Cranky Old Woman

Somebody, somebody, has to be the cranky old woman, with compassion and with strength, standing up for old-fashioned values.

And there will always be people telling that cranky old woman that she is being too picky, too trouble making, too obstreperous, too obstructive, too stick in the mud.

But the best cranky old women have a strong sense about when to fight and when to just let other people make their own mistakes, when to stand firm and when only to say a word or two that might make sense later when the bigger picture comes into view.

That’s the gift of maturity, if you choose to take it, the gift of wider vision away from the myopia of desire , way from the blinders of need.

I remember that as a kid I used to say “That may well be true, but you certainly don’t expect me to admit it, do you?”

I can’t imagine myself saying that today. There seems little purpose in denying truth, even if there often also seems little purpose about saying it out loud and pushing it into people’s faces when they are not ready to engage it. It’s about voice and breath, what can be said that might actually be heard, now or down the road.

Someone has to be the cranky old woman, the crone, the seer standing up for connection, for life beyond the imagined walls between us and them, between now and then, between good and bad. Someone has to stand up for context and nuance beyond momentary desire.

And I guess that one of those cranky old women just has to be me.

Venerating The Ladder

When people start to venerate the ritual more than the goal, becoming enamored more of the rules than of the dreams, then they begin to fall into fundamentalism and to lose possibility.

It doesn’t matter if it is venerating the rules of the church or the physical side of tantra, being more immersed in ritual can get us lost.

In the end the ritual, habits, doctrines and texts are never the goal, they are only one ladder that we can use to get closer to the shared goal of actualization, wholeness and enlightenment.

And when we get too involved in venerating our particular ladder, well, then we lose sight of what we share.

A Shimmering Creature Like No Other

On the phone with TantraGal we were talking about the challenge of bringing people to us in the world.

It is frustrating and painful to acknowledge that other people can only offer what they have to offer, can only heal and grow on their own schedule.  On the other hand it is much more frustrating and painful not to acknowledge that truth, scratching and scraping to try to get what we need out of someone who cannot give it, all the while feeling hurt and angry in our own neediness.

The authors of the book The Rules had one key rule: you have to be a shimmering creature like no other who attracts people to you on your own terms, rather than just being out there to give people what they think they want.

This is the hard part, especially in this culture.  So many of us want to get what we need without exposing ourselves, by just being one of the crowd, one of the mass of girls in jeans and a cute top.   We try to be who others expect, and then we find that we have no deep connection, not to others and not to ourselves.  We get lost in the expectations of others, and when we find ourselves at odds and ends with our dreams, maybe pregnant by a man who doesn’t even know our family name, well, we are lost and broken.

I often hear stories of people chasing down what they want in other people who just don’t have that to give.  But I rarely hear stories of people working to know and polish themselves to become more centered, more together, more rehearsed and therefore more attractive.  Marianne Williamson said you don’t need to go and find the perfect person, rather you have to become the person your perfect person would love to be with.  Then you can be ready for that other person, and if something different comes, well, at least you will be happy with yourself.  After all, who can be present and positive for someone else if you are not first present and positive for yourself.

“You always look nice,” TantraGal told me.  I told her it was because I knew I could never be just one of the crowd, one of the mass of gals in jeans and a cute top.  Instead, I consciously had to build my gender to be a shimmering creature like no other.  At the SUNYA LGBT conference I was pleased to be in line behind a guy in a sweater vest and slacks, a transman who, now being a professor, was also trying to build a conscious and graceful expression of self.

To become a shimmering creature like no other, though, means that you have to surrender the goal of being just one of the mob, being whoever they want you to be now just to get what you need.  It requires leaving behind the manipulations of trying to coax what you need from someone else, and standing firm in the belief that in the long run, being the best at who you are will bring you what you need.

In this mass culture, learning to stand out as a shimmering creature like no other is something that is rarely valued, even if some Southern women carry on the tradition.  (Gawd, I always wanted to be a belle).

But is there really any other feasible goal for people who own their own uniqueness, specialness and power?