Archives for posts with tag: transformation

 

I realize it has been awhile since I have written, (I miss it, but other pulls as of late) I am writing one for Valentine’s Day, but in the interim wanted to share some glorious horse images I have found. As we just moved into the Year Of The Horse ala Chinese New Year, I went searching for images. I resonate with Horse immensely. Independence, wild spirit, nature, travel, movement, separate yet connection to the herd.  I have had horses in my life, still ride when I can, albeit infrequently, still nothing matches being able to commune with that kind of power and energy. I swear that February 1st, I felt that I was shot out of the starting gate, mane and reigns and in hand and picking up speed each day. Finding very clear intention as I fly to see what lies over the next hill, surrounded with love…..hope you enjoy these. 

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I am gifted beyond belief to be surrounded with friends who are artists of one kind or another. my friend heather is a renaissance woman of the highest order. self taught musician, singer, teacher, writer, poet, artist of all mediums, plant whisperer, communer with bees, all round good witch and now stepping deep into encaustic magic. what better medium for such a girl, than to work with bees wax…?

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a few months ago, I approached her about doing a piece for me. marking this time in my life. I put total trust in her and asked her to let her own inspiration drive the project, asking only that butterflies be included, as she has called be “butterfly” for as long as I can remember and I gave her a bag of my hair, (post shaving) saying that if she felt drawn, to use it in the piece, other than that, it was her process.  the result of this is astonishing.

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I chose a triptych format. past, present, future. maiden, mother, crone. she delivered it 2 weeks ago. I was speechless….every element is loaded with meaning….

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the moon. a huge constant in my life. she is part of my moon circle and the poignancy that it exists no more in it’s original form. she and I the last two standing. the x-rays of flowers, mimicking the x-rays/tests/science experiments of my existence, the last two years. two years…. we are coming up on one year from my mastectomy…might as well be 20 years ago…..lifetimes ago…

these strange sea creature/ ameba like creatures with the red nucleus, trailing tendrils of my hair….like cancer cells…?

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the embedding of basil and thyme seeds….basil, representative of mars, a fire sign…that would be me…love, protection, good luck and a potent anti-cancer herb.

thyme,: love, purification, restoration of physical power and frequently used in healing rituals. especially powerful coming from the master magical gardener…

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the third panel pulling away from the other two….their connection, a constellation, a subconscious constellation, she says….what does it look like to you?  made up of string and nails….hmm….not sure….but there are 15 nail heads…15 in the tarot is the “art/temperance” card. “the creator, the alchemist” one who achieves balance and integration through the creative process. the ability to balance and blend the masculine and the feminine. merging fire (spirit) with water (emotion) which makes a new element, steam (mental and spiritual creativity with passion) integration and synergy. in order to come into the  artistry of who we are, we must balance the apparent paradoxes, oppositions or polarities within our nature. the union of opposition to create something new.”

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15 : 1+5 distills down to 6, “the lovers”. “the synthesizer of dualities, polarities and oppositions. the art and craft of relationship. the highest card of balance in the deck. the love  of truth and beauty for its own sake. the highest art form is that of artful relationship.” Image

the butterflies….well…enough said…..transformation doesn’t get much bigger than that…right after I had my mastectomy, she gave me a precious necklace, that is one silver butterfly wing. I wear it all of the time.

lastly,  “I am not like I was before.”…I am all that I was before, and yet not arranged in the same way, so i am not like i was before. I am something more. somehow there is more power, strength and passion and yet also more softness, quietude and tenderness.  not sure how that works, but there it is. take the paradox and create something new and beautiful from it.  fire/water/steam. creating something new each day. making and remaking.

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thank you heather bee for creating something so beautiful and so powerful for me to look at every day and remind me “i am not like i was before”. you are a true artist and a true friend. i love you mermosa.

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(interested in having her do a custom piece for you…? )

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there is really nothing in the world quite like receiving a 2-3 hour thai massage. the only other activity that comes close requires that you be naked, and in thai massage no one is naked. well, when I do thai massage, no one is naked, and I can only speak from my experience…

 a longer in depth session is so utterly transformative, so why don’t I do this more often? this was what was running through my mind as I lay there with my eyes rolled into the back of my head, my cheek in a pool of my own drool, one leg lifted at an impossible angle behind me that somehow made me feel that I had been de-boned. in a really good way.

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I had received the phone call on Friday night. a fellow thai practitioner from the sun valley area was in town taking clients. he had some openings and did I finally want to make the trade happen that we had been trying to orchestrate for the last 5 years. yes. the answer would be “yes”. as luck would have it, I got to go first.

thai massage is an ancient healing art form that combines traditional massage, energy work, acupressure, focused breathing, deep twisting and stretching. the recipient wears loose comfortable clothing and the session is conducted on a mat on the floor, as opposed to a table. 

a standard thai session is 90 minutes in length, and generally just seen as a starting point.  2-2 ½, 3 hour or even longer sessions are encouraged and there is no such thing as a one hour thai massage. that would just be, well, stupid. profoundly teasing and utterly unsatisfying. 

I was assuming we had 90 minutess, but it ended up being 2 and 1/2.  as always happens with body work, time becomes rather slippery. first off, it is always a challenge to move out of practitioner mode and stay in receiver mode. the first 20 minutes, you want to keep popping up and opening your eyes and saying, “ok, wait a minute! that is so fantastic, how are you doing that? is that your knee or your elbow? can you walk me through how to do that? “ you just have to let that go to the side and purely open up to receiving the work and not try and figure it out.

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i think that it is crucial for body workers to receive body work on a regular basis, but it feels especially important for thai body workers. the work is such a dance with the recipient, when you receive it makes you more aware of the power of the movement on your partner. sometimes we forget how intense a particular move is if we have not had it done to us in a long time.

also, there are so many different lineages and teachers of thai work, every time I get  worked on, I learn something I did not know, experience a move I had never known about, and get to experience the free flowing jazz aspect of how that practitioner works their craft.

I know people who say, “ I could never be still for that long. wouldn’t that be boring?” short answer, “NO!!!” it takes a person awhile to drop into an open space to receive. so often a massage consists of serious damage control. the client has not had body work in a long time. so the entire session is spent trying to put things back together. that base line has to be in place before you can begin to go deeper, down another layer or two or three and start some deep shifting and healing. a longer session allows that space to open up and that’s when it gets interesting.

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my session with gregory was really amazing. ranks up there as one of the best sessions I have ever received. at one point after he had finished working the whole right side of my body and it felt as it it were made of feathers, while the left felt like lead. soon I was completely light as a feather and utterly grounded. that is a beautiful combination.

the next day I worked on him, and again I marveled at how much I love this work. that it is as satisfying to give as it is to receive. (o.k. maybe it is a bit more fun to receive it, but pretty close)  to watch someone let go and feel the tension leave their being. watch their face completely shift. see the light come back into their eyes. 

receiving body work of any kind, at the very least puts us back in touch with our bodies. ideally, it does that and connects our hearts, minds and spirits as well. and if we are willing to open up to it, heal old traumas and allow us to start fresh. imagine the world if everyone experienced massage as a constant regular diet in their lives? food, water, shelter, massage, love. check. so do your part to make this a wonderful world and have some body work done. I know someone you can call…

“move without effort, without pain

feel your cocoon crack open wide as

the spaces between your bones

become windows instead of dead bolts

your soul opens to a sense of awe and gratitude

breathe with your own lungs

feel with your own heart

shake out the sheets of memories and darkness

take one step closer to healing

one step closer to feeling at peace

and at home in your own body.

 come home.

-a description of receiving a thai massage session with me from heather bauer-

all photos of jodeen and eric wallace courtesy of anne cirillo

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(micheline berry on the orange mat….as if there would be any confusion…)

I just came back from an amazing weekend yoga workshop in mccall, with one of my very favorite teachers, micheline berry. she is a gorgeous, voluptuous, sultry, radiant earth goddess and her classes are beautiful and joyous with sweat soaked intensity. “fire in the belly, honey in the heart” is the name of her offering, and that it is.

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9 years ago, micheline came to mccall and taught her first workshop ever at the shanti yoga studio. deb Murphy, the owner of shanti, had taken a class from her in l.a. and invited her to teach a workshop. it was micheline’s first workshop to teach, it was the first yoga workshop that I would take. we were all together in this freshness. the workshop was incredibly powerful and she uses great music and dance that is incorporated as well, so of course I was hooked. this weekend was my 5th workshop with her.

I came to that first workshop with one of my dearest friends, j. we had started a yoga journey at the same time, in separate places, under very different circumstances for each of us. but parallel paths. a couple of years ago she and I and another friend, h., came up for a workshop with micheline. on the second day of the workshop we got a phone call that j’s mother was in the hospital and failing fast. the three of us jumped into the car and raced down the mountain. an intense sharing of stories about her mother, this incredible bonding of the three of us. her mother rallied, although she passed a couple of years later. j and I are no longer involved in each others lives, a sad fork in the road it seems. but I will never forget the intensity of that drive down the mountain. the three of us and where we all were at that point in time.

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so here it was four years later, h. and I going up to this workshop with micheline. “ so here we are again, back at the start again…” she and I poised in very interesting places in our lives and to share the fire of transformation that can only happen on the yoga mat, was fantastic.

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(joey and i (the blissed out yogini)

micheline got married a year ago, to a marvelous man, joey lugasy. a yogi, and musician and they travel together. he plays guitar, harmonium, drums and has this amazing soul stirring voice. he plays music and sings during her classes. they sing together, weave together, travel together, lead workshops together (italy, brazil, Jamaica) share this spiritual life together. they are beautiful and funny and so much in love and it is wonderful and painful to watch at the same time. I have had a taste of this and I want a full course of it. I know that it is possible. nothing less.

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the weekend was so powerful. sweet and hot. full of poetry, laughter, tears, snot and sweat. no differentiation. just the flowing of the river of the body, releasing and healing. such a beautiful community of people, open and honest and present in themselves and their experience. takes me to my knees every time. so grateful that this is my life. going to workshops, teaching workshops. my life is my spiritual practice. I am so freakin’ blessed.

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deb and her husband mike, share their gorgeous home with a handful of students and it becomes a big yogi sleep over. coffee in the big open kitchen, preparing meals together. two funny dogs and two giant cats. many pivotal and memorable points in time I have arrived at and crossed over in this house. when I knew my marriage was dissolving, friendships deepened and then in transition, being strong and solid and sure and then broken, lost and unknowing. falling so deeply in love on one trip and then on another seeing him begin to slide away from me. tearing myself apart and putting me back together so many times. it is a second home to me.

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it rained most of the time we were there. more memories…soft and gentle, but cold too. the drive through the mountains looked more like the columbia river gorge in oregon, than idaho. everything impossibly green. fresh tender shoots. new growth. a new season. let the fire in the belly clear the debris and allow the honey in the heart to flow like a river…

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(the sun rising out of my morning cup of matcha)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was building an outdoor fire in the morning and watching the sun come up. I did it 3 times and then the rains came, and then the morning brought other priorities and now, today on this full moon morning, I built a fire again. it feels magical to build a fire outside in the morning. as if the flames you start light the fire of the sun as it rises. like you helped start the day, somehow.

I am an aries, a fire sign, anyone who knows me would roll their eyes and say “of course she is a fire sign. duh.” although my mother is a water sign, she has always in my world been the fire keeper. we have never lived in a house that did not have a fireplace. ever. my constant morning memory is coming into the living room and seeing my mother perched in front of the fire with a coffee cup in one hand and toast in the other.

I find it difficult if not down right impossible to live in a house that does not have a fireplace. it feels wrong.

fire is alive. it needs oxygen. it is beautiful, mesmerizing, comforting, passionate, exciting, warming and cleansing. I have burned and released many things into the fire over the years. the other night I released the heaviness of the initial cancer diagnosis and the hospital system , by burning all of my medical bills…

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I know right?! I grew up when you were told to keep 5 years of all of your bank statements and bills, receipts in a shoe box, carefully labeled and to not, repeat NOT, dispose of them for any reason until this magical 5 year milestone had been met. I remember panicking over whether or not to keep them, had I kept them long enough? would the same guy who shows up to take you to jail if  you remove your mattress tags come to arrest me if I did? now i figure that we are all modern and computerized and stuff, if they really need to find these records, they certainly can and probably find them more efficiently than I could in trying to dig them up in  my house.

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these are all of the bills from the first go round 18 months ago. the lumpectomy, the untold amounts of medical bills and paperwork and financial assistance applications and …..all of these accounts are settled. they are finished and they were taking up an extraordinary amount of room, physically and emotionally. this was not something I wished to carry forward into my life. I have been cleaning closets, going thru files, creating a massive yard sale/donation pile. stream lining my life. taking up less space with my stuff that I might fill more space with me. so 4 days ago I burned all the paperwork.

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I sat in front of my glorious wood stove and fed the papers in small amounts to the flames, allowing the burn cycle to complete before adding the next. the heat that was generated was impressive. each layer stacking on the next until it now looked like this book of ash. some plump ledger from hell. as it burned I relived and released this time frame in my life. not to erase it, but to give it space to turn into something else. to take all of the gifts that have come from this experience and to move forward with my life. cancer is a part of my story, but it is not all of my story.

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my story is just getting started… this girl is on fire…

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