Three sisters. Laya wakes up happy, hopeful, eager to start the day. She has had a restful sleep, and is surrounded by a loving and loved family. She tends to their needs, finding time to tend to her own. When she finds time to stop and rest, she is filled with memories that are happy or hopeful. When a problem furrows her forehead, she knows that she can call on support to help solve it, or find a solution herself. She learns from the women in her life, and from the men - whether older, peers, or younger. She learns to make choices for keeping her life balanced and productive aware that she does not always manage to do so.
Laya's life seems perfect, doesn't it? Just an ordinary life. Perfect in its normalcy. That is really all that is being asked of, for women today. That they be allowed the privilege of living a happy, balanced life, without the furrows of fear that tear apart their sisters.
Taking it a step further, that is being asked for earth today. And it is not for the 'sake of' women or for the benefit of earth alone.
It is for the benefit of every person whom a woman's life touches, the children she bears and raises, the men she is raised and accompanied by, the women whom she shares with, and who support , ignore or reject her.
Saya, for instance, has almost come to terms with the feeling of dread that never leaves her. Its bedfellow is the feeling of hopelessness that keeps the daily dose of rage bottled tightly within. The closest she comes to feeling in control is when the serpent within breaks free in a fiery storm. That is when the cocktail of fear and nascent madness in er eyes is reflected in the eyes of those she is raging against. If just for a moment, if only sporadically, she is able to vent on her oppressors the pain that they inflict upon her. They feel no pain, just the fear of a coward and when she sees that, that momentary feeling of pity for that sick person in her life, the one who acts strong and feels strong only by abusing her - verbally, or physically or emotionally - can almost undo her. Sometimes, it is her own pity that so overpowers her that she cannot bear the ugliness it is directed towards. The ugliness of the encounter splashes each person so that she doesn't know what's worse. When she rages or he does.
When she wakes up, it is always with the feeling of dread. When she can finally get her aching body to sleep, the sharpness of pain in her body jostles the pain of her feeling.
It is a rare day when she can carry out her palns with her children without taking out her pain by scolding them sharply. The bewilderment in their eyes can undo her but there is not much she can do as she sees herself pushing them into a life that she cannot escape. In her moments of lucidity she sees how her own deameanor sometimes brings on violence her way, instead of calming it. But she feels helpless, rent into many portions by the memories and feelings she seeks to subdue.
Saya's life seems almost melodramatically inhumane, hopeless, but it is the sad reality of many women today, who are forced into lives without color, without honor. They can transcend it, strong as they are, but that inner light cannot shine as steadily, as brightly outward as it seeks to do.
Subdued. That is Maya when she wakes up. It takes time for her to be fully awake, and she can never know how she'll feel. Will it be happy? Sad? Energetic? Lethargic? Her life runs on moods of half-forgotten traumas and half-baked opportunities. She has had many encounters with men and they have left her feeling - incomplete. But then that's how she started off. Seeking to feel complete. Yearning to be so, but scared to jump in with both feet.GIving in to the unreasonable demands of casual dating, to imagined societal demands. She is constantly at a crossroads, constantly subjecting her bodies to the abuse of neglect.. Will she be able to make up her mind on how to proceed? Who or what will save her? She is not always as sensitive to her students' feelings as she would like to be. Not as caring a friend while she tries to escape the bonds of her own mixed emotions.
In each woman's life, violence plays a part, whether directly or by association. If not in our own life, then in those of the sisters of our larger families, each of us has encountered violence. It can be subtle as a barbed word, deadly as an implied threat, or immediate as a blow to the head. It does not matter who perpetrates the violence - whether it is men who do so or women; whether it is their own weakness that causes them to bully or their power. What matters is how women themselves get together to support in words, by action, even sometimes by a silent look, those who are facing more direct violence. How we learn and teach each other skills to prevent attacks, and if attacked, how to seek healing.
To learn to handle our emotions in an atmosphere of violence so that it can end with us and not be passed on to our children, our students, our nephews and nieces, our grandchildren. To be as goddesses, with balanced masculine and feminine attributes. To be aware of our needs, and of the value of satisfying them so that those around us can be nurtured and enlivened by our presence.
Somehow, it seems to me that our relationship to the biggest feminine in our lives - Earth, Gaia, Mother Nature - reflects our relationship to ourselves. What is the earth like to us? Do we treat her like Laya, like Saya or like Maya? Do we cherish her, brutalize or ignore her? Are we mindful of her needs and her impact in our lives or do we brush them aside? Do we celebrate her being or fight its effect on our bodies?
For if we cannot see what happens as a result of small actions or in-actions to one who gives us life, and nurtures us, perhaps we will not learn to fully bring balance and health to our own lives and of those who depend on us.
Earth provides us with a platform from which to seek the rights not only of the land, atmosphere and environment in which we live; but the women whose cycles and lives are closely linked to her, and the bodies, emotions and psyche of all those who live on her. They are remarkably inter-twined.
This is Gaia.
Can we help her wake up happily?