Monday, November 28, 2016

We Were Made For This

Peeking my head out from the depths of grief to write this post, I sit in sorrow knowing that we, as women already knew how this would go. Yes, I'm talking about the U.S. elections, but the bigger picture also - the decline of our species. I promise to give you some hope by the end of this. I am sorry to sound apocalyptic, and I fear these words will make you want you to look away from the dark reality that YOU feel in your bones, and oh so much deeper.  As women, we have given birth to every human who has ever lived. We have carefully carried the cells of life from before conception to birth. Every bit of potential of our civilization, has been nurtured by women for at least 60,000 years. Men, be humbled when you think of the power that has been stripped from the ones who made it all possible, and keep reading.
I have been trying to figure out for years why women, myself included, are so unsettled, and unhappy. In a world of convenience, and escape it would seem that we have it all. But we know better. We suffer mightily from depression, anxiety, chronic insomnia, drug, food and alcohol abuse. We numb our minds with a myriad of vapid distractions from the truth. We are running out of time to save us. We have not accepted or admitted our mourning. So how can we possibly heal from it?  We don't feel safe, because we're not. We make excuses for why we don't feel safe, and participate in, or allow the oppression of those we blame. The truth is, we as biologically creative wonders, do not want to admit that when we leave this earth, we will not have left a better place for our children. The challenges seem insurmountable. It is a sickening feeling, a tightness in our stomachs, a shortness of breath, a wave of panic that can be put to rest for a time, with the challenge of Candy Crush, a cat video, a shopping spree, or a bottle of wine. As women we know, when we do wake up, we will have even less time to change this.
So now that we are waking, what do we do? I will begin a series of posts to help us sort out what the problems are, and what we can all do. I will share in this post what I feel everyone, but especially women, should be doing right now.

1) Feel all the feels. I know, I know this sounds like a sign of weakness, but we have been suppressing our feelings and our true natures as protectors, for our entire lives. We can no longer afford to suppress our wild feminine selves. We are our ancestresses daughters in a long line of humans of the earth. We feel the burden and the power of our existence. This power has been oppressed for so long that it feels abnormal to talk about it. We are being raped, and killed, there is endless war, and our planet is being destroyed. It sounds awful, and feels horrid to say it. But we know this to be true, no matter how hard it is to accept. Go ahead, feel the gravity of it all. Cry, and scream, if you want to. Refuse to hold inside what the world really needs to hear.  We must devote ourselves to the protection of all of us, and the only home we have.

2)  While you're feeling your feels, discover or engage with your super power.  We all have at least one. The world needs your passion, and your powers, everyday. If you don't know what yours is, ask someone who loves you, for illumination. Fake it till you make it. Try it out, and see how good it feels to be more of who you really are. This might be uncomfortable at first, as you learn to wield  your super power for yourself, and then for others. Learn to have confidence in it, with practice. When we use our powers for intentional purpose, we are doing what we are meant to do. The possibilities our infinite, when we use our talents for the highest and greatest good of all beings.

3) Pay attention to your body, your surroundings, and one another. Put down your phone, and connect with the present. Seriously consider limiting screen time. Connect with people in your community, and beyond. Get out of your comfort zone. Seek to know people that are different than you. Listen! Look out for those who may be more afraid than you are. Go outside and look around.  Get to know the creatures that you share your environment with. Use technology as a tool for empowerment, and intelligent inquiry, not just as an escape hatch. The truth matters, and we are seeing less of it, as fake news spreads around on social media. Seek independent media sources for your news. Read longer, more deeply investigated stories and share what you learn.  Question everything!

4) Honor all people. Honor yourself. Attempt to let go of old stereotypes, and self-imposed limitations. Stop judging yourself, and each other, now! Women saying things like, " I don't really like women," must stop. This is internalized sexism. We may have been raised to put down our own gender, but we must teach our daughters another way. Give to organizations that reflect your values, and have been defending all our rights for many years. Call out hate speech and violent rhetoric of any kind. Seek to know your prejudices. We all have them. Use any privilege you are blessed with to fight for human rights everyday - without exception.

5) Be prepared for prolonged difficult times. Work towards a strong mind, body and spirit. Support your body and mind with real food. Know where your food comes from, and consider eating lower on the food chain. Grow something, even just herbs on a windowsill. Support your spirit. Consider Restorative Yoga, meditation, practice gratitude, journal, pray, walk and think, sing and dance, hug a tree, try Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or martial arts, laugh and BREATHE! Be patient, and gentle with yourself as you practice. Do not take yourself too seriously! Practice at least one of these things, everyday with no exceptions.

6) Resist! Defend the vulnerable! Dissent! Be a bitch! Be a wild woman activist! Be a Feminist! There is no time to just see what happens, or give a chance to leaders who deny science, stoke fears and hatred, and do not respect our common interests.  The current trajectory of our planet will end in the decimation of our civilization. It's time for women to take a turn at running this show! Support women in government and leadership positions. The earth is warming quicker than expected because of human activity, and it will soon be heating itself as a repercussion of the damage.  More than half of the world's pollinators, responsible for every third bite of food we eat, are going extinct. Indigenous People are defending our precious water. Help them! The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization recently has said that we only have 60 more harvests left in our soil! That is 60 years, till mass starvation. Women are wicked creative problem solvers, and excel in multi-tasking.  We must act now to save us.

7) Love fiercely! Love not just your own, but all. Practice compassion. We are in this together. We have the power to change course, everyday, with every decision we make. If we falter we can get up tomorrow and try again. There is power in solidarity. Separate is not an option. Our silence will not protect us. I believe in you! Women Rise Up! We were made for this! 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

How Women Are Going to Win An Election - Triumph Over Rape Culture

How Women Are Going To Win An Election - Triumph Over Rape Culture

          I woke again, pinched myself, testing reality. Donald J. Trump is running for President, and he could actually win. Yesterday the Washington Post broke a story, video and audio clips of Trump bragging to Billy Bush, of Access Hollywood. “I did try and f*ck her. I moved on her very heavily....I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there. And she was married....Then all of a sudden I see her. She's got big phony tits and everything. She totally changed her look.” Trump said for all the world to hear. The world is not surprised! He is a known adulterer. His wife, Melania was pregnant with their child when this Trump described “locker room banter” occurred. I wonder how many other business associates, and powerful men over the years, have listened to Trump spewing misogynistic, sexist and racist words over his lunch-time caviar. I wonder how many have told him to shut up! I wonder where they are now, and why they continue to be silent! As is often the case, the oppressed are the ones who must speak out first, insist on change, educate their allies, and fight the long fight.
So here's where the conversation went from disgusting, to criminal. Trump continued, “I've gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I am automatically attracted to beautiful – like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
He doesn't wait - for consent! He kisses women, and grabs between their legs, and women “LET” him! NO we don't LET him, or any other man who uses size, and power over us to get what they want, whenever they want it! This is not just misogynistic, sexist, locker room talk. Trump has admitted and bragged about sexually assaulting women. I am sure that most women are not surprised. We are just horrified to hear him say it! We are not surprised, because it has happened, so many times, to us.
          *trigger alert* I was a twenty year old college student at a dance. Early in the evening a man I had seen around campus, looking at me creepily, approached. I turned away, following my instincts, and my friends. The man grabbed me, grinding me from behind. I could feel his erect penis, pressing up against me. He said, “Let's get out of here.” I said, “No!” and slipped away into the crowd. A bit later, the dance floor got really dark - UB40's Red Red Wine, was a slow song back then. I was making my way through the crowd to get a drink, when I was caught. The hulking man I had said no to before, was back. He pulled me in, pressing himself full body against me, stuck his tongue in my mouth, and grabbed under my skirt, forcing a finger into my vagina. Pain ripped through my pelvis, and breathing became difficult. Somehow, I managed to stamp on his foot, punch him in the testicles, and escape. I ran through the crowd, and out of the student center to my truck, frantically locking the doors. He had not followed me. Thoughts of danger and doubt whirled around in my head, “What if I had gone somewhere alone with him? What did I do to encourage him? Was I safe at school? Who would believe me?” I got home, and took a long hot shower. No amount of steam or soap could clean his smell off my body. I told no one.
Unfortunately, I had a history by that point of being molested by a family friend as a child, being bullied physically and mentally by classmates, and being grabbed and forcibly kissed and roughed up as a teen, several times. Whenever I told what happened, it only made my life harder. I was the one who had to prove I had been abused, and none of my abusers were ever punished. I know I am not alone in my story. I know that many women reading this will have had similar experiences. I know that we are not often believed, even by other women. I know many women will remember and become nauseous when they hear a song that reminds them of the time a man “just kissed”, “grabbed their pussy” without consent, and got away with it.
Red red wine makes you feel so fine.....
         Here is where the story changes. Women will take our power back! We are going to celebrate the first woman president of the United States, even if she was not our first - second -or third choice!
The silence has ended! The “star” has shot his mouth off, and this time - he is the one caught! If you have thought the idea of Rape Culture was just for bra-burning lesbian feminists, this is the time to see the truth. Rape is so ingrained into our culture, we have difficulty believing - even ourselves.
Even if we are believed, our rapists spend little to no time in jail. Women and girls are harassed on the streets. Women are looked at as sex objects for the delight of men. We are criticized and shamed for breastfeeding, for not shaving - everything, for wearing clothes that tempt the uncontrollable maleness, for being too smart, for being too annoying, or nagging. We have all heard Hillary Clinton, easily the most experienced person to seek the presidency in history, be criticized for everything that irritates the traditional view of what a woman “should be.” Our voices, and faces, and bodies are constantly critiqued, even by other women - even if you are Hillary Clinton. Older women are largely ignored. This begins as early as our late forties, because our usefulness as sex objects is fading. Women and girls, are assaulted, and tormented routinely. Women are discriminated against in the workplace, and we have the salaries to prove it. Women and girls, even in this country, are sold, and abused. Women in the military are raped often. College campuses are rampant with sexual abuse. The statistics may be outrageous sounding, but just imagine, that this is the tip of the iceberg. We only know of the ones that are reported! We know we have kept the secrets of our own abuse! We know it is not our fault! We know it time to say NO to the very culture we have been raised in! We know it is time to speak up for all the women and girls who no one believes! We know it is time to insist that men of conscience speak up for us! We know that men who talk of their conquests of assault, also rape! We know it is time to make sure that Trump, or anyone who comes after him, does not get away with assaulting us! We know we are not men's play-things.! We know that every man who was ever born - came from a woman's body! We know what “Trump That Bitch!” actually means, and it's time to tell our neighbors to take down those signs that assault us, and our daughters! Women know we have allowed this criminal to go too far! We know that Rape Culture is the reason. We know, we are the majority, and we have the power - with our votes! We know it is finally time to forgive ourselves - for our silence!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beyond the Decimal

      Today is a particularly auspicious day in the celebration of mathematics, as the date 3.1415, and the time 9:26:53, is also the first ten digits of the mathematical equation Pi - the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The Greek mathematician, Archimedes, was the first to accurately approximate Pi, using fractions in 250 B.C! We have been pondering the circle for a long time! This seemingly simple concept, is expressed in numbers, beyond the decimal, that are irrational, with NO repeating pattern and No end! Yes, we are talking about infinity here. This is where my interest lies, in the celebration of the unknowable.
      Carl Sagan wrote, in his book Cosmos, "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe." So where is the infinite Pi, present in our lives? Obviously, everywhere there is a circle, and more subtlety in  waves of energy, such as sound, and light, in a ripple in a lake, and in the changing, flowing path of a river. All rivers that are measured, for all their meanderings, average to Pi. Pi is present in the rings of trees, the spheres of planets, and within the spiraling helix of our DNA. Infinity is truly within us!
     Humans have calculated the numbers, beyond the decimal, to 10 trillion, with the help of computers. According to Numberphile's  YouTube video, Pi and The Size of The Universe, "It takes only 39 digits of Pi, to be able to measure the circumference of our observable universe, as accurately as the width of one hydrogen atom." So I ask you, gentle reader, what could we possibly need with the rest of the numbers.... into infinity? It really is a mystery. Pi and e are transcendental, uncountable numbers, and although we only know of a few, they are anything but rare. According to Manil Suri's opinion piece, Don't Expect Math to Make Sense, in the New York Times this week,   "Out of the totality of numbers, almost all are transcendental. Pi reveals how limited human knowledge is, how there exist teeming realms we might never explore."
     I am anything but a math expert. I am more of a nerdy, weekend wine-drinking philosopher. I love to ponder the spaces where math and science intersect with philosophy, in our attempts to understand our place in the universe. It is in those spaces where I feel comfortable expressing what I know to be true. What wakes me from my sleep, with sheer awe, is simply,

we are not apart from infinity - we are a part of it!  

Infinity is within and without, encompassing all we can conceive. It is beyond our knowledge, yet an integral part of our knowing. We are alive within a boundless sea, of all there ever was, and all there ever will be. This concept of infinite randomness is really beyond any one religion, or field of science, it just IS. How liberated could we feel as humans, if we could learn to embrace the unknowable? Perhaps we can begin by practicing gratitude for our place within the space of the infinite. We could even grow in our liberation, to the point where we just can be - present to one another, and all life, able to see the infinite in even the smallest creature.  In our attempts to control the mundane aspects of our daily lives, we often miss the bigger picture. But not today! Today we celebrate the mystery!  We celebrate the expansive abilities of the human mind, and the limits of it. We are curious participants in the sacred circle of life. With eyes wide open, and using all of our available counting fingers, across all space and time, we gather with wonder, as seekers. We celebrate the beyond, the immeasurable, the delicious limitlessness of our desire to know!

Pass the Pi please.  

Blog Post and Pi-ku by Heather Kohser 3/14/15 copyright      

Saturday, February 23, 2013


It has been so long since I last blogged and oh so much has happened! I have been so blessed with abundance of every kind! I will do a brief list of the wonders since we last "spoke."
~ I got married in not one, but two ceremonies to the love of my life!
Our beach ceremony October 2012

~ Both our families participated in the ceremonies and brought us such joy!

Our legal Vermont wedding day September 2012

~ My mom has healed from two surgeries and is moving on from both!
Mom and I laughing on her visit to Vermont

~ I have been doing some writing, and will have another piece published soon, a feminist re-imagining of the Goddess Athena! Yay!

~ We went on two fabulous vacations to Michigan Women's Music Festival and Cape Hatteras!

~ We had work done on our home, including painting it purple!

~ I have finally figured out what I have been called to do over the past couple years. I will soon start training to become a Certified Intuitive Consultant with the goal of becoming a Spiritual Empowerment Life Coach. 
Kuan Yin in our mediatation garden Photo by Madaid Lopez copyright 2013

Needless to say my writing has been scattered and brief because I have been so pleasantly busy. I have found it hard to focus and would love to have profound words for all the joy I feel...but I don't!
I am so fortunate and grateful for my life and I am happier than I have ever been and although I could get really deep about all this -  for now I will just say with a hint of whimsy
this one is for the birds.......

For the birds

Lengthening days of winter are pleasantly punctuated
by ferociously feeding flocks at my feeder.
Changing throaty love songs and awkward advances at the bath
are sly signs of hope for a sequestered seasonal sonnetist.
But this one
is for the birds.
Cagey phrases flushed from hiding
resist synthesis,
as flitting feathers and fleeting fecundity
waft away
                  with wisps
                                           wood smoke
and my words
                                             on - a - page
                                                                      like seeds in a snow squall.

by~ Heather Kohser  copyright 2013

Photo by Madaid Lopez copyright 2013
 Blessings of abundance to all!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


     What an incredible couple of weeks!  I have very exciting news!  An essay I wrote about Kuan Yin is to be published in a devotional anthology, called Unto Herself.  I have had my work published in a magazine in the past, but I have always wanted to be published in a book. All Hails to Divine Lady Kuan Yin, and Yay for me!  I have plans for much more writing, possibly books of my own, and with my partner as well.  We have a lot to say!
     My beloved partner and I also celebrated our third anniversary together a couple weeks ago.  I randomly found her on Facebook, saw her profile pic in a lesbian group thought she was adorable, and asked her to be friends.  It was a few months later before I got the nerve to chat with her.  We had instant connection, eerily similar lives, many common interests, and became fast friends.  We lived hundreds of miles apart, and met a couple months later.  I remember grabbing her hand at the airport, the feeling I still get today - click- we just fit together like puzzle pieces.  I know this sounds sappy, and too good to be true, but it is the real deal.  I have never been so loved.  She knows me, like no one ever has, and she appreciates the real me.  I am so fortunate to have found her, and I truly cherish our lives together.  So how does this relate to a post about Goddess, dear readers?  My lover knows my true essence, and she can see it even when I cannot.  This is a blessing beyond measure!  This is also my experience with the Divine Source - Goddess.
     I was raised in the typical kind-of-Christian house of most Americans, Catholic in my junior high years with a couple very important exceptions.  I led a very mystical magical private life starting as a small child and my mother encouraged me to question, always.  I was sent to the principal's office at my Catholic school several times during religion class.  The priest teaching our class was an older man, openly despised women and resented questions from a girl.  I asked questions anyway, not out of spite, but out of genuine curiosity and an attempt to understand my religion.  My questions were considered blasphemy , and although today I might be allowed to ask the question in religion class, the answers would be the same.  Women cannot be priests.  Gay people are sinners.  Children after the age of seven are sinners and must confess to a priest before receiving communion.  Using birth control is immoral, but having too many children that you are unable to care for is not.  "But where does Jesus say this?," I plead as I am shoved out of the class into the hall, silenced.  I am still asking the same questions, and I will no longer be silenced.  As a seventeen year old, with by my thirteen year old sister, we refused to stand down as the only protesters at an Operation Rescue rally.  We did not expect to be the only protesters, we thought at least NOW would be at the rally, but apparently they were at another larger city on the tour.  I saw the looks of horror as some of the familiar church ladies filed out past us, having listened to an hour of anti-woman hate speech from Randall Terry, the leader of the radical anti-abortion group.  We were harassed,  called names, and intimidated by a crowd of people, high on hatred.  We stood there silent, alone, with our signs - testament to the strength of the women we would become.  I remember a couple of large men, saying as the crowd thinned, "They are tough, I wish they were on our side."  That was never going to happen; and after seeing the people I knew and hearing how much I was hated just for being there, I never went back to church!
     I could write for days about the church, and the fact that some of my friends still sit there, even though they don't believe in many of the church tenants.  They tell me, that almost all of their young Catholic women friends use birth control, support a woman's right to choose, have sex before marriage, and believe in gay rights.  They don't understand that their silence is permission. Nothing will change, unless the people insist upon it, or leave!  I believe that the recent war on women, as if it were ever not a war, will translate into women voting many of these power-hungry macho bigots out of office.  I am hopeful that all this recent sickening legislation curtailing the rights of women is just desperate men in their death throes, clutching their religious books with bloody claws in a final battle of the culture wars.  Sometimes women just need some extra proof that our freedom is in jeopardy before we will act!  We have lots of it lately.  With their religious dogma, and that is all it is, there is little to nothing Jesus-like in any of these debates; they pound their chests on talk shows, and turn red and cry fake tears for innocent babies not-born, or born of sinful "abusive" single mothers.  Many of us see through the side-show antics to the truth.  This discriminatory language of religious fervor is spewed by legislators, while they munch on Viagra, quote the Bible, and introduce bills around the country that dismantle womens rights to our bodies, take away our choices, and turn the sacred act of sex into a pornographic blame game.  These are attempts to suppress women to their very core!
       I recently read that in 2009 former president Jimmy Carter had left his Baptist church of 66 years after many years of trying to effect change on their policies of discrimination.  "This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries."  The entire piece is excellent- linked below!

      Jimmy Carter is a man of great faith and intelligence.  He is an example of a Christian that looks at the teachings of Jesus, as models of behavior; unlike the small-minded men who use their religious clout to subdue thought, and shove women to the back pew. This is not entirely the fault of men.  Women allow it!
      So I ask you, what does God look like?  Is He a bearded white man sitting on a cloud in the heavens passing judgement and doling out gifts and/or trials to his followers?   According to the Christian Bible we were made in His image.  We were?  Which ones among us?  Perhaps we should question how is this image supposed to make us feel?  Small, different, not good enough, sinful, dirty, shamed, apart from - in fact this is how much of the vile things being preached by the Christian right are supposed to make most of us feel. 
     I have been an activist for women's rights, lesbian rights, reproductive freedoms, and peace for years - screaming on the street corners, outraged at the injustice everywhere.  I still am, but the difference for me now is balance.  I felt alone, mad, afraid and depressed before I started paying attention to my inner longings for connection.  I started listening to the voices inside of me, my tender spirit crawling out from under years of oppression and acceptance that I was different from, and less than.  I now believe that the only way to change anything, is to change yourself.  I still scream on the occasional street corner, but my focus now is helping women to find their power, change the unjust from the inside out.  The possibilities are endless!
        So here is where women's spirituality is increasingly important.  What if God looks like me, and you, and every other creature of the planet?  What if we don't require a man to ration out our penance, or a wafer, to connect us to the Divine?  What if God is really Goddess, or has no gender at all?  What if God is both immanent, transcendent and bigger than anything a mere human can imagine?  What if we choose to honor the sacred spark in everything - The Divine Feminine, Goddess,  in all Her many aspects?  This is what I choose to do. 
     We are all connected, within the elements earth, air water, fire and Spirit.  There is no separation from, only our inability to remember that we are all of the Divine.  If women were respected as Goddess, not just by men, but by each other, what would the world look like?  I imagine love, honor, peace, and beauty, understanding, nurture and intelligence.  I envision, empathy and intuition, appreciation and respect of all our differences as aspects of the Source of All.  Most importantly women would be trusted!  This seemingly simple concept remains elusive, and Oh how the whole world suffers for it.
     Through my blog I have been coming out of the broom closet, if you will.  I have cleared out the cobwebs and clutter and am prepared to say what is on my mind regarding the connections between organized religions and oppression of any kind.  I believe that women, making up the majority of people in the world have the power to change it.  Perhaps if we start seeing each other as Goddess, sacred creatures made in Her image, we will feel more empowered; for we are known to Her - Universal Creatrix Mother of All.  She sees our very essence!  The part that becomes hidden from us through a lifetime of oppression, and abuse.  She has always been here with us, and beyond us, all encompassing love. We can uncover our sacred essence if we seek Her, the Goddess within!

I wrote the following revision the other night, with memories of Catholicism fresh in my mind. The Lord's Prayer was stuck on a loop in my head, so I changed it.  I mean no disrespect, but I think maybe this could be interchanged with the original version in churches every other week, to be more inclusive to women!  Maybe I will contact a priest and ask him! :D

 The Divine Mother Prayer

Our Mother whose body is Earth
Hallowed be thy 10,000 names.
Thy Queedom come, our wombs be one
As women, let us Remember!
Give us each day food to nourish
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we strive to heal ourselves and the planet.
Lead us unto Your many pleasures
And deliver us from oppression.
For Thine is the wisdom, the power and the beauty
For ever and ever!
So mote it be!
revised by ~Heather Kohser 2012 (copyright)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Feathered friends, an Ode to the Chickadees

      Of all the birds I love in the world, and there are many, the Black-Capped Chickadee is my absolute favorite.  They have so much personality packed into their tiny songbird bodies!  Chickadees, from the Paridae family, are native to North America, and are revered in many Native American traditions for their curiousness and bravery.  Chickadees love to check out new things, and are always on the look-out for danger.  They often live in flocks with other Chickadees, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Cardinals and Finches.  Chickadees are often the first to notice an intruder. Their loud buzzing, "Chick-a dee-dee-deee", notifies the entire flock of danger.  Chickadees are very competitive for food, and will stand up to a much larger bird, to get to a yummy treat.  Their curious natures allow humans the honor of meeting them in the woods.  They flutter from tree branch to tree branch sizing up the stranger, and buzzing about it to any bird that will listen.  
Hand-feeding Chickadees at my feeder

         I learned many years ago that people were able to hand-feed Chickadees.  I wanted to do this one day!  I have always fed the birds, in all the apartments I rented over the years.  But when I bought my house a few years ago, and realized I could be feeding these same birds and their offspring for the rest of my life, I made it my goal to know "my birds."  My particular feeder flock consists of about 20 Chickadees, that stay all year on the island.  They brave the incredibly harsh winters, and in the summer they come less to the feeder, as there is much to feed on in the fields.
      Many people have asked how I got the Chickadees to my hand, so here is how I did it.  If you love birds, you should try it! The key is patience!!  I feed the birds all year, so many of the same birds check out the feeder daily.  I began standing outside beside the feeder after I filled it with seed, so they would get used to my presence while they ate.  I often sat in a chair during the day between their favorite perch, a huge lilac bush, and the feeder.  They became more and more comfortable with me.  Then, I made sure to feed only enough food for the day.  So at morning the feeder was empty, and the birds were eager for seed.  I then began holding my feed scoop full of black-oil sunflower seed, out from my body and waited.  Soon, a couple birds came to the scoop, while the other curious ones watched.  Once they realized the brave birds were getting first dibs on seeds, others joined in.  I did this for a few weeks.  Then one morning, instead of a scoop, I used my hand.  I stood quietly, at the lilac bush with my seed-filled hand, a few came to closer branches, staring at me, buzzing. I found that not looking at them, instead looking down, increased their trust.  After all, predators stare!  Then the two most friendly ones hopped into my hand, quickly grabbing a seed.  I was overjoyed!!  As time went on, more and more birds came to my hand, taking turns, even chasing each other away in competition for the first seeds of the morning.  I feed them this way everyday, also a key to hand-feeding is consistency. We can look at each other now, they know I won't hurt them.  A few will even sit  in my hand picking through to find just the right seed.  Some stare in my eyes, I wonder what they must think of me?
           Feeding the Chickadees is one of the true simple joys of my life!  When I get home from a long night shift at the hospital, they greet me, much like my pets.  As I take the dogs out, the Chickadees dive me, chirping and buzzing "The feeder is empty, crazy bird lady!"  When we open the curtains of the window looking out toward the feeder, in the morning, excitement ensues. They buzz towards the window, or perch on a plant staring in the window.  With a flirty flutter, they chirp, "Feed us, feed us!"  When I was away recently, my partner took over the feeding, and reported to me how they all were doing.  Since I have been doing this for a number of years, other people can feed my flock as well.  Some of my birder friends love to come to hold the Chickadees.  Some of the Chickadees have been named, and I do have a favorite.  Mr. Stripey is a shy, larger bird with a white stripe across his black cap.  I have never seen this marking on a Chickadee. It took him many months to come to my hand, although he vocalized the loudest, while all the others were doing it.  It was a great day, when he finally came to me!  Below, is a poem I composed the other morning, after stressful work shifts.  I hope it expresses how much I admire these winged creatures, and how much they help me!!

So light in my palm,
Cares from a difficult shift
Take wing
One- by one

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eskies and Equality -together at last!

       This post was going to be about my rescued American Eskimo Dog, Ahnah, for the Pagan Blog Project.  However, I am a week behind in writing as I just returned home from caring  for my mom, and needed some rest.  So in honor of International Women's Day I am going to attempt to tie in two posts together!  Hold on...this could be interesting.
      The story of my beloved dog, Ahnah, is a sorted tale of love and loss.  My beloved partner and I lost our dog, Howie, last year, to an unfortunate accident.  To understand how painful this was for us, is to understand that we have never given up on an animal.  We are child-free women by choice, and our animals are our babies.  We both have had pets, usually multiple, in our homes for our entire lives.  We are devoted to them, and often laugh about the fact that they come first.  So, with the loss of this dog, came the tragedy of injury, lost friendships and the guilt that comes when you wonder was there anything different we could have done.  I will not go into this any further, other than to say, a dog's personal space needs to be protected.  Together, we shared immense pain, and it changed us.  A few years prior my "dog-daughter", Sophia died at the age of 15.  I miss her everyday, and really never thought I could have that deep a connection with another animal.
       After losing our dog we knew we wanted to adopt another.  We had been watching for dogs on Pet-Finders and saw that there were more than a thousand up for adoption within a hundred mile radius of our home.  This was so tragic!!  We went to see a Puggle mix dog, at a local rescue.  We fell in love with the adorable, brown, smooshed- nose beast with an under-bite!!  I happened to see a white dog peering at me quietly, in a corner crate.  I asked about her, with curiosity.  The rescue owner said, "I will bring her out." before I could even get out the words, "We are only looking for one dog."  My partner brought out the little white dog to the yard on a leash.  She ran up to me, put her feet on my thighs, and stared into my eyes with her one little eye.  I scooped her up, tears pouring down my face- it was instant profound connection.  She licked my tears, wagging her entire body with joy.  We rescued two dogs that day, or perhaps, they rescued us.

Sagan, Ahnah and I in Maine!

       So here is my Pagan tie in to the story.  I had been doing deep meditation work during the months preceding this, a balm for difficult times.  The name Ahnah, (I was unsure of the spelling) kept coming to me during meditation.  I thought it might be the name of a spirit guide, but did not give it a lot of thought. When we brought the little Eskimo dog with one eye into our home she was named Elle.  She did not know this name at all, so we renamed her.  She had been abandoned in a South Carolina shelter, likely a pure-bred Eskie, with an eye injury.  We know nothing else about her life, other than she had surgery and was transported to a Vermont rescue with the Puggle, we named Sagan, after Carl of course!  The name Ahnah kept coming to me, while searching for names and I looked it up.  Ahnah, is an Inuit word meaning wise woman.  Perfect!!  Ahnah looks like a young wise woman staring and all-knowing with her one little eye.  She is wonderful, smart, funny, active and loves the water and the snow.  She graduated from obedience class, and is a perfect companion for me.  The missing eye is not a disability for her.  It does make me nervous, because she does not have a spare!!  We now have a very complete family in our tiny home, with three rescued amazing boy kitties as well.
       Another Pagan tie in, is my belief that all sentient beings are important, worthy, and come from the Source, just as humans do.  Sometimes I feel that dogs are more evolved than we are.  Most days I only hope to be half the woman that Ahnah thinks I am.  They are pure love!  Dogs languishing in shelters because they are given up on, or their owners gave little thought to the acquisition of a new pet, is morally wrong.  So is, not neutering pets, especially cats that can have countless litters of unwanted kittens.  The way we keep animals for food is repugnant as well.  Animals kept, crowded, caged, and against their true nature with rampant disease is unethical and unsafe for the world.  I will write a much more in depth post in the future about conscious eating. 
        On International Woman's Day I would like to honor all beings with the dignity they deserve!  The last weeks rantings by Rush Limbaugh, and hearings on birth control in the Congress that included no women, is nothing short of shameful and outrageous!  What in the world does a panel of older men, half from the church, have to do with anything about any woman's body??  People of conscience, and I do not mean the fake Christian kind, that spout the words of Jesus and then are hateful to everyone who is not just like themselves;  I mean thinking, feeling people, who believe in equality, that love must prevail, that peace is not only possible, but necessary, for the future of our planet.
We must stand up everyday for what is right!
         We need more women leaders, period!  We also need brave men that will call-out men who call any woman a slut, every time!  Women need to be trusted!  We have a right to control our own bodies including the reproductive parts!  If this ridiculousness continues, we need to revisit Lysistrata, and protest every drug store that sells Viagra!   Leaders who care more about a fetus, than about babies once they are born need to go!  Opponents of abortion rights, should be the biggest proponents of birth control.  The opposite is true, because this is all about controlling women.  Once again, immoral and out-dated!  Women all over the world are victims of rape, genital mutilation, and starvation.  They are refuges of war, caught in the middle of violence, desperately trying to survive.  With all the serious problems in the world, we do not have to entertain this misogynist 3-ring circus, meant to divide us, and take away our power.  We just need to say, NO!  We vote!  Get something done for us, or you are all fired! 
       I could go on about equality for days, but this ( humor me, let's take all the names we're called, and embrace them occasionally with pride) slutty, Tree-hugger, "Femi-nazi", Dyke, Pan-Dianic Witch, has to go play with the little white dog,  who brings such whimsy to her life!  In my older age I understand that life is too short to be too serious, and one has to have balance.  For me, whimsy and the search for wisdom are integral to my inner alchemy!

A few days after we adopted our fur-babies!