Mary on the first Monday

Funny how things conspire to create other things.  My dear friend, Elizabeth, whom I rarely get to see because she lives on the Vineyard, and who lives very close to the bone, especially in the winter (not unlike a lot of service professionals on an island populated by seasonal wealthy folks), always, somehow, manages to send me the most extraordinary gifts.

This year, among other things, she sent me UNTIE THE STRONG WOMAN, Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (oops, I wrote, “UNITE” the Strong Woman – by mistake?!!)  There was a time I read a lot of books of this sort, but have fallen out of the practice.  The timing of this gift gives me a road back.

The opening words are, “With needles and thread, soft red felt, and white ink, I carefully… ”

Really?!! “With needles and thread”?!!  She’s a therapist, a writer!  And she is talking right to me, it would seem.  It is a book I have begun reading from the middle out (some books ask for that), and I only happed upon the opening words just now because I linked to Amazon and looked through some preview pages.

Another thing:  K. gave me a really good tripod for Christmas.

And another thing:  my nearly penniless sister gave us bones, beads, nut hulls, star fish, skull, sand dollar and more (pictures below) for Christmas, which I photographed with my new tripod.  Objects that had been collected over ten or more years.  Real treasure.

And another, much longer ago thing: when I was twenty and living in Dublin as an exchange student, I bought the image of Mary (above) for about 15p.  She was in a cheap frame on the staircase ledge, which as I passed three, four, five times this morning putting away wrapping paper, boxes, tape, etc., grabbed my eye.  That piece of paper is one of my most precious possessions!

And there she is: in a wooden box, framed by natural, gorgeous objects given in the Christmas spirit!

And , in keeping with my New Year’s commitment to more freely include others’ words, here is a Pinkola Estes quote:

She is ever in motion.
If there is emotion, she is there.
If there is commotion, she is there.
If there is elation, she is there.
Impatience, she is there.
Fatigue, she is there.
Fear, unrest, sorrow,
Beauty, inspiration,
She is there.

Today, I will remind myself that: generosity is a wondrous thing; that what is precious often surprises us; that even my impatience can invoke the holy; that I am not alone.  Nor are you.

5 thoughts on “Mary on the first Monday

  1. serenapotter

    i’m a touch sad now no one gave me bones for christmas! 🙂 as a near penniless person i can tell you that i gave pirated copies of various workout dvds and books i’d read this year that were meaningful to me.

    to michael i gave sex because i didn’t get his quilt finished.

    (hows that for making your blog more happening 😉 )

    ps. feel free to edit out that last bit if it’s bothersome

  2. deedeemallon

    oh that is too, too funny, Serena!! not to be too corny, but your husband got a boner anyway!

  3. deedeemallon

    laughter, seeing, and gratitude – if twined in a daily thread, would happiness naturally ensue? I suspect so, even if what we see is painful. Here’s Chongyam Trungpa on that point:

    “What we see doesn’t have to be pretty, particularly; we can appreciate anything that exists. There is some principle of magic in everything, some living quality.”


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