December 31, 2009

Day 1 Resolution- HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I ran my workshop this morning. It went well. We made art, danced and talked about our shadow side. To me a shadow side is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, it is simply those aspects of ourselves that we prefer not to look at. I learned this perspective from one of my teachers in leadership, Ken Otter.

Less people came than I imagined would, it was early, people had been up all night dancing. The group was intimate. I had to change my score in order to accommodate the lack of participants, this gave me an opportunity to work with what was, showed me I could work on my toes. All that new agey stuff said...I am still a little bummed.

Later after licking my wounds about the workshop not being spectacular (I set my own bar very high) I was treated to another opportunity which made up for any disappointment. The opening ceremony for the New Years Eve party was being organized, Michael and I went over to join the crew who was putting it together. In a short period of time a small group of us came up with a short, profound opening ceremony to dazzle and include everyone. I was both nervous and honoured to begin the night by leading the group in a song which I learned this past summer at Planetary dance in California. It goes like this

“The next Buddha will be a community.
We are the the ones we’ve been waiting for.
We are the ones we’ve been hoping for.”

It was wonderful to lead 200 people with my voice and have them answer back with their own filled with hope for the future.

There was then a metamorphosis visualization which I danced to with a group of fabulous womyn while the drummers, including Michael, beat out an intoxicating rhythm. The whole thing culminated with two dancers pulling a butterfly from a pile of hand written intentions and carrying the symbol of transformation round the room encouraging the crowd to join us in dance and celebration.

The count down came not long afterwards. Michael and I were free of our roles in the opening and ready to kiss in the new year. Which would have worked had we both not had such dry mouths! I was seeking out some water to wet my lips and mouth so I could really enjoy the beginning of this new year, tongue included! Getting back to Michael turned out to be quite a feat, he was being descended upon by so many who love him. Competing for lip time served to remind me what a wonder he is, how he contributes so much to his community, and how much he is loved for what he offers. He is a tender and committed man dedicated to seeing all those around him rise up and show their glory. By the time I found his lips I had a full appreciation for how fortunate I am to have him in my life.


(An Alex Grey which reminded me of emergence following transformation...stunning!)

“What was your most memorable New Years Eve?” is the question in 12 days journal # 263

Latest Commitment! Resolution

How perfect is this?! That a new commitment should arrive right here on New Years Eve, a day infamous for resolutions. I have made a resolution for this year with the intention that for first 12 days I would keep it secret, then revel it on the last day and make it a life long habit.

I commit to using the next 12 days to hone my New Years resolution, to cultivate a strong practice of... something I will revel in 12 days. I commit to using this blog to chronicle the beginning of this cultivation in order to really actively commit to it, this is where the daily 12 days journal question will arise from.



December 30, 2009

Day 12 Gift of Presence- Circle Curiosity

Presently I am missing the womyn's circle here at Intention to prepare for my workshop tomorrow. There is a men’s circle running at the same time. I would love to be in the womyn's circle AND a fly on the wall at the men's circle. I get why we womyn can’t go in there, I support it, celebrate it, none of this stops my intense curiosity about what is said in that room though! I have been told about a few of the exercises, even tid bits of what was said but only ever under strict guidelines. I have learned that in many men's circles there are very clear agreements about what can be repeated outside the circle. To be honest the womyn's circle is of less interest to me, probably because I COULD go, my gender alone means I can not enter the Moose Room where the men's circle is being held. Oh to be able to turn into a fly!

The relationship between the male and female of our species seems to take up a great deal of my mental space lately...lately being perhaps the last 20 years of my life. How do you think we used to relate to one another before societal structure became polluted with class, religion, agriculture, industrialization, world wars and the make believe economy? Say you take a baby boy tiger and a baby girl tiger and set them loose in their natural environment and simply observed how they related, I would hazard a guess that they would establish a relationship driven by their instinct, their dna, their distinct male and female nature. Now say we did this with two baby humans, for sake of argument we can imagine it to be like the biosphere experiment back in the late 80’s early 90’s. Without any outside influence, how would this man and womyn, once they became a man and a womyn, relate? I know I ask the impossible, but indulge me, suspend your disbelief for a moment and imagine what a male and female relationship without all of our chaotic his-and-herstory would look like. There are books which speak of this, of the Goddess cultures which predated Christianity, there are stories about cavemen with big clubs, there are ideas. I am never sure which to buy into. I long though for us to find a more comfortable gender balance, to find the alchemy which exists between the yin and the yang, where the giving and receiving become inseparable. Ahhh....Oh man...oh womyn.

I am finished prepping for my workshop. I leave you with a video of one of the songs I am including in my playlist. I wrote the bare bones of this post on this night, I added this song when I was editing the post to upload it to the blog. I happen to know that Lhasa de Sela died the days after my workshop ran, 2 days after this entry was first roughly written. She is a shinning light, a beautiful soul who used her own joys and pain to create beautiful art. Enjoy.

“How do you relate to the oposite sex?” is the question in 12 days journal #262

December 29, 2009

Day 11 Gift of Presence- Co-created

From the outside Camp Maskepetoon may look like your standard Alberta Christian camp, but inside it is all Intention! Intention Alberta, which was birthed out of Tribal Harmonix Intention on the west coast, is now 3 years old.

I have been exposed to, and involved with co-creative endeavours before, I am familiar with many of the concepts. Even with all this experience I am still amazed at the event I walked into tonight. I won’t say it was well organized, to say this makes me imagine being greeted by a peppy hostess who tells us exactly how we will be taken care of during our time here. No it was more chaotic than this, kids running everywhere, activity in many corners of the room, decorating, food making, reconnecting, all treated as equally important work. The building was being transformed from a space reminiscent of the rustic summer camp lodge where I spent many of my summers into a sanctuary decked textiles and sacred items. This amazing space is our home for the next 5 days. There is no fearless leader who tells everyone what to do, but many fearless leaders taking turns to create a sanctum for 200 to set their intentions and transform their lives. Seems a hefty statement but I trust that it will soon seem an under statement.

(This is a photo taken at Intention Alberta 2, isn’t it beautiful?)

“What have you helped to create?” is the question in 12 days journal #261

December 28, 2009

Day 10 Gift of Presence- Alberta Bound

Today I get to see Michael again. He has been gone for a couple of weeks, this is the longest we have spent apart since he hitchhiked out to Nelson so we could travel together to Victoria and work with the L.O.V.E Collective. When I speak to Michael on the phone I can hear in his voice how much he wants to see me again, not to mention he is telling me so over and over and over again. It is nice to be loved. I am very excited to see his beautiful smiling face again.

I am travelling to Alberta for Intention with Ayla, only Ayla. The rest of my family is sick, Chris is coughing up thick yellow phlegm and has scarily long moments where he takes sharp intakes of almost no breath, sounds a little like a death rattle! Lily continually throws up from coughing. Rose is not doing so bad, just one throw up and low level sickness. My mother in law is sticking around Nelson taking care of everyone while Ayla and I head out to Intention. The hope is that the rest of the family will follow, will at least make it for the New Year celebration, when they are well. By tonight our family of seven will be in two pods, the sick BC pod and the healthy Alberta pod. I really hope that we will all be together to dance by New Years Eve.

(I googled “sick funny”, it was pretty twisted what I found! This is the cleanest one I found that was still somewhat funny, not great I know but hey....kinda funny)

“Is there someone you haven’t seen in a very long time who you would like to?” is the question in 12 days journal #260

December 27, 2009

Day 9 Gift of Presence- Intention

It is 8:01pm. I am sitting here writing because it is one of the things on my “TO DO” list for tonight. I am leaving with Rosy and Ayla bright and early in the morning, stopping to get gas and breakfast buns at Oso then off to the Crawford Bay ferry to start our trip towards Alberta. We are going to Intention Alberta 3, an intimate indoor festival in the frozen land of Alberta. We will be followed by the rest of our family when Chris and Lily are well enough to travel.


This will be my first time at Intention, Michael has been going for years. Here is a little blurb from the website explaining it co-creative nature.

“Intention is a gathering purposed towards delivering a completely co-created experience that allows all inhabitants to try on the future that we wish to live-into-being.
Intention has been called Practice Heaven by folks in the past. Imagine the exact sort of world that you seek to enjoy: the sights, sounds and feelings; the relationships and communities; the learning and play; the initiatives and expressions: And then, write all of those things down and come create them with us exactly as you want them. THAT is Intention.

We create a container in which all needs are met with glorious, lavish abundance (organic foods, rustic cabins, beautiful surroundings) and then we
create the living experience that we have always wanted out of this life. We do this by teaching each other through workshops, playshops, games, talks, hikes and videos that allow us to explore each facet of this expanded and aware world. We also do this by eating long and elaborate organic meals, all together, creating a stunning community tapestry. We also do this by sharing our gifts and talents with people who are giddy to receive them (everyone at the gathering). And lastly, we do this by dancing like nobody is watching, All Night Long.”

Eating wholesome food, hunkering down in warm cabins, sharing ideas and vision, sounds like just what I need.

There one more thing off my list!

“What are you intentions for the coming year?” is the question in 12 days journal #259

December 26, 2009

Day 8 Gift of Presence- Art Begets Art

Watch this video, it is amazing. In the beginning it might seem just good, it is obvious she is talented, wait though, it evolves into not just one piece of sand art but an entire story. It is a story which I don’t really know, I know only the very basics, that the Ukraine was invaded by Germany during WW2. By watching the reaction of the people in the audience it is obvious there is still a great deal of pain connected to this story, this history. The reaction of the audience is as moving as the art.

Art really is so very important. As I see it art has two purposes. The first being for the artist to tell a story, a way to get something that is on the inside out into the world. The second purpose is for the audience, to stir something or not, for them to love it or not, for them to be informed in some way, any way so that it catalyses some sort of change or insight. When thing are really flowing this creates a cycle where by the inspiration from the art catalysis another creation, and so on and so on. And the word “art” need not be grandiose, art is just something which is created from the mind, body and/or soul. This little piece of writing you eyes are running over at this very moment is a little humble piece of art concocted from a combination experiencing this video, and adding my own musings and ideas. It would please me so very much if someone out there took these words and in some way, a doodle perhaps or a conversation, created art. Art is what makes the world beautiful.

“ What is the purpose of art?” is the question in 12 days journal #258

December 25, 2009

Day 5 Gift of Presence- Under My Tree

You know something I really love about my children? How on Christmas they seem more interested in giving gifts than receiving them. They did scream out in delight when they got one of their collective gift, one I can’t tell you about because one member of our family, Mr. Michael Sheely, hasn’t seen it yet and I have been sworn to secrecy. For the most part though they are more interested in giving, watching other get pleasure from their careful selection or creation, than they are in receiving. Perhaps because they know giving in receiving. Such wise and wonderful little beings they are.

I received many gifts; feathers earrings from Lily, a pair of handmade leg-warmers from Rose, a journal and hair stick from Ayla, the perfect red coral earrings from Christopher, a book of love poetry from Michael and a felted wristband from Kelly, plus lots of other wondrous things from other people who love me, lots of personal little things, chosen just for me. I am so loved.

This year I have also given an amazing gift to myself. In a little over 3 months, I will have a year of my life documented. Do you know I almost never go back and read what I have written? As soon as I post an entry it drops out of my mind. Essentially in 3 months I will have an unopened, neatly wrapped gift of one whole years worth of entries, one entry for each and every day.

And what a year to have chosen! So much has happened in the last 3 years of my life. They say it takes 7 years to completely regenerate ones body. It has taken me a little over 3 years to regenerate, reconfigure, reconstitute, my soul. There were times I swore the growth was to fast, that it was pushing me over the edge, especially in the last 6 months. Emerging from my chrysalis, sticky winged, bones created for flight stretching out for the first time, this has been painful at times, moments of pain spread across a back drop of bliss. This journey of mine, this spiritual awakening, is documented and waiting for me when the time comes. When I am able and open to read it, my herstory is waiting for me. What a glorious gift of self awareness, what care I have given myself.

In my stocking I received a tiny bindi from Chrissy, it is in the shape of a butterfly. It was meant as a small decorative token, given to me by one of my Kings, in appreciation of me, to say “I see you, see what you are going through”. Thank you Chrissy, for seeing me, for supporting me. I will wear my butterfly bindi on New Years Eve while I am dancing with my other King, the other one who sees me, supports me and loves me. Thank you Baby.


Merry Christmas to all you who celebrate. Merry Merry day to those of you who don’t.

“Is there a gift you have received in your life that stands out?” is the question in 12 days journal # 257

December 24, 2009

Day 6 Gift of Presence- Sign of the Times

It is a sign of the times.... Everyone is on facebook these days.

Click this link to track Santa's progress this Christmas eve.

I have to go stuff stocking now...I both LOVE and struggle with Christmas; presents, fighting, good food, bad food, So much wonder, and so much grief all wrapped up with a red velvet bow. Right now though it is about stuffing stockings and waiting for the kids to wake up with wonder and excitement, THIS is the part I really love. In our house most of the stress ends on Christmas Eve...we made it!!

If you are celebrating Christmas may Santa arrive by sleigh, horse or scooter at your home. If not, may you have a wonderful quiet day filled with joy and ease. Lots of Love.


“What are your Winter Holiday memories from childhood?” is the question in 12 days journal #256

December 23, 2009

Day 5 Gift of Presence- Point of Contact

Today was lovely, spent lots of time with lots of friends and family.

I don’t have a lot to say, but here is an amazing video I found a while back. The man is a friend of mine, his passion for contact dance runs deep, I am sure you will be able to see this. The dance between these two is a perfect example of where giving meets receiving, so much so that they become indiscernible. Enjoy.

“What is the relationship between giving and reciving?“ is he questionin 12 days journal #255

December 22, 2009

Day 4 Gift of Presence- Loosing Family

Its official we have been evicted from the studio. I hadn’t mourned the loss of it yet, I was ever hopeful that the landlord would change his mind. Chris had been working on him with some heavy doses of kindness and compassion, but no luck. He tells us stories of why we can’t have the space we created, made beautiful, then we find out the stories are not true. His heart which I have no doubt is full of light, is hidden away from us and it looks like we are going to have to accept that he has the upper hand.

Michael is away. The studio is ours until the 31st. I have to go down the day after boxing day and remove all our stuff, leave our non-human baby behind. It really does feel like loosing a part of my family. I imagine there is going to be a lot of tears that day.

To make things feel done I have notified the Sanctum Studio facebook group. Putting things on facebook always seems to make it final. Thank you to everyone who sent us condolences, and kind words, if nothing else knowing we have support is a blessing. I love all you wonderful people.

To end on a celebratory note, one with dance involved, here is a video of the Brian Rosen and the What Now, at Sleep is for Sissies a while back. The womyn dancing in the vest is me. This is me in my bliss, I love to dance and one lost studio will never even come close to putting out my fire.
(embedding was disabled, so click above and go watch)

“Have you ever lost something that you worked very hard to create?” is the question in 12 days journal #254

December 21, 2009

Day 3 Gift of Presence- Solstice!!

“The sun was born again today,
we greet the suns first morning ray,
we sing and celebrate the light,
the sun’s born in the longest night”

This is our family solstice song.

When the kids go to bed tonight they will lay out silk scarves. While they sleep the Solstice Fairies will come and and use the scarves to wrap up little pieces of nature and hand made goods. This year I watched as the fairies deliver the gifts, the girls received a tortoise shell, petrified wood, a fossil, some feathers, a statue of lakshmi, and half the jaw bone of a very big animal. I have no doubt the girls are going to be very happy with their morning surprises. I love family traditions!

“What is one of your favourite family traditions?” is the question in 12 days journal #253

December 20, 2009

Day 2 Gift of Presence- Blessed Be!

Michael and I have been having a hard time lately. There is so much love between us, yet this doesn’t seem to be stopping us from struggling to love each other the way we deserve to be loved. This afternoon I got out of school to find 4 messages from him on my cell, sweet wonderful messages filled with love. Love is not always easy, commitment can be difficult when things get really hard. Sometimes walking away is so darn appealing, and I have spent many a day lately wanting to run away. The voice recorded on my phone melted my heart and reminded me just how much I love this man who is committed, and determined, and strives to live in his highest integrity. We recommitted to each other today, spoke of our love, dedicated ourselves to our magic. I want you all to know this, I ask you to stand in witness. I can not know what the future holds, but right now I am commitment to presence so it doesn’t really matter. In this present moment I believe in the magic that brought us together. In this present moment I am so filled with love and faith that my family is flourishing, all seven of us.

I am on a plane going home for Solstice which happens at exactly 5:49 on the 21st. Tomorrow will be winter. Tomorrow Michael and I will have seen 4 seasons as a couple. It will also mark 17 times that the sun has been born again while Chris and I have been lovers and best friends. Seventeen years of growing and loving with a man who trusts me, accepts me, supports me, believes in me, and honours me. So on this last day of Autumn I give thanks for all the love I have in my life and for the two beautiful men I share this life with. It may be unorthodox, and certainly takes a lot of dedication, but it is worth it. I am so very blessed.


“What blessings do you have in your life?” is the question in 12 day journal #252

December 19, 2009

Day 1 Gift of Presence- Ordinary Miracles

Today I saw Jahan Khalighi. No word of a lie, I know it seems too crazy to be true. He showed up at the studio and watched us dance, waiting for the space to open up for some sort of drumming event. He played downstairs while we got ready to free up the space for him and a friend. I am in awe of the alignment of the universe. I mean I know it happens all the time, I imagine you have experienced it too, the thinking about someone and then them showing up thing. It is actually quite ordinary, still seems amazing to me each and every time though. The ordinary things quite often seem to be the most miraculous.

My gift of presence today was singing and being completely present with my lovely friend K.D and with Jai Uttal. We went to sing Kirtan with him at Open Secret in San Rafael. When he came out to play he asked what I was doing there, something he asks each and every time I am in the audience. I always answer the same thing, “I came to sing with you Jai.” I love this little ritual, love being seen and appreciated by a man who made a huge difference at one of the hardest times in my life. In 5 days it will be exactly 3 years ago that my father in law died. Quite possible it was EXACTLY 3 years ago today that I walked into a rock and gem shop to buy sage for the inevitable funeral and heard Jai’s voice, he was speaking about LOVE. His words touched me deeply, I begged to buy the store copy of the CD, the only one they had left, and listened to his invocation over and over again, it gave me the strength the get through the loss my children's grandfather, my husbands father, my mother in laws husband of over 30 years, and of a man who for 14 years was a father to me. I met Jai 6 months later, just weeks after Chris’ accident. He was delightful and humble, a bhakti King. We formed a bond and now 2 1/2 years later I feel so blessed to be able to give him the gift of my voice, dance and presence, responding to his call in the Kirtan with love and devotion for God.

Today was a very good day indeed, and I got to share it with a couple members of my chosen family; Jai, and Krishna Devita...I love you both very much.

“Is there someone who came into you life when you were struggling who helped you through it?” is the question in 12 days journal #251

Latest Commitment! What do you want for Christmas?

It is that time of year where so many of us suffer from the angst of both loving and hating this festive season. Rampant consumerism is the thing that most people I know struggle with, though there are the others who don’t like the loss of what they consider to the “Reason for the Season”. I do have some gifts ready for wrapping, treasures for my family, and do admit I love this tradition. I can’t poo poo Christmas, there is too much happiness and joy that can be found so long as I don’t get wrapped up in cranky complaints. It is stressful though and many years I have found that while I was making many gifts, I was disappearing from my family at this time when family is the key to the delight of the season. So this is the gift I am giving for the next 12 days, myself.

I commit for the next 12 days to giving MYSELF to members of my family, both those who are officially sanctioned an those who have become family by way of being brothers and sisters who care for me and allow me to care for them. I plan to do this is a very specific way.

“The future is a mystery,
The past history,
Right now is a gift,
This is why it is called the present.

I commit to spending time with loved ones and remaining present. I already have a date with my Lily Rain to do collaborative doodle, one of my all time favourite ways to spend time with beautiful people.

December 18, 2009

Day 12 Twelve of Twelve- Experiment

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming.

I have been wondering lately when I will run into Jahan Khalighi again. I (barely) met him 6 months ago on the summer solstice, at the Planetary dance. He a spoken word artist and grandson of Anna Halprin, the founder of the Tamalpa Institute. Aside from being a phenomenal spoken word artist he is also a you see where I am going with this? I often have these experiences where I begin to think a lot about a person then unexpectedly and seemingly out of nowhere, they show back up in my life. Today at school, in his grandmothers studio, I notice myself looking out the window, watching for him, wanting to connect and find out when he will be performing again. I had not really given spoken word much of a chance until I heard him weave his words, a tapestry of love, strength and truth delivered with such conviction. I want to hear more! So this is a little experiment to see if him entering back into my consciousness means I will see him perform again soon.


Before I go I leave you with the words of another poet, one I love so deeply for his romantic heart...oh my lovely Rumi.

“Each night the moon kisses secretly the lover who counts the stars.

Short and oh so sweet.

“Do you consider yourself a romantic?” is the question in 12 days journal #250

December 17, 2009

Day 11 Twelve of Twelve- Yourself

“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping“

Oh man...this one is tough. On a day that wasn’t tough to begin with but sure ended up that way. All I can give you is that in this song by the Chilli Peppers, must have been played somewhere at sometime with a flute. I can’t give you more because I am wiped, feeling like nothing I do can make things any better, I am feeling defeated. Yet even now as I feel this, I still believe, I still trust, I still feel the flame burning strong in the cold wind. I know that the words in this song describe how I am loved under it all. This entry is for you my love. I don’t know what else to say.

”Hustle Bustle
And so much muscle
Our cells about to separate
Now I find it hard to concentrate
And temporary, this cash and carry
I’m stepping up to indicate
The time has come to deviate and

All I want is for you to be happy
And take this moment to make you my family
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found…

Death defying, this mess I’m buying
It’s raining down with love and hate
Now I find it hard to motivate
And estuary is blessed but scary
Our hearts about to palpitate
And I’m not about to hesitate

And want to treasure the rest of your days here
And give you pleasure in so many ways, dear
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found…
Here we go.

Do you want me to show up for duty?
And serve this woman and honor her beauty?
And finally you have found something perfect
And finally you have found... yourself
With me...
Will you... agree... to take this man... into your world..
And now... we are as one...

My lone ranger,
The heat exchanger
Is living in this figure 8
Now I’ll do my best to recreate.
And Sweet precision.
And soft collision
Our hearts about to palpitate
Now I find it hard to separate.

And all I want is for you to be happy
And take this woman and make you my family
And finally you have found someone perfect
And finally you have found

All I want is for you to be happy
And take this woman and make you my family
And finally you have found someone perfect
And finally you have found…

”Have you found true love?“
is the question in 12 days journal #249

December 16, 2009

Day 10 Twelve of Twelve- Dancing Men

“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

Ten Lords A-leaping“

To California I go! I seriously considered not going again this month. I know I am getting better, partially this is due to taking better care of myself, letting go of my tendency to keep pushing my limits. There have been lots of lessons in this mystery illness of mine. Going to school means a lot of travel, driving, bright lights and big city, all things I find overwhelming right now. I am going anyway. This course means so much to me, the teachings and support I receive at Tamalpa fill my mind and heart. I miss Marin too, it is like a second home, with lots of family. So in order to take care of my needs I am going to pace myself, I don’t think I will attend all of my classes. I am finally really learning to take care of myself, this period of not having my health has been my teacher... so many lessons.

When I get off this plane I might stop in the the East Bay Ecstatic Dance in downtown Oakland, see if I can find some friends to cuddle and dance with. I am sure there will be more than 10 lords a leaping in that room. Ahhh.... dancing men, how I love them so. There are so many beautiful lords, beautiful men who are coming out and dancing their prayers, I love this. Dancing has not always been a safe activity for men in my culture, I am ecstatic that this has changed. So to my dancing and music playing brothers, I honour you, love you, stand in awe of your courage to groove it up and express yourselves through music and movement. Leap you Lords leap!

“What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned in this lifetime?” is the question in 12 days journal #248

December 15, 2009

Day 9 Twelve of Twelve- Bye Bye Baby

“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing.“


We were told today that we are being kicked out of our studio. We have had endless issues with our landlord right from the beginning, today we were told we had to leave by December 31st. We are holding out hope that he will change his mind. I feel so terrible, so helpless, so filled with want for revenge against this man for choosing money over people. I KNOW revenge will not not serve me or anyone else, but it sure seems appealing in this moment. If we really do have to leave at the end of December, we will continue our work, just not in this studio. What a blow. I may never get to dance with 9 ladies in this, my first ever dance studio, my non-human baby.

“Is there a disappointment you have experienced in your life that stands out?” is the question is 12 days journal #247

December 14, 2009

Day 8 Twelve of Twelve- KC/DC

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking“


We have joined forces with another dancer and a couple dj’s to form the Kootenay Conscious Dance Collective, also known as KC/ cool an acronym is that? I don’t have a lot more to tell you except that we are all pretty excited to get the conscious dance community here in Nelson in full swing. We have had two meetings, both at Oso Negro coffee shop, vortex of Nelson social web. I had a cappuccino one of those times. Cappuccino is made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 foam and 1/3 milk. I have no idea if it was a maid that milked the cow but I am willing to say so for the sake of today's commitment. I know...brutal, it is as though my commitment is actually to non-commitment at the moment.

“What do you drink?” is the slightly odd, yet I imagine interesting, question in 12 days journal #246

December 13, 2009

Day 7 Twelve of Twelve- Booty

“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

seven Swans A-swimming.“

More birds! What is with all the birds?


Our water source is freezing, it is really friggen cold in Nelson right now. We have been quite lucky, our water has never fully frozen, but it might be coming damn close. This morning I shivered through a trickle of a shower. Tomorrow we may have to go to the aquatic centre to bathe. Enter today's commitment. The aquatic centre is also known as the swimming pool...commitment fulfilled, yes I know how loosely I am following this particular commitment, it is all I got right now. I have been feeling stronger though. I think my body just needed a little time to get used to its new self.

I went to a meeting for Nelson’s annual Valentines Burlesque show. I will be in the show this year, which is both exciting and scary. I am working on getting some of my booty back so I have something to shake on stage. I think I will go look at costumes when I am in San Francisco next week.

”Are you content with you body?“ is the question in 12 days journal #245

December 12, 2009

Day 6 Twelve of Twelve- What Now?

“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

six Geese A-laying“

I went to a show tonight. When the band was ready to go on for their second set I was the only one in the room,everyone else was outside talking and smoking, inspecting Winlaw's newest outdoor ice rink. The band joked they were going to put on a private show for me, my friend Ty laughed and said “Ya and then you better write about it in your blog”...and so I will.


The band is Brian Rosen and the What Now. I have mentioned them here on the blog before, I believe this is my 4th time seeing them, they just keep getting better and better. Their music is a little all over the place, I mean that in the good way. They do their original songs and some really cleverly arranged remakes, mostly Bob Marley the one I love best though is Paul Simon’s, Gumboots. They play a higher consciousness sound, with positive affirming lyrics, they are phenomenal to dance to, lots of groovy bass and sax. I went with my Goddess friend Jill, we danced from the beginning to the very end at which time every person in the room was on their feet. I have so enjoyed seeing these men commit themselves to their craft, their artistry, creating positive music that grows and informs. They are my brothers, playing music for me to dance my way to God. Thank you Ben, Ty, Rob, Jesse Lee, Brian, my Jilly Bean and everyone else who came out for a beautiful night of conscious dancing to conscious music. The world is waking up, one committed soul at a time.

So how can I make a reference to 6 Geese a laying? How about the band is 5 and I am 1, together we were flying in formation laying down some artful giving and receiving. But of course there were more than 6 of us there, it takes more than 6 geese to create the kind of connected ecstatic vibe we had going on down at Sleep is for Sissies, tonight.

“Do you believe you are living consciously or unconsciously?” is the question in 12 days journal # 244

December 11, 2009

Day 5 Twelve of Twelve- Five

“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

five Golden Rings.”


Look what I found today.

“Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas (The 12 Days of Christmas)

1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed”

Who knew? Not me.

For today’s commitment I give you a riddle that my Lily told me.

“I can hold flesh and bone but have a hole on either end...what am I?”

The answer is today’s commitment.

“Have you ever been married? Why?” is the question in 12 days journal #243

December 10, 2009

Day 4 Twelve of Twelve- Calling

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds.


Have you noticed it is all birds? I never noticed this before, until we get to tomorrow and the 5 golden rings, ALL of the days before it are about birds. Todays is specifically a calling bird. Michael mused that a calling bird might be a parrot, parrots are often called “Poly”. We have polyamoury discussion group tonight running at the studio. I know it is a stretch but hey, its my blog and I can do anything I want!

Inside 12 days journal #242 is the question, “Do you call your mother?”. My mother and mother in law, both reader by the way, would tell you...NO! Not often enough ...sorry mama’s.

December 9, 2009

Day 3 Twelve of Twelve- Lighting

On the third days of Christmas my true love gave to me

...Three French Hens


IKEA, Starbucks, pushing a cart filled with lighting through a blustery parking lot while the wheels skid across hard ice crystals which Albertans Call “snow”. No pedestrian areas, drive thrus abound with festive decorations illuminating the many consumer opportunities. All this can all only mean only one thing, I have come back to Calgary at Christmas time.

I was born here, in Calgary, nearly 36 years ago. I lived here till I was 3, then moved to Bragg Creek where I grew up; moved back to Calgary for University and met Chris at 19. I went to live in Australia, picked up Ayla, came home to Calgary. Moved to Slave Lake Alberta, then Pemberton BC, and then to Nelson, beautiful crazy, highly vibrating Nelson. I wouldn’t want to live in Calgary, growing up I couldn’t WAIT to be out of Alberta. Now though, I have an appreciation for it, it is too early in this new phase of my relationship with Calgary to really tell you what the appreciation is all about, but it is there all the same. Despite sprawling suburbs, and its overt consumer nature, I am reconnecting with my city of Birth, home of the greatest outdoor show on earth!

So the commitment? We ate chicken at Michael's sisters house, too easy.

“Where were you born? What is your relationship to this place now?” is the question in 12 days journal #241

December 8, 2009

Day 2 Twelve of Twelve- Flew the Coop

“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves.”

We are two love birds, not unlike doves, who flew the coop. Left for Calgary tonight to get lighting, a place to put coats and shoes...and to meet Michael's mom. Meeting “the mother” is nerve wracking enough without showing up still happily married to ones husband. While I am sure she will eventually grow to love me, it is not lost on me that Michael’s mom likely has to come a far way out of her comfort zone to accept me as his choice of life partner. Wish me luck!


“Do you remember a funny story about a family gathering?” is the question in 12 days journal #240

December 7, 2009

Day 1 Twelve of Twelve- Pear

“One the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....

A Partridge in a Pear Tree.”


I bought a few pairs of pears today. This is all I have for you.

“What do you doing during the winter holiday season?” is the question in 12 days journal #239

Latest Commitment! 12 Days of Avoiding Burn Out

It may be of no surprise to you that this experiment is taking its toll on me, perhaps by reading about what is going on lately or maybe you knew from the get go that writing everyday, with no real breaks was enough to drive a person round the bend!? I had no idea when I started just how strongly this project would effect my life. So the short of it is.....I am feeling burnt out. I am about 9 months in, which is a fairly natural time to be feeling burn out I suppose. I have faith that once I get over this hump and come down the other side into spring, near the end of this experiment on April 5th, that the denouement will be easier, that resolution and reflection will emerge gracefully. For now though I need some comic relief.

It is Christmas, there is a fairly well know carol about 12 days round this time of year. I am going to relate my 12 day commitment to the 12 days of Christmas . Don’t expect much other more than a crazy stretch in relating the song to my daily commitment. Other than that I won’t be writing much.... I am taking a bit of a break!


I want to dedicate this commitment to my friend James, creator of Puppetji. We talked in the summer about doing this, he made many a funny joke, he is a VERY funny man. So James this commitment is inspired by you and your refreshing use of humour to deal with the day to day. I love you brother.

December 6, 2009

Day 12 Just Breathe- Julie Andrews

“Doe, a deer, a female deer
Ray, a drop of golden sun
Me, a name I call myself
Far, a long, long way to run
Sew, a needle pulling thread
La, a note to follow Sew
Tea, a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Do-do-do-do”

He got his second deer of the season, a doe this time, apparently the meat on a doe is more tender. We are set for meat for the entire winter and likely will have plenty to share and trade. Thanks Chrissy.

“What is you favorite movie?” is the question in 12 days journal #238 Just cause I want todays question to be easy and light.

December 5, 2009

Day 11 Just Breathe- Worst Case Scenario

I read something comforting today. I found it in the book, Why Can’t I Just Be Happy, by Rolf Nabb. I found the book on the net, by using the search words “Worst case scenario thinking”. Google books allowed me to read 7 pages of the book. From these 7 pages I learn that highly intelligent people often fall victim to something he calls the “unhappiness of the overly analytical” AKA “worst case scenario thinking”. Apparently intelligent folks ability to be creative, to look at things from many angles, can have a darker side, those many angles can becoming overwhelming and tangled, leaving the thinker feeling frayed. I seek solace in knowing that I get to cushion my ego a little when owning my “worst case scenario thinking” with the “highly intelligent” moniker. Perhaps I will get a button saying so, put it on my jacket. This way when I am walking down the street, tear stained and confused, all around will know I am not loosing my marbles, I am merely highly intelligent and susceptible to grandiose thought. Really it is all in how you package things.


While I do not buy that my weight loss and stress level are as a result of “worst case scenario thinking”, I do acknowledge that I engage in it, and that when I do, I feel worse. I admit that when I am not doing well physically, haven’t been eating or sleeping enough, my thinking can border on paranoid. The book talks about “worst case scenario thinking” being a tool learned as children to buffer us from disappointment which can be so overwhelming for kids. In adulthood though it can become a habit, “sucking the joy” from situations. Damn my uber intelligence!

So the first step is awareness.. Ok got it, I SOMETIMES have the tendency to look at the “worst case scenario”. With awareness comes the ability to over analyse myself when I engage in this behaviour...wait that is what got me here in the first place. How about having awareness and then rather than going into thinking about it or judging it, I will use my creative highly intelligent nature to dream up a best case scenario, or even a probable case scenario? So this is my intention, to lay down some new patterns and alleviate the stress of dreaming up impending doom trusting it will help me in many ways. And so it is!

“What patterns do you have that you think it is time to change?” is the question in 12 days journal #237

December 4, 2009

Day 10 Just Breathe- Dance Differently

This video is for ANYONE who claims they “can’t dance”.

There is a Zimbabwean proverb that goes

“If you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you can sing”

This guy is pushing boundaries, living big and accepting what is with grace and passion. Remember him next time the “I can’t....” emerges.

This one is for you you brother.

“What can’t you do?” is the question in 12 days journal #236

December 3, 2009

Day 9 Just Breathe- Blankie

“Your love
Should never be offered
to the mouth of a Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.
~ Hafiz”

I think I will give a copy of this to each of my daughters; this is how I want them to be loved, how I want them to want themselves to be loved.

“How do you want to love and be loved?” is the question in 12 days journal #235

December 2, 2009

Day 8 Just Breathe- The Baby has a Name!

So today I decided I needed another blog, this one wasn’t quite enough.

My name is Bernice and I am a blog addict.

The new blog is actually not just mine, it is a blog for Michael, me and our studio, which is called...
.....wait for it.

I am not going to give you the internet address to the blog yet, we are still ironing the virtual edges, but it is out there in internet land I assure you. We also have new facebook group for the studio so we can send out events and news. Ah facebook, the networking tool of our times!

Here is the link if you are interested in joining.

Things are humming along, thank goodness I am committed to breathing.

“What major change have you made in your life recently?” is the question which lives in the front cover of 12 days journal #234

December 1, 2009

Day 7 Just Breathe- Children of God

It is hard for me to believe I am going to put a Martina McBride song on my blog, but I am.

My friend Ruthie sent this to me, three times I think. Ruthie is one of those life time kinda friends. We could not speak for years and I know I would be welcomed, no questions asked, into open arms if I needed her. Our spiritual paths are seemingly opposing, our politics very different, we live in completely different communities, in most every way we do things differently from one another...And none of this matters, she is a sister, and a friend for life.

And so for you Ruthie here is Martina McBride’s, Anyway, the song you have dedicated to me, have sent to inspire me. I know it took you three times to get it through my head, and thank you for your persistence. I love you with all my heart. Most of all I want you to know am so very inspired by your commitment to God, your faith and your trust. As always I believe any difference in how we see God is purely semantical and culturally influenced. That we are both children of the same loving, accepting God...but you knew that already didn’t you?

“Do you remember a time when you were grateful for a friends support?“ is the question in 12 days journal #233

November 30, 2009

Day 6 Just Breathe- No Contact

I don’t know what to write about. Anything authentic is either too personal to share or too hard to take back should I feel differently in an hour, which judging by how I have felt most of today, is very likely. If I let myself think about things too much I decide there is no answer, no solution. So today I tried really hard to be busy, not think too much, take care of the things which thankfully need taking care of.

Recently I made a decision that I had to make getting well my priority, I took steps, but I don’t know if they are making things better or worse!

I went to contact improv tonight, I spent a lot of the time at the back of the room “stretching”, which is a very common thing people do when they don’t want to more into contact with others, or are nervous about it. I didn’t want to touch anyone, the dynamics in the room were funky, or at least I imagined they were. Not only that I am embarrassed by my bony body, when I roll over people my bones stick into them. Finally a friend came and touched my foot. I took the bait. I had a beautiful dance with him. We are connected by some common circumstances at the moment, dancing with him was my way of expressing gratitude and accepting comfort all without words. I left after that one dance, again to deal with “dynamics”. I didn’t want to leave with the entire group, sit around talking afterwards and have them notice the awkwardness of things. I was grateful to have had that one dance though, one body to roll around with, a body that was tender and kind.

Right now I just want to cuddle up with “tender” and “kind” and drift off to sleep, be held all night without worrying what dynamics the morning will bring. I am tired of having all this stress in my life. This stress is what is causing all this pain and weakness in my body, I want out from under it, and I have no idea how to do that, too many “dynamics” involved.


“How has stress effected your life?” is the question in 12 days journal #232

November 29, 2009

Day 5 Just Breathe- Womyn from Florida

Back in October I wrote an entry which expressed my gratitude for a “womyn from Florida” whom I danced with at the Madrona BodyMind Institute. Later I wrote a peice for the Soul Motion newsletter and included the internet address of this blog. I got the following email today from the “womyn from florida” , she received the newsletter and followed my byline here to the 12 days 2 inspire blog.

Dear Bernice,

Thank you for sharing your journey in 12days2inspire. I didn't get it until the Soul Motion Newsletter arrived. I started reading your entries and was so touched that our meeting at MMI resonated with you.

I thought I would share my story of the workshop with you. I am a Nia teacher and my love is to create a space for people to discover their own dance and to love it. This summer I was diagnosed with stage 2 malignant melanoma. It was a life changing time as I did not know what the rest of my life would look like. Thank goodness it had not spread, however the surgery was so invasive and the loss of control so frightening, I literally felt that I no longer was in my body. I did not know if I could still dance. I certainly did not feel I could hold the space or High watch for anyone.

One day I came home and my husband said - don't kill me but I called Aletia and booked Vinn's workshop for you. What a gift it turned out to be. The weekend was magical - on Saturday Vinn walked into the room and said I am going to show you how to get into your bodies - he read from A Gift From the Sea - I had brought him a shell as a gift and on and on it went. (yes I love to collect shells) I felt overwhelmed by the warmth and love that surrounded me.

Your part - when you grabbed my hand at the edge of the witness circle and we danced around it together!

The rest of the week was wonderful as well - stayed with good friends in Seattle, connected with womyn I danced with long ago and connected with family and a friend dying of brain cancer. I was able to be open to all of it. It is still resonating within my being.

Now I haven't seen you on your blog in 3 days. The mother in me is concerned. In my heart I know your are well. You have inspired me to start my own 12days2inspire for at least 12 days lol!

I love you so....

This letter was just what I needed today, to remind me of who I am, why I am enough, perfectly me. That I make a difference in positive ways, that I have grown so much, and continue to do so, that there is no need for me to go any faster than I am. It also helped to kick my butt into taking care of myself and not ignore the obvious, that which I have a feeling others around me see and are not telling me. Tell me the truth of what you see, let this be your gift to me.

“What is the greatest gift you have been given?” is the question in 12 days journal #231

November 28, 2009

Day 4 Just Breathe- Love Like That...


If It Is Not Too Dark

Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.
Get some fresh air, try to smile.
Say something kind
To a safe-looking stranger, if one happens by.

Always exercise your heart's knowing.

You might as well attempt something real
Along this path:

Take your spouse or lover into your arms
The way you did when you first met.
Let tenderness pour from your eyes
The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.

Play a game with some children.
Extend yourself to a friend.
Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants -
Why not let them get drunk and wild!

Let's toast
Every rung we've climbed on Evolution's ladder.
Whisper, "I love you! I love you!"
To the whole mad world.

Let's stop reading about God -
We will never understand Him.

Jump to your feet, wave your fists,
Threaten and warn the whole Universe

That your heart can no longer live
Without real love!


My heart only wants to live with REAL love,

REAL reciprocation,

real willingness,

REAL caring,

shared decision making,

real respect,

and REAL empathy.

“What is some of you favorite poetry?” is the question in 12 days journal #230. I am really excited to read both the journal AND the comments that get left here on the journal, oh how I love poetry.

November 27, 2009

Day 3 Just Breathe- Jus Dance

I put together the music for Jus Dance tonight. It was wonderful to see so many dancing, smiling, shaking to a musical tapestry of my making. I tasted my calling, it was delicious.


The other side of this dirty coin is that putting together the playlist set off a series of events which took away my “full spectrum”. How do you know when to say “Uncle”?


“How do you know when to walk away?” is the question in 12 days journal #229

November 26, 2009

Day 2 Just Breathe- Baby

“Baby, I don't understand
Why we can't just hold on to each other's hands.

This time might be the last, I fear
Unless I make it all too clear
I need your soul.

Take these broken wings
And learn to fly again, learn to live so free.
When we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up and let us in.

Take these broken wings.

Baby, I think tonight
We can take what was wrong and make it right.
Baby, it's all I know
That you're half of the flesh and blood makes me whole.
I need your soul

~Mr. Mister”

“What gets in the way of your happiness?” is the question in
12 days journal #228

November 25, 2009

Day 1 Just Breathe- Jerk and Dancing babies

God...sometimes I am so blind to the interior of my own cocoon, my drama and antics, that I nauseate myself. I would tell you details, and they are juicy, especially when I spin them up right and stack the story in my favour, but to be honest it is as simple as...I was a jerk. I had reasons sure...but how many acts too terrible to even think about are justified just the same way? Maybe all terrible things done in the world are justified this way. Ugh...

I trust it all...I WANT to take it back, but I know to trust it, that whatever the consequence, it is necessary for me to “get it”. Fuck being human is hard.

Being human is also wonderful, sweet and such a wild ride. Which is a good thing, because judging by my behaviour yesterday I will remain human a lot longer. I still have work to do before enlightenment catapults me out of being human....sigh.

Ok to make this entry a little more up beat, I want to dedicate this video to my Lily Rain. The cooler than cool 11 year old who went and skinned a deer with her dad yesterday, then brought the hide (sp?) home to make an alter cloth. This is for you kid.


“What triggers you?” is the question in 12 days journal #227

Latest Commitment! Just Breathe

Is the world speeding up everywhere or just in the crazy Nelson vortex? My newest commitment is so simple and so necessary, it is to simply breathe. Of course I do it all day long, but often not very effectively or mindfully. There is not a lot of room for the extraneous in my life at the moment, two long term commitments, a new intense friendship, 3 glorious and busy children, this blog, healing, and cultivating joy, ease and fun. I barely have room to breathe...which is why I am committing to Just breathe.

I commit to be mindful of my breathing for the next 12 days, to use it as a resource when feeling strong emotion, to cultivate better breathing habits, and for my health! I promise I will always breathe while writing my entries which means I will do better with this commitment than I have been with my others lately.

I don’t usually put video’s into my “Latest commitment” entries, but given how much this guy has sung to me while I write, it seems appropriate. Enjoy the transportive voice of Alexi Murdoch in his song...Breathe.

November 24, 2009

Day 12 Visual Creation- "Shootin Bucks and Drivin Trucks"

He hunts alone.
He uses a crossbow, not a gun.
He goes only by foot.
He uses deer pee to hide his human scent.
Has has got up before daybreak nearly every morning for 3 weeks to track.
He wears camo hats and pants in a town known for its hippies.
He has been a little obsessed.
He is going to fill our freezer for the season.
He took the life of a buck today.
He sat with the buck as it died, he said some prayers and thanked the deer for its life.
He is providing for his family.
He is MY husband, I admire him so much.


“Who is someone you admire?” is the question in 12 days journal #226

November 23, 2009

Day 11 Visual Creation- Bhakti Shakti

Bye bye Ashram. 

I still can not decide whether I liked being at the Ashram or not. It is a peculiar thing, I WANT to like it, the place just seemed so solemn, rigid, cold. This is not to say that there were not lovely people there, I was treated very well, cared for even. Still I can’t shake the idea that people were not being themselves.

Swami Sivananda Radha Saraswati, the founder of Yasodhara  and creator of many teaching centres (Radha Yoga Centres) in North America, Mexico and England, has such a fascinating story. She was a dancer, eventually through her devotion to Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh she came to see dance as a way to celebrate and devote oneself to the divine. There is singing everyday at the temple which is such an amazing sanctuary to sing in. Yet the Satsangs were morose, just as a mantra was about to begin to rock out, it would end. I sang, and put my hands in the air, felt the pull to move to the back and dance, but I got the feeling this was not acceptable. I did not see any dancing while I was there, well except for my own reflection in my bedroom window when I was bustin' a move to the Ghost Brother version of Hare Krishna. How could the work of this womyn, who had so much Kali fire, have become so mundane? This temple, devoted in so many ways to the Goddess, seems to be so lacking in femininity.

I know I was only there for three days, it is coming on winter and things are at their sleepiest. Perhaps if I show up in the Spring I will find what it is I crave: a spiritual community which accepts and celebrates all aspects of the Divine and focuses on the feminine, from the nurturing of Gaia to destructive nature of Kali. Perhaps  the mantra’s will last longer, allowing us all to really make it cellular. Maybe the Swami playing the harmonium will smile and make eye contact, and I will dance with wild abandon, devoted to all. Maybe this spring Shakti Bhakti will flow. This would make me very happy. 

"The main thing I try to do is have my students bring quality into their lives. To me, people are not spiritual if this quality is not there in their lives-even if they meditate six hours a day. By quality I mean that which comes from deep inside and shows up in their actions, their treatment of others and the way they do their jobs.
~ Swami Sivananda Radha Saraswati“


   ”What qualities of the feminine do you identify within yourself?“ is the question in 12 days journal #225

November 22, 2009

Day 10 Visual Creation- Circle Square

For some reason TED won’t let me embed this video, so you are going to have to do it the archaic, old fashion way and actually click on the link, I know you can do it. It is so worth it, I saw this in Satsang last night, and all I could think was that I was born in the wrong country! I mean I have faith, know I was actually born in the right country, but Ganesha’s idea of “my world”, the mythological mind that spends most of it time in a state of “sort of”, is how I roll. I have been known to say, “Don’t use logic against me!” And though it may seem like I am joking, I am not! Please watch, it is so worth it.

“If you could live anywhere, where would you live?” is the question in 12 days journal #224

November 21, 2009

Day 9 Visual Creation- Unkempt Hair

I don’t know that I can adequately explain the importance of mantra in my life. I sat in the centre of the Temple of Divine Light, here at Yasodhara, and sang mantra after mantra. There is nothing else in those moments, mantra and dance may very well be the only times when I am completely present, well actually I can think of some others, but suffice to say singing out the names of God, usually in words I don’t even understand, brings me into the Divine Light.

Yes I am at an Ashram, does it show? The thing is I am actually always this overzealous about the power of music, dance, art, touch, or anything else that lets us touch the other side, I generally just temper it in public because of the funny looks and uncomfortable pauses. Now that I am here at the Ashram, where it is all about God there is no obstacle to floating off into the expanse. There is a catch though, the Ashram is celibate. Don’t jump to conclusions! I am not thinking about having sex while here, it is more that sexuality isn’t a part of this community, at least not in a practical sense. Lately the blog and my life have been all about sexuality and my struggles with it, so what do I do? I head to the ashram! Quite the gamble.

My sense is that the dance of balance between the feminine and the masculine has been thrown in the closet, here at Yasodhara, in favour of the simple and more easily attained equal parts of both. This is not a world I would want to permanently exist in, it lacks the dynamics which create much of my growth. I have my own personal dance between the masculine and feminine going on within me, but here on the outside my focus this time round is to understand what it is like to be a man and womyn from the perspective of not only a womyn but a womyn who is committed to understanding the balance of the feminine and the masculine from within. Sound confusing? That’s because it is, it is also simple, if I listen and trust. Here at the Ashram things seem homogenous, blended, like they have been taken to with a Vita-mix blender. Nothing stands out enough to take hold of. I imagine it as an attempt to control the chaos. This is my slant on things, the outsiders perspective is both clouded and valuable.

Do you know the story of Draupadi? A character in the Mahābhārata, companion epic to the Bhagavad Gita. Draupadi had 5 husbands, one fateful day she lay before all of them being defiled by Dushasana. Her husbands had bet her away, she pleaded with them all to save her, as she was being dragged by her hair and disrobed. She cried out to Krishna, asked him to be her husband, her God, and save her this humiliation. Krishna used his magic to make her sari endless, the attempt to shame her was unsuccessful. Drapadi didn’t blend, she did not look to control the chaos, but gave into faith, let go and began to spin in ecstatic bliss, knowing she could be free and safe at the same time. Free AND safe...sounds like paradise.


There are deity and Vedic characters round ever corner in this place. I can’t go pee without being stared at by Genesha, which does for some reason make it easier, I wonder if there is something to that? Meals are blissfully silent, I don’t have to talk to anyone really, well except for Swami Samayananda, who let me out of my Karma Yoga duties. She could see that I needed restoration more than a chance to be part of the community which I am told is one of the reasons behind Karma yoga for short term visitors.

I know I am a fish in water, because at this point I want to run away from here the next chance I get, while simultaneously wanting to stay here forever and ever. Monday is going to come too soon...or too late. I have been treated very well here, all desires to rebel aside, I am enjoying the structure of this place.

If this entry is hard to read know I am hanging out in my very vata, very airy fairy crown chakra with very little root.

“What do you do for yourself that is restorative?” is the question in 12 days journal #223

November 20, 2009

Day 8 Visual Creation- Art Thou Sensitive?

I accidentally deleted two pieces I wrote as possibilities for the Soul Motion newsletter. Deleting content is always such a surreal experience, at first there is the pulling in of the abdominals,

‘Oh No! What have I done?’

I frantically scroll up to the “Edit” menu to see if it can be saved; nope, there is no “undo” option, it really is gone...sigh. Then there is a peculiar renegade feeling, a James Dean rebellion nature which emerges.

‘Ya that's it! I can destroy my art because I am THAT dedicated to the process not the product?’

I imagine a cigarette hanging out my mouth. Truth is I didn’t do it on purpose so it is hardly renegade, but feeling this way helps me get over the loss, ahh art.

Speaking of art, I have really been enjoying this commitment. I spent over 2 hours on one small picture today, it is still not done. It started with an image made by my own hands last night, a mudra that I noticed only after I had sculpted it. I didn’t do an accurate copy, instead I let a shape emerge which was informed by the mudra. Then I meditated on the scenario surrounding the event when the mudra emerged. I started out with only the event eventually letting my mind wander down many related avenues. While I was working I listened to Karnamrita’s Devi Dasi album. I would take a picture but my camera isn’t working.

This is often how I create art, many kinds. I follow a meditative process, leaping from one inspiration to the next, not focusing on the product but the process. Because of this I am, like I would say most are, very tender and sensitive about my art and how it comes to be. When I engage in this creative process and it is judged, I feel wounded. When someone has an idea about how I appear during this process and it is not affirmative, I get hurt. I know that what anyone else thinks of me is just their story, usually motivated more by their process than my actions, and yet I have not reached the point where I can let it slide away. The upside of this is a mindfulness around others art, a knowing that they are taking their heart and laying it out for the world to see.

Anyone who is willing to sing, dance, speak, perform, show, is brave and naked. This is something I honour. Artists all, I bow down before thee.

“What do you do which takes more courage than people might understand or know?” is the question in 12 days journal #222

November 19, 2009

Day 7 Visual Creation- 40 days and 40 nights

“Start a huge project, like Noah. It makes absolutly no difference, what people think of you

I think I might sing this one 108 times while at the ashram, I am sure it was create just for me, in just this moment.

“What is the most substantial thing you have ever done in your life?” is the question in 12 days journal #221

November 18, 2009

Day 6 Visual Creation- Sit Sung

I didn’t got to school this month. I am just too weak. I decided yesterday that I couldn’t do it. I have some things to take care of, add that to packing, getting to the airport, keeping current here, not to mention learning....well I realized I don’t have the strength. I am not sure what is wrong, if it is anything other than living so intensely finally taking its toll, my body is screaming at me to slow down.

So instead of California, I am going across the lake to Swami Radhananda’s home, the Yasodhara Ashram.


“Resting on 120 acres of woodland where the mountains touch the waters of Kootenay Lake, Yasodhara Ashram is a vibrant spiritual community. People come here from all over the world to learn about yogic practices year round. Swami Radha founded the Ashram in 1963 and it continues to grow and thrive.”

I don’t think I will do a lot of yoga, I will sing though, I am so looking forward to Satsang.

“How do you know when you are getting run down or sick?” is the question in 12 days journal #220

November 17, 2009

Day 5 Visual Creation- Everyday Dance

I wrote the following for the Soul Motion quarterly newsletter. There is a column called “Everyday Dance”. Here dancers speak of how we take what is learned in the dance out and into our everyday lives. Soul Motion is a practice, a tool, like meditation or mantra, to be used in realizing oneself without veils, at least for me it is. This is an account of one of the many ways I use the dance in my life, one that is very pertinent to both the time of year and state of my health in this moment.

”On the ground, head hanging, hair tendrils sweep the dance floor from side to side. My eyes are closed, both look inward. There is a call to rise, a call to duty, I feel it in my body, feel it second only to the call to stay here, on the floor. Like a seed, I remain closed, filled with potential and faith, know that eventually I will heed the call and come back into community, find the together part of ”alone together“. Until then I enjoy the sweep sweep sweep of my hair, use my body to prepare this holy space. I came here to hold the ”high watch“, as it turns out I found the grace and necessity of holding the low watch instead. I can not hold the group until I can hold my own sweet self. Giving myself this restorative pause, held in the pulsation of so many souls in motion, honouring exactly where I am, is holding the place of witness, witness to self.

I do this same thing here in my everyday. I am frail at the moment, not strong like the womyn you may know, the one who gyrates, shakes and sweats for hours in a state of ecstatic bliss. Living big and ”out there“ has taken its toll. Like the trees outside my window, I have had to drop my leaves and turn my focus inward. It is time to let the sap I have cultivated soothe my weary body. I am taking a break from the ”high watch“, instead I am choosing another mantra, one I hear repeated over and over when travelling between school in California, and a home life in Canada filled with family, community and this work. ”Securely fashion the oxygen mask over your own mouth before attempting to assist others“. In this moment I am going to simply be mindful of how I am being breathed.”

Bernice Raabis is the commitment maker behind and is presently attending the Tamalpa Institutes Movement-based Expressive Arts, Embodied Leadership Program, in Marin County, California. She lives with her BIG family in the mountain town of Nelson, British Columbia, and is co-owner of Nelson’s newest movement studio, set to open this month.“

It was a real challenge to be limited to 300 words. I am grateful for both the experience and to have been asked by both Vinn and my curly haired Devi Dasi sister Steph. I love you both very very much.

”Do you feel you have a bigger purpose for being here?“ is the question in 12 days journal #219

November 16, 2009

Day 4 Visual Creation- Truth about Truth

Someone made a comment today about me being proud of my sexuality. I reacted in a visceral way, wanted to curl up in a ball and hide. The part of me who believed I was being judged screamed “No I am not! ”. I knew I could not speak this aloud because I would sound as ridiculous as I was being. This person pointed out that I told the whole world I was proud of my sexuality right here on this blog. It was then I realized that this is a natural assumption to make, that if I announce something to the world especially when I claim that I am proud of it, that I actually am. Sadly this is not always true. I sometimes use this blog to pull myself, kicking and screaming, into my truth, I announce it and eventually become Ok with it. I have come to know that this is a God damn hard way to exist.

I went to an 80’s party the other night, my friend Terran was DJing. I had a really good time, I also had a number of existential crisis’. I live in a town of 10,000 people, this means many friends, many dynamics all breed together in one tiny petri dish. I became aware of so many of my patterns and stories, they got up in my face and screamed at me to open my eyes, see what I have chosen, acknowledge my lack of self transparency and ultimately my lack of self support.

I looked hot that night. Again reading this might have you thinking, wow this womyn has such confidence. Well I do have confidence, I also write “I looked hot” to convince myself, make it truth, so that I can believe it...that and I KNOW I looked hot. These are my cyclical thought patterns, I am like a dog chasing her tail. I know also that I am a talented dancer, the two combine mean I am sexy. Yet admitting this here is more a test of my commitment to truth than truth itself. A way of putting out there what I know to be truth but will not let in, faking the “Here is who I am and I am damn proud of it!”, making it true so I can know it, relax into it and stop the internal chatter... which drives me fucking crazy!!

So you want to know the truth about all this truth telling? Here are 2 truths about my truth

1)I sometimes judge myself for having a lover who lives with my husband and me. I then project this judgement onto others, deciding that they think I am terrible.

2) EDIT Couldn’t handle it, so I removed it.

Michael is siting next to me sending a facebook message to a friend from Grade 1, telling him about his living arrangements. I say,

“See! You are just like me.”,

meaning he puts his truth out there for the whole world to see. I then question if he ever finds this to be difficult. He says,

“No, I have been doing this for a long time.”

The fact that I find his answer so hard to believe, am skeptical of his self love, should tell me something. I say,

“What? You have been living with your love, her husband and their kids, your whole life?” , somewhat sarcastically.

“No. I have been living my truth transparently and without shame for a long time.“

The ”without shame“ part is what I am struggling with, I think I may have missed the point of living my truth.

”Do you feel shame?“ is the question in 12 days journal #218

November 15, 2009

Day 3 Visual Creation- Journal Check

Today I had to fudge my commitment a little. My visual art piece was done on a wood floor. The medium was wood filler. We are filling the cracks so that people can roll around, bare skinned on our beautiful old fir floor without the threat of slivers. I will take picture of the floor and post it here eventually, this will lend credibility to its visual art status.

I wanted to mention something about the 12 days journals. I have noticed a number of people are using the 12 days journals to jot down notes, shopping lists phone numbers, I just want to say...GOOD!! My friend Andreas was a little embarrassed when I saw that he had been using his 12 days journal for doodles and phone numbers. I want you all to know that I want the journals to come back filled with authenticity and wonder. I love whatever they are being used for. Please don’t feel embarrassed, I love you and your journal just as you are! The only thing that really matters is that they COME BACK TO ME!

PLEASE SEND YOUR JOURNALS HOME...when they are ready of course.

“Are there things in life that you use in ways other than their intended purpose?” is Michael Sheely’s question contribution, it lives inside 12 days journal #217. Perhaps another good question might have been “What do you constantly put off that you could take care of in the moment and be more comfortable in doing so?”, I will answer that one right after I go pee!

November 14, 2009

Day 2 Visual Creation- Grow up!

Being grown up can mean letting go of what we want short term in order to get what we want in a grander sense, the big picture. I never use to understand parents who would allow their children to leave home and live on the streets, I still get anxiety at the idea of this dynamic playing out in our family. I now can understand better though. I understand that letting someone go because I love them, is a way of standing ground for both of us. To hold my boundaries and say “I will not tolerate being treated this way” and I do this for me AND for them, is true deep commitment love. I do this so that you will know I LOVE YOU. Tough love. Generally I am more of the mushy huggy gooey love kinda girl, doing the tough love thing goes again my natural inclination, I want to save, care take, enable.

No, I don’t think anyone is leaving, at least I hope not.

“What does being ‘grown up’ mean to you?” is the question in 12 days journal #216

November 13, 2009

Day 1 Visual Creation- Do you believe?

I have come to the sad resolve that we live in an age skeptical of love. Sometimes I think I am the only romantic left, that is until another finds me, this is when I am reminded of the vast array of love and lovemaking possibilities. Before you get the idea that I am talking about sex, read on.


The idea of having a song sung to me, better yet, about me, is my idea of romantic ecstasy. Or how about listening to a poem read slowly, with intention, and passion? My knees quiver just thinking about it. Today a friend explained a theory in Chinese Medicine using dots and lines, he transformed it into something both beautiful and clear, the seduction of sacred mathematics is so delicious. This is love, shared experience, passion and wonder. Lovemaking the traditional way is certainly lovely, believe me I am very pro sexuality. Lovemaking though happens all the time, in an infinite number of ways. A well placed hand during Tango, a rescued melon in the midst of a shopping cart catastrophe, a smile from a passer-by which lasts long enough to say “I see you”, these are all acts of making love. My fondest hope is that you can understand and feel in your body what I am talking about, if not, this is the scepticism of which I speak.

Today I stroked a hand, and made love. Today I drew a picture, shared it with a friend, in this act we made love. I let go into myself in the bath last night, while listening to the ecstatic chanting of the Ghost Brothers, I felt, from the inside, every inch of my being, I felt ecstatic bliss, this was me making love with myself. Skepticism of love often shows up as sarcasm or harsh sexual humour. If reading about my making love with myself translates for any readers into masturbation, then you are misunderstanding. I am talking about love as a connection with the Divine, felt through the body as ecstatic bliss.

Scepticism puts an obstacle in the way of being able to trust, to believe. An unconditional belief in love is what creates unconditional love, and in turn ecstatic bliss.

I am no skeptic, I believe in love.

“Do you believe in love?” is the question in 12 days journal #215

Latest Commitment! Visual Creation

Last night I did something I love to do, and curiously don’t do very often anymore. I drew a picture. Yup, drew a picture. Simple hey. It helped me to get present, just experience the colour, the texture of running a white pastel over the already laid down green, feel it tackiness, one pulling on the other. Drawing grounds me, helps me to express in a way that does not need to be literal, figurative or even metaphorical, just marks on a page.

I commit to creating a piece of visual art every days for the next 12 days. I commit to do this simply for the experience and not look for end product. Be it a doodle or oil on canvas (which is unlikely), it doesn’t matter, so long as it travelled from my mind through my hands to a visual medium.

That is, super simple and EXACTLY what I need right now.

November 12, 2009

Day 12 Sacred Space- Dry Kindling

Words Words Words...God damn fucking words...UGH! Last night I said to Michael, while we were talking somewhat contentiously, “I have faith that we actually believe the same thing, that attaching our own personal vernacular to the topic merely confuses us into believing otherwise. This is why I don’t want to talk about it yet, not until I am clearer and more rooted in the belief”...well.... or something like that. I am never really good at remembering the exact words; I remember body posture, facial expression, little “tells” like ticks and repetitive soothing behaviour. I experience a great deal of the world viscerally rather than verbally. Trouble is while words can be repeated verbatim, or in my case with no hope of verbatim, and can be contested. Body posture, tone of voice, certain behaviours, they can not, there seems to be an idea that they are based solely on perception. The thing is this is just not true! I am not one to often call on science to prove a point, but since it suits my purpose here I go. According to Paul Ekman, there are 6 basic emotions; Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise. Basically the idea is that Ekman determined through studies with cultures which have never experiences viewing westerners faces, that despite many cultural and language barriers, they could recognize these basic emotions in us.

“Ekman devised a list of basic emotions from cross-cultural research on the Fore tribesmen of Papua New Guinea. He observed that members of an isolated culture could reliably identify the expressions of emotion in photographs of people from cultures with which the Fore were not yet familiar. They could also ascribe facial expressions to descriptions of situations. On this evidence, he concluded that the expressions associated with some emotions were basic or biologically universal to all humans.“

So this is no woe woe new age aura seeing here, I am talking biologically hardwired ability to sense when the emotions underlying actions, do not meet words that are spoken. Sure there are times I misread emotions, just like there are times I misunderstand the meaning behind words. I get things wrong, but I get them right a whole hell of a lot of the time. I myself know this principle because I DO IT, we all do. I say I am not mad when I am mad. This leaves the person I am telling with the sticky job of trying to sort through what is being presented and what is being sensed. What makes it so destructive is that it causes me to distrust my instincts, my gift, this I can not tolerate.

Anyway, I am tired of words...BLAH!!!

So onto something else.....

I spent today with Chris, it was so good, like old times. I ate a burger and fries, and a cookie, this is something that only happens when I am with him, perhaps this explains the shedding of so many layers? I sure can use the calories right now though, so I am grateful. We talked about all sorts of things, just hung out. Went to test drive a right side drive Toyota Delica. Talked about marijuana as medicine, about the new insights I have had since coming to Nelson, a town rife with ganga culture. We laughed and cuddled. He and I have been distant for a while now, I know that might sound scary given our big poly family, I know his mom is worried (Hi Omi!!), but I assure you we are fine. After we moved here and Chris hit that rock with his head, things were very full on, we were together all day everyday, and constantly processing. This break has really pushed the pressure release on our relationship. We are 17 years strong and not going anywhere. I noticed I haven’t been writing a lot about him lately, and that is because he has been a bit of a rogue; he hunts, researches hunting on the net, takes the kids to and from school, writes, hangs with a few friends and that is about it. To be completely transparent, Kelly and he have decided to take an ”indefinite break“, so he is doing a lot on his own. He is doing some intensive healing. Today was a nice little reminder of how much I love him, how well we do together, and how we are going to be together for a long time to come.

”Is there a relationship from your past that you would like to rekindle?“ is the question in 12 days journal #214

I am looking forward to a roaring rekindle with Raabis (what I call Chris) soon, when the time is right. I trust us.