10 August 2018

.Traveling with Barbara


On the last leg of my travel I had a flight delayed, cancelled, rescheduled and was given a new seat - a seat next to Barbara the Buddhist. I meet these embodied women every now and again. It seems like I meet them in transition right when I need someone to remind me that

it’s ok, 
you got this, 
just relax. 

This woman was named Barbara and she’s a Buddhists. We initially connected over our disdain for United Airlines, she was could believe they charged $15 for Ramen and I could believe how many times they advertised Credit Cards before we even took off!

“It’s cancer!” she said. “It’s taking over and we can’t breathe! I’m ready to be home....sorry if I’m ranting.”

I said “You are ranting, but it’s all true.” 

She smiled and somehow we continued to talk for the entire hour and a half flight. She grew up out west and it’s home, it’ll always be home but she met a man when she was 19 traveling Africa by bus and decided to drop out of med school and move to Mississippi to be with him.

We had to get married because in those days his mom wouldn’t of spoken to me unless we were married....sinners! I wasn’t really into marriage so I said why don’t we get married in Tijuana? My thinking was we say we’re married but in 2 years when it doesn’t work out we wouldn’t have to deal with all those legal fees. So we got married and when I met his mother she asked “are you pregnant or something?” That’s was my Mother-In-Law.” 

Barbara told me that they did get back to the west after raising their 3 children, buying a 14 acre farm near Mt. Shasta.

“I was home. I haven't exhaled as deeply as I did there. I still miss it everyday.” 

They moved to Western North Carolina last year to be near their Son and Granddaughter.

“This isn’t home but when I see my husband, then I’ll be home" 

Over the hour and a half flight we talked about the vast lands of the west and the contrast of the east, we talked about marriage and children, we talked about mayan abdominal massage and the importance of lineage. I was so refreshed by her openness, honesty and vulnerability. One of my favorite things she shared with me was from a buddhist quote talking about how we are falling all the time but there’s nothing to land on.

"We just have to get use to free falling because that is life, impermanence.” She followed by saying “Don’t be afraid to fail. Let me help you by getting this over with, you’re gonna fail. You’re gonna fail BIG TIME. And it’s ok. You’ll working thru it and get over it. That’s where the learning happens."

06 August 2018

.july.

I spent most of July traveling. There are places that feel extra special in certain seasons/months/transitions but I love summer everywhere. 

I left the hot muggy summer thunderstorms of Western North Carolina for the arid summer heat and wildfires of Central Washington. I grew up in Central Washington but having spent many summers now in humid heat and it struck me this time going back the way dry heat radiates from the earth. On a hike in the sage hills I could feel the heat radiating from the dusty cracked earth, heating me from the feet up. 

I travelled to my favorite lake - bathing in the crisp crystal clear alpine lake, saw the dense smoke from wildfires across the hillsides and went to my favorite hikes collecting sagebrush. It always feels like home, the pulse of land is the strongest there.


The next stop was Boston for a few days to teaching a jewelry workshop. The city felt so loud and chaotic after time in the quiet vast west. I was thankful for the fun of summer nights biking thru Harvard Square with girlfriends and also the reminder of the space I need to feel free. After the weekend workshop I headed north for a week long camping adventure staring in Southern Maine and ending in New Brunswick. 

I’ve been curious to explore Acadia for the past 3 summers, but timing was never right. It’s July and the chaos of the tourism season is in full swing but it was beautiful and wild. A new rugged Maine I’d wanted to meet. 

We hiked as many trails as possible, swam in the freezing ocean and forage for wild blueberries. I can’t wait to go back sometime in the Fall when it’s a little less chaotic.


The surprise of the trip was New Brunswick, Bay of Fundy to be exact. En route driving thru the city of Saint John the fog was so thick we couldn’t see anything but a small patch of road in front of us so when we finally arrived to Fundy National Park the lush wilderness, rugged coastline and the 55 foot tide drop leaving inlets dry at low tide felt so dramatic. We could’ve stayed a week without running out of things to see. Each part of the park offers different landscapes and flora. One hike paralleled the Salmon River, it’s wide open pebble beaches felt like Montana or Idaho. Another hike follow the coastline with fern lined paths and amazing rocky lookouts felt like the Oregon Coast and at low tide exploring the ocean floor I found the most perfect flat and smooth red jasper! I was daydreaming about buying a small cottage near there and taking morning walks to gather stones and inspirations before an afternoon in a studio with an ocean view. Sigh.



The last night was spent at Cobscook Bay in Northern Maine. It was the most peaceful state park I’ve ever stayed at. The sites are isolated and peaceful, most you have to drive down a long driveway before it opens up to the site. We enjoy a totally secluded site sheltered in trees and surrounded by the bay on 3 sides. The low tide was dramatic, totally emptied out the cove at low tide leaving only the cracking sound of clams and a few birds pecking in the muddy ocean floor. 

I’ve mostly spent time in Southern Maine but really loved the wildness of Northern Maine, it felt like a new perspective on the state. 


I’m back in North Carolina already missing my dear ones and counting down for another camping adventure before summer is over.

01 July 2018

.awakening the feminine.

There’s something opening up inside of me, an awareness of the layers I hold that I sometimes forget about and others I’m beginning to see.

A few weeks ago I went to a Quoya dance class, in the class there are opportunities to share any thoughts or feelings with someone next to you after particular dance sequences. When it was time share I was next to a tired mom of two boys, she started crying to me about feeling disconnected from her body. Since she had her first son shed felt she lost herself and didn't really know who she was because of this disconnect. I felt so honored that she shared with me something so raw and in the same moment I feel this alignment inside of myself - like she was a reminder of my journey and the reason I am here (preparing for a massage program). I want to work with women to connect/reconnect with themselves to have embodied awareness.

On summer solstice I had to opportunity to go to a very special women’s circle honoring the season of the Queen. It was a ritual-based workshop that offered opportunities for all the women to claim their place as a Queen. It felt weird and silly at first and then as I left go of my judgement I realized the power of ritual and sharing intentional space with women. It also reminded me of my journey - in actively honoring myself and the women whom which I have relationships. 

I was reminded recently of the author Sue Monk Kidd. I forgot how much I appreciate and connect with her work. I remember reading “Traveling with Pomegranates” years ago, it's a Mother/Daughter memoir of travels to the Mediterranean and interweaves the story of transitioning to in life/relationship with greek mythology and travel. She talks about reconnecting with herself - evolving into a new version of herself, the rite of passage she is journeying as a women/mother and her relationship with the imagine of the virgin/goddess. Her talking about the virgin (goddess) made me think of a trip I took with my Dad about 7 years ago to the Southwest. I had dreamt of the Southwest for years. Finally arriving to New Mexico it felt just as magical as I imagined. The town plaza of Las Cruces, the dried chilies, arid landscapes and Guadalupe + Virgin Mary everywhere. I remember walking up to the church in the plaza and feeling overwhelmed by the presence of the stark white Virgin Mary, not in a religious way but in a sacred feminine way. The power of feminine was slowly slowly awakening inside of me. I had returned from the Peace Corps, attended Doula training and was visiting a Midwifery program in Texas. It was an important time in which I was connecting to my feminine, claiming it, exploring it and there she was illuminated with a ring of pink roses at her feet and the brilliant blue sky of the desert. I’m so grateful I still have a picture of her and some others sightings on the trip. 




There’s also a lot of growing pains happening in my life right now, situations that are stretching me and challenging me to really look in the mirror at myself. In one of these situations a deep anger came up inside of me - it came quickly. I couldn’t anticipate it until it just released itself. This deep anger comes from my reaction to the choices of others - not allowing myself to speak my truth or trust myself enough to make an embodied choice. 

I went to yoga this morning and realized that with all the moving parts in my life: the frustration, the anger, the fear, the disappointments most of it is just projection to avoid looking in the mirror. If I allow myself to slow down, let go of some of my expectations (that can just be me using perfection to hide from vulnerability) and dedicate time and energy to accept and love myself more, then everything else are just passing teachers. These teachers might bring discomfort with their teachings but not deep anger. The crying mother, the ritual of the Queen and the reminder of the Goddess are all parts of me. They are all reminders of this journey to accept myself. 

The forever journey. 

28 May 2018

.where the mountains of north carolina and ecuador meet.


I woke up early, it’s a rainy overcast day here and the mountains have been calling me. I decided to drive to a waterfall hike nearby. Driving east the highway cuts thru the Pisgah National Forest where the fog was so thick there were moments of whiteout: magical and strange I turned my wipers on high then realizing there was nothing that would allow me to see further except to just slow down. It felt like a bigger lesson/reminder for me than just for fog driving.

The trail was so lush and green with tall tree towering over the pathway, almost blocking out the rain the cover was so thick. The air was heavy with humidity. It’s such an odd feeling when you’ve grown up in the Pacific Northwest, rain will almost always means cold. The wet earth and plants had such a familiar musty smell. I looked up to see the overcast light peeking thru the leaves and realized that I could’ve been in Ecuador with very few differences. I kept walking and was overwhelmed by the feeling that for a moment I was transported back to thick green humid forests of the cloud forest of Ecuador where I lived for 2 years while serving in the Peace Corps. I thought about my time there, another life ago. I thought about all the places I’ve lived and thought about all the beautiful, complex, impactful, forgotten, intricate layers we are all comprised of that make us these beautiful evolving pieces of art.

I’m so grateful to be so close to these North Carolina/Ecuador mountains that remind me of where my journeys intersect and overlap. Time seems strange and false in moments like these.

24 May 2018

Late May in New England



The Deepest Exhale

Waking up to see the sunrise has already begun
Layers of clothing no longer needed
Radiating heat reflecting off of delicate skin
Floating in bodies of water
How does it always feel like the first time

summer is coming

13 April 2018

.t h i r t y f o u r.

I always love to write something as I begin another orbit around the sun. I turned 34 on Tuesday this, whoa! This year held so much movement for me I wanted to journey the year again to remember it all, here it is.

My 33rd year was a wild ride of adventure - travel - big questions - dead end roads - unplanned journeys and new layers of awareness!!


IDAHO
I started my year last April celebrating my birthday in the mountain town of Ketchum, Idaho nestled at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains. I lived in Ketchum for 9 months working at a Community Health Educator with Planned Parenthood. Most of my time was spent teaching puberty and sexuality education to middle and high school students at both the public and private schools. The experience was challenging and isolating but also allowed a flexibility to explore the amazing nature around me. The Wood River Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived. The foothills are blanketed with sagebrush and having grown up in the high desert of Central Washington I always feel at home where sagebrush grows. The position lost most of its funding and with fall approaching I decided to head back east for holiday art shows.



EAST TO WEST
It took 21 days for me to drive from Idaho to Massachusetts, camping 18 of those days and staying with friend on the other days. I remembered how the road is my happy place. Setting up my campsite and packing it up every morning was such a innate rhythm for me. I met a kindred spirit at Craters of the Moon, went fly fishing on the Teton River, slept in a yurt, slept in a tipi, fell in love with the mud pots at Yellowstone National Park, took slow walks along the madison river at dusk, moon bathed in a tipi next to the Devil’s tower, got lost in the cornfields of Nebraska, saw Georgia O’Keeffe art in Iowa, Slept next to the Mississippi, fell in love the with fingerlakes and Ithaca, Slept by a tiny lake in the Catskills and only had rain as I was driving into Boston. It was the most reinvigorating 21 days!


NEW ENGLAND
Coming back to New England was such a reflection to realize how much Idaho had changed me in just 9 months. I ached for the vast openlands and silence. I had a busy holiday season and reconnected with friends. I also continued to teach metalsmithing workshops. I love teaching these workshops and learned so much from teaching adult learners.


HOME
In January after 5 day delay due to a Nor’easter I arrived in Washington for a delayed holiday time with family. I spent my days hiking and soaking up the colors of Central Washington. I realize how the land feels like home to me. I created a personal residency during my time there, a quilt project. I took walks everyday, took a picture, translated it into a very simple design and sewed a patch. It was such a great project to get back in the rhythm of see - design - create.



MAINE
I came back to the East, to Maine this time to a small town 1 hr north of Boston. Due to my beloved turbo engine subaru exploding and being without a car for weeks I translated my quilt project into a brooch project. Now translating the designs from fabric to metal. I have 12 brooches made. I am so excited and proud of this project. There is no motive in this project except just to make - to tell a story of where I come from - to explore how to translate landscapes. I also was able to take a pie workshop from one of my favorite bakers and it inspired me explore baking more. So I’ve been baking a few pies every week learning and improving recipes.


NORTH CAROLINA
This all leads to the end of 33 and beginning of 34. I’ve moved to the south, Western North Carolina nestled next to the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a special place for me with my Mom’s family being from the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. I always feel connected to my Nana there, even after living most of her life in Washington Tennessee and those mountains were always home for her. I’m excited to explore the mountains more and to start a massage program in the fall. With over 10 years working in health I’m excited to connect bodywork to the experiences and knowledge I have gather my journey so far.

So much to unfold and learn this 34th year. I hope you are healthy and learning!

16 March 2018

.maine in march.


When you get a nice day in winter in Maine you take advantage of it. The winter has been late to arrive here in the Northeast but its here, with two Nor’easter storms in the past week and another one might be coming next week everyone is desperate for spring. Two days after the first Nor’easter the sun came out, blue skies with a high of 43 degrees! We took advantage of it. We went to a favorite trail that curves thru the forest and opens up to the ocean and continues along the coastline looking to where Maine waters meet New Hampshire. As the trail opened up to the ocean we saw a small girl building a sand castle and her mom was stretched out wide sunbathing in her boots and winter jacket. I smiled understanding the feeling of enjoying the sun with air that didnt hurt. We walked out to explore the tide pools and on the beach a couple were sitting on the rocky beach soaking up the sun and as we were heading back up to the trail another woman just laid down right on the trail with her dog. I love these moments that are unique to a place. It seems that once it gets above 40 degrees in March Mainers seems to just collapse with joy! They were acting like it was a summer day and 30 degrees warmer than it was but I get it. We are ready - we are so ready for spring and sunshine and warmth and longer days!! 

Another storm came a few days ago bringing almost 24 inches of snow, 35 mph winds and white out conditions for most of the day. The next day the sun was out so I went on a hike trying to be grateful for the beauty of the snow. Trying to remember the way the snow holds a silence, the fresh smell of winter air and how it illuminates everything even on an overcast day. I try to be present because it will be gone - nothing stays and winter, as trying as it is, allows me to turn inwards and reflect. This winter has been challenging but just as the days are getting longer and warmer days *should* be coming I’m grateful for the new awareness and truths that have found me this winter. 

New adventures are here and coming soon! I’m ready. I’m so ready.