Old Wife at the Crossroads

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Seated at an extra large family meal this weekend my mother raised her voice amidst the cacophony of visiting grandchildren and neighborhood construction to tell us that allergies change every seven years. True or not, it is an engaging suggestion. One which is an adult equivalent of “try a least a bite of everything on your plate – you might like it.” Because we all know it is too easy to label ourselves, to cling to what was true instead of bringing curiosity to what is true.

As human beings, we just don’t particularly like change. At least change we didn’t actively create ourselves. As if ignoring all that is happening against our will, somehow stops the uncomfortable, stops the aging process, stops the unwanted. As much as we dislike yesterday’s allergy, it is just too disconcerting that it wouldn’t be active today.

Change is a taboo terrain.

sailing for change

I was tickled when I went to look up the scientific proof to my mother’s assertion and the google-oracle disclaimed it as an old wife’s tale. I love this because I’m wildly interested in tales. Especially tales teaching us something. I’m way more interested in the “old wife” at the crossroads than any science we’ve managed to blunder into so far to explain the immune system’s response.

I’m more interested in asking you whether your allergies have changed. Are you attracted and repelled to different things? Beyond pollen, beyond gluten, (and other in-vogue allergies), have you developed an “allergy” to…the news? to that always complaining associate? to the town you have been living in? What is your body leaning towards and away from in the present tense?

I remember an interview by KPFA’s Caroline Casey with botanist Stephen Buhner (Author of The Lost Language of Plants) which really stuck with me. Mr. Buhner said he can walk around someone’s house and observe what “weeds” are growing there and diagnose the illnesses of the human inhabitants – because the plants want to heal us.

cycleAs far as I’m concerned, the idea change – in or out of weed form – wants to heal us is the very best story available. I’m not saying that it’s capital T True. I’m just saying it’s the best story.  It’s so much more interesting to meet change as a benevolent force in your life – to wonder what in you it’s trying to support and catalyze.

Of course, it’s not always easy to find the thread of story in change. Whether in the guise of the old woman or the beguiling fox, Trickster is the favorite face at the crossroads. And getting a straight answer instead of a sphinx riddle is a serious undertaking. But worth the trip!

Consider one thing you’ve grown “allergic” to in the last seven years.
What story do you think Trickster would tell you about it?

Can you find a way to explain it that feels true to you – whether or not anyone else would endorse your description? That’s the kind of storywalking I love!

I have a background in Chinese Medicine. One of the things I appreciate about acupuncture theory is that  physical facts and connections are all mapped in stories. Your physical body and all it’s coordination and discomfort become characters. It is more than black and white lab results – there is a sequence of faces in the phases. And, like a fairy tale taking place in your body, each one has it’s own correlations and teachings that you can explore. Change is taboo because it is out of our control. But it’s also rich with fertile new ideas and guidance. The trick is knowing how to walk the story of it.

What story is unfolding in you?

Join Jenafer Joy for her upcoming course
on the five faces of your creative cycle.
Faces of the Moon starts August 18th.


Photo on 3-8-14 at 9.24 AM #3Brimming with the quirky enthusiasm that prompted her nom de plume,  Jenafer Joy rides bareback at the center of a Creativity Revolution. Using every trick in (and out) of the book – vibrant paintings, whimsical writings, and an unwavering faith in every person’s innate intuitive genius – it is impossible to spend time in her presence and not fall in love with yourself, with the whispering of your muse and with Jena’s heartfelt and contagious love of the creative life. Jena has been in the healing & creative arts leading Inspired Inquiry courses since 2003. And she is still pinching herself at the luck of being at the helm of the Cosmic Cowgirl Community as one of its three directors since 2010. You can see everything she’s up to on her website www.jenaferjoy.com and can always find her paintings and a ridiculous pile up of journal pages on Facebook at The Art of Jenafer Joy. Join Jenafer Joy for her next course starting August 18th – find out more at facesofthemoon.info

All collage and painting artwork in this article is from the journals and canvases of Jenafer Joy.

Author: jenaferjoy

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