October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with October 15 being a focused day of remembrance.  My story is well know, so I’m not going to go into detail here, but I have lost 7 pregnancies in various stages with various conditions.  I’ve talked it out, and I’ve actively been working on the internal work it takes to truly heal, not just cover up the pain until next year.  It’s true, there is some loss you never completely heal from, but every year I get closer and closer to not being completely derailed by my PTSD and depression.

This year it came on early, and the initial onset was more severe than i can remember it being in years.  Flashbacks.  Night terrors.  Blackouts.  But something changed this year.  My partners didn’t look the other way and wait it out.  They circled around me, and when I emerged from myself they were still here with open arms and warm smiles.  Most of the month has been peaceful.

On the 15th I managed to get through the day that, while physically busy, was spent in quiet contemplation and somber remembrance.   Today was spent in the presence of community.  My Ohana checked in on me, and friends who have similar stories to mine shared space with me.  You see, I realized one of the hardest parts of this for me every year is not being able to share my memories or grief with the fathers of my babies.  I’m not sure any of them give the loss a second thought, if they even remember.  So the feeling of isolation multiplies exponentially as I feel alone with my loss.  This is what I shared to my Facebook the night before:

For a long time I was told I was not allowed to mourn my loss because my babies never breathed. For years I was told my blighted ovums were not real. For years I have accepted it when mother’s day goes by. But every October I remember those anniversaries. Every October my body throws me a cyst, an infection, or a new blighted ovum, as if even my cells remember what it felt like to feel the world end…not just once, but over and over.

But I AM a mother. To all of them. It’s a hurt that doesn’t go away, and it’s a pain women don’t talk about because we feel like failures, because we are being told our loss is invalid, because I was blamed by doctors for each and every one of them…as if I killed my babies. Because when you lose a baby as an unmarried 20-something, people say some ignorant hurtful shit. Because I waited for a rainbow baby that never came. Because every time I hear someone is pregnant I wonder how they can be so excited so soon, rather than terrified. Because each belly or ultrasound post on FB is a stab to my heart. Because I am constantly asked if I have kids, if I want kids…and because I’m constantly being mistaken for being pregnant (it happened just yesterday). We need to talk about this because we grieve silently, feeling alone, feeling broken. Every day more women experience this loss and don’t know how to cope in a world that tells them what they mourn never existed. I’m here to remind those women in my life that those little lives do exist. That their feelings are real. That their pain is not selfish or weak. That they matter, and they are not alone.

This is real shit

Today marks the anniversary of one of my losses.  I talk a lot about William, because he changed the course of my life, but I don’t often share the stories of the others.  I do, however, mourn an honour them as their mother just as strongly.  Today I didn’t hurt for me and what I will never have.  Instead I ached for the lives they never got to lead.  The people they never got to become.  The adventures, heartbreaks, joys, failures, and achievements they never got to experience.  It’s a part of the grief process I’ve never processed before, and it dug up a lot of hurt and anger and sadness I didn’t know was still down inside me.  So…another fantastic (is that the F word we’re going with?  oh…ok) opportunity for growth and forgiveness.

You see, this is an experience I have to go through every year as I, in one way or another, relive my Octobers, starting with my rape on the 1st.  Going through the stages of grief, albeit somewhat of a Reader’s Digest version, but also the stages of forgiveness.  I learned long ago that in order to let go of my anger for my rapist I had to forgive him and give myself peace.  Holding hate didn’t hurt him, but it was killing me.  Reliving the event and feeling the hurt I feel for William digs up a lot of that emotion, and in my heart I have to not only let go of my grief anew, but also forgive anew.  Let me tell you, it’s not easy, but every year it takes less convincing.

This is how I heal.  This is how I remember.  I’ve still got a lifetime of work to do, but I know I have a strong foundation and an amazing family by my side.

Go now…and forgive.

Aloha and Mahalo

 

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  There’s been a lot of change, and it’s been good, but I didn’t feel prepared to really put it all down on “paper” until I had come through the brunt of it, and as you know if you’ve been playing along at home…Mabon is generally “the brunt of it”.

The last year of my life has been nothing short of a chrysalis for me.  Last October found me shattered, heartbroken, and frankly, fed the fuck up.  I haven’t spoken up much about my ex, but what I thought to be a turning stone turned out to be my last mountain to summit.  He was the fist relationship I’d started after Good Girl and the healing the entire experience brought to my life.  It felt healthy and full and open…but it wasn’t.  It was manipulative and extremely unhealthy for both of us.  After the dust had cleared I realized it was a final test to see if I’d retained any of the lessons at all.  Or maybe it was the final fire I needed to really get rid of all the emotional rubbish I’d been harbouring.  In any case, the fall of that relationship was the avalanche that got the momentum started.

A year later I can say I’ve had an amazing journey around the wheel.  I committed to a partner in one of the most beautiful commitment/family blending ceremonies I could have ever imagined.  I have new relationships that have shown me what it is to be loved, respected, and trusted.  My failed relationship showed me where I needed improvement, and these new partners have been nothing but supportive of my growth.  We communicate in ways I never would have before.  I am safe.  I am healthy.  I am improving my physical and mental health.  My marriage has become a home again.  I’ve stopped keeping people in my life who drain me, and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about letting them down.  I’ve started stating my boundaries, asking for what I want and need, and finding creative ways to compromise.  All because, frankly, I was fed the fuck up, and it showed me how much I betray myself by sacrificing her for people, jobs, anything that isn’t healthy for her.  I owe myself better.

In comes October, my emotional PTSD boss level with all its painful anniversaries and reminders of loss and hardship.  It’s been said that my seasons turn in such a way that I plant my seeds in the fall instead of the spring, and it’s always been true, but before seeds can be nurtured the detritus from years past must be torn out.  October.

I can’t say I have it all figured out.  I can’t say this is the culmination of anything really.  I’m sure there’s another test.  Another transformation.  Another period of growth.  Honestly, I hope there are many, because this is how we live and shine and become better humans.  This year feels different.  I feel stronger spiritually, and I look forward to the path ahead of me.  I’ve taken on the role of a mentor and teacher, and for once I feel like people actually acknowledge that I do carry some wisdom and experience.  I’m not a child.  I’m not a newb.  I’m not by any means at the end of my learning path, but I can contribute to my tribe.  As I mature in my Mother phase, I feel my Crone calling to me, and that’s something I’ll talk about more in-depth later, but I feel ready.  I can embrace all of it and keep moving forward.

I hope you’ll all stick around to see where the journey takes me.

Go now…then come back when it feels right.

Aloha.

 

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This Ostara comes on the heels of an extremely trying winter.  A breakup, health issues, household stress, and the constant feeling that nothing I attempted to nurture would ever thrive made it almost impossible to focus on much of anything at a time of year that is generally when I’m the most productive.  As we approached Imbolc things began to lighten just a bit, but it was enough to give me enough hope to ride the waves that seemed to be carrying me way deeper than I thought I could find my way back from.

Then I was asked to be a voice.  I was invited to speak to a small group of women about my experience and the lessons learned doing Good Girl and how my life has been changed by it all.  I talked for a long time, and I’m sure I said a lot of useful things, but the one thing that stuck out in my mind was the very first bullet point.

Healing is not a one time event.

Let me repeat that.  Healing is NOT a one time event.  

Well, hell, guys.  For a year I’ve been beating myself up because I thought I was failing, convinced that all the progress I thought I’d made was a lie, when really I was learning how to live again in a whole new way.  I needed to cut myself a little slack and acknowledge how far I’d actually come, even if it seemed like I’d been stumbling and bumbling my way through most of it.

I tried to keep that in mind as Ostara approached, and yesterday as the sun rose around my plane I felt it filling me with a new energy I’ve never felt before, and it dawned on me. I haven’t been failing all winter.  I haven’t been fallow.  I haven’t neglected my seeds.  For the first time in my life I went deeper into the dark season than ever before, and when I emerged I was truly transformed.  I was taken to the brink, and yeah, I had to die a little to really complete my chrysalis.  What Ostara brought me this year was not just new light or new growth but new life, new eyes, and new  breath.

Is all the stress and pain gone?  No, that’s real life.  Healing and lessons and growth don’t wait until it’s convenient for mundane life, but the choice is mine to focus behind me on the cold darkness of winter or look ahead of me to the bright warmth of the coming seasons.  The dark will return as the wheel turns, but I know I can not only survive it but pull from it the lessons of my deepest fathoms.

No, healing is not a one time event, and I don’t in any way believe it’s all over, but along with that healing I have grown to a new level of awareness and empathy, of intuition and intensity, of passion and power.  I have claimed my place in the universe.  I am ready to use the stardust with which I was born.

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This year Imbolc was very quiet and subtle.  I’ve been sick and healing from several setbacks, but I’ve also met an unmatched capacity for love and serendipity, creeping in from the balance of solstice.  I chose not to do a set ritual this year.  I didn’t even journey, I merely put on some music and began to dance and stretch.  I had originally felt that the aspect of Brighid that would come to me would be the poet or the smith, as I’ve finally started writing again, and I’ve felt forged by the events of the last several months.  What I was not expecting was Brighid the warrior.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m strong; I’m a survivor.  However, I’ve never been known to be on the frontline.  I’m the healer that comes in afterwards.  I’m the strategist who finds ways to avoid the fight.  I’m the wife who stays at home and supports her soldier, and I always have been, but in this moment it was just me.

Our family is facing some tough choices, and I’ve felt like nothing I can do will protect us from failure.  For the first time in a long time I don’t have any answers, and it’s not just me surviving this time; it’s us.  Our country is under attack from within, not for the first time, but people are coming together and marching and making our voices heard as a country.  I’ve felt bad that I’ve been sick or working when these big events happen.  I want to stand up.  I want to shout.  I wanted to speak up against the men who stood in my workplace spouting hateful words, but my family depends on me to keep this job, so I kept quiet and wrote poetry in my head.  I felt defeated, so when Brighid the warrior came to me and called me her child I felt like a disappointment to my goddess.  For years she’s provided for me, and in this aspect I have not given everything I could have, but she wrapped me in her warmth and gave me a very important lesson.

There is a time and place for action, and this is going to be a long fight.  It’s ok to let the people who are out there raising their voices now stand for me, and when they need to rest and recharge, those of us who have watched on the sidelines will be able to take over and keep the momentum going.  Sometimes the loudest voices are the ones who whisper quietly on pages and surreptitious pipelines while the fires and the crowds distract attention.   The quiet warriors are powerful, like a silent rage that flows under the surface of this resistance.  We are the veins of the revolution, keeping the blood pumping and the tides churning.  We are the spirit of America.  We are Brighid the warrior.

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A year ago I thought I was at the end of a process.  The road to Good Girl had been full of obstacles to overcome and cliffs to jump from, but I had done it, and it felt fantastic.  I remember feeling the weight being lifted from me as I threw all the pain and rage the months of work has dredged from deep inside me into the words coming out of my mouth, and no matter how many nerves I felt or mistakes I made, none of it mattered.  In the end, no one remembered the missed words or the fact that I buttoned my blazer all crooked.  What they remembered was the victory in my eyes at the end.

I’ve written a few times about the healing process and the lessons I’ve learned since the show.  The work healing leaves behind.  The illness still to heal.  The tools yet to learn.  I made mistakes.  I lost people.  Love.  Friends.  Trust.  I tried to do what I thought was best, but I wasn’t yet equipped.  So, I got sick.

Hollywood lies to us about nervous breakdowns.  They’re not always a single moment of complete self-destruction and devastation.  Sometimes it’s months of standing outside yourself screaming “why are you doing this?!?”  Sometimes it’s knowing you’re pushing people away and watching them go and not knowing how to make it stop.  Sometimes it’s losing yourself, because while purging the parts that no longer served me I failed to care for the budding parts of me that were genuine and healthy, and they were dying.  I was dying.

The first time I shared my video was hard.  “It’s heavy,” I warned people before they watched it.  It was the same feeling I had when found me at the theatre to tell me how strong I was or how much they liked it.  I know I had done something big, but I didn’t know how to accept that I may have caused an emotional reaction in others.  I didn’t want pity, I didn’t want sadness, I didn’t want anyone to look at me differently. I avoided the video for a long time.  It was one thing for me to be performing it, focused on the audience and the words and the stage positions.  It was quite another to watch it without distractions.

It was a new love who finally got me to watch it.  We watched together, and it took all of my willpower not to talk over it or give it the Mystery Science Theater treatment.  He had wanted to know that part of me, and it was not my place to ruin that experience for him, so we sat on the couch together one night and watched the girl on the screen pour her heart out to us both.  This love told me he admired me for the work I’d done, for the strength I possessed, for all the things I had not yet learned to acknowledge.  He saw the things that were dying, and as I began to lose my grasp on them I lost him, too, and I questioned all the work I had done.

Yesterday marked a year since opening night.  I wrote a post to commemorate the anniversary, and at the last moment I linked the video.  There was no warning, no worry, and no way to know what would come of it, but by the end of the day I had no less than five message from people who had never seen the video before telling me how much they needed it.  No pity, no praise, just thanks for being a guide on a road they were just beginning.

Good Girl gave me a new chance to live my life and to develop new tools, but it also gave me the responsibility to share my stories and help those who feel alone on their paths.  Hearing from peers how inspired they were to find their strength and take a stand in their own lives reminded me that I am a warrior, a healer, and a teacher, and while I have a lot of work yet to do I’ve also come a long way on my journey.

 

Good Girl wasn’t the end of a process, it was the beginning of a revolution.  Again, my story is not unique but that’s why I must keep telling it.  Together our stories will set us free.

Aloha

 

Go now, be free.

 

November 8th.
I’m on a plane, and the 55 minute gate to gate flight from LAX to OAK seems to just keep getting longer as we watch the numbers creep up to the inevitable, and between trays of drinks and trash pick ups I feel a sense of dread creeping up inside me.  This is going to be one of those days when, 20 years from now when we’re asked about it, each of us will remember vividly where we were, who we were with, what we were wearing.  This is going to be the JFK assassination, Loma Prieta, 9/11.  This is not good.

I look down the aisle.  How many of these people are watching the numbers climb in exaltation?  How many are ready to celebrate victory?  How can I respond professionally if a passenger says something to my face?

“Don’t take this the wrong way,”  the attendant working besides me begins, “but I hope Trump wins.”

I look at him for a moment before I can formulate a reply.  A white make in his early 30s.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,”  I speak, “but my genitalia prevents me from agreeing with you.”

He understands.  He respects my opinions.  We talk about the unrest this election is going to precipitate, and I can tell this is the warm up.  Not all the conversations I’m about to have won’t devolve into arguments about why my family, my tribe, my community now has a whole new level of fear of the government that should be protecting them, and yes, I focus on the things that touch me personally because the nation of people I can’t reach is still too much to process, and it hurts my heart.

In the days that followed I’ve watched that nation hurt.  I’ve watched that nation question.  I’ve watched that nation panic.  I’ve also watched people come together in support and love for one another.  I’ve watched whole communities protect their own.  I’ve watched individuals take their rage and find the voice to say “fuck you, this is who I am, and I’m not hiding any more, so you’re going to have to fight me!”  This…this is what needed to happen. Instead of laying down and worrying about the outcome, we need to find our rage and focus it on change before the hammer falls.

Years ago I saw this moment in a meditation.  Years before Game of Thrones would warn us, I would be told to be prepared before winter came.  Years ago I wrote a poem about the power of  nation with nothing left to lose.

This is our rock bottom, and as I take a break from writing an entire book about my experiences weathering my own winter, I am reminded that this is where most people find their No; when to stay silent is a death knell.

I implore you today to look deep inside yourself and find your No.  Make it a Fuck No!  It doesn’t have to be fighting or extravagant gestures of disobedience or heroism.  Your No can be a donation to the ACLU or local organizations that protect the marginalized members of your community.  Your No can be offering to walk with someone to make sure their safe from harassment.  Your No can simply be checking in on those around you to make sure they’re safe inside their own emotions, because this is a terrifying time for many people who already had limited outlets.  Your No can be their No until they can find it within them.

We will not survive this by hiding from it.  We will not survive this by submission and supplication.  We will not survive this with rash decision making and senseless destruction.  Nothing comes from breaking the windows of a local business in an already struggling neighbourhood.  Nothing comes from taking the last source of income from someone barely getting by.  Everything comes from focusing that energy where it can actually bring change.  Find your No in standing beside one another.  More is accomplished from a thunder storm than a tidal wave.  Let’s find our No in the thunder…together.

this is the winter they warned us about

when the weight of survival
is too much
for those who cannot afford to say no
when dreams are outlawed
and hope is taxed
and the price of a voice
has risen so high
that it must be taken some other way
when the snow falls
and the freeze sets in
and the discontent have nowhere to go
but the dark barren homes
they’ve spent every cent to protect
this!
this is the season we’ve prepared for
while you watched it on TV
laughing in the comfort
of the luxury we’ve afforded you
this is the time
when the starving wolves
leap for the throats
of those who have caged all the rabbits
and thrown the world out of balance
this is the night
when darkness falls
we set the world on fire and dance in the flames
because we have nothing
left to burn for
and they can’t take that away

Aloha.

Go now, be your No.

Admittedly this post is long past due.  Admittedly this lesson is one I should have learned long ago.  Admittedly this is something I should have foreseen.  Admittedly, there’s still a lot I don’t know.

The window between Mabon and Samhain is always a trial for me.  It’s full of landmines…anniversaries of loss and old wounds, PTSD triggers, and every year there’s something new, but every year I come out of it renewed somehow.

I’ve written twice now about the reality of healing and my experience post-Good Girl.  Every single thing I’ve experienced in the year since the show has been a first-time experience, and not all of it has been a smooth transition.  The area I’ve struggled the most has been relationships.  My marriage is improving, but there are bumps in that road as I learn how to speak up for myself.  I got engaged in April to my partner in California, and forging a new serious commitment has shown me how much the past ten years have changed me.  It’s all helped me find pieces of myself I’d forgotten were ever important, but it’s also shown me where the wounds I started healing in 2015 were holding me back from being wholly present in any relationship.

Then there was this new relationship.  It was unexpected, intense, and an all together new experience for me.  Then I botched it.  Oops.  Admittedly there was some hardwiring that needed to be reworked before I tried to start any kind of relationship, especially one I wanted around for a while, but I didn’t know that.  I knew I’d healed a lot.  I knew I was still working on things.  I knew there was no precedent for this in my life, because I had never been this version of myself in a relationship before.  The problem was…I didn’t know how to be that person in a relationship, so I undulated constantly between a healing me and worrying about whether of not I was doing it right.  In addition, I was just starting the long process of getting the medication I needed, and knowing help for my chemical issues was coming but delayed just made all my issues worse.  Neither of us was perfect, but I will accept the parts of the perfect storm that were my fault in tainting what was a strong, healthy, happy relationship.  Lo and behold, just after Mabon we have the fight that precipitates the end, and I spend a chunk of my time trying to sort it all out.  By the end of the first round of serious journeys I realized this was just a symptom of a bigger problem, but it was a tangible one, so I could focus on it.

With this new information, a new series of introspection began.  What was this bigger problem?

As Samhain approached and I began to make my connections to those who had passed in the last year, then those who had passed from my life, the messages I got were clear.  I needed to die.  I’ve spent my entire life fielding suicide attempts and health crises.  I’ve burnt myself to the ground and rebuilt my life numerous times.  I’ve felt dead inside on a regular basis for years.  What I’ve never done is actually die.  What I’ve never done is shed the part of me that cannot be healed.

When Allen Ginsberg first met Lucien Carr and began to really discover himself they decided they needed to die, but their symbolic suicides almost ended in accidental actual suicide, and I was not ready to take that kind of clutz awareness test.  However, part of my spiritual growth this year has involved impromptu rituals and journeys.  It wasn’t pretty or elaborate.  It honestly started with a candle to make the bedroom smell pretty while I started my NaNoWriMo outline, but I quickly found myself immersed in a working to sacrifice myself completely.  You see, when I began to heal I also began to die, an aspect of me anyway, and she was still in there dragging me to the bottom.  In this vision I found myself dredging her up, drowning with her, and emerging as the person I’ve felt calling to me for almost a year.

This new me is still scared sometimes.  She still hurts.  She still bleeds.  She still loves unconditionally and wants to believe the best.  She still tries, takes risks, and she will still fail at things, but this new me is tired of dying slowly.  The worst has happened.  I’ve died, and I’ve survived it.  While I don’t know that this relationship can be salvaged, I do know it’s taught me a very important lesson about myself and several about other people, and it’s been the source of invaluable memories and love.  Does it still hurt if it’s completely over?  That’s human, and I accept that I am human, but I also accept that the world is full of possibility, and I’m tired of being afraid of it.

 

Aloha.

Go now, die and survive it.

Mabon, the second and middle harvest, is a day of balance, sharing, and “reaping what we sow”.  It’s the time for contemplation and awareness of the thin line between light and dark.  It’s a time for valuing and conserving.

We celebrate, but we also start to look towards what needs to be completed.  What is reaching a natural end?  What projects need to be wrapped up?  What ones have run fallow and need to be let go so that we have enough to make it through the winter?

Quite often our rituals focus on celebrations to fuel us as we wrap up the tasks of our fruitful seasons.  In my case, I’ve always planted my seeds at Mabon, and the dark season has become my fruitful season.

This year Mabon hits us at the tail end of what has been an extremely rough Mercury Retrograde for most people close to me, heightening the need for balance and contemplation.  It’s hurt a lot, even by my standards, and I’ve felt all week like many of us are being set up for some pretty serious trials, but out of it I can feel the rich soil I’m cultivating for the months ahead.

As always, my Mabon solitary celebration takes a closer look at balance.  This time it’s opening me up to just how much the dark side of that light/dark balance affects me.  I’ve been meditating on how it can aid me instead of holding me back and how to go about using it properly.  Because of the retrograde I’ve been extremely raw and emotional.  Miscommunication is rampant.  Relationships are teetering.  Plans are failing.  My world is burning to the ground, and while it took more than one match, I’m holding one of them.  There’s very little light left to cling to for the season, and what there is is blinded by the conflagration.  Fire.  What is fire but light in the darkness?  What is fire if not the transformation we started at Lughnassad.  What is fire if not a chance for rebuilding.  Still, there has to be balance.  I cannot just let uncontrolled fires rage, and while the ones on the outside might be out of my control, the ones on the inside are my power and passion, and the key to not being consumed by them is to use their light to create that balance.

I decided weeks ago that the period between Mabon and Samhain would be a period of stepping back and contemplating my life and all the questions Mabon asks of us.  The results of retrograde may have shouted them in my face, but the quiet creeping darkness of the days to follow will help be find the dark places I need to reconcile myself with.  The fading light I feel around me gives me just enough to see the outline of the trials before me, but not enough to know where they’ll lead me, and that’s part of the lesson.

Mabon is a twilight.  It will help me let go where I need to in order to preserve my energy for the storms worth weathering this winter, because they’re coming.  The twilight reminds us that the deep dark is coming, and we can’t avoid it.  We must embrace the chaos of the storm to survive it, and we must embrace the unseen in the darkness to navigate it.  I have to have faith that I can.

 

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Aloha

Go now, find your balance.

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Lughnasadh always brings an interesting energy with it.  While Lugh won a lot of trials in his life through sheer skill, some of that skill was humour and wit, and there is never a shortage of humour or wit in the messages that come through this time of year.  But what else?  In honouring Lugh we remember the funerary games he organized for his foster mother, Tailtiu. We play games of skill and celebrate our respective talents.  We dance, sing, enjoy the life energy of summer thriving around us.  Now let’s incorporate the celebration of Lamas, the first harvest.  Traditionally the first grains would be used to make bread to bless the occasion as the community came together to enjoy the bounty of harvest.  Sometimes bread was baked in the shape of the Green Man in honour of the sacrifice he gives so that we may thrive.  In all of this there is a theme of both celebration of the light and recognition of the dark as we begin to notice the days shortening, reminding us to be thankful for the harvest that will sustain us in the coming winter.

In my practice I’ve used it as a time to cleanse and bless my hearth and home, fortifying our household for the year to come with the rich energies of summer.  This year I took a deeper look at that practice.  Yes, I will probably still cleanse our home and reinforce our crystal grids, but the more meditation I’ve done the more thought I’ve given to the “hearth” in my life.  While my tangible household is a brick and mortar place, my home is transient, my family scattered between the coasts, farther once I incorporate metamours.  So what of this tribe?  What of our hearth?  How can we be cleansed and fortified for the year to come?

The beautiful thing about our Ohana is that everyone, no matter how far away or how little involved, brings something to the tribe.  We each have our strengths, skills and talents that enrich the energy of the whole.  There is not a single one of us who doesn’t work hard and strive to really experience life in their own way, and this energy finds its way to the core of what makes us strong as a unit.  Those skills and strengths become our grains, and with some nurturing and encouraging, those talents flourish.  Through their harvest we begin to manifest our best selves, and we become the bread men of Lamas, ingested to feel the blessings of the very earth that grounds and holds us.  So, the hearth?  The hearth is community, fired with our dedication to each other.  It’s love, support, and solidarity, but it’s also sacrifice.  We each give at one point or another so that the others may thrive.  When each of my partners’ family becomes my family, and we weave a web of compassion and love, we become a strong tribe.  Through that web we feel each other’s joy and pain.  Through that web none of us can starve no matter how cold the winter might get, and because we’ve got Lugh on our side we do it with the flare of laughter and maybe some smartassery.  Ok, a lot of smartassery.

Aloha, and Blessed Lughnasadh

Go now, celebrate your talents!

mom

Twenty years ago I learned a veritable tome of lessons, some of which I’m just learning now, and it seems unbelievable to me that I can look back at anything in my life knowing it happened twenty years ago.  My mom taught me a lot about life while she was alive, and I’ve mentioned that before.  She taught me compassion, strength, and determination.  She taught me to seek adventure and levity in everything, to make people laugh whenever you can, and to live and love with all your heart no matter how scary the world feels.  She taught me to trust my instinct and eschew advice that doesn’t feel right.  She taught me to be myself.

What my mother’s death taught me was open honesty.  You never know when the last time you say “I love you” or “good morning” or “good night” will be the last.  It’s made me vulnerable at times, and I’ve had to learn to accept when it’s not reciprocated, but hey, another lesson, right?

But you see, it also taught me some less than positive lessons.  At twelve years old I was already well aware that I was different.  I didn’t have many friends, my anxiety and depression were already in full swing, and I’d already thought about suicide more times than I can remember now.  I needed help, and I was constantly told I was wrong, broken, or worse…that I was fine.  I was fat, I was slow, and I was constantly missing the mark.  At twelve I had already had at least one nervous breakdown, I was scared of losing everyone I loved, and I had been proven correct.  At twelve I discovered my intuition and empathy in the worst way, and I hated it, so at twelve I learned to hide.  I learned to expect the worst.  I learned to expect to be alone.  I learned that change is terrifying.  I learned to build walls, and forgot all those lessons about love and life and laughter.

When I started the Power of One it was immediately pointed out to me that when I’m uncomfortable or anxious I smile.  It’s a skill I developed at a very young age, but I imagine I perfected it at my mother’s funeral.  Since then it became a crutch I used to get me through parts of my life I felt I could not navigate, and it began to cloud the genuine me.  I’ve been lucky enough to have people in my life who could see through the fog and find that genuine me, but for most of my life I haven’t been able to see her myself.  I’ve merely been relying on the testaments of others who tell me they see her, like a fairy tale buried deep inside me.  As the lessons from my mother started to actually take root and as my intuition and empathy refused to be ignored, life got harder, and the more I stayed inside my walls the more the fires outside tried to cook me out. I tried to let myself be vulnerable…to the wrong people at the wrong times.  I tried to be happy…all the time, and ended up holding in the pain and sadness until I couldn’t, resulting in some pretty spectacular meltdowns.   I tried to be strong and independent…and all I did was feel more like a failure.

In the year since I seriously started putting effort into my transformation, I’ve worked on being open without being overbearing, happy without using it to cover up when I’m not, and to know when I can be strong alone and when I need to reach out for help. Not all has gone according to plan, but if my mom’s death taught me none of this other bullshit, it taught me that life doesn’t care about your plans, and unpredictability brings as much serendipity as it does tragedy, and the only control I really have is how I choose to react to it, process it, and move on with my life.    Losing my mother was not the first tragedy I’d faced in my life, but it was the first one I felt like I was facing alone.  The truth is, every situation we face in life we face alone, even if we have the strongest support system on earth, because we’re the only ones who can do the internal work it takes for real survival…and real living.

 

Love you, Mom.  Thanks for still teaching me.  after all these years.

 

Go now, keep learning..keep living….

Aloha.

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