Saturday, December 13, 2014

Choose Love

I stand next to my old mare and feel her warm breath on my cheek, and I cry. Oh Mama Silk, I’m thinking about the families who have lost their children or their mothers or their daughters two years ago in an insane massacre at the elementary school in our peaceful little town. And I’m remembering how it felt last night to watch a group interview on TV with four mothers of the young African-American men who were killed recently by policemen.  My bones ache with the pain. My heart holds their grief.

The hatred grows and spreads, each day, each week, each month, each year, as the climate and the justifications for it are adopted by our culture. Most of us turn away from it, hoping that if we ignore what is happening, someone else will fix it or it will magically disappear. Newsflash – it won’t if we don’t do something about it.

 In my own small circle of  daily routine, I can’t ignore that there are people who continue to harass and terrorize families in Newtown after the already life-scarring, horrific experience of the massacre at Sandy Hook, who call in fake threats or claim that the entire tragedy was a hoax, who cause so much fear that schools here have lockdowns “just in case” the threat is real and inflict even more pain and endless trauma to the children and parents of our community.

I witness that there are people who in the name of “animal rights” issue death threats and spread lies to humiliate innocent NYC carriage drivers and their families, egging on the Mayor with their large contributions and wildly untrue accusations that will cause the loss of jobs, create bitter hardship and leave the horses homeless and useless.

I see that we live in a country where good, law-abiding young black men are justifiably terrified of our police force, where torture is used on foreign prisoners and excused by our government, where ordinary citizens are routinely spied upon by law agencies and corporations.

And still, like a volcano rumbling under us,  I can feel that there is a swelling of energy, of rebellion that grows stronger by the minute. There is tremendous power in those four grieving mothers, in all the mothers who refuse to allow the deaths of their children  to just disappear as old news without any meaning or change resulting from the terrible loss. Listen to it.  It’s coming from the mothers, from the strong women, from a female understanding that many call “the Divine Feminine”. It has been with us since the beginning of time, but the patriarchs have crushed and buried it for centuries. Finally, Mother Earth is cracking open so the women can be heard.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi teacher, says: “When we deny the divine mystery of the feminine we also deny something fundamental to life.  We separate life from its sacred core, from the matrix that nourishes all of creation.  We cut our world off from the source that alone can heal, nourish and transform it.  The same sacred source that gave birth to each of us is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish it with what is real, and to reveal to us the mystery, the divine purpose to being alive.”

 My horse knows this. I did not realize when she came into my life almost twenty years ago that this is what she is here to teach me. Now, I understand why I run to the barn to be with her whenever I am upset or confused. She is my messenger from the Great Mother. She tells me that we don’t necessarily have to know what we need to do next. We just have to feel that we need to do something, honor our intuition and wait to see what will present itself. And when that moment comes, even if it seems beyond our reach, we need to do what needs to be done.  All of us. Together. Right now. We must choose love.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Day! Thankful for Everything

What a great Thanksgiving it is!  Our daughter brought home some friends who are from Beijing, Hong Kong and Sicily and they have never celebrated Thanksgiving before.  So, we are barbecuing the turkey, playing with the horses, cooking in the kitchen and enjoying being together. What could be better?

Hope you are having a joyful day too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Thanksgiving Wish

Lakota Prayer

Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery,
teach me how to trust
my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.

According to the Native People, the Sacred Space
is the space between exhalation and inhalation.
To Walk in Balance is to have Heaven (spirituality)
and Earth (physicality) in Harmony.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One of the Great Ones

In memory of Mike Nichols, a hero of mine, who died last night at age 83:

I met Mike Nichols in his apartment at the Carlyle Hotel in 1984, and he changed my life.  My best friend, Terry Beirn, and I came there to ask Mike if he would help us do a benefit for AIDS research at the Shubert Theatre in New York.  There had never been a benefit for AIDS, and most people did not want to know anything about the disease or talk about it.  As we sat with him, Mike said over and over to us that he didn’t do benefits.

Finally, desperate, I said, “I don’t do benefits either, but Terry is my best friend and he has AIDS and he’s dying, so I’ve got to do something.” Mike looked intensely at my handsome thirty-four year old friend and began asking him questions. For twenty minutes, Terry told Mike how he was feeling and what he knew about the disease, which was a lot because Terry was a very smart man. There was no cure – at that point, there wasn’t even a test yet to prove you had it. Then, Mike turned to me and said, “No one wants to hear about this. People stick their heads in the sand. If we want them to pay attention, we are going to have to make them laugh.”

He called on many of his friends, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, David Geffen, and for the first time in twenty-five years, he performed on-stage with Elaine May.  We raised a million dollars for AIDS research at a time when there was no money coming from the federal government. Mike guided me, gave me confidence, always expected the very best from me and never let me down. I teased him that he was even more of a perfectionist than my mother, but she had given me thirty years of grooming to prepare me to work with him.  When my first marriage ended with the abruptness of a major earthquake, Mike offered me a small room in the basement of his office to pull myself back together again and write a screenplay. It gave me a reason to get up every morning, and he helped me re-build my confidence and my crumbled life with his wise advice and humor.

And now, he is gone.  A brilliant light that has left an impact on so many creative people’s lives.  Mike had a razor sharp mind, the courage to go where many others feared to tread and the biggest, most generous heart.  It was an honor and a privilege to have him as a mentor, and I would not be the person I am today if I had not met him.  The world has lost a shining star.

“The only safe thing is to take a chance.”  
--  Mike Nichols