What I'm Writing About
© Copyright 2011-2015
All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Bobbi Jean Ewing.
reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3
I recently hosted 5 dudes – 5 MEN – for 5 ePic days and nights. Two dudes became four and then finally five. The population of my house exploded from one to six. It took me an entire week, 7 full days and nights, to recover from that adventure.
How did this all come about? You all remember my friend, Rosh, right? I met Rosh in Maui at the start of 2014 on a yoga retreat with Hana Maui Yoga Institute. On the drive out to Hana, Rosh was chatting up The Blind Cafe which I had *just* heard about a few months back. Rosh was that guy, the guy who founded The Blind Cafe, THE man behind the operation since he started running these pop up events in 2010.
Rosh stayed at my place last summer when The Blind Cafe came to Seattle and while I was in Peru. He called me up a few weeks before the event and asked he if could “rent” my car and I said, “you mean… borrow?” During the course of that conversation he joked that maybe he should “move in” to my house. This scenario had occurred to me and I had already decided I’d be ok with that, so over the phone I agreed to let Rosh stay at my place while I was on the other side of the equator. That was a first for me, quite an act of trust on my part, to let some man I’d only gotten to know for a week on retreat, interacted with briefly at a Blind Cafe in San Francisco, with whom I exchanged sporadic emails and a few phone calls, have total access to all my belongings. But that’s the thing about Rosh… he engenders immediate and whole hearted trust.
Rosh and I reconnected in Maui at the start of this year for our second annual new year’s retreat. During that week, our mutual respect of each other and friendship deepened. When I learned The Blind Cafe was coming back to Seattle, I offered up my place to Rosh as his home base, offered up the use of my car. There was a bit of back and forth – phone calls and emails – questions like, “how many people are you comfortable having stay at your place?” and arrangements to split up The Blind Cafe team at two houses so we wouldn’t be all on top of each other. Going into this adventure, it was my expectation and understanding that I’d be hosting 2 guys, Rosh and his new operations manager, for 7 nights. Two guys. I felt my insides relax when I got the final news. Not four or five. Two.
The night Rosh arrived he told me housing fell through for his other guys and that he needed to find a place for them to stay, with mentions of possibly booking them a hotel room. The next morning Rosh asked me if I’d be ok with two more guys joining us. I hesitated at first. My insides said, “ahhhhhh.” He read me energetically and said, “it’s more fun if we are all together.” Tug, tug at my heart strings. I thought about it on my bike ride to work, visualized in my head where folks would “camp” out, did a mental inventory of blankets, pillows, and towels. Ok. We can do this.
On the third night, the fifth guy joined us. Not so much asking at this point, just Rosh slipping in a little, “Sliver Fox is coming,” before bedtime on night two. Me: “What? Who?” Rosh: “We’ll talk about it in the morning.” Ultimately: questions unanswered. Sigh. At this point, what was one more person?. Oh and I guess I forgot to mention that two of these five guys are blind. Yeah, you are experiencing this news just like I did, “ummmm, what?!” and “ok.” (here you’ll have to add tones of first surprise and then tentative agreement into your internal voice of my voice and please, laugh along with me if you haven’t yet already)
I imagine that as you are reading this, you are getting a sense of Rosh’s watery nature and my more earthy nature. Rosh shifts like the sands, he is fluid. I am solid, steady, grounded like the earth. Rosh’s watery nature, from the get go, was rocking my earthy nature, but that’s what I signed up for. I know this about Rosh, I know his watery nature “pushes” people to stretch and grow. One of our retreat mantras was, after all, “the schedule is carved in sand, not in stone.” Rosh’s vibration, his optimism, his upbeat and encouraging energy, makes you want to stretch and grow. I find myself saying yes to things I wouldn’t normally say yes to and I do it because I know it’s helping me to grow and I want to grow, I want to expand the edges of my comfort zone. I signed up for this adventure. I invited this experience into my life, all the way in…
What was it like having 5 dudes in my house? Intimate. Noisy. Bustling. Busy bathroom. House and yard full of life, sometimes more life than my nervous system could tolerate. I am a highly sensitive creature – my nervous system cannot hold multiple conversations, loud music, and people shifting about all at the same time. In these moments I was really challenged to stay grounded and collected. Remember, the population of my house exploded from one to six and I was one female among five MEN.
I got a lot of practice relating to men and experiencing very different kinds of energies. I got practice making requests. I got practice setting boundaries, particularly around my tolerance for certain kinds of humor. Father and past relationship issues bubbled up to the surface. In one particularly loud and expressive voice, I heard yelling and anger and I noticed how my nervous system started to rev up and go into fight/flight/freeze mode. Oh, and exhausting. I didn’t sleep well at all. I knew that would be my greatest challenge and it was. A rush/flood of adrenaline and stress hormones made it hard for my body and mind to relax, especially the first night. And after 5 nights of not sleeping well, I was really run down and worried I was on the verge of coming down with a whopper of a cold.
The whole experience – hosting 5 dudes and “being” with Rosh’s wateriness – rocked my internal structures, specifically my needs for order, predictability, reliability, boundaries, peace and tranquility. I stretched myself farther than I’ve stretched myself before on my home turf. I’m not accustomed to so many bodies “living in” my house. I’m not used to being around so much big male energy, and sometimes the emergence of middle school aged chatter, in my home, my sacred space, day after day. I’m not used to so many shifting variables and changes in plans. I’m not used to my furniture being moved around. All of that rocked my insides, rocked my structures and I was asked to adapt, be resilient, or crumble and break down inside. Toward the end I *was* starting to crumble inside. My system was maxed out. I had experienced more “shake ups” and “rattling” than I could hold. I was feeling agitated, irritable, and needed space and quiet and sleep.
I was rocked and I recovered. Now I know I can make it through ePic internal stretches, that I can push myself and be pushed outside my comfort zone. It is my hope that my nervous system benefited from this experience, that it will be able to hold discomfort and change, to be with agitation, with ease; that I will be able to stay grounded and collected with grace when things get shaky and turbulent. I will say this of my earthy nature: I *am* resilient and adaptable and where I am not, I am cultivating a softer, more fertile soil, letting my being soak up ~water~ to soften my earthiness.
I can tell you this much…as a writer, I have let go of conventional form here. I fully embraced the meandering, watery quality of a personal essay, taking you on a walk and talk along the bank of and sometimes wadding into the babbling brook that is me.
Today, December 21, is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. Today is also my dad’s birthday. Growing up I remember my dad referring to his birthday as the “shortest day of the year.” As a kid, I thought that meant there was less time in the day. I don’t know at what point growing up or even as a young adult that I realized that the Winter Solstice has the fewest daylight hours and minutes, that the sun rises later and sets earlier on this day than any other day of the year. And now I understand that the Winter Solstice is not only the shortest day, but also the longest night.
Late this last summer I had an “ah-hah” moment, a revelation, that I am light born OF and TO dark. My dad, who passed away almost 5 years ago this coming March, was a contracted soul – he was a very angry and abusive man. He lashed out with his hands and his words. I have a fire in me that gave me courage to stand up to my dad, to look the monster in the eye when he was full of rage, and when I did, I saw hate stewing in my dad’s eyes.
My dad was a very physically strong man most of his life. He was a championship wrestler in high school, college, and for the US Navy. He was both proud of the fact that he wrestled for a spot on the US Olympic team, beating his opponent twice, and sad that his loss the third time cost him a spot on the team. My dad used his strength and formidable presence to hurt people, especially with his angry words. My dad was a scary man and I learned years later, that the kids I played with growing up were afraid of my dad. Adults were afraid of my dad too.
The last 10 years or so of my dad’s life, his strength and his mind began to fade. He fought and resisted his decline, trying so hard to hold on, suffering through the nasty effects of muscular dystrophy. He died as a relatively young man at the age of 65. I feel and believe that in his passing, in his return to Source, that my dad has returned to the light and is no longer a contracted soul.
A universal teaching in many spiritual traditions says that we are made of light, that we are emanating light (measurable now through science, or so I’ve heard from my yoga teachers). I had a coca leaf reading in Peru this last summer and the wise and old Quechua healer who read my leaves said to me, “you are light.” I smiled hearing this, experiencing a moment of affirmation; I also smiled because I was hearing this familiar teaching in yet another tradition. I discovered this truth for myself, that I am light, one year ago during a light meditation when my spiritual and heart essence name, “Bright Joy,” came to me in a vision. Where my dad was dark and lived in darkness, I am light and chose to live in the light.
I live with intention and my intentions are to be conscious and awake in my words and my actions; to be self-aware – to see my thoughts, my feelings, my words, and my actions with clarity and discernment; to speak skillfully in ways that are non-harming to others, that instead invite connection and evoke warmth; to act and be in this world in ways that are gracious and pure of heart (not selfish or greedy or jealous or resentful); to experience the world and others from a spacious place (to not judge or evaluate or condemn); to be kind and compassionate toward others and myself; to grow, expand, and deepen my capacity to love others and myself; to be generous with my love, to give without selfish motivation or expectations.
This week I’ve been reading, “Celestially Auspicious Occasions,” by Donna Henes, for inspiration for a Winter Solstice ceremony I am leading this evening. She writes, “The Winter Solstice is an anniversary celebration of creation” and represents “The Great Uterine Darkness.” At the Winter Solstice the sun stands still in its retreat in a pregnant pause and from the darkness light is birthed forth.
This idea of the sun standing still in a pregnant pause, of light being birthed from The Great Uterine Darkness, got me thinking back to my revelation that I am light born OF and TO dark. I started to think about my birth date in relation to my dad’s birth date and I began to wonder about my conception date. I had a hunch that I was very likely conceived on my dad’s birth date, on the Winter Solstice. I checked out a few websites with birth date-conception date calculators and guess what??? I WAS CONCEIVED ON THE WINTER SOLSTICE (or within days of December 21, but definitely during the pregnant pause of the sun).
I am the spark of life and light that was created by my father’s darkness in the great uterine darkness of my mother’s womb. I was born in the early afternoon on September 10 when the sun was shining high in the sky and when the moon was still bright and full. I am light born OF and TO dark. I was given the name Bobbi Jean, named after my dad, Robert Eugene. Yet…I am BRIGHT JOY.
On 9/9, the day before my 38th birthday, I started to see a new friend / connection for acupuncture treatments. I was going through a bout of insomnia and experiencing (again – *sigh*) a surge of mysterious twitches and pulsations in muscles around my body. I chose to start treatments on 9/9 for two reasons: 1) to me, the date represented balance and alignment and 2) my intention was to start my 38th year with balanced energy, in energetic alignment.
After I scheduled my first appointment, I heard a little voice in my head, a voice that is very likely my voice of intuition, tell me that these treatments were going to provide holistic healing and more specifically, an opportunity to heal a little wound I have with this friend.
Visit 5 – there I am on the table, face down, needles in my back, body literally punctured. My acupuncture guy steps back into the room minutes after pushing firmly on tender spots around my shoulder blades and gently inserting needles into those same tender places. He tells me he just had an intuition hit, that right now is not the time to start a specific aspect of treatment as discussed and planned. The energy inside and around me immediately started to shift, feeling very heavy and thick. My little wound had just been punctured.
When I got home later that evening it hit me. I had a simultaneous flash of insight and an intense somatic knowing as I connected the surface wound to the original core wound and the series of wounds that came in between. As it hit me, the grief rose from the depths of my core and came out in sobs. By putting needles in tender, vulnerable spots in my body and inadvertently pricking the surface wound by sharing his intuition hit, my acupuncture guy released the energy block sitting on top of these wounds, creating an opening for an up chuck of grief.
The wound that was punctured is the wound of no choice. It was not my choice for my 10 year relationship to end. It was not my choice, just one year after my relationship ended, for ties to be severed with my best friend of 15 years. It was not my choice for a new romantic relationship to not be given space and time to blossom into the relationship I so wanted it to become; and in addition to that, to be bewildered, frustrated, and hurt that he moved away / “ran away” without communicating.
In each of these experiences, I had no choice; I had no sense of power. The “termination” of each of these relationships was decided for me, I was “abandoned,” and I had to live with ensuing pain and grief created by the choices made by the other person. And with my acupuncture guy, he had also made a choice that was not my choice in our history and here again in the clinical setting. That’s the thing with wounding, the heart recognizes the likeness and feels the prick, the stab, the pain.
Sure, it was painful for me that night of the up chuck of grief to connect with the core wound, to see a pattern of wounding in my life, but it is such a blessing and a gift to release deep grief still trapped in my body and my being. I knew there was potential for holistic healing with my acupuncture guy, but this release far exceeded anything I had envisioned. I feel strongly that this release occurred because of our history and though there is a tiny wound there, the wound is a gift that continues to inspire healing, continues to challenge me to work through the pain and patterns of my own wounding.
I need more healing around my little surface wound, but I am so grateful for the emotional healing of my deeper wounds, so grateful for the safety and trust we have cultivated together that is allowing for deeper healing. And my intuition tells me there is a divine intelligence guiding this process, creating little places of friction and pricking at the surface to get at what’s deeper underneath.
I am back from south of the equator where I spent nearly 2 weeks in Peru. I dined on the delicious cuisine of Cusco, I gazed upon the amazing Andes, I visited famous Inca sites such as Saqsaywaman, Pisac, and of course the magnificent and bejeweled Machu Picchu.
I spent Thursday, July 24 grounding at our retreat center in Peru after 2 long days scaling the ancient rocks of Machu Picchu. As I journaled in the heart <3 chakra garden, I noticed the wind. At some point during the day I learned that our shaman, who was to lead our cleansing, awakening, and re-birth ceremony the next day, had been traveling in Ecuador and hadn’t been in contact for some time. We were assured by the retreat center owner that he was on his way. His name, Wayra, means wind. The WIND was telling us that he was indeed on his way.
On Friday, July 25 it rained – a cleansing for Pachamama, mother earth. Wayra arrived late afternoon before our ceremony began at 8 pm. Eight brave souls, myself included, participated in the sacred shamanic ceremony. We each drank the plant medicine “potion” prepared by Wayra. For the next five hours, Wayra whistled and sang medicine songs, rattled, played harmonica, smoked big, fat rolled up tobacco leaves, blowing smoke around himself and others, continually cleansing and clearing the energies in the room. Wayra tended to each of us, physically or energetically, chanting “cleansing, cleansing” and “healing, healing.”
At the end of the ceremony Wayra cleared and closed each of us – he sucked the energy out of my crown portal and spat into a refuse bin, he blew tobacco smoke all around me, including down the front and back of my shirt, he spat a spray of flower water in my face, he cleansed the energy in my hands, he whispered blessings and protections. I remember looking into his face after he pulled me out of my experience. I was startled and felt a little contraction of fear. He looked different than the forty something man who led us into the ceremony. In his face, I saw many shadows and folds – I saw the face of an ancient, timeless shaman; I saw the face of a medicine man.
The next day, Saturday, July 26, I reflected back on a poem I wrote about the wind last Thanksgiving day weekend after I spent several days walking in the wind and meditating on its qualities. I revisited my poem and was particularly struck by these passages, which almost perfectly describes Wayra’s presence during our ceremony:
The wind is nowhere and everywhere.
The wind is a mover and a shaker.
The wind blows in and blows out.
The wind moves the rain in and dries the rain out.
The wind draws tears from my eyes.
See it. Hear it. Feel it.
I let the wind wash over me and around me.
I let it hold me.
I let it refresh me.
What a most curious synchronicity, an accidental premonition. Without knowing it, I was inviting Wayra into my life to assist me in clearing out old, stagnant energies, which is exactly what I experienced during our ceremony. I purged something. I don’t know what. All I know is it’s gone, that I felt and feel spacious inside my chest cavity, my heart <3 center.
Meanwhile, back in Seattle, another wind was blowing through my life. My new friend Rosh, a connection I made at the start of 2014 while on retreat in Maui, was in town for a Seattle Blind Cafe and staying at my house. This was a first for me. I’ve *never* let someone stay as a guest at my house when I’ve been out of town. Here I was, down in Peru, on the opposite side of the equator, letting some man I’ve really only spent a week, a blind cafe, sporadic email exchanges, and a few phone calls getting to know inhabit my house and have total access to all my belongings.
But…I trust Rosh completely and I didn’t have an ounce of anxiety after I said yes to him “moving into” my house. I was completely ok with his windy/vata energy (code for scattered, a wee bit messy, and kinda accident prone) “living in” my house. Being the more grounded/kapha-ish sort (code for organized and tidy), I noticed and felt the effects of his windy energy when I returned home. I was ok with it and in fact, I found it refreshing to have Rosh’s energy stir and move things around in my house, both literally and figuratively. What good practice for me to be ok with someone being in my sacred space, to welcome someone so fully into my life, and most importantly to TRUST.
At the same time (literally) I was entrusting Rosh with my house, I was also cultivating a trust with Wayra and the plant medicine, learning to trust the plant’s intelligence and wisdom. Out of that trust, I received a most precious lesson and gift from the wind.
Let the wind blow through me. Let the wind clear out stagnant energy. Like the rain, the wind is cleansing and the strongest of winds can be both transformative and healing.
Let … the… wind … in … (and TRUST) !
Five years ago – June 27, 2009 – was my wedding day.
For four of the past five years I’ve taken myself some place for this anniversary – Italy, Bali, France, and Spain. Those first years it was especially important for me to get away, to take care of myself around this date. I’ve created a lot of new meaning and transformed what June 27 represents in my life. Instead of representing the beginning of the end, the explosion of my 10 year relationship just weeks after our wedding day, this date has become a celebration, an anniversary of my journey of discovery, transformation, and awakening.
That first anniversary was the biggest and the beginning of me reclaiming and transforming what June 27 means in my life. I remember saying to myself and writing in my journal something along the lines of, “my wedding day was the biggest day of my life, but this day is bigger; this day is the beginning of my NEW life.”
June 27, 2010 was the very first day of my first ever yoga retreat. That day, in the hills of Umbria in Italy, I did the biggest yoga poses of my life – adho mukha vrksasana (handstand), pincha mayurasana (peacock), and urdhva dhanurasana (wheel) – with help, of course. Reflecting back I find it very curious that the retreat leader chose me to demo supported wheel pose. I’m pretty sure every single retreat participant supported me in getting up into the pose. Wheel was the pose that did it, the pose that cracked my heart open.
At lunch after our morning yoga I started to feel shaky, started to feel my emotions rising to the surface. I found a safe, secluded, and sheltered spot under some oak trees. I lay down in the middle of a country lane and sobbed uncontrollably for hours – what a most glorious sob-fest. I remember having a sense that the branches of the trees overhead were embracing me. I remember visualizing my closest friends, and all those that supported me through my personal tragedy, in a circle around me.
Before I left my refuge under the canopy of oak trees, I went to each of the trees and thanked each one for holding me, for creating this space for me. I stopped at the last tree, was about to thank it, but noticed it was being choked by ivy, its branches broken. I realized this tree was not part of the “circle” of trees that had supported and held me; its branches were separate from the other trees. In this tree, I saw him – broken and diseased. Tears came to my eyes. I paused and then pulled myself away from that tree. I walked away. I let go. I headed down the lane back to the villa, but I knew I was setting out on my own path, my journey into my new life.
This year, four years from that day in Italy and five years from my wedding date, was the first year I was home for this anniversary. Five years. Half a decade, I knew I wanted to do something BIG, something sacred to honor myself and this anniversary. Four weeks before my anniversary, I realized June 27 would be a new moon and in that instant a WILD idea lit up in my mind: run WILD and naked in the woods. In the span of one afternoon, I created a vision for a sacred ceremony and WILD adventure.
Last Friday, June 27, 2014, nine of us, myself and 8 other spirited souls, shared a wild. exhilarating. enlivening. expansive. liberating. night together. I have never laughed and screamed (in shock and glee) so hard in my life. Felt so good. What a release!!!
The night was magical. Smudging. Calling in energies. Circle. blue Knots. Screeching owls (pretty much on que). Fire. Sharing / Being witnessed. Poetry. Personal Vows. Dancing. Playful exhibition. Screaming. Running naked in the dark. Running naked in the rain. Howls. Cackles. Laughter. Reflection. Rain sizzling. Rain steaming. on our warm, bright fire. Blessings. Singing. Love. JOY.
I vow to realize my full potential.
I vow to realize my life’s purpose, to do what I am meant to do on this earth and in this life.
Though we gathered to honor my anniversary, the experience was shared and touched and moved each person present in different ways. One woman shared, “I haven’t had this much fun in a very long time.” Another woman said something to the effect of, “I feel like a part of me came back to life.” Yet another woman said, “It was very healing and really powerful to see you ASK to be witnessed. It was exhilarating to be naked in the rain and to run into the dark.” Another expressed that she was humbled to be in company with others who were meeting their edge and stepping outside their comfort zones.
I slept soundly that night. I felt at peace, contented. I received a highly symbolic message in my dreams. One of my teacher’s and model of ritual and sacred ceremony, Cosetta Romani, wrote a note for me that said:
Beyond my own self-expansion, my experience of creating and officiating a sacred ceremony to honor myself and my anniversary has revealed my unique gifts and birthed a new dream: a dream to be a CELEBRANT, to create sacred rituals and ceremonies to remember, honor, and celebrate life.
washed by rain, both fierce and gentle
warmed by light, both harsh and tender
become the furrows
where seeds long buried burst their hardened hulls at last
And fall gently into the fertile earth, made rich by cruel disaster.
Dreams long stifled dare to send forth tender shoots
(from a poem written for me for my anniversary by my good friend, Kristen)
A seed has burst through its hull!!!
My new dream was officially born on July 1, 2014, my deceased brother’s 44th birthday. My brother died of brain cancer at the age of 27.
Grazie Mille, Cosetta, for the inspiration. Thank you, Robert, for planting Cosmic seeds. Thank you, Kristen, for the beautiful poem, for truly understanding the depths of my pain and wounding. Thank you, naked Rosh, for inspiring me to grow and stretch, to love and be love. <3 you!
Thank you most of all to the 8 spirited souls who trusted me, showed up with open hearts, and filled the forest with laughter and de LIGHT! What a hoot!