The Experiment: Day 145 ~ When The Wild Iris Blooms — The Summons…

“What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside, 
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest, 
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons,
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?

Terma Collective,
The Box

These times are rare. And deeply holy. And they are part of The Mystery.

I have been here once before. Twenty years ago, in 1998, something happened that turned my whole life upside down and inside out. In months, on the night of my 45th birthday, I moved out of my married home into a tiny cottage. I was alone for the first time in my adult life. I had gone from my parents home to my married home, birthed three children, moved cross country with my family, and then here to the southern coast, and one day to the tiny white cottage that was where my first dream of Dragonfly Cottage was born. The dragonfly became my totem animal when dragonflies began appearing wherever I was, even places where there was no reason they should be. The dragonfly represents transformation, coming out of the darkness and into the light. I had left a marriage three decades long to come out a lesbian. It shocked everyone, I was cut off from everybody, deeply alone, frightened, confused, lost. In the fall of 1999, in my tiny cottage, I created Dragonfly Cottage Community For Lesbians.

Dragonfly Cottage was a non-sexual, gentle community mostly for women who were coming out at midlife and were so lost they didn’t know what to do. I started this community because I needed to talk to other women, because I needed answers, because I needed to learn how to build a new life. And I didn’t fit in anywhere, not even in the lesbian community. Women who were lifetime lesbians seemed to have a culture that they were part of, they had had hardships aplenty and they had fought all kinds of prejudice and alienation and worse but they knew who they were and what it meant to be a lesbian. When you have been a “heterosexual woman,” a wife, a mother, a woman whose life was understood and accepted in society, coming out in midlife you were such an anomaly no one knew what to do with you. The lifelong lesbians that I met resented me because they felt I’d lived a life of privilege and hadn’t had to fight their battles. Those who knew me as a “heterosexual wife and mother” were shocked and horrified and wanted nothing to do with me. I was born in the 50’s and most of the women I knew couldn’t even say the word “lesbian” out loud. When I said it people turned their back on me. And very soon after I left the marriage I found myself like Alice, down the rabbit hole, in an unfamiliar land.

I had a handful of relationships in the first couple of years that ended so badly I became increasingly withdrawn until I rarely ever left the house again. I became agoraphobic, I had a breakdown, my bipolar disorder flared out of control, I was no longer who I had been but I didn’t know who I was. The community I had created saved me, and it did the same for a lot of other women. And I learned something then that I have experienced several times since, I learned that the gathering of women in community is a powerful thing. My life, over and over since those early years after the marriage, has been about creating community for women, all women, not just lesbians, women of every age, race, sexual orientation, from every life situation you can imagine, I have been in circle with them all. Women’s Circles are holy, and I have been drawn to them again and again, but not since the creation of the Dragonfly Cottage community have I experienced such a powerful calling to create a place for women to gather together, to create a family, a tribe. I am being called again. I am being summoned. It is time.

“I see a finely wrought chain of tempered silver, 
delicate yet strong, stretching back through time,
reaching deep into the earth…
A chain of women, each listening to each, being present
to her as she waits for her self to be born, for her feeling
values to come to form and to birth…
Woman after woman after woman, being present, 
as each finds her voice.”

Judith Duerk
A Circle of Stones:
Woman’s Journey To Herself

A chain of women, woman after woman after woman, holding hands over space and time and distance, gathering, in community, finding a home in each other. This is what I am summoned to create, again, now, but bigger, wider, larger, deeper than I ever have before. There were over 1500 women from around the world in the Dragonfly Cottage community. I believe that is but a fraction of the women who will gather in the new community I am creating.

These days I am here working from the time I get up and make my coffee in the morning until it’s time to go to bed at night with short breaks to take the dogs out, make something to eat, or do necessary chores. There are stacks of books around me, and what I have been amazed to discover, having lost hundreds of books in my house fire in 2014, is that there are a number of books that are very important to me, that I have used as far back as creating the Dragonfly Cottage community, books on women’s circles, women at midlife, on women turning 40, 50, 60, 70, so many more. The dearest ones have yellowed pages, corners turned down, passages circled, highlighted, notes in the margins. The books are worn and soft. They hold a history of my work with women. They were saved somehow because they were meant to be used again. I was actually startled to find a whole stack of them last night. I am making notes, planning, dreaming, organizing, and beginning to write the content for this new community. It is truly like coming home.

And again, as I wrote last night, I am having, each day, to reign myself in. I am overwhelmed, spending hours each day on technical issues. I am using a forum platform that will be the heart and soul of the community available to patrons at every level of engagement, but it is not an easy platform to create and integrating it with Patreon, is no easy task. It will be wonderful and I soldier on, but comes the time each day when I have to say “Enough.” And I do. I close out all the tabs in which the technical work is being done, where I am working with support forums, where I am waiting to receive answers. I inch along a little farther each day. It will get done. It feels like sweet relief to shut down the technical work for the day and come here, to the blog, to talk to all of you. And it is exciting to share this journey with you. I think one day we will all be gathered there, will really get to know one another, will converse, share, and support each other, will meet in livestreams and other live venues I am working on, and my heart is so full with all the content I will be sharing through my short videos 5x a week for the patrons who choose that level. And this means to be a perennial garden, not just a garden of short lived annuals. This will be a community that will be here to stay.

Right now I am engaging in more self care. For some reason, even though I am eating a perfect ketogenic diet, I have had no alcohol in over 4 months, I am off meds, and there is no reason on God’s green earth that this should be so my feet became swollen overnight. I have sat here and cried. I’m sure it’s just a fluke and will pass in a day or two, if not I will have it checked out. Right now I am soaking my feet in a big bucket of warm water with magnesium flakes in it. After I write this I will take a shower. Then the pugs and I will snuggle up in the recliner and I will have my feet elevated. I am working so hard, I am so deep in all of this, I care so much that it is hard to stop but I do, I will, and to that end I will stop here and say goodnight.

I do want to leave you with something. I found this quote, one I have long loved, just as I was about to write this blog post, and it came at just the right time, when I needed the courage it gives. It is by Goethe. I am going to print it out and tape it to my computer. I think it will help me get through the days ahead of creation and tears and fears and birthing this whole new world. It was the gift that this day held. May it be so for you as well…

“The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence
moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never
otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from
the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforseen
incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man
would have dreamed would have come his way.”

The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Happiness: Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”