starting

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great blue heron showed herself to me three times on the first day of the year.  i’m thinking it’s a sign of things to come, some wetlands wisdom? curious as to what this skilled huntress has for me…

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i’m in the space of having so much to say that all the words are fighting for the right to be said first and there is a bottleneck in my head. then i hear christina‘s voice…write it out. and maya‘s voice…write yourself here.

so here i am. the tendency of course is to make statements and proclamations and intentions about all kinds of things now. so i won’t set myself up for failure. i don’t like setups.

i hear my river-diving sister lisa…ease and grace.

::

the other tendency is to review the past year…and i won’t do that either except to say it was full, so full. and i am grateful.

so for today…this is what i know:

i am in love

i am surrounded with beauty

the dunes and her creatures call to me, but i’m not feeling up to the bundling needed to roam in the bitter, damp, greyness and yoga proved to suit me just fine this morning.

the colors of oyster shells blow my mind

i can’t seem to take enough showers or do enough laundry lately – i have this deep compulsion to feel clean (and yet my house is a mess, and we are ok with that).

deanna arrives today.

this is feeding me, especially with this as a soundtrack.

xo*m

we gather…

matrilumina, august 2012

we gather.

and if you are called to gather.

go.

say yes.

do anything it takes to make it so.

it will be worth all your effort, your money, your time, the trouble to organize childcare and feed your family while you are gone.

because you’ll return a better, brighter version of yourself.

because the world needs you to be more fully you.

because you need to awaken.

because the women you will meet will be beautiful teachers, and they all signed on to meet you.

because you really do need that kind of beauty…to survive in the world.

and well, because hafiz said so.

xo

lombok…

this island has so many words running around in my head that i can’t think straight

so many questions…of the existential kind

and many beginning with “why?”

and lines of poetry, and the beginnings of chapters in novels

but mostly

…so many questions.

this island has reduced me to a bawling heap of fearful tears…

and induced complete loss of self awareness through laughter with little sea urchins who have absolutely nothing.

nothing.

nothing but their single dirty and ripped t-shirt with no pants or vice versa

and their wide smiles.

and their hope that i’ll have some treasure for them in my heavier-than-comfortable bag of stuff i think i need.

a pen.

or the barrette in my hair.

an unfair trade for what they gave me.

nomi & inie

we miss you little duncan…

one year ago today we made the heartbreaking decision to let little duncan go. it was time. maybe even a little beyond (and for that i know he forgives me). i couldn’t bring myself to make the decision, or the phone call, so bryan had to muster the strength to call the vet. she was at our house in under 15 minutes (barely time to let it sink in what we were doing) and like that… he was gone. he slipped away with bryan rubbing his ears, and i held him as the life left his body and it became limp.

as the days had drawn nearer to this moment we had researched places to have him cremated, most of which meant giving him to the vet and waiting for his ashes to be returned to us via the mail. i couldn’t bear the thought of his body out in the cold, or in back of someone’s truck, or worse – lost. so, we found a place that we could bring him to ourselves. it was interesting to me how much clarity i had about these things. how firm i was about how i wanted it to be. still, i blindly wrapped him in a red blanket with flowers, feathers, lavender and rosemary from our garden, and one of his favorite toys. we placed him in a box. i took a photo. he looks like he’s sleeping.

it was a 3-hour drive. along the way bryan and i told stories of the things we remembered about him. it would be quiet for a while and then one or the other of us would say “remember…” remember, the noise? (a contented stutter sigh when he finally got the pack all together), remember the way he drank water? (a sort of dot-dash, dot-dash, dot-dash rhythm) and all his funny little idiosyncracies that even now are slipping away from me. we talked about his spirit, the way he owned a room, and the way he would sleep in some mornings wandering upstairs long after we were up and drinking coffee. all the while, duncan was in the box in the back seat, and i so regret that i didn’t hold him in my lap along the way. once there, we were able to place his body directly into the crematorium. this too was important to me as i only wanted our hands to hold him. an hour later we were on the road back home. i held a small tin of ashes with his name affixed with a p-touch label in case we forgot.

today, sick on the sofa with some all over ickyness, i am missing him more than usual as he would have been curled up at my feet…making his contented little sigh because the pack is all together.

i miss you sweet little duncan…

word…

HARMONY Deer Art Print
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harmony deer by pixie campbell

the original of this piece of pixie’s hangs on my wall. it spoke loudly to me when i saw it in person in september of 09. little did i know the magic it would bring in to my life for 2010. this is the reading that acoompanied it:

Deer bridges the gap between domestic and wild. He lures us to exciting new quests. Because Deer is known for gentleness, he reminds us to be in peaceful communion with ourselves as we embark upon a new aspect of the journey. Growth with Deer is about seeking harmony with ourselves and our environment; about allowing mistakes, as we wander the forest of our inner creative process. Deer medicine suits those who tend toward self-criticism or harshness with others. His is a call to healthy communication and compassion. Deer is a very important ally when fear would keep one from adventure.

last year, my word was awake…it came on the heels of the pain of watching my sweet little duncan fade from view until he stepped over into the invisible.  beyond that, i had been in a fog for a couple of years (she says with the clarity of hindsight). heavy and dense it settled on me tinged with fear, confusion and insecurity about life, love, my path, my gifts, my purpose…an existential crisis, dare i say a mid-life crisis, as in 2010 –  i turned 40. nothing like having that socio-cultural guillotine looming over your head to make you get down to the nitty gritty, no b.s. soul-work, right?

then sometime in january or february, i started some anusara yoga training and it was there that the concept of “unmesha” was introduced to me:

Examine the three energies that comprise our Yoga,
contractive, expansive and equanimous.

These pulsations
inward and outward
lead us to stillness for moments at a time.
This occurs on every level; pose, practice, life.


In Sanskrit, this pulsation is called SPANDA,

and the three energies are called
nimesha, unmesha and sthira, respectively.
“…stability, the point or place at which
there is a calm, strong, stable potential,
where neither and both are fully present– that is sthira
like the eye of a hurricane, the space between the breaths:
still, but alive and moving.” (from elena brower, vira yoga)

i recognized that i had been deep in a place of nimesha, inward, inward, inward focused energy and to find balance i needed to practice unmesha – the outward expansion.

unmesha fit in well with awake and i quietly added that to my intention for 2010…awaken and expand.

and boy did i ever – i started moving out of my cozy little rut, i traveled to brazil, continued with the anusara training, taught at both june and september squam art workshops, volunteered at the mountain photo festival lookbetween in charlottesville virginia, co-hosted bringing ashtangi david williams here to the outer banks, ran workshops for photographer david alan harvey, squam goddess elizabeth and i co-hosted a magical squam by the sea here in nags head, i collaborated with keely at savvy home to offer a seasonal second location for my yoga studio, and the studio grew for the first time in 3 years (even in the recession!), and my working relationship with my major client was fun and fulfilling.

most importantly, i made some rich and honest friendships along the way, deepened my ongoing relationships, and continued on my path of self-inquiry.

i haven’t talked about it here, but i had an awakening, a shift in september sitting alone on the dock at squam lake and in the days that followed at elizabeth’s beautiful healing space on the farm. since the magic of that window of time, for the first time in my life, i have woken up happy every day. in short, i finally got it. i woke up to the reality that abundance and beauty were all around me and in many ways they always were.  i just couldn’t see it.

and the key to it all? gratitude. gratitude is the antidote to fog.

as is often the case, the solution was so, so simple. i have found this place of happiness because the ticker-tape in my head that used to stream endless miseries, has been replaced by a litany of things i am thankful for…that is not to say that the unfortunate realities of a human existence don’t come into play, there have been hardships, emotions, grief and conflict to navigate. but when these things appear, i have a new and different perspective. stable footing. sthira.

so thank you…thank you all for being a part of my journey, thank you for visiting me here, thank you for commenting, thank you for supporting me, the studio, the workshops. thank you for filling my life with laughter and your stories. thank you for your love, your kindness, your creativity. thank you for inspiring me. thank you.

thank you.

thank you.

i’ve yet to settle fully into my word for 2011…but thoughts on that coming soon.

the way that light attaches to a girl…

everyone receives divine inspiration and wisdom in different ways…

for me, most often it seems to come through lyrically…perhaps the music soothes the savage beast within me (the inner critic) and i step into a heartspace of flow, and open up to the sparks of light.

my thoughts on squam by the sea have been ruminating for days. my mind full of questions — what was it about? what was the lesson? and as pixie would say, what medicine was it carrying? as i allow the experience to distill down to its truth, its essence, i try to honor it with the space and time it needs to come into being, and quite honestly this one is still coming…

but just now, as i began again to try to capture it all, i heard these lyrics drifting upstairs to me as i wrote…

all at once you look across a crowded room

and see the way that light attaches to a girl

and while the song itself is a sad story about a dark night of the soul after love lost… all i needed to hear, all the divine needed me to hear, were those two lines.

this was an important piece of information…so i went for a walk in the dune to consider the mystery with the words rolling around in my mind. as i walked the path i’ve been trodding of late, i was literally stopped in my tracks by a section of delicate wild grasses, their subtle movement electrified as the sun struck them *just so* and their crystalline bits lit up like fireflies. i fell to my knees, truly awestruck, and quite honestly so moved by their beauty that tears came to my eyes. i am oft moved by beauty…but not quite like this. this was stunning.

so, with tears, i watched the light attaching to these grasses, bearing witness to them in perhaps their finest moment of the day. letting it all come together…

there was so much love here by the sea over that long weekend…as well as so much delicate beauty and vulnerability (and o the strength it takes to be vulnerable). so much truth, so much deep affection and celebration. so much respect, and too a willingness to be present…and i watched each evening as the light attached itself to one and then another. i watched her light up, i watched her smile, i bore witness to her in perhaps her finest moment of the day.

elizabeth, through her years of soulwork, has become a powerful beacon for many of us. i heed her call magnetically, energetically and consciously. but she teaches me again and again that i am no good to anyone unless i am also recognizing and heeding my own call and seeing my own light. as women, we are inclined to nurture, to give, and at times to martyr ourselves…but we are no good to anyone unless we take the time to care for ourselves. and quiet honestly, our capacity to nurture and love expands exponentially when we turn that love and nurturance inward.

the philosophical undercurrent that ran through so many of our quieter conversations, was about the fear of being seen, or not belonging…and to me, this goes back to the “i’m not good enough” misbelief (which i believe goes back to cultural or generational wounds about femininity). yet at the same time, there was this tremendous sense of support and freedom to explore. see — this vulnerability needed to come to the surface, it needed to be voiced in order to be honored and released so that we could each be gently coaxed into the comfort of being ourselves and stretching our glorious wings into some individually uncharted territory.

the power though, was in the mirrors we each held up for one another. after the moment of giving voice to our saddest truths, honoring them because yes, we do feel the same way. we could say to one another– ‘but now, look at me, look at me looking at you, look at my eyes gazing at you – what do you see in them? you see love – and what that really is, is the reflection of your own light, just as the sun lights up our beloved full moon. i am a reflection of you in this moment…’

so perhaps all this talk of feeling seen isn’t as much about being seen by each other as we want it to be — the grasses didn’t really need me there for them to have their moment in the sun — perhaps instead it’s that for a moment, supported by loving eyes and souls reflecting our light, we were finally able to take a peek and catch a glimpse of the shimmering…

we actually saw ourselves…

and loved her.

by the sea…

as in squam by the sea…

this sea:

 

with

blue sky

blue water

old friends

new friends

sand between our toes

sea spray

bonfires

the full moon

beach divas

birds

mermaids

blue marlin merlin

being true

siren songs

and of course…

twinkle lights

let the magic begin….