Meditations for Queer Femmes – Saying Yes, Saying No

It is easier than ever to lose yourself to an abundance of resource right now, when everyone everywhere seems to be providing this kind of meditation, these most excellent exercise routines, conferences, concerts, sing-alongs, read-alouds, counseling, cooking – a person’s FOMO kicked into high gear by a world-wide response to the pandemic, a world grieving and frustrated and filled with fear.

It is easier than ever to take yourself out of yourself, attempt to salve the wounds with outside ointment, but…do these people, these organizations know you,  however well intentioned they are? Do you trust them? Do they care about you, personally? How can you tell? How can you even tell right now what will help, what will harm?

My dear queer femme sisters, what’s comforting to me right now, if I can remember it and remind myself, is that the answers to those questions are the same as they were before the pandemic, and they’re spiritual rather than academic. For me, the comfort comes from Buddhism, by way of folks like Pema Chodron and the Rev. angel Kyodo williams and from Al-Anon, always there for me, always holding messages of wellness. Both Buddhism and Al-Anon gently remind me that if I try to control things I can’t control, I will exhaust and depress myself. If I run after all the pretty-shiny, ignoring my own rich inner resources, I will deplete and confuse myself. But if I allow myself to let go of control, I can tend to my own health and wellbeing so that I can share with the world what gifts and resources I possess. I can nourish my art, my family, the small bit of earth where I live and breathe, and in this calmer more grounded place, I will grow rather than be diminished.

Dumplings! Today take a knee, take a pause in the rush, whether it’s just a quick deep breath as you look up at the sky or into the budding branches of a tree, or whether you can actually manage to turn it all off and sing or nap or walk or make love or cook – whatever you might be able to do right now that is only you, only you. As much as we need our outside resource, being in touch with our inner world of Peace and Queer Beauty and the Eternal will heal and cradle us.

Being alone with yourself in this way is not isolation. It is power and love and connection.

Every Monday, I offer a Meditation for Queer Femmes in the spirit of my maternal grandmother, Mimi, who was fabulous, kind, and wise and from whom I inherited her Meditations for Women.

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I undergo treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.


Pingy-Dingy Wednesday — “Waking Up from the Mind of Whiteness” by Rev. angel Kyodo williams

I became aware of the work of Rev. angel Kyodo williams from a book (remember them?) I found in a bookstore (remember those?), a book I had desperately been searching for without knowing it existed: Radical Dharma: Talking Race. Love. And Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD. As much as I love my Pema Chödrön, I have been yearning for queer voices, along with the voices of practitioners of color, to give my readings of Buddhism depth, context and political weight. I am so grateful to East End Books in Provincetown for stocking this book, and to the authors for being so generous and loving as to discuss the topics that most white, straight, cis practitioners are way too uncomfortable to bring up. Read Rev. angel Kyodo william’s brilliant piece, “Waking Up from the Mind of Whiteness”  for a taste of the kind of essential discussions you will find in Radical Dharma.

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, you get one pingy-dingy!

I’m a typewriter whompin’, card catalogue lovin’ white girl from back in the day, and I yearn for a time before the covers of trade paperbacks were all squidgy, so you can imagine that I don’t actually understand what a pingback is. I do know that it can in some way be part of spreading the love, and since that’s what I’m all about at The Total Femme… every Wednesday, I pay homage to the laughter and inspiration to be had elsewhere online.


Very Much Better

Last Sunday, I took Seth to this Dominican-run baseball place where the owner calls him “DiMaggio” and kicks his butt in a baseball workout. It’s so cozy over there, so sweet the way all the employees treat the boys and there’s a softball coach for girls, as well. I hate many things about baseball, which seems to constantly teeter on the brink of outright mysogyny, but this place reminds me of the things I love: the friendly community, the “we’re all in it together” camraderie, the way Seth was training with a couple of 9-year olds, and they all got equal respect. As I was sitting there reading my novel, the owner passed by, squeezed my shoulder and said cheerfully, “He is very much better this year, Mama, very much better!”

Baseball: it’s complicated.

Saturday night, Tex and I decided against joining the boys at an intergenerational dance being held at church. We were still grumpy about the way the choir director was fired and the way lip service is given to diversity when the reality is business as usual.*. And because of our snit, we missed the opportunity to see our boys all dressed up in their ties, busting a move with their friends.

Church: it’s even more complicated.

As we drove back from the baseball place, I took advantage of Seth’s good mood to try and talk with him a little about emotions – how they come over us like the weather, but like the weather, we can wait for them to pass and not, for example, start beating up on our brother in an attempt to deal with anger or boredom or whatever it is. I spoke from experience, as Tex and I had just reacted to our emotions, allowing our upset at the church to keep us from hanging out with the guys in their ties. Seth claimed to understand about the emotions-as-weather thing, and I certainly should understand it, the amount of Pema Chodron I read. But will Seth beat up on Owen again? Will Tex and I balance enormous chips on our shoulders about the way straight people are clueless at best and bigots at worst?

Humans. I ask you.

*Although the good news is the colleague who we thought had let us down (see my last post) actually ended up coming through – he just needed us to stick with him while he figured things out.

Lucky Seth! He really does look a bit like the Yankee Clipper!

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 5:15 PM  Comments (1)  
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