Saturday, July 18, 2015

Green Tara, Ladybugs, and Girl Power

I belong to a group of women who meet weekly to meditate and solve all the world's problems. That isn't the greatest description of our doings, but the truth is harder to pin down. We started as a book group to read, discuss, and go through exercises for Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection. From there we talked; watched videos and movies; did projects; contemplated life; drank wine and hot tea; burned journals; consoled, commiserated and advised one another; and have gone on field trip or two. (Stalking Elizabeth Gilbert may or may not have been involved.) This winter, we worked through Sarah Susanka's book, The Not So Big Life. But we aren't a book group. You can only move through so many self-help/motivational books before you start to question whether you are addicted to saving yourself from yourself or if you are going to take what you learned and live your life more fully.  We are choosing the latter. About a third of our group has a background in counseling, a third has a background in the arts, and over half have been Unitarian Universalists at one point on another. It makes for grand introspection, if introspection can be a sport played by nine women. And yeah, we are going to keep it at that number. It works for the Supreme Court, and it works for us--as counsel and witness to one another's lives. We named the group Green Tara. Green Tara, for our meditation practice and subsequent reaches toward enlightenment. Green is also a play on Green Lane--our usual meeting spot.

Green Tara at Two Buttons
Sometimes we need to get outside of ourselves and Green Lane. Last Thursday, we took a field trip to the city of Wilmington. (Arden is a northern suburb. We have a Wilmington address, but identifying with Wilmington is purely voluntary. Some people don't take advantage of the scene and culture to be had. For others, it plays a big role. I am somewhere in the middle.) Wilmington has been having block parties once a month in the temperate months. Thursday's block party was themed The Ladybug Festival as it was a showcase of female musical artists, many of them local. A spectacular evening. I was dragging, but so happy I went, because the energy was uplifting. The GT's and I were angling to see Angela Sheik, an international looping guru, who lives in Wilmington. I have been Angela's groupie since Mark and I saw her at one of Cynthia's barn shows four years ago. But Thursday evening, I was introduced to more artists, including Mary Arden Collins, a native of Arden who makes her home in California and whose latest album features a collaboration with Keb' Mo'. Her voice rang pure and clean like a bell. I was mesmerized. Jenny Leigh, another bright spot on the lineup, concluded the evening with gold boots flashing and some raucous good county music. Along with the music, the crowd added to the energy of the summer evening. People of all ages, colors, income levels, family situations, sexual orientation and fashion sense collided in the streets. It was a visual feast as well as a treat for the ears. Not to mention taste as I ate my Seoul Bowl and drank my Ladybug-tini which was very playful--a dark pink concoction with blueberries standing in for the dots on a Ladybug's wings. I stayed up past my bedtime on a school night and didn't yawn once. In fact, I am pretty certain I had a smile pasted on my face the whole time.  As Jenny Leigh sang, "Hands up!" And so we did.

I've heard the phrase Girl Power bandied about a lot over my lifetime. For me, the truth of that phrase is less of a karate kick or a high five and more of a group hug. We women are communal in nature and our strength comes in the currents that run between us.  A society like the one in America that focuses on the individual, doesn't always value the expressions of those who do things as a group, but I am increasingly aware of how radically powerful a cluster of women can be. Green Tara has done that for me. And an evening at Ladybug? It just might provide the soundtrack.

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