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.

November 11, 2009

Day 11 Sacred Space- Yin Yang

Hot on the tails of the blue post, I went out with my lovely friend Kimberly, had us a girls night out. Drank wine, talked about men, our relationships, all three. Got silly before even going to the restaurant, talked about flirting and how to be the womyn to the men of our post Gloria Stienem generation. We talked about how hard we work, how hard they work, how hard it can be, and how it is part of growing up.

I so love my sisters. I was afraid for a long time to really get close to other womyn, I am sure Freud would say it was because of my mother, I was much more prone to blaming things on my parents before I became a parent myself. Whatever the reason, I am really coming to appreciate more and more my lovely sisters. My beautiful mirrors, truth tellers and comrades in this crazy game of being the womyn in a world made equal for the sexes in so many ways and yet still shaky at best.

I look forward to a time where we can truly celebrating the glorious differences which make both men and womyn both exceptional and completely necessary. From the battle of the sexes to the reconciliation of the sexes, how about we shoot next for the blissful union of the sexes as a result of an understanding of the alchemy created at the point of contact between man and womyn? Sounds serious, sounds sexy, sounds worth it.

(Kim and I at the Valentines Burlesque show last year, yes I am wearing sparkly purple penises on my head, I had just won them!)

“How do you see the current relationship between the male and the female of humankind?” is the question in 12 days journal #213

November 10, 2009

Day 10 Sacred Space- Rainbow

ACK! Studio, studio, studio. Nothin but studio. All the walls are painted so today is rainbow day. Here is a beautiful rainbow song sung by an amazing man. Another of the many many songs which I love to love...God I love music.

With the studio completely painted next comes lights to be able to see what we are doing with the floor. Ah the floor, the floor...sigh. The floor is in such rough shape, and is going to be a hell of a lot of work....and will be beautiful when we are done.

“What is your favorite thing about music?” is the question in 12 days journal #212

November 9, 2009

Day 9 Sacred Space- Rose-a-ma-toes

Rosemary May Raabis is 7 years old today! 7 years ago I gave birth, in my living room, to my third little girl. Chris was there, Ayla and Lily were asleep, it was 4:30 in the morning, quite, serene. I had an unassisted birth, I knew early on in the pregnancy that this one would be born quick, don’t know how I knew, just did. I lived over an hour from a full facility hospital, and really I wouldn’t consider delivering a child in the hospital so this is just justifying. I birth my babies at home. In British Columbia it is illegal for a midwife to attend a home birth so far from a hospital, so a midwife was not an option. Again this is justifying, I didn’t want a midwife, I wanted to do it alone. I trusted my body, my baby, my destiny, my ability, my courage, my innate Priestess nature, I trust birth. So on November 9th, in the wee hours, in less than 45 minutes, my sweet Rosy Posy came into this world, it has been a brighter and happier place ever since. Happy Birthday my sweet little one!


“Do you remember a day which changed your life forever?” is the question in 12 days journal #211

If you want more here is the VERY LONG birth story I wrote a few months after her birth. Funny to read it now, I am surprised by how many things I see differently, almost as surprised as I am by the things that I still see exactly the same. The other thing I am very aware of is how my writing has changed. Windows into the past.

“My lover Chris and I have three perfect girls together, Ayla who is 7, Lilith who is 4, and Rosemary who is nearly 3 months. Our birth experiences have run the gamut! Here is the story of how we came to know the true bliss of unhindered birth, how I learned to have faith in my Divinely inspired creation and my ability to carry my Divinely created miracles.... my babies.
Ayla was born in hospital, I was 21. My husband was PETRIFIED of birth. He comes from a medically oriented family, his mother is a nurse, his father a doc-worshipping hypochondriac. Sadly he was not at Ayla's birth. He was convinced that either me or our baby would die in labour. I did have a birth "coach" but she was ridiculously unprepared and more of a hindrance than a help. Ayla's birth began with broken waters, and progressed easily. I was handling things well until I was given a shot of Morphine. I had asked my labour support for something to help with pain. Instead of suggesting natural methods that we had discussed and were written in my birth plan, which DISTINCLY stated NO DRUGS, my birth support asked for the nurse for Demerol. I was given Morphine. I did not even know I was given a drug until it made me sick. About an hour later I was then given Oxytocin against my expressed will, I said I did not want it, the nurse told me I had “no choice” and put a needle in my IV. Not long after that I was pronounced "done" and coached to push for over 4 hours. It was very degrading, I felt confused and disrespected. Thankfully it all was forgotten the moment my baby was put into my arms, forgotten least for the time being. My sweet Ayla Gabrielle, the one who blessed me and made me a mama for the first time, was here. That night in the hospital I just kept staring at her in her bassinet. I couldn’t believe she was actually mine, that I got to keep her! I took her out of that nasty plastic thing and though it was against “hospital policy” I took her to bed with me. We snuggled and nursed, then fell asleep together… and all was right in the world.
As the weeks passed I looked back on her birth. Her debut to this world was not the sacred event I had imagined. I knew that something had been taken from us. Something was missing... reverence, awe and respect, yes these things were missing. I swore to myself that I would find a better way next time.
Whether there was going to be a next time was up for debate. Chris was dead set against more children and it seemed most often to come down to his feelings about birth. As my wounds healed I confronted Chris with my feelings of abandon. I felt as though he had not been there to protect us. After much soul searching he came to realise it was not birth he was afraid of at all, rather it was the way birth was dealt with, like it was an illness. When I first suggested home birth I was incredibly surprised. I did I not come up against resistance, as I had expected, in fact he embraced the idea! Even better he was suddenly insistent that Ayla needed a sibling. So it was decided we would have another baby and she would be born at home. I was pregnant within the month.
Lily's birth was attended by midwives, Barbara Scriver and Noreen Walker. When we chose them we must have had an angel smiling down on us. We were still pretty naive and uneducated, we assumed that a midwife was a midwife was a midwife, we had no idea that they varied in their beliefs and practices. Turns out we got the best in the province. They were extremely hands off, and had no issues with US making the decisions at our birth. They sensed that Chris and I wanted to be alone during labour, gave my mother-in-law heck when she decided to cook bacon during transition (can you imagine?! especially considering we were vegetarian at the time! ) and basically just let us be. When I decided to get in the pool, they just sat silently by, doing nothing, no checking dilation, no talking, no making suggestions just trusting me, my body, my baby. My wonderful Lilith Rain, was born in the water at home, as her sister and daddy looked on. Barbara and Noreen treated us all with love and respect. I was the first to touch Lily and she nursed right away, no fussing with the placenta or cord, they knew that could all wait. I had had a baby and this time my dignity was left intact. Having a baby at home was so much more natural. That night I went to sleep in my own bed with my sweet new baby, my Ayla and my wonderful husband….and all was right in the world.
In March 2002 I was ecstatic to realise I was again growing a new little being in my belly. A few days later we also found out we had finally received the transfer to BC that we had been desperately waiting on for five long years. Life was good!!! Everyone kept pestering me about finding a midwife, I patiently told them we would figure it out once we got to BC. We left our home in Alberta in August and started a new chapter of our lives.
I felt no rush to find a midwife, despite the constant questions about who was going to attend and when I was going to get prenatal care. It occurred to me that I had been doing this myself. Watching my diet and dealing with any problem that came along. I knew I was doing just fine. I felt a comforting peace that everything would work out as it should, as it was meant to. This is when I began seriously considering unassisted birth. When I brought up unassisted birth with Chris, I was once again blown away. He didn't react at all, it was as though he always expected us to do this together, like there was no other way. It is an unspeakable sense of pride, that my husband trusts me so completely. There is no greater love than to hold the life of your partners child in your womb and know that her trusts you unconditionally. We made a pact in love to see this through, just the two of us. Chris was unshakably confident about the whole thing, as was I, but I admit I was feeling the pressure from everyone around me.
So in October when I heard Gloria Lemay (a new name to me at the time) was coming to a town near by to give a talk I figured I would go see her. I was excited to meet some like-minded people and hopefully find some other homeschooling families. The truth of the matter was, I was going there MAINLY to find the name of a Vancouver area midwife so I could drop that name next time I was being pestered. It is quite ironic that what I found out at this meeting was that I could actually not LEGALLY have a midwife at my home birth even if I had wanted one. Here I had come from conservative Alberta to liberal BC where I believed homebirth would be accepted and supported to find out that regulation had tied the hands of those of us who want a better birth.
After the meeting I decided it was time to take responsibility for my own birth in more ways than just birthing, I stopped lying. When someone asked I would simply say, "We will do what we need to do to have our baby safely at home."- a response just cryptic and confident enough to leave people with the idea that this was my birth, that I would decide what was best for me and my baby, whatever that decision might be. Amazingly enough people left us alone.
On the a Friday morning, after I had been having predormal labour for over two months, I lost my mucous plug. We were at the library, the girls were enjoying story time. We walked home around noon, I with my little secret. When we got home I cuddled up to Chris in bed and told him he should call in to work and say he might not be going in tonight. This was about the fourth time he had received these instructions. We went shopping for groceries, went for a walk, watched movies with the girls, all the while trying to figure out if this was the real thing. Every time I would walk they would go away, exactly like the predormal labour I had been having for months. If I laid down to relax they would resume, not strong or regular but they were there, now if only we knew if they were going anywhere!
We put the kids to bed, and I had a bath... still no sign that tonight was any different. Yet I just had a feeling in my heart, that although physically these were no different than the predormal "gettin-mamas-uterus-ready" rushes that I had already experienced, that somehow there was a difference. I had been convinced from the start that all this “practice” was making my uterus so efficient that this baby would be born very quickly. My others had been born after gradual, fairly long labours and it seemed unlikely, but there was just this feeling...I knew, just knew this would be different. I got out of the bath feeling a little frustrated. We decided we would watch a movie, if nothing happened we would just go off to bed and reconfirm our convictions that "things would happen when and how they were meant to" (my endless mantra through all these weeks of predormal labour). The movie ended and we went to bed... sigh.
I woke up at 3:18 annoyed by my full bladder, went pee. Awoke again at 3:38 thinking "how can I have to pee again I just went?!?!". The realisation slowly crept in, it was not a full bladder that was annoying me, it was BONA FIDE contractions!! I lay in bed a few minutes longer a little nervous, very excited...within a day I would be holding my baby! I figured I would labour on my own for an hour or so letting Chris catch some rest. Before I could finish this thought the next contraction engulfed my body. By the time it was over I knew there was little time to waste. I woke Chris and gave him clear concise instructions "It is time. I am going to wait until the next contraction is over, then in the lull between I am going to move to the futon in the Living room. Bring me pillows and a blanket, bolster me so I am comfortable in a side lying position. Then fill the pool". It is still amazing to me how in control and concise I was. Even more amazing was that I woke Chris out of a dead sleep yet he followed my instructions to a T!!
The world disappeared while I lie on the futon. I was vaguely aware that Chris was getting things ready but mostly I was just inside myself, I was the world. The contractions were unlike any I have ever felt. It was as though my womb was a finely honed instrument. It contracted with enormous strength, was highly efficient and I was opening right up effortlessly. All I had to do was relax, have faith and let my body do what it was designed to do. My contractions were very intense, but not painful. I did feel pain during one contraction, but only because I suddenly became afraid. I pushed the fear from my heart and it was like I was having an orgasm, an intense mind-boggling orgasm. I had read about pain free labour, and was actually experiencing it. I believe the key to experiencing pain free labour is to push all fear from your heart.
Chris came to tell me the pool was mostly full, that he would add cool water when I was ready to get in. I said "NOW, I have to get in now". I waited for a lull in contractions. As I got up I felt a gush as my fore-waters broke. I wondered if it was the hindbag but since my belly still felt full and there was not much fluid I decided it was not. I took off my nightgown and got in the pool. The first contraction in the pool was spent sitting. Every labour I sit through one contraction and it has always been awful! I tried to lie on my side, but the pool was too small. I was deciding whether to get out while leaning over the pool when the next contraction hit me like a brick!! There was intense pressure in my vagina and at the time I did not reconcile what it was. Seems silly now, I mean of course it was the baby moving down, but at the time I had not been in labour no more than an 45 minutes, I had had maybe 6-7 could she be coming already?! I felt my waters pop at the end of this second contraction in the pool. There was quite a break in between the next one. This was good because though physically I was doing splendidly, my mind was having hard time catching up. In this lull the thought began to sneak into my mind that if I had to do this for as long as I did with the girls I could not keep up! It was then took control! I was not going to do this to myself. I am strong, I am PERFECTLY designed, I am a womyn! I started chanting to myself "I can do this! I can do this! I can do this!" Chris was a little bewildered at this point, he was not scared or worried he was just having a hard time reading my cues. This was because he too thought there was much time to go yet. I looked at him dead in the eyes, this was the first time I had connected with the outside world since I got out of bed. I said to him, "I can do this right!?!". He saw what I was looking for, that I needed a connection with him, "YES YES, you can do this" With this I grabbed his hands and the next intense contraction was there...BOOM! As it began I had an enormous epiphany, a sense of relief and disbelief. The pressure was due to the fact that she was crowning!! Any pain I felt was from clamping myself shut to hold her back...she was coming out like a rocket!! I started to chant "gotta relax, don't want to tear, gotta relax, gotta relax". I was gripping Chris' hands, and bit it to try and release some of the intensity. It was not intensity in the way of pain, it was more the enormity of the situation, it was so surreal! I remember talking just before both Lily and Ayla crowned. This time it was so primal! All I was doing was birthing…I felt the power of the Creator channeling through me, this was AMAZING! It was after this contraction that I finally was able to convey to Chris how quickly things were going. He admitted later that when I was speaking of tearing he thought it was a little premature, but at the same time trusted me so said nothing. The lull this time was very short. I was breathless and could not speak. The next contraction began and just as I felt it was about to peak, out popped a little head, effortlessly. I had only had 4 contraction since I entered the pool. I couldn't believe it, it had only just begun and now I was a contraction away from it being over. I actually felt a little cheated, there was no time to revel in the moment! Still breathless, I muttered "There's a ...there's a". "There's a what sweetie" Chris asked patiently, lovingly. I kept motioning to my rear and he lets go of one hand to move to my rear to see what I was trying to tell him. I finally was able to say, "There is a head". He says "A head?"...then there was this pause and I could actually feel his revelation dawning. It was priceless when he suddenly exclaims "There's a head!!!!...... AND IT HAS LIPS!!" I will remember these words forever, for their comical irreverence at this sacred moment.
I was gently rubbing her little head, thinking how tiny it was and how much hair my new sweet one had. There are no words to describe the feeling of touching your baby while they are still inside you. The anticipation of meeting them, the sadness that you will never feel them inside your belly again. Any mother who has experienced this knows…it is indescribable. I expected her body to be born on it’s own with the next contraction but when it came she only moved down slightly. I was a little puzzled, here everything had happened so quickly when I hadn't expected it to, now when I was expecting things to move they were slowing down. As the next contraction began I felt around her neck for the cord and found a single loop. I knew that this was probably fine but decided I would push her out. I did and this was the only time during the entire labour that I actually "pushed" in the conventional sense. She came out easily, and Chris caught her. I flipped over and took her from him, she began to whimper but not cry. She was pink, perfect, and a miracle.... our third amazing girl Rosemary May...born unhindered. All up I had 12-13 contraction from the time I actually knew this was "it" to when she was there in my arms. Fast doesn't even describe it! The first thing I said was “get the girls”, they were suppose to watch their baby be born and they had missed the whole thing. Chris went into our room to try and wake them, it was 4:36am. The whole thing took less than an hour. This was when I checked and found that we had another girl, something I had always known in my heart. Chris came right back out but without the girls, they would not wake up. When I told dad he had another girl, he began to cry, "How am I so lucky... wow... three perfect girls". He told me later that there was no honour greater in his life than being the very first to lay eyes on his baby daughter.
I sent Chris back to the room, I really wanted the girls to see their sister when she was brand new. Chris came out with Lily, she just stared in disbelief, then came round to touch her, to see if she was real. A few minutes later she went to get Ayla, who later told me that she thought that Lily was trying to trick her. Ayla it was when she looked at the clock that she though “why would Lily be tricking me at 5 in the morning?”. She stumbled sleepily into the living room. They were both a little upset because we had promised them they could be there but it had all happened so quickly, there was no time to get them. Lily said it was OK, as long as they can be there next time... LOL... always thinking ahead. We all sat on the futon, marveling at this new little critter. It is hard once they actually arrive to come to terms with the fact that they will be with you until they grow up, seems such a HUGE change and it happens in an instant. I was having a hard time getting comfortable, I had nothing to lean against and I was tired, I needed to rest. So I lay down on the futon and nursed Rose. The girls were so excited they kept getting in the way of me latching her on. I asked Chris to put them back to bed. It was nice to have this time alone with my new little one, we nursed and as she stared up at me I promised to take good care of her.
With all of my births I have always forgotten about the placenta, you get so wrapped up in the rapture and bliss of the moment that you forget there is still work to be done. It does not take long though for your uterus to remind you though. I began to get annoying contractions from the placenta. At first I though about waiting for Chris, but I knew he would have his hands full putting the girls to bed. I got up to knees, put my hand over my vaginal opening and bore down. It came easily, when it was all out I put it in a bowl beside the bed. Strange how empowering it is to do a simple task like deliver your own placenta. It was very primal yet simple, it certainly makes you realise how we as a race have complicated our lives.
I could hear chatter from the bedroom. It was obvious that there was no way those little girls were going back to bed. I called them all back out again to help with the cutting of the cord. They were fascinated with the placenta, for the first time during the whole ordeal Chris looked a little squeamish! We tied her cord off with a little hemp-braided necklace that I had made for her. Both Lily and Ayla had a matching one, which they wore. Dad cut her cord. She was now her own little person. Only 38 weeks and 6 days earlier she was merely two cells that came together in love, now she was a fully functioning little being...amazing! Chris took us into the bedroom to tucked us in. He kissed me, told me how proud he was of us both, then went out to the living room to sleep with the girls while they watched videos. I snuggled with my new baby girl, we nursed until we fell asleep......and all was right in the world.
To the critics, neigh says and general disbeliveers I say “It was a good thing we were prepared to do this alone! If we would have attempted to make it to hospital Rosy would have been born on the sea to sky highway. Certainly not an optimal place to deliver! Had we have found a midwife who would have risked her career and maybe even freedom to come to our birth there is no way she would have made it in time.” Truth be told though this is not actually what I believe. I believe that I have much more control over my birth than this. Had I have had to make it to a hospital, I would have. If I felt I had to wait for midwives to arrive to deliver me, I would have waited. But I didn’t have to birth my baby on anyone else’s schedule, I was able to do it the way that was best for us, safest for us. I am not a slave to a process in which I have no control. I believe that we have a great deal of power to decide our own births. My birth happened the way it did because I simply knew it would. I know that I have the ability to give birth without complication and that if one does arise I will be able to INSTINCTUALLY handle it better than anyone, my Creator gave me this ability. I just have to have faith, tune in, listen and act, not wait around for someone else to save me or deliver me, my baby and I will do this just fine on our own.
Both Chris and I have come a long way in seven years with regards to our beliefs about birth. I am very proud of him and have a sneaking suspicion he is proud of me too…life is wonderful!“

November 8, 2009

Day 8 Sacred Space- Red

Today is red. I can not ignore the obvious, that red is the colour of passion. There has been much passion in the creation of this studio. Michael and I met 5 months ago, our relationship has been on hyper-speed ever since; we met, made love, decided to work together, fell deeper into love across distance, then spent 39 days straight with one another working, and falling deeper, always deeper. Life with my family began to include him, we moved in as a family, back into our newly refinished home; a new old home, a new old family. The passion also included a lot of intense anger and sadness. Michael and I process, it is what we do, often despite our wishes to turn it off. The growth I have experience has been so quick at times that I wondered if it was healthy. I was full of fear, fear that had been put away years ago added to a new fear of completely transparently living my truth, I was (and sometimes still am) scared shitless.

Under it all though is a faith, a devotion, a deep deep knowing that it is all worth it; that living in a way where I get to love and honour myself exactly as I am, and can do the same for everyone around me, is worth it. I am a work in progress, always will be, this is my family and my life as it is right now, and it is beautiful. I believe my children feel safer than they have in a long time, more held. I believe Chris is finally getting the space he needs to deal with all the pain that led to his accident over 2 years ago, his journey now has more witnesses, I believe this is a relief, and likely also scary as hell. I believe that Michael is feeling the challenge and exhilaration of getting exactly what he asked for, I believe he loves me, and his new family.

I feel blessed, and full of gratitude for my entire family. The struggles and growth have been intense. I have asked God or anyone who would listen many times for a pause button, felt like I needed to just stop moving so I could breathe. Well the pause button never materialized, instead I am learning to breathe while it all moves on around me. This is passion, this is the red, it is the stillness attained amongst the worlds emotional chaos while staying open to it full glory. This is the place is I am living towards.

Here is one of my favourite “Blue” writing songs, there is a lot of this song in many of the posts you have read here.

And just because red, passion love filled red is one of my all time favourite colours, I leave you with a poem which makes me think red red red. Here is a little e.e. Cummings.

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly I like the thrill

of under me you so quite new
-e.e cummings

“What are you passionate about?”
is the question in 12 days journal #210

November 7, 2009

Day 7 Sacred Space- Blue

We are painting our ceiling blue, dark, jewel, sapphire blue. Originally we somehow managed to get Jedi mind tricked into puttying it first, luckily a timely visit from a painter in the building had us shaking our heads and reconsidering. Our landlord has left a less than great impression since we forked over the last two months rent as a deposit back in September. We had an idea that this meant the place would be done to a certain standard by our possession date, we were wrong. The struggle between landlord and tenant is old, ages old. My part in this relationship is to artfully navigate, keep integrity while going to bat for myself, the latter being something of a focus for me lately. Today this looked like choosing to paint the ceiling blue with no putty underneath. The place is starting to look fabulous.

And since we are talking blue I will cop to feeling a little blue today. I woke up this cold fall morning and after a shower went to put on some warm clothes. I buttoned up my pants, they fell to the floor. I am having a body crisis. This is nothing new, I, along with so many of the female of my species, have had a long history of self judgement, my body being used as the battle ground. There were times in my life where I starved myself, worked myself till exhaustion to be thin enough. Thing is it was all bullshit. You know how I know? Because I am now about a size 4, maybe even 2, and I still come up with reasons to judge my body. I went from feeling very sexy this summer to feeling frail and fragile, too thin; to be perfectly honest I am as discouraged with my breasts as I have ever been. They have nursed 3 children, been on-the-job for over 9 1/2 years, it has taken its toll and now with very little fat to fill them out, well all I can say is I need some new miracle bras. Yes I love them, they are mine, there is no other real options, implants are not my style. So body neuroses has nothing to do with size...did you know this? I was convinced it was about being too big. Sigh. Anyway I took matters into my own hands, went shopping at the local consignment place, looked for hot clothes, good deals, and came out with some pants that show off my sexy bubble butt. They are fitted and look great. Feeling sexy and beautiful is a big part of standing up as a Goddess.

My friend KD is having a bit of a life crisis, at the moment we are sisters covering rough seas together. She told me that to keep up her own self empowerment she is going to continue to go to the grocery store with her high heels on, Hallelujah! Me too sister!


Whatever it is that makes you feel beautiful, be it choosing to not pluck your eyebrows, waxing your hooch, or wearing that scarf which always gets you compliments, DO IT! Don’t wait for special occasions, do it when you least feel like it suits your mood, wear it to remind YOURSELF how beautiful you are. This is what others see, not the scarf, but how the scarf helps you find your own beauty. You look beautiful when YOU believe it.

“What makes you feel beautiful and/ or handsome?” is the question in 12 days journal #209

November 6, 2009

Day 6 Sacred Space- Orange

Orange. Door hinge.

Today I was going to write a silly poem about orange. The work has been consuming, so much to do, writing has taken a back seat to studio prep. I had a minute to write, thought I would write some funny little prose. I choose the day I was going to write about our orange walls. Did you know there is next to nothing that rhymes with orange...well except for “door hinge”. So here it goes.

We have 6 walls, most are orange.
We have painted everything now, even the door hinge(s)
Yellow, orange, blue and red
We snack on chips, keep ourselves fed.
Soon the floor and lighting will be complete,
We will dance, and have a “meet and greet“.
Creating a space to infuse community,
Love and empathy, purpose, love and unity.

No, It will likely never win a Pulitzer, but I had a chuckle while writing it and this entry took me less than 10 minutes. Priorities.

I am off to paint.

”What is your life's purpose?“ is the question in 12 days journal #208, inspired by my soon to be prize winning poem! You know you love it!

November 5, 2009

Day 5 Sacred Space- Yellow

Working hard! We put the first coat of paint on the walls. First colour was a 5 dollar can of yellow we got from the paint recycling place, Michael's idea. I love his ideas, the way he finds less conventional ways of meeting needs, he is a magician. Perhaps it may seem obvious to some to go look for paint somewhere other than a paint store, but not to me. He teaches me.

In honour of our first yellow wall, one of my favourite songs. It reminds me also of a dear friend, one whom I have heard is upset with me. I am not exactly sure why, I have suspicions, it does have to do with a blog entry I made back in September. I understand him being angry. I am still proud as hell for standing up for my truth. I can do both, be proud of my actions, stand by me, and understand and empathize with his anger. I think this might be called maturity?

So this is for Michael and our new studio with the two frugal yellow walls and for you too my friend. I love you both very much.

“What is your favorite colour? Why?” is the question in 12 days journal #207, a question I SWORE I would never ask on this blog...never say never!

November 4, 2009

Day 4 Sacred Space- "Tenacious Green Bits"

Today is one of those days where I have so many ideas rolling round my head. What to write about? There is the black eye that I am sporting, the one I refuse to tell anyone about (well almost everyone). There is how sweet this morning was, how Michael got the girls all ready, then drove them to school. There was the piece I was considering on the importance of having prayer, in some form, in ones life. There is a link going round facebook about how to use your five fingers to remember all who need positive attention and intention. I spent a good part of the day talking about the studio with Michael, we talked big picture stuff, shared vision and all that, then went to choose paint colours from the recycle depot, I could write about this too.

I want you to know you read a small sampling of the ideas I have for entries. I am rarely aware of what I am going to write about until I sit down at the keys, even then it often morphs. I love writing, I would have to to keep this crazy commitment I set for myself back in early April. I do whine a little when things back up I can get overwhelmed, but usually once I actually start the process of laying out the words, I get into my flow and am engrossed. I have missed dance to write before, THAT says something!

Michael and I were discussing what our workshops might look like, again it ran the gambit, from the meta level of what our key purpose is, to how many days and what time of year. I never really mentioned it today but running writer workshops is something I am really excited about. I am not sure what form they will take, I could imagine directing it at journal writing, stream of consciousness type stuff, but also really love the idea of encouraging creative writing, poetry and prose. They wouldn’t be about the technical side of things, if you are a regular reader you have likely noticed I am the pits with punctuation and likely break a whole slew of grammatical rules (sometimes I even do it on purpose, completely out of reaction to my grade 8 English teacher, who as far as I know, has never even read my blog). I probably don’t even use brackets properly! No the technical stuff will not be discussed unless some of my workshop attendees want to enlighten me. What I am interested in is helping people find the delicious nuggets that live within us all. Giving permission to write about exactly what calls, no matter how seemingly trivial. I am convinced that some of my favourite lines, from my favourite creative writings came about merely from writing about what happened to be present at the time.

“When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.”

A delicious line from So Much Happiness, a Naomi Shihab Nye poem. It seemed brilliant when I first read it, I thought “WOW! I want to come up with something as authentic as this!” Authentic.....ahhh I was on to something.

Basically I want to convey that everyone has things worth writing about, everyone. I have found that while the big things, like say living with my lover AND my husband, do make great writing, it is the little every day bits and pieces that really stir people. I have been blown away how often the simplest entries have brought the most emails and comments, often from the most unexpected of folk. Today as I walked along a mountain path by a lake, I noticed all the “tenacious green bits”, the plant life which despite the odds remains on the nearly frozen ground, still proudly showing off all the chlorophyll it has accrued. “Tenacious green bits”, now there is a delicious line waiting to happen!

Yes I love to write. Editing that is another story. When there is a lag in my posting the writing is generally done, it is the editing I put off. This very post which you just read was written in less than 20 minutes, it was the editing that put me behind deadline. One day soon I will have my very own editor.

“What do you like to write about?” is written inside 12 day journal #206

November 3, 2009

Day 3 Sacred Space- H1N1

Ok I believe I am on the mend for real this time. I am sitting in Oso, back table, headphones on...things are getting back to normal. I no longer consider myself to be sick, I am SURE my contagious window has long since past. I still have a cough, usually do for well over a week after a flu, wellness is a journey, not an off/on switch. So here I sit, better, a little weak, and with this left over cough which I am pretty sure is more than common after illness. I am noticing though that the way I look at things differs from some of those around me. Just by coughing, I elicit a choreographed turning of heads complete with looks of what I imagine to be fear and irritation, maybe a little indignance and anger. The womyn sitting to my left seems to have an idea that I am doing something wrong. I am going to assume it is me being here when “I’m sick”, I bet she has no idea that my take is that I am finally “better”. Ahh, perception, such an interesting conversation generator, such a coyote trickster, causer of mishap and misunderstanding.


I remember once when I was 22, Ayla and I were in Sydney, Australia visiting her biological father. We went to one of those indoor ball places, the loud and obnoxiously coloured pay-per-use indoor playgrounds that inclement weather suddenly put into demand. I was used to people fawning over my beautiful and intelligent child. Admires would ask all the time if she was mine, to which I would promptly beam “Yes!”, proud as hell of the job I was doing despite my age, or perhaps, I would muse, because of it. I did just this while standing in the ballpark, mind a little numb from engaging in consumer driven contrived child play, and was shocked when the womyn looked at her in disgust, picked up her own child, and stomped off to the other side of the building. Ayla turned to look at me, as confused as I was, then I understood. She had a full set of rail road tracks under her nose, she must have sneezed and was now dripping with snot. Nothing scares a suburban older mother more than snot, a by-product, I believe, off too many TV commercials convincing us our world is unsafe by way of being unclean, and the news, which bombards us at every turn with complete paranoia about disease or to be more accurate the threat of it. To be fair I have never really understood germ phobia. I believe dirt is necessary in our food supply and give much credence to the “5 second rule”. When my children use a dirty spoon by accident here at Oso, I look at it as an opportunity to build immunity. I know I am coming from a very different perspective than this Aussie mom, I could possibly stand to encourage my kids to wash their hands more often. That said I will not give in to dirty looks in the coffee shop because of my well covered coughing. Sick people are a part of our community, and yes at the most intense moments, out and about may not be the best place for a person with the flu, but when we are on the mend, in need of a disturbance to the monotony of bed and bathtub, we need places to go, halfway houses. What better place than somewhere I can sit, and drink tea while slowly getting myself back to work? I am no threat to anyone's health.

I know there is a swine flu panic on at the moment, this despite the fact that I am one of those strictly no news folks. It is not always possible to hide from the product we call “news“, as though it bore actual resemblance to the text book definition;

“newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events”

It has meant I have hidden my illness, worried about dealing with objection to my presence, something that is especially hard to take when I am already not feeling well and in need of love. I am going to remember this should I ever get self righteous over someone stepping on my immunity, and remember I am responsible for my own health. Instead I will offer a smile, and add “Get kale” and “A good nights sleep” to my “To Do” list.

“Do you watch the news? Why or why not?” is the question in 12 days journal #205

November 2, 2009

Day 2 Sacred Space- Runt

Crawling out of this terrible frail place, I feel like a little milk deficient runt puppy. I was already loosing weight before this illness happened, today I looked down at myself and decided I look like someone’s skinny old grandma. I told Michael, he said with a smirk and raised brows, “Sexy grandma”. Thanks does help. I want to feel healthy and strong again though, I don’t like feeling weak.

I did venture out most of the day, went to the studio for a long while; made it to choir where I was the one and only soprano trying to belt out the entire melody with only a half set of lungs. It is amazing how tiring intentionally sounding the breath can be! Still no strength or mental clarity left to write though. So another random question.

“What do you think about most often?” is today’s question care of my lovely friend Robin (Hi Robin!), you will find it in 12 days journal #204

November 1, 2009

Day 1 Sacred Space- Ugh

I was right....I am definitely not better. ugh

Since I can barely think here is a completely random question,

“If you could choose your all time favourite meal what would it be?” is the question in 12 days journal #203.

Kinda cheesy I know. I am trying to get excited about food since I have barely been able to eat lately.

Back to bed with me.

Latest Commitment! Preparing the Temenos

I have a house to unpack and a studio to renovate, and I am going in sick. UGH. Time to prioritize. I commit to working on either my home or my new “home away from home” everyday for the next 12 days. I commit to mostly unpacking my home and painting the studio, though there is always plenty of laundry which has to be done and a beautiful glossy finish to put on the dance floor. I commit to nurturing and preparing with reverence the spaces where I spend my days, and create the alchemy of my life.

“Temenos, from the Greek verb "to cut" is a piece of land cut off and assigned as an official domain, or a piece of land marked off from common uses and dedicated to a god, a sanctuary, holy grove or holy precinct. In religious discourse in English, Temenos has also come to refer to a territory, plane, receptacle or field of deity or divinity.”