wanted me to be
And even treating other women
Poorly in reaction
Denying them their rights,
Believing it would keep the man happy
When he could care less what I did
As long as he got off first
How would he react now if I spit it
Right back in his face?
Would that make me an unlady?
Will they take my good girl card away?
Better yet, what if I don’t show up for the game?
Make him take care of himself
Hell has no fury like a privileged man
Losing his power
While compassion has long been our power
I must no longer let the man use that against me
I almost died in both body and spirit
Caring too much
When we step back into the power we deserve
The world comes back into balance
Yes, the fight ahead is a long one
They will come after us
Or worse yet
They may even deny us the
Connection and love we desire
May the fire burning in our bellies
Lit from the kindling of that
Good Girl card they revoked
Light the way
Surround yourself with the good men, women, and people
Who will never make you be anything than who you are
Who will celebrate your spirit to the fullest
Who will never ask you—spit or swallow?
Outside the window, Cleo’s uncle stalked to the corner of the yard to stand beneath the phone pole and look up, hands on hips, ranting. Cleo grabbed her father’s handgun from the dusty windowsill and ran to hide it between her mattresses.
When she returned to the window, Uncle Bobby was still out there waving his hands and yelling at the brown-skinned cable guy on the pole. Cleo stared through the glass, images blurred by a filter of dead bugs, bird poop, pollution particles.
The man on the pole cut and moved wires without bothering to look down at her screaming uncle. That impressed Cleo, seeing a man who could take insult and mind his own business. Then she noticed the ear buds and his moving mouth. Maybe the man couldn’t hear her uncle threatening to blow his “stupid fucking head off.”
Uncle Bobby threw up his hands, yelled, “Fuck you!” and turned toward the house.
Cleo dropped into the chair whipping her face back to the school-issued laptop screen. Words raced before her eyes. Her heart fluttered.
The front door opened and slammed shut. Cleo peered up, keeping her head down.
“Did you hear me giving it to that sonuvabitch out there?” her uncle asked. “I heard him talking on his phone, saying he supported the stay-at-home order.” He reached into the corner cupboard, his sweaty T shirt riding up over the little bulge growing around his middle. “What a dumbass. We oughta kick out all the foreigners. That would solve 99% of our problems. Get real Americans back to work and back to normal life. This CO-VID shit is a liberal hoax.” He moved a few cans around, muttering, “Damn!”
“What are you looking for?” Cleo asked. She glanced out the window. The cable man descended the pole.
“I’m looking for my damned peas and carrots,” her uncle barked.
“I think daddy ate them,” Cleo said. The man outside climbed into his white van.
“He knows those are my favorite!” Her uncle slammed the cupboard door. “He’s been taking my shit since we were kids. I’m gonna kill him when he gets home.” He stalked to the bathroom, the door cracking shut against the frame.
Outside, tail lights lit up and the van moved into the street, diminishing in size as it travelled up the block, shrinking the threat of violence, the distraction of warranted worry.
Cleo's breath calmed and she returned to the Civics assignment: Read a news article related to how any level of US government is responding to the current pandemic; write a one sentence summary of the article; write three relevant questions related to the article and include answers.
She opened a fresh document and tapped the keyboard with efficiency, accuracy.
The first lady of Maryland has been instrumental in securing coronavirus tests for her state.
1. What is the first lady’s profession? (Artist)
2. Could this first lady be governor some day? (Yes)
3. If a girl who grew up on a chicken farm in South Korea can become the first lady of Maryland, could someone like me possibly escape this hellhole? (Maybe)
The toilet flushed.
Cleo ran to collect the gun and put it back on the windowsill.
With any luck, when her father returned from work to face his brother’s wrath, one of them would take a bullet and the other would end up back in jail.
Didn’t matter who shot who, as long as they were both out of her life.
The Wisdom of the Body: Review of Christine Paintner's Newest Book with Link to Teleconference with Dr. Jamie Marich (3/10/17)
What an honor and privilege to interview Dr. Christine Valters Paintner, a graduate of our Dancing Mindfulness facilitator training program as she celebrates the release of her 10th book, The Wisdom of the Body: A Contemplative Journey to Wholeness for Women (Sorin Books, 2017). Christine is the abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a vibrant and active ministry. Although based in Galway, Ireland, the abbey is global in its outreach, especially through a variety of courses, retreats, and other offerings made online (including the popular Facebook group, Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks).
In Christine's latest book, built from decades of personal experience of her own journey with embodied healing, readers are led through a self-directed retreat experience. Various topics of struggle for women are covered, such as desire, emotional expression, and depletion from true nourishment. Each chapter invites readers into a series of exercises where they can explore, and if they so choose, embody the content inherent in this journey. Expressive arts practices (including conscious dance), yin yoga, and invitations to reflect on wisdom of the ages (presented through Christine's own vibrantly lived experience) make this content come alive. A special feature is that in each chapter, Christine offers a sacred feminine guide for the journey. Women like St. Hildegard of Bingen, Eve, Amma Syncletia, and many others are presented in refreshed light so that modern women may be inspired to draw on these guides, and their teachings, as sources of wisdom.
I had the distinct pleasure of offering Christine consultation on her manuscript (and am delighted to be included in the acknowledgments), specifically in the area of trauma-informed presentation. Although Christine writes from a Christian ministry perspective and as an expressive arts educator, I believe that her work should be required reading for therapists who work with women. There are so many solutions offered within The Wisdom of the Body that can help women in their healing, especially from legacies of trauma that wreak havoc on the body.
Listen to an interview that I conducted with Christine on 3/10/17 (a live teleconference) as we talked about her own experiences with learning to honor her body, her work with Abbey of the Arts, and of course the newest book. The interview wraps up with a dynamic discussion about why this work is so relevant for women in modern times. Learning to love and embraces one's body in the face of cultural messages suggesting otherwise is a supreme feminist action! -Jamie
Listen on Website (above) or Download (below)
I continue on my path of healing childhood trauma
that tweaked my central nervous system
affecting my whole life in ways neuro science
is beginning to understand and be able to repair.
I will not hide, rather stand up and share my story
and experience. I will not hide behind a degree or title.
I will let the flowers in life continue to lift my spirit
in all the goodness that is here to see and experience.
That's right, The Flowers R Here For You!! ♡♡♡
Photography and poem by Donna Bunce. You can connect with the Facebook group Trauma Flowers, started by Donna: CLICK HERE
An Open Letter From a Trauma Therapist to Yoga Teachers: 12 Simple Ways to Make Your Classes More Trauma-Informed (Elephant Journal Piece)
The benefits of yoga practice in helping people affected by trauma can be tremendous, and they are becoming better researched and documented.With so much press on the issue, many survivors of trauma check out yoga classes on their own, unaware that so much variety exists in styles of yoga and teachers.
As a mental health/addiction counselor specializing in trauma, I often suggest yoga for my clients. Since I have an active yoga practice and teach trauma-informed yoga/dance, I am generally able to steer people towards the right fit of style, studio or teacher. Yet many of my well-intentioned colleagues who lack yoga knowledge often tell clients just “go to yoga.”
With the wrong fit, clients may become retraumatized or further alienated from body-based practices.
Addressing my colleagues on guiding folks to the right class is a separate subject. Here, I strive to address yoga teachers in all styles. Traumatized, vulnerable, or otherwise emotionally injured people will come to your classes.
You may believe people will decide whether or not your class is a good fit for them and will naturally check out if your class is too much. Some of you may believe that “yoga is yoga” and the people ought to be informed about what they are getting into.
To read the rest, please visit the original publication at Elephant Journal by clicking HERE.
Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity