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Restoring Women to Ceremony: The Red Tent Resource Kit

 “… Every day, we witness the positive, transformative effects of, ‘restoring women to ceremony’…another reason it is vital that we continue our work…”

–D’vorah Grenn (Stepping into Ourselves, p. 56)

We’ve been hard at work over the last three months giving birth to a new project!

Introducing…The Red Tent Resource Kit

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I actually ended up sort of accidentally writing a whole new book to go with this kit. It was originally going to be a collection of handouts as a pdf. However, as I put the handouts together, I realized I was actually writing a short book or manual instead. I also reflected on how I am tired of only getting pdf manuals and ebooks when I sign up for different programs, rather than an actual, printed book. One of my mottoes this year is to follow the inspiration, so I went with it, and at the end of last month our new books arrived and they’re beautiful and I’m so excited about them!

Our unique, signature Red Tent Kit includes ALL of the following resources:

  • Womanrunes Book and Card set: ideal for personal guidance and self-development, or for the inspiration and renewal corner at your Red Tent Circle.
  • Red Tent Goddess Sculpture: symbolic of self-care and of both receiving and giving.
  • Carnelian Pendulum (kit exclusive!)
  • Brand new 58 page book: Restoring Women to Ceremony, The Red Tent Resource Kit, written exclusively for this kit. In this collection of essays and ritual resources, you will find a complete Red Tent “recipe,” circle leadership basics, moontime musings, and readings, quotes, and poems to help you facilitate a rich, inviting, welcoming, creative space for the women of your community.
  • Moontime pendant with silver-tone, solid crescent moon charm
  • Red altar cloth
  • Red organza bag to store your resources
  • Coupon for $100 off the companion Red Tent Initiation online training to be held in July-August
  • Extra surprise bonus goodies intuitively chosen for you!

The contents of this Kit are valued at $100 when sold separately!

When I was taking pictures for the Kit, I randomly drew three Womanrunes cards to include in the pictures. The ones I drew were absolutely perfect for sharing the message of what this collection has to offer to others and what we hope to create in restoring women to ceremony:

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Tuesday Tidbits: Babies, Mothers, and Vocations

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This week I read some powerful cesarean birth memories from my friend Bibi at The Conscious Doer:

Maybe there is something naive about me. I wanted to have that huge superwoman surge at the end. As the days go by, more and more of them make me feel super, but every battle has been hard fought. I was hoping to start out with a boost of confidence after hours of labour, but instead I had to pool all my strength after babyjama’s emergence, because the mother bear in me took some time to emerge herself. There is obviously a happy ending to this tale, but there were some sad parts too, and I’m giving myself permission to feel both the joy and the pain…”

Cesarean Awareness Month: Remembering Where I’ve Been | The Conscious Doer.

(Side note: our Cesarean Awareness Month discount code is still good through the end of April! CAM15 for 15% off any items at Brigid’s Grove.)

I was also touched by the delicate, sensitive, and yet simple genius of a post from Amy Wright Glenn about the spiritual and religious dimension of doula support:

Yet, throughout my work as a doula, I discovered that such an approach was rare. We know that a woman transforms emotionally and physically through the crucible of motherhood. For most women, motherhood also involves spiritual or religious transformation. To support this transformation, I believe it’s important to reflect upon the religious and spiritual dimensions of our work…

I imagine it is much easier to offer religious or spiritual support to birthing women and new mothers as a pluralist or inclusivist. Yet, I know doulas who have an exclusivist approach to truth, and they hold loving space for alternative expressions. This is what matters most. A doula need not participate in religious or spiritual practices that are inauthentic to her worldview. However, it’s essential that the doula is able to create a genuine sense of safety for a birthing woman to access her religious or spiritual strength…

The spiritual and religious dimensions of doula support | PhillyVoice.

Socioculturally speaking, we could benefit from this approach in all domains of our lives, not just birth!

Speaking of culture, I felt myself getting some tears in my eyes while reading this article about employees bringing their babies to work at Cotton Babies in St. Louis. Why tears? Because because it is so simple, obvious, and sensible and yet so rare…

Is it appropriate to have a baby in a work environment?

I wonder if we have to ask this question because our culture has defined “normal” to be something different than reality. Women have babies. Babies need their parents. Cultural norms in the Western world have traditionally confined mothers of young children to home-making. While that is what some women want to do, it isn’t what all of us want to do. As long as mom enjoys doing her job with her baby at her side and it is safe for her baby to be with her while she does her job, I believe that it is perfectly appropriate to have her baby present…

Clients, customers, vendors, employees, guests, and service providers may express discomfort with breastfeeding, question a woman’s commitment to her career, feel uncertain about how to respond to a baby in the workplace, or become annoyed with occasionally hearing a child. My favorite way to respond to those concerns has become, “She’s getting her job done. Her baby is content. Can you help me understand why that makes you uncomfortable?” Cultural expectations of a woman’s place being in the home with her young child don’t necessary reflect what all women want to do. While we support and encourage the moms who choose to stay home, we also love seeing those who stay with us also achieving their career goals…

via Our Employees Bring Babies to Work… and how we make it work | Jennifer Labit.

And, speaking of vocations, I enjoyed this post from Lucy Pearce as well:

My work chooses me. I act as a vessel for it. A crucible for it to come to be through me. I do not sit down and “choose” my work, or plan it. In truth I do not really “create” it. I need to be there, open and trusting and it comes. My job is to put it down. In words, images, colour…

There are a number of problems with this:

1) I do not know where this “work” comes from.

2) I feel very weird and odd talking about it this way. I would find it much easier to say “yes, it’s all mine” and be in control of its content and direction!

3) I am “called” to do “work” which I would not consciously choose.

4) By doing the work, I have to put myself “out there” when really I am much more in my comfort zone being private and small. I am not after ego trips or fame or fortune.

5) I feel my skills are lacking for what I am called to do.

via Are You Living Your Vocation? – Dreaming Aloud.

Here is a sneak peek of two things that have been coming through me recently:

Red Tent kits/books/online class are almost ready to launch…

IMG_4518And, we’re having a fun giveaway of all of these lovelies in May since it is not only Mother’s Day, but also my birthday AND the twentieth anniversary of our first date! 🙂

IMG_4538And, one final tidbit to share for this week, I signed up for this free Red Thread Circle class that is coming up on my birthday: FREE Global Class & Experience.

Grinding My Corn Sculpture

IMG_3729It has been almost four years since I wrote my post about “grinding my corn.” In that time, I’ve added another baby, another degree, a book, and a business to my life (as well as lots of other projects!). I’ve also made necessary subtractions and deletions, some painful, some a relief. And, guess what, I still want to grind my corn! My husband works from home with me now and he, too, grinds his corn while parenting and personing. This is what I wrote in my original post:

This is what I’m talking about. There needs to be a third, realistic option (and not just for women. For men too. For families!). I have often expressed the desire to find a balance between mothering and “personing.” I’m seeking a seamless integration of work and family life for both Mark and myself. An integration that makes true co-parenting possible, while still meeting the potent biological need of a baby for her mother and a mother’s biological compulsion to be present with her baby. Why is the work world designed to ignore the existence of families?

via I just want to grind my corn! | Talk Birth.

It felt like it was definitely time for a new grinding my corn sculpture! It took quite some time between my original sculpt and making the new figurines a reality, but she’s here!

IMG_3526I love her and she sits by my computer while I write, on my desk while I teach, and on my bedside table at night. She reminds me of my own capacity—to grow, to adapt, to change, to balance, to hold, to care, to live.

Adding another baby to our family has really pushed us to our coping edge in many ways, sometimes it feels like we’ve tipped past the edge–piled dishes, piled laundry, piled recycling, undone requests, unresponded to messages, other kids wanting books read and projects done. We’re pretty maxed. Our house feels at maximum capacity. Our lives feel at maximum capacity. And, yet, I still reach for the and. Somehow, even when here at the edge, or over it, we do make room…

At one point when my first son was a baby, I was trying to explain my “trapped” or bound feelings to my mother and she said something like, “well what would you rather be doing instead?” And, that was exactly it. I DIDN’T want to be doing something instead, I wanted to be doing something AND. I wanted to grind my corn with my baby. Before he was born I had work that I loved very much and that, to me, felt deeply important to the world. Motherhood required a radically re-defining of my sense of my self, my purpose on earth, and my reason for being. While I had been told I could bring my baby with me while continuing to teach volunteer trainings, I quickly found that it was incompatible for me—I felt like I was doing neither job well while bringing my baby with me and I had to “vote” for my baby and quit my work. While I felt like this was the right choice for my family, it felt like a tremendous personal sacrifice and I felt very restricted and “denied” in having to make it. With my first baby, I had to give up just about everything of my “old life” and it was a difficult and painful transition. When my second baby was born, it was much easier because I was already in “kid mode.” I’d already re-defined my identity to include motherhood and while I still chafed sometimes at the bonds of being bonded, they were now familiar to me…

via I just want to grind my corn! | Talk Birth.

My new sculpture incorporates a small “offering” bowl (as her lap) that to me is symbolic of the fact that though her hands are full, she is still open to possibilities and offerings and can “hold” more, when needed.

IMG_3702Having another baby has really made me pare away a lot in my life, including very basic self-care things like regular showers! I’ve done it before, so I know it isn’t permanent, but it is still hard to feel like I’m trimming away so much that matters to me, while also having so much I want to offer, and constantly having to prioritize and choose. I’ve been looking at it as a sort of “sabbatical.” While I might not be able to do as much face to face projects as I envision and dream of, I can lay the groundwork, I can write, I can prepare and outline and imagine, while also sitting in my bed holding my sleeping baby. Maybe I won’t get outside every day and maybe I have to choose between the shower or yoga, since doing both in one day seems like too much to ask sometimes, but I can use this baby time to incubate new visions and grow while appearing stationary.

Here is a gallery of how I’ve been grinding my corn with my baby this month (click for captions)…

Tanner was my baby-helper at last night’s Red Tent Circle at WomanSpace. It is hard to balance baby-care with circle facilitation (because baby helpers do things like bang the rattle on the floor instead of “passing the rattle”), but I’m still really glad I decided to offer these circles this year. It has been a rich experience so far.

IMG_4269I envision a life of seamless integration, where there need not even be a notion of ‘life/work’ balance, because it is all just life and living. A life in which children are welcome in workplaces and in which work can be accomplished while in childspaces. A life in which I can grind my corn with my children nearby and not feel I need apologize for doing so or explain myself to anyone…

via Corn grinding mama goddess birth art sculpture by BrigidsGrove.

During the Inner Mentor visualization we did last night at our circle, we traveled in time to meet ourselves twenty years from now. The first thing she/I told me is that my baby is now twenty. It felt like a shock to consider that, since right now is so real

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(Side note: this is my 1000th [published] blog post at Talk Birth! It is true that regular blogging eventually produces a significant body of work!)

 

Small Business Saturday: Of Treasuries and Tents

10931572_908207785898158_3712409374055863972_oWe’ve been busy molding and casting new designs, some of which will be unveiled next week. The newest sculpture we’ve finished, but who isn’t ready to be sold yet, is our springtime/watergathering goddess sculpture. She joins our winterspirit/red tent sculpture. To me, she is kneeling by the riverside, joyful that the springtime thaw is here and the waters flow freely once again. She is welcoming the new—the buds, the blossoms, the tender new shoots, the newborns, the vibrant wellspring of creation and delight.

IMG_1789Our Womanrunes book has been available via Amazon domestically and internationally since August, but this week we added a separate listing for book and card sets on Amazon. We sell the sets in our etsy shop, but the books sold on Amazon ship directly from Amazon itself which means only books have been available there, since the cards are printed by a different company. However, for those shoppers who prefer to use Amazon, we now have a fresh Amazon listing that is for book and card sets.

IMG_1808I’ve been really delighted to get some great messages about women using Womanrunes in their Red Tent circles. The Red Tent in Lawrence, KS sent me a picture of the Womanrunes there:

January 2015 002Speaking of Red Tents, I registered with Red Tents in Every Neighborhood as a sisterhood tent in preparation for our first Red Tent Circle in February. So, now we have an official member badge 😉

RedTent Member BadgeIf you are local and would like to join the Red Tent Circle, you can find us on Facebook here: Rolla Red Tent.

January 2015 084Hopefully, the Red Tent will be held at WomanSpace! This gathering place by women, for women that has been long dreamed about by our communit is finally becoming a reality in 2015!

Our cesarean birth goddess pendant was featured in a treasury: Pregnancy Affirmations by Lauren Oland on Etsy.

Cesarean birth goddess pendant, necklace original sculpture (birth art, c-section, doula, midwife, mother)And one of our babywearing pendants in another treasury: The Goddess in Every Woman by Stacy Solmo on Etsy.

Joyful babywearing mama goddess pewter pendant, necklace (birth art, mother, doula, midwife)Baby is awake again and therefore this is all I have time for tonight!

January 2015 048

Modeling sweet little sweater from Aunt Brenda!