Happy Birthday to me! 52 years on this planet.
Having a Birthday towards the end of the Calendar year has often lent itself for space for reflection.
This year has been fairly intense.
- Traveled to Guinea, West Africa for the third time with a life long friend and SFU students for a life changing, heart opening experience.
- Presented Trauma Informed trainings in Puerto Rico post Maria to psychologists, therapists, law enforcement and others in helping professions various places on the island. Heart breaking and heart opening.
- Celebrated Riley’s 18 th birthday in NYC with our family Unit, including Baby Anthony!
- Co- Facilitated and successfully organized my first retreat with my brother from another mother, Mr. Michael Deaton at the beautiful retreat center Shrinemont in Orkney Springs, Va. The Collective Wisdom Experience. Still holding this magical space in my heart.
- Ended a big chapter of life saying farewell to the Rhythm Renewal Retreat where I have been on faculty for about a decade and have made life long, life changing friendships.
- Expanded my trauma Sensitive teaching partnerships to include Torrence State Hospital Both Forensic and Civil Units and a local support group for people with HIV/AIDS.
- Grew offerings in the home studio to include Sacred Activism.
- Traveled and taught Sound and Movement of Life and Compassion Fatigue workshops many places including a retreat in Pittsburgh for chaplains who work in prisons and shelters.
- Housed and supported our (informally adopted) niece from Nepal and witnessed her achieving the first part of her dream to becoming a psychologist by graduating from Saint Francis University.
- Loved my community by being committed to serving through Unity Coalition of the Southern Alleghenies and Hope 4 Johnstown.
- Delighted in being present to my grandson Anthony, born Dec 2017 in growing and seeing his emerging personality and love of music!
- Fell more in love with my husband of almost 20 years.
- Revived hope in a relationship that appeared broken beyond repair.
- Witnessed my daughter leaning into her future exploring colleges and centering her own beliefs around Jesus and social justice.
- Started the journey of ancestral healing through many different supports and learning opportunities.
This year brought so many blessings and much opportunity to rejoice.
Tnis year also brought.
- Serious depression and questioning of many of my beliefs.
- Enormous grief in the loss of Sage, our family pet for over a decade.
- Deep sorrow, rage and horror at the forces at work in our country seeking to further disenfranchise people, destroy the health of the planet and use tactics of lies, dishonesty and manipulation to entrench people in fear and keep them afraid.
- Recognizing my mortality more and more. This is not a bad thing, it is a growing awareness.
- Shadow emerging full force in our country and communities has also emerged in me. Witnessing what I would call the unacceptable parts of myself emerge.
- Observing more often than I would like, my own unskillful behaviors that come from false beliefs.
- Cultivating the courage to address these false beliefs and resourcing myself with my tools of grounding and breathing to be in the uncomfortableness of this and not look away, distract or react.
This year has been a lot and entering into menopause here has intensified things significantly. I haven’t been regular in my cycles for awhile and they are often absent. The last cycle I had was one of the most intensely painful in my life and it occurred during the Kavanaugh hearings. Tapping into the collective here through my uterus.
Here, we shift into the possibility of transforming that power that was focused in the physical body cycling around the moon, the eight phases that move from newness into fullness and around again into the metaphysical.
The Collective. This is what growing older is starting to emerge into for me. The thinning of the veil between us and the ancestors. The slowing and ceasing of this cycle allowing for an experience of sinking into one’s bones. Into an ancient turning. Calling on the memories held in our DNA, in our guts. Decolonizing our beliefs and practices. Recognizing the inherent worth and value in all beings as the driving force. As Love. Love as gravity. The primal force of bonding and attraction that drives the ongoing creation of the universe. Grounding here outside the toxic values of our culture.
So, as I contemplate all this year has offered me, challenged me and more, I am grateful beyond measure for The Collective. For Creator. For Jesus. For Community.
For the ability to lean in to the hard stuff. For the ability to create spaces of empowerment and tenderness for myself and for people. For Life.