September 30, 2009

Day 5 Sans Coffee- Unite!

Last night as I lay in Michael’s arms he began to speak about my blog and how it is written. I admit it had me holding my breath. I have mentioned before here on the blog how susceptible I am to the beliefs others have about me. He had read my blog just before coming over to see me, said he saw the “I’m Sorry” picture I posted to him. He then told me how much he appreciated what I wrote, how I write. How I am so careful, tactful, how I don’t blame, and write with a lot of integrity. It felt so nourishing to be seen, to be acknowledged. Chris has long been my number one cheerleader. Today, as he drove me down to town, we were talking about life after this blog, I was talking about looking into becoming a professional blogger (meaning do what I do already but get paid for it on a regular basis...can you imagine!?) and about starting to submit some more pieces for publication. Chris went on a long rant about how good my work is, how I could chose who publishes my work rather than waiting for them to choose me. He has always been so supportive of my endeavours. Then there is all of you who write to me and express gratitude, shower me with praise for my skills and bravery.

You want to know something about me? I was put ahead in school, skipped kindergarten and went straight to grade one. By grade 3 it caught up with me. Mathematically I was confused, reading and writing were frustrating; socially, being a very small and sensitive child, I was a mess. I was sent to the “resource” room for my apparent dyslexia, and over to the second grade classroom at math time. It was humiliating. I spent a good amount of my school time trying to hide my feelings and fitting in with a rough bunch of kids. I devoted so much time to survival, that academics quickly fell to the bottom of my priorities list. My big brother was a bit of a hellion, his reputation preceding my own had the teachers none surprised when I showed up in their classroom with a rebellious chip. I wasn’t a trouble maker, just indifferent, and as many a report card could attest I “Didn’t apply myself”. Looking back I think I could honestly say that most of my teachers didn’t really like me, or at least that I didn’t make their job any easier. My grades were consistently in the 55% range. I had an idea that if I could do just enough to be put forward into the next grade that at least I could stay with my “friends”, and as life was not safe, I needed to expend my energy in places other than homework. By grade 5 I had convinced myself I wasn’t any good at academics. What I didn’t know at the time was that school is often a poor determination of pretty much anything other than ones ability to survive institutionalization.

After the suicide of a friend in grade 11, I decided I had had enough. I transferred to a performing arts high school in the city and walked away from Springbank Sr. High School, determine to start a new life. In the beginning I worked really hard. I remember vividly getting back my first assignment in English 30, being told “Wow you did really well! You must have had a great English teacher in your old school!” I would tell you about my grade 11 English teacher at Springbank, but since Michael commended me on not blaming I will stick to saying that the aptitude which was exposed in that assignment was all mine! I received a 97%, only losing marks for spelling, this was a definite first for me. It would be a nice ending if I told you I kept up this commitment to my grades, but it would be untrue. I figured out early that grades meant very little, this part stuck. The part that came unstuck was the ideas I had about myself and my abilities in the language arts. I still can’t spell for shit, and couldn’t tell you what a dangling participle is, and I am a wonderful writer all the same.

There is another person in my life who made a huge difference in my beliefs around my writing skills. When I met her I didn’t really ”meet“ her at all. She was known to me as Dirtwitch, a force to be reckoned with from within the online parenting community known as Alternamoms Unite!; a fierce group of attachment parenting zealots who were not going to take any crap for the way we were choosing to raise our children. I posted the birth story of my Lily Rain Raabis, born September 20th 1998. I hadn’t written in a very long time, had gone on to become a massage therapist and fibre artist instead, leaving my words behind. I was putting myself out there with this piece of writing. This group of moms could be ruthless! Dirtwitch, who I now know as Kerry, replied to my post. I held my breath as I clicked on her response. I do not remember her exact words, this was 11 years ago, I do remember I cried from deep within the soul of my little 7 year old who longed to hear she was good at something that mattered to her. Kerry told me that my writing was phenomenal, that reading my words was akin to taking a journey, that it created visuals which allowed her to actually see events rather than just relating to them. I never stopped writing after that day.

Your act of kindness made a huge difference in my life Kerry . Thank you, from the bottom of my 7 year old and 35 year old soul, we were both healed by your words.

(Kerry and her big beautiful ”alterna“ family)

”Is there a person in your past who made a huge impact on your life and might not even know it?“ is the question in the front cover of 12 days journal #171

September 29, 2009

Day 4 Sans Coffee- Retrograde

There have been a lot of folk who have come to me today to remind me that Mercury has been in retrograde, mostly readers of my blog who want me to know that “this too shall pass”. Good news it it all ends today! And it is about gosh darn time. I am not using mercury as an excuse, I am responsible for my life....and .....please God let me rest!!!

The following is stolen from not much of an entry, but I need a break....don’t you know mercury has been in retrograde?!


“What is Mercury Retrograde?:
This happens three to four times per year, when the planet Mercury slows down, and appears to stop (station) and move backward (retrograde). It's an optical illusion, since there is forward movement, like speeding by a slow-moving train -- as it recedes, it appears to go backward.

What are the Mercury Retrograde dates for 2009?:
The dates are January 11-31; May 6th to 30th; September 6th to 29th; December 26th to January 15th, 2010.

What happens during Mercury Retrograde?:
Since Mercury rules communication, it's said that everything goes haywire in that area -- emails get deleted or bounced back, mail is returned, calls go out into the ethers, etc. Some people find that their computers go on the fritz or phone lines go down. I've never seen the hard data on this, so make your own observations. It does seem though that miscommunications abound during the retrograde period.

A Time-Out:
Mercury retrograde gives us time to catch up with ourselves, and to look back. Something from the past might return in a different form. This can mean people, ideas or buried insights that need to surface for you to move forward. Often it's felt as a contemplative time, depending on the sign, a chance to go over old ground again, to claim what you missed the first time.

Be Non-Committal:
There's a long-held belief that it's best to avoid making set plans during the Mercury Retrograde. This means being cautious about things like signing contracts, and forming partnerships and corporations. What gets put in writing at this time may turn out to need serious revising after Mercury goes direct. But since tying up loose ends is the domain of retrograde, this type of finalization might fly.

Can you repeat that?:
In our relationships, sometimes we gloss over things that pushed buttons at the time, but which we let slide. What seemed not worth the trouble may reveal itself as a major issue in need of our attention. The Mercury retrograde is a time for review, when the underlying patterns come to light.

Back to the Drawing Board:
Some dreams and goals get lost in the hectic rushing around of daily life. The Mercury Retrograde period can be a rich time of reflection on those longings. This makes it a time for the soul to ponder its destiny. You might look over old journals, review your creative work, muse on serendipities of the past that have pointed you toward your spirit's calling. It can make the retrograde period a time of solidifying a sense of your personal story and where you're headed.

What does it mean in each different sign?:
The Mercury retrograde is shaped by the sign through which it is cast. For example, a Mercury retrograde in Cancer turns the mind toward things like family, home and the invisible emotional bonds that connect us. On the other hand, a Mercury retrograde in Aquarius gives it a different spin, with a review of group dynamics, the larger human community, all from a detached perspective.

Making the Most of Mercury Retrograde:
Astrology is a tool that can make you aware of patterns, like those that come during a Mercury retrograde. Just observe and see what happens, and be open to the past returning for review. If it's coming back, there's likely something more to learn or release from it. You don't have to retreat to the zen monastery, but a little solitude and quiet reflection never hurt anybody.”

“What is your sign? Do you belive in astrology?“
is the question in 12 days journal #170

September 28, 2009

Day 3 Sans Coffee- I'm Sorry

I have been putting off writing this entry all day. I have known since the moment I got up this morning what I wanted to say. This doesn’t make it easy to say it though.


I chose poorly. I did something I now see differently. I now see my choice of words as violent, not in the knock-em out drag-em down sort of way, but violent all the same.

I remember once hearing someone say “Everyone has a good reason for what they do”. That even a mass murderer, had in his mind when he did the killing that it somehow made sense and was justified. I remember seeing this when Jeffery Dalmer was on trial back in the early 90’s, that although he had done something unthinkable, he was a man, one who at the time had a reason good enough that he acted on his desire to murder. Just so we are clear here, I didn’t murder anyone. I did hurt someone though. Like Jeffery Dalmer, and I would guess everyone of you who reads this, I let my “good reason” get in the way of acting with tact and care.

In the aftermath of my words there was a lot of anger, confusion, and competition to be heard, understood. Eventually, with help from friends, we were able to see each others pain, and intentions. Eventually I got to say how very sorry I was that my words had caused pain. I feel a huge sense of relief from doing so. It is a strange phenomenon that despite this relief, which I have felt before, and knew lay at the end of this path, there was a familiar resistance to owning my tactlessness, the “good reason” seemed to justify it all. Admitting I had acted without tact made me imagine I was saying “I didn’t have a good reason”. As though it was incongruent to have had a good reason and still done something that hurt another. I didn’t want the fact that my intentions came from a place of wanting one I love to have the same love and care that they themselves give to others to get lost. This is not to say I didn’t see the pain my words had caused, I even knew before I sent/said them that it would cause upheaval. In the place I was coming from, which was a place of frustration and helplessness, I had an idea it was the only way. Turns out it wasn’t the only way. In fact there were far gentler ways I could have chosen that would have caused so much less pain, for everyone, including me. I got hurt by my own words, possibly caused irreparable damage to a relationship that means the world to me. Time will tell.

Sigh....all this AND no coffee to comfort me.

“Have you ever hurt someone you love?” is the question in 12 days journal #169

September 27, 2009

Day 2 Sans Coffee- The Journey


The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver ~

I found my copy of this poem this afternoon. I was gifted it 3 months ago, kept it in a spot for treasures. Today I found it crumpled on the floor of my car, no idea how it got there. It was covered in dirt. I generally consider such occurrences to be a sign.

I wonder what it means? I have ideas, none of which I like. I am going to leave trying to figure it out for now.

“Do you believe in destiny?“ is the question in 12 days journal #168

September 26, 2009

Day 1 Sans Coffee- Taking a Stance

Early this morning I came home from a very intense conversation. As I was leaving I took a gift which had been given to me, one I loved very much, one that meant a lot to me, one I had wrapped up a whole lot of meaning and hopes in. I ran down the street, trying desperately to let go of all this black, sticky, energy which was oozing between my ribs making breathing painful, making a matching pair with the pain in my heart. The two pains threatened to converge and suffocate me, suffocate my dreams, the life I had envisioned. The gift, a heart shaped bottle filled with honey, slipped and smashed into a pile as sticky as the ooze dripping through me and a million shards of razor glass. My heart was broken. This is when the tears began, they didn’t stop until I finally fell asleep in the camper.

There were 9 eleven year old girls in my house when I arrived home. Kelly, Chris and Rosy had the master bedroom, there was no room for me, which is just as well, it is far easier to feel dejected when the circumstances play along. To add to the misery the cover had been taken out of the camper, I slept under nothing but a tiny baby blanket and the shawl I was wearing instead of a coat. I couldn’t move at all in the night otherwise tiny air passages would be created letting the cold night air flood in. I awoke often, thirsty and cold. I was really living the sorrow thing, really embodying it. I received this comic strip the first week of school at Tamalpa.


Our first year at Tamalpa was spent enduring our own personal therapy through the art/life process created by the Halprin family. In order to become a Movement Based Expressive Arts Therapist I had to first do my own work by using my body to embody the metaphors, movements, stances, shapes and forms associated with feelings, ideas and patterns which were motivating my behaviours and actions. In short, if you are feeling depressed, as Charlie Brown points out, “the worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold you head high”. Last night I did no such thing! I curled up in the tightest ball I could and embodied my deep sorrow in a way which would make Anna Halprin proud!

Sadness and depression, I got down. Joy and elation, no problem. Then there is anger, anger is harder. To really embody anger means spitting, cursing, yelling, stomping, punching, clenching and usually saying things that are nasty. Yuck. I bet just reading that line makes you feel yucky, I know writing it did. Yet without an outlet, how does it get expressed? Ya I know all about whiffle bats, inflatable clowns and running through the forest, expending angry energy in a “positive” manner. “Healthy expressions of anger”....I don’t really know if I believe in this anymore, I wonder if it is actually just stifling it, making us all feel better that we have tamed the dragon.

Anger scares the shit out of me, both my own anger and the anger of others. When I come face to face with anothers anger I seem to either get afraid, or want to match the anger. I would like to tell you I remain calm, have all the answers, know just how to facilitate the person I am “holding” in having the experience, finding a way through, and emerging lesson in hand, and sometimes I do. Right now though...I seem to be constantly missing the mark. I am told often that I am admired because of my loyalty and commitment, I want you to know that it isn’t because I don’t think of running, it just means I don’t end up doing so. I want desperately to run from this. Luckily I have Charlie Brown to reminds me that if I want others to be able to hold my anger when it emerges, which it used to a lot and now has been replaced by tears and sadness, I have to be able to do the same for others. I need to do as Sally Brown does here, stand and witness, hear with an empathetic ear and keep my trembling and tears from emerging. I wish I felt more confident in my ability to get through this.

“What is courage?” is the question in 12 days journal #167

I almost never answer the question of the day in the actual entry. Today I need to, in order to summon my courage. First off the answer:

Courage is not an absence of fear, but acting in spite of it.

Then this, a picture of the corner of my computer, what I look at every day as I type these entries. My 6 year old taped it on for me, it helps me to type the things I do, helps me to act in spite of fear.


Latest Commitment! Jitter Quitter

I set an intention at the beginning of this project to never choose a commitment which contained the word “no” in it. For instance, I could do 12 days of eating raw, but not 12 days of eating NO cooked food. Or I could do 12 days of silence but not 12 days of NO talking. So this morning when I was emotional, sleep deprived, lacking in nourishment and shaking like a leaf after drinking my morning cappuccino, it seemed pretty obvious to me that I needed a break from coffee, but how could I make this commitment without using the word “NO”? Not only that I had already come up with another ambiguous 12 day commitment, one that was much more ephemeral, hard to explain. As I sat shaking I spoke my thoughts aloud, “Maybe I need to do 12 days of no coffee?” I suddenly had a bunch of friends joining in, committing to doing it with me. It became obvious I needed to do this. Comradery is great, accountability is great, 12 days without coffee will do great things for my body...but what about my commitment to not using the word “NO”?

So this is my 12 days of drinking tea, my 12 days of limiting caffeine, my 12 days of not drinking delicious, creamy, sweet, fluffy foamed cappuccinos at my favourite coffee shop in the whole world...sigh

I commit to drinking nutritious and beneficial liquids which don’t induce hand jitters. I commit to let my withdrawal from the oh so lovely substance that may not be named drive my entries during this commitment. Expect tears, anger, temper tantrums, hissy fits, bargaining, name calling, pleading and possibly eventual acceptance and surrender...though I make no promises.

I want a coffee so bad right now!

(Oh and as a side note I realize that I actually HAD a coffee today, that this is how I came to this commitment, I am going to call it a freebie though. I considered not drinking coffee for the first day of the next commitment, but then decided that that was CRAZY TALK!)

September 25, 2009

Day 12 Pleasure Revolution- Final Indulgence

Today's indulgence is my last, I feel like it should be a really good one. I asked Jilly Bean for advice, she suggested going and lying naked a rock, soaking up what is left of the fading summer sun, I said I was thinking more of being massaged by a sexy man.

To be honest the indulgence I really want is to take the day off blogging. So there you have it.

“If you could ask one of your loves just one question, what would it be and who would it be?” is the question in 12 days journal #165

September 24, 2009

Day 11 Pleasure Revolution- A Day in the Life

9:16 AM- Well I crawled out of my closet last night, went down to Michael’s. He is living with my friend Jill for the month of September. Our family has all agreed that when we move back into our house, which has been under renovation for the last 3 months, that Michael will move in with us. This morning living with two partners seems like a terrifying prospect. Don’t get me wrong I love the idea of living life in alignment with my belief system, the idea of challenging the norm and possibly even the constitutional definition of family. I love the idea of being with all the people I love, all of us working towards common goals and ideals. I welcome combined effort and the creation of ease from the stress of the nuclear family unit. I am just not looking forward to 6 grumpy folk in one house in the morning, the quite resentment that mornings are so effective at breeding. Ugh...mornings.

Doing these timeline posts is always a bit of a vulnerable choice. I have no idea if today will be interesting or dull. We shall see.

10:06 AM- Jilly Bean showed up at Oso to have her morning coffee. She had to leave before our conversation had ended so I walked over to her shop where she was meeting Brian Rosen of Brian Rosen and the What Now, to hem a sweet pair of retro cords he acquired. Jill, runs Nelson Sewing Solutions, a shop where you can bring your old clothes and she will make them not only new again, but super funky. She is the queen of patchwork and crotch repair. I am listening from the back room as they negotiate payment for his hemming; he will get a new hem made to look authentically ratty and she will get one of their albums, a very Nelson transaction.

12:15 PM- Chris and I just had lunch with Seth and Katie, our new neighbours! We sat down together and made an agreement to finance a transaction for them to buy one of the lots that sit beside our house up in the trees on the side of our mountain. They are lovely, we gave them a journal each. As the meeting was ending I realized the address which is on the back of the journal is actually their new address. I took out a mail box on this vacant lot of ours when I started this project, Chris was concerned about giving our home address out given that there is so much personal info on the blog. Now when anyone mails a journal back it will be received by our two beautiful new friends and the little Aquarian who will be born this winter. How wonderful is that?

2:21 PM- Just came back to Jill’s alteration shop after a lunch with Kim and her friend, Laura. My indulgence for today was eating at the Preserved Seed. I have been very frugal lately, cash flow has been a big issue for us and eating out was the first thing to come off the budget. I talked to Laura about being Polyamorous, she was completely in the dark, had never even heard the word, and either I am getting better at explaining it or she is uber receptive because it was as though I was giving her my family chicken recipe. She asked questions and didn’t seem ruffled by the concept at all. So refreshing. On a whim Jill, Kim and I decided to have dinner at Jill’s place, as soon as we work out the menu I will be off to get the kids at school and pick up groceries.

(The Preserved Seed, wholesome delicious food with a side of religious fervour)

4:54 PM- Holy cow! How did it get so late? I picked up my babies at school. Drove up to the house where Chris, Kelly and Michael are working, talked to Chris about the selling of the property, then made arrangements for dinner. Rose is coming with me to dinner at Jills, which means we will also be hanging with Michael, Chris and Kelly are taking Lily to buy groceries for her party tomorrow, Ayla is going for dinner with my mom.

I came home and messed around with the blog; tried to make it look uncluttered while adding a twitter feed. I swore I wasn’t going to give into this twitter thing... I did anyway. Now I have exactly 30 minutes to work on an entry from 2 days ago, so I can upload it and get THIS one up...though not until after 11:59 tonight.

Geez, if you are still reading this my hat comes off to you, this entry seems pretty boring so far!

10:33 PM- Our dinner was great, well...mostly. Rosy and I joined Jill, Kim and Kim’s daughter, Sage. We made food, sang, rolled around on the floor, invibed (which came before the rolling around not after). We had a girls dinner along with one of my favourite boys, Mr. Michael. It was lovely. So lovely in fact that I stayed too late, it was almost 10:00 before I left, which is 2 hours past Rosy’s bedtime...oops. I could have stayed over with Michael, but I wanted Rosy’s morning time routine to stay...well...routine, so I decided to take her home. Trouble was I didn’t want to leave the fun...or Michael, so I stayed too late, her routine was messed with anyway. Sigh, must let go of my “mother guilt” and judgement. She had a wonderful time and fell right to sleep when she got home. So what is the “mostly” part? There is a distance between Michael and I tonight, I am sad about it, very sad. My hope is that before 11:59 PM I will be able to write to you that we have spoken, that we are back in a place of deep connection. We will see.

11:53 PM- Sniff sniff...conversation didn’t go well. I am glad this day is almost over. Goodnight.

“What is you favourite way to spend an evening?” is the question in 12 days journal #164

September 23, 2009

Day 10 Pleasure Revolution- In the Closet

Have you ever gotten so tired of all your relationships that you just wanted to crawl into a hole. Move away, find a new beach community in a country where you pay .30 cents for a coconut, and just survive there, make a new batch of friends, preferably a batch that doesn’t speak English.

I am writing this post from inside my closet, it is the only place I can find to be by myself. I spent my childhood in my closet, it was a place where I felt safe. I remember once my father belting me across the face, I flew into the bench which now lives in my kitchen, landed on a my kidney, it was bruised for weeks. I ran upstairs and hid in my closet. I think I must have been 14 at the time, far too old to be hiding in closets, far too old to still be being hit by my father, too old to not fight back. I moved out with my boyfriend shortly thereafter, it was never really spoken about, I just sort of stopped coming home.

So why am I hiding in the closet? Because I don’t want to go anywhere I am not wanted. I want to be wanted, especially by those I love. I don’t think I am alone here. I am hurt! When I am folding freshly washed clothes and dripping tears all over them, it is not a good night for cavalier words, to be mean to me. I know this last line is not fair, maybe this is why I am writing it, as a petty attempt to have the last word for all the world to read. I am already hiding in a closet like a 14 year old I might as well embody this role that I am playing, really fill out this misunderstood teenager angst I am overcome by. I know I am being juvenile, fearful, and seeing only the smaller picture, I know all this and I am still staying in my closet, a closet too small for anyone other than me, myself and I.

Bottom line? When the “we” disappears and the “I” comes out, I get scared about becoming a “we” in a way that requires us to be in communication for a lifetime, about being a “we” in a way which I have no way out of. I am afraid of being someone else's disappointment, it is a deep shame and fear. I am in this closet because I was triggered, decided I wasn’t loved, which no amount of rational thought can penetrate when I feel this small and fragile.

If only it were a long enough closet to sleep in. I emerged from my closet just long enough to grab the ringing phone. On the phone was a voice that told me that I am wanted ,that I am loved, that staying in here when warm arms await is “crazy”. It just seems so hard to leave, this safe cramped little space. I suppose I will have to use the washroom soon, at which time I might just come out of the closet since I don’t have a jar to pee in.

“Where do you feel safe?” is the question in 12 days journal #163

September 22, 2009

Day 9 Pleasure Revolution- A Dream Shared

Michael and I have a studio! Right now it is filled with walls, paint cans, junk, fabric and other various clutter. By November it will be an open dance space, with beautiful wood floors, high ceilings, a sky light to flood the place with natural light, and a nook with a bed where I will write this blog and many more inspired things.

I already had a studio space in my mothers house. She was so very generous and sweet to have created it for me, my brothers helped and I was so grateful, content with it, or so I thought. I now realize it never really felt like a grown up, big girl space, I had to walk through my mothers entrance, the bathroom was shared and it was in a basement.

Michael has dreamt of an open work space, with a rich wood floor, for much longer than we have known each other. He shared this dream with me when we began working together. I admit I didn’t get it; why pay all that money in rent when you can just rent studio space when needed? He didn’t try to change my mind, just remained focused on his dream, quietly and gracious as always.

I got a call just before going into class last week. My friend Linda and I had stopped for coffee, I sat stirring honey into my cappuccino as he told me about the walls that had to be moved, the cost, the skylight, the potential, he sounded so excited. As I began to visualize us in the space, I finally got it, finally understood his vision. Having a dedicated space, to “go to work” each day, a place that is ours no matter the hour, a space to build our unique work, to grow our non-human baby.

Linda and I drove to school clucking like chickens, discussing all the potential, the ideas, the dreams. She too had just come up with an idea for a dedicated space for a living arts museum. By the time we arrived at the school studio it hit me in full magnitude, that this was such an important step towards success. A step I would not have taken without Michael, at least not yet.

This morning Michael showed me the studio, he had told Gordon, the landlord, that once I arrived home from California, and had a chance to see it, we would decide whether to commit. It was Michael's dream, he could have gone ahead without me, but he didn’t, he is sharing his dream with me. We walked down to the bank, he withdrew 2 months rent. We took it up to Gordon and signed on the dotted line.

As of November 1st, we will have our own beautiful studio space on Baker Street, downtown Nelson, British Columbia.

Stay tuned, amazing things on the horizon!

“What are your dreams?” is the question in 12 days journal #162

(Taken the day after we met, the beginning of something amazing)

September 21, 2009

Day 8 Pleasure Revolution- Simple Pleasures Three!

You and me and baby makes 3!

My friend Rachel, who gave me the gift of 3 1/2 days of relaxation and nothing to do but wait for baby, wrote the following as her status on facebook this evening.

“Skylah Rain arrived this morning @ 6:57. I am totally in love.”

Congratulations James, and Rachel, enjoy your wonderful little simple pleasure.


“What happened on the day you were born?” is the question in 12 days journal #161

P.S. If you don’t know, google it. I did this, it was very interesting.

September 20, 2009

Day 7 Pleasure Revolution- Simple Pleasures Too

Speaking of simple pleasures... Here are but a few of today’s.

  • Waking up with my gorgeous lover after a sweet reunion.
  • Being then visited at our camp site by my husband who lets me know my birthday girl is waking up and needs a birthday song sung to her.
  • Breakfast with my entire family; Kelly, Chris, Michael, Lily, Rosy and Ayla.
  • Fishing in the morning.
  • Walking round a lake in a dress bought in Santa Monica and cowboy boots and loving my own resilience, adaptability and willingness to roll with life as it comes.
  • Building a sweat lodge with my family, digging a hole for the rocks, collecting rocks to heat in the fire, watching as my men collect cedar boughs, wood to fuel the fire and make the structure. Listening to my children problem solve and both co-operate and bicker.
  • Waiting for our friends Pam and James to arrive with their children, another birthday surprise for Lily whose birthday wish was to have an end of summer camping trip with her family and her best friend Sage’s family.
  • Preparing dinner on a camp stove with a glass of wine and wonderful conversation.
  • Listening to 6 children and one husband sing “We all come from the Mother”, as they sit naked inside the sweat lodge while the rest of us sit round the fire delivering hot rocks and water to pour on them when needed.
  • A bed time ritual which wet smooth and had lots of little girls snuggled in with their good friends.
  • Sitting round the campfire with my teenage daughter and 5 other adults. Talking about various drugs, talking about their effects, both the desirable and the long/short term undesirable.
  • Ending the night with hugs and stumbling off to our beds to snuggle in the cold evening.
  • Spending the last day of Summer celebrating the birth of my middle child, Lily Rain Raabis, who was born in our living room in Slave Lake Alberta, 11 years ago today.
  • Being blessed with support, love, commitment and understanding.
  • Simple pleasures.

(Lily in Monterey California this summer)

“What do you remember of you family holidays as a child?” is the question in 12 days journal #160

September 19, 2009

Day 6 Pleasure Revolution- Simple Pleasures 1

I had the pleasure of being met at the airport by Michael. He picked me up as part of a surprise for Lily’s Birthday.

We have a tradition in our family. The whole family comes into the birthday girls (or boy) room in the morning and sings our family birthday song;

“In heaven shines a golden star,
an angel sent you from afar.
From heaven high, unto the earth,
and brought you to your place of birth.
oh welcome welcome lovely day,
with sunshine bright and flowers gay.
With painted birds that sing their song.
That made you kind and good and strong!”

Lily’s Birthday is on the 20th of September, she believes she is coming to the airport tomorrow to pick me up. And while she is happy I have cancelled part of my trip in California to be with her on her birthday, I have a feeling she is still sad that our little morning ritual will not happen...or so she thinks.

Michael picked me up at the Spokane airport this afternoon, we picked up a few necessities and are heading up over the border to go hide in the campground where Chris, Kelly and the girls are staying tonight. In the morning I will sneak into the camper, appearing out of thin air, and sing her our family birthday song. A simple pleasure to surprise someone I love just by being present.

Until then I will enjoy another simple pleasure. We are going to pull over into a private spot just off the highway, and enjoy each others company after being apart for a week. We will each drink a beer which we just purchased at the grocery store, and then perhaps do a little snuggling...ahhh......simple pleasures.

“What are the simple pleasures of life?” is the question in 12 days journal #159

September 18, 2009

Day 5 Pleasure Revolution- New Moon

Twice a month I become a lunatic. Seems a harsh thing to say about myself. I don’t mean it in a self deprecating way , but as an acknowledgement of its original meaning and my susceptibility. Luna, is the the moon Goddess: a lunatic is one who is prone to intermittent insanity in relation to the moon cycle. Every new moon I am a wreck, every full moon I am a wreck. These states of wreck-lessness differ immensely, especially depending on the intensity of the transition, something I know nothing about predicting but can always FEEL. I have often been known to ask, while rubbing my furrowed brow, “Is this a really strong moon? Or am I just going insane?”. Apparently this new moon came as Mercury finally left retrograde, again I am not sure what this really means but I know enough to stay away from life changing decisions during this time. My angst and analysing started last night. I ended a conversation because I was worried my inability to let anything slide would cause a quarrel, it didn’t, my conversation partner was very understanding and patient. Then this morning I couldn’t eat and was filled with ungrounded squirrel like energy. Luckily our class was headed out into the environment, time to commune with nature usually takes off my edges.

We walked in silence towards the ocean, through walls of exposed rock piled layer upon layer, neatly stacked, ancient, brown and crumbling. The tide drew hard through the headlands which hold either end of the Golden Gate Bridge, water surging into the Bay. The sun was hot, I broke into a run and with arms outstretched enjoyed the wind. I rounded a corner before my classmates so I could pee without an audience. As the class joined me we stood under giant eucalyptus trees, trunks like elephant legs, ancient and wrinkly. I had pangs of sadness at not bringing a camera. I decided my words became pictures in my mind and the minds of others, I was not sad anymore. We reached the beach and the view was out of a postcard...millions of them in fact sold on the other side of the Bay from where we stood. I gazed across at San Francisco and wondered at how this magical international landmark had become a part of my everyday, or at least my every month. How this little girl from Bragg Creek, Alberta had grown into the womyn who choose to follow her dream. This sounds a little cheesy, like I grew up in Iowa and am now walking the red carpet at some L.A. event. It is not nearly as scarce as this though, I get to keep my intimate life in a little mountain oasis AND I get to come here to the Bay and experience the excitement of the city. There was much excitement today!

Our time at the Headlands ended abruptly when we were evacuated. We saw a fire start just about a 1/4 mile from where we were. Tiny at first, it became quite the blaze, flames licking into the sky. As we enacted our scores (Tamalpa language for experiencing nature in a meaningful way), planes flew over head dropping fire retardant. A helicopter with a bucket came to douse the flames, while fire-fighters crawled the hillside like ants saving the forest of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The coast guard came into shore and through a bullhorn told us to evacuate immediately. I never felt in danger, just in awe of watching nature and mankind converge, reminding me that the idea of a separation between the two is an illusion.


I sit here typing on my friend KD’s day bed knowing that the moon is finally waxing, that my lunacy will soon subside. I am using this time to commit, to setting intentions. In 45 minutes I will sit in ceremony with Michael. We have planned a phone date to declare our intentions and manifestations to one another, something I do every new moon. Five moons ago I asked for Michael. I didn’t know his name then, just that I wanted a partner who was kind, one who had a similar communication style to my own, could dance and co-create with me, someone I would love and feel safe with. Setting intention on the new moon is a powerful way to manifest. I know this because my manifestation is coming to pick me up at the airport tomorrow afternoon.

“Where would you like to travel?” is the question in 12 days journal #158

September 17, 2009

Day 4 Pleasure Revolution- Shiny Metal

My indulgence and absolute pleasure of today was to run down a spongy wooded trail, the canopy high above, as an artist rather than an athlete. To emerge round a corner and see a jewel lake shaped like a stomach, the belly of our mama. To watch as a school of fish, emerging from nowhere, fed off the surface, breaching, splashing, so committed to singularity, and wonded, do they imagine themselves as big as whales? Do they even know that whales exist on this same planet, ultimately in the same water they do? I watched as bubbles glided to the surface, through water that somehow appears clear and opaque at the same time, gasses from some unknown biological reality that I know nothing about. To step from shade into sun and be overcome by the spicy concoction in the air. Pachamama mama baking bread made of toasted ancient grasses. The pungent smells of cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, eucalyptus, all made sweet by sticky dark rich molasses. I imagined taking a bite and wondered if it was possible god created smell to encourage us to breathe. My indulgence today was to go to school, to enact a score in the hills of Marin County, California as part of my education.

I have an absolute passion for nature. I love it in the way I get excited about being with a lover, over and over again, noticing all the new and the old made new by a fresh appreciation, one that could only be had in this moment and will never be again. Combine this with art, and spirit, and womyn who love to dance and explore the life/art process. This is my pleasure. This is my passion. My conviction.

I care deeply what others think of me. It may not be a popular thing to admit, and I have self judgement round it’s existence within me. Given that I care, it is a little unnerving, vulnerable, to admit what I am about to write. The following describes my experience in the forest this afternoon, a class led by a cohort, a score she created. We were to write three things on a small manila card at the trail head. Three things we were wanting to change, areas where we wanted shift or emphasis. I chose to put the statements in the form of “I want”, a practice Michael and I started within 12 hours of meeting one another. With much conviction and not a lot of thought I scribbled the following:

“I want a creative space that inspires, feels comfortable, and like my own (and Michael's).
I want the 12 days project to take off and bring financial abundance.
I want ease and happiness in my family life and home, in our new space and configuration.”

I folded the card up, hiding it under some moss at the trailhead. We convoyed down the path in silence. I was flooded with intense energy and a firing of rapid thoughts, which often happens when I get connected. First came the smells, then the sights, then the knowing. I declared to God that I was ready, ready to bring financial abundance into my life as a result of my artistic endeavours. I drank from a stream as a sacred seal, water is my direct line of connection. I committed to using the financial abundance to create more ease, to increase my connection to spirit in order to create more art, poetry, writings, pictures, dance, music! I prayed for this also to release Chris from the burden of being our sole provider, from the stress of carrying his family alone. I cringe and admit I told God I would use the financial abundance for an iPhone, yes you read that right, to be able to simplify my computer time, picture taking and organization which would leave more time for family and art. I committed to continue following the word of the Divine, my knowing, the connection. I committed that even when in doubt, I will keep the channel open following what I know to be the way. I committed to live as an artist, put MY paintings and drawings up on MY walls, whether I think they are “any good” or not, because this is not the point. I committed even to smoking cigarettes if that is what it takes to follow the knowing rather than the ideas I have about “right and wrong” . (Just in case you are wondering I don’t believe God wants me to smoke cigarettes). I committed to commitment. I committed my life to God, just as I have so many times before.

I have an unusual sacred symbol, I consider culverts, those shiny corrugated metal tubes through which water flow, to be a sign. The sanctuary which I imagine in my mind, is at the bottom of a huge culvert. My actual sanctuary, where I spent many teary days when I lived near Whistler BC, has a culvert smack dab in the centre. I see them when I need confirmation that I am seen by the Divine, that I am on track. When I really need one, even at the strangest time, one will appear. When I created my 8 foot by 4 foot self portrait, my heart was represented by a culvert from which my writings flowed. Culverts are one of my totem signs.


Today on our exploration I saw an abundance of culverts. Old ones, new ones, rusted bent ones, shiny new ones, long, short, big, tiny. Everywhere I turned after I prayed I saw a culvert, culverts in abundance upon asking for abundance is a pretty gosh darn good sign.

I was held by the land today, land just minutes from the Mountain home studio where I attend school, land I have never walked on before. It has held so much of the hard work I have done in the last year and a half. It is by the grace of this land that I found the strength to ask God for what I want. I am truly, deeply, grateful to both God and the land, the God and the Goddess for all the blessings I have in my life.

“What do you want now?“ is he question in 12 days journal #157

September 16, 2009

Day 3 Pleasure Revolution- Knowing

My friend Linda took me to see her friend Ava. Her friend ava showed me the paintings she was going to be sending to the New Picasso museum in France, a church in Italy and the commissions for the Cirque De Soliel, headed for Las Vegas. Ava Avione is in her 70’s, she came from Boston to California when she was 18 and fell in with the likes of Krishna Murti and Aldous Huxley. I stood in but one of her 80 painting caches, hundreds of painting stacked one upon the other leaned up against walls. Most of the pieces I saw were 4 foot by 8 foot, huge boldly coloured figures of reverence and movement. I had seen her work at Linda’s house, ethereal pastel paintings of 2 little girls, soft and gentle though the boldness of her work, and personality was still apparent. These new paintings though, a whole other fantastic depiction of bodies and souls in motion. They had almost a comic book flavour, with the geometric lines and strong pigment. She smiled contentedly, pointing to one piece in particular, one of the paintings bound for the Italian church, and tells how in all of her years this was the first time she simultaneously captured the essence of birth and death as she imagines them in one face, in one body, in one mass of extraordinary colour. As I gazed at the multidimensional face of infinite possibilities I had to agree, she had captured this singular event that is thought of as two.


I still don’t quite understand how this diminutive womyn of maybe 5 foot could paint so many huge paintings, even just logistically how she reached the top. I didn’t see anything in her studio which looked like a set-up for her to gain elevation. Imagining her stepping up on a step ladder at her age, well I want to say it worried me, but that would not be true, Ava could do it. I imagined after meeting her that she could do anything. Even more wonderful was that when we left her studio, a converted University building slated for demolition, I believed I was capable of anything as well.

Linda, Ava and I spoke for about 4 hours; shared peaches and pears while sitting on rolling chairs in the wide open space of the upstairs studio. A room filled with gallons of pigments, brushes, photography equipment a computer and a large plush bed. She told me she was willing to live almost anywhere, with few amenities just to have space, light and a place to satisfy the call of the muse. We spoke to great lengths about the muse, that which comes into our lives and leaves us no choice but to create beauty, express pain and continue to do so until the call is sated. We commiserated at the frustration other seem to experience at wanting to understand our ways, how this ruffles our relationships, our lingering feelings of being misunderstood and disconnected from those we love and inspire. The “knowing” was a concept we all shared, call it womyn's intuition, psychic connection, the voice of God, call it whatever you want, it doesn’t matter, only being willing to follow it matters. And I can say without a shadow of doubt or embarrassment that following this “knowing“ has helped me to birth the juiciest fruit of my existence. Linda tells a story of when Ava said to her

”God didn’t give me all this so I could go work at Starbucks“

I have often thought of giving up this project, giving up the expense and separation of coming to school in California, stopping my work with soul Motion, staying home and going down to Fusion to ask my friend Jamie for a job waiting tables. I know I would be good at it. I am personable, smart, efficient most of the time, I could make good money, support the family finances rather than draining them. At what cost though?

I truly believe I am a mystic.

”Mystic- (noun) A person who seeks contemplation or self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.“

I believe that anyone can be a mystic, it just takes trusting the knowing, not always being able to give or require an explanation. I understand that communication of ideas, thoughts and feelings is important; I also know that sometimes it is not possible, not because of a lack of ability, but because as soon as it is translated or explained the meaning is changed. This is how Ava has worked her whole life, intuitively, and it seems to me she does so without apology. I covet this, I constantly feel the need to apologize for not being able to be specific or give answers. Perhaps by the time I am 70 I too will be unapologetic about my mysticism, actually I am going to choose it sooner.

We reluctantly left her studio to drive to San Francisco. I left with two giant ancient pine nuts that Ava had collected from giant pine cones, from a giant tree. I left her with 12 days journal # 102. I had to refrain from asking her to draw in it and send it right back to me. The idea of it not returning is horrifying! But I made a commitment, followed a knowing. When I created the 12 days 2 inspire I decided to let the journals go, not get involved in their journey back to me. I trust what I had created. I KNOW that this is a piece of my life's work, a way of being my life's work, and so I bit my tongue, and didn’t say anything other than, ”The instructions are on the front, I can’t wait to get it back.“ I know that the journals that are meant to return, will, when the time is right.

”Journals return when journals are ready.“

”Do you trust things you know but can’t explain?“ is the question in
12 days journal #156

”If you can fully understand it, it is not God“
- St. Francis of Assisi

September 15, 2009

Day 2 Pleasure Revolution- County Mouse, City Mouse

Country Mouse, City mouse

One day Country Mouse decided to go see City Mouse, she hopped on a plane and flew a thousand miles to the big city by the ocean. City Mouse was so happy to see Country Mouse, because she loves her so, AND because she was about to welcome Baby Mouse. She was happy Country Mouse would be there to welcome Baby Mouse. Country Mouse was so happy to have been invited for this special special day.

The night Country Mouse arrived she slept in the living room, she was a little surprised how small City Mouse’s house was. She decided that here in the city, where lots of mice live, there isn’t so much room to spread out. She was a tiny bit afraid, she had heard stories of the big city by the ocean and had watched lots of silly movies which made her believe there were lots of robbers and bad guys. Country mouse decided maybe she shouldn’t believe those movies anymore, then she fell asleep.

In the morning they went with Mousi-ji, the papa of Baby Mouse, to go dance and have breakfast in a fancy city restaurant. Country mouse got a little schooled by the nice waiter, but he also rubbed City Mouses tummy so everything turned out OK. Then the four mice, one still neatly tucked inside her mama, went shopping. Country mouse bought sexy undies and a Marilyn Mousro dress for 10 bucks! Then City Mouse needed to nap, so they went back home to have a rest.

The next day City Mouse was feeling a little mousy she decided to take Country Mouse for a real treat. Country mouse took some of her country herbs and they set out on an adventure. Country Mouse got a little overwhelmed, couldn’t handle the Bed, Bath, and Beyond and wanted to get out of there. Then they went to Trader Joe's where the mice bought chocolate which made everything better. Next was the Korean spa, which was unlike anything Country Mouse had ever imagined, she told City Mouse she wanted to come back to the city by the ocean every month so she could live like a movie star! The mice went home clean and content.

While Country Mouse was having a whole lot of fun, she did wonder if she would ever get to meet Baby Mouse, but you know what they say:

“Baby mice come when baby mice are ready”

Another day came and so they set out on another adventure. City mouse had planned to go see Dr. Mouse this day (ok she was actually a midwife mouse, but it doesn’t have as nice a ring to it) Dr. Mouse weighed and poked and talked and told City Mouse she looked wonderful and healthy and had such a nice shiny coat. City Mouse was doing a very good job taking care of Baby Mouse. The mice left Dr. Mouse and went to get Vietnamese food. There was some more shopping and indulging and lots of talk about babies, boy mice and important mouse work that must be done in this crazy world.

In the afternoon City Mouse napped while Country Mouse rode a bike down to the ocean. Country mouse thought what a lovely holiday she had had, thought it would be nice to come visit more often, but that it was time to go back to where there were more trees and plants, where food grew and birds sang.

City mouse and Mousi-ji dropped Country Mouse off at the edge of town (Well... in Malibu). They hugged and kissed and said good-bye. Country Mouse was still a little sad she didn’t get to meet Baby Mouse, but she knows that “Baby mice come when baby mice are ready”

Thank you City Mouse and Mousi-ji...i love you and will keep you in my thoughts until Baby mouse arrives safely, and steals both your hearts away.

“What do you love about the city?” is the question in the front cover of 12 days journal #155

September 14, 2009

Day 1 Pleasure Revolution- Jank

My life will never be the same. I did something today that has changed the way I look at the world, broadened my horizons, made me wonder what I have been doing with my time. Today I went to the Olympic Spa Korean Bathhouse. For those of you who have never been these claims may sound absurd. For those of you who have been, I can hear the resounding “That’s what I am talking about!”


Let me set the stage. We drive up to the spa, the valet takes our car...this is a near first for me, save the couple of times we stayed at the Fairmont in Vancouver. Next we walk in and pay our 15 dollars, plus 2 for the little magic scrubby, which I would not fully appreciate until hours later. Then we walked into a room which looked nothing like I imagined, found our locker and took off all our clothes. Rachel versed me on all the rules:

“Don’t get your hair in the water...they will yell at you!”

“Don't’ talk too loud..... or they will yell at you!”

“Take a shower after coming out of the sauna BEFORE going into the tubs...or else...They will yell at you!“

We entered the main event. A tiled room filled with 3 good sized tubs; one a warm mineral pool, one a cold tub filled with spring water to bring down the temperature and tighten the pores, the last filled with Mogwart tea to detoxify, among other things. Then there was the Jade steam room filled with delicious scents and the dry sauna with all it cedar metallicy goodness.

We moved from pool to pool speaking with the other womyn, mostly about Rachel's overdue pregnancy. They all gushed and told her their stories, treated her with love and showered her with attention. Which is what every very pregnant mom needs when she is playing the waiting game and trying not to wait.

Hot, cold, herbal, cold, sauna, cold, sauna, cold, herbal, cold, steam, cold. This is the work to be done while in the Korean bathhouse. We did a good job.

On to another conversation with some of Rachel's friends, this time about sex and men. It may be cliché but cliché is cliché for a reason, because it is true. When womyn sit around and do ”girlie“ spa things we often talk about men and is the way of the world.

The next part of the ritual was to scrub. We were stealthy, went into the Jade steam room to start the process, a no no, we were running the risk of being yelled at by doing so. The little scrubby blew my mind, it was taking off layers of skin that may have died back when I was at Shambala, dancing in the dirt. It may not be TMI to mention this on the net but I took off a whole lot of dead skin...or ”jank“ as I have come to know it. Worried about getting busted scrubbing in the Jade room we made our way out to the rinsing/scrubbing area. Here there is a trough into which you can run fresh water, stools and shallow buckets. The idea is to sit on the stool, scrub with the scrubby, then use the bucket to throw water over your body to wash away the ”jank“. By the end my skin was as exfoliated as it has ever been, I was cleaner than I thought possible. It might seem like this would be the end, and I thought it was...I was wrong.

We exited the bath area, spread out a blanket and lay on a warmed tile floor to relax and integrate the experience. Rach and I talked about men some more, finally succumbing to our appetite. We slathered, primped and scented ourselves before leaving, refreshed butterflies emerging from a chrysalis experience.

Did I mention the toilets all had bidets? With an option for the spray to be directed at either the ”front“ or the ”rear“. The place was amazing.

This experience was the inspiration which led me to dub the next 12 days commitment the ”Pleasure Revolution“. It is gunna be a GREAT 12 days!

”What do you do to indulge?” is the question 12 days journal #154

Latest Commitment! Pleasurable Indulgence

I admit that when I woke up this morning I was not enthused about the idea of coming up with the newest commitment, I felt like I was running out of ideas.

I am still here at Rachel's, and No...there is no baby yet. No baby means Rach is in that all too familiar spot expectant mothers find themselves in of fending off well meaning calls, emails and texts enquiring about the anticipated arrival. I wanted to be supportive, get her out of the house, focus on anything but waiting for the labour. We decided on going to do the things she would not get to do when she is a mother of one on the outside.

After a luxurious experience (which you can read about here) I decided that 12 days of indulging and focusing on what brings pleasure would be good for EVERYONE involved! And so....

I commit to including something pleasurable and/or indulgent in my life for the next 12 days. Treating myself to a wonderful pampering today made me aware of how relaxed and clear I was at the end of it. I always love myself, but I can tell you I LIKE myself better when I am relaxed and clear. And so I am going to find a way to include some sort of pleasurable activity or indulgence in my life for the next 12 days....ahhhhh

September 13, 2009

Day 12 Walkabout- Set My Soul in Motion

I am on hold with the Esalen reservations office. I am calling to cancel my reservation for the Vinn Marti Soul Motion workshop which begins on September 25th. I have known for a while now that I am no longer going to dance at Esalen with my tribe, I just couldn’t make the phone call before now because I don't want it to be true. I want to go, I also want to go home and celebrate my Lily’s 11th birthday. Recently Lily expressed to me how important it was that I be with her on her birthday. It happens to fall right between the workshop and my monthly classes at Tamalpa. Since returning to Canada, then turning around and flying back to California is not an option due to finances and logistics, I had to make a choice.

For the last two years I have danced with Vinn, each September, on the magical land of the Essalen people. I discovered Soul Motion within weeks of Chris’ accident, and I KNOW it was a gift sent to me from God, to help me dance my way through his injury and into my new life with grace. I am grateful beyond expression for Soul Motion, for all the family it has brought me, for all the lessons and joys.

Rachel and James, who are upstairs talking when the are SUPPOSE to be napping, are part of the tribe. I met James first, he introduced me to Rachel...a womyn who is frequently mistaken as my sister. We have had a bit of a funny relationship, intense at times. We live thousands of miles away from one another and yet here I am, in their living room, being given the honour of being present at the birth of the baby who will make them both parents for the first time.

(My first time at Esalen, my first time dancing Soul Motion, my first time for so many things)

Rachel and James are not the only friends who I have become very close to through the dance. I met Jeremy, my first ever long term lover since I was married over 12 years ago, on the floor, in the dance dome on the Big Sur Coast line. I remember the first time he danced past me, his fleece neck warmer making him look a little like a turtle emerging from his shell, and emerge he did. This September will be the 1 year anniversary of our meeting, sadly it will not be marked by an anniversary dance in the dome. He has promised to take along the magic mushroom I felted for him and put it on the altar. If any of you reading this see it, please pick me up and dance with me round the room. I would be so very grateful.

There are so many more I have met, Aletia, JJ, Tory, Hollie, Josie, Phillip, Lamara, Shems, Katie, Elizabeth, Zuza, Walter, Mara, Jenz, Kincade, Jovinna, Lance and and many more I want to name, but I want to go see the beach before this baby is born, so instead I am going to go for a walk. I have a feeling that I will cry a little when I see the Pacific; imagine that just a hundred miles up the coast the tubs, lodge and dance dome are waiting for the dancers to arrive on the 25th. I will imagine you all sitting on the deck, long glass tables filled with abundant food grown by Tareck and Benjamin et el. I will imagine the fascinating conversations, the laughter, the luxury of only having to decide where to sit and when to go tubbing. I will imagine the floor of the big marshmallow dance dome, bodies strewn in warm up positions of 50 different kinds. I will imagine Vinn's voice, a whisper through the mic and over the speaker, repeating words that speak of presence and acceptance and “begin again”. I imagine this scene as I have witnessed it dozens of times, each time the same, each time different. I imagine all of this without me there. It makes me sad, it makes me ecstatic, it makes me all the things that exist between these two.

I will see you all in January. I love you

“Was there a time when you had to choose between two things that you cared deeply about?” is the question in 12 days journal #153

September 12, 2009

Day 11 Walkabout- L.A.

I haven’t really been speaking about my current commitment a whole lot, I notice this as I fly through the air towards Sacramento, California, my last stop before Los Angeles. I have walked a little more than normal, but I fully admit the vague nature of this commitment has translated into a vague level of commitment. Lesson learned.

I did walk yesterday, walked away from my house in anger and found the swing which has brought me much solace in this turbulent time. Later I walked back to the house, calmer, having spent a good amount of energy pumping away my tumble of emotions. Swings are great for this. When I arrived home I ended up in a heated conversation with my husband and his partner, there were tears, accusations, hugs and expressions of understanding. Eventually Michael came home from work and then there were four of us talking. We talked and talked and talked until we all went to bed. There were pit stops along the way, one to sample the mash potatoes Rosy had made all by herself and eat a quick dinner with my mom and the girls; another for Michael to read to Rose before bed and for me to lie with her until she fell asleep. And then we all talked some more. Perhaps I should have made this the commitment of talking rather than walking, at least that way I would be doing the commitment in a manner which didn’t feel kinda like faking it.

That was yesterday, today I am en-route to LA, to be with my VERY pregnant friend Rachel and her talented partner James, of Puppetji fame. They are having a baby, and if I have any say (which I don’t) the baby will be born while I am there. Today is actually Rachel's due date, which means nothing since babies come when babies are ready. The plan for the 4 glorious days I get to spend with these 2 (3?) is to frolic, have fun, kick back, hang, and if I am blessed, be there for the birth of a wonderful little light being.

Preparing for the birth of 3 babies has taught me that WALKING is great for bringing on labour. So I will finally be making good on my commitment. I plan to walk round Venice Beach with a glorious pregnant Goddess and my favourite puppeteer, and walk a baby right on into this world. Imagine that?! If the final day of the walking commitment culminated in the birth of a Makes me think that maybe I want to do it again...maybe ;o)

In case you are not familiar with Puppetji...have a look.

Oh right a question, I almost forgot. Hmmmm. How about.....“What is the story of your birth?“ for the question in 12 days journal #152


September 11, 2009

Day 10 Walkabout- This Mess We're in

I couldn’t figure it out, the reason for this deep sadness, this feeling of being unloved and alone that I was wrestling with this morning. I know neither is even remotely true. My entry for today kept churning round my brain. I planned on writing something about not writing anything at all. That anything real would be depressing and infectious to my readers, anything happy or informative would be bullshit since I can barely stop myself from crying. Crying over what? I had ideas, but couldn’t settle on the why. It was when I opened my computer, clicked on today's date to start an entry, and burst into tears, that I knew. I saw the date and remembered what happened 3 years ago on this day, I finally knew why this deep well of sadness had opened and was attempting to lure me to the bottom.

I have a story I have never really told. I was asked not to share it by one of the people involved, I chose to comply. By not telling I lost friends, confidence, and self love. It has been three years now. It is time to tell my story.


Three years ago was the beginning of an end. What ended was a friendship that was dear to me, to say it was dear doesn’t even come close describing it. I don’t even know anymore if the depth of this friendship was reciprocal. I was told at the time that it was, by a beautiful man whose smile I still see when I close my eyes. I still carry a small inconsequential note that he wrote to me in my wallet, it is crumpled and stained and says

“I was here- will have replenished promise
<3 PA"

As can often happen with a deep friendship between a man and a womyn, the lines began to blur. We both got confused. I knew I wanted him to be a close friend for a very long time, I knew he was married and monogamous, I knew that keeping him as a friend meant keeping my distance. This is why I would only hug him off to one side when we said good-bye and hello, why I never kissed him during these off-side hugs despite the fact that it was common amongst our friends. I was afraid of becoming transparent, of him and the world seeing how much I cared for him, there was a DEEP knowing that this would not be understood, would be seen as dangerous. I loved him and though he is beautiful, sexy, spiritual and wonderful beyond words, I did not want to be romantically involved, because this would mean lying, being out of integrity and hurting people I loved. On September 11th 2006 events transpired that eventually led to the end of our friendship.

He called me late at night, he was distraught, said he needed someone to talk to. I could say I didn't think of the consequences of inviting him over, but this is not true, I knew, I invited him anyway. Chris was working nights, the kids were asleep. He arrived and shortly there after he was sitting on the floor, his head in my lap as I sat on the couch. He cried, told me the way I stroked his hair reminded him of his mother. He spoke of a deep sadness, a desire to run away from the world, I listened, offered encouragement to let it out. He spoke of the death of both of his parents and how he was struggling to communicate with those he loved. It was intimate, I felt honoured to be the friend he turned to, felt safe with. It also felt wonderful to hold him in my arms, I had been feeling very lonely, disconnected from my body as well as disconnected from Chris as he was spiralling into a deep depression.

We kissed that night and held each other in my living room. We soothed the deep sadness we had both been feeling that day, body to body, soul to soul, in a way that felt very natural and wholesome. It was one night, all our clothes stayed on. We never kissed or embraced ever again.

At the end of the night we made a pact to be transparent, share with our partners what had happened. I knew Chris would understand. We had been polyamorous for years by this point, so the kiss was immaterial. What was harder was explaining to him that I felt something in that embrace and kiss that I wasn't getting from our relationship. My friends partner, a close friend of mine, did not take it as well. At the time I imagined that time and an eventual understanding would heal the wound that was opened by our closeness, this never happened. Our families are now estranged.

I understand the feelings, reactions and responses of everyone involved. We were all hurting, it was messy, light was flooded into places kept dark by fear. I look back now and remember the deep feelings of abandonment, how misunderstood I felt, and know that it was my choices that created the most pain for me. Closing up, hiding myself away, walking into the grocery store, head hung, an imaginary Scarlet Letter upon my chest. THIS is what lost me friends, this hiding convinced the community that an "affair" had taken place, that we had done something very "wrong".

I am not hiding anymore.

What happened that day was not wrong. We were in pain, seeking connection and understanding. I think back to the feeling of holding him in my arms as he wept, listening to the uncensored flow that had been dammed for so long, and KNOW that my intentions were to love and support, to SEE one who needed to be seen. Yes the kiss and close embrace were something I knew, even as I was doing it, would feel like betrayal to his partner. I knew this, and still I wouldn't change it. This may seem unapologetic, maybe even crass, like a contradiction given how I feel about integrity, and it is. I still can not think of it as "wrong". If others want to see it as wrong, that is their prerogative, I accept it, respect it, understand it and yet can not choose it.

If you ever read this my love, know that I still love you. Am still grateful for our friendship. I expect nothing of you, and that as always, loving you is enough.

The piece that is missing from this story, one I am reluctant to add since this entry is already over 1000 words, is the question of why did it happen this day? My friend is, like me, a sensitive deeply connected soul, he is a spiritual man. THIS is the reason I fell in love with him, he loved God in a way that so closely resembled my own love, I felt closer to God and my own truth just by being with him. It took me a year to figure out that he arrived on my doorstep the night of September 11th 2006, the 5th anniversary of a tragedy that effected the world. All politics or ideas of responsibility aside, I believe that most could agree that this was a day of suffering. It is an aniversary that carries a shadow of fear, terror and sadness. The world changed on this day 8 years ago, a change that was surreal and jarring. I believe that this was the reason that we were both so upset, being carried on a wave of emotion that while we played a part did not belong to us. Being so tapped into the collective suffering and joys of the planet makes us susceptible to taking on emotional upheaval that isn't ours.

Seems silly doesn't it? To be all upset one day, not know where it is coming from, freak out, have an existential crisis, kiss a friend and end a friendship forever....sigh.

The last piece I will add is that my friend told me a few days later that the song This Mess We're In by PJ Harvey and Thom Yorke of Radiohead had become "our song". It took me a while to connect that this song is about a one time union which happens in the wake of September 11th...I often wonder if he ever made the connection.

“What does the day September 11th mean to you?” is the question in 12 days journal #151

September 10, 2009

Day 9 Walkabout- Screamer

My life is such a roller-coaster lately. I have ridden extreme highs and lows, experienced ecstasy and pain in the last 24 hours, actually to be more concise I have experienced all this in the last 4 hours. And as on a roller-coaster all I can do right now is hold on, listen for the clunk, clunk, clunk as that big chain pulls the cars to the highest point and create personal mantras to deal:

“It will all be over soon”

“This is going to be fun”

“Holy shit what was I thinking“

”This lack of control is exhilarating!”

All these mantras rolled up into one intense present moment spilling into the next intense and present moment ,over and over, creating an immediate past made up of experience and thoughts devoid of control. This, is my life at the moment. I have heard it said many times by many people that control is an illusion, and I know this, knew this. Right now I FEEL this.

I got out my computer to check my “to do” list, I am leaving town in a couple of days, back to California I go. There are logistical tasks which need to be ticked, important faxes and documents which need packing, sending and signing, it is really difficult to do this while bumping round this roller-coaster car. This giant bar which has been pulled down a little tighter than is comfortable, a little tighter than my lungs would like as they desperately claw at the air for more more more. This big black padded safety restraint makes the fax button hard to reach, makes my signature illegible, or more illegible than usual I should say. Perhaps this is the reason why my signature has always been this way, a couple of dramatic scratches and a runaway tail, maybe this roller-coaster is my pre-set, my default, and I just mistake the slower windy loops as moments of freedom from this wild ride.

I sit here on a bench outside Oso Negro, aware in this moment of how I keep putting my hands up to my face, pulling the slowly crinkling skin at the corner of my eyes towards my temples, gently encouraging my eyes to shut, feeling the coolness of my palms against the corners of my jaw bone. I imagine this bone as I open my mouth, teeth attached to shiny pink skin which grows into the smooth pitted flesh of my cheek, my tongues imprint permanently embossed here, years of sitting idle, not speaking my truth. My remedy seems to be transferring the job of my tongue to my fingers, they find the keys which correspond to the letter of the words which tell the tale of my roller-coaster ride and take away the neatly placed veil which hides how manic I often feel.

And as I type this I hear Kelly say how nervous she feels about being interviewed by a live TV show this evening, she says she doesn’t know what to say, I stop typing and offer support and advice

“If you loose it and don’t know what to do just say how you spent the morning sharing a watermelon, that you grew in your very own garden, with you lover...and his wife. This will be enough to wow them.”

See...roller-coaster life. Would you like to step on and come for a ride?

“Do you belive you have control over you life?” is the question in 12 days journal #150

September 9, 2009

Day 8 Walkabout- Bloody Confusion

Has there ever been a time when you thought you were in one place then suddenly found yourself somewhere completely different? I am not talking about a physical experience. I am talking about when I am feeling loving and connected then... BOOM I realize I have somehow been transported a million miles away. An unpleasant and inextricable melange of emotions envelopes me. I often do not communicate this to others around me, out of confusion, not knowing what is going on for me or, as is more often the case, because of self judgement, deciding that I am too sensitive is usually what pops up and attacks my weepy heart. I come up with lots of reasons to not communicate in these moments, decide it might start a fight, or am fearful that I am imagining the disconnect and will look neurotic or dramatic, and there is of course the ever present inarticulation which seems to accompany my sadness....sigh.

This morning was a combination of all I mentioned and an idea that my drama would make Michael late(r?) for work, so I didn’t say anything. Reading this may even make you believe something B_I_G happened, it didn’t, it is quite possible I suppose that this IS all in my head. Did I mention I am in my moon time? How cliché is all of this? So now I am left with what to do, go for coffee? Meet up with friends, let a new conversation take the place of this mornings events. Will this reveal to me that nothing really happened, that this was all in my moon time sensitive mind? Or is this me running away, not dealing, cursing myself to live this dynamic out time and time again, until I deal with it and put it to rest? I am so bloody confused...ha...pun most definitely intended.

Right now I am hiding behind this computer screen , not dealing, well I am, I am dealing with this journal writing software and the keys of my mac. I am NOT dealing with the person in the kitchen. I won’t be able to hide for long though, since this is going up on the net any minute now. I have discovered that there are not a lot of places to hide when you post your life’s story on the internet, imagine that.

“What confuses you about life?” is the question in 12 days journal #149


(It is actually cellulose fibre dye...but I love the pic and wanted to both share and shock! tee hee)

September 8, 2009

Day 7 Walkabout- All over the place!

The Rose Ceremony is a Waldorf Education right of passage. Most Waldorf schools go to grade 8. When a new batch of grade one students ruck up to the school in September it is the grade 8’s that welcome them in. These older students each take one of the younger under their wing and become a mentor to them through out the school year, the ritual which starts this relationship is called the Rose Ceremony. A Rose is passed to the grade one student by their grade 8 mentor in front of the whole school on the first day of classes. Then at the end of the year the same ceremony is done in reverse, this time the grade one students give a rose to the grade 8’s as they say good bye to their school, and most often to Waldorf education all together since there are few high schools which follow the Waldorf curriculum. It is an emotional ceremony made that much more so this year because our family has Miss Rosemary going into grade 1 and Miss Ayla in her last year of Waldorf education in grade 8.

In true Raabis fashion we added to the emotionality and adventure by showing up for the ceremony with the whole family, and by this I mean the WHOLE family. My mom, my partner, and my husbands partner went to watch our daughters in this moving ritual. This was the first time I had stepped onto the school grounds with Michael. Chris had been with Kelly to pick up the kids a few times last year but back then they called themselves “friends”.

I experience the Waldorf community to be quite conservative. This is not to say that they ARE conservative, “conservative“ is a relative term, most of them seem more conservative than me. To be more truthful, I admit by conservative I mean I am afraid that they judge me. Stepping into that parking lot was not easy, holding Michael's hand while sitting next to Chris, was not easy. Being there with the support of Michael and Kelly though, that was easy. Having four adults care for 3 children brings things back into balance.

I used to joke that I didn’t know why on earth I had three kids, that Chris and I had out numbered ourselves. When Chris was working 60 hour weeks I was definitely not enough parent for all three of them. Now there seems to be enough support and time to get done what needs to get done, this was not my experience before Michael and Kelly came along. Our lives look different from other peoples lives in that we have a alternatively configured family, and different in this sense means easier. Believe me there are other ways in which it is not easier. One of my friends daughters asked Michael if he loved me in the ”want to marry her“ kind of way, he said he did, but that this was not possible, and even illegal as it would make me a bigamist. Being in a polyamourous flavoured polyfidelitous relationship with a family of 7 has its ease and its difficulties, just like all relationships...huh... not so different after-all.

I had a talk with a friend today, one who I dearly love and supports me with completely unconditional love. She asked to have tea, she wants to talk about what is going on in our family. Her daughter is one of Lily’s best friends. She wants to be able to support all our children in this transition, hers and mine. She wants to ”normalize“ what is going on in our family in order for the kids to see that the parents get it, are not afraid and that we all support each other. I love her to the bottom of my heart. It couldn’t have been easy for her to call up and ask me this, and she did anyway. Pam I love ya.

Pam’s call for more knowledge and transparency got me to thinking that this blog is a great vehicle for more clarity around our particular flavour of Polyamory and polyamory in general. So I am going to be talking about Polyamory a little more on the blog in the next little while, dropping links and suggestions of books and really opening up about this part of our lives. The following link is just your run of the mill Wikipedia link, it is a good one, which surprises me because often Wikipedia is a little lacking. This entry though is very informative. I mention Polyfidelity above, the term is explained in the link...I will be talking about it a little more later.

Whew...what a long rambling post! And to think the post that I started with, and then deleted, was dead boring!


”Is there something you would like your family or community to know about you?“ is the question in 12 days journal #148

September 7, 2009

Day 6 Walkabout- So Fast

Tomorrow is Rosy’s first day of school. “Real school” she calls it, meaning not kindergarten. She went to kindergarten last year which felt to me like her first year of school, this year though she goes for full days.

Oh how my life has changed. Three years ago was the first time ANY of my children went to a school of any kind. From the beginning we homeschooled, and eventually were part of a parent run homeschool co-operative that was multi aged and very home spun. When Ayla was 11 she put her foot down, she wanted to go to “real school”. She and Lily started at Alta Lake, the Whistler Waldorf School. I taught there that year as the handwork teacher. A year later we moved to Nelson, Chris got into his accident and “real school” became our saving grace.

Things were rough after Chris’ accident, really rough, so rough in fact that even I have not fully admitted to myself all that went on. Having a place for the girls to go during these times was of immeasurable support, homeschooling was no longer an option for our family. Rose though, she was still little, she tagged along and was a big part of Chris’s recovery, they were buddies. Even last year, when she was in kindergarten for 3 hours a day 4 days a week, most days Chris and her hung out. He was able to get time to himself in the mornings, the rest of the day he took care of he and Rosy’s needs and little else, this was part of his prescribed recovery from his Neuro-Psychologist. I haven’t asked him yet how he feels about loosing his little buddy. Makes me wonder what this year will look like, how this will change us. What this new era in our lives is all about.

All my babies in school full, I know it sounds cliché, but they really do grow up so fast.

“How has schooling played a role in your life?” is the question in 12 days journal #147

September 6, 2009

Day 5 Walkabout- Quitting

I am quitting tobacco today.

It might surprise you that I smoke surprises me too! I started smoking exactly 3 moons ago. I went 35 years and only ever smoked it about 4 times; then as I walked up to a full moon dance party in June for some reason I decided to smoke with friends. I thought of course that it would be just that once, as you may know it is somewhat of an addictive substance.

Just before leaving the States 3 weeks ago, Michael and I bought a pack of 100% organic and additive free, American Spirit tailor-mades. We have been breaking them up and smoking small hand-rolled cigarettes a couple times a day. I don’t know that I am actually addicted to tobacco itself, I think it is the ritual I am addicted to. There is something about taking the time to sit while a cigarette is prepared, rolling is a skill I have come to appreciate. Then there is the sharing, passing round the circle while conversing. I know of course the same could be done with a coconut, one can prepare it and it can be shared amidst conversation. I do so love coconuts...and now tobacco. But today I am quitting.

We are about to smoke the last one...right now...and so this is where I leave you, to go smoke my last cigarette.

“Is there something you want to quit?“ is the question for 12 days journal #146

September 5, 2009

Day 4 Walkabout- Walk...that's it

Well I haven’t walked a whole lot today, AND I am way behind on entries...yes I am falling behind again...sigh. So right now I am going for a walk instead of writing.

That’s it folks!

“What role does walking play in your life?“ is the question in 12 days journal #145

September 4, 2009

Day 3 Walkabout- Ashina

I stood today in a room which inspired me to work, love, play and pray. I felt at home. I was in awe. I felt moved to tears by the shear holy magic of this tiny little meditation dome.

Michael and I went out to Winlaw to visit Ashina. Ashina is a multi family intentional community, built on principles of communal living in harmony with nature. We were invited to share a potluck, circle, song and dance. As it turned out we missed singing the songs, and participated in the potluck only by eating leftovers. We did get to dance, and eventually sit in circle, just the two of us, in a tiny temple in the woods.

It is a small cob building, maybe 22 foot in diameter, beautiful wood floor, visible lodge-poles as roof supports. A single beam runs across the ceiling,and in the deep of the night as we sat in whispers the many windows reflected us along with the collection of treasures held within. There were many altars, some small, some much bigger, each contained carefully laid sacred items. A knife made of a goats hoof, many crystals, feathers, candles, a snake skin, bones, statues, many of them likenesses of the goddess. There were piles of pillows, animals skins to lay upon and everywhere the warm glow of the sacred.

I imagined this space belonged to me, or more that it was a shared space which I could use and collaborate in. I imagined it as my “office”, a place I would come for a number of hours each day and dance, write, meditate, sing, talk, plan, cry, laugh, listen; take care of all parts of me, no separation between what I do and what I am.

I make a vow to myself on this day that I will create/manifest/find a sacred workspace for myself and those who I work with, that I will commit each day to moving in the direction of a life lived in community, and co-creation.

And so it is!

“What do you commit to?” is the question in 12 days journal #145

September 3, 2009

Day 2 Walkabout- Oombellafish

What a difference a day makes! Many arms have hugged me since yesterdays post. Some in person, some cyber, all lovely. Thank you to all of you wonderful people.

This evening Rosy had a sleep-over with her friend Sage. They are master bargainers, and managed to get both extra play time AND a story. Michael and I wrote them a bedtime story, line by line; he started, then I added a sentence and so on and so on until it ended. Which was abrupt as it was getting late. Here is the story we read to the girls before they went to sleep.

“One unbelievably fantastic day in the far off land of Oombellafish, a very sunny afternoon was interrupted by a very wet rain storm. All the cats and dogs went running for cover, the streets became eerily quiet and baren, save the pounding of the rain. Soon the streets began to fill with water and rivers were flowing where once balls had bounced, mice darted behind dumpsters in a game as old as time. The soil began to loosen and soon the trees gave way to the torrent, sliding down the rivers like an amusement park ride. Boats went past, floating barrels and bathing ducks. Then a sudden splash fell across the wet street river as the tail of a particularly large fish waved into view. He brought with him a whole school of fish in all different shapes, sizes and brilliant colours. For three glorious days Oombellafish was a marvellous water wonderland.”

“What is your favourite story?“ is the question in 12 days journal #143