spirituality

to let...to let...

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self portrait

Three tree town.

Come in from the darkness on the edge of this three tree town. Because it's thicker than the woods out there, Settles harder than the cold winter ground.

Come in from the shadows of these boot black, marching clouds Because trouble falls like rain, And lately it's been pouring down.

I've seen loneliness. She wrapped me up with such tenderness. I've seen loneliness. She tied me down in her sweet caress.

Oh come in from the confines of your own mind my dear, Because worry is all you'll find there it's clear. And tomorrow will always come. And tomorrow may well bring the sun.

Yeah I've seen loneliness She wrapped me up with such tenderness. And I've seen happiness She came round here yesterday In a bright blue dress...

And we go..

~ Ben Howard

*********************

I'm snuggled up at a corner table here at my local coffee shop. I'm working on my ecourse. Yes, I just said that.  In a bit of a whisper but my heart is fluttery.  I feel a deep pulsing of life. I feel afraid. I feel drawn toward a light that won't leave me alone. I feel my bosom moving closer to my truth.

I just received a text from my girlfriend telling me that she's listening to the Ben Howard station on Pandora and has since I mentioned it on my blog a long while ago.  I felt inspired by her mention of this.  I needed something in this moment. Something outside of myself but deeply inside myself at the same time.  So I put my earphones on, plugged them into my laptop and too began to play the Ben Howard station on Pandora.  The song above is what came on.  I felt tears run down my cheeks.  Because the past few years I have seen loneliness too.  More than I ever have in my life.  But I've also met myself, listened to myself, my desires, my tenderness, my hurts more than I ever have in my life.  I offered myself forgiveness for all the mistakes I made in relationships. Healing has been slow...but good, so so good. Yes, Loneliness...she has wrapped me up with such tenderness and Happiness comes around more often and I no longer take her for granted.  Her in her bright blue dress (which I happen to be wearing a blue dress today).

I see doors opening and the space... its quieter there than before.  Not so much noise.  Sort of a peaceful lingering hush but an inner powerful that feels steady to me.  Maybe because the inter-weaving of humility is stronger than I was ever truly aware of.  Maybe in realizing I know nothing, I found true wisdom, true love, true light.  A closeness to God and Spirit that can only come when down on your knees or back, arms outstretched on the earth, totally vulnerable. Loneliness.  Wholeness.  Then, then...surrendering to the outstretched hand near me that is right there. Laying near me. Vulnerable with me. Utterly humble.  Its time.  Its time I allow trust...to let...to let...to whisper...I cannot do this alone.  Lets rise.  Lets walk.

a christmas eve wedding*

Boho Brother got married!!

I have a feeling hearts will be breaking all over blogland. ; ) We've received so many lovely and brave emails over the years from blog readers confessing their crushes on our dear Boho Bro. We fully understood why as his energy can be felt even across the screen. I've been honored to be his sister and witness the unique and beautiful soul he is. He's taken such gentle care of himself out in the woods, communing in nature over the last handful of years and has finally found an earth goddess to join him. To frolic free in Mother Nature, create art with natural elements and be each other's soul medicine. They refer to themselves as the "dragonfly couple" because of their connection to dragonflies. I adore that so.

The ceremony was yesterday, on Christmas Eve in the afternoon up top a waterfall in the woods. Boho Boy was the officiant, which made it so deeply special for each of us. Very intimate, earthy, simple and spiritual. Boho Bro made his bride a nature crown. She tied a feather into his hair. He surprised her with fairy dust to sprinkle around them. They faced North, South, East and West. They drank water from the rushing waterfall behind them in the raven cups we gave them as a gift. They surrounded themselves in clam shells they found around our bay and used them as tea light holders. The shells were sent back to the elements by Boho Bro setting them free to swim down the waterfall when the ceremony was finished. We shared German champagne from their mother and toasted to their father whose own free spirit would have been so proud of this moment. Mmmmm...

But my favorite moment was when he howled at the moon as she wept and giggled into his shoulder. So organic and true.

And it was FREEZING and they were barefoot and I love them for that. ; )

We wanted to share this precious gift with you in the spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas to all. Warmth, peace and a covering of unconditional love to each of you and your families.

swimming in secrets*

Yesterday, right before falling asleep in the tree swing while his friend Emily was swinging him he said... "When I close my eyes, my brain feels like you're telling me secrets and I'm swimming in it."

Deep sigh. Every day he says something profound that we revel in. I am really loving venturing into his imagination and world these days. There is always something there that teaches me.

I would love to hear some deep words from some of the little souls in your life, if you remember and are inspired to share.

{you can see where our swing is hung in the background of this photo}

beautiful Buddhist ceremony*

{Katie & Lisa chanting}

When we were still living in the blue cottage, there was a time in between tenants where this yellow home was empty. The landlord let my sister and I (who was visiting at the time), walk through. I remember us sighing at every turn. It was so adorably charming. But along with the feeling of familiarity for me, there was a heaviness in my bones. I had chills as I walked up the stairs and I couldn't quite place why. My sister felt it too and after we sat in the blue cottage and gushed about our walk through, we both admitted to one another that we felt a spirit in that house. I thought it was just me feeling this.

Almost a year later, during the first week we were in this yellow house, I continued to feel that same spirit or energy. I wasn't afraid of it or threatened in any way. I felt very at peace in this home and like we were supposed to be here. I just felt an uneasy energy. I felt a sadness. A longing. And I felt it most when walking up the stairs where the two bedrooms are (ours and Cedar's). Our cat Elvis began to sit at the top of the stairs and cry in the middle of the night. It was then that I began to really try to connect with what was happening.

I have always been sensitive to energies or spirits and until I accepted this about myself in my later twenties, I became less afraid and more open to what was trying to be communicated to me. I felt like this spirit needed something from us. My husband felt the same energy.

I had heard from a friend (a previous tenant) that two women used to live here in the early 1900's but that is all I knew. So I shared with a neighbor, that has lived in this neighborhood for years, what we were feeling in the house. Our neighbor went onto share that in this home lived a widow and her daughter. The daughter was more a servant to her mother and was sequestered in the home to attend to her mother's needs. Her mother didn't allow her to have relationships or interactions outside of the home. So the daughter grew to be somewhat of a recluse. When her mother passed away from old age, the daughter lived here alone until she died, too...at an old age. My neighbor was able to meet the daughter before she passed away, tried to help take care of her and was told first hand, the story. Hearing this, it all began to make sense to me. This daughter's story of longing to be free and released from this house when she was living and perhaps this is how her spirit or soul lingered.

Almost a few weeks into our move, when we were still slowly moving things from the blue cottage to this house, our dear friends Katie (owner of Lotus Wei) and Lisa (owner of Wei of Chocolate) were visiting both for business and pleasure. While they were here in our home, we caught up, went on a forest walk and then later snuggled up near the fire.

It was on the couch that I shared about the history of the house. Soon after, Katie offered for them to come back the next morning and do a beautiful Buddhist chant and ceremony to help release this spirit where it needs to be. It is an ancient ceremony that they had both learned in India - Lisa, when she lived in the Himalayas for many years, and Katie, who went to India with the purpose of learning this ceremony.

My husband and I both felt so at peace about this. The timing of our dear friends being here and them both feeling a strong desire to offer what they had learned felt truly divine. The process they explained to us felt gentle and loving, connecting and peaceful. Just what we as a family are cultivating in our life and what I imagined the spirit of this woman, needed.

So the following morning, Katie and Lisa arrived. At first Lisa walked around our home collecting flowers from our yard as an offering to the spirit.

I felt really deeply that the ceremony needed to take place in our upstairs bedroom. I had incense burning for them and I gave them some quiet time to set up. They told us that we could be there in the room and hold the space with them or we could not, it was up to how we felt. Of course we shared we wanted to witness and I had a feeling Cedar needed to witness it too. So my boys and I laid on the bed as they began the long beautiful chant.

Immediately, a peace washed over me and both my husband and I closed our eyes. I could feel the vibrations in my chest. Cedar moved around here and there to grab toys and bring them on the bed. In moments he stared in awe and other moments, he rolled his car or helicopter over our bodies to the sounds of Katie and Lisa's vibrations. At times he giggled at the sounds coming from their mouths. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my entire life. I felt such a trust and surrender and a hope for us but even more so for this spirit.

Then there was this moment at the end of the chant where along with a particular quick yelp sound, I saw a white light before my eyes completely vanish and a heaviness from my body lifted. In that moment, I felt an energy leave and the lingering feeling was freedom, happiness, joy, release. When the ceremony was finished, we sat and talked a bit about what we all experienced. Lisa and Katie shared with us how our home is now protected and that good energy will come in and that the home is very happy about Cedar being here. That Cedar's laughter is healing. But truly, I felt this already even before they shared this with me. We all did. There was just a collective knowing. Instantly, the house felt like it took a deep breath and my chills vanished and I felt a deep solace and peace between all of these walls.

The remainder of the day there was a sense of lightness between all of us. They offered to help us finish the remainder of our move into the yellow house and we were so humbled by their gracious hearts. Their presence is so calm and comfy and of some of the purest love I have ever been near. We acknowledged the ease we felt with one another and how the energy exchanged felt so heart lifting. I am in awe of the souls we are beginning to attract into our life. It truly makes such a difference when you are clear about what you need.

And today the home continues to feel this peace. Every time I walk up the stairs I think about the daughter and how her spirit is finally free. I think about how safe and protected I feel and how I knew there was a deeper purpose to us being here besides rooting ourselves and creating a life in nature we so deeply craved.

I think how I could have just let this linger and made it all about what I felt rather than what this spirit needed from us. I think about how I could have allowed fear to overcome me and pray this spirit away with this idea it was threatening to us in some way. These are all very old ways of thinking and feeling for me. But I breathed through it and I listened and I sensed something deeper and when I opened myself up, surrendered to what may be needed from me, Katie and Lisa came into our home and together, we offered our gifts.

Ever since spending time with Katie and Lisa in San Diego before our move, both of their products (Lotus Wei flower essence elixirs, serums and mists and Wei of Chocolate yummies) are a big part of our every day.  In fact, Cedar savors what he calls his "night night chocolate" an hour or so before bedtime.  We have the chocolates in a vintage jar and Cedar delights in dipping his hand in and picking out his favorite.  Throughout the day we drink elixirs and spray the mists that our bodies need.

Here are a few images of when we first moved to Washington.  Katie & Lisa sent our family a care package to help us settle into our new h*OM*e.  Mmmmm.

{last two images taken May, 2011}

soul*searching.

{our wild and magical back yard}

Perhaps some of you may have noticed or intuited that I am having a rough time communicating fully this quiet journey I have been on since moving to the PNW. I have found when sharing here that I feel conscious and careful to not offend those in my past or present circles or those precious hearts that come to my space. Mainly because I am fully aware and honor all of the beautiful movements that are transpiring in the online world. I see healing and awakening in the midst of circles gathering and ecourses expanding and widening. I know personally some extraordinary revolutionaries that are empowering women all around the world. And yet while all of this bigness is happening around me, I find myself pulling in and away from the online world. Not in a way to make myself small. It felt so much deeper than that, yet so hard to express because I have been so IN IT and unable to articulate what is happening to me.

Throughout my life I have always tried to be careful to not point the finger at what other people are doing and saying and to really look within at my own reactions or triggers or emotions that surface in any particular social situation (online or in the flesh). I constantly strive to check myself to make sure my need to pull back from a particular person or group of people isn't from jealousy or insecurity and if some of those emotions do rise, to work through them, knowing its all about me and not them. So as much as others have wondered or even me myself have wondered if my need to pull in and let go of so much in my life right now has to do with any of those dynamics, my heart has continued to whisper..."its something deeper, keep looking...keep praying, keep meditating...this is grander and wider and lighter and inner...and more freeing".

So, I have deeply trusted and honored that feeling of not needing to name it yet because when I have tried, I never quite felt satisfied with what came out of my mouth or my fingertips. Until today. Today my friend sent to me a video where this woman, a beautiful kindred spirit that I do not know personally, spoke of what was happening inside of me in words that felt so familiar. I found myself with tears down my face and and my heart opening, expanding and my head nodding "yes. oh yes. this is it." And I saw it in this woman's eyes and how she carries herself, what I too am experiencing.  And I heard it in her story, so very familiar to me, different but familiar.

It has been hard for me to explain to people why when I was approached by a well known publisher, that I did not get right on finishing my book when a handful of friends around me were in the midst of desiring a book deal. It was difficult to express to others why I launched my ecourse that hundreds of people have asked me to do and then shortly after decided I needed to postpone it at a time when so many in my circle were launching theirs. It was hard for even me to fully grasp why when I became part of a beautiful online circle full of extraordinary revolutionary women, that my intuition told me I needed to pull back and be solitary for a while. I deleted my facebook. I deleted my instagram. My twitter is very quiet. My life began to be more inner, more private and less seen. My motivation became less about seeking validation from others and more about seeking wisdom within. It became less about the need to guide others and more about just listening and BEing. Yet still...what was happening to me? Why were so many of my relationships shifting, ending, beginning, renewing? Why was I resisting being a part of a circle or tribe when for years this is what carried me through fertility and grief and adoption and motherhood?

What I did know was that this transformation was on a very deep soul and spiritual level. Me, once associating myself as a Christian and then finally surrendering to my resistance to dogma or organized religion and man-made religious denominations and masculine guided spirituality. I knew I was being drawn to something deeply feminine. I knew I began to hear a very feminine voice of God. I knew this was something I needed to work through on my own without others opinions or ideas or fears filtering in. I was beginning to attract Buddhists and Witches, Goddesses and Native American guides. Yet never fully able to associate my heart with any one way of believing and yet being pulled to my Christian roots despite not belonging or wanting to belong. I've just been gathering nuggets of wisdom that felt good to my soul and resisting boxing myself in. And while my search to connect online began to feel noisy and chaotic, I think it was just my soul's way of wanting to slow down and not seek anywhere but inward.

So much of what Sera Beak shares here in this video (below) is where I am. Particularly this part...

"After my interview with Marion Woodman, the very foundations of myself, my spirituality and successful life were shaken to pieces. I knew that I could not continue helping other women or this planet until I faced and found my soul again. So that is what I've been doing the past three years. And some of you might well know that its extremely painful and incredibly humbling when we finally turn and face our soul. Because we immediately become face to face with the subtle and not so subtle ways we have consciously and unconsciously abandoned her. Like that time we kept quiet when we knew we should speak. Like that time we said yes, when we knew we should have said no. Like that time we took on that project despite the devastating toll it took on our body. Like that time we stayed in that relationship despite how unhealthy it was. Like that time we followed the crowd, instead of our inner guidance.

Entry into the life of the soul demands a steep price. What's that price? Falsity. Everything that is not authentic. You see our souls don't pay attention to the opinions, ideas, beliefs, trends, rules given to us by external authorities, such as the media, politicians, fashion magazines, doctors, spiritual gurus. They don't seek approval, validation or acceptance from external sources. They know that true power does not come from anything outside of us. True power comes from surrendering to the divine authority within us. Embodying your soul is about living from the inside out. And requires that we ask ourselves on a daily, even an hourly, even a minute to minute basis…'Does this person, place project, group, teacher, class, book, TV show…does this feel authentic to my soul?' And then we have to bravely act on that answer. Based on answering these very questions in the last three years, I have broken contract with my big fancy publisher, fired my filmmaker, broke up with my boyfriend and pulled away from about 95% of my personal and professional life. I have let go of almost everything that didn't feel authentic to my soul. I let go of everything that used to define me, so I could allow my soul to start to define me."

Hearing her words, feel so affirming. Like I can almost name the un-namable of where I am right now in my life.  And I appreciate her saying that its very messy.  And it has been.  I am in the messy.  The vulnerable. The lonely part of it all.  But down in these quiet depths is where the answers are and where the light comes in and the clarity comes.

I think what I am learning is the true meaning of soul searching.  Or is it soul listening?

one wish*

I remember this moment (above) when I crouched down behind these wild flowers and watched my boys inhale and exhale, gaze in silence and honor the stillness that lay before them. I remember thinking that this sometimes is what prayer and giving thanks to us has become.

what my boys were seeing.

I read this quote today that really moved me deep...

“The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song." ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Many people I know (me included) can at times be uncomfortable with prayer or meditation. Sometimes we just don't know where to start, especially if long periods of time have passed. Sometimes we imagine it needs to be about wanting or needing something and that can often lead to guilt. But what seems to lend such freedom to it all is that prayer doesn't have to be about a long list of needs or wants and meditation doesn't need to only be about emptying our mind. I believe so strongly that it can simply be a form of release and connection. A song. A chant. A humming. A silence. A gaze. To the One your faith, your spirit and your own unique heart song wants to connect with. And ah yes, we as living beings do need song. Whether it comes from the root of our belly and out our mouths or if we are listening and connecting to it through another source. Mmmmm...and to open up our minds to see and feel this as prayer. It all just makes so much sense to me.  It seems less complicated, more simple and a beautiful and safe place to start.

Requests and wishes are also human nature. Today I came across this image I took a few weeks ago and had an idea to use it as a sacred opening here in my space for those who need to make a wish. Close your eyes, what comes to mind? It can be grand or simple. Selfloving or selfless. I have always felt it was so important to put a voice to our wishes and dreams. If prayer and meditation is mostly about song, then these sweet dandelions can be about wishes. Because we need those too. ; )

My wish for today: That the darling family we connected with end up moving into our home when we move next door. Its in the works and we are all hoping it comes together with the landlord & property management company. I am learning what it is to have community with neighbors. Its one of the reasons we moved here and it is changing my life in very unexpected ways.

What is your wish?