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Seeds of Awakening

My intention was to keep this historical blog in some kind of chronological order. However, I find myself longing to tread the far corners of my mind, once more repeating my meandering search for the seeds of my awakening to this new way of being in the Universe. Have you done this too?
I say to myself, YES, that latest experience or exploration was the very beginning of my awakening. It was the book/people/event (fill in your own word) that started my spiritual search. Then a prior experience surfaces in my mind and I recognize it as an earlier herald of change. I just didn't know it at the time. This exercise invariably takes me all the way back to my childhood. If you will allow me this self-indulgence, perhaps writing it down once and for all will unearth something I've missed before. It's important to me, yet I know it doesn't matter at all. That strikes me so funny.

Yes, in 1977 the Temple of the Universe played a major part in my spiritual growth. The aroma of incense took me back to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church where I was sent (not taken) to church in my youth. The chanting at the Temple felt familiar too. It reminded me of the haunting melody of Tantum Ergo which we sang in Latin at Mount Carmel's. But I don't want to go that far back to a time when I was not allowed to read the Bible or basically think for myself.

Before my 1972 divorce, there were the magical years at Santa Fe Community College. In my Italian-American family, going to college was not an option. I was expected to graduate from high school with perfect grades, then work at a job (but not a career) until I got married. At that point, the rules in the family demanded that I must continue working until my first child was born. After that I was expected to stay at home and raise my family and take care of my husband. Period. Not up for discussion. Life was all planned for kids like me. Kids were obedient then, at least in my family, and so I did as I was told. "Out of respect," they said.

I loved being a mother of four amazing children, two girls and two boys. It was my little girl dream come true. I will always love being their mother. By 1969, when Priscilla, my youngest child, was entering kindergarten, I finally had an opportunity to start college. I felt excited and terrified. It had been seventeen years since I was graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Was I up for the challenge? My understanding first husband took me by the hand to register at Santa Fe Community College. I will always be grateful to him for that. I felt awkward being an older student at the ripe old age of thirty-three! How surprised I was that there were others my age there, not too many, but we found each other and encouraged each other to change and grow together. Always the overachiever, I ended up with straight A's. I had to acknowledge that I was indeed up for the challenge when I was inducted into Who's Who in American Junior Colleges.

I can't find words to explain how that nurturing environment at Santa Fe was exactly what I needed to restore my self-confidence and open my mind to new ways of thinking. The other day I found this poem I wrote in 1969 for Ms. Arena's writing class. I was still Patti Wilson then, a few years away from being single again and taking back my maiden name of Normandy. Still later, I stopped being Patti and reclaimed my birth name, Priscilla. They were critical steps toward finding myself.

The seeds of change were crystal clear in this poem I wrote for creative writing class when I was thirty-three. I was surprised I mentioned zodiac signs, bell bottom pants, and love beads. Middle-class '50s Mom was morphing and didn't have a clue.

Springtime, '69
Opening buds, opening minds
Flowers unfold, theories take shape
Grasses grow green. Read Naked Ape
Push up the clock, midnight oil burn
Days getting long, so much to learn

Essays are due -Locke and Rousseau
Papers to write (mind's gonna blow)
Rosenblum, Darwin, empirical proof
(Time out for Trader's, let's go raise the roof)
Permutate, computate, logic obliterate
(Dishes and ironing and sewing all gotta wait)

Erasthenes Seive, Venn Diagrams
Chew it all up and then take the exams
Maslow and Perls (and don't forget Merrill)
And if you don't know yourself, that is the peril
First we must actualize, then time to theorize
(Have to economize, that's what I realize)

Lucy and Sharon, Pat and Charles, too
Eating at Anthony's, Tuesdays on cue
Haikus are fun: 5-7-5
(Plant's gonna die. Why'd I pick chives?)
Finger arithmetic - zodiac signs
Atlas revisited. Try Mateuse wine

Mechanical Boy finally grew up
(Dog had a litter. Do I want a pup?)
Blackfoot and Cheyenne didn't turn me on
But for all the rest, thanks, Mrs. LeBron
Cultural activities - more papers to write
Is Rand just like Nietzsche? (My house is a sight!)

I.Q.s and Haikus, Fregley and Ford
Always the project, never get bored
Bell bottom pants, love beads to match
(Moth in garage is ready to hatch)
Dexedrine, Methedrine - can't go to sleep
Quarter is OVER - collapse in a heap!

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