Monthly Archives: October 2016

Hallowed Heat

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I didn’t expect this time of change would be so challenging. Another night of hot flashes and night sweats where I lie waiting for the heat to pass through my body. I throw the covers off, trying to remember if this is number three or four. I can’t believe I’ve lost count again. My body is drenched in sweat. I pull the window wide open and welcome the beautiful cold and fresh air on my heated skin. Basking in it’s coolness, I feel so grateful for a moment of comfort. Eventually I fall asleep again, only to wake up feeling icy cold. I quickly close the window, trying to find the covers I threw off earlier and snuggle under the light feather down and drift off again.

Not sure how long it takes for the next wave to come. At some point in the night I feel myself surrendering to the fire and ice, and to the exhaustion that I feel in my whole being. And then I remember: I remember this feeling of exhaustion and helplessness. I remember when wave after wave after wave of contractions prepared my body for the birth of my first child. Memories are flooding back now as another wave of heat burns through my body. These memories are so vivid: the fear, the pain, the bewilderment as day drifts into night and into day again, wondering in earnest: Do I have enough strength for this?

I think of a young friend who is about to have her first baby. I know she is facing her fears and gathering her courage. I don’t think it matters if it is your first baby or your fifth. It takes courage to surrender to nature, to face the pain, to trust and be in the not knowing of how this will go and how it will change your life forever.

As I open the window again and look outside, I can see stars shining brightly with fast moving clouds covering and uncovering them like a blanket. mooncloudsAs I look at their beauty I see with such clarity the immense amount of courage and strength that women have.

It feels like I am in labour of a different kind. This time there is no other human being growing inside of me that wants to be born. It feels more like I am birthing a new me. The old familiar me seems to be losing ground, in fact I think she is fading fast into memory. With it comes a feeling of loss. At the same time I feel myself opening to the great mystery of it all. Yes, this is a time of great change for me on the inside and outside. And it seems strangely fitting for the times we are in that is calling for great change in our world.

Surprisingly I still dream a lot between the hot flashes and chills. Many short exhausting dreams showing me all the parts of me that are fearful, that feel less than, the parts of me I would rather not see. I am often not sure what is more exhausting the dreams or real life. And I am starting to wonder if it isn’t all just an exhausting dream.

Yet there in the early morning hours when you can feel dawn is not far away, I finally let go of my ideas, thoughts, and techniques to get me through another wild night. I feel them leave my mind and body like blood draining from a wound.  And then something in me softens, opens and in this sweet moment of deep surrender I feel myself drift into a peacefulness that permeates my whole being.

Later that same morning I stand before the mirror and see red rimmed eyes staring back at me. I have to admit I am taken aback by what I see. Then with a little more compassion I recognize the tiredness in the one that is facing her aging and all the changes that comes with it. I look closer and hold eye contact with my Self. And as I hold this contact I feel that same beautiful softening take place in me and my heart gently opens all the way to the one I see in the mirror. And then I recognize what I see reflected in those eyes: Love.

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~Pictures by Dancing Wolf

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Thirteen Candles

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Rain, rain and more rain…we’ve been lucky so far: the power has stayed on.

My partner is out there digging trenches trying to keep the water out of the barn and lean-to where all our firewood is stacked. While he is battling the storm, worrying about it, the exact opposite is true for me: I feel strangely comforted by this weather. Mind you, I am also choosing to be inside and do what I love to do, writing, while witnessing at the same time the beautiful intensity of these storms.

I don’t know why but I have loved the sound of rain and wind for as long as I can remember. As a child the sound of the rattling of the shutters, the drumming of the rain combined with the cozy warmth of being tucked in under a mountain of feathers, made me feel somehow safe as if in a womb hearing the faint sound of the world outside. I still have a very vivid memory of a crazy storm with so much rain that many basements on our street got flooded. The canals couldn’t handle the huge amount of water that was coming down. Water was running down the street and into the basements. I remember my sister and I standing in half a foot of water in our gum boots and PJ’s scooping up water with our pails in the middle of the night, carrying them outside dumping it on the lawn, while the adults were tending all kinds of emergencies. For us kids it was fun. Some kind of wild part in me responded to the wildness of the storm and still does. That wild part in me comes alive as the weather intensifies and just wants to dance with it.

Over the years in my adult life there were also moments of fear. I remember vividly a wild wind and rain storm that surprised a few of us when we were out on a walk in the East Kootenays. My sister had come for a very brief visit from Germany and I was trying to show her as many things as possible in the few days that we had together. We had gone for a walk with my partner and a neighbour friend, who knew the forests in our area much better than us, when all of a sudden the wind came up. I don’t remember if we had known that a storm was coming in. But I do remember branches starting to fly all around us and not just the little ones. We decided to go back and when trees began crashing down, we started to run, dodging the branches that were coming down in our path, climbing over or under the trees that had fallen. The fear was very real in that moment and we were all greatly relieved to get home and very grateful that nobody got hurt. I think we were all a little bit in shock at the suddenness and fierceness and real danger we had found ourselves in so unexpectedly.

And there were many times while living in a cabin on top of a mountain where I had to learn to manage my fears. Thunderstorms up there were intense. You could see the lighting strike power poles or enter the earth or hit  trees nearby. The biggest fear was always the possibility of a fire. The danger of a forest fires in the summer was very real. I learned to become the observer rather than dwell in my fear. And through observing these beautiful and powerful storms I once again found that deep trust that I knew as a child. After the storm I would go see where the lightening had struck, in awe at the giant black scratch marks it left on the poles or trees.

To me the elements, the moon, the stars, the sun, the trees, etc. have always been living entities. I listen when I hear the wind whisper or howl. I still speak to Grandmother Moon and the stars at night. I am not surprised at all that my journey has led me towards Shamanic practices. I feel at home in this connection to the earth, the animal and plant beings, the elements and helping spirits from beyond.

Tonight thirteen candles are burning brightly as the rain is falling heavily. They were lit to honour the thirteen moons and to honour the Divine Feminine in a beautiful Rite of the Womb ritual that I had the fortune to participate in. As I watch the candles burn bathing the room in its sacred light, I feel touched by the beauty of this ritual and my deep love for the Divine Feminine. With my hand on my womb I feel connected to the Divine Feminine and her power and wisdom. Perhaps the veils have dropped tonight, I am surprised at the clarity that calls me to become a womb keeper and offer this rite to other women. I sense the importance of this. As we let go of our fear and pain in our wombs, we are able to use it for what it was made for: to create and to give birth to life.

Here is a beautiful video showing “the Rite of the Womb”:

The ritual is simple yet so profound. I love how it passed on from woman to woman originating from a lineage of women shamans. I sense a deep healing taking place, not just in me, but on a much broader level. And if you want more information about the Rite of the Womb and a list of womb keepers from around the world you can find that here:

http://theriteofthewomb.com

Kiss the Earth

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“Keep your tailbone down!” These words run through my head as I am walking through the wet grass towards the garden. I am on a mission to get kale, parsley and celery for my morning drink. I notice I feel taller, straighter when I walk this way. “Walk like a queen!” I laugh with delight still wondering how to do that. One of my socks is getting wet. There must be a hole in my shoe. “Kiss the earth with each step you take!”

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I slow down. There are so many mushrooms in the grass. They must have sprung up overnight. I place my foot more carefully onto the ground this time. Instructions from Banafsheh, our beautiful Dance of Oneness workshop leader, are coming back into my consciousness. I slow down even more. My wet foot feels the wet earth beneath and I smile.

A sense of Well-Being is starting to fill my body as I walk lightly yet fully grounded to Mother Earth. I pick the kale dripping with raindrops, add the parsley and celery and stop for a moment to look around. The Sunflowers and Hollyhocks are bowing down from the night’s rain. There is no doubt anymore that autumn is here. I welcome it. I wonder in the welcoming if I am now entering the autumn of my life with hot flashes and many other menopausal symptoms creating the need to turn more inward and wonder also if I can open to the different kind of beauty that this season brings.

I walk slowly out of the garden. The click of the garden gate breaks through my reverie. As I take one step at a time with my hands full of wet greens, I feel the energy of the earth. “Imagine an invisible thread that goes from your crown to the sky pulling you up” I hear Banafsheh’s deep feminine voice inside my head. Feeling myself being pulled upwards I am walking even taller, gently placing each foot on the earth with awareness where we touch and connect. My body, my temple, is becoming a bridge between Heaven and Earth. I notice an aliveness tingle inside of me. The fresh morning air awakens my senses even further.

It is a week now since the workshop ended, since all fifteen women danced in Oneness at the Hollyhock Retreat Centre. Everyone of them is held so dearly in my heart, something I had not expected. I am not sure what I hoped for. All I know is something had called me to go and I am so glad I did not let the resistance and fear stop me from going. It was challenging and beautiful at the same time with the sweetest surprise: the coming home to the sacred Feminine. Again I had not expected that. The surprise and wonder is still very much alive in me. I put my hand on my womb and I remember…

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Cracked Open

Something has shifted inside of me in this dance. My head is desperately trying to figure out what it is, wants to put a finger on something. I sense that this something cannot be defined or even named. It can only be opened up to, experienced in my whole being and leave me forever changed. I have taken home many precious gifts from this workshop, like the opening to sisterhood to a degree which I have not experienced before; my reconnection to the Divine Feminine and seeing and experiencing the embodiment of her in all her beauty; the gift of self-forgiveness, kindness and self-love and of course the beautiful gift of whirling and Rumi’s powerful words. I learned many things I didn’t know, all leading me home to the sacred feminine. The most precious gift however I cannot put into words. It is that something that dances in every cell of my body calling me home.

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

 

Today, like every other day,

we wake up empty and frightened.

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~Rumi