My Inner Mystic

reflections and insight into my healing, transformation, and journey of the heart <3

Category Archives: family

Woman Alone in the Woods

I recently spent a week alone in the woods.  Someone asked me afterward if it was nice to get away.  I hesitated in response.  Away?! I never left. Here’s the thing…our mind goes with us EVERYWHERE we go!

When I first envisioned this experience many months ago I somehow thought it’d be peaceful and nurturing.  I’d get to soak up all the goodness and become more attuned to the magical subtleties of nature.  And then I began to think of it as my version of a meditation retreat…I’d be alone in the woods, just me and my thoughts…what a great way to stretch myself, right?

Before I even left town, the paranoid thoughts started.  The first and best of my paranoid thoughts:  “What if my battery watch dies and I don’t know what time it is.”  This thought and others like it told me how it was really going to go down:  I was going to encounter my mind and my fears.

I went down to southern Oregon, back to my stomping grounds, a long haul from Seattle where I now live, to the Chewaucan River, a place my dad loved to camp and fish and where he took me and my siblings in my youth.  I wanted to see and experience a place my dad loved from my adult and more awakened eyes, to connect with the memory and spirit of my dad and my brother, who have both passed from this life.

I drove into the Gearhart Wilderness on a Monday and let me just tell you…this part of Oregon is RE-MOTE:  very few people, very few cars on the road, and ZERO cell phone reception.  As I drove deeper into the wilderness I could feel myself becoming more and more afraid, mostly fears about getting stranded.  The thought of waiting alongside the road and trusting a stranger to help me seemed rather scary.

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I arrived at Happy Camp in the late afternoon.  There was only one other camper in the campground, all the way on the other side.  He was a fly fisherman – my sense was that he was safe.  I had trouble sleeping that night, even woke myself up by the sound of my own snore after about an hour of sleep.  I don’t know what I was afraid of exactly (animals? humans?), I was just afraid.

By the light of day the next morning, I started to settle in and felt less afraid.  Somehow I think I even felt comforted knowing there was another human at the opposite end of the campground, yet after a while something in me began to wonder about that.  I took a walk around the campground and discovered that the other camper was gone; he’d packed up and left sometime in the early morning hours.  I was all alone!  It’s what I wanted, or did I?

I spent three nights at Happy Camp.  I found the name ironic cuz I didn’t feel all that happy there.  My mind was agitated and I was skittish and easily spooked.  For instance, on my first full day in the woods I took a walk along the road and crossed over the national forest boundary into public land and came across a deserted cattle corral.  Its emptiness was haunting and my mind started playing tricks on me.  My mind saw a man in what was likely a wooden fence post.  I had a flash back of being flashed while walking alone on a road outside the city walls of Cortona, Italy and with a racing heart I bolted, looking over my shoulder until I made it safe back to camp.

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On my second full day in the woods I ventured away from camp.  Should I tell you how I was afraid of leaving stuff out at my campsite, like my stove, for fear that my campsite would be raided and my stuff stolen?  Yep, I had that thought.  My plan was to hike the Blue Lake trail that had been recommended to me by the gal at the forest ranger station in Bly.  It looked easy enough to get to the trailhead…get on road 3372 which, accordingly to the map, was across main road 34 and just opposite the road to Happy Camp.

I got on a road I hoped was Forest Service road 3372, though I didn’t see one of those brown signs with numbers.  I was supposed to drive 9 miles up this road before turning onto another road leading 2 more miles to the trailhead.  A more lush forest turned to a sparse and “unfriendly” lodge-pole pine forest.  No one knew where I was.  I didn’t for sure know where I was or if I was on the right road.  I started to feel vulnerable and shaky inside.  I missed my friends.  I wanted to hold someone’s hand.  I felt total relief when I finally saw the bleached out sign pointing to the trailhead and the brown sign confirming, YES, I was on road 3372.

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I got to the trailhead and I was THE ONLY one there.  This was a first for me.  I’ve *never* been THE ONLY one on a trail before.  I quietly gave myself a little pep talk…“you hike all the time, you have done plenty of solo hikes, you’ll be fine.”   I crawled over lots of fallen trees (known as dead fall) and did a good job of finding the trail again when it was temporarily covered by dead fall.  Cat scat was scattered on the trail so I knew the cats were around. I was hiking with bear spray, my protection against the wildcats.  As you can imagine, a potential encounter with a wildcat was another one of my fears.

I ate lunch on a rock on the lake shore, mosquitoes biting me by the dozens.  I heard something that sounded like an explosion somewhere on the other side of the lake.  My mind instantly thought, “someone is using dynamite to blow stuff up,” and then I remembered I was THE ONLY one up here.  Nothing was being blown up… I’d just heard a tree fall in the woods.  You want to hear something ironic?  With all the dead fall and hearing a tree fall, I wasn’t even afraid of a tree falling on me!

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Day 3 alone in the woods.  I slept pretty well the night before, the best so far.  My nervous system finally started to quiet down.  I packed up camp.  I was moving on to the Chewaucan River, my ultimate destination, but first I would hike up to “The Palisades” and “The Dome,” the crown jewels of the Gearhart Wilderness.  I get in my car, start driving down the very bumpy and dusty dirt road and my car is squealing like crazy.  The thing I was afraid of most – car trouble – was becoming my reality.

I made it to the trailhead.  My car squealed the entire 30 minute drive there.  I kept hoping and praying the squealing would stop, but it didn’t.  My mind thought of all the things it could be…a belt about to slip off, a wheel bearing that was going to fall apart.  I started hiking, doing my best to put my car troubles out of my mind and put my attention on my hike.  That didn’t happen.  Here I was on this incredibly stunning hike and my mind was thinking ahead to the possibility of breaking down in the south central Oregon and being stranded in some small town over the long weekend until my car could be fixed.

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I prayed and prayed some more.  I sat down on a rock and had a short sob.  I prayed again to all Divine beings – God, Father Sky, Mother Earth, my spirit allies, angels, fairies, my ancestors.  I prayed to my dad, an exceedingly resourceful mechanic who has passed to the heavens, “please dad, please, please fix my car with your Divine hands.”

Several hours later I returned to my car.  As I made my way down the *super* bumpy dirt road back to paved main road 34 I didn’t hear any squealing.  I had a choice – turn left and head toward the Chewaucan River or turn right and head back to Klamath Falls and take my car to a mechanic before the weekend began.  I turned left.  The deal:  if my car squealed in the next 15 minutes I would turn around.  About 5 minutes down the road I heard the hint of a squeal.  I immediately made a U turn.

I drove about 30 minutes down the mountain and out of the wilderness back toward Bly.  Something didn’t look right.  I had turned the wrong way.  I was going to have to turn around and go right past the entrance to the Gearhart Wilderness.  My car had been doing fine for the last 30 minutes.  I slowed down and listened.  No squealing.  As I approached the entrance, I made a split second decision: “I’m going back in!  I’m not going to give up my vacation cuz I might break down and I might not make it back to work the day I was scheduled to return.” I made it all the Chewaucan River and parked my car for the next 3 days.

The river valley was gorgeous – sage and ponderosa pine country.  I felt a connection to my dad, to this place he loved.  I’d like to say I was relaxed and filled with peace once I arrived.  Not so.  I was a wound up ball of fear.  I was paranoid my fire was going to spread, that the forest would catch on fire.  I woke myself up again from the sound of my own snore and was awake most of the night.  In the sounds of the river my mind heard fire and I was paranoid the forest was going to burn down and that I’d be burned to a crisp in my tent.

The next day, July 1, was my deceased brother’s 46th birthday.  I walked down the road in search of the campground my dad had taken me and my brother in my teens and where me and my brother fly fished together.  As I approached Jones Crossing campground, I knew in my heart and belly, “this is the place.”  I said to myself more than once, “dad sure knew how to pick good spots.”

I sat on the river bank and talked and prayed to my brother, a lump in my throat and tears streaming down my face, “Happy Birthday, Doug!”  What a beautiful thing to be in the exact spot we shared memories together on his birthday.  I made it to the Chewaucan and not just that, I made it there for my brother’s birthday, something that had only vaguely occurred to me in my plans leading up to this adventure.  I lay down on the river bank under a blanket of elms and took a nap and FINALLY relaxed.

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That week camping alone in the woods I got up close and personal with my FEARS and I’ve never prayed so earnestly in my life.  I saw how powerful the mind is.  We can attract the good and we can attract the bad.  A mind that is humming with fear becomes a very strong magnet and what we fear most can become our reality.  I pulled myself out of the fear and turned my vibration around through prayerful surrender and by cultivating a whole lotta faith and trust.

I had a meditation retreat like experience and what’s more, I had to be with all that arose within and survive (at the same time)!

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As for my desire to tune in to the magical subtleties of nature, it happened.  As I was packing up that last day a bug buzzed into my left ear.  Still a little skittish from being molested by mosquitoes, I swatted it away.  I immediately stopped myself.  “Oh wait, that might have been a fairy delivering a message.”  The sound of the bug was still in my ear.  I paused and tuned in, “if I had to translate that sound into words, what would they be?”  I heard and knew simultaneously:  “everything’s going to be ok” and it was.

I made it back to Seattle just fine.  My check engine light did come on as I drove over the scary river overpass in Portland after I had a paranoid thought of breaking down right there and the second after I said out loud, “I’m gonna be honest – this part of the freeway scares me.” There it was again, my powerful mind!

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Both my dad and my brother live on in the heavens. It’s through experiences like these and walking in the memory of their footsteps that I touch their spirits.

My Heavenly Father

As this Saturn’s day draws to a close, I’d like to tell you about my father, whose name was Robert Eugene, and for whom I was named. While my father, my dad, no longer lives on Earth, he lives on in the Heavens.

My dad passed on, returned to Source, nearly 6 years ago on March 11, 2010. He died as a relatively young man at the age of 65.

I did not have a close relationship with my dad. Instead, it was one of hardship and strife. My dad was a very angry and volatile man. He hurt me, my mom, and my siblings much and often with his hands and his words. I could share many, awful stories of the horrific things my dad did. It’s enough for me to tell you that my dad was a rotten man.

I have a very different relationship with my dad now that he’s gone. I even consider my dad a spirit ally and summon him when I need protection or support. I am still cultivating my relationship with my dad, my Heavenly Father and maybe someday he’ll be an ally that serves me in other ways too. For now, I am grateful for his protection and the guidance he provides to me as I awaken my relationship to Spirit, to the Divine Intelligence that is in all things, the Intelligence with which we can participate as we co-create and manifest our reality.

My relationship with my Heavenly Father began on Sunday, January 5, 2014 on my hike down into Haleakala, the big crater of Maui. My dad loved geology, loved rocks. He studied earth sciences in college and had several prized rock collections. As I trekked down into the crater in the first hours of the day I found myself thinking of my dad and wishing he could see and experience what I was seeing. I felt sad that because my dad worked so hard to support my family, declined, and died an early death that he did not get to see and experience the places that I have been so privileged to see.

Haleakala

Up there in the crater, I felt so close to the Heavens. I called out to my dad and asked him to join me and experience through me and with me the beauty and wonder of Haleakala. For those miles I trekked down into the crater I had a “conversation with my father.” Other than expressing my sadness that he didn’t get to see what I was now seeing and expressing my gratitude for the sacrifices he made, I don’t really remember the content of our conversation. The content really isn’t that important. What’s most important is that I invited my dad, now my Heavenly Father, into my life and he’s been with me ever since.

I mentioned that my dad has been providing me with guidance as I awaken to the Divine Intelligence that is in all things and this notion that we co-create and manifest our reality. For me, life is a bit like living in “The Da Vinci Code.”   I receive messages and attempt to unravel the mysteries. Many messages take a bit of decoding – that’s especially true to when I began to more fully awaken to the Divine Intelligence.

In the spring of 2014, during my participation in a shamanic women’s circle, we were doing work with feathers and I found myself wanting feathers of my own. I said out loud something to the effect of, “I’m ready for feathers.” Within days, a Northern Flicker starting gifting me feathers, 3 the first day. In all, I was gifted 11 flicker feathers. I tried to make meaning of it and unravel the mystery. I arrived here: my brother’s death date is 3/11.

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Not long after I was gifted the 11 flicker feathers, I was gifted 10 goose feathers. What did this mean? 21 feathers. 11, a number of mirroring. The mirror of 21 is 12. 12/21. My dad’s birth date. I unraveled this mystery with a friend. As I uttered out loud the connection to my dad’s birth date and that I believed my dad was communicating with me, we both felt goose bumps and a shiver around us. Kinda spooky, but I think that was my dad’s spirit we felt around us. (writer’s aside: magic moment, synchronicity…I hear honking geese as I write this).

December 21, Winter Solstice, my dad’s birthday. Last year I shared in “Light Born OF and TO dark” my revelation that the Winter Solstice is my conception date. I was conceived in the darkest days of winter, when the sun stands still in a pregnant pause, and was born into the bright shining light of the September sun when the sun was high in the sky. Whoa. Revolutionary! A powerful story of my inception as a being of light.

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, to celebrate my dad’s birth date, and most importantly to honor the light within and welcome back the light without, I offered a “second annual” Winter Solstice ceremony. Eleven (11) of us sat in all candle light and shared stories about our relationship to this date and quotes about Light. I led us through a guided meditation and facilitated a partner meditation, where I invited those present to mirror back each other’s Light. The ceremony was rich, meaningful, and spiritual.

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To this ceremony I brought 3 sacred objects: my ❤ rock from Haleakala, a matching pair of duck feathers from the Klamath River, and my owl friend from Peru. After the ceremony ended, I packed up rather hurriedly but made sure my sacred objects were safe. When I got home and unpacked, my feathers were nowhere to be found. I checked every pocket again and again. No feathers. I started to feel sadness fill my being. I had collected those feathers from my stomping grounds and also my dad’s stomping grounds on a recent trip “home” while out kayaking with the pastor from my home church and sharing with him about my “relationship” with my deceased father. I knew there was a risk taking the feathers. The feathers and the ❤ rock both had a direct connection to my dad and I chosen to take them to the ceremony.

Sadness continued to fill my being. I had to go back out and see if I could find them. Somehow I knew what the outcome would before I started to retrace my steps: I found just one feather on the ground, a small miracle on this windy day. I found the one feather on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop, Revolutions. Though filled with both grief and gratitude in the moment, I took note of the spot where I had lost and then found my feather. Revolutions. Curious. What was my dad telling me now? I have my guesses.

Losing one of these two feathers revealed to me that unprocessed grief still lives within me. These feathers were not given to me by my dad in his life time. I had collected them. I had attached meaning to them; for me the matching feathers were like the number 11. I had become attached to them and what they represented. The depth of my grief over the loss of one of the feathers speaks less about my attachment to an object and more so to my relationship to my father – the relationship that it was not while he lived and what it is now that he lives on in the Heavens. And this relationship is twofold: my Heavenly Father is now my spirit ally AND on a deep, psychological level, I am invoking my inner father and healing that part of myself.

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With my dad, circa 2002, on my graduation day.  My dad was pretty proud of the fact that I’d just earned a master’s degree in English.  My dad had glimmers of Light and did and does LOVE me!

Good Grief

Is grief good *or* is “good grief” an oxymoron, a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction?

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Members of my family of origin used to and probably still do say “good grief” to express frustration, exasperation, annoyance, and those such feelings. I didn’t realize this was a family idiosyncrasy until my older sister’s college boyfriend, who came to visit at Christmastime, pointed it out to us.

I don’t think “good grief” is an oxymoron. In fact, I think grief is good, that experiencing grief is a healthy way to get in touch with and release the pain of the past. I had a good grief experience just this week, like a relief valve that had been holding a lot of pressure finally opened up and out came the grief. Ahhh . . . that felt good.

How did this all come about? Through connecting with and sharing stories of my past. Last Sunday I met with a guy who reached out to me for relationship counsel. He knew I had been married and knows that now I am not and wanted my advice and input on some challenges and strife he is experiencing in his own marriage. I never really considered myself “married.” Our marriage lasted all but a series of weeks, but I was in and out of that relationship for nearly 10 years so I do have a lot of history and experience to draw from.

As this guy described the conflicts within his relationship – the unresolved and perpetual fighting, his wife’s combative behavior, what sounded to me like the classic behaviors of separation anxiety and the insecurity that ensues – I saw into my own relationship of past, saw into a version of myself and some of my historical patterns that played out in my relationship. (If you’ve read or seen, “A Christmas Carol,” – it was kind of like that).

My relationship had also been one of conflict and strife and I fought passionately because I so wanted my needs to get met, I so wanted to be seen and heard, I so wanted to receive empathy and understanding…I just went about it the wrong way and I was dancing with someone who was not skillful or awake in communication and of course, neither was I. Drawing from lessons of relationship past, I heard myself say to this guy, “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same.” Communication patterns and how we show up in relationship must be up-leveled in a relationship of conflict and strife for there to be peace and harmony and deeper intimate connection and really, it must be up-leveled no matter the kind of relationship for us to move deeper into connection and intimacy with others, to experience deeper love, including with ourselves.

I was rolling this conversation around in my mind as I walked home under the light of Saturn, who is viewed by many as having a fatherly presence in the sky. Standing in my kitchen, I had what I am calling an “Archetypal Ah-hah.”   I was thinking about what I said, that “something will have to change or it will just be more of the same” and an image of rams butting heads flashed into my mind. Fighting. Aggression. Locked Horns.

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I’ve been moving deeper into astrology study under the guidance of celestial navigator, modern mystic, StarryTeller, and shamanic astrologer, Gemini Brett of More Than Astrology, of whom I’m a huge fan. From my birth chart reading with Brett, I learned that at the time of my birth the moon was in Aries in the Zodiac and in shamanic astrology, moon is our ancestry, our lineage. A moon in Aries means I come from the Aries tribe, a fiery and warrior lineage, and a tribe whose totem is the ram head. That rings true to my fire and my passion *and* definitely speaks to the conflict and struggle, the warrior “training” of my youth. And these were not healthy models of fighting, but downright hurtful and destructive. My father was the “worst” and the “best,” showing me all the ways I don’t want to fight and show up in relationship and yet…I had to do that dance and then go out and learn new ways of relating and communicating so I could put down the brutal weapons of my past, of my lineage.

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So here I was, standing in my kitchen, butting ram heads flashing into my mind and I got it – I experienced a deeper understanding of the Aries archetype and my lineage. Thursday, 7/16/15, Pluto in Capricorn squared my Aries moon. This particular transit is unique to me and my chart – it is how the alignment of the planets in the sky are relating to and interacting with my celestial fingerprint. Ok, so I’ve got Pluto squaring my moon. What does this mean? Gemini Brett says this is a time for me to “know Aries,” to “retrieve the warrior goods,” to connect with the “righteous warrior of the Aries lineage,” and through alchemy to “turn led into gold.”

The conversation of Sunday past was a real gift, an opportunity to see into my lineage and to do just as Gemini Brett advised, to “know Aries.” And in synchronicistic fashion, because I live in a land of synchronicity, I had another very significant recollection of how the ram has showed up in my life, of how deeply connected I am to the Aries lineage.

My dad, that vicious, brutal character who was my earthly father, raised sheep. When it was time to breed the ewes and make lambs, he’d bring a ram to our property. I was four or five years old on one of these occasions and somehow I found myself out in the field with the ram. It charged at me, butt me with its head, and knocked me to the ground. I got up and it knocked me down again. I tried to run away, but it ran after me, butting me down over and over and over. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t get away. I didn’t think I was going to make it. My older sister was watching (I have no solid memory of her presence, but know she was there through her own retelling). She screamed out for help and my dad ran onto the scene and with a Godlike presence swooped me up, like the strong, warrior man that he was and saved my life. My dad, my earthly father, the one who hurt me so much with his hands and his words, pretty much until the day he died, saved my life. He gave me life AND he saved my life.

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In one telling of my story this week, I felt the flood of emotion start to move from deep down inside and I let the good grief flow.

The Warrior that I am today.

Light Born OF and TO Dark

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.

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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.

How do I 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.

baby bobbi jean & dad

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HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!!! May you take time out today to honor the light within and welcome back the light without.

Visioning the Future

I am sitting in my office having my Monday morning cup of coffee and two apple-carrot-bran muffins that I made over the weekend.  The sun is filtering through colorful fall leaves and shining through the window.  I glance at my calendar – October 14, 2017.   Today is the official publication date for my collection of personal essays.  Hooray!  I am filled with gratitude and joy as I reflect back on the last few very rich and nourishing years of my life.

I finished my master’s degree in counseling at the end of 2016.  At the start of this year, I started a therapy practice with my friend and colleague, Jo.  I met Jo through NVC (non-violent communication) and we went through the master’s program together.  We co-facilitate a grief group.  We also co-facilitate a community group for those who long to deepen connection with others.  We model this group after the NVC learning community led by our revered mentor and teacher, Karl.  I also meet one on one with clients who are going through life transitions, who are healing from emotional trauma and childhood wounds, and families who are working through discord.  I am so grateful to have a partner in this work and the support of many dear friends.

I received my yoga teacher certification at the end of 2014.  I was invited by my friend and peer, Erin, to teach classes at Awakened Heart Yoga.  I have taught weekly yoga classes for nearly three years now.  My favorite class to teach is a youth yoga class.  I also teach free youth yoga classes at community centers around Seattle.  I LOVE teaching youth – I am so passionate about inspiring youth to discover their power and access their well of strength.

As I gaze out the window on the sun filled landscape, my mind travels to the sunny island paradise of Maui where, along with dear friends and fellow yoga teachers, I have co-hosted three New Year’s yoga retreats.  Maui is such a magical place.  Each New Year we dance under rainbows, we swim in the sacred waters of the re-birthing pools, we moonbathe on the beach, we practice yoga in an open air pavilion, we meditate under a wise looking banyan tree.  I send yet another thank you note via cosmic messenger to my beautiful friend Jessica for co-hosting with me that first year.  We were so blessed by the outpouring of support from our community of friends and many of our dearest friends retreated with us.

I remain grateful for the cosmic unfolding that led me to my first retreat in Maui where, for the 2014 New Year I reconnected with the beautiful Shayna, a dear soul I met in Costa Rica during my 2012 New Year’s retreat.  For seven years now a New Year’s yoga retreat has been a yearly tradition that grew out of my new life.  You see, I had been in a long term committed relationship for nearly 10 years that ended in a giant “ka-boom” in 2009.  I was devastated, hurt to my very core.  Creating new traditions was an important part of my healing.

At my first New Year’s retreat in 2011 (also in Costa Rica), I discovered a new family, my yoga family.  At this retreat and so many others, I have made a network of friends and some of my most cherished friendships.  I also discovered how meaningful it is to start the year with intention, to plant seeds for qualities I wish to cultivate in my life, to plant seeds for things I long for and desire to grow in my life.  Each year I come away with momentum that moves me forward along my path.  Each year I see flowers blossom and fruit bearing trees sprout up from the seeds I plant in my heart.

I remember New Year’s Day, 2014.  I planted a seed under the new moon for the family I longed for in my life.  At 37, I had a strong desire and calling to be a mom, to create life with someone I loved, and to share the joy of raising a little being together.  At the time I didn’t know what would happen, I didn’t know when someone who wore sturdy shoes, who gazed at the new moon, and who had an open heart would skip into my life.  But he did.  He showed up in my life and he gave me the powerful gift of his presence.  Remembering the moment he skipped into my life brings a smile to my face and my heart fills with warmth as I hold him in my awareness.  I feel love permeate my being.  We had small ceremony in the woods.  My sweet friend Katy wrote and read a poem.   I remember so very clearly these words:  “such bravery to hold out your hand to another person, one Life Line traced by another.”

I feel a kick that brings me out of my reverie and back to the present moment.  I put my hand on my belly and feel the movement inside.   I am pregnant.  In just a few short months, I will give birth to a little bundle of joy, a bundle that I have a feeling is going to crack my heart wide open and out will pour love. I wonder if this baby will be a New Year’s baby.  What a lovely thought.  I will have to wait and see how the stars in the sky line up.  However the stars line up, I already know I am incredibly blessed.