Nameless yet extraordinary

oneIf I lean deep into the blood red curves and crevices that mold and hold my heart, I can see them, the winding spiral of stories strung like garland and sewn together with ache and love. It’s all there, layers upon layers of divots and dents, bursts and blooms, composted and collaged together laying fertile for the next planted seedling. I till and I till, waiting for that fresh smell of earth so good I could swallow it down in gulps.

Without really knowing why, I say “yes”. Yes to whatever comes, yes to the unknown, and I walk with eyes closed across a bridge lined with roaring waters. I smell salt, I smell the vast open space, the cool breeze and sun kissing my skin without promise, only trust. Trust is my word this year, and I have taken it into my belly without question, letting it grow and squirm and turn like a new babe waiting to be birthed. I do not recognize myself anymore, I am changed and I am good, so good.

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Magnificent things happen in nameless moments, like pushing a strand of hair away from the eyes just so we can see. We can’t help feel the most dramatic shifts, the ones that steal our minds and drag us through the torrent, the ones that make us grip firm with our toes and dig deep into the dirt that birthed us, the ones that burn our flesh free like the phoenix in promise for something new, but it’s the softness in the subtle that begs me to peel my eyes and watch more closely. I don’t need to fly too high or dive too deep to find the magic that exists behind nothing special. All things can end and all things can begin in every given moment, and that makes any given moment the most important one of all.

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This September, I will begin my journey into becoming a Sacred Passage Doula, or a death doula. It may be the most important thing I ever do, and yet maybe it won’t. Things–people, animals, cycles, relationships, jobs, seasons and so on… die all the time, and my little human brain cannot even fathom the whole of it. I am humbled by all that I cannot conceive and yet I am drawn to this work, to witness with respect, love, and compassion the passing of a soul from this life to the next. To embrace the ultimate vulnerability, work at death’s side by holding hands with the last breath of a human’s heart. Dang… The enormity of it overwhelms me, yet I believe my whole purpose is living this life so deeply and fully that there is nothing  left to feel except the”yes”–to bury myself further into the watery womb of connection and sync my breath closely with the sea of souls that push past in crowds or run and dance through the streets alongside me. This, this is a purpose well worth witnessing and surrendering to.

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Until then, there is summer, sun-drenched and heat brimmed summer, lazy mornings, long hikes, voracious reading and wet afternoons summer. Watermelons, sparklers, dancing with friends, and tubing kind of summer. The digging in the dirt, cooking dinner for the homeless, making trails kind of summer. An “I just turned 45 yesterday” kind of summer. A boy’s 14th birthday, a visit from my brother and nephew, a trip to California to house/farm/garden sit for a beautiful Songbird and friend that I can’t wait to meet in person kind of summer. This will be the best one yet…

Wishing you a wonderful summer, the nameless yet extraordinary kind…

XO

Misa

Swirling…

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Acceptance, it’s something I think about all the time. The concept is a paradox really. In one moment I can love and embrace all that is, and in the next, recognize the need to question, challenge and evolve. There is always work to be done, a new piece of self-awareness to be uncovered, old demons that lurk, moments urging us to keep digging and keep addressing the things that draw us back into the shadows. Like tides that reach then pull, I vacillate between gratitude for all that I’ve faced, to the discomfort required to keep carving the spiritual landscape within. Transition is a trickster–a short term shifter, but a wicked, long-distance runner. Transition never ends, and perhaps this is where acceptance resides best, on the heels of “then” and on the brink of “now”.

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These latest days of mine have been spent building–building a business with my husband, building dance classes, building choreography inspired by soul and muse, building and creating a movement and empowerment curriculum for a kids’ dance class, (and seeing it come to life thanks to the sisterhood and dance studio that has become my second home). Meanwhile, as new friendships cultivate, my sacred circles are manifesting hand in hand with a deep, spiritual appreciation for the containers that have allowed me to feel vulnerable, accepted and powerful all at once. Finally, I see my own colorful thread weaving into this gorgeous, conscious community, and perhaps for the first time with steadfast commitment and unapologetic confidence, I am unafraid for what I have to offer and give.

Through this collective process of creating, this swirling dance between the feminine and masculine within, I have moved past the knowing of potential and found birth through accepting responsibility for what I can do and doing it. So this is what self-trust looks like :-). I ‘ll take it, I’ll ride this new wave of fortitude, at least until the next lurking Shadow with his sidekick and travel companion Transition. They are there watching and waiting always…and you know what? It’s all good….

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Love to you… XO

merging into one

familyhikeI wrote this piece several months ago when I first started considering the difference between Then–any then–the 12 year old then, the 20 year old then, the 38 year old then, and Now.  The process is inescapable if we are to shake ourselves loose of any attachment to the past and invite possibility. Combining MJ and Misa was a huge step for me, though when it came right down to it, it was only a click, one moment, one action, one decision. I actually submitted this piece to Bella Grace Magazine, but haven’t heard back from them since my first submission so I am posting it here, the birthplace of all the shifts that helped challenge and shape me, and will continue to do so. As always, thanks for reading.

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A beautiful hue of weathered, orange rust collects around my edges, an alchemical shift that coincides with age and time and an invitation for bitter and sweet to mingle between my teeth. I try not to move as quickly as I use to, preferring a slow of motion like Tin Man getting caught in Spring’s rain. I remind myself a hundred times a day (still not enough) to stay present, that the next moment is always uncertain, no matter how much I plan, prepare, and (try to) predict. Peering into the vastness that is my open heart, I see only tiny speckles of regret, not enough to sprinkle an ice cream cone. And so, let this be my crystal ball, my fortune cookie and soothsaying prophecy, I must be doing something right to sink with peace into the soft morning light.

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There was a time I felt all too well the vast chasm between who I was and all that I ever hoped to be. Most of us have stood in that place, ripe with feelings of not enough-ness and arms bundled with ways to hide those feelings. There is futility in trying to manifest perfection and uselessness in hiding from our darkest demons, yet to do such things is part of our endless education. We must begin somewhere to ever progress to anywhere, and to dance with those demons is the only way I’ve learned to overcome them. Through challenge and fire we melt masks and shed the costumes that once protected us. We expose a fleshy, soft vulnerability– our truth and our first birthplace of authenticity. And in the deepest, richest dirt, we emerge over and again, rooted further to the earth but with a greater capability to fly. We are something more now than we ever knew we could become.

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”
~ L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Spiraling upward, I’ve had more than twenty years to reconcile the parts I once thought irreconcilable. To look back and acknowledge what we’ve created, and to recognize the thickened walls we’ve smashed to expose new truths are the irreplaceable moments that help harmonize our past with our present. We must remember to kiss the moments that marked our growth as they are the ghosts that made us real. Then, if we are so blessed, we can continue on to the next pregnant moment. The work to mend, strengthen, and fearlessly reveal our truths will never truly end as Ego is here to stay with us in this life, wholeheartedly essential to our human’s nature. We are, as ever, continued works of unparalleled art, in process and in progress. In knowing and accepting this with deep certainty, we allow grace and patience to arrive on seasoned wings, giving us gratitude for where we began, acceptance for the choices we’ve made, and love for what we continue to become. This is the absolute gift of merging into one.

“It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
~Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

With all  my love,

Misa

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A little bit messy

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I wish I could say 2016 has been off to an extraordinary start. Well, it has been extraordinary but not in the way that lifts me off to the moon in a surreal sort of ecstasy. This is more of the messy kind of extraordinary, the kind where I am desperately trying to grip the mane on an unbridled, runaway horse, trusting that she will take me somewhere I am suppose to go, I don’t know where.

My word this year is trust. Trust what comes next, trust I am where I am supposed to be, trust my children, trust my husband, trust the growth and the shedding process, trust the ever changing ways of evolution, from the magical microcosm within my cells to the expansive universe that I can only fathom in an elusive corner of my mind.

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To dwell too much in the woe of Mercury Retrograde would be self serving, but the parts I do want to share have to do with death and the parting of old souls, letting go and letting shit just happen.

My grandmother is dying. I leave early tomorrow morning to hopefully see her one last time in the body that is no longer hers. At 95 years old she has experienced and seen far more things than I could ever write about. I tried once to record her life story while we were on a road trip together, but in the end what we shared instead was a conversation. A conversation about life and living, sorrows and regrets, the things she will never forget, and the things that made her life worth living. What I know most about her is that our souls touched, connecting on a level beyond language and family. All the other details of her life don’t really belong to me, they are hers and hers alone.

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This week I’ve been locked out of my house twice, my old van’s radiator broke and the garage door cable snapped. Meanwhile, I’ve become the new director of operations in my husband’s business and I will start teaching the love of dance to children next week. My daughter turned 11 last week and we spent her birthday re-creating Alice in Wonderland, having our own Mad Hatter Tea Party while soaking in the wise words of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll.

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A wise friend wrote this past week “The less you focus on how external things, people, or events, are affected, and more on how YOU are handling the letting go and it’s repercussions, and what it means for YOUR purpose, the stronger your spiritual evolution.”

Flux is a constant. Instability is constant. Death is constant, as is birth. I will grieve. I will let the tears flow, and then I will wipe them away. Love will pour in to the vacancies of my body, mind and heart because the messiness of vulnerability allows it to, because I allow it to. We are surrounded by love even when we can see beyond our nose, even in the darkest parts of midnight and the coldest moons of winter. Just extend your arm and reach, just a little further…

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Much much love to you

xoxo.

 

 

Trust and the undeniable unpredictable

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I see it now, the limitless purpose of the moving, invisible finish line.

I clasp with weathered hands, squeeze, and hold firm to the Uncomfortable. Digging my feet into the earth, I relax my lips and draw in a deep, nourishing breath, giving in to the knowledge that the full opus of who I am may never be completed. Every, single moment is a surrender to the undeniable unpredictable. Sustained, crystal clarity is but an enigmatic shadow, like the glorious pink and purple sunsets I crave, fabulous yet fleeting until the next rising sun.

“Endings and beginnings are merely paired facets of an imagined stone curtain, behind which a plethora of opportunities await.”
~Ged Thompson, Liverpool Poet

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328 year old Southern Live Oak

My daughter often asks me why good things have to end. Why playdates can’t last 3 days and why fantastical stories are only 175 pages long. She is too young to know the value of the darkness, though we tell stories in the dark, though we can only bask in the brilliant moon in the dark, though stars can only illuminate the way in the dark. Pain seeps through our soft crevices when we have to say goodbye to the things we love, to the things that make us happy, to the things that scintillate our earthly skin. But it’s never “goodbye”, only “until next time.”

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”
~Frank Herbert

We are all extraordinary and the lives we paint are meant to bring shivers up any spine for the power and energy we emit. This is the shine of our radiant, authentic souls that only borrow our human body for the experiences we create. Only by diving through fire, dancing with ecstasy, and climbing through pain can true enlightenment–ever so brief– be touched. Then we must do it all over again–begin…again and again. I can accept this. I can accept this because this is the only promise I am owed. The promise that my life is meant to circle every color of the rainbow, every shade of light emitted through the living prism–birth, growth, death and rebirth. I am evolution for stagnation is a soul’s death beyond measure. The only thing required of me, the only challenge I must face with every pregnant, beautiful breath, is to trust, trust the undeniable unpredictable, love it even. Trust…trust that no matter what stops, what fails, what rises, or falls, that it will all soon begin again. There is no end, no finishing line, just one beautiful, sparkling spiral.

“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself ”

~ Maya Angelou

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Happy New Year and much love to you all….

xoxo

Wolf song

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Their howls woke me just before daybreak while moonlight and stars still swept the sky. They always begin the same way. One wolf raises her voice to the heavens and the others soon follow in unison, filling the valley with a most beautiful, haunting wolf song. As I laid in the old, borrowed, pop-up camper listening to their soulful howls, something stirred inside, like cosmic dust shifting deep within my bones, calling for remembrance of a wildness lost long ago. By the time their song quieted and the hush of the valley lifted with first daylight, an intense need lay prominent in the silence, a need for the connection between their ancient, native language and my very own.
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A wolf’s eyes are piercing and penetrating, colored by a depth that can break through any masks draped by ego and fear. Perhaps this is why the wolves draw so many people to the sanctuary. Perhaps this is why people of all kinds come to stay, work and volunteer at Mission: Wolf for months, even years at a time. The wolf embodies raw, primal wildness and holds no pretense, no lies or falseness like the kind our society so readily provides. All kinds of people stay at the sanctuary working for the wolves, many of them seeking healing, truth and integrity, bound by an unspoken desire to be seen as they really are–flawed, yet infinitely wild and free.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul.” ~ Aldo Leopold

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Wolves, in the Native American tradition, are deeply respected as powerful teachers and guides. They are intelligent, social, and free spirited animals, loyal to their lifelong mates and to their strict, pack order. Most Native American cultures would never think of killing a wolf. A wolf is their kindred spirit, a brother and sister. Having watched these beautiful animals play, nuzzle, and greet humans with friendship, it’s hard to think of them as the terrible predator that they’ve been targeted as. What makes me sorrowfully ill is the existence of people and websites that promote the hunting of wolves for sport, claiming them to be the “top predator of the Northern Rockies”. Oh the irony…I say look again sirs.

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As with most of Earth’s wildness, somehow we have come to believe that if we can tame something, we can possess it, and by possessing it we can do what we want with it. Human affliction is obsession with possession. The pain and repercussions of the lies we tell ourselves is felt by every living thing on this planet. Slowly, the language of our own wildness has been lost, pushed far beyond recognition. The reality of this lies before us every single day. People have been breeding wolf and wolf/dog pups for years, selling them to humans who want to possess them as a pet. The friendly nature of wolf pups can have people fooled. Soon they learn that the independent spirit of a wolf cannot be tamed, contained or owned liked dogs. As the pups grow and mature, problems arise, particularly if genetically they are more wolf than dog. Wolf and hybrid owners eventually lose control of their pets, causing them to be euthanized or shot unless a sanctuary can adopt them. Wolf sanctuaries like Mission: Wolf exist to save these pet wolves and hybrids if they can. More often then not, pet wolves and hybrids are turned away due to lack of space and limited resources. Mission: Wolf, named in reference to the movie title Mission Impossible, has the primary goal to eliminate the need for wolf sanctuaries. People like Kent Weber, the founder, are trying to make amends for human error by making a difference. Healing for our human recklessness in every sense, can begin with just one person–or one animal inspiring us to do the same.

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On the day I met wolves, I didn’t know I would find myself looking into a mirror. I didn’t know that a wolf could reach into my soul and pull pieces I’ve left un-mended, challenge a truth I’ve left un-attended. I walked away from those wolves wanting deeply to change that truth, and become something entirely different, something already coded inside with a divine, primal right to embody my own bold and wild soul.

It was the afternoon of our first day when Kent sat us in a circle before entering the Ambassador wolves’ enclosure. Mission: Wolf trains certain wolves who particularly enjoy human company as Ambassador wolves. Ambassador wolves travel the country educating groups about wolves, allowing people to meet them, touch them, and hopefully understand them better. Currently, there are three, Abraham, Zeab, and Magpie. On this day, we were a group of approximately 15 visitors, some having had the privilege of meeting these wolves before. Kent explained that a wolf’s nature is not like a dog’s. Most dogs seek your attention and approval, needs it even, but not a wolf. In a wild setting, wolves are afraid of humans and will hide from them. In a setting like the the sanctuary, where they see and interact with humans regularly, they do not feel any obligation to humans. In daily relationships with humans, wolves will begin to treat them as another wolf, including disciplining them, seeking order and rank just as they do in a pack. Wolves must earn the respect of another wolf in order to be in their family, their pack, and a human is no different.

Wolves can sense deep fear, insecurity, instability, just as they can sense strength and confidence. In other words, they know immediately how a person feels about him or herself and will treat them accordingly. If you see your self as less than an alpha, so will they. Kent also let us know that wolves love small children and feel protective of them. They often will approach children first, sniff them, inspect them, even lick them. I don’t find this unusual, younger children have little need for self doubt as their wonderful, wild spirits shine through their skin, still unspoiled by the confines of ego. The wolves see this and are drawn to it. So am I….

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Wolves depend fully on a social order that is dynamic all the time. The one they truly need acceptance from is their alpha, their leader. They are drawn to alphas and will look for them in a group of humans such as we were. They greet the young children first, then the alphas, then move down the rank. Kent told us that as we walk in to the enclosure, walk in tall and confident, like we could care less there were wolves among us. He told us to not to appear needy or wanting of their attention because if we do, we will be ignored. In a culture where humans hunger and crave attention, recognition, praise, approval, acceptance and the need to be “chosen” so we can feel our own self worth, it can be difficult to pretend indifference to be chosen by a wolf. What Kent didn’t tell us and what I soon realized, was that pretending was useless. Within minutes of being in that enclosure, acting was utterly unnecessary. The wolves knew, just by walking by, how you felt about yourself. They could sense in an instant if you were trying to be something you were not, or something you weren’t sure you could be. For me, the challenge was just trying to muster authentic, self confidence, it did not come naturally. In that moment, the truth of my insecurities rushed to the surface exposing my weaknesses. I felt naked and I knew, I knew as I walked in grappling with those feelings, a wolf would not find the alpha in me, because I could not find it either.

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In a culture where our worth is based on what we think we own and possess, our titles, and our degrees, and how we think we are perceived, it is easy to confuse what our true worth is with what we acquired both materially and egotistically. Wolves cut through the bull with one look. They can see right through you and leave you exposed and vulnerable with feelings you thought you had buried, or even worse–could live with without repercussion. And herein lies the lifelong journey to answer the questions that surface in all of us. Is it possible to strip away the burden that keeps us weighed heavy and hollow? Can we find the self acceptance, love and forgiveness needed to be the strong, confident, self-assured alphas we all have the capability of being? What keeps us down? What keeps us afflicted? What keeps us from finding the worthy treasures hidden within?

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?…The universe buries strange jewels within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic

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It’s been nearly three months since our trip to Mission: Wolf and I can tell you that in that time I have accepted the challenge of excavating my raw, authentic voice. Daily, I face unforgiving mirrors and embrace my weaknesses before transforming them into strengths. I continue to climb every edge and stand at high noon, inviting failure to be another badge of courage. I am answering the primal call to seek and unearth the alpha. I can tell you that I have faced fearlessly the parts in me that have kept me tethered to ego and fragility, challenging the need for approval from anyone but my own powerful voice. I can tell you there is little use for coincidence when divine energy knows you want to abolish the shackles that binds the wildness hidden within. I am stepping into the skin that has been waiting for me and I am no longer afraid of my purpose. I am raising my voice to the heavens, answering the wolf’s howl with my own undaunted, gritty, and beautifully wild wolf song.

Much love

XOXO

Tracing tracks

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I know, it’s still summer, but the season’s permissive laze and daze has snuck out quietly and left us. Autumn’s invigorating breath has found her way into our mornings and soon I will don my fuzzy slippers, robe, and plan soups for dinner. Like many, we are into school schedules and events, after school chauffeuring, teacher meetings, Fall trips and volunteering. I look back and remember where we last left the hurry. Tracing the tracks we’ve left behind, I touch with fondness the moments that made these last few months memorable.

I started teaching dance at a beautiful studio a little over a month ago, not traditional dance like tap or ballet, but heart-centered, choreographed dances that pull from all styles to inspire soul, emotion, awareness and freedom. It’s a dance made for anyone and everyone, no formal experience required. This is the manifestation of a dream–to call myself a dancer and share my love of dance by teaching. “Inconceivable” is what I would have told you 10 years ago. Truth: The rules we live by in this world can often feel unyielding, but to challenge them, un-define and re-define them, we can surprise ourselves by becoming something completely unexpected. My choreography now unfolds on a wooden dance floor spilling from a well of creative freedom that I knew existed, but never tapped openly until now. Teaching, leading a class, and exposing my heart and creativity to be judged and used by others has brought me to challenge and question the necessity of old insecurities. I see it now and I find myself peeling again.

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This month, in Issue 5 of Bella Grace Magazine, a piece I wrote was published. For a few weeks now I’ve let this soak in, and thoughts of my father have surfaced again. I am so different from the daughter he knew before he died 17 years ago, before I began healing, before I became wife and mother, before I began my climb out of the many shells that kept my soul hidden. Yet, somehow I know I am the woman he always knew I’d become. I use to resent the goals he once had for me, like the one where I would be an engineer or the one where I would go to military school, but I understand those really weren’t the dreams he had for me. What he wanted more than anything was that I just try for the things I wanted most, that I believe in myself, and find what true happiness is. And those dreams, Dad, have come true. Perhaps this joy is fleeting, perhaps the next big catastrophe is around the corner, but for today these tracks are very real, and they are, gratefully, all my own.

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The last thing I wanted to share just happened this past weekend over Labor Day, our family’s camping and volunteering trip to a wolf sanctuary here in Colorado. I will write an entire post on how deeply this experience affected me. Wolves, truly, are one of the best teachers this earth could have ever graced us with. The problem is that generally wolves are seen as a threat to man and livestock and, by stories, movies, and misconceptions, thought to be mean, menacing, and aggressive animals. This is false and documentaries such as “Living With Wolves” and The Wolves of Yellowstone serve to educate those who will listen about the gentle and social nature of wolves, as well and their importance to our ecosystem. But this is only a micron of what I personally learned from meeting a wolf, and, as I look a little closer, flows not at all surprisingly with the undercurrent of my latest lessons on strength of character and how true we are to our spirit. This, I will share in a new post sooner than later, but for now, a glimpse…meet Zeab.

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Much love to you
XOXO

A dream in December

December 24,2014

I want to share with you a story, a journey, a waking dream, one that I had this past week.

It begins with bare feet, mine, and I am walking. Beside me is Wolf. We are in a dense, dark green wood. There is a mist in the wood, one that lays like a thin veil hiding visions of future and past, bringing the present deep into the nostrils and down into the chest. The only sound that penetrates is our bare feet, lightly patting along the forest floor.

The gray and white Wolf walks with me often and I understand him to be one of my great teachers. We don’t speak, instead we break into a run. I am fast, so fast I feel the wind pull my hair behind me. My legs are burning but I feel no pain. There are feathers on my arms, in my hair, on my gown and legs.

I am air, I am wind, and I run until the pictures at the edges of my eyes blur.

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We come to a great pine tree, the largest and greenest I have ever seen. Wolf has stopped several feet behind me, watching with his bright yellow eyes. I am to climb and I am to climb alone.

I reach up onto the long, laddered branches of this great pine, and pull myself up. Though the tree doesn’t move I know its spirit, strength and age wills me to be nimble and quick. I climb and climb, all the way to the top without looking down, until the air is so thin I should not be able to breathe, but I can. I stand at the top of this great tree, above the entire forest. I see the green tops of pines, canyons of brownish red and gray, and a blue horizon overseeing all.

My arms spread but they are no longer arms. They are wings, powerful wings of gray and white feathers that stretch far into the East and West.

I hesitate to jump as a flicker of fear begins to burn, the first I have felt so far. I shove it back down into its pit. I am to soar and so I will.

When I jump, I feel elation and a freedom that doesn’t exist when my feet are buried in the earth. The breeze that whisps across my face also carries my feet and body as if they were hollow. No weight, no burden, just a lightness that I feel could last forever.

But something changes.

In moments, I feel terribly wrong and I feel myself sinking towards the earth. A rise followed by a sudden decrescendo– I am falling and my wings are failing. The ground comes to me far too fast and now I am tumbling, tumbling, encircled by dust and dirt and pain, not a physical one, but one of shame and doubt.

Dusted and broken, I am no longer made of feathers and lightness. I feel heavy knowing that I fell without knowing fully why. I stand bare, covered only in skin, before the edge of a cold, blue lake surrounded by white mountains. The air is fresh, cool and crisp, a gift to the senses. I see movement beneath the icy water’s surface and I understand that I am to dive in. When I do, the water isn’t cold at all, rather, the water is warm and welcoming.

Dolphin comes to greet me and we begin to swim. I grab her dorsal fin and she pulls me through the deep, dark blue. Once again my hair is pulled behind me through waves of healing and cleansing. The dirt is no longer embedded into my skin. My wounds begin to close and fade. We swim for seconds, minutes, hours, it doesn’t matter as time disappers. If only I could stay here forever, safe, enveloped, and protected, but I am not meant to.

I am out of the warm water now and standing at the water’s edge once again. Wolf is waiting for me at the shore. As I turn to thank Dolphin, she is already gone.

Wolf speaks and tells me a great and wise teacher is coming.

So I wait, still standing at the water’s edge. I feel the soft, comforting pebbles and sand beneath as a ripple of water tickles the tops of my feet. A large shadow looms overhead darkening the sinking sun’s reflection in the water. I look up and see an enormous blackness coming down from the sky, my heart stirs and the hairs on my arms stand on end.

Overwhelmed and surprised, I see a majestic creature of enormity and grandness. He is the most beautiful dragon I have ever seen. His wings are long and wide, and shimmer like jewels waving across a dusty sky. His face is wise and terrifying at the same time. He is dark and iradescent, made of colors that cannot be described should they even exist in our world.

He looks at me long before he speaks to me.

“You will learn to create fire, to brew it, bundle it and breathe it out with every ounce of energy you have within you.”

And so he does.

We stand at the water’s edge and he shows me how to inhale, to gather, suck in and swirl all the fear, joy, happiness, pain, anger, helplessness–all the emotions that serve and do not serve–to roll them up into a fiery ball within my hearth space, my solar plexus, the pit above the stomach and below the ribcage. Everything begins here, he tells me. We are energy, but only the diligent and perseverent can create more. To live on given energy is not enough as most often it is squandered and wasted with useless pursuits. We create energy and ignite fire to forge new paths. We create because it is how we survive and ultimately, thrive.

I watch him as his chest balloons upward and outward, burning bright red and orange, a brilliant glow of heat that flushes my cheeks and forehead. He opens his mouth and exhales powerful orange, white, and yellow flames, roaring with pure light and energy, surging forth with committment and purpose. The fire reaches out across the lake reflecting the light of its flames toward the dim-lit sky.

“The fire we create is not one that we should be afraid of, for without it, we are dead inside, cold and alone. The darkness exists because like the night sky, it serves a purpose and a teaching, sometimes even a restful place. But if we stay in it too long, it will consume and devour whatever energy we have left. Fire is an intense and ambitious source, but to work for you, you must summon it. You must create it with a sincere and humble heart.”

And with this, he turns, lifts into the air, and then he is gone.

I whisper “Thank you”.

Wolf and I walk back to the edge of the wood and we begin to run again.

I am tired, but I run and run and run until I am at the great pine tree once more.

I raise my arms up and grasp it’s hearty branches.

I begin to climb.

***

I cannot tell you what happens next because that moment still lies within my bare hands and feet. I am humbled by the teachings that continue to guide me and lead me to a better path. In the end though, it is still up to me to create the fire. It’s up to all of us.

I wish this for all in this new year. To create our own purpose. To dream of those that teach us how to run, climb, fly, swim, breathe fire and conjure pure energy.

I wish everyone much love and
a Happy New Year.

Hello and welcome 2015.

fire

Endure

deersunrise

So much to say but the words won’t come easy.

November.

November was a deep clean cycle, the kind that digs into the darkest crevices and unearths dusty truths. I spent much of November sick with old shadows. Physical manifestations of lurking demons perhaps. I was barely able to celebrate Thanksgiving as I was hit with 2 separate illnesses, both involving my immunity and the intestines. Today I am better, but my internal machinery is still trying to find balance.

In truth, the cleansing began before I became sick. It began with an invitation from Deer in the East in the early morning of Nov.2, and a painting class that appeared spontaneously in a feed I was reading that same evening. Inside, an intuitive seed sprouted and spread when I saw the class and I knew spiritually and creatively this was an offering. The class was to begin the very next morning so there was no thinking involved. More so, I was compelled. One week later as I crumpled into my first sickness, I understood this offering was more than a gift, but a life preserver and candle in the changing fathoms of darkness.

To call Visual Quest just a painting class is grossly insufficient, but words hold minimal power in that space. Visual Quest is straight soul speak, a travel into each direction as we unearthed, cleansed, healed and communed with the energies around and within, all with the mediums of meditation, music, animal medicine, paint to canvas, and pencil to paper. As I navigated the entire compass of this wonderful class, I accepted the path my body was being challenged with and worked to quiet the naysaying shivers of ego. I painted freely through the physical and emotional conversations between spirit and self. Holes mended as they appeared–healing, holding, and rebirthing.

Oh, how often do we not recognize that our creative energies not only feed on the light we breed from mindfulness, but also on the emptying of composted waste that has churned ceaselessly in those dark crevices? The purest of messages and vibrations walk the tightroped path between ecstacy and despair if and when we have the courage to walk with it. The courage of warriors is within each of us and the power to endure shows itself when we ask for it.

hike

I do not dare guess what December holds for me or any of my family. Expecting and accepting the unexpected is possible if we know that we are not alone and unguided, if we believe that we are warriors, healers, and creators all wrapped in skin and held together by bone.

It is a full moon tonight and the winter solstice is approaching. More than list making and gift giving, more than merry making, and schedule filling, more than the good and bad news we are having or hearing, more than the physical and or emotional sicknesses we are all carrying and fighting—we are all still souls having a human experience. Transcendence is available to each of us.

lake

May your December be the most inspiring ever
With much love and gratitude
xoxoxo
MJ

sunrisesnow

October

redleaf

It’s finally happening–the painstaking gaze from without to within. The simple pour that this thirsty soul has been begging for; the welcome tingle of blood flowing back to numbed skin.

It feels good to shed again.
Lifted by the spirits that surround me,
swept by the leaves that fell before me,
and re-awakened by the universe that carries me–
I am here.

octobersky

October, October, god how I love October. She shook my bones and hollowed out the core. She gave to me by taking from me the materials that I sometime confuse as necessary. A new car damaged, an expensive camera lost, a windshield cracked, a vision obscured by nonsense. I have finally let them go and now I can see my own hands again.

And then there is this–this dark, beautiful package that arrived early in October.

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She is Cici and she is bountiful energy and unharnessed joy. She has given me gifts called “reminders” that things are never as heavy as they seem.

lastleaves

octoberbarn

oct.2

I’ve loved the autumn that Colorado has given us this year. October fades behind her colors, leaving only the scent of her natural shift. Renewed and re-spirited, a creative flow presses through with eagerness and might against the walls that have held her captive–a slow awakening on the edges of winter’s hibernating call.

Goodbye October, and thank you.

leaves

Happy Halloween and much love to you all…
xoxo