Tag Archives: Eila Carrico

A Story to Re-Weave the Patterns of Family Trauma Eila Kundrie Carrico: Part 2

This piece is an excerpt from our full moon contributor Eila Carrico’s new book, The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World.

As she falls more and more in love with her mushroom boy, she feels a tension between keeping the will of her parents and following the dream in her heart. Holding this internal conflict and keeping her love hidden makes her ill. Her father, already suspicious, insists she stay at home through the season. Reina misses her love with all her heart, and she puts the fullness of her emotions into her weaving. She leaves nothing out, bringing together wild oranges and dark greens, lonesome blues and luscious purples in her great story tapestry. She recalls the animals and the forest where she used to walk, and she puts all of this joy and beauty into her work. After some time alone with her weaving, she hears the unmistakable voice of her love. Her heart jumps with delight, and she sees her mushroom love peeking in through a crack in the window.

The lovers continue to meet in secret until Reina’s heart is ready to burst open. She can hold the secret no longer. And so the two finally decide to run away to the great unknown land of her mother Ocean where she hopes her mother will be empathetic. Reina uses the tapestry she had been weaving as protection over the two of them. She wove beauty, innocence and love into the threads of her work, and because of this had created an entire universe with her weaving. The result was a magnificent coat of fullness that blended into the very fabric of the world. In effect, it was a coat of invisibility, and so that night the two lovers covered themselves in this magical coat and ran away toward the Ocean.

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During their flight, they are hidden from the Mountain by the cloak, but Reina’s father is furious and his emotions cause a storm of relatives to rise from all directions. The two continue their flight to the sea as the wind howls, rain falls, trees crash and thunder booms nearby. The two lovers, against all odds make it to the beach, and their feet step into the Ocean on the sandy shore, but suddenly Reina is gone. Reina the river has been scattered in all directions and no longer exists. The mushroom love is confused and lost, unsure of what happened or who betrayed them. He mourns her in every cell of his being.

The forest withers, the flowers fade, and the animals turn to skin and bone. The little mushroom is immobilized with grief and almost dies. All of creation cries over her death, the world dries up, and life refuses to go on for hundreds of years in this unimaginable drought. But time is their only friend, and finally, after lifetimes of grieving, her sweet mushroom love finds a brief moment of shining hope that is born from a drop of water at the bottom of his heart and begins to sing Reina back to her home inside the mountain with the help of the rest of the wild creatures.

His heart is so sincere, he eventually wins even the assistance of her parents, the Mountain and the Ocean. The drops of water come from tears, clouds, dew, stardust and every memory of love and beauty from every corner of the universe to gather inside the mountain and become Reina. It takes cooperation, patience, devotion and time, but she is brought to life. Reina eventually re-emerges in a burst of fresh life from her source in the mountain, and the world is able to continue on with beauty, magic, joy and love once again.

Back in Tohatchi, I watch the sun rise over a long horizon and inhale fully: I once was lost, but now I am found. There is a different promise that comes from a sun that rises slowly over the mountains. It seems to promise enough of everything in that day: enough time, space, food—all is taken care of. The mountain trusts the sun’s warmth, and so do I. The clouds stretch wide like pulled-out cotton balls, and the water tastes crisp with the piñon nuts we gather.

My understanding of hope, my way of practicing being found, is a return to empathy in action. My dad and I took turns maintaining the fire in the minus zero weather because each of us valued the life of the others in the house. Too often in modern culture we are removed from the effects of our actions. The priest ranting about original sin in San Diego may not realize how his narrow, judgmental dogma shrinks the psyche of our planet. He does not see how missionaries in New Mexico robbed the Navajo of their language and their way of life and brought them to a poverty that forces them into mobile homes without heat.

My family and I are little better, we pretend we are separate when really we are two streams of the same river. We see ourselves as individual agents in the world, selfishly thinking of our own gain all the time, refusing to kindle the inner fires of the hearth to connect in compassion. We as a culture of relatives suffer because we isolate ourselves. We do this in our families first and then in the world, and we may be killing our chances for survival on this planet because of this profound disconnect between ourselves. We need to braid ourselves back together, a new weaving that invites our differences to remain distinct even while we enter into relationship with one another. Reina, the sweet water, is a master weaver because she uses all the threads of life and creation. Her cloak is magical because it contains every color and brings them together in a constructive relationship. The maiden rejects nothing in her artwork. Braids, tapestries, and currents in the river show us the way again and again—it cannot be one clear way or another, it has got to be both ways and together.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com.

A Story to Re-Weave the Patterns of Family Trauma Eila Kundrie Carrico: Part 1

This piece is an excerpt from our full moon contributor Eila Carrico’s new book, The Other Side of the River: Stories of Women, Water and the World.

The last time we visited the Navajo Reservation was just before I moved to California in 2012. My dad and I flew out to Albuquerque and rented a green Ford truck to pass Tohatchi and enter into the forgotten lands of the Native Americans. Most of the inhabitants live in trailers or mobile homes without heat and running water, but everyone I met called me sister or daughter. The roofs are covered with old tires to keep the heat in, but there’s always enough food for guests.

The temperature was hovering below zero degrees when we visited. My dad and I slept in the living room and took turns tending the fish-tank sized wood-burning stove every hour or two all night to keep the trailer warm. We slept in sleeping bags on the floor and shared our boiled eggs with the stray dogs in the morning. We chopped firewood from up on the mountain for most of the afternoon. At night we enjoyed filling dinners: deliciously greasy fry bread and fresh lamb and corn stew, while our host Tommy told stories about the turkey who saved all the animals from the flood or the coyote who got stuck in the stars. I decided to share a story of my own that had touched me deeply and cooked internally long enough for it to change me. And in turn I changed the story.

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The Birth of Reina is inspired in part by my reading of Martín Prechtel’s The Disobedience of the Daughter of the Sun. I imagine a wide re-interpretation that shifts the main female character from a passive to active agent in her destiny, liberates the mother from her role as captor, and encourages death to be seen as part of an endless cycle of rebirth.

On one level, this story is the story of a family that gets caught up in shoulds and restrictions and forgets the power of beauty, love and magic. It is a story about losing what is most precious when we hold it too tightly—flowing water cannot be contained or ruled by the laws that govern the sun or the moon in the sky, and she is not a mountain; she is not meant to stay still. She follows her own laws. Families—whether the core family or our larger human family—often forget to celebrate the differences that make life possible, and in this way we scatter ourselves and doom ourselves to feeling perpetually lost.

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Reina—like Oshun, Ariel, Tara, and Aphrodite—is a maiden goddess. This is profound in that it shows the importance and value of the young feminine energy. She is often overlooked, but her innocence and sensitivity are needed to bring the world back into balance. Finding the maiden in our psyche brings us optimism and reconnects us with play, wonder and joy. Her weaving is the magic of life itself, the reminder that we are not separate but deeply connected as the very fabric of what propels life onward.

The Birth of Reina

This story takes place a long, long time ago, when the Sun and the Moon first met. Theirs was a love unlike any other, it lit up the sky and brought songs to the birds, and it inspired love on the entire planet. The daughter of the Mountain and the Ocean was born as this divine love began to blossom. She was a being unique in the universe. The daughter of the Mountain and Ocean was the most beautiful girl who ever existed, having come from the strong, rich Mountain and deep, shining Ocean themselves. Her fresh waters bubbled up gently from a place high in the mountain, and she animated the face of the earth with green and gold. Her name was Reina and she was divine royalty, and as her parents were quick to tell her, no common man would ever be worthy of her. Any suitor would need to match her divine heritage, elegance, beauty and talent, but where on earth was such a man to be found? And so Reina was lonely, but she was happy.

Reina grew up in the land of her father and felt connected to her mother but had never seen her. She wondered what her mother was like and sometimes felt a sudden urge to seek her out. But the forest was her home for now, and she trusted she would find her mother when the time came. As she wondered, she often wandered through the forest on the mountainside and talked with animals and trees. On her daily meandering, she made friends with every living thing, and they each in turn adored her for the ease and peace she brought their spirits. As she walked, violets blossomed under her feet and peach trees released juicy, ripe fruit into her palms. She took care of creation, and creation took care of her.

One day, as she wanders through the forest she happens to meet a tiny man who lives in a mushroom. They recognize one another as two threads of one fabric and begin to meet regularly on her walks. The two create a world unto themselves, but Reina’s heart is sad because she knows her parents would never allow her to marry this tiny, common little man.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com.

I Am Not A Scrooge, I Am An Artist by Eila Carrico

“This season offers a unique opportunity for me to get in touch with deep inner peace. Especially noticing the state of the world around me at this critical moment in time, it is my responsibility to take care of the myriad of emotions moving through me in response.”

indexWritten by our full moon contributor Eila Carrico.

Winter arrived today in Berkeley. I’m wearing a scarf and slippers in my office, and my fingers are still purple. The sun sets before dinner, I can see my breath, and the stars shine brighter in the crisp night sky. Winter, like an old woman with long silver hair, invites me to my inner hearth and asks me to slow down, to listen, and to rest.

These imperatives can be challenging given the hustle bustle of the season around me. The majority of society frenetically runs the opposite direction with parties, shopping and flights across the globe. But as an artist I need to make space for myself–especially this time of year. I’ve had to explain myself to family, friends and co-workers multiple times. Please don’t take it personally if you don’t see me at any of the holiday parties this year (or ever). I am really not a Scrooge, I am simply an artist.

This season offers a unique opportunity for me to get in touch with deep inner peace. Especially noticing the state of the world around me at this critical moment in time, it is my responsibility to take care of the myriad of emotions moving through me in response. This is the time of year that restores me and provides me the inner reserves to go back out into the world come the new year. This section of black on the canvas of my soul makes the reds, yellows and blues all the brighter when their times come.

This need to do less this time of year is partly why I am not creating anything right now. I am not writing, not painting and not weaving. I am waiting. I am listening. I am exhaling and emptying. I am allowing myself this sacred silence, this pause, this moment of stillness. And I am celebrating it, silently, outside, with the stars.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com.  The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.

Grandmother Winter By Eila Carrico

“I am a woman who wonders when we as women, as men, and as artists will recall our ability to carve the shapes in the landmass
beneath our feet.”

unnamedWritten by our full moon contributor Eila Carrico.

I am overwhelmed with the state of the world this month. I feel the fullness of the moon above me, and I cannot help but try to make sense of the many innocent deaths I have seen. The bright silver light on her face in the sky seems to pull at my internal waters, causing them to flood from my eyes as tears. I do not understand, and I do not know what to do. When I feel small and helpless, it always helps for me to turn to stories. This story of grandmother winter, known as the Caellach, shifts my state from victim to creator and from misunderstanding to curiosity. I share it with you in the hopes it may do the same.

I do not know why things happen as they do, but I know the only certainty is change. As my own grandmother Clara always said, This too shall pass.

The Story of the Caellach, From the Celts of the British Isles

The autumn afternoon yawns and stretches shadows deeper across the flat green canvas. A bee rests on a single white daisy, and an oak tree shivers in the wind. The sun slides below the horizon, and a shadowed figure emerges.

Silhouetted by the dimming light, a giant woman carries a heavy load of stones in her apron and walks toward the fading orange sun. She pauses and uses the oak tree as if it were a barstool, to rest. Just as she seems to be dozing off, a stray dog barks and startles her. She jumps and accidently places her foot on the white daisy. The bee reacts just in time to sting the sole of her foot before being squished.

The electric shock of the bee’s final act zips from the giant’s foot through her body. She whimpers and hops on her other foot, thereby dropping her load of stones and thus creating hills in the once flat landscape.

This rolling landscape becomes known as Ireland. And the great giant woman is known as Grandmother Cailleach, the powerful crone of winter and water. She is the queen of ice who has shaped the land and her people since before time began. The marbled colors on the stone faces hint at her passing with deep tans, grays and whites swirling in a slow, timeless dance.

She controls the flow of water from wells, decides when and where to form lakes and streams, and welcomes the spirits of the dead to the other side of the river. She is respected and feared, but this face of the mother is seldom loved.

I am also marbled like the stones, with a streak of my Grandma Clara’s flare for control and precision. The lines carved into my soul remain as the simple pleasure I enjoy after sweeping the floor clean and emptying the dirty laundry bin. And those streaks of white, freedom and wildness, surface in my refusal to brush my hair or get a job that requires I wear shoes.

I am a thoughtful, curious woman who spends her time reading myths about the days when women were giants and glaciers and rivers. I am a woman who values the bee sting, realizes the cost of courageous freedom and remembers the true faces we once wore underneath our masks.

I am a woman who wonders when we as women, as men, and as artists will recall our ability to carve the shapes in the landmass beneath our feet.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com.  The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.

Wild Mama by Eila Carrico

Art created by Eila Carrico
Art created by Eila Carrico

*Piece written by our full moon contributor Eila Carrico.

I am feeling rather domesticated. I have an eight-month­-old baby, and this year has seen long line of house guests, one after the other. I’m not complaining, I am happy to see everyone, but I do miss that time I used to so easily carve out for myself. The full moon gives me a bit of an excuse, and an external reminder, to set aside time to create.

I’ve been thinking about the connection between wildness and creativity, and what I’ve come to is two fold. One: there is a need for courage in true creativity. Two: there is a need for spaciousness to allow for expression.

I find courage when I feel at home, and I find spaciousness in the wild. Dancing between these two polarities ignites something in me that sparks a question, a tension, and need to explore. That exploration becomes my art. I find myself seeking out paradox and borders as a result. I love to place strange, random objects next to one another in my mind. Seasonal changes stoke my creative fire as well.

It is not summer any more in California, and it is not fall either. Harvest season is coming to a close, and the long, golden days of summer are beginning to wane. We are leaving the season of fire and approaching the season of water. These polarities make a kind of warm bath of my psyche. It is time to let go and prepare to look deeply inward to find my true self reflected in the waters of my soul. Questions I hold: How can I be wild as an artist and also be tame as a mother? Can I make something that feels spacious and free with just the materials I have in the house?

I often make excuses that I cannot create or write because I don’t have time. Or I don’t have the right materials. This month I challenged myself to work with what I’ve got. To create something that honors this tension between fire and water. I took up some construction paper and drew a silhouette. Then I cut them out and pasted them together.

What I came up with was a wolf howling at the moon. I love the wildness of the wolf, calling to the predictability of the moon. The fire is seen in the brightness of the moon, and the water is reflected in the blackness of the wolf. As she howls, one can hear silence and sound in the thickness of space. This practice is simple and inspiring, and I am once again glad I found the wildness in the middle of motherhood.

More About Eila:

Eila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory. She grew up in rural central Florida, and was inspired by her studies in journalism, anthropology and religion to travel around the world and teach in Paris, Ghana, Thailand and India before settling in the Bay Area in 2008.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com.  The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.

Meet Eila Carrico…Weaver, Wordsmith , and Wildly Creative Contributor

unnamedEila Carrico is a weaver and wordsmith who delights in the mystery and magic of landscapes and memory.  Check out more of her work at:   http://www.eilacarrico.com The italicized quotes within this piece are from Eila’s upcoming book, The Other Side of the River debuting in 2016.

Wildly Creative: Creativity is…..

Creativity is sporadic. She is impossible to contain, capture or cage. She calls in the middle of the night when you’d rather be sleeping and asks you to take up your pen, turn on the light, and write. You may complain that she doesn’t stop for weeks at a time, but when she deserts you for what seems like months on end you would give anything to have her back.

Creativity waits behind deadlines and routines. She may be shy around new friends and bold in the company of the heart. Certain people draw her out of you and others stifle her. She is particular about the arrangement of furniture in your living room, office and bedroom where you write. She delays you when you need to update the tools of your trade. She is a constant companion waiting to be acknowledged. She is a friend, your relationship with her is a unique universe that follows its own wild rules of engagement.

Creativity is you. Take care of her, and she will see that your life is never dull.

Wildly Creative: What is your first memory of connecting with your creative self?

I was probably six or seven, and my grandmother was making a painting of the ocean near her house. It was sunrise, and her canvas was full of soft pinks, gentle purple and blue with one tall grey heron standing on the edge of the scene.

I loved and admired her in that moment. Her hair was long and she was barefoot. I decided then I wanted to be an artist, and I already knew I preferred words and pens to paints and brushes. I also decided in that moment that I wanted to work in a place where I did not have to wear shoes. As a writer and yoga instructor, both job requirements have worked out for me so far.

Creativity-isWildly Creative: What is the advice you wish someone shared with you about pursuing your passions and feeding your creative self?

Own your title as artist, writer, poet, dancer, or actor as a verb. You are a writer when you write. A dancer when you dance, and an artist when you create. DO your art, and let it be the anvil that helps you to carve out your character and defines you. Don’t wait until you’ve published a book, performed on Broadway or sold a painting. Value your process.

These words are inspired by the choreographer Alonzo King, whom I saw during my first semester once I finally decided to allow myself to commit to my writing and invest in an MFA program. He also said you create because you have no choice. A desert rose blooms because it must, and does not care whether anyone is there to see it.

Wildly Creative: What drives you wild with inspiration and passion? What is whispering to you that inspires you to create?

The deep green of the forest, and the soft tickle of deer moss. The surging river, the quiet creek. Rainstorms, cicadas, crickets. I am recharged in nature, and I learn so much there. I wake up, I plug in, and I feel ready to be a part of creation. I am filled with new ideas, countless beyond the stars, and I feel there is plenty of time for each of them. Wild, untouched nature re-sets me and reminds me that the world around me is a work of art. And I am a participant.

I also love paradox, sharp photographs, playful paintings and good stories. The work of other artists inspires me to create as part of a conversation.

Wildly Creative: What keeps you wild and daring to create?

I am dedicated to truth and fascinated by mysteries. I write to explore and to understand a world full of meaning and messages. I write to surprise myself. I feel most alive when I write regularly, and I feel it in my bones and muscles when words are not flowing.

I need to move things through me or I get stuck. That’s what keeps me creating. Then truth is my editor. I always ask myself at the end of a piece I write or work I create: is this true? If it is, I’ll share it. If not, I start over.