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 teachers 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.
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!