Join The World Of The Whale Dreamer

I'm diving back into an old story.

It began many years ago. I was walking with a deep prayer to play my part in the world we are living in, to know how to meet the times. I thought I heard a whale sing. (I was in the woods.) And on that night, I started writing. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote the first 14 chapters of what would become, The Whale Dreamer. 

It's many years, and many drafts later. And I am about to start editing again. I was kavetching with a friend who is helping me make some big changed to the book about how hard it is to get back into a story you have worked on for many years --- when you know you have to tear a part the world you created. Matthew likened it to that moment when you are really committed to making a relationship work, even when it isn't working and everything sucks. Because you love the person that much. 

I believe in The Whale Dreamer that much. That this story has the capacity to be a force of healing as it celebrates the life and beauty in the world, while facing the tragedy of our times head on. 

Over the course of the next two months I’ll be mercilessly slashing and burning, removing well over 100 pages, writing in new scenes, making considerable plot changes, and changing the rules of the magical world.

And I want to invite you join me on the journey of bringing this story to fruition. 

There are 2 ways you can participate with The Whale Dreamer as it comes into fruition:

1) Join the Dream Team and read a random chapter here or there: As I do major rewrites, I’m looking for a small clan of test readers that would be open to reading a chapter on occasion over the course of the next 8 weeks. The request is that your respond within 48-72 hours.

2) Become a hunter & gatherer of information: There is often a ton of research that needs to be done along side this book as it weaves in real information about animals that are going extinct. If it would tickle your fancy to join a team of on-call information hunter and gathers (aka researchers)… do tell. On occasion I’ll send you an email with a request for information. This is perhaps one of the most generous ways you can support this process. As you might imagine, staying offline is imperative to completing a book, so the more research help I have the more focused the writing can be!

If this thrills and delights you ~ drop me a line about how you want to join The Whale Dreamer pod! 

If you want to receive updates and the likes, head on over to The Whale Dreamer page and sign up for the newsletter. 

with a love and dedication to the oceans, and all of the creatures that live within them, and all of the creatures that love them, 

Leah

Making Love With Grief

“Playing the tuba is helping get the sad out.” 
 

Raina casually mentioned that after band practice the other day.
Makes sense.
According to Chinese medicine, grief lives in the lungs.
 
[This week’s commentary isn’t for the weak of heart. As always you can skip through the indulgence of words and get to the LOVE IN ACTION (aka sweet treats & good news) at the bottom.] 
 
Today I’m here to say, grieving doesn’t have to destroy you.
But It will force you to decide if you want to live or die.
And it can destroy you-- if you let it.
 

I've been intimate with grief. When I was 15, my closest friend in High School, Sheila, committed suicide. Not long after, my mentor and the woman who introduced me to the world of theater and the first teacher to encourage me to sing, committed suicide. In college, one of my closest friends, Gemma, and the first young woman who showed me what it was to be strong and vulnerable, died in a car accident. I witnessed Mary Lou, mother to my childhood close friend and beloved to my own mother, fight with cancer to the bitter end. The man who showed me I was lovable after I was convinced I wasn’t after leaving my first relationship died in a freak wilderness accident. I’m going to stop my list here. It will sound like I’m bragging if I continue. The point I want to make is (aside from that I used to joke that being my friend could be considered an insurance liability):
 
I know grief from the inside out. 
 
And this much I know is true, while you might be able to dance with fear, you don’t dance with grief. You get yanked down into the mud. Thrown against the wall. Choked till you can barely breathe. And then you roll around in the guts and the bowels of existence and get covered with the bones and the bits of life and death and everything you didn’t know existed in-between. And from there, covered in the agony of loss, grasping for what cannot be held, in deep relationship with the unknown, you make your choice: to alchemize the life force that had the power to break your heart-- into fuel your soul.
 
Or
 
You let grief destroy you.

You choose.
 

It doesn’t just happen. It takes time to decide. Sometimes it involves laying spread eagle on the land begging the earth to take away pain you don’t know how to let go of yourself. And it involves dancing. And tequila. And sobbing. And a few of the people you love will be daring and bold enough to come close, but they can’t fight this fight for you. It is yours to do alone. Then one day, you notice how the light hits a leaf and ignites the color in such a way that it brings a smile to your face, and that is when you realize for the first time that you hadn’t noticed beauty for awhile. You watched more Buffy reruns then you cared to admit in public, went on crazy adventures its ok to forget about, you danced so hard you yanked your neck out. 
 
But when you are ready to rise, soiled, and your hair all messy, when you are finally able to catch your breath, wipe your blurry eyes, remember the strength of what it is to stand on your own two feet. Then, and only then, are you ready to be courageous enough to wash away the mud that when you weren’t looking transformed from captor to protector from the world. And then this new chapter with grief involves being willing to wash away the remnants of grief that keeps you separate from all of those other people. Those…happy… people.
 

When you can stand, heart open, knowing that with every breath you take in the name of being alive will invite grief to take you again, and again, and again…
 
Only then can you say, “I survived grief. This time.”
 
Not every one makes it to the other side. Some stand, but take their heart and hide it away in their back pocket never to be seen or heard from again. I get it. I’ve wanted to take my broken and heavy heart and throw it over Niagara falls. It hard work to lug that thing around.
 
But I digress. We were talking about how you didn’t just survive, but now you’re thriving because you know that your life force has increased and expanded in a way that can’t be measured.
 
I didn’t die with Sheila, Chris, Gemma, Mary Lou, Jeri, Sam, or Ali.
 
I live the way I do because of them.
 
Every ounce of laughter, and joy, and celebration I experience is chosen over and over and over again.

 
We are living in times that are asking us to grieve.
 


So much of what we love is being taken away.
 
Between the murder of innocent people to the destruction of innocent trees and molestation of innocent rivers, and threat of what we care for, it’s hard to be fully present on this planet at this time, and not hang out in the bowels of grief.
 
The truth is, I don’t have it in me to grieve for everything that is being taken.
Maybe you do.
 



Grief claims many victims. It can be a quiet killer that steals the life of those who refuse it, taking up residency as a permanent back seat driver that won’t ever shut up and just let you enjoy the ride.
 
But there is a strange rule in the universe, by sidestepping grief, you miss out on life.
 
The trick to grief, if one could be so sacrilegious as to claim there is such a thing, is to let it run through you.
 
Roll in the bones and the muck and the dead decrepit teeth of grief. Do not wallow. (Except when you must). Do not be lazy in your approach. While fighting like hell for victory, find the nourishment when you eat the bones. And be generous with your grieving. Let your tears water the rivers. Sing the grief into song. Nourish us with your courage and boldness to live.
 
Stand in the victory that you are stronger.
 
You will have earned your right to pleasure.
You will have earned your right to love again.
You will have earned your right to a good long belly laugh, to look first for the good in people, to experience joy in random moments, to delight in deliciousness, especially in grieving times.
 


If you aren’t partying for the planet, dancing yourself awake, singing yourself alive…you’re missing the point of this story.
 
I’m going to tell you a secret about surviving grief.
 
Each and every time it comes from you, it runs you over and knocks the wind right out of you the exact same way it did the first time. There is no escaping the pain. But once you have known grief, it is different. Because this time, you won’t be fighting with grief, and the unknown of if you have what it takes to survive grief.
 
Because your bones know, your heart knows, and your soul knows, that you have what it takes to stand and make love with life in wild abandon yet again. This time, it will be akin to meeting a familiar lover, and she will pull back the covers of your bed and invite you in. And it will be a dark night of the soul, and it will be the kind of love making you do when you know that it is the last time with a lover, sweet and agonizing all at once. I’m here to say, if you can get through it once, you can get through it again.


 
And here is another truth. Sometimes, the circumstances of life, what is required of us, doesn’t let us grieve. And we find ourselves standing in the grocery line being strangled in a way no one can see while we take too long fumbling for change. And that is true too. Oh truth. What a naughty naughty word.
 
In the meantime, I hope you learn how to play the tuba, and blow out the sadness in your lungs. And I hope when I die, my funeral will be by the ocean. And that those who gather will bring tubas and will fill the air with a ridiculous cacophony of people playing the tuba for the first time.

There would be hilarity in that.
And that would be a good thing.

(For the record, my stepfather wants bagpipes to be played at his funeral.)
 

LOVE IN ACTION
 
In case you missed it: Air B&B is offering free housing to people stranded by the immigration order.

 

 
Let your breath be swept away by the gravity defying moves of Sergei Polunin.
 
 
7 Ways to Take Care & Take Action
(written by yours truly for spirituality & health magazine)
 
 
HOW TO BRING MORE STORY INTO YOUR LIFE
 
FEB 10th 12pm PST / 3pm EST
ONLINE STORY CIRCLE: Celebrating The Life, Love, And Wisdom of those who were lost and survived the Holocaust. 
 
When the administration decided not to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day, I decided to host an online story circle remembering the life, love and wisdom of those who lived and lost during the holocaust.
 Join us online this Friday at 12pm PST. Have a story to share? We want to listen. Can't come live, register and you will receive the recording. 

 
Lets embark on an exploration through the most ancient language of myth, symbol, and metaphor as we commit to living in the largest way possible in the times we are living in. 
 
 
FEB 11th

SHE RISES: A NEW CREATION STORY FOR A NEW PARADIGM: WORKSHOP
 
Soul Story Circles Feb/March: 
These are free private house events and are happening in Mill Valley, Sebastopol, and NYC. Ping me for the details (and do tell if you want to host a Soul Story Circle for your community).
 
Here’s to learning how to play the tuba,
with all my love,
Leah
 
Paintings by Sally Bowring

 

Stardust & Elijah & Hand Made Beauty: Day 4

When the star dust I am made from…

Meets the star dust you are made…
Our aliveness defies dimension.
 
That’s when we find the inner nod
A resonance of knowing
That comes with the thrill of discovering
Something
Whose knowing is stored in our bones.
 
One of my favorite writing groups took place the year after I had finished college. We called ourselves the leftovers. I had lingered in my college town because I was set to work os an alumni mentor on the first all abilities Everest expedition & environmental clean up and I had fallen in love. But I digress, as those are two different stories and I am here to speak about that moment of universal truth when we feel the inner nod.

 
Today's Green Gift Idea
Hand Made Crafts... who doesn't want to give something that comes with a story and the thrill of knowing who made it? 

Check out these amazing hand blown glasses, vases, and cups and more made by the one and only Pierre Bowring (aka as my brother!)

I have been wowed watching him evolve his craft, and rumor has it he is a superstar at the Washington DC farmers markets. You can take in the beauty of Bowglass (and even create a custom order) from his website and on instagram



Wondering what is happening here? You just found yourself in Day 4 of my Advent Holiday Newsletter where I deliver one green gift idea, one golden nugget, and one idea for how to bring more story into your life until the end of the year. Don't worry~ I'll return to sending out newsletters about once every 2 months in 2017!



Your Golden Nugget For The Day: 
ELIJAH RAY & THE BAND OF LIGHT
I first experienced Elijah while living on Kauai. There is no way you can be in the presence of his music and not smile and feel great about the world you live in. Acoustic Soul, Bumpin Funk, World Beat, Dance / Pop and Rock... to soul stirring Piano Ballads, Symphonic Soundtracks, and Shamanic, Sound Healing environments. Watch and listen to Elijah Ray:  “Walk With Me”:  

If you are in the bay area, turns out he is playing tomorrow night! 


How You Can Bring More Story Into Your Life

A few years ago my friend asked me to create a Soul Story for her daughter. It was a crazy treat. Her daughter was still learning to read, and we created a story book for her. Leigh said, "After many months of struggle, my seven-year-old daughter was experiencing a love of reading for the first time. As her 8th birthday approached, I felt called to do something different for her to celebrate this achievement. I asked Leah to write a Soul Story in her honor. Leah worked her magic on all the rest. I was deeply moved by the depth, wisdom and rich symbolism of Ava’s story. In Ava’s story, she is the heroine facing complexities and difficult choices. She has adventures and hardships and ultimately learns some valuable lessons about friendship, empathy and love. A year later it is a terrific treat to have Ava select HER story for bedtime reading and I expect we’ll do that for years to come."


Your Quote Of The Day: 

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.”


until we meet again, 
Leah

PS! Myth, Magic, & Medicine: Storytelling for a New Paradigm 6 month workshop starts in December! 

 

I need to be more gentle... (Day 2 Green Gift & Golden Nugget Newsletter)

I need to be more gentle...

...with my beloveds...

during these times
that hold more mystery
than what I am used to.
 
Perhaps you know what I mean.
 
Ingredients for being gentle during challenging times: 
1 cup of 3 steps back
4 bowls of of deep breathing
Mix gently (don’t shake)

Cover with frosting made from:
8 hours of restful sleep
1 foot rub or back massage (not necessary but helps)
15 minute walk outside
10 minutes in a hot bath
Mix tenderly and sprinkle on an episode of Mork & Mindy
 
 
If you missed yesterday’s email…you missed the announcement that you are experiencing Day 2 of my advent newsletter. One will arrive each day (or so)  till the end of the year. It is filled with 1 life affirming gift idea, 1 soul feeding golden nuggets, and 1 idea for how to bring more story into your life.
 
 
Your Life Affirming Green Gift Idea for the Day: 

Amanda Sage’s wacky and wild leggings, ponchos, yoga wear and more have are covered in her visionary art design prints. In other words...she has put her paintings onto clothing
 
I saw Amanda speak on a panel at Burning Man this summer. While looking at this image I had an ah-ha moments… But first some backstory: I’m obsessed with the process we need to go through to vision a thriving future when faced with the science of climate change (more on that later). We are living through one of the most extraordinary times on the planet where our vision of the future and what we believe is possible will influence what we strive to create. While looking at Amanda’s image it occurred to me that while we can’t necessarily see what the future looks like, we can start believing in who we want to and can be in the future…and design from that place.
 
 
Your Golden Nugget for the Day  
Jimmy Carter: Crisis of Confidence Speech:1979
Sit down for this one.
 
For the 3 min version of his incredible prophetic message go here:
For the entire speech go here:
 
 
Ways to Bring More Story Into Your Life
 
How might life feel different if you could walk through the world knowing the mythic reality of your hero’s journey?
 

Let’s talk about your Soul Story.
These are one of a kind stories that are created just for you that provide symbols, archetypes, and metaphors that provide a wide angle lens to examine your life through.

It’s like Carl Young meets Joseph Campbell at a cosmic rave party...and you are the star of the show. Each Soul Story includes a song and an audio recording and in depth exploration about how to use the tools and guidance that is in your story. (Another epic life affirming gift idea if I don't say so myself).Don't just take my word for it...see what the critics have to say. 
 
Good Quote
“One of our people in the Native community said the difference between white people and Indians is that Indian people know they are oppressed but don’t feel powerless. White people don’t feel oppressed, but feel powerless. Deconstruct that disempowerment. Part of the mythology that they’ve been teaching you is that you have no power. Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.”
― Winona LaDuke (thank you Celia for sharing this). 
 
Until we meet again,
Leah
 
PSSST.  Have an idea for something that should be featured in here? Do tell.

You can still catch Day 1 of Green Gift ideas such as the morning altar image created by Day Schidkret featured at the top of this page. 

Green Gift & Soul Nugget Newsletter Day 1

 

I’ve been thinking about you.

I've been wanting to write… but wanting to say just the right thing… you know?
 
I wanted this digital communication to be a sweet cup of nourishment that tended to your heart, mind and soul during these wild times. 
 
[We interrupt this global newsletter to tell those who live in the bay area, this Friday, we can do that in person as I will be joining forces with musicians Laura Inserra and Yari Mander and Cosmologist Ari Makridakis to present SHE RISES: A New Creation Story for the Times we are Living In. It’s going to be a wild experiment in the revealing of a new story and is designed to be a lullaby for the soul and nourishment for the heart and a place to alchemize what is happening in our systems about our current political climate.]
 
 
We're Back. Given everything that is going on ~ we need a quiet place to rest.



So rather than overwhelm you with a long list of long stories, fun facts, my latest offering, or the latest cool thing that have caught my eye…
 
 
Over the course of the next month every day or so (it's my version of an advent calendar) I’ll be sending you gifts…
 

  • A really wonderful suggestion for a green-sustainable-life-affirming gift idea
  • One juicy soul satiating nugget (a film, podcast, song, something yummy)
  • Ideas for how to bring more story into your life (aka blatent self promotion)

Today’s Green Gift Idea:

 
 This EPIC Morning Altars CALENDAR was created by my friend Day Schildkret.

I am devoted to the pursuit of impermanent beauty and how that can become nourishment for life to continue.”  ~Day
 
These images are prayer in motion captured by a camera and given to the wind and the elements moments later.

And everytime I stumble across these images on instagram they evoke a gasp or a swear (from the thrill and ecstatic experience of the beauty). Day offers all kinds of beautiful things you can purchase to bring beauty into your life so you should check out his whole website. You know that image at the top of this email was created by Day)
 
 

Today’s Golden Soul Nugget:
PODCAST: Good Life Project:
Interview with Panache Desai:
On Teachers, Triggers, Presence and Grace

 

 

This was a game changing podcast… about power, control, triggers and more. 

Listen all the way to the end if you can.

 

How To Bring More Story Into Your Life:  

For those in the bay: This is a 6 month in-person workshop begins in mid December. We meet once a month to bring the sacred into the ways we tell our stories, to ourselves, to our communities, and about the times we live in. It brings together all of my favorite things…creative expression, conscious telling of stories, ceremony, archetypal embodiment, myths from around the world, and more. 

FIND OUT MORE HERE: Myth, Magic & Medicine: Storytelling For a new Paradigm
 
 
THE ONLINE COURSE BEGINS IN JANUARY: is 4 weeks long and meets once a week. (This is also great gift idea if I don’t say so myself)
 
 
Until we meet again….
 
Leah

PS! Do you have an idea for a Green Life Affirming Gift? A Soul Nourishing Nugget? By all means ~ Please send them my way! 

Dear Blog Readers... this is a newsletter... if you want one of your very own delivered to your in-box, just join my mailing list. 

As an ancestor and guardian of our future...

As an ancestor and guardian of our future...

I commit to showing up, standing up, and reaching out.

I commit to listening to my fear. Then alchemizing my fear into love in action

I commit to reaching out to my brothers and sisters who are afraid and feel under attack

I commit to listening for the big story of our time

I commit to being allies to our children: to delivering a message of wisdom, hope, and change ~ to sharing the stories of our history, and a vision of the future, and guide them as they find their way and role of building a beautiful future

I commit to reaching out to people who have extremely different views then me

I commit to leading with love and not rightousness

I commit to transforming my rage and fear into action

I commit to getting into the best shape of my life, physically, emotionally, spirtually

I commit to looking for the long picture, the big goal, and understand that we just became the guardian ancestors for the future.

Come Closer

If you are voting for Trump, even though I won't, don’t click away... Actually… come closer.

 

If you are against a woman having the opportunity to make a choice, even though I am not, come closer.

 

When you tell me your children are vulnerable because of Muslims, and people from Mexico are rapists and murders, I really need to be closer to you.

 

When the fear that turns to hate that turns to rage starts to boil in my skin and catapults a memory of being singled out as separate to the surface, and the DNA of my ancestors springs to life when the hate you speak speaks to the hate and fear in me…

 

We should really come closer

 

So that our hearts are within reach. Actually, place your hand on my heart. And please, let me touch yours.

 

And let's rest in the rhythm of our beat.

 

Look into my eyes

So we can put down the weapons of our minds

Lay down our stories

 

Let's talk about the children we love.

 

I promise to listen.

 

Let me put down my righteousness speech about social justice, equality, and human dignity, because when I listen to you I hear how those words have been hijacked by people who are out to make a buck from their radio and tv show and those words…even though they are my intimates, my beloveds, those words aren’t our friends today. So let me put them down.

 

While I listen for your heart.

 

Let's break bread. And talk about food, and what the world feels like when you get what you want and I get what I want…to feel safe, to be cared for, to be loved, to eat well, to love well, to sleep well, to feel safe.

 

No matter what you say you believe

 

Come closer

No closer

Let's listen.

Image by Enkel Dika

Thief of Pleasure

It used to feel good to give.

I made you mixed CDs and even cut out and made special covers, you gave me shoes and fancy thermometers.

 

I made you a table… and you gave me an alter.

 

You gave me stereos and anything else I asked for Christmas. It meant we had money and extra to go around and we felt good and right in the world looking at our Christmas tree with so much love wrapped up in boxes and bags and gift wrap purchased at Walmart made in a china shop over slave labor somewhere far away. It felt good…until I learned about what greater story we were participating in.

 

Last year Santa Clause stole my innocence. Or maybe it was NPR, or some blogger, or journalist, who checked the list and didn’t care if I was naughty or nice when they stole away the pleasure of giving at the holidays. Filled my stocking with guilt of white privilege, and thoughtless consumerism and a complexity wrapped up in wanting to show my love and receive another’s love without causing harm to some stranger on the their side of the planet it was easier not knowing about.

 

When you asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year I told you I didn’t need anything.

I answered a question you didn’t ask.

And while I got to feel better about myself for not requesting slave labor… it took the fun out of the game. This year when you asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I asked for something interactive that we could do together, so you bought me a purse that you also got me five years ago that I have been lugging around ever since because I can’t get rid of because you gave it to me but this one is red and that one was black and this one is better.

 

I just want to give to you in ways that will make you happy and remove all of the guilt that comes with living and loving in a consumer system designed to break down and destroy us now or in the future. I want to love you in ways that I can’t with this body, in ways that my words won’t, and so I give you a card, or a bike helmet, or something made by a stranger wrapped in paper made in china and flown across the world so you will see that I’ve gone the distance to show you I love you.

 

 

 

 

Do You Have A Prayer For Your Technology?

"When you point your camera at someone...you capture their light path." An navo elder said to my friend Anthony Columbo. He is working on a global dreaming project and wanted to know what I was dreaming about. We were speaking about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and I was sharing my dream in the waking world  about a project I am designing to empower people around their choices in regards to climate change, and I also shared a dream from my sleeping world about a whale that broke through the virtual reality, then broke through an augmented reality screen, to wake me up. But to what ... is what I am working with. 

We are developing an exceptional technology. The future is haunting me as we stand on the edge of uderstanding how to make technology work for us .... or against us. 

Do you have a prayer for your technology?

Source: http://www.indiewire.com/article/virtual-r...

When Things Get Broken

 

Sometimes the world breaks. Inside of you. Outside of you. same/same. These are special moments. When the willingness to look over rides the fear of the unknown. And the effort of trying to keep holding all of the pieces from cracking and splitting takes more energy than just letting a little chaos reorganize a new world ordering begging to be born. Because at least when what isn't working crumbles...you can build again.  

When things get broken,  all that is left to do is wait, witness, and water. What will grow next? 

This much I know is true...we live on a regenerative planet. There is always a seed waiting and earning to sprout...and sometimes its desire to be born will break through what is holding it back from being born. 

kintsugi is the Japenese art of celebrating the beauty in broken things.