Jun 23, 2013

Living the Question

SoulCollage card created by Raven Shree.
This is a card I created when I was contemplating
where I wanted to move, which ultimately lead me
from San Diego, CA to Denver, CO.

In my last blog I shared a little about some of the things I am learning from some physical things showing up in my body. “Living the Question” through this experience has been revolutionary, and is taking me into new realms of self discovery. 

As I moved through the pain and contemplation of death, one of the first questions I asked myself was “Do I want to Live?” I was not prepared for the space of silence to follow. I thought “Yes” would emerge spontaneously, however, that is not what happened. “No” didn’t come up either. So, there I was asking myself “Do I want to live?” and not having an answer. 

As I lived this question, I noticed myself putting my seat belt on, and looking both ways before crossing a street. Something inside of me was focused on living, however, this part of me seemed primal, and trained. I examined this reality deeper and came to see I’m doing these things less out of the fear of dying, and more out of the fear of pain. Physical pain, and I image emotional pain, are things I have a big aversion to. This fear is held in my somatic being and on some level prevents me from fully living. Its an oxymoron, I know. 

The next question I started asking myself was “What am I living for?” As I contemplated how I wanted to respond to the physicality of what was happening in my body, I thought it would be good to have something anchored in my consciousness to point me forward through the darkness. Once again, I found myself with no answer. I thought an answer would come up immediately, at least one thing I am living for. One thing that drives my heart towards passionate living. But nothing...I was coming up blank. 

I shared my experience with a few people; they attempted to give me responses. They want me to live. “You love nature” one said, yes, but I am not living for nature. “You love photography” one said, yes, but I am not living for it. These are things I’m doing while I am alive, they bring me joy, but they are not what I am living for. They are not my anchor points to get me through shadow, pain, or the possibility and reality of death. 

I continued to live the question “What am I living for?”, and it took me on a powerful journey of self discovery, perfect timing as I deepen my relationship to Raven Shree, and the new me that is emerging. My old persona, my old psyche, my old way of life no longer applies. Asking these basic fundamental questions was an important way of sinking into the new flesh of what is emerging in and through me. 

I lived this question for days and still no answer. As I settled into the silence, and stopped grasping and gripping for an answer, something started to emerge, a one word response that shocked me. I felt embarrassment for having this be my answer. Can this be what I am going to live for? It’s definitely not what drove my old person, in fact this one thing was something I ascribed to weakness and vulnerability. Yet, here I was getting clarity on what I am living for, and that is Love. 

Love as a full embodied presence in the moment, love for the wind, for evolution, for people, myself, animals, everything. Love. Wow. Ok. That is pretty fantabulous. I’ll hold on to that and live into this reality and see where it takes me. 

What questions are you living? What silence emerges as a response? And what truths filter up as new guideposts for your living? I welcome your comments and shares and would LOVE to hear from you. 

Jun 17, 2013

Eye to Eye With Bear


Several years ago I did a solo twilight hike in the Shenandoah mountain range in Virginia. 

As I walked along a narrow path, I noticed a clearing ahead. I felt an energy pulsating from it, however, I couldn’t discern if it was “good” or “bad”. I  proceeded forward cautiously, and when I got there, it was ablaze with life and wonderfully amazing. 

Flowers were blooming, insects buzzing, birds singing, deer grazing. I got down on my knee and started shooting the scenery, enjoying the profound beauty singing to my spirit through color, texture and sound.

...Then all of a sudden everything went quiet. The birds flew away, the deer bounded into the thicket, even the insects disappeared. It went completely still and silent in an instant. 

I had no idea what happened, and all I could see was through my viewfinder. I slowly lowered my camera, turned around, and came face to face, with Bear. Eye to eye, with not a blade of grass between us....we dove into each others souls, it was instantaneous. 

There was a soul moment of breath, of consciousness, of kindred spirits merging. The moment was so profound, tears came to eyes. I was there, on my knees, in front of this bear, in the wild, by myself, having soul union with Bear Medicine, for the first time ever. It was deep loving making. 

I slowly rose from my knee and started chanting in Sanskrit. Sacred words from ancient elders, the many names of the divine. Our eyes stayed locked, soul to soul, Bear and I. Then he did this thing with his shoulder, and in that movement I understood his power even deeper. I’ve seen images of Bear in Indian drawings and never understood why they made their shoulders so big. Seeing this bear in the wild, I totally got it.  


I saw how he used the muscle mass in his shoulder to initiate the lift in his front arm. It was as if the ripple of movement started in his core and moved out from there. He shook his head and snorted, an action I interpreted as “Thank you for seeing me.” Bear wanted to be seen, witnessed, and acknowledged, and I did just that. 

He sauntered off the trail, walking away as I slowly started to back up, still chanting with tears of deep gratitude flowing.  After we parted ways, the totality of the experience washed over me. Holey Moley, I just came face to face with a Bear!!! 

A wave of adrenaline, fear, excitement ripped through me. I walked the trail back to my cabin, full of life, amazement, and joy to be alive. This experience transformed me in so many ways, teaching me deep lessons of courage, power, presence, love, kinship, beauty.... 

This is a SoulCollage card I created to honor this experience. Whenever I look at this card, it is an instant reminder of my connection to Bear and the lessons that came through from our interaction. 

This is a great example of how SoulCollage can be used to capture the learnings and insights of your life. Sacred imagery to capture sacred moment in your visual autobiography.  

This expiernace brought Bear into my life as my Solar Chakra Spirit Guide. I am forever grateful and moved to great deaths from this memory. 

Jun 8, 2013

Grief Into Newness

SoulCollage card I created as I started to
come though the other side of Grief. 
I recently went through a deep embodied period of time exploring and experiencing Grief. Earlier this year I had some physical things show up in my body that stopped me in my tracks; putting me in the space of contemplating mortality and preparing for death. 

I saw the experience for what it was and stepped fully into it, permissioning myself to go all the way. I kneeled at the altar of mortality for weeks, sobbing deep levels of grief, vomiting for days from the core of my belly, releasing twisted knots of sorrow burrowed in the depths of me from lifetimes of evolution. 

I started making my will, getting rid of things, contemplating the after-life, the before-life, and the infinity of it all connected together. Then I went deeper, grieving for all the ways I’ve failed to bring divinity to life. Grieving for all the ways I’ve denounced God and failed to show up fully for the most important relationship in my life. I grieved for all the ways I’ve let myself down; fessing up and owning up to my role in it all. 

Going throughout this experience with Witness consciousness engaged,  seeing it and experiencing it at the same time, was extremely powerful. 

I slowly started to rise up from the depths of the underworld, realizing I wasn’t dead yet. As I prepared to die, I started to ask myself, how can I prepare to live? This was a turning point for me, the shift that started to bring Living back into awareness. I had been a consort to death for weeks, Life  now wanted some of me back. 

I began to take more ownership in my ability to heal myself.  I listened more fully to my inner authority and made choices from that propulsion. I enacted a ritual wedding in nature, uniting myself with my primary lovers; God, Self and The Moment (lovely threesome). I began making commitments to Life and started re-engaging the fundamentals of living. 

Card I created as I started to own
the power of the depths:
Water Dragon Energy.
I stand now in the deepening of this practice, holding the forces of life and death simultaneously. Letting this union, the yin and the yang, the light and the dark, strengthen me. Letting it bring power into my human body, into my human life. To expand courage into divine living, and permission  my yearning soul to live more authentically. 

This is what my Spring has been about. It has not been about hiking, photography or workshops. It has been about dying, and living, being present, and showing up for what shows up. It is in this cauldron of actualities and improbabilities, in the mixture of  imagination and intuition, that I step into New Moon ritual tonight. 

Tonight is the last New Moon of Spring. This is the moon cycle that will carry us into the Summer Solstice. Tonight I stand in the darkness of this pregnant void, letting the primordial ooze of my being birth something new in and through me. Growing this intention as the moon gains light each night, honoring the life I have and the authentic fullness that wants to be expressed through my living.  

This consciousness will carry me into Summer; the season of fire, sun and warrior energy. And so the next leg of my journey will commence. Not due to planning on my part, but due to the natural evolution of time and being. The seasons carry me though life and death, through the infinity of light and dark. I simply ride her back,  legs quivering as I hold on, hair flying through the cosmos, yelling Yippee. What a ride this is!