Warning: Mystical conversation about the life force of stories within.Read More
The dream that visited the other night is bothering me.
To be honest, it was a nightmare.
But I don't want to haunt you with what is haunting me.
I prefer to offer something else... the story that slipped from my pen in the moments after waking from this dream.
This is one of the oldest stories... as stories go… and it lives inside of many tales… the core of this story is about what happens when we refuse one from the table of communion.
You've heard this story before... it's about how the isolated and banished being creates a great curse and destroys those (and everything they love) that banished it. From Sleeping Beauty to The Black Panther…this story lives among us.
No one knows how or why,
if it was based on whim or reason…
But Once Upon A Time, it was feast day in the kingdom. Everyone had come from far and wide and was dressed in their best as they gathered around to enjoy the fruit and vegetables that had been given by the land.
Love was seated at the table, as was Joy, and Jealousy; Awe and Shame were there, as was Disgust, Kindness, Envy, Amazement, Optimism, Trust and Admiration.
Perhaps Grief arrived late, or didn’t make an offering.
As I said, no one knows exactly what or who inspired the moment…but Grief was banished from the great table of communion in the kingdom.
It came as quite a surprise to be true, no one expected to be banished, they figured they had been created, and so surely they were all worthy of being there. But as soon as they caught the scent of possibility of being banished from existence, they all opted to get on the bandwagon and kick Grief out rather than allow the attention to turn on them.
They say that is how Grief came to be banished, and left to starve alone in the woods, raging from loneliness. Everyone Grief approached would run from her, as if she smelled of dead and rotting flesh and nothing more. They said if a person caught a whiff of Grief, they would run in the other direction, that if someone heard Grief calling, they would start singing so loud they couldn’t hear, and if Grief knocked on the door in the middle of the night, lonely and cold, they forgot their manners, and refused entrance.
They say only the trees had the courage to hold grief in those days. They would take Grief into their great limbs and wrap Grief in leaves and sing sweet songs into its heart. They say that might have been the only thing that got Grief through.
And Grief did what every being in every story ever told about the one who is banished from the village did.. Grief did not wither away and die. Grief fed on the only things left…lonliness, abandonment, and righteousness. And Grief got stronger.
And when those who were outside of the village were lonely and scared and on the hunt for the great table, if they stumbled across Grief, now so great it could barely be recognized…they would run in the other direction, afraid to be swallowed whole by the famished being.
They say for a few years, maybe it was the 1980’s, or maybe it was the 2000’s, that Grief got so out of control that it decided to take everything away until it was all that was left. Starving and famished and just a hint of itself, It mysteriously killed off Joy, and Pleasure, stomped on Ecstasy, and kicked Kindness off the cliff.
Those who wandered in the woods searching for the great table of communion...if they stumbled upon Grief -- and ran in the other direction-- in their flight they never found the path to the great table of communion where Awe and Love still resided.
They say it was a time of great loss.
They say the fields went fallow.
They say the oceans overflowed with tears.
They say the trees changed colors at the most unexpected times.
They say so many people forgot who Grief really was,
they began to belive it had sent Pain and Agony to torture them as punishment, not realizing they had been there all along but that Grief had been the bridge between them all.
They say it was a child who brought Grief back home.
Taken in the wilds by something called a gun, or an illness, or something else out of sorts with the expectations of time.
The ghost of the child led Grief back to the kingdom. But no one recognized it as first. They thought it a dangerous stranger, and demanded it to be battled to the death.
And they hoped that by killing this unknown stranger who had been lurking in their midst they might gain the stength to also kill the Loss and Pain and Despair that had taken up residency and would somehow right this horrible imbalance and arrive at the next chapter.
Grief wouldn't agree to go to battle unless it was matched against the greatest warrior in the kingdom... Love.
Everyone in the kingdom gathered around chanting and screaming for Grief to be destroyed.
They thought, surely the fiercest warrior of them all, Love, would destroy Grief once and for all.
You can imagine what happened next.
Grief entered The Great Arena from stage left. (Everyone booed)
Love entered The Great Arena from stage right. (Everyone cheered).
Everyone except the ghost of the child who had brought Grief home.
The audience was ready for a great fight.
Grief and Love circled each other in the ring.
And yet, they had underestimated whom they were grappling with.
The great warrior Love circled Grief three times, filled with fear, lonely and abandoned, the one before Love held the scent of and could be confused with nothing but Pain and Suffering...and Love wanted these to be gone...and yet that was not who was standing before Love on this day.
Love opened its palms before Grief, and Grief blew into them and dropped three tears. With this, Love grew and grew and grew, to a great force no one imagined possible. Love opened it arms to Grief, and Grief opened its arms to love, and for a few moments, everyone saw what that small ghost of a child had seen all along… they was union.
They say this is the story of how Grief was welcomed back and restored to its rightful place at the great table of communion, where birth and life and everything between is celebrated and shared. They say when Grief was brought back to the table, everyone agreed they had been less of themselves without it, and Love said it finally felt like itself again.
Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman is a visionary artist specializing in expressions of the noumena, synthesizing technology with esotericism to interpret anew the mythos and archetype of the Divine Feminine and alchemical transformation. You can follow her on Facebook.
I'm going to tell you a story about how a
hostage was returned.
Perhaps you're thinking: "Leah, it's the holidays...can't you bring us something more season appropriate?
I’m asking you to trust me.
But even more than me, I’m asking you to trust this story, because it has been banging at the door asking to be shared. It begins like this...
Laura Ling was a journalist who was held captive by the North Koreans for 5 months.
This story has nothing to do with how or why she was kidnapped.
It has everything to do with what she did while she was being held captive, facing a sentence of 12 years of hard labor.
I worked with Laura at Current TV, not closely, but close enough so that at nearly every gathering, every meal, every hike in the wilderness during those 5 months I thought of her, alone in a cell. It’s weird when you know that someone who is humble and kind and makes self-deprecating jokes is being held captive by North Korea.
Laura was released after 5 months.
Kim Jong-un agreed to release Laura under the condition that Bill Clinton would meet with him.
You see, when Kim’s father died, Bill Clinton was one of the first to call him with a condolence.
And ever since receiving that phone call, after recieving someone reaching out under and over the story of politics and into the story of human connection, Kim had always wanted to meet Bill.
Kind of mind blowing when you consider what one little act of radical kindness would eventually influence.
A medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis "of or having roots," from PIE root *wrad- "branch, root"
Meaning: "going to the origin, essential"
“Gratitude is what got me through”
It was a few years later when Laura and I were meeting for tea talking about a few story concepts. I don’t know how it came up, but when someone starts telling you that gratitude is what kept them from going coo-coo while being held hostage in North Korea, you pay attention.
“But I had to be grateful for what was actually happening in the moment, it wasn’t about being grateful for another time, it was being grateful for what I had in the moment. Sometimes it would take real effort to find something, such as being grateful to the guard who decided to whistle when I hadn’t heard music in months.”
Laura's story reminded me of my own experience of experiencing radical gratitude.
Gratitude introduced itself to me when I was walking the rings of a large circular garden I built while in the six months of recovering from thyroid cancer. Every morning I walked into the center of the garden with my gratitude, and walked out with my prayers. I wouldn’t say I was particularly spiritual or prayed before that event. I don't even know how I knew to do it. I just know that it changed me.
When I wasn't looking or trying. Gratitude wrapped its arms around me when I needed it most.
It would appear that extreme situations can provide insight on how to live in normal times.
Want More Story In Your Life?
Here are a few ways we can play...
A grand last minute gift idea (If I don’t say so myself) is a SOUL STORY.
(Gift certificates can be emailed within a few hours of an order)
A soul story is a one of a kind story that is created for the receiver of the gift. It is a mystical form of storytelling that helps one see their life and how they are experiencing it through symbols, myth, and metaphors. I do them for individuals, couples, and groups.
To help you understand this out of the box interpersonal storytelling session I'll share that Clarissa Pinkola Estes references how a sect of mystical storytellers use El Duarte (the wind) to blow the soul of the person into them, and Michael Mead says that behind this dimension, is the mythic dimension. This is exactly how I understand a Soul Story to work. It's esoterical and magical and mysterious in the best of ways. Here's how a few people explain the experience:
“Receiving my sacred soul story was truly a gift of great proportion. I thought at first it would be a fun idea. Little did I know how greatly transformative the whole process would actually be for me.” ~ Marta Maria Marraccini
“Leah's story was the sweetest medicine to my soul. I felt not only reflected in my essence but lifted up to enjoy the greater story unfolding in all of us.”
Other ways we can play in the realm of story include these upcoming workshops;
Online: Myth Magic and Medicine
In CA: Temple Woman (1 day event) & The Story of The Witch (5 Day Retreat)
Jan In Kauai
Feb In Maui
Green Gift Ideas Part 4
Welcome to the last installation of green gift ideas. As always, I receive no benefit from sharing these aside from the pleasure of sharing good things and good people. And in this case: some shameless self promotion. You can catch Green Gift Guides parts 1-3 here.
Roz Savage Rowed Across 3 Big Oceans.
“It felt as if everything that had happened so far in my life had been leading me to this point, preparing me for this task,
and that I was uniquely equipped to pursue this quest.
It was a perfect collision of personality, past experience, purpose, and timing.”
Roz graduated from Oxford.
She had the great job, the great house, the little red sports car.
She claims it was the commute that got her, provided the time to reflect on an equation that wasn't adding up. She had the things, but lacked satisfaction and wasn't living aligned with her values.
Roz said it was writing two versions of her obituary that was the impetuous for change.
One version was about the woman she most wanted to be, and included a life of adventure.
The other version was of the life she was living.
Moved out of her home.
Listened for what was next.
"It became clear to me, intellectually and emotionally and intuitively, that we have to look after our planet if we want it to look after us."
"I accepted that mistakes are a fact of life, an inevitable consequence of being adventurous and trying new things."
Roz eventually sailed across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, and used the voyages to raise awareness about the state of the oceans.
It wasn't easy.
Her boat capsized.
Her equipment failed.
She battled with loneliness and depression.
I met Roz when covering the Copenhagen Climate Talks for Current’s Green Channel. I interview Roz, along with policy makers, climate scientists, and activists. I wanted to offer our audience a full spectrum perspective on the state of the climate change.
When given the chance, guess who people chose to listen to.
Believe it or not, it wasn't the dancing penguins.
The fact that an audience of climate change enthusiasts preferred to listen to Roz's story made a lasting impression.
...and was the fuel for a significant pivot change in my own career.
We have so much information.
But we don't have a big story that holds us through these times.
And stories...provides context, meaning, wonder, and though it's inherent nature weaves us into the web of a lineage that weaves us into a timelessness.
I was in the midst of my own classic story of leaving a corporate job to discover the thread that was mine to weave into the universal tapestry of our times...
When The Whale Dreamer came for me.
How this story came for me is tale worth telling. But not for this moment.
The Whale Dreamer is a young adult book series (I am writing) designed to engage young people in the times we are living in. The story follows Kelley, who is the only Anthribian left on the planet (she is equal resident in the ocean as she is on land.) On land she is known as The Doorway to Death as animals that are going extinct pass through her. In the ocean she is known as The Key to The Garden of Life, as she is the only one who can access something the whales have been protecting for a very long time, The Dream of our future. And then there is May, who is The Keeper, like Kelley, animals on their way to going extinct pass through her, except she holds on to all of their medicine and knowledge, giving her a unique perspective on the state of the planet.
As you might imagine, the story faces the 6th mass extinction, the state of the oceans, and dares to ask, who owns the dream of our future?
Sometimes a story isn't enough.
Hence, the creation of The Whale Dreamer Engagement Pathway.
This is a strategy that combines a story with an engagement strategy to engage readers with taking action about they things they care about after readig the book. The engagement pathway motivates and mobilizes the next generation of ocean stewardship and land protection be connecting them to the organizations doing freat work, and providing an action plan we all take part in together.
In 2017 we welcomed 17 organizations, allies, education partners, and ocean advocates to support getting the word out about The Whale Dreamer and it’s mission. Together we will:
- Empower youth to understand how they can influence the world around them
- Provide Action Kits that youth can bring to their schools and local restaurants that educate about the impact of plastics and provide solutions for alternatives
- Measure our collective impact: so we can see how all of the drops of action can create an ocean of change
- Incentivize youth getting more exposure to the natural world through awards from partner organizations for their environmental activism
- Educate and support through an alumni activist training program
- Foster their genius, creativity, and imagination to flourish in the face of changing planet
The plan is extensive. It includes key partnerships with organizations such as Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Watch program, The Plastic Pollution Coalition, and allyships with GreenPeace, 5 Gyres, Mission Blue just to name a few.
It's how we live with the story --- that allows the story live through us.
YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITH
THE WHALE DREAMER
This spring we are launching our pilot program. Four schools across the country will read the book and test the engagement campaign. We’ll test our plan to help youth influence their local communities and measure their collective impact through our unique measurement tool.
* Get a front row seat when you join me to launch this pilot program. *
We're raising 60K to hire two staff members, pay teacher stipends, develop the restaurant report card with Montrey Bay Aquarium Sea Watch Program and develop the Action Kit that educates restaurants on planet forward solutions.
Sign-Up to Host a House Party:
This is fun way way to bring community together, be the first to hear a chapter from the book, and learn about local environmental issues while raising funds for The Whale Dreamer engagement campaign.
The way is works: you gather your community, I’ll read a chapter of the book, we may bring in one of our local allies to talk about local ocean conservation issues, and we’ll do a few other things to make the evening delightful.
And…if you have ideas for partner organizations and environmental leaderswho would like to get involved, we are accepting allys and partners here.
And...if you'd like to make a tax deductible contribution directly through our fiscal sponsor, email me.
Or you can go to The Whale Dreamer website and read all about it there.
Green Gift Guide Part Three
In case you missed the first 2, this is the 3rd installment of the annual green gift guide. Designed to inspire joyful and out of the box life force enhancing ways to spend your money while in the act of expressing your love during this season. The recipe is simple: one part awesome human, one part awesome product, one art awesome experience, one part awesome book. I receive no personal benefit aside from the pleasure that comes with highlighting great things and people.
Matthew Stillman: The Creative Approacher
Matthew enjoys helping people think creatively about their life, work, and everything in-between. From gang members trying to figure how to avoid being killed to writers working on books; Stillman has a creative approach to what is challenging you. He's been a creative ally and story consultant for The Whale Dreamer. As a story consultant he's brave enough to name what isn't working, generous enough to provide good tinder for a new solution, and wise enough to get out of the way to let the wild fire of creativity he just inspired to burn through. PS: thanks to Stillman, adorable sand cats are now in The Whale Dreamer. Who wouldn't want a gift certificate to a creative approach?
A Plastic Free Life
The Plastic Pollution Coalition
To-Go Ware was born from the founder's desire to eliminate unnecessary use of single use plastic. Pop this cute thing in any bag or purse and say goodbye to needing a plastic fork or spoon when on the go again. And when you get them at this link...you support Plastic Pollution Coalition (one of education partners ofThe Whale Dreamer). While you are there you can check out all of their other suggestions on how to live a life without plastic.
The Shared Adventure: ALASKA!
Alaska Wildland Adventures
The famous naturalist, John Muir, wrote in his journal, "You should never go to Alaska as a young man because you'll never be satisfied with any other place as long as you live." So why wait any longer? AWA is one of those top notch eco-tourism companies you really want to support. They are locally owned, give back to Alaska, treats their staff great (yes, I was a natural history guide there over a decade ago) and is committed to teaching about the cultural history and the natural world that they are traveling through.
By: Stephen Jenkinson
The title is unfortunate because it makes it a hard book to gift for many. And yet....it's the kind of book that could save someone's life...or at least invite them into a rich conversation about reconsidering how they are living life. Stephen Jenkinson is an author, a teacher (although he prefers the term practioner), elder, and prolific writer and speaker. He has sat with over 1,000 people on their death bed and has a thing or two to say about how to live. Audio is also available on audible. You can also catch a feature article written about SJ in this month's Spirituality and Health Magazine (sold at Whole Foods) by yours truly.
I bring you 2 sweet treats…
Breakfast at Tiffany’s quarterly newsletter is the brainchild of award winning filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, and is always chocked full with goodies…books, films, events, and news about her next proect.
At the heart of it all are lots and lots of cultural goodies.
Your 2nd sweet treat is BRAIN POWER, From Neurons to Networks a short film made by Tiffany about how our brains are inluenced by technolgy.
“To live a fulfilling life is an endurance event,
and the only way to get to the finish line is to focus on the present,
checking from moment to moment that I am still heading in the right direction.
The Atlantic taught me that no matter how huge and seemingly impossible the task,
anybody can achieve extraordinary things,
by simply taking it one stroke at a time.”
― Roz Savage, Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean
On a side note, Mountaineer Angela Hawse, upon nearly reaching the top of Mount Everest said, "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you keep putting one foot in front of the other."
May your days be filled with rowing, walking, skipping, and leaping, in the direction that most serves you.
Enjoy the images in this storyletter? See them and more via The Whale Dreamer’s Instagram and Facebook account.
PS: I'm thrilled to share that Roz is an ally of The Whale Dreamer. You can learn more about Roz and her book and podcast here.
There is a story I want to remind you of...
It feels relevant to this moment.
Some say the story begins in July of 1976.
But when you listen for the story, you realize this couldn't possibly be true.
Two men who were about to become kidnappers-- lost a load of cash in a real-estate deal-- and decided to remedy the situation by hijacking a schoolbus filled with 26 children.
The plan: hold the kids (ages of 5-14) for randsom for 5 million dollars.
But this was before cell phones, and when all the phone lines jammed from hysterical parents, the kidnappers were stuck driving the children and their bus driver around for 11 hours.
They eventually transported their captives to a quarry.
The kidnappers loaded the children into a buried moving truck in the quarry, and covered the lid with 100’s of pounds of batteries.
The children were burried alive.
Linda Carrejo Labendeira remembered, 'There was no ventilation, just a battery fan that died. It was like a grave, dark.'
The children and the bus driver (they called him Ed) believed there was no way out.
Some did nothing.
Huddled together and waited for death to come for them.
But after 16 hours, the bus driver, Frank Edward "Ed" Ray, along with a few children, decided to attempt to escape despite that all of the obvious signs told them they couldn't.
They fought against the story that it was over…
...even when all logic said it was over.
And as the story goes, the bus driver, Ed, and a few of those kids, made a herculean accomplishment when they pushed through the top of the buried vehicle and escaped.
When Nine-year-old Brown was asked, "Why do you suppose they would do something like that?"
Brown said, "I don't know. They didn't have enough love."
The group has been researched time and time again about the lasting impacts of untreated trauma.
Many developed fears to things such as "cars, the dark, the wind, the kitchen, mice, dogs and hippies," Many of the children continued to report symptoms of trauma at least 25 years after the kidnapping, including substance abuse and depression, and a number have been imprisoned for "doing something controlling to somebody else."
My friend Amy told me this story…she heard it from her trauma therapist.
There is a key into this story that is often lost in the facts.
The children who
-- against all of the odds--
--against all reason--
--used their life force to keep fighting for life--
went on to live "well adjusted lives"
and did not suffer from the same level of trauma of their peers who did not make any attempts in the face of impending doom.
This is a story worthy of telling.
Here’s to meeting the moment you are in.
And engaging the most radical tool in our human arsenal
~ our imagination~
when the stories may appear to be leading us toward another conclusion.
Want More Story?
New York City, December 21st 8-10 pm
The Story of The Witch: An evening of reclaiming the myth with story, plant medicine and alchemy...
The Alchemist Kitchen: Limited Tickets
Kauai, January 27-28th, North Shore
Myth, Magic, and Medicine 2 Day Workshop
I'm joining forces with creatrix Kim Murriera to combine the creative process of writing with creating art. We will delight in meeting in her jungle studio on the North Shore of Kauia. We will combine writing /story/ and crafting in the arts studio. "There’s a chamber of creative expression in every human being that when set in motion awakens our infinite wellspring of inspiration, intuition and wisdom," says Kim.
Maui, February Feb 16th & 17th,
Change You Story...Change Your Life 1.5 Day Workshop
We'll gather to reweave an unfold the stories in our life, and try our hand at exploring new ways to work with old stories.
Boonville, California, Feb 24-28th
The Story of The Witch 5 Day Retreat
I am looking forward to joining forces with Riyana Rosa Sang to create this one of a kind retreat at the beautiful Bell Valley Retreat.
Join us for five-day long immersion where we will delve into the potent mythology of the witch while developing your storytelling skills and personal mythology, renewing your relationship to sacred practices, and crafting herbal remedies for the modern world.
In this deep dive, experiential retreat, we will reclaim what was lost during the Burning Times and throughout centuries of oppression, patriarchy, racism, and colonization, and rediscover for ourselves the knowledge and magic of our lineages, stories, bodies, and the earthbody of nature.
We will work with the archetype of the witch as it has been carried through time, incorporating herbal medicine, plant magic, and ritual to support an alchemical process of stepping into the power of a new story while weaving our healing practices, creative work, activism, and personal transformation into the magic of the Great Turning.
Truth be told, I wasn't planning on adding any more online courses until mid 2018. But this 4-week online course is back by popular demand.
Myth, Magic & Medicine:
Storytelling For A New Paradigm
January 10- 31st, 2017
Meets every Wed from 5-7pm PST / 8-10pm EST
- Join an online community that is committed to stepping into the stories they carry with intention to bring medicine to the times they are living in.
- Work in small groups and with a committed partner
Ignite your creativity while learning stories from around the world. Explore how the stories that surround you inform your wold view.
Reweave, rewrite, re-imagine how you can tell the stories you love, and the stories that come though you.
This is for the creator who has great self discipline but wants some guidance and structure. You will receive 4 audio classes to work with at your own pace. You will lead through writing exercises that give you the space to explore the myths that run your life, the medicine that is yours to give, and your capacity to shape the stories you live with.
And Now For Some
Life Enhancing Green Gift Ideas
This tradition started last year...feature great products, great people, great EXEPERIENCES as a way of providing you out of the box ideas for how to give during the holidays while also having a positive impact with your money. Please note: I receive ZERO benefit or financial returns by promoting these, I merely love sharing good things.
Your Sweet Treat
I saw K.D. Lang sing in a small house concert last month.
I may never be the same again.
WARNING: once you play this video once, you may be compelled to watch over and over.
"Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means 'Glory to the Lord.' The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It's a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion."
“The world is as beautiful
as it ever was. It is changing, but then it
always has been. This is a good time to
change, and remain beautiful, with it.”
“Honey, I may need to go to the department store when we arrive.”
Kelley’s father had just sent her a text about a conversation between him and her mother while traveling from Richmond to Wilmington.
“Why is that?” her father asked.
“I didn’t bring my clothes,” her mother replied.
“What’s in the bag you brought?”
“Oh…pajamas, books, my camera.”
“So where are your clothes?”
"In a black bag in the living room."
It was the night after Thanksgiving. Kelley and I sat on her front porch, bundled against the cold while we sipped wine late into the night. The topic: home for the holidays and the life long adventure of learning how to love people just as they are.
Kelly was enjoying how humored her father was her mother's absentmindedness, something that would have once driven him crazy. 40 years into their marriage, and her parents had found a new room in their relationship where they discovered yet another flavor of love.
Kelly and I have known each other since we were 14. As you might imagine, we’ve shared a lot of love stories in our times…crushes, boyfriends, romances, broken hearts, marriage and divorce, and now the love stories we tell each are as much about our families as our romantic relationships.
"Life is a series of love seizures," Kelly said. "For which we are rarely prepared. We step into the current as we are called."
An Intimate Evening: Soul Story Circle
Brooklyn, December 10th, 5pm
Gather around for this unique form of story divining. Soul Stories is an ancient form of mystical storytelling where a mythic story is divined for the group. It is both a delightful and powerful tool to use to examine your life from a different perspective and witness yourself through your relationship to the cosmos. We will journey together with a story that is created out of our collective consciousness. This is an interactive experience and gosh darn fun if I don’t say so myself.
(This event is at a private residence, contact me for the address, and you can learn more about Soul Stories and how to get one for yourself here).
Are you in the NY region and want to see The Story of The Witch?
Stay tuned...there is something fun brewing so tell me if you want to stay in the know.
LIFE FORCE ENLIVENING GIFT IDEAS
“We’ve turned into consumers, not citizens,” Bill said as we made our way to the thanksgiving table.
Over the course of the month I’ll do my annual tradition of sending along a few life force enhancing ideas designed to inspire you during this season of gift giving.
I receive no benefit from these suggestions: they are just from the heart…things and people who authentically inspire me and are offering beautiful gifts to the world.
If you happen to have a suggestion you think we should all know about~ don’t be shy! By all means tell me so I might consider it for these posts!
If we’ve been hanging in the digital space for awhile, you know that I’m a fan of Day Schildkret’s Morning Altars. What started as an activity he did while walking Rudy (his dog) in the park has turned into a true sensation. These impermenant earth creations often evoke a gasp or primal howl when I see them on instagram.
Day has created prints, wood blocks, and beautiful calendars that invite you to stay in relationship with the changing of the seasons in the most beautiful of ways.
When Caitlin’s beloved broke her ankle and was in extreme pain, Caitlin used her knowledge of herbal medicine to assist in restoring Heather (aka After 5) back to good health.
Truth be told...I don’t expect much from salves. But when I couldn’t sleep past 5am from the back pain after a recent car accident, Heather told me to slather some on... and low and behold, it was the only the thing that got me through. Caitlin doesn’t sell it online, she makes small batches and you’ll have to email her to order it.
(I’m convinced this works because Caitlin makes this with the perfect alchemy of herbs and love.)
Want to swim with a whale?
Touch an iceburg?
See a cheetah up close?
Perhaps you were thinking you want to share a one of a kind experience with your friends and loved ones this year. Cheeseman's Ecology Safaris is a family run buisness ~ they have a passion for exploring, protecting, and learning about the incredible wildlife and environments found around the world.
What a great way to travel where you can't go alone...and learn about the natural world as you go. Ted (the owner) is an all star human being (and fellow whale lover).
"The meanings of life aren’t inherited.
What is inherited is the mandate to make meanings of life by how we live."
Aren't these image of feather art spectacular??? Chris Maynard carves them out of feathers.
May you journey well this season, may the stories you carry serve you and your beloveds well, and may you have the pleasure of receiving the gifts in your life in all of their forms.
“The sky is falling.”
Someone wrote in my FB feed.
“No.” I replied.
“The air is filled with smoke, ashes are falling from the sky, animals and humans alike are running to escape the over 20,000 acres of fire. But the sky is not falling.”
On Monday morning we woke to a sky filled with smoke.
By 10am, the Tubbs fire had burned over 20K acres, much of that residential area.
Four days later, many people in the region, after learning of those who had to evacuate without notice, have put together an emergency evacuation bag. It has put many of us in a very tangible conversation about the things that we surround ourselves with, and what we can and can’t live without.
The sky is falling is a term from, "Chicken Licken", a folk tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase "The sky is falling!" has been passed through as an idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.
Even in the midst of disaster, we have an opportunity to grab the reins of the story. Will we run around as if our heads have been chopped off screaming about the fear of the unknown?
Or will we channel that same energy and invite love into the room with every action we take when we care for each other…
We understand more than ever the power of the collective imagination.
And that as storytellers (and we are all storytellers), we are the ones organizing the structure that brings context. meaning, and perspective to our reality.
So stories that state that end of the world is here are dangerous stories.
They don’t provide a vision for what is to come after the conflict. And with no vision to feed our collective imagination to feast upon...
Why go our of our way to help each other, to rebuild, and reconstruct?
My Facebook feed is a 4:1 ratio right now. For every person who has shared they have been evacuated or lost their homes, there are 4 more people stepping up to give what they have to give to serve this crisis: time, energy, money, healing services, driving food and clothing into the area.
If I were to tell you a story about what is happening in the wake of these fires, it would involve loss, trauma, death, and grief. It would involve a very upset and vocal screech owl who has moved into our woods since the fire. And it would involve a tale about a community that has been aware of the changing times we are in, has been preparing for over 2 decades, and has the skills to meet the moment.
This is a rich and complex story we are in. And it’s only just begun.
As always...a bit more information than is reasonable...
lucky for us we are living in unreasonable times.
And WOW! Images by Cyril Rolando
"If I can do it, anyone can."
I was speaking with Lea d'Auriol, founder of Oceanic Global.
We were talking about her message to young ocean activists.
More on that later.
Let's move on to winning BIG.
Simcha was watching The Price is Right with one of his hospice clients, when she suggested (I like to imagine in a thick Jewish accent), “Simcha, dear, why don’t you get some tickets and go on yourself. You should live a little.” (I’m taking epic creative liberties here re: what was actually said, but the nudge was real.)
Simcha bought four tickets, didn’t know who he was going to invite, and before he knew what had happened Rae, Ariel, Day, and Kait announced they were going with him. None waited for an invitation.
With the t-shirts they wore they honored their elders, Bob Barker, and his passion for spaying pets, and the current host, Drew Carrey.
They were a motley crew. During their interview with producers:
Rae discussed her role as an activist with veterans.
Ariel discussed sexual identity politics.
Kait discussed relationship politics.
Day discussed using the earth as an altar for beauty.
And Simcha spoke about being a chaplain and working in hospice care.
Day won The Price is Right that day.
I can tell you that here, because I would hate for you to miss the point of the story.
I haven’t watched The Price is Right since I was kid.
But last week we all gathered to watch. It was thrilling to get caught up in watching the audience cheer for the person on stage to win.
Turns out we love watching each other win.
And the people on stage won and lost because of the advice they chose to take from the audience. So a win for one really felt like a win for all. You could feel it in the room.
One woman won 10K because she followed the advise of the audience (if she hadn’t she would have lost 10K).
I keep thinking about this power of one mythology.
I put it into my category of “dangerous stories” because if believed, and if someone actually tries to make great change by themselves, well… we probably won’t hear much about them before they burn out.
Rosa Parks didn’t just randomly stand up one day because she couldn’t take it any more. She had been an active member in the civil rights and was part of a group that had been planning actions. When she stood, she knew there were people who would have her back.
I believe in my heart of hearts, that when given the opportunity, we’ll root for each other to win.
Everyone who won on The Price is Right that day won becuase they had a team rooting for them.
Here’s to remembering it takes a team to win, not waiting to be invited to show up, and listening when those around us say, “You should live a little.”
Welcome To The Whale Dreamer Society
As you may or may not know, I’ve been spinning an epic tale, a two book series under the title The Whale Dreamer.
"So this is kind of a culmination of your life's work," Joel Ben Izzy, a storyteller extrodinaire, said last night as I shared the vision. The book takes on the 6th mass extinction, the state of the oceans, and the biggest question of them all: who owns the dream of our future. All through a delicious story about a young girl who is called to by the whales.
Over the course of creating this book, it became obvious that the story could be more than just a story, but could also lead readers down an engagement pathway to becoming the next generation of ocean stewards.
So over the course of the past 3 months I did something unusual, while still working on the final edit of the book, I started designing the engagement campaign.
Daivie joined to start building our social media platforms, and actualizing the animal pathway that would create a deep dive for readers to learn more about the endangered animals that are featured in the book.
Branden joined to help with our community engagement and allyships with environmental organizations.
Leslie joined to develop relationships with sponsors.
Because the vision is big, and the GET PLASTIC OUT OF OUR FOOD ACTION KITS need to be tested.
We’ve just begun, but we've created alliances with over 15 organizations to help our readers take radical out of the box actions that are implementable in their hometown (no matter how close or far to the ocean they live). This includes:
- An ACTION KIT that youth can take to their local retaurants to influence their purchase of plastics. This is being developed with the guidance of restaurant owners and also provides the solutions they need to wave bye-bye to disposable plastics.
- A youth activist training program
- An online tool that measures the actions of our readers so we can see the collective impact of the The Whale Dreamer Society.
And so I come to you with a warm invitation to join The Whale Dreamer Societytoday, we're building our team of people who will surface this intiative into the world.
The campaign needs extra hands and the resources to develop our action kits and test them in schools so that when we launch in 2018 we have worked out all of the kinks and know we have developed a system for change that can have a global impact.
“If I had my way,” I told Jefe, one of the restaurant owners who is advising on the creation of the action kits youth will bring to restuarants, “The heads of plastic industry would knock on my door begging The Whale Dreamer Society to stop because we would be such epic disrupters in the purchasing of plastics.” I was feeling rather sheepish, a little embarrassed. “I know, its kind of pie in the sky.” I sighed.
“We need more pie in the sky dreamers,” Jefe said.
Here's how you can get involved:
We need two more classrooms to test our action kit and young activist training program.
- Host a house party for your community: I'll come do a reading of the book, bring in a local environmental partner, and we'll raise money for the engagement campaign together.
- Become a Sponsor or Donor: this can be accomplished as a tax deductble donation through our fiscal sponsor, Marin Link, or you can join me on Patreon (I just posted a video if you want to hear me chatabout this project) it's a fun way to stay in connection.
"Money is both a powerful agent of destruction as well as the main way we coordinate human creativity in our world today. It is a medium of generosity and of trauma, innovation and oppression. What does it take to heal the wound of money on a personal and systemic level? What does it take to align money with love?" ~Charles Eisenstien
May peace, collaboration, the pleasure of winning, and water be with you (And may you live a little), and here's where you can explore The Whale Dreamer and learn more about what we're up too.
P.S. Aren't these Images EPIC?
They are by artist and ocean activist Jason deCaires Taylor
I have been missing you, and our moments of discourse.
(For those of you who are new…Welcome).
My 2 cents on how to enjoy these storyletters:
Rule #1: You don’t have to read it all.
- Skim the pictures (images by Michelle Fleur) to the bottom for the video of Nina Simone , the SECRET treat, and news of the story tour.
- Make a cup of tea, kick your legs up, and sink in for a few moments, knowing there is a thread that strings it altogether.
On Bursting Hearts
I was in a fender bender the other day.
But the whiplash shook me up, took my nervous system offline for a couple of days, and left me feeling vulnerable to the world.
The timing was auspicious...
I was quite literally on my way into services for the Jewish New Year.
Apparently I was in cahoots with the universe for realignment.
I didn't know I was in shock.
Or that my back was injurred.
But during services, the following words popped off the page:
“If you want to heal the world, you must feel the world.”
It made me think of a workshop I taught last year on the creative process and developing a new creation myth about the times we are living in.
One of the women in the class felt the grief of abused animals to such a degree that it seemed to over take her.
I remember being grateful I didn’t have to feel that much.
Fast forward to a few hours after my accident when the adrenalin and shock wore off...when my normal protection to the world was knocked out of my system.
It was in that moment… that I witnessed another accident on the road.
I drove by just a moments after the animal was hit by a car...
I saw the surprise and confusion on its face,
and how it's companion lingered, circling it in the middle of the road,
and before I knew what had happened I was uncontrollably sobbing.
In one breath I was sobbing about this one innocent creature.
In the next breath I was feeling what I have never wanted to feel:
the misery and despair that comes with feeling how much destruction and pain humans have caused to other animals.
Now for those of you who know me, while I have a flair for the dramatic, I also have the trained wilderness first responder in me; when I come across a crisis, I keep me head on, go into the mode problem solving and crisis management—and deal with feelings later.
So this response…was a bit of a shocker.
Afterall, I’ve been working on issues of the 6th mass extinction for the past decade, and look up animals on the endangered species list on a daily basis.
But if I actually felt the depth of what I’ve been working on all of the time,
I wouldn’t get out of bed.
I’m really grateful I usually have access to the dial that controls the volume of how much I feel so that I'm not feeling all of that all of the time. You with me?
Now back to that line in the Rosh Hashanah services book, In order to heal the world you need to feel the world… well lets just say I have a new understanding of what that means now.
Last night I went to the Ceteacan Society’s presentation about the state of sharks in the ocean.
I wanted to walk out, wondering how I could possibly continue to face this information.
And then I realized I can face this…Because I am part of a collective that is doing something with the information.
And that’s what fuels me to get out of bed every morning.
C'mon over and hang out at The Whale Dreamer Society.
No stats, just a mythical story that takes on the state of the world while asking: who owns the dream of our future?
I'll write more about that next time. But if you made it all the way here and just can't wait: I just launched or Ocean Engagement Pathway page where we reveal our plan to interrupt the purchasing patterns of restaurant owners.
Speaking of plastic... Bordalo II has created a series of bisected animals, colorful plastics forming one half of the creature while a combination of wood and metal created a muted mirror on the other side.
All that talk of feeling. You can't go wrong with Nina Simone Feelin' Good.
As my friend Jesse says...Feast on this. (You'll thank me (and Jesse) later.
I’m still hoarding words, putting most into the book I am writing, so this month I am offering nourishment through words spoken by Stephen Jenkinson (this is a sneak peak into a feature article that will come out next month in Spirtuality & Health Magazine). In this section he is speaking to the importance of tending to the language one uses.
“Many of the world’s religions have the understanding that the world was literally spoken, chanted, or sung into existence from speech.
It’s an amazing thought that is very prevalent in the world.
So by virtue of our participation to speak—we are participating in something vast, and conjuring, and alchemical.
And it has immense consequence.”
“I prefer to imagine that you are of vast consequence being something like a stone in a still pond, and not limited by your lifespan. That is not a recipe for grandiosity…because with it comes a weight or a burden. You could have a consequence that you didn’t intend, or that you wished you didn’t have, so you could feel free. But there you go with the North American idea of freedom.”
Such words provides reason to pause.
I can’t wait to share the entire article with you.
But until then…may the offerings below serve and tantalize you.
"We have this word rhythm in English. It’s related etymologically to arithmetic, and to rite or ritual. We have another word: tale: which is synonym for story. But the verb form of tale, is tally, the verb to count, or keep track of, or to commit to memory. All of these things are in both of these words. So when you speak things in a rhythmic fashion, its no surprise that the word arithmetic appears in the word. That’s what stories are: an arithmetic rendering of life, not to make sense, more to keep track, not to be too lost for too long, more to call somebody home that’s been out in the fog longer than it suits them."
May these eclipse days be filled with grace,
“I can't die. Bill Clinton needs all the democrats he can get.”
The air was pungent, filled with the sweet and soft smells of a southern summer as we sat on Kelly’s front porch watching fireflies light up the darkness.
Kelly was telling me the story of how her mother almost~ or rather did ~ die while giving birth to her younger brother. “She said she was hovering above her body, watching the doctors and nurses rush around, and when she realized she was thinking of politics (it was right before Clinton’s first election) she started laughing. And that is what brought her back into her body.”
Laughing at herself.
“My mom told me that story in a really dark moment in life. Sometimes you just need to look at what there is… and laugh,” Kelly eyed me. “Are you thinking about death a lot?”
“It’s hard not to. We’re living through the 6th mass extinction after all,” I answered.
“Even my 6 year old is thinking about it, she said. "Last week he asked me if I thought humanity is going to end soon. And when I asked how he thought it would end, he answered we’d either die from climate change or nuclear war.”
It seems in right action to pause when we discover that our children are considering the end of humanity.
On that note… might I suggest a beauty break and that you open another window to listen to the glorious music created by the one and only Arianna Savall while enjoying the rest of this storyletter? (click here in case you missed the cue.)
I don't know about you, but all of the big moments I have experienced have been made up of little moments that didn’t feel like much. It wasn’t until later, when we dressed the moments up with context and meaning that they became big moments.
The big moments are minutes are waiting on a clock on the date you place a lot of expectation around, and you really want them, more than any other, to be good moments. But some of the most impactful big moments really suck…in the moment…and only become the ingredients for legacy when you look back.
And yet, there are so many great moments that saunter by when you aren’t looking for fabulous, have no expectation for epic, and so they can fly by… under the radar…under appreciated.
I had the pleasure of seeing The Art of Courage a few months ago. Of course now it carries a different round of meanings in our most recent state of affairs since the film tells one of the stories of the creation of the 100% Renewable art piece created at the Paris UN Climate Talks from last year. I think you can see my hand in one of the scenes.
It was a big moment by any standard.
These are listening times.
When you need to read the signs and look for what’s living between the lines.
So soften your focus, escape the confines of literalism, and act like a tracker might when she or he is trying to catch the scent of wild animal on the run. Best I can tell, that is where the path to sanity might be found.
Want To Bring a Storytelling Event or Workshop to Your Hometown?
I’m planning the fall schedule and now is a grand time to tell me if you want to bring a storytelling event or workshop to your community.
Let’s get the conversation started here.
To wet your whistle here are a few things that are available:
- Myth, Magic, & Medicine Storytelling for a New Paradigm A 2 day workshop
- How to Tell Stories Designed To Transform The World: This workshop has been done in corporate settings and classes.
- Good Old Fashion Storytelling Skills: This class is designed for people who want to master the art of storytelling
- Storytelling Alchemy: These gatherings use story combined with a unique group process to improve empathy and build community. Examples of topics that have been worked with in the past include rights of passage, love & betrayal, and forgiveness. These work for intimate gatherings as well as office trainings.
- She Rises: A New Story for a New Paradigm explores the state of climate and politics through a mythic lens.
- Soul Story Oracle Circles: Easier to explain once you’ve experienced one. A story is channeled in the moment as the participants unpack and apply the symbols and mythic context to their life circumstances. Great to do with a community, yoga studio, birthday celebration, or any other purpose you dream up.
Solstice Soul Story Special
In honor of the longest day of the year, I am offering a 1.5 hour Solstice Soul Story Special for $111 (normally $250). This special is available for sessions that are booked by June 21st. You can learn more about these one of a kind story created just for you at medicinestories.com.
White Ally Tool Kit:
This tool kit was created by David Campt (aka the race doctor), advisor to Clinton's race relations committee. “Research says there are ways to reduce racial bias. Calling people racist is not one of them.”
This documentary introduces Stephen Jenkinson, who has been at the deathbed of well over 1,000 people. What he sees over and over, he says, is "a wretched anxiety and an existential terror" even when there is no pain. Indicting the practice of palliative care itself, he has made it his life's mission to change the way we die - to turn the act of dying from denial and resistance into an essential part of life.
A small book filled with sharp tongued essays and insights about what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women.
May you find your way to laughter through the big and small moments, may you remember to return to your body when you are needed most, and may we cross paths again sooner than later,
A word (or two) about Patreon... Want to play a part in bringing more art into the world? I’m working away on The Whale Dreamer~ and am traveling with a small but mighty group of people ~ sharing the intimacies of what it is to write a book and create a campaign designed to engage the next generation of ocean and land stewardship. I share special treats with Patrons, such as the latest story recorded on audio, The Day I Married A Polar Bear, recorded at CDM Studios.
A scream cut through the forest.
We lit the dark woods by the light of our iphones, Sukaynah and I were on a mission to recover what had been taken.
We thought it was a fox.
Hoped it was a rat.
But we knew it was the right thing to do—
To search for something that never meant to get lost.
What we found...was bambi.
I always hated that damn movie.
The dead baby dear was perfect and beautiful and even had little white spots across her back. She was only a few days old and lay positioned as if she was in mid run.
(Before I continue with this tale…I should confess…I’ve been cheating on you.
I wish I could say that I am Polywriterous, but I’m not.
My brain and my heart and my arse have been overtaken by the final edit of a book I’m writing. And while I have so many stories I yearn to share with you they rest as notes in a box of other ideas while I head steadily towards an impending deadline).
Which leads me to the beginning of this story.
Sukaynah and Kelly brought a group of 10 year old girls to the land I live on to run a one of a kind spring break camp for witches in the making. The girls learned about plants and how to make tinctures and felt bags and how to make offerings to the earth.
They asked me to a do storytelling with the littles, and I fell in love with these young people as they created a story about a planet that required heroes to steward it. I realized that the main character in my book, who is also 10, lacks the zest and zing those girls had, and that I need to spend more time around kids that age.
So I did what any writer on deadline would do, and when the girls walked by my front door, I asked if I could join them on their nature hike. A few moments later we stopped in front of a magnificent mushroom. The girls gathered around, and practiced tuning in to the plant while asking if they had permission to harvest part of it. We were in rare moment of pseudo 10 year old silence when we heard a scream cut through the forest. There was no mistaking that something small was in fear and in pain.
Luna, the beloved white husky who lives on our land, was running through the woods with something large in her mouth. The screaming continued. But now we couldn’t distinguish our screaming from the animal that had been captured. Luna eventually dropped it, and returned back to us a little more wild, with blood smeared around her mouth.
One of the girls started crying.
The rest were in shock.
I wanted to throw up.
There I sat with one foot in my own horror of seeing an innocent life taken, and the other foot as an adult among children witnessing death for the first time: navigating my own grief, and being present to mentoring young children through this threshold of loss of a piece of their innocence. The dog they adored murdered something else they adored. Not to eat it. For the pleasure of the catch. And they knew it.
As we circled up and spoke about what happened: the natural cycles of life and death, how we all eat meat, how we love Luna for that wild part in her, I realized how incredibly lucky these girls were to have this kind of experience in a held and facilitated environment.
One decided to become a vegetarian.
One of the girls wanted to go see what it was. But for better or for worse it was decided that we wouldn’t. I was relieved, I didn’t want to muster up the courage to go look with them, I knew that if we found it still alive we would need to be able to put it out of its suffering and I didn’t have the tools or skills to do this gracefully.
I returned to my desk to write.
The girls cried and processed throughout the day.
They discussed if they would be able to forgive Luna.
These girls were lucky, to be able to be together, and held with people who had camp counselors who had been raised on the land and prepared and ready to be with them in this moment, who could be with their tears, help them shake it off, and even laugh later with them as they reenacted the death in the final story told in their closing circle.
I already spilled the beans about what happened next: That night, in a scene out of The Blair Witch Project, Sukaynah and I went searching for death.
I was relieved that the girls didn’t have to see bambi.
But it felt right to look. To take the time to look and see what life and death looks like. To honor. To cover its body. To sing for the dead.
To take a few moments to be present with death.
I wonder about if we did the right thing: allowing them the girls live in their imagination about what had died--hoping it was a squirrel or a rat...as if that was a an easier death to accept.
Part of me thinks I was selfish for feeling relieved that I didn’t have to be with them when they witnessed Bambi dead in the forest...(and for the record, I made a choice about how much of the scene I shared with you, choosing to protect you from the gruesome images of the death. Perhaps that is also unfair. But I can't help but think in a world where we are constantly being bombarded by violence and horror we didn't choose to witness, its ok to want to protect each other, to pick and choose the experiences we force on one another).
And sometimes that is an act of wisdom.
And sometimes it is an act of selfishness.
Because woven into the horrors of life is beauty. And it is the beauty that makes it possible to keep looking.
At the end of the day...I think I played a game of lost and found innocence. In fear of that this thing we hold precious could be taken, I found pieces of my own still lingering.
Sean, a parent of two children in the late 20’s and early 30’s, says the job of parents is to make themselves obsolete.
“I see parents with their kids, and now I see the innocence of the children, as well as the innocence of their parents.”
Sean told me he had no idea how much he would have and how much he would lose through the life cycle of parenting.
It would seem if we are lucky, we will have moments of losing pieces of our innocence throughout our entire lives.
Death, loss, the cycles of life...include more beauty, more grace, more love, when faced with others.
May we all be so lucky to have a group of people around us in those moments when we come face to face with what we have lost.
These newsletters (ehem...storyletters) will take a slightly different form as all of the focus goes on completing this final draft of my book, so I leave you with but one sweet treat:
Crowdfunding 101: Everything you want to know about crowdfunding but are afraid to ask is being offered as a 2 hour online class in May by the one and only Ian McKenzie.
I can’t say enough great things about how Ian approaches fundraising (I featured him as the first speaker in my own 5 part video series oncrowdfunding). If you or someone you love is considering this mode of fundraising and community gathering this is a great opportunity.
MYTH, MAGIC, & MEDICINE: STORYTELLING FOR A NEW PARADIGMonline course will begin again in the fall. Private study is available until then.
I am in NYC for a few more moments and hosting a private Soul Story Circle, ping me for more information.
The illustrations were created by Chinese illustrator, Jin Xingye.
Monsterous Dog is by Holly Lucero
"Why should we have to sit in the dark just because someone wants to look in?"
Sandy is a somatic coach, and asked if we should close the windows. There was a chance the neighbors could look in.
It got me thinking about the process of being open, honest, and vulnerable.
How it is in the sharing of ourselves with others that the web of connection is made...even when it's comfortable to say what is real. Especially when it is uncomfortable to share what is real. Otherwise... we we force that part of ourselves to live all alone in the dark.
We kept the window shade open.
Amanda Palmer and her husband Neal Gaiman decided to write notes
to each other while dining at a restaurant. They wanted a break from talking. So they sat in silence. Passing notes back and forth. Daring to be more bold in their inquiry, and more honest and reflective in their responses. Writing can be magic in that way. Silence slips in...provides time for you to listen for the answers before your tongue just starts repeating the same old lines.
LISTEN: The Tower of Song
I wanted to speak when I had something to say.
After 2.5 years in the corporate media pumping out a fire house of information and inspiration and motivation based on stats and facts about what people wanted to see and hear...
I realized that speaking when I actually had something to say, not just because the air needed to be filled...had become a luxury.
Listen: Dance Me to The End of Love
"Any 400 page book will be made better by becoming a 300 pages."
One of the readers of the book I am writing dropped that line.
"Writing...is rewriting." One of the editors of the book I am writing dropped that line.
I think of editing as painting. Each new edit is another layer that brings richness in tone, complexity to the story, and simplicity to the arc. I can't help but think of Matisse's retrospective show at the MOMA. I was living in NYC at the time, my mom was visiting from Virginia, and we got in line early one winter morning when it was still dark outside so we could be at the head of line. It took at least 6 hours to walk our way through a life time of work.
As we neared the end... the work became simpler. More concise. His cutouts spoke to the essence. There is something to be learned in that trend that artists demonstrate in their later years... it can take a life time to learn how to say more with less.
The next online course Myth, Magic, and Medicine: Storytelling For A New Paradigm launches on March 22-April 12th. This is a great place to learn the art of sacred storytelling as you reflect on the stories you have been telling. As a group, we will explore the realms the stories we tell, the myths about our times, and create artistry from the magic and medicine that comes through the stories you choose tell.
If this course is calling: Learn more and sign up for a 1:1 call with me to see if this course is right for you.
She Rises: A New Creation Story For A New Paradigm
Thursday, March 16th, 7pm, Berkeley, CA
Music by composer Laura Inserra & songbird Tamuz Shiran.
Storytelling by yours truly.
Get tickets here.
This is a story that is being created out of the seed of deep listening. It is a living story about the times we are living in, and with each new audience it meets, another line, another chapter is created.
Join us for an evening filled with song and story. We dare to ask: what if we aren't killing mother earth, but rather going through the wildest rites of passage between the masculine and feminine on our girl Earth? Let's look through the mythic lens as we examine and make meaning of the times we are living in.
"No one is satisfied when things come too easily."
Tasha, my sister-in-law was visiting. We were touring around with the littles (aka my two nephews) while my brother was at a conference. Bouncing between topics of relationships, work, and everything else between interruptions from the littles.
And we were on a Leonard Cohen binge.
Tasha really likes The Tower of Song. I once made a mixed CD called Dance Me to The End of Love. And we both agree that Jeff Buckley owns Hallelujah.
The boys were doing what boys do...yelling about. But when Leonard started playing they quieted. We all rested in the resonance of Leonard in his elder years.
"I want more of that." I said.
"What?" Tasha asked.
"The sound of elders...speaking from wisdom. It sounds good to my bones."
May you listen well, and have the luxury of speaking when you have something to say.
PS: Just in case you missed it:
Brene Brown's Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability isn't to be missed.
On singing, scarcity, crowdfunding, and more!
“Some of the best opera singers are dumb as a doornail."
They don't let their mind get in the way of their breath." My voice teacher, Tamuz, is teaching me how to breath.
(psst. If you clicked for the free guide on crowdfunding-- skip to the bottom of the page. Now back to this regularly programmed storytletter)
“You have to let the mind get out of the way. Just act like a dumb guppy.”
Tamuz let her mouth go slack, allowed her eyes to wander up and to the left as if staring into nothing, and showed me what it looks like when you just open your mouth and trust that all the air you need will come and provide what is needed to belt out the next note.
I’ve been singing till I’m depleted and out of air, then gasping, sucking it in with desperation before the next note. My voice has become a critical part of the performances and Soul Story work, the resonance creating a form of magic that I can’t begin to explain, so I knew in my bones that I needed to address this running out of air piece.
I just didn’t know why.
I’ve been studying scarcity.
It was no surprise that it showed up in my conversation with money.
I didn’t realize it was so pervasive in my relationship to time.
Or that it lived in my relationships.
Or whispered to me in the kitchen.
But it never occurred to me that it could be living in my breath.
“You’re working too hard,” Tamuz explained.
I couldn’t help but think about how our whole planet is working too hard, and the harder we work, the more resources we use as we stay up late, use more oil as we commute longer hours… We are using so many of our planet’s resources to depletion because we are working too hard.
A few years back I got an idea for a book called, “Dangerous Stories.” I liked the title. But I didn’t know what kind of stories would go in it.
Now I know.
The story of scarcity is a dangerous story.
I really wouldn’t recommend diving in without a belay.
“You aren’t really trying to do this on your own?” Matt asked rather incredulously. Then I realized that this idea that I had to face the darkest parts of my navel gazing on my own was even woven out of the threads of scarcity. Then he showed me a piece written by Tad about how our current model of self reliance and the village making (link below).
I’ve been asking a uncomfortable question: Do I need to blow up the whole foundation and structure that has been built out of scarcity consciousness and start from scratch?
Or can I just build a new platform of prosperity consciousness on top of this foundation?
And I started to realize…I’m not the only one grappling with this question is living deep inside of our collective unconsciousness as we try to imagine what it will take to create a sustainable mode of living on this planet.
Do we need to blow the whole thing up and start again from scratch?
Or can we build on top of an infrastructure that was built and designed based on a depleting resources model-- and find a new way to find balance with the inherent prosperity that this planet is created from?
CROWDFUNDING FROM THE HEART
Meanwhile, I’m putting together the next cohort of crowdfunders. After I ran a couple of kickstarter campaigns people started approaching me for consulting. I love it. I get to put all of my knowledge about online engagement, online communication and strategy, writing and long term community engagement strategy to good work while supportying activists, social do-gooders, and artists manifest their dreams into reality.
I put together this rad video interview series (if I don't say so myself) with some stellar human beings and social good entrepreneurs who have raised from 30K to over 100K and share their systems, techniques, and tricks of the trade. After hosting 6 of these conversations, turns out every single conversation is threaded with the same keys to their success: Love and generosity. I kid you not.
You see, the trick to crowdfunding, is that is has very little to do with asking for money, and everything to do with cultivating a massive field of generosity.
If you want to know more about the logistics, as part of my storyteller community I would love to offer you my 23 page Action Guide on how to crowdfund as a gift. Just email me and I'll send it along.
And if you knowof anyone who is getting ready to launch a campaign, I’m putting together a group of people who can support each other in the process.
Because friends don’t let friends crowdfund alone.
Allison sent me this photo~ inspired by some of the art in the past newsletters. I love it (and her).
A few really great resources out there if you want to keep exploring scarcity:
The Soul of Money (an absolute must read and is also on audio)
The Art of Ask by Amanda Palmer (available on book, audio and a Ted talk)
On Village-Making: The Means and the Ends of Our Personal and Collective Redemption (mentioned above: by Tad Hardgrave)
And if you are in the bay area, Tamuz is one of the most extraordinary voice teachers I know.
May you breathe with the ease of a dumb guppy,
PS: Tamuz swears that the dumb guppy metaphor was created in my honor. It made me laugh so hard it was really hard to sing.
PPS: Thank you to everyone who responds with a little love note after receiving this wild experiment in storyletters. I appreciate every single one.
PPS: Illustrations by April Wilson
Creative approaches. How to do Aloha. It's all in there.
Let's be gentle during fragile times.
Let's breathe into the places we were once convinced we couldn't.
Let's find comfort in the chaos.
Last week I learned that hearts broken open can create pathways for the ancestors to walk through. And when you surrender to the pain and stop resisting, that is the invitation for Grace to walk in.
I'm learning that giving up on hope can be liberating.
And taking on the task of trust requires focus and commitment.
I'm learning that during uncertain times, it is good to go to the creativity gym, the listening gym, and the generosity gym. Building these skills takes practice...and while there is no such thing as perfect...there is something to be said for getting in shape.
MYTH, MAGIC, & MEDICINE: STORYTELLING FOR A NEW PARADIGM:
ONLINE COURSE BEGINS MARCH 8TH
(Early Bird Special ends Feb 28th)
Calling all Changemakers, Teachers, Entrepreneurs, Healers, & Everyone Ready to Make Meaning Out of Their Story!
Transform your old stories into powerful teachings
Learn new skills to develop your intuition and creativity
Expand your knowledge on archetypes, myths and mythic stories from around the globe
Be witnessed in the telling of your personal story
Discover new ways to bring ritual and the sacred into your life
Embody the magic and medicine we are into your every day life
Join a private facebook group and community from the moment you register comprised of the Myth Magic and Medicine community of students who have taken this course in the past.
Learn more here.
LOVE IN ACTION:
Deep Listening & Creative Approaches
Matthew Stillman, author of Genesis Deflowered, meets love in action via listening to strangers. Since 2009 he's been setting up a chair at Union Square in NYC with a sign that offers a creative approach to your challenge of the day. And then... he listens. To gangsters. To urban gardeners. He's listened to over 4,000 people and come up with a lot of creative solutions to a lot of problems. If you want to know where to begin taking this in, blush away as you read, I don't think we need to go all the way to 20.
LOVE IN ACTION:
"When time is seemingly running out and fear is running in there is a sense of urgency and everything becomes an emergency. In these moments I tend to force things that should not be. Pushing hard against the flow (is silly) and not allowing what is to simply be (is sillier :). It is my experience that this is not a good way to live, if you can even call it living at all, and it certainly does not allow for my highest self to present him/her/itself.
It is difficult to live in truth when you are running away.
Things I know right this second…
Uncertainty is challenging.
Change is hard.
Acceptance can be a straight up bitch."
Chris Pilaro said that. As he faced the knowledge that he was dying from cancer, and choosing to live as much as he could in the process.
Chris died yesterday. (It's worth re-reading now that you have context.)
I could say more, but I want to honor him and the way he chose to live his life today by letting him speak for himself, and introduce you to The Greater Good, an award winning film about vaccine issues Chris co-produced.
I had the honor of making my very first film with Chris in college (a "how to" film about how to steal a car), and was reunited over a decade later when Celia brought me in to join their amazing team to help design their outreach and engagement campaign. It was a bold and daring documentary that doesn't make vaccines right or wrong, good or bad. But it shows the complexity and explains how the pharmaceutical industry works. The website provides access to research that is not easily available to people who don't know how to research medical journals.
I'm thinking about Aloha today.
Remembering this day when I was driving.
James was in the passenger seat.
We were on Kauai.
A car was at the intersection, and I gestured for them to go.
"What was that?" he asked.
"I was telling them they could go.
James gave me a look.
"What?" I demanded. "I was being nice."
"That was not done with Aloha." James schooled me. "It's not just a wave through the air. When you do it with Aloha, you do it with generosity."
James made a graceful movement with his hand moving through the air with his palm facing upward.
Here is to Aloha and generosity living in every gesture of life,
PS: Those images are from a book published back in 1983 titled “The Red Couch – A Portrait of America” and that final image was of a bunch of friends from college who were apparently inspired by that project. It didn't feel right to keep dropping images of people by themselves.
PPS: That top bit of writing is speaking to the experience of living through these times and was partly inspired by the creation of She Rises, A New Story For A New Paradigm. This is an amazing workshop where we work with groups to co-create a new myth about the times we are living in. I shared one of the audio stories and a bit about the creative process with people who hang out on patreon (just sayin).
Love Stories, Love Actualized, and the risky business of love.
“Love is Risky Business.”
Dominique dropped that line after I spoke to the pain in my heart.
I have this theory, that love has a super power: it never dies. It can change form, it can run to a mountain top far away, hide under a rock when afraid of being destroyed, but once created, I'm pretty sure that love never dies.
But it’s complicated, and love hangs out with a motley crew. Can’t you see a bar scene where Love struts in, wearing a sailor cap, and a thick gold chain around its neck. And on one arm it has its buddies Ecstasy, Intimacy, and Romance, and the other arm is linked with Jealousy, Rage, and Abandonment. 'Cause when Love show up it brings the party. (I have an entire animated script on that very topic waiting to be produced).
Valentine’s Day is beckoning.
Want to delight a loved one with something that that fosters your intimacy and connection (and doesn't involve cards, roses, or lace?)
Soul to Soul Love Stories (50% off for Valentine's Day) could be a delightful way to honor a soul love, whether that person be in the form of a lover, a friend, or family member.
To explain the mysterious: a Soul to Soul love story sheds light on how your relationship dynamics play out in the archetype, myth, and metaphor. This is a dynamic and fun way to look at your relationship through a completely different lens.
Michael Mead says we have a dimension right behind this one, it is a mythic dimension. Clarissa Pikola Estes refers to an ancient lineage of story tellers that used the wind to blow the soul of the person into their face. The way I explain this unique work is that we integrate your mythic/archetypal self into your human form by calling in your soul's story. We make the intangible tangible through the word and symbol so that you can relate to it. It is a great way to examine what is living in your unconsciousness in a most delightful way.
If you are curious but still scratching your head, the best way to understand is to hear from the people who have experienced them.
When I’m winning, my favorite Valentine's Day game to play is to think about who needs a little extra kiss from the universe and make sure they get a good dose of a secret valentine. Sometimes I win at that game and get fueled by the thrill of a generous and giving heart.
And sometimes I end up in the corner sobbing about how no one is loving me in the way I most want to be loved.
But you wouldn’t know anything about that, so we’ll move along.
“Oh onion, you are just so handsome.”
(That was Emily, falling in love with the vegetables she was putting into her soup. She also spoke with fond affection towards the fennel).
There have been moments when a simple and sweet love walked in and dressed the walls of my being with beautiful paintings, causing a radiance to flow through and fill the space with grace.
And then there has been that love that drops in unannounced and blows the whole place to bits. If you’re lucky that doesn’t happen too many times in a life time.
And if you’re lucky, it happens at least once.
Celia says that she has a friend who is advocating for lovecations. It’s sort of like family leave, but is designed for those first few months after you fall head over heels in love and have a hard time concentrating on the realities of life. (For the record, falling in love is a tragic expression. Can’t you just see a big pool that all of these people fall into, and they are gasping for breath as they grab at the air trying to get out? Or maybe we should change the scene, they aren’t drowning at all, they are all swimming in love, rolling around like happy dolphins…)
A few years ago I was watching the sun rise over San Francisco on New Year’s Day with Kait and Rae. Rather than make new years resolutions (that’s so 1999) we declared a phrase for the year. Mine was LOVE ACTUALIZED. Yeah, I wanted romance. But I wanted more than that. I wanted to live a life in love, love of self, love of work, love of friends and community, and love in the bedroom. 10 days later I woke up on my birthday to discover that Rae had made me a Love Actualized sign. I hope everyone gets to have a friend like Rae. And be a friend like Rae.
We lost a lot of friends of the planet this week. In two separate stranding 650 pilot whales beached themselves in New Zealand. 350 have died. But 200 self rescued yesterday and have joined their pod out at sea. Tesa called to tell just as I was finishing up this love note to you. I like to keep these letters a sweet oasis for you— a safe place from so much of the tragedy that is fills our news stream. But today, a great number of dear ones have given their life, and I can’t speak about love, and not speak to these gentle giants. These beloveds of the planet that have evoked the sensation of love in me like no other.
We first met when I was in college, studying marine ecology in Baja when a calf jumped out of the water and looked us right in the eye. Her mother rolled over beside our skiff like a dog on the rug gives her belly to be rubbed. Somehow, this animal, that I have never touched, held, or ridden, not only captured my attention, but my commitment, and my love. I’ve spent 6 years working on (and off) a book called The Whale Dreamer. Listened to more whale music than I should admit to while writing it, and bask in their resonance every chance I get in and out of the water. The book is nearly done, and I am earning to bring the outrageous story of Kelley, a young girl called to by the whales to surface something they have been protecting for a very long time: the dream of our future.
When 400 whales bring themselves to the surface of the ocean, and land themselves on our shores, I can't help but wonder what are they offering to bring to the surface?
It only seems right to leave you with this video. It was designed as a pilot for a series I wanted to produce about people healing through their contact with the natural world and introduces Rebecca Goff. I'll let her and the whales speak for themselves.
We filmed it in Maui, and not more than a few hours after arriving, the sirens went off as Fukushima took place sending a shock wave across the ocean. Two days later we were in the water, swimming through the resonance of the whale songs, as the earth recalibrated through a series of small quakes around the world. We received aqua cranial in the deep ocean that day, with whales singing, and the earth shaking. There are but a few moments in this life that I can pin point and say, “There, that one changed me.” That day was one of them.
I hope you go swim in the wild with the whales. That you drift on the surface as a song that holds the resonance of mothers milk seeps through you.
Once again, I have been indulgent with my words. I hope a few were placed in such a way that served you.
And it romance calls, or your want to honor a soul connection with a friend or family member, Soul to Soul Love Stories are pretty darn delightful if I don't say so myself.
May you love well, and generously, and risk what is worth being lost in the name of love,
"What we are doing here is so important, we better not take it too seriously." Suzuki Roshi
Thoughts about artists, what we believe in, and great examples of Love in Action.
I'm not asking if you want me, or if you approve of me.
What I'm asking:
Do you believe in what I'm taking a stand for?
- That art plays a critical role in society.
- For being committed to delivering messages of inspiration, liberation, imbued with information.
- For claiming our power to influence, impact, and change the narrative of our time.
- For championing that stories are the fabric of our existence, and giving people the tools they need to transform their stories, along with the mindfulness practices to implement these practices.
Artists bring us something necessary to survive challenging times…a healthy and productive way to channel our unknown and unexplainable feelings, a way to reflect on the circumstances of life, and a healthy and productive way to express ourselves. We demonstrate the courage to speak, have the courage to feel, and the daring to express what we might not otherwise be expressed.
Artists help make it possible to see the beauty in everything around us.
Especially in those moments when it might not be so easy to see beauty.
I’m coming to you in a humble way on this day.
As I sat under the stars this last weekend, reflecting on life at large, I had to ask the good hard honest question… While I know I am on the right track, am I riding on the best vehicle?
And the universe said… ask out loud.
Be vulnerable in your inquiry.
And listen for if people believe in what you are putting out in the world.
For the record: I don’t really want to send this email.
But I made an agreement to listen and to act on what I hear, and some of the most amazing epic and extraordinary things have happened over and over and over again when this game of life in this way.
I'm asking for you to be my sign from the universe.
A few months ago I decided to go all in. And I mean ALL IN. Against all practical advise I left behind my work as a media and communications consultant and followed what was yanking on my soul. In the wake of that a lot happened.
The sacred storytelling ceremony was birthed. Two new huge creation stories about the times we are living in came through. Soul Story Circles have happened from coast to coast. Stories have taken place at Symbiosis to Burning Man, the online courses Myth, Magic & Medicine: Storytelling for a New Paradigm & Love, & Courage and Awakening The Warrior were created. A talk at Google is scheduled for March. Transformational Workshops designed to integrate and help people take control and claim their role in the great unfolding of our times are happening, and an extraordinary opportunity to help people learn how to dream a new future has presented in a immersive tech theme park in Asia.
I've been working day and night.
Working on things that I am passionate about and believe in, and feed the soul.
This is a luxury.
And now I'm coming here in a vulnerable state of inquiry... Is what I'm offering what you need? What you want? Is what I am offering feeding you? I want to know. (You can tell me by responding to this email with a y or n. (but we both know I really want more than that).
Here is how you can be my sign from the universe:
- How can we collaborate? Lets talk about how to bring the power of storytelling, exploring our mythic realities, and transformational workshops into your workplace, community, church, inner city program or anything else that comes to mind.
- Become a patron of the arts: You can come on to support (for just $1) very specific projects or join a community of people who want to bring a bit more of the creative process into their lives. Patreon is a great place where we can get personal about the creative process. I also give special treats over there, like a sneak peak at articles that are being published before anyone else gets to see them and creative exercises to inspire your own creativity.
- There are so many offers over on my website for ways we can engage. Feel free to take a gander.
3 SIGNS OF LOVE IN ACTION
As always… a few presents for you.
- Our engaged citizenry is having an impact. Here are just a few examples: Uber pledged $3M and immigration lawyers for its drivers after #DeleteUber trends on Twitter. --- The ACLU raised 24M over the weekend (normally 3-4Mil/year)--- US agencies: HHS, EPA, USDA gag order lifted.
- Unlocking Performance: Breakthrough Strategies for Effective Action. (WORKSHOP) Tammy White is offering this amazing course and is introducing a somatic component to learning practices and strategies by engaging a master somatic practitioner, Denise Benson, to deepen the distinctions of embodied learning. With a maximum capacity of 16 participants, they intend for this journey to be an intimate exploration with a small community of committed individuals. I can’t say enough good things about Tammy~ I took a course with her and Lynne Twist a few years that changed my life and catapulted me into a new chapter of my career.
- Intelligent Trees: Prepare to feel inspired, connected, and informed by this beautiful documentary out of Canada about the intelligence of Trees.
I hope this email stirred the stardust inside of you and sparked something… An idea. A new story. Some courage to stand for what you believe in and ask for a sign from the universe in the most vulnerable of ways. If nothing else, I hope it encourages you to speak out loud to things you believe in most.
PS: the images featured in this email were created by Vladamir Kush.
I didn't say you're important.
I said…You Matter.
What you believe, how you use your words, how you meet life…Matters.
I have moved more than the average bear in my lifetime. And for many years I always held... I’m replaceable. Doesn't matter.
And this is true. The space that we take up will always be replaced by another.
But they won’t use the space in the same way. They won’t laugh out loud in the wrong parts of the movie, or sip on the stars, or stay up late making gifts for others.
When you stand in the power of what you are...and claim the power of your soul...you start to influence the world (aka matter) around you. And when you fall victim to thinking you don't or can't...I'm pretty sure that's when you end up being used as someone else's matter in what they are manifesting.
I keep thinking about the power of constriction.
It's how babies are born.
It's how rapids in rivers are made.
It's where creativity thrives.
The story I'm seeing isn't about Trump.
It isn't about Trump supporters.
I'm seeing people who have never engaged in civic life rise to their feet and take action to protect what they love, and strangers they don't.
I'm seeing people asking, "What next? How can I be of service?"
I'm seeing men be kinder, gentler, more aware of women, and take a stand as protectors.
I'm seeing people of privledge standing for refugees they will never know or meet.
I'm experiencing raw, real, upfront and focused conversation almost everywhere I go.
I'm seeing a country alive with passion.
And yes, I'm seeing what feels like the wings getting ripped off our eagle. But I'm seeing the diamond inside that burns bright.
You diamonds...you're burning bright in the story I see tonight.
It's the greatest showdown in the universe:
Love vs Fear.
I want to tell you more about that mythical story about our times, about the eagle and the diamonds. But today I'm working on A World We Can Believe In...a VR project designed to teach people about how to dream about the future. More about that soon.
3 GIFTS COMING YOUR WAY TODAY.
Once upon a time, when I created this list, I shared news and information about the enviornment. It was at the launch of the climate change movement. People needed information.
Now we need something else.
Small bits that help fuel the way through the information.
Number 1. Dan Rather. #hero. Rocking Facebook.
2) There might be a gag order on the government agencies. But in case you missed their voices..they went rogue and started their own accounts.
Alternative NIH - @Alt_NIH
Alt HHS - @AltHHS
Alternative CDC - @Alt_CDC
AltUSForestService - @AltForestServ
AltFDA - @alt_fda
altEPA - @altUSEPA
AltUSDA - @altusda
AltUSNatParkService - @AltNatParkSer
Rogue NASA - @RogueNASA
3) That image of the woman scuba diving from a wheelchair is Sue Austin. Get your heart set on fire by her Ted Talk.
Feb 7th & 8th. Design Your Future Visioning Workshop.
THIS IS YOUR FUTURE CALLING.
It is saying, "Hey, have you planned me yet? Have you taken the time to set some goals, dream into your vision, and make an action plan?"
Well what are you waiting for it is almost FEBRUARY!
Join me in this super fun and fabulous 2 evening process of deep listening, reflecting, and down right fun vision boarding. After leading several of these workshops, I'm creating my dream scenario: a two day process with time to breath and dream in between.
Feb 7th & 8th 6-10pm.
In the Richmond hills, CA
When rivers hit constricted areas, rapids are formed. I keep thinking of what I learned while learning how to raft. It can be frightening when approaching a huge rapid in the river. As you approach, you know the dangers: you could flip, lose everything in your boat, or even drown.
Your goal is simple, find the sweet spot in the center of the rapid, because once there you will be working with the power of the river, rather than against it, and the flow of the river will take you through to calm waters.
The art in rafting is not about how hard you paddle, rather, it is about how well you can read the water, and how skilled you are at positioning yourself to ride the sweet spot… so you can enjoy the ride.
Here's to finding your sweet spot,
Like what you see? Feel free to share.
You can always join me on Patreon. I just shared my very first secret post there. (Psst. It's an audio of a writing exercise).
And you won't even have to get bitten by a vampire.
You Are Going To Live Forever.
And it won't be because you were bitten by a vampire.
Or take 100 pills a day.
You are already doing it, with every breath you take, every move you make (insert melody from The Police), the ripple you are putting into the universe is ricocheting through the lives of those you touch, and in the absence of those you don't.
I've been thinking about how to prepare for a storm.
Maybe the inauguration has something to do with it.
I grew up in New England. We know a think or two about storms.
You spend the summer and fall filling your pantry with a variety of canned food for winter and spring. You split wood and make sure it is dry and covered so you have the fuel to keep you warm during the cold nights.
Now I'm in California. Our tradition is that we empty to the grocery stores the night before a storm.
It would seem this is as grand a moment as any to take good heed from the wisdom of those who know how to prepare for storms. You do it slowly, diligently, and every day. It isn't about greed. It's about having enough to feed your neighbors if they run out of something. Because at some point you will want to borrow a cup of sugar.
A few fabulous things coming on the horizon:
SUNDAY, January 29th Temple Woman
I'll be doing a sacred storytelling circle as part of this day long event.
This one day gathering is for 50 Temple Women. A Spiritual “Attune Up” and celebration of all you have become with Marta Maria MA. This is a beautiful and nourishing event.Register here.
Valentines Day is coming....
Don't let the pressure of Hallmark rain on your love parade!
A special offering for the soul story community special for $250.
Learn more about Soul to Soul Love Stories here.
PLEASE NOTE: I only have a few sessions on Valentines Day available, so if you want to book a session for the day, don't hesitate.
FEBRUARY 11, SHE RISES: CREATING THE STORY OF OUR TIME
CALLNG ALL MEN & WOMEN, SEEKERS AND WISDOM KEEPERS, CREATIVES, DANCERS, ELDERS & YOUTH WHO ARE FEELING THE CALL TO GIVE THEIR GIFTS AND PLAY THEIR ROLE IN THE GREAT STORY OF OUR TIME
The earth is asking to receive your gifts.
In this highly experiential and interactive workshop that uses story, music and dance…we will begin with a story…a new story about the times we are living in, and together, through movement, story, a group collaborative process, and an exploration of your inner landscape, we will create an ending together. I'll be joining forces with award winning Italien composer and artist Laura Inserra and the mistress who sees through the dark, Dominique Lando.
Reserve your space in this workshop here:
We are entering into a new era on the planet. And it is an all hands on deck moment in the universe. And now, more than ever, we are being asked to stand in the power of what we are, activate our unique gifts, and claim the roles we play in the universe.
And let's have fun while doing it, shall we?
This ongoing online course is way for us to gather as a community and study what lies behind the story of our time. We work with some of the most potent soul stories that have come through, and receive each other's medicine.
A special offering for the Soul Story community: receive a 6 month membership for half the price when you register by January 31st.
Wow. If you made it this far down.... color me impressed.
May your day be filled with the sweetness that comes with a neighbor happy to bring you a cup of sugar.
There is so much I want to share with you.
Such as how we ripped a seam in the universe last week.
Such as when a woman in a Soul Story Circle in NYC, with tears in her eyes, pulled the skin of a snake from her pocket moments after a story about a snake had been told.
Such as the difference between handing someone your heart (along with the weight of being responsible for it’s happiness) vs. handing someone your love.
SPECIAL NOTE: THERE REALLY IS A GIFT AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS EMAIL SO FEEL FREE TO SKIP DOWN TO THE GOODS.
On this 11th day of January, I’m turning 44.
And I want to talk about half-assed giving.
I’m reading, Lame Dear Seeker of Visions. It’s a book written by a medicine man from the Sioux who lived in South Dakota (and around Standing Rock). 133 pages in and this line read in the first chapters still resonates.
“The only reason we Indians want anything is so we can give it away.”
He went on to tell great stories of give away circles, give away banquets, and how when someone died, their family would give away everything, because people live through the things that they give.
When I was but a wee little thing, there was a hand sewn wall hanging in my bedroom that said,
“Give what you have, to someone else it might mean more than you dare to think.”
I remember staring at that image of a woman selling flowers, not having any concept of what it meant. It was something I grew into and have come to understand in moments such as the other day. I was at the gas station, lacking skill or finesse with basic car maintenance, when a man who drove an oil rig approached to assist me. What a gift his presence was in that moment.
He made my day.
So many of us have lost our relationship to giving. Giving has been dressed as a wolf in sheep's clothing when associated with purchasing things and wrapping them in paper and gobbled in the act of consuming…
Vs:, giving what we have: our presence, our attention, our consideration, our patience, our home cooked meals, our unconditional & conditional love.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll never forget the thrill of receiving my first stereo. I was truly delighted. It came with consideration.
I’m not so evolved as to enjoy receiving a donation to Heifer Foundation in my name.
Maybe you are. Teach about that, would you?
Lets face it.
Gifts given out of obligation suck.
For the person giving and the person receiving.
I’ve been wondering if there is a gracious way to love someone by interrupting the theater of obligation ~ and actually not receive something wrapped as a gift but weighted with inconsiderate obligation. If we could just stop the show and have a good laugh, rather than go through the theater of pretending.
If that in itself, could be a gift. Of truth speak. Of saying, no, I don’t want to have to find space in my home to store the weight of your busyness, or obligation, or lack of consideration.
What I want: is to get the pleasure of seeing your soul light up with the pleasure that comes when you are being received.
I’m greedy that way.
That’s a topic for another day.
So many of us suffer from not being able to identify or express their gift, or purpose, that is theirs to give to this world. A form of agony if you come in with the stars that dictate you are a soul on fire.
This year I’ll be receiving the epic delight that comes with giving the gifts I came to give to our planet.
My birthday gifts to you:
1) 50% off of all Soul Story sessions purchased by midnight on January 12th .Soul Stories are delightful way to tap into your heroes journey through a mythic reality. Think Joseph Campbell meets Carl Jung with me courting the song of your soul. Soul Stories are great for Birthdays, moments of desiring initiation, they are amazing when you are grappling with some tough issues and need a different perspective and want to tap into howyou are connected to the larger story of the times we are living through.
Soul to Soul Love Stories show the mythic dynamic between lovers.
You can learn a lot more at www.medicinestories.com
2) 50% of Love, Courage, and Awakening the Warrior 3 month Soul Stories Online Group that begins in February. Learn more here.
Use your super special Birthday delight here.
3) A Free Soul Story Session.
This comes with strings attached and an ask.
Would You Help me give my gifts to the world?
- If you have experienced a Soul Story or a Soul Story Circle, would you post about your experience with a link to my website and tag me in social media?
- Or send an email to your friends introducing Soul Stories and cc me?
I’ll enter everyone who so generously gives me the gift of their time and introduction to their community into a lottery to win a Soul Story or Soul to Soul Love Story by January 12th. PLEASE NOTE: You will receive confirmation from me on Jan 12th that I have seen your awesome share of Soul Stories.
I’ll announce the winner on January 13th.
I’m also going to be bold. I’m going to (gulp) ask you to help me give some big gifts to the world.
A WORLD WE CAN BELIEVE IN:
After a few years of development, this Virtual and Augmented reality initiative is designed to engage audiences about how they can not only imagine a better future, but actually create it, is about to be demoed to an invite only audience this spring.
I’ve been keeping it a secret while it was in the pre-stages of development.
And now our team is partnered with a great tech team, and we’re nearly ready to reveal the concept.
This is a radical story designed for revolutionary times.
It disrupts the narrative that people are bad for the planet.
It provides hope grounded in facts.
And a way to take action.
This is the kind of story we need during times like the ones we are living in.
And we are looking for a few people who want to join our angel team and help give this concept the legs it needs to stand in this world by supporting the cost of production.
This is a revolutionary story that the world needs.
So lets talk if you want to know more.
Meanwhile: every single $1 counts.
I JUST joined the party at Patreon. It's vulnerable and weird but offers some really exciting potential awesomeness. Tomorrow I'm going to post my first “patreon only” email, (an audio creativity/writing meditation designed to introduce you to your muse.)
The gifts we come into this planet with aren’t meant to be kept.
I hope 2017 brings you the pleasure & delight that comes with giving your gifts.
Thank for entertaining my indulgence with words on my Birthday.
I hope you found a few that spoke to you.
PS. Giving can be hard. I'm grateful to have been raised by my epic mom, Sally, who gives so naturally.
TWO MORE QUOTES FROM LAME DEER SEAKER OF VISIONS:
“There’s more to just food passing through your body. There are spirits in the food, watching over it. If you are stingy, that spirit will go away thinking that bastard I so tight, I’ll leave. But if you share your food with others, this spirit will always stay around.
Nature, The Great Spirit—They are not perfect. The world couldn't stand that perfection. The spirit has a good side and a bad side. Sometimes the bad side gives me more knowledge than the good side.”
"What we are doing here is so important, we better not take it too seriously." Suzuki Roshi