January 9, 2019

{O, For a Little Whimsy and Wisdom...}


...and now you have it!
My dear friend (and wise woman extraordinaire!) Terri Crosby has just published her first book, 100 Words: Small Servings of Whimsy and Wisdom to Calm the Mind and Nurture the Heart...and it does just that. A gift to the world, to you, to your friends...share the love! xoxo

December 10, 2018

{Diana As Messenger} Book-in-Progress Excerpt {2}


In my last book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: For Better or Worse, How Princess Diana Rescued the Great White Wedding, I looked at the glittering cultural influences of Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981. With the reassuring order of its grand rituals and symbolic pomp, the wedding captured the attention of a society in chaos reeling from the rebellious cultural upheavals of the 1960s and ‘70s. Then with its fairy-tale longings and a beautiful bride with a light about her—a young woman who became a real princess of a legendary kingdom—the wedding also captured the wonder of some deeply feminine ethos around the world. It was certainly the catalyst of a life-changing occurrence in my life. On the shimmering wave between the two Windsor weddings that decade, I designed a shop for the emerging “modern woman”—a woman more educated, independent and sexually experienced than her mother’s generation—who was now considering marriage enfolded in the wedding pageantry of another time and place. And together, along with an atelier full of talented women designers, we navigated the changing sensibilities of being feminine, womanly, confident and autonomous.

After Diana’s wedding, however, her soap-opera life held little interest for me except for her moments of open-hearted instincts, reaching out to the ‘forbidden’ sick, touching the untouchables, when her light was unmistakable. Then at summer’s end in 1997 with news of her death, that global surge of disbelief and grief reached the serenity of my Atlanta courtyard on a still Sunday morning. Deeper than simply emotional, it was more like being forcefully struck, breaking some vital connection. On some cosmic level, it was the break needed energetically for such an expansive awakening. (Is this the phenomenon that happens to us at the death of a person whose aura and larger-than-life images are all we know?) “Whom the gods love, die young,” Lord Bryan wrote.

Consequently, in the days to follow that jolting headline was when I became truly intrigued by Diana. “For many people…Princess Diana has become far more interesting since her death than ever she was during her life,” shared English writer and Jungian analyst Warren Colman. That’s when I began to look beyond appearances to the person “who could inspire such an enormous response in so many people”—the real person distinct from the image. Even though I felt it was that “real person” I’d caught sight of years before as a floating-on-light, goddess-reminiscent bride. ~

[Excerpt from the Introduction, "Diana As Messenger," of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled, A Memory of Beauty: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess...more excerpts to come.]

November 19, 2018

{Diana As Messenger} Book-in-Progress Excerpt {1}

There are times when someone’s influence and contributions are less in how they lived their life and more in what that life revealed about ourselves. Was Diana Spencer Mountbatten-Windsor’s life, in Shakespeare’s princely words, about “cracking open a noble heart”—and with her death, our own?

Diana—charismatic, photogenic and clever—came onto the scene in the explosion of celebrity-focused mainstream media (celebrity gossip was not just for the tabloids anymore) and began breaking rules immediately. Perhaps it was her easy beauty and princess glow that first drew us in, yet there was something deeper, even mythological, that had us linger.

Looking back at Princess Diana’s complex life and impact of her early death, to really see her true mission, I looked to “the poet’s way.” This is how documentarian Phil Cousineau explained the remarkable Joseph Campbell’s way of reading and understanding the inner depths of the ancient myths: “symbolically, metaphorically, soulfully.” And this set my course.

Following this thread, I was reminded of an On Being radio interview with author, pastor and biblical interpreter Eugene Peterson. He considered it important to know that the old prophets of the Bible were poets, so you would read scripture with your imagination, listening in the storytelling rhythm of how they communicated in their day, and in turn, learning the nature and meaning of metaphor. In other words, so you wouldn’t “try to literalize everything.” The beloved teacher considered the metaphor “a remarkable kind of formation because it both means what it says and what it doesn’t say. Those two things come together, and it creates an imagination which is active. You’re not trying to figure things out; you’re trying to enter into what’s there.”
If we use this poetic framework and view Diana’s life and death as a metaphor, a mythical allegory that played out on a world stage—with it meaning what we saw and what we didn’t see, what we heard and didn’t hear—then her unique contribution to the world is not about figuring out her life story, but entering into the now unlocked heart-space her death opened in us. And it is only then that we can see the world with the imagination of the heart. ~

[Excerpt from the Introduction, "Diana As Messenger," of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled, A Memory of Beauty: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess...more excerpts to come.]

November 9, 2018

{On Display}

Now on exhibition until 6 January 2019
Windsor Castle


Enjoy my series "Why Royal Weddings Matter" 
on Confluence Daily

October 12, 2018

{The Real Fairy Tale}


My article, "The Real Fairy Tale," is in the latest issue of Season Magazine... ...reprinted below! (It is also part of my Why Royal Weddings Matter series for Confluence Daily, online magazine for women.)
THE REAL FAIRY TALE

With splendid pageantry and elegant costumes, royal weddings bring up “fairy-tale” dreams of love and romance. “Fairy,” an English word, comes from the French fée, which came from the Latin fatare, “to enchant.” No wonder royal weddings and “enchantment” go hand-in-hand—especially when there is an engaging tug-of-the-heart story with the charms of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Following in his brother Prince William’s footsteps, Harry not only married the woman he loves, but his spiritual partner as well. Only a generation before—in the arranged marriage code-of-conduct royal world—such a “love first, duty second, woman with a past” arrangement for any heir to the British throne would have been, if not impossible, certainly one with consequences.
William and Harry’s parents’ wedding in 1981 stirred the hope of “fairy tale” and yet, as Diana and Charles’ marriage played out, any notion of “happily ever after” soon vanished. Theirs was an arranged marriage that pretended it was not. Although times were changing when they married, the social culture had not shifted enough to allow Prince Charles to follow his true feelings. Perhaps even more consequential, the Windsor family was shadowed by kinsman King Edward VIII who in 1936, with some political pressures, gave up the throne “for the woman he loved.” The scandal was a little too close in historical proximity for Charles to make a similar decision about marrying someone for love who didn’t fit the “queenly model.”
Nonetheless, almost seven decades after King Edward’s abdication, cultural changes were on Prince Charles’ side—thanks in great part, ironically, to his late wife insisting on bringing more heart into the royal family. In 2005, 24 years after his marriage of “dynastic duty” to Diana, Charles did not have to give up the throne nor start a palace revolt, yet, with his queen’s blessing, he indeed married the woman who had been his longtime friend and confidante—the woman he had long loved.

In this more modern and egalitarian grand gesture, Charles and Camilla’s marriage put the seal on “love over duty,” supporting Edward’s heartful claim that “he could be a better king with the woman he loved at his side.” With such a legacy, when it was time for Charles’ sons to marry, they fell in love with women who matched their vision and compassion—beautiful “commoners” with “backgrounds” no less!
So call royal weddings “fairy tales” if you must, but the conscious connection that Princes William and Harry made in their marriages is simply what I call the way life is meant to be when heads are clear and hearts are strong. Whether king or prince or commoner, “what your heart thinks is great, is great,” poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote. “The soul’s emphasis is always right.” ~