Feeling held by candle light and love
appreciating the magic of regular moments
made particular by caring hands and connected hearts
Translating absence to deeper appreciation
attempting to express with inadequate words
the “love that let us share our name”
In the arena of beauty standards, a personal position is not available to me without admitting to things that are embarrassing; shameful; or even, in the case of “you’re so pretty,” a little vain. Knowing this, dear readers, please understand that I speak from my own experiences with as much honesty as possible, owning the fact that I am one person among many. In no way do I intend to speak for all women. I learned already (from my makeup survey which I will publish later on the blog), that there are MANY different perspectives on female beauty standards and many stories to tell.
Disclaimers aside, here is one.
The following will be my attempt to summarize my ten days of silence at the Vipassana Center in Illinois. If you want to get the gist on what Vipassana is before you read it (which I would recommend), check out this post. It has some of the rules, guidelines and a little about the ideology- all good background for what I experienced.
In my program, I am required to take multiple courses on drugs and addictions. Last semester I took a chemical dependency course where I was required to write a paper about popular street drugs. One drug I chose was Ayahuasca. Why? Because people I knew who didn’t use drugs were talking about this substance and seemed interested. This was strange. Here is my opening paragraph from the paper:
“If there was a chance to experience [improved] healing and wholeness in the matter of twenty-four hours, but the path to reach that end goal was going through hell, would it be a temptation? This is not [only] a figurative hell of bad emotional places, but a literal hell of demons battling and slithering serpents, a replaying the worst experiences of one’s life, a sweating, panting, heart pounding experience complete with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. For most people, this particular path would probably not be a temptation, which is why the drug Ayahuasca will probably never enter main stream society as anything other than a subversive and interesting sub-culture fad. However, [according to some] for those who are willing to venture into the dangerous and terrifying possibilities inherent in using the drug, there is the possibility of a renewed self and an extended spiritual experience- a calculated risk not without serious dangers and consequences.”
This drug was not, and is not, a temptation for me, so I want to make it clear that I do not advocate for the drug nor am I a user. This being said, I had no idea that Vipassana would be, for me, the closest I could ever get to this experience without taking a mind-altering substance.
I know there is probably some curiosity about my silent retreat experience, which I am still processing and will write about soon. Until then, here is something I wrote about friendship, racism and being a privileged white woman who realizes her own blind spots. I wrote it months ago and have been hesitant to publish it because the topic is so complicated, so uncomfortable, for me and for others.
In my life lately, and also in my dreams, race and relationships have been a theme. A few months ago I started having dreams in which interracial relationships were continually a topic. Around the same time, I also became part of a group of racially diverse women-writers for a project on which I was working.
At this time and since, my dreams and my reality have swirled in my head. I find myself having conversations about race with other women continually. In each conversation, I try to tentatively explore where I am being led.