A Creative Troupe of Women

I’ve dreamt of having a creative troupe of women to gather with and have fun centered around our creative passions. With Rachel Cole‘s help, I’ve mustered up my courage to put the call out for other women who are looking for the same thing in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. If you live here and my call out resonates, I’d love to hear from you! Here’s the “official” flyer with a few more details.

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 Who: Creative, liberally minded women looking for a small group in the LA/Orange County area to connect, learn and have fun centered around our creative passions– anything from painting to cooking and all the shades of creativity that fall in between!

What: To gather once a month and share our work, teach one another, create together and go on outings related to our creative interests. All for free and for fun!! (Not a networking group.)

When: TBA

Where: Each member takes a turn hosting the gathering in the area where they live. Places like parks, cafes, community centers. (A member could choose to have it in their home, but it’s not required.)

 

If you’re interested in going on this adventure with me you can contact me via the email listed below. From there we can set up a time for a video chat to see if this group is a right fit for you.

Email: feralcompassliving.com@gmail.com

Radical Hope: Our Hearts Already Know

The transformation and shift into the new world I wrote about on Thursday depends on all of us, but I know that sometimes it’s damn hard to keep our hearts and minds open to the shift that has already begun. So much good goes on that we don’t hear about through mainstream sources, things that spark my spirit and imagination, that inspire me and teach me. I’d like to share the Radical Hope I’m finding, both online and off. The video I’m sharing today begins by acknowledging the suffering that exists, but then reminds us that we can begin to live into the reality that our hearts already know is true. You can find more videos at Sustainable Man.

Much Love.

 

Sexual Orientation, the Culture of Hate and the Shift Into Another World

“There is another world, but it is in this one.” – W.B. Yeats
sexual orientation

Alex and his partner, JC. In love and happy

Most of the time, when I think about my son and his husband, their sexual orientation doesn’t come up any more than the sexual orientation of my daughter and her husband when I think of them. Their sexual orientation isn’t their most important quality. Alex and J.C. are funny, smart, kind, courageous, thoughtful, creative and so much more.

I remember that their sexuality is “a thing” when I’m out in the world and run into people who spew their hatred for LGBT folks. Here in Southern California, most people think gay bashing, or political agendas aimed at oppressing people who happen to be LGBT, doesn’t exist – but it does. I’ve heard it among fellow students at the university I attended, in public places and in local political ads. Even if my son wasn’t gay, those experiences would leave me angry, sad and afraid – but my son is gay and these attitudes strike at the center of my heart.

When I read that the governor of Mississippi signed into law a bill that makes it legal to oppress people whose sexual orientation is other than heterosexual (really, the letter of the law makes it possible for a variety of people to find themselves on the receiving end of hate – but that’s a discussion for another day), I felt my throat constrict and the tears gather. My body rebelled at the news with a wave of nausea, my jaw clenched and my mouth went dry. Alex and J.C. live in New Orleans, a city (though not Louisiana as a whole) with a strong LGBT community and with more acceptance than in most of the South, but they often visit Mississippi to see family and friends.  The tears kept coming throughout the day, I let all my fear and anger out in my journal and with people I knew would understand.

I got through the day thanks to people who understand that love between people, whoever they are, isn’t a sin. They understand that sex between consenting adults shouldn’t concern anyone else. And that’s the way I get through the rest of the days – remembering people with open and tender hearts exist, that love has a voice, that people and movements stand up everyday with messages of solidarity, reason and love.

Sometimes, something happens in my life that brings me back to believing that “there is another world” other than the one that feeds off hate and fear. A world that’s not a figment of our imagination or a deluded hope – it’s real and it’s now.

The first time I met J.C. I instantly fell in love with him and with his family. His family comes from Nicaragua and during the course of my visit J.C. shared part of his coming out story with me. I know from experience growing up in Argentina that, in general, the Hispanic community rejects and often vilifies LGBT members of their communities and families. When J.C. came out to his family it caused turmoil and some family members turned their backs to him – everyone felt the pain of the rift, J.C. most of all.

The boys and their mamas. Not the best picture, but love it with a little vintage flair.

The boys and their mamas.

But that’s not the whole story. Eventually, love won. People who’d turned their back on him, including his brother, now accept and love him exactly the way he is. I met many of his family members during a birthday celebration for my son. I felt deeply touched by the way they not only embraced J.C., but also by the love they demonstrated for my son as J.C’s spouse. We talked, we ate great food, we laughed. The love in the house resonated like an underlying heartbeat – like the sound of that other world within this one coming into being.

The suffering in the world can leave us angry, afraid, and so full of sorrow that our senses get dull and we can’t see anything but the suffering. We need desperately to take care of ourselves, to nurture our hope by actively looking for the good and by daily allowing ourselves to do the things that bring us joy. If we don’t, we’ll drown, we’ll shut down and life will become just a series of daily routines without much meaning.

Yet, self-care isn’t just about doing the things that bring us joy or that give us pleasure. The other side of self-care is doing the hard, uncomfortable things like facing the suffering in the world, allowing ourselves to open our hearts to it, and standing up to take action in whatever way feels right for us. Without doing this we run the risk of losing our integrity or falling into the delusion that if we only think “positive” thoughts, and stay away from anything “negative,” everything will work out for the best.

Sometimes I lose my way, navigating both sides of self-care and opening our hearts to those that suffer isn’t easy – but the alternatives will devastate all of us.

Let’s nurture the transition into the new world together.

Much Love.

 

 

 

I’m Ready

My coach, Rachel, tells me I’m ready. She says this with a huge smile, her eyes shining with that I-believe-in-you kind of shine. “You are so ready.” I believe her.

This morning I not only believe her, I’m beginning to know that I am. The damned up river of my life’s energy is ready to follow its currents. When I heard Tracy Chapman‘s song this morning, I smiled and let a few tears go.

I’m moving toward taking a big step. Rachel suggested I make something tangible to send out into the world to transform a dream into reality. After getting clear on what I wanted, I started making a pamphlet that I’ll send out locally and post in social media soon. Very soon. A little scary, but mostly exciting and the simple act of sending the tract out says – “I’m ready to let the river wash over me.” Yes.

If you’re making some big moves (only has to feel big to you!), lets hold hands.

Much love.

 

Baba Yaga Has a Bit of Sparkle Too

Visualization workshop

Molly Mahar at Soul Sisters 2013 (with permission from Darrah Parker Photography)

Soul Sisters 2013 made my theme for that year, Become Visible, a tangible reality and jump started this year’s journey into Freedom. So many stories came out of the experience. I’ll start with Baba Yaga, she’s one I don’t argue with when she wants to go first! Oh, and all that stuff about eating children is just a rumor she started so she could get a little rest – it kinda got out of control.

Baba Yaga found a way to show up through the doorway of Molly Mahar’s workshop at Soul Sisters. Molly led us in a couple of different visualizations asking us to allow any part of ourselves to show up bearing an important gift. I got comfortable, closed my eyes, and got ready for my sparkliest, sexiest, sweetest self to show up with equally sparkly gifts.

I felt my heart sink when, out from behind a tree in the woods of my psyche, Baba Yaga showed up. I knew she’d make me work, she’s like that with all her separating the wheat from the chaff and then pushing me out into the world to claim my power. Exhausting stuff. Plus, she’s strange and it tends to rub off on me.

Baba Yaga

My version of Baba Yaga

But I know that anytime I’ve listened to that part of myself, along with getting a little stranger, I ground deeper into my power – my intuition. So, I asked her what she had behind her back. With her creaky arm (she’s older than dirt) she handed me a wrench. No earthy talisman or mysterious trinket. A. Wrench. I thought about that wrench, wrote about that wrench and dreamt about that wrench, trying to figure out what to do with it.

This book, by Clarissa P. Estés, reminded me of a few things:

- Facing Baba Yaga we “consent to . . . deep initiation and . . . experience the dangerous feeling of our own intuitive power, our inner senses” (Estés)

- We learn to stand in the face of great power without wavering, get familiar with the “otherness of the wild, we take on some of her values . . . thereby becoming ourselves a little odd.”

- We learn to let go of the frailty our culture tells us comes with being female

I’m ready to let go of any of the stories I have left around female weakness and need for a hero – I think a wrench might come in handy to loosen the bolts around the cultural junk that attaches itself to us.  I’m ready to bring the wild back into my life, both within and without, that I abandoned after my daughter died. I’m ready to continue the process of honing my intuition, of owning my power, and not worrying about how that will make me seem to others.  My work with Rachel Cole is about all these things, about separating the wheat from the chaff and moving out into the world with what I learn.  Here and there I’m feeling surges of power re-surfacing after a long hiatus. And I’m finding out that there are other parts of me waiting in the shadows for me to invite back, to see them, hear them and accept their gifts.

I do have to say, that even after cozying up to Baba Yaga, it was all kinds of awkward when we separated into twos and threes and Molly invited us to act out whoever showed up for us in the visualization and offer gifts to the others in our group from that perspective. Describing to Trish and Jen who I was and what I looked like – well, let’s just say I certainly felt odd! I hope the gifts Baba offered were useful. Yes, I’m calling her by her first name – I think it’s about time. Slavic languages translate Baba in many ways, some of them I don’t think Baba would like much. I prefer the meaning grandmother. Baba is like having a fierce grandmother intent on teaching me everything she knows – and since she’s older than dirt, that’s a lot!

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 What parts of you are clamoring for attention? If you were at Soul Sisters for Molly’s workshop, what stories do you have to tell? Or maybe, you and Baba have a long history together – all insights welcome!

Much Love.