I've been craving the wild, deep forest.
Past the edge,
the point where you question continuing on.
The point when you begin to feel deeply the beat of your heart...
in rhythm with your feet.
Your feet turn to paws.
Ears prick up.
The outer sensory layer of your body softens to take. in. everything.
Through the threshold of maybe, potentially turning back.
Deeper and deeper until you are safe once again because you are at home.
And you find your howl once again.
Your body hasn't forgotten how to move, run, hunt.
You just had to re-member. To come back home.
Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul
Filtering by Tag: dreams
I've been craving the wild, deep forest.
Last night I had a dream that I was helping a female mentor (who doesn't exist in "real life"...only in dreamland) pack her magical workshop. At first, as I was going through her things, I was asking her what I should throw away and what I should keep, picking up random objects, some of which I recognized, some I didn't. But as time went on, I intuitively knew what I could toss and what was important for her to keep and take with her into her new space (wherever that was). Of course I woke up and thought, "uhh...WTF??"
Who's this lady? Why's she throwing away all this great stuff? Why does she have purple hair? And why does she look vaguely familiar? Like an older version of...me?!!
As a side note, my dreams are typically VERY reflective of what's going on in my conscious reality, whether or not I want to acknowledge the situation or not. And this one felt important, deep in my bones. The feeling of building trust in myself, rather than looking outside of myself to an external source of wisdom to discern what to keep and what to toss, was what stuck with me the most.
The last couple years have been full of powerful lessons for me, but the most profound has been that of DISCERNMENT.
Who and what do I allow into my space? And why? With what intention am I acting? How can I give myself more room for conscious connection with the people, places, things in my life?
Now, as I make pretty huge decisions in the realm of creating and nourishing conscious relationships, where I'm going to live, who I'm going to spend my life with, what I'm going to do to support myself, how I align my actions with my soul (you know, little things like that), I see why this woman showed up last night.
What do I need to take with me into this next stage of my journey? What needs to be seen, acknowledged, and released? With which old stories identities, patterns, even words do I feel complete?
What has been healed enough to be able to know in my soul that I know I can thank those teachers and move on having absorbed and integrated that wisdom, knowing that I'm authentically EMBODYING my soul?
Apparently a lot...
...or at least enough.
Recently, I've been working around the energy of the Divine Feminine, how to embody my own femininity, what that means amidst the trend of New-Agey, awaken-your-inner-goddess spirituality that tends to label one thing as the right way to be "feminine." I often felt like there was something wrong with ME because so many aspects of the "return of the Goddess" movement and feminism in general that didn't resonate with me. It felt forced, inauthentic, even, energetically, masculine.
I've felt the need to create my own idea of the Her, of what it means to be divinely feminine. And realized, there are as many expressions of Her as there are women (and men) in the world! Our souls express themselves in countless ways, and to categorize ONE thing as feminine seems to me to come from a wounded place within the human psyche. It separates us from our actual feminine soul and creates rigidity, a false construct in which we think we need to fit ourselves.
To me, this dream meant my own feminine soul, my innate ability to intuit, discern, separate the gold from the raw material, absorb what I need and discard (or even destroy) the rest, make decisions that feel in alignment with my soul's purpose, is not only feeling quite confident to be seen and heard, but beginning to integrate with my physical, dreaming body.
Obviously the work is never done (which is one thing I love about being human) but to receive the message that I'm on the right track, I've done enough work to still have the physical feeling of holding something in my hand and knowing "I definitely don't need this where I'm going" deserves a self-high-five.
Realizing that spirituality is NOT the same thing as living from my soul and can often rob us of our capacity to express our femininity, which is innately divine, has given me the room to ask, "What feels spiritual or feminine for me to do today?" Every. Day. So many different answers, so many reflections in just my own life of the feminine. I can't even imagine how many expressions there are if we'd all give ourselves the space to be with that question.
Wild Grace is shifting, shedding, growing, playing, and experiencing a lot. In contrast to the typical summer energetics of expansion and opening, the last few months have been a time of contraction, going inward, craving quietness, contemplation, exploring the inner terrain of my own soul and how it's reflected in my business, and allowing myself to be guided by my intuition, spirit guides, passions, and deep desires. I've been listening to the plants I use in my medicine in new ways, experiencing them rather than simply learning about them intellectually. Understanding that they have so much more to teach us than we ever thought possible. That we can learn so much from our environment, the spirits that inhabit the local trees, rivers, meadows, tide pools, and deserts that must be understood through communicating with them rather than reading about them.
Recently, I journeyed with Datura, one of my favorites of the poisonous plants, and thought I'd share with you the wisdom she has for us...
First came visions of canyons, ancient tree groves, old gnarled twisted trees extending their roots and branches out to take up as much space as this space will allow. Damp, mossy, loamy forest floors, echoing our shadow places, the darkness so many of us are afraid to explore and experience even though it makes itself known in numerous ways every day and we don't even notice...
And then a snake wrapping itself around my low belly and hips, not tight like it's trying to constrict or squeeze, just loose heavy rings encircling my pelvis. Winding its way up my spine, around each vertebra, and I can feel the muscles soften to let her pass by. She comes up and over my right shoulder.
The shoulder that hurts. The one that holds so much and is never seen because I'm afraid of what's there. The one that's been waiting patiently for me to be quiet, sit down, lie down, settle down, and cool down. So patient. Just waiting. For me to let go of my anger to see there's another way to release this fire, to be seen and heard. Okay love, I'm listening...
She speaks of the wild, of the Earth Mother from which I can now see I've been hiding because she's so powerful, amoral, primal, and raw. Life means death, and death means life. Life is not happening to me, I am part of the event known as Life. An observer. A participant whose role is ever-shifting, but that will go on long after my time on this earth is over.
She speaks of a wildness that is beyond my comfort zone. One in which I go wild and let go of the things I've previously believed to hold significance, and go deeper. To listen, to honor the spirits that inhabit this environment. To hear the plants speak their wisdom not in words, but in extra-sensory experiences.
This is what my soul craves. This is what the pain is speaking of, what it is guiding me into, and where the illness originates. And it has been long enough. Through lifetimes I've heard these messages, always coming in different and new ways, speaking the same truth. Time to rewild, to step into the shadow with my light, to embrace the death, the shedding, the truth. To descend to and traverse the messy, gnarly, brokenhearted creative chaos of the primal Mother that is reflected in the terrain of my own soul.
And to explore and experience this space between worlds with lightness of heart, allowing my soul to shine in her full brightness, trusting that while we may use anger as creative fuel, it is really love that transforms, shifts, and heals the relationship with our Self, each other, and our Mother.
Usually I work with the theme of release during the Full Moon. I meditate on the old patterns, things that feel stuck that I'm ready to release, to let go of, to clear. Often I'll do some kind of releasing ritual usually involving burning things (I am a Leo after all...we love our fire) and then burying the ashes or letting the wind carry them away.
This month, however, in honor of the huge transition going on in my life (as well as I'm sure many of yours), I've been sitting with the idea not of letting go, but of surrendering. They sound like the same thing, right? Although they may be similar in definition and sometimes even outcome, to me surrendering has a different energy behind it, and so contributes a different quality to this journey through transition and change.
For most of us, change can be really uncomfortable. Even when we know it's what we need or even want, we tend to resist, freak out, lose our center, and fight to hold on to situations, people, jobs, or patterns from which our soul is ready to move on.
To say the first half of this year has been intense for most of us would be a gigantic understatement. To me, it felt like my very foundation was being shaken until everything I knew to be true crumbled, my walls were leveled, my heart broken open to reveal a softness inside I had allowed very few people to witness before now. I was knocked to my knees, literally and figuratively. My physical body changed, and sometimes it felt like those deeply engrained ways of moving, thinking, speaking, and acting were being burned away, consumed by that very fire that used to terrify me when I'd feel it rising. And when I finally surrendered to that fire, that blaze that I had been afraid would burn out of control if I didn't contain it, began to soften and reveal something brilliant underneath.
And then I could finally take a deep breath.
All that crumbling, breaking, splitting, and destruction that we've been navigating can finally lead to the most space, the most depth, the most compassion, and the most peace we've ever felt. As I look back at the aftermath of the last six months, I see the rubble of old beliefs, relationships, addictions, and roles that I had held onto for my whole life.
And now is the time when I surrender to my uncontainable and irrepressible Being within. My wild grace. My creative spirit. With all this space that's been opened up, with this unwillingness to abandon myself any longer, unwillingness to edit or hold back this wild creature that's been set free, I can finally surrender to the Wild Soul I've always known was there, waiting to be awakened and uncaged.
So it's not a letting go. I've done the necessary (for now) letting go and making space. Now is the time to surrender to my truth. Under the blessing of this Full Moon, standing in my own sacred space, I now have the necessary space to fully trust my soul to guide me.
What would happen if you sat in the fire? If you held your space, not knowing how you would come out the other side?
I've been having some deep conversations lately with sisters, fellow artists, therapists, and visionaries in all capacities about taking that next step. From being on your spiritual path, doing trainings, certifications, seeing clients, teaching classes, showing up day to day, to then stepping into this new, unknown, and completely terrifying place that has been chosen by your soul. You know that everything up until now has been leading to this moment in time. All the transformation, all the dark, mucky, sludgy, messy, chaos and shitstorms that you've been weathering have led you here. And now ALL you have to do is open, receive, and allow your soul's work to come through you. So you freeze. Instead of working on a class or lecture you're putting together, you binge watch some crappy show on Netflix. Rather than make those teacup succulent gardens you're brilliant at, you let yourself get lost in the endless household chores. You take low-paying (or maybe even high-paying) jobs so that you're too busy to write that AMAZING coaching program you've been wanting to launch *sheepishly raising my hand*. Maybe it's something more shameful to you like using alcohol, drugs, food, or sex to fill that creative void or distract yourself from what you know in your heart you have this burning desire to fulfill, write, paint, create.
So, I'm calling bullshit. And I'm doing this mainly because this is EXACTLY where I've been hiding out. I've been holding back for one very simple reason: fear. I'm afraid that it won't come out right, that no one will be pickin' up what I'm puttin' down. That I'll essentially be failing the Universe at the task that's been set for me. The path that my own soul chose. What if I just suck at it? What if I fail? What if I put my whole heart into something, make my voice heard, show up as big and as powerfully as I can, and all I hear is crickets?
It took a major surrendering, totally letting go of what I thought my ego wanted to do (because it was easy) and realizing my authentic self, my wild soul, is here to do something. A big something. Yesterday, I got to receive a bodywork session from a woman I'm lucky enough to call a friend, sister, and teacher. I got to go into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul to listen. I had finally reached the place where I could say, "I have no f*cking clue what I'm supposed to do with any of this. Why is all of this happening? What piece am I missing? Please help!" I was ready to be open and hear whatever needed to come up.
At the end of the session, before I opened my eyes, before I had a conscious thought, I heard a voice say, "Something big is coming." And it felt light. Powerful and light. As if my guides were saying all I have to do is say yes to this, to stop standing in my own way, and it's coming. Actually, it's already done. I just have to write it.
In reflecting on this intensely beautiful session and on the subsequent conversation with my friend after, I remembered this quote from Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you and into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is: Nor how valuable it is; Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine satisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
So I'm putting my voice out there in a HUGE way. I'm bending some of the marketing rules, completely breaking other ones, but sometimes you gotta break the rules for the sake of creation, transformation, and showing up as a leader. And if my message and my unique gift to teach is that of self-love and honoring the wildness of your soul, one that is desperately needed by so many women (and men) in our society, then I need to get over my hang-up's about being "good enough" and let it flow through me.
Oh you guys! I meant to write earlier this week, and then got so distracted. This windy weather we've been having always leaves me feeling a bit ungrounded, not to mention that it's 80 degrees in January, so my body is all kinds of confused. At first I felt guilty for my day dreaming. I tried finding ways to justify it, but I had work to do. Blogs, marketing copy, programs, irresistible product descriptions, and meditations to write. Reading to catch up on. Silver to get polished (seriously). Instead of doing any of that, I've spent the last week visioning, dreaming, and heart-storming. I watched that guilty "I feel unproductive" feeling come up, wreak a little bit of havoc on my peace of mind, and then I made the best decision I've made in a long time. I decided to let it go for just a couple days and see what happens when I let my intuition, my soul truly guide me. To see what happens when I just let myself dream, even if it got to feel a little bit too big and too daunting.
And I've come to a profound soul truth. It feels expansive! Still big, still daunting, but powerful, spacious, and authentic. And f*cking awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you all! Because I know dreaming can be scary, we see these amazing things that we want to do, and then think, "How in the hell am I going to make that happen?!" It's easy to proclaim "Follow your passions!" Rumi even tells us, "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." And you listen to your heart and everything sounds wonderful and bright and shiny. And then it comes to taking the steps to ACT on that wisdom. And we freeze. And sometimes we stay frozen. But I don't want to feel stuck, and I definitely don't want you to feel stuck.
So now you get to take a journey inside my head, through my visions, and a peek into my dreams...
When I was young, my mom had me watch Practical Magic with her. She must have known that I loved witchy things. From the moment I saw Sally's shop, I needed to have my own. (You all know what I'm talking about, so no judge-y snickering.) From then on, in my heart of hearts, I wanted my own space for herbs, magic, healing, teaching, and communing.
And now it's finally beginning to take shape...
I'm beginning to allow myself to really want it, to let that desire guide me, and take real, practical steps to making it happen. I've even looked at potential spaces for it! And the most fun part, I've begun to imagine it. To feel, see, smell it...
Think vintage apothecary meets Hogwarts meets gypsy caravan with a touch of whimsy. And a lot of hanging plant matter. Are you starting to see it come together? No? Here are some pictures to help for those of us who need visuals.
An apothecary like this...
With a touch of this (yes, I absolutely need to skeleton too)...
A bit of that...
And a lot of this...
It's being dreamt, manifested, and acted into existence as I move through my fears of rejection, of commitment, and of playing big and showing up for my own desires. So here is your reminder to keep dreaming. Big dreams, small dreams, scary, whimsical, childlike, black+white, and colorful dreams. It can be pretty terrifying to share our dreams of what we really want because if someone shoots us down it hurts A LOT! You need to trust in your vision so much that even if someone tells you that you can't, you KNOW in your deepest, gnarliest knowing that you totally can. Now that you've heard about/seen my dream, I'd LOVE to hear about yours! Feel free to comment below and share with me what you envision, what you most deeply desire to do/create/have/feel in your life?
I've been working lately on dreaming more. Dreaming, envisioning, desiring. I used to be really afraid of wanting something whether it was a thing, a feeling, a person, an outcome, because I was afraid of how I'd feel if I didn't get it. If I don't acknowledge and feed them, though, none of them will come true. And the thing about dreams is, the more we open to them, the more vulnerable to them we become, the more the Universe conspires to help you in your vision. In the words of Joseph Campbell, when you "follow your bliss...you will begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you."
I dream of long walks in shaded woods, of medicine-making, of magic. I dream of Ireland and Paris. Of sitting around a fire with my soul sisters who inspire, hold, and bless me with their presence in my life. I dream of laughing until I cry. Of time to write, paint, dance, and BE in my body every day. I dream of holding space for healing, speaking my truth, and supporting dreams of others on their own paths. Curling up with a book. Of creation, compassion, softness, and ease. Living in a beautiful place with enough land to have gardens stretching off into the forest. And a dog that looks like a wolf.
When I first wrote down my dreams and looked at my list, I was shocked. Staring back at me was this beautiful piece of my soul. I saw myself so clearly in those words, in my dreams. This short paragraph was so much more vibrant and full of life than anything I had ever written or even allowed myself to see, to recognize about myself. And so wonderfully feminine. Reading over my dreams sets my soul on fire and makes me feel like I'm finally taking up the BIG space I have in this world. I hear a voice saying, "There she is!"
There's always more work to do, our journey never ends, but in this moment there's a stillpoint. It's the end of an exhale, a pause before the next breath. And I'm so grateful for the fight, the pain, the heartache, traumas, stories, teachers, and shadow teachers that have been a part of this journey so far.
Some of these dreams will be realized, and some of them won't. Some of them will have to die, and that's okay. Sometimes we need to let go of old dreams to make space for new ones.
What do you dream of?