May 26, 2016

the language of mothers

Today, my mom turns 70.

It's really just in these latter years that I am finally able to see and feel the grand fabric of our stories that have been woven together, like a single tapestry that holds all the threads of our relationship as mother and daughter; as two moms with very different birth stories, as daughters with our own mother wounds, as separate yet deeply connected women, as soul mates who somehow found one another other across oceans of hope and loss and love, one needing a home and the other needing a child.

All of it is stitched together. The tiny miracles, the heartbroken and wonder-filled, messy and imperfect.

Every year I think I see her more clearly. Time reveals, perspective broadens and evolves, and more stories rise to the surface.

She has always been a warrior woman, middle child, rebel soul, Gemini spirit, but I can now feel how tender her heart truly is in a way I never could as a young girl. I see beneath her fierce exterior, the soft and fleshy parts of her sentimentality and love.

I know what a devoted partner she is to my father, through all the years of triumphant celebrations and especially the ones spent fighting for life.

Every moment deserves a party, she taught me. Live now. All the joy.

I see the fierce love she has for my boys as their "candy" Nana. I know how they see her, because I saw my Nana the same exact way. Part Fairy Godmother, part superhero, and all heart and the softest place to land. It was one gift I had wished for my kids long before ever becoming a mother, to be awash in the kind of love only a grandmother can sprinkle on. It's why I never moved too far away.

Hold your family close. Life is so much sweeter together. We need one another.

I know what a fun and loyal friend she has always been, over hours of coffee and Virginia Slims, inside circles of show tune sing-a-longs and backyard barbecues, and in adventuring together to far away places despite her fear of flying.

Never let your fear hold you back. Explore with abandon. An experience is always far more valuable than something you can hold in your hand.  

And as a mother, as her daughter, I profoundly understand that although our story is not born of flesh and blood, the language of mothers is still the same.... a deep and abiding, bone and marrow, unconditional ocean of love. She taught me that language.

My mom has shaped my world in countless, significant, and beautiful ways. Even in our struggles to fully know one another as individual human beings, she has been the greatest teacher in my life. Even now, I feel the safe womb of her warrior heart every single day.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

For every wish that has come true, and for all the wishes yet to come!

I see you. I love you. I honor you. Most of all, I am so grateful and so proud to be your daughter.

May 21, 2016

wanton spiritual desire

As I wind deeper into the mystical landscape of my creativity and sacred sexuality, the more connection points I keep uncovering between these similar feral places.

It's not at all surprising, but always inspiring and in so many ways also deeply confirming. The fiery, sweet spot of sacral generative mojo that lies within all of my work and wanderings has a soul-centered pull that I keep inadvertently and deliciously get drawn into, again and again and again. It is clear I am on a very certain trajectory. Even though I can't always see too far ahead, the path still finds me with meaning and velocity, especially since having made the connection that my creative work has always been its own kind of wanton spiritual adventure.

Always more desire to chase.

The sexuality workshop I attended Wednesday night had me driving up the coast to a small town in Maine, following the waning light and wayward thoughts of my own wanting. We sat in a close circle reflecting on similarities between spiritual journeywork and sacred sex - how in our coupling we are able to mindfully design expansive and incendiary experiences with power, specificity, and sublime pleasure and intent.

Yes. This is language of my heart. Ritual, breath, rhythm, simplify, embodiment, transformation. This path of creating from profound love and desire, is my lush adventure of this lifetime.

Lighting candles and illuminating connection.

Breathing out, as he breathes in.

Allowing for the expanse of every pleasure and story.

Feeling the aliveness of my heart through making with hands.

Distilling my purest truth.

Inviting in all the lessons.

And I will always hunger for more.

May 11, 2016

spirit lines

In Navaho weavings you will often find a small horizontal line stitched into one corner of a rug or tapestry. This weaver's pathway, or spirit line, is believed to create an exit that allows the energy and spirit of the maker to escape the detailed narrative she delves into with all her heart and power, so she does not get stuck in one place or story when she is finally finished with the piece. As every stitch holds meaning and momentum, it is meant to ensure that she is able to leave one creative journey and move on to the next. Some might see this as an imperfection, but really it is a beautiful part of the work.

I feel like much of my life and makings have this built-in exit strategy, a similar kind of spirit line woven into everything I do. All of it is a living, breathing, organic process that I'm inspired to share, and the energy around what manifests in my world shifts from day to day. Words that feel powerful one morning can feel uncertain, another. An idea that comes in with much sparkle and boom, can turn out to be not quite fully formed or ready for the world, but the only way for me to know is to move through it, give myself over and commit to it completely, and then always know that there is a pathway for undoing. It is possible to give something your whole heart, and then gracefully, without shame, let it go. I have done this countless times and I have learned that nothing is ever immovable of final. I need the answers these pathways provide.

The undoing is actually part of the soul work too.

This process is inherently messy. The only way I know if something will root is to plant it deeply and give it all my care. Sometimes things don't ever flower and I must choose not see this as failure, just information for the next journey as well as fuel and inspiration for what beautiful things do come to wild fruition. It's tender work, but I feel like all I desire, all I wish for, all that tugs my heart is worthy of a chance. To not scatter the seeds would be perilous in its own way.

I have to remember there is always a way out, and always another creative adventure to be had. My soul is never contained or defined by one creative act or another. It is all a part of the bigger, grander vision.


May 5, 2016

Full Moon Solstice Celebration


to be awash in Fire & Light

{arrive} Anointment and Full Moon Fire Alter intentions

{open} Welcome Circle and Blessing

 {receive} SoulFire Gemstone Elixir Art and Henna Adornment

{release} Sunset Beach Walk and Seaside Closing Circle

This circle is a safe landing, a call home, a wild centering and sacral shimmy into the Fire of your creative spirit. I have been visioning this for a long time. Join me for a celebratory evening of messy and magical heart-centered making as we release into embodied togetherness and full-on joy! 

We will be deep in the love of making, creating collage and mixed media SoulFire pieces using custom gemstone elixirs and paint to infuse our work with both color meaning and personal magic! Wishes and desire are all that is required. I will be your alchemist and guide on this juicy art adventure.

A nourishment bar, for yummy drinks and snacks, will be set up to stoke your inner flame.

And of course no gathering is complete without a little take-away treat, so Solstice Alchemy Kits for all.

We will complete our evening with a short walk to the beach (if weather permits), to close our circle under the full moon and light our way into this next season of abundance and illumination! I can't wait to share this time with you.

May 1, 2016

all is ripening

{the peonies in DC were sublime!}

I am deep in the ripening. There are so many things going on behind the scenes, that I thought I'd share with you snippets of what's burning my midnight oil. This always seems to be the wild way of spring, the last push before summer's sweet repose. Here we go!

My Wish Alchemy enews is shifting to a new bimonthly New Moon//Full Moon format. In case you think I've forgotten you, today on the 1st.... look for the next newsletter on the May New Moon.

Juicy Shop update. I am always collecting beautiful things in my travels and wanderings. It's time to share them with you! New goodies will be in my Etsy shop this week... gemstones from the mineral and gem show, natural treasures from local alchemy shops, and one-of-a-kind vintage curiosities I've found and embellished, and new Alchemy Art created with gem-infused paint elixirs! Good things are coming.

Get ready for a May New Moon Brunch. As it turns out, my next Brunch also falls on the New Moon, so happy togetherness in the energy of ripening and new beginnings next Friday! Hope to see you then.

Wishcraft pre-registration is open! There is so much excitement around this new card making class, and I am thrilled to offer my community first dibs on this next adventure. Gratitude pricing is available through May for all alumni and subscribers.

The Inner Alchemy Cards: Elements guidebook has begun to take shape. It looks to be a gorgeous collaborative project due out this summer - over 40 wildly inspiring women will contribute their work! It is 4 seasons and 4 elements of card making mojo with prompts, pictures and magic galore. I hope to have this in your hands for summer beachside reading!

Full Moon Solstice Circle on Plum Island! I will be hosting a celebratory workshop to raise energy, connect, and set intentions for this season of heat and light. There will be henna, and making, and loads wildgirl togetherness. Details on Friday!

My next online class, this July, is going to be a deep dive into #exploringyoursexy. Truth & Dare will be juicy mixed media workshop during the season of fire, and in the wilds of your hot, sacral mojo. A little sexy revolution coming your way inside a sacred safe space. Ready to ripen? (Oh, yes.)

And then it's a free fall into some serious summering and rest! I hope we will connect in one of these beautiful ways!

Apr 26, 2016

the next step

compersion: (noun) a feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another (romantic or sexual) relationship.

As you can imagine, this is a high ideal.

In the beginning, opening up our marriage was terrifying yet also utterly exhilarating. With any new freedom comes a new level of understanding and responsibility. You have to be willing to plunge into the murky depths of uncertainty and remain grounded in your own sense of, why. You are in devotion to the conversation, and taking on the hard stuff will bring up this question over and over.... why are we doing this?... what are we allowing, inviting, challenging with such discomfort? It is the very same question that comes up in my creative work every single day.

And the answer is always, liberation. 

When you actualize desires and realize you can do hard things, you grow as a human being. When you grow into more truth, more spaciousness, more freedom, your life beings to feel beautifully unfettered and aligned.

With almost 6 years of openness under our belt, exploring and trusting all the ways, a shift of context and subtext in our peripheral relationships has occurred. Now, it feels like they all exist on the same wide continuum of intimacy. There is less differentiation and less need for labels as to who and what. It all becomes about the individual connection with a specific human being. It allows us to be all-in, in our friendships and otherwise, and to follow the energy to where it is most meaningful and good. This is where I can begin to understand the concept of compersion - how it's a shift in perspective more than some crazy from of alternative enlightenment. With our partners, we don't tend to judge or fear the relative closeness of friendships until there might be sexual chemistry involved. A very mono way of thinking, as sexual chemistry is only threatening if you believe that sex=love and love is a finite concept. Emotional intimacy can tip the equasion as well. It's taking so much longer than expected to unravel all these normative myths.

As it turns out, I don't believe either of these. What I've experienced is that sex can be so many different things, defined in innumerable ways, and love is incalculable.

What I also know now, is that the overlap of emotional intimacy and physical intimacy is wildly complex, unpredictable, non-linear and never clearly defined. It is not about what you do with others, rather, it's all about how someone makes you feel that defines the level intimacy. Do they open you up? Do they see you? Do they make you laugh? Do they support and comfort you? Do they making you stronger in who you are?

Physical intimacy is just one expression of connection to another human being. The ways of reaching out is infinite, so it seems. Art, stories, shared experiences - all ways of intimacy.

So this will be the year that Alex and I will finally cross further into the realm of physical intimacy with others. It's taken us this long to figure out if we wanted to go there, if we could go there, and what that means to our marriage and our relationship. It puts us squarely back into our, why, and confinement is what feels most scary of all. This feels like the next organic step, the one to follow all the millions of strides and missteps that are already behind us. And because it's clear that physical and emotional intimacy can't really be compared, measured, or quantified against one another. I'm sure it will be messy and tricky to navigate, but we know what's in it for us, on just the other side. More love. More freedom. More understanding.

Yes, to more. Always.

Compersion is all about being in the joy, and forgetting fear, jealousy, and ego. I'm not sure if it will ever feel that simple, but I understand the gift of that notion and can almost sense the edges of it inside my own life. The freedom is becoming a fundamental part of who I am.

Apr 12, 2016

hands for holding on

Ages ago when I was in school for physical therapy, they told us that when it eventually came time to examine the human body up close the hands would be the very last thing we'd encounter. This is because of their aching familiarity, a quality we often don't notice until faced with their intimate scrutiny. When dissected up close, often a poignant and unexpected humanity is revealed. In this awkward academic proximity to both life and death, at the tips of our very own fingers with our hearts as witness, hands could trigger a flood of stories and sensations because of all we have watched them touch throughout our lives. 

Hands are forever alive with life and memory. 

My grandma laughed when I took a moment to wonder at hers, how pretty and capable her long fingers were, how soft and strong they felt. She smiled, saying that they're simply good for grabbing onto things. At 93, I imagine the utilitarian nature of the body becomes very plain and that the connection of mind-body-spirit begins to differentiate and collide in new and delicate ways. I then placed my own hands against my mom's for comparison, palm to palm, seeing and feeling how precisely similar they are in every way despite there being no genetic roadmap between us, just the language of reaching and connecting making us undeniably a part of one another. Grandma, Mom and I.

I reminded myself while landing at Dayton International last Friday, that this trip would not be about saying goodbye, convincing myself that it is not time yet even though my heart was heavy with this unspoken possibility pressed upon by distance and time. I promised to stay in devotion to living... to, be here, now... in the beautiful banality of iced tea, spring rain, and Scrabble. 

Somewhere in this messy matrix of love and family and faith, while practicing the easy truth of laughter, food and togetherness, I grasped something far more infinite than final. 

Hand in hand, the prevailing perpetuity of life and love. 

Apr 5, 2016

search and rescue

Heading into year 3 of marriage, almost 9 years of being together as a couple, Alex and I hit our first big make-it-or-break it moment after saying I-do. What we learned was probably one of the most valuable and difficult lessons of staying happily married and growing together as individuals, that in order to stay fully present, connected and committed to one another, we had to also commit to doing the work on ourselves. It was not an easy realization - there might have been a lot of kicking and screaming.

This was the year I dove into my first therapeutic process, with a woman named Marilyn in a place I had not meant to find, from a resource list in the back pages of a book I happened to wander into at my local Barnes & Noble. I found a way to begin discovering what I now know to be one of the most influential and formative experiences of my life, my experience as an adoptee. At 25, it was the first time it had occured to me to deconstruct the notion of my adoption experience as being a source of information and insight in to not just my life's timeline of events, but the essence of who I am.

The intimacy of those conversations have been barely tolerable, even in small doses.

To touch and feel the vulnerability of my abandonment, the broken lines of family, and questions like ghosts in a parallel but very real universe I might never know in this lifetime, are hard places for me to go, even within the presence and solid devotion of true family and belonging. I've delved into this story in some ways over the years, touching in and pulling back, following clues to my own heart like breadcrumbs into some mythic fairytale or faraway land that read more like a third person narrative than moments of my own life. I've never really let myself feel those feelings up close.

I'm ready to go back in.

Something shifted for me the other day when I finally allowed myself to realize that this catalytic event in my life, although I was only months old and have no tangible memory of it, has shaped every experience and relationship as well as my deeper underpinnings of love, intimacy and identity.

That before all the love and abundance, the beautiful moments of hope and family and wishes to come, even before the safety and elemental embrace of Mother and Father, my life began as a traumatic event of loss.

One, I see now, I have never fully explored or healed from.

For the first time in my life, I can envision myself as the baby who lost everything she knew, who was hungry and hurting and alone at such a critical and helpless age, from both the perspective of my own motherhood as well as being that fragile human soul... and I can cry my way through an entire box of kleenex without shutting it down. I can truly ache for her. This is huge, because I know I have to feel this loss to fully understand how she is Me, and how the intimacy of finding my way back to Love, again and again, feels like the scariest quest of all.

Like any process of birth or transformation, such a seismic push comes only when ready and not when planned. Maybe I've been practicing vulnerability and building this muscle so that I could eventually circle back here, to this core work, all along. Maybe I needed to learn that I can do brave and hard things and come out stronger and wiser, that it is all worth it, essential even, in the end.

My husband told me yesterday me that something seems different about me. I hope that's a good thing. I hope it's the messiness of all of this stuff coming to the surface and me allowing it and trying to stay with it. The change is that I want the healing and integration to come. I can clearly see how not letting it open and flow will continue to hold me back, how it has already invisibly kept me at arms length inside my own life in a lot of ways and away from the closeness I crave and the love I am learning I deserve no matter how my story began.

It's back to the beginning I must go.

Mar 25, 2016

wild girl life

it is the language of hearts and hands

discovering truth, connection and always something unexpected

over miles, over time, over coffee and sharing

finding wildness in the ritual of words and togetherness 

life as the most gorgeous story unfolding, right before our eyes

cracked open, beautiful and messy and full

shaking loose the gems and planting seeds of possibility

this is brunch alchemy