Posts Tagged ‘Wanderlust’

Dreams Come True at the Oregon Country Fair

Sometimes a highly anticipated experience can surpass keen hopes and dreams. Gratefully the Oregon Country Fair did just that. For nearly ten years I have heard of this free-spirited three-day extravaganza and let my imagination roll around, wondering what could make people sigh so contentedly when they thought of their days on the fairgrounds.

IMG_0640A road trip was in order. Our first stop was to visit my dear friend Ann in Upper Lake. We ate delicious calamari and wings and listened to jazz at the Blue Wing Saloon and perused her new store Upper Lake Mercantile where I traded my pottery for a beautiful recycled rug – perfect for camping… or should I say glamping.

IMG_0600Rambling through the Pacific Coastline we stayed next with Sageman Drums Familia – Kris, Jimmy, Althea and Finn in the Avenue of the Giants – surrounded by ancient redwood forests, ripe blackberries bushes and such amazing good friends and people.

IMG_0605We found Oregon campsites perfectly suited to our needs, bought local jam and rose quartz (definitely for glamping), ate local fish and chips, drank local beer and eased our way into Cascadia – a bioregion in Pacific Northwest, social movement and vision for a country of compatible, open, ecologically focused people. After five days on the road we set up camp at Elfen Wood campgrounds just 1,000 yards from Oregon Country Fair and took a nap in the hammock.

IMG_0678Oregon Country Fair invites you to be the kid running pell mell down a hill with your arms flapping or trying out cartwheels for the first time or dressing up like a cupcake or a tiger or a tree.FullSizeRender (7)

This buoyant open-hearted pulse vibrates through the entire grounds and forms a circle of protection for loving kindness. Its three days without hearing a sharp word spoken surrounded by hundreds of joyous people. Even or maybe especially the babies and kids emanate pure bliss and delight.

IMG_0675IMG_0674There is just so much to see and do with parades, meditation centers, yoga, sacred altars, vaudeville acts, belly dancers, ecology booths, tanning workshops and many stages and alcoves with performers of spoken word, ecstatic Kirtan, hip hop, classic violin, live drumming, rock, funk, on and on it went. The crafted work from pottery to jewelry to glasswork and metal work is so yummy, so dreamy. Joey absolutely spoiled me with treasures. And the food was so tasty and full of flavor.

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My absolute favorite moments: trading The Wicca Cookbook for a t-shirt from my inspiration Jen Delyth, creator of the iconic Celtic Tree of Life, and when a girl of 11 or so screamed with sheer delight for her friend who juggled 14 times – absolutely thrilled for her friend’s success. Where else do you find that kind of support – but at Fair.FullSizeRender (6)

Here you feel your bigness and truest oddball self and know deep acceptance. This full expression of being opens possibilities of how to be in everyday life. It’s so tangible, so real that all the drive home I imagined stepping into the Light of My Greatness all the way home and was greeted by an email inviting me to Faeland Festival in New York. That’s what I call an
answer from the Universe.

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No Plans. Know Joy.

20150528_125621The only way I know how to let go of consistent worry about security, should have’s of the past and could be’s of the future is to completely freefall into the flow of life. I am learning my only guarantee for joy is to show up fully present in each moment.

Last Saturday, Joey and I hit the road for an undetermined amount of time and no plans, but to see pretty country and enjoy each other’s company. The first night we headed into the woods and found a lovely dirt road, which lead to a huge cell tower. I had four bars on my phone, but excessive RFs wasn’t what we had in mind. We continued trekking the mountainside until we found a wonderful flat, dry spot protected from the recent rains by a large canopy of trees. We pulled out the camping chairs and listened to the silence.

eric ross After a stroll through the forest, we left the trees, passing quickly through Sacramento to ramble through Sonoma County’s rolling soft tan hills dotted with oaks and corner pop up booths selling cherries (we got a bag of Rainiers). We stopped at Eric Ross, a small winery where the managers were so kind and the wine so delicious, we signed up for a membership, which I hope will recall this warmly delicious, sun-soaked day. As we headed to his sister’s for a family dinner, a soft misty fog suffused the countryside with blurry, dreamlike lines.

Next morning we headed to Copperfield Books in Sebastopol so I could pick up a book written by Robin Rose Bennett, an incredible herbalist whom I am interviewing for Sage Woman Magazine. After shopping at Rosemary’s Garden and stocking up at Whole Foods, we took off for coast. Joey found his favorite beach where as teenagers, they drummed around huge bonfires. 20150525_181530We scaled down the cliffs and saw to our wonderment a huge 20150525_202230driftwood construction with multiple rooms and a readymade fire pit.

We enjoyed a scrumptious picnic and red wine port while the sky turned from brightest blue, to tawny twilight to deep indigo sprinkled with stars and a bright waxing moon. We drove into the woods and easily located another wonderful spot to hide the truck and ourselves in nature. 20150525_161446

The following day, we walked the bluffs of Bodega Head and then followed the winding coast and faery-like meadows to the coolest town of Gualala, and a must stop at the awesome metaphysical store for a gorgeous faery print.

Traveling inland, the sun broke through and we stumbled upon Faulker State Park, the perfect place to bbq our kebobs under redwood trees. With a little help of our GPS, we reached Anderson Valley Brewery to try a flight of brew. Driving winding backroads, we spotted wild turkey, then it was through Hopland and an Indian reservation to the sketchy U Wanna 20150526_182415(1)Camp. Eh. We kept driving until we found the dry Scott’s Creek at Cow Mountain and gratefully fell asleep. 20150527_131653

Joey recalled memories of working a delivery route as we drove along Clear Lake, then heading into the heart of Lake County we passed where we had hunted pigs last year. We watched mile paddles, trying to count how many counties we had passed so far. Nevada City became our next stop where we found a slew of treasures from old fire station to a bohemian shop and Three Forks Bakery & Brewery. 20150528_125046IMG_20150527_150040

After another lovely night amongst the trees. we breakfasted in Truckee and drove along the breath-taking coast of North Lake Tahoe, (there is a bike trail here that I will most definitely ride one day), then headed down 395 and straight to the mineral hot springs and home.

20150528_085829 There wasn’t one part of this journey that was carefully planned or so unyielding that could cause anxiety or strife for expectations unmet. We literally rambled through our days, crossing 15 counties and hundreds of miles, choosing our direction by whim or a desire to experience something, like trees or local wine. We never set an intention other than joy and we were handsomely rewarded with a blissful adventure. My greatest wish is to bring this free-spirit, worry-free trust that “everything is already okay” to the regular days of work, kids and bills.. to follow my bliss wherever I am.20150525_185556

Marry Your Wild Self

“The healthy social life is foundcommunity-group when, in the mirror of each human soul the whole community finds its reflection..And when, in the community, The virtue of each one is living.” – Rudolph Steiner lady of shalott

What could I be learning from applying for 32 jobs in 75 days? How many positions for which I am qualified? How I don’t fit into this society? The ever decreasing value of freedom compared to the fear of bare cupboards for my children? Shame? Pride? The trivial nature of productivity? Time to enjoy nothingness? Exhaustion from scarcity of belonging? The importance of integrity or the sham of disguises? Meekness? Smallness? Obsolete or misguided? Do I really not care about contributing to this society? Do I follow gypsy wanderlust? Am I torturing myself for some long forgotten crime? How can I trust which path when I don’t see any? Is it a crime to write this…to expose my vulnerability? Will my loved ones fear for me or be repulsed and why should I care? The tarot card today said Creative Expression. Love to. Where?universe

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” Friedrich Nietzsche

The sun is setting, which heralds the beginning of Beltane.. the Great Rite.. the conjugal union of Male and Female, Goddess and God. In the Wicca Cookbook, I wrote about my favorite holiday, “Beltane is a frivolous, lusty sabbat, dedicated to fertility and the returning of the sun.”

Fifteen years later, I realize it is so much more. It is the sacred communion with our inner soul’s mate and celebration of unwavering faith that through carnal pleasure we give birth to abundance and lush, rich creativity.beltane couple

Beltane brings together seed and soil and raucously celebrates the manifestation while it is only an embryo of hope. This I must remember.

Beltane is the sensuous, exuberant expression of ecstatic joy in which we marry our Wild Self. We are turned inside out. Depravity is sacred. I can delve into indulgent pathos or be profoundly carefree. All is sacrosanct on Beltane, for it is a Celebration of Life. Not perfection. Life. We give ourselves completely to feeling, boldly raising this messy, flesh-bound experience to a place of honor and holiness. And we let go….

Time for Truth

20150409_184553The progression of morning light illuminating my bedroom is my first indication of time. I wait for inspiration from either the grey, pink or golden light and rise accordingly. The ticks between seconds, minutes and hours have become irrelevant since I was laid off.

When at peace with this rhythmic movement of time, I admire the flowers on my patio, the lush green of the nature preserve below, the swish of the palm tree or the flight of hawks and hummingbirds. Then without warning I am overcome with constriction in my throat and chest and the pressure to take some action that will earn money. I jump up to check emails, texts, Facebook, LinkedIn. Sometimes, true inspiration strikes and I send off my resume or portfolio, connect with someone who may make a difference, or research book and magazine promotions. But, more often than not there is little that needs my attention. A little skittish, I start to think of all the food I can eat in my fridge or start playing solitaire on the computer. But this week, inspired by my boys’ carefree, lightheartedness during Spring Break, I am trying something new. I breathe through the anxiety caused by nothingneReading to boysss.

After several deep breaths, the pressure lessens and a little voice inside my head whispers that it’s okay to be still and enjoy the exuberance and unfettered vibe of spring fever. Breathe. I drop into the “now moment.” Breathe. Gradually the fears of the future drop away.  There is a time and a season for everything. Now is the time to awaken my True Self, honor my True Feelings and be freed from that what keeps me off from my True Purpose. Priceless. Timeless.

Boys on stoopSo instead of cleaning the counter for the third time this morning, I join in with Skyler, belting out a Led Zeppelin tune, dancing like mad around the kitchen. Then listened intently, undistracted as he relayed how he was going “gypsy” today with friends and leaving their cars behind, taking the bus to LaJeff Hawaii & 8th grade promotion 082guna Beach to explore some caves in El Moro Canyon. I reminded him to take some chocolate chip cookies that Kobe and I made earlier in the week. An hour later, Kobe demonstrates a   science experience of water, vapor and atmospheric pressure imploding a can. He shares some of the funnier moments of his week-long overnight excursions with friends. Then he takes off in my car for another adventure.20150405_155624

And I’m left to the quiet nothingness. I check the emails and there are no messages. Breathe, breathe, just breathe, I tell myself. Maybe I could write. And so I do. Because although the sun is high in the sky now, this too shall pass and before I know it, I’ll be watching the twilight recede in the nature preserve below.

Mountain Love

Displaying 20150329_115008.jpgWe cracked open a beer when we hit the dirt road. Joey threw the truck into four-wheel drive and we crawled over rocks, climbing the hill, then dropping into a landscape of meadows, evergreen pine trees, leafless aspen, a winding creek and snowy mountains on the other side of a narrow valley. As the screech of the sage brushing against the truck broke the awe-inspired silence, Joey looked over with a smile, “Sierra pin-striping.”

We descended a side road into the canyon and set camp next to the stream and a fire-ring constructed of locally-found granite rocks. We crossed tussocks rising above marsh grassland drenched in snow melt with occasional snow patches to gather wood. After the sun set and the first star rose in the indigo sky, we built a roaring fire and gave words to the movement of the flames – licking, wisping, lapping. The bright crescent moon cast a blueish tint over the mountains covered in striations of snow, making them look marbleized.

Though the coldWaterwheel_Falls_gafl_007L air froze our water overnight, I felt rested and rejuvenated by morning. Sitting in our camp chairs, Joey named each of the distant peaks and I was overcome with a feeling/memory of summer vacations in Yosemite led by my father John who wanted so much for me to understand peace and love this land.

That innocent, uncomplicated feeling of being secure and happy to be small in a really big world filled me so completely, it was as if the morning sunshine ran through my veins. I felt outrageously joyous, whether hiking overland to a grove of pine trees, looking for compressed deer beds, seeking heart-shaped rocks in a talus field, using rolled up sage for perfume, or admiring cascades of opaque and crystalline beads of honey-colored sap. I carried this feeling back to Joey’s, where we made sun tea and I Displaying 20150329_114923.jpgrode a dirt bike for the first time; looking at those inspiring mountains fueled the flame of joy in my heart for days. Joey’s presence, love and acceptance made me feel safe and content.

After a few days in suburbia, I lost my grip on the lightness of being. I should be looking for a job, I told myself. I should be doing the responsible thing. woodstock69Then (because it was Sky’s homework assignment) we watched the Woodstock documentary. All at once understood a fallacy that had stifled me much of my life – the fear of the outcast. Ostracized for being Mexican, Woman, Feminist, Witch, Slut, Bitch, Christian Scientist, Pagan, Hippie. Bearing witness to the simplicity of nearly half a million people sharing three magnificent days of peace and music broke the levies and I was suffused in ecstatic appreciation for my genuine enthusiasm, optimism, open-heart and brazen free-spirit.

I pulled the tarot card “Raise Your Standards” from my fairie deck and deviated from conventional training for safety and success by removing the stuffy, corporate clothes from my closet that do not spark joy to make room for my bohemian clothes  – to shelter and honor a gypsy life that financially and spiritually supports me, my creative muse and playful passion. This is my highest measurement of success.

It’s Not Easy to Let Go

Skyler and I drove passed farming towns, orchards of almond trees and agricultural fields on the way to University of the Pacific based on an invitation from the head soccer coach. We drove Highway 99 instead of Interstate 5 to show him an alternate route as proof of my need to teach him to be resilient, self-reliant and resourceful.

“My job is to love you and give you wings to fly,” is my love refrain.20150322_124433

To instill independence and a sense of adventure, I teased Sky that he would get a suitcase for his 18th birthday. No lie, this is also to justify my own free spirit and wanderlust. The plan is to fill that suitcase with candy kisses, a travel journal, angel wings, cash, gas card, etc. The plan was to be happy for him.

20150322_094413And yet as I sat in downtown Stockton, I cried – so very sad that my little boy is actually leaving me. Memories of his early childhood flooded my thoughts as I looked around an old time movie theater turned coffee house. He could be doing his homework here one day with people I didn’t know – a life far away from me. I didn’t want him to go.

Then he called and said he twisted his injury-prone ankle and would I please get him some Advil right away. I slammed my journal shut. My baby needed me. I bought Advil, Arnica, first-aid wrap, an ice pack, and raced to the field. Panicked, I realized I left my phone at Walgreens and raced back to the store and then back to the lot to wait. And wait.20150323_093632

As an hour passed, I think of line I feed my boys when life presents difficulties, “Do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?” I am so proud they have ambition, positive attitude and drive to look for answers. In turn, I try to be a model of strength and possibilities – even if that means dancing and laughing between jobs, through nights of fear and days of uncertainty. I close my eyes and settle into my heart where I find the faith that I am always protected and safe, just as my boys are.

Finally acceptance settled in. Yes, he would leave me. Isn’t that what I have prepared him to do?

Finally he bounces up like Tigger; the trainer had wrapped his ankle. He says he showed really well, made an incredible assist and the coach really likes him. He downs the Advil and runs off to treat them to some more of his brilliant foot work. 20150323_094009Next day we tour the gorgeous grounds of the university. I have another meltdown, then bounce back up like Tigger, just like my son…

Catharsis Through Writing

faeriesI know no other way than to write out my feelings about experiences both high and low.. in fact, if truth be told, these feelings come bursting out of me as little entities intent on their own expression, their own existence.

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies….” These are my feelings – rays of rainbow light dancing across the earth.

I used to feel completely overwhelmed and exposed by the sheer vulnerability of this style of writing. Then I got it in my head that writing which originated from experience versus the void wasn’t true creativity. This destructive notion moved me like the archetypical river beneath the river that Clarissa Pinktola Estes speaks of, pushing and swaying my lifeboat without my consciousness effort to direct a course or path truest to my heart’s desire. I still occasionally relinquish responsibility under the guise of an easy going attitude. Life is such a balance.

“Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

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Sketch by Joanie Mitchell, penned during my Writing Through Catharsis class at the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium

It is no coincidence to me that an email that my article which shares my journey from the bleakest state  of my existence to the empowerment and freedom will finally be published in Sagewoman Magazine arrived the day before I left to teach a class on writing through catharsis at the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium – the very woods where I gained my strength to molt and grow new feathers – to blossom and grow as was intended.

“And then day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Honestly I was surprised I had so much to teach on the subject I had avoided looking at. The class went entirely too fast. There was so much to share about the healing journey of writing. It seemed we barely touched on the subject, leaving the actual writing for the women to experience and test on their own.. just as I would ask the Muse why I should write the two books I have begun to pen…and why these rainbow lights must dance.

I am inspired to write the book about hosting traveling cyclists because they are the fire and lifeline to my gypsy soul. My recent visit with Penny from Taiwan motivated me to finally research the details for my first multiple day bike ride. Huzzah! Hosting cyclists feeds a urge in me to provide shelter and kindness to wanderers as passed down from my Spanish ancestors who were known for many things cruel and vain, but also their unparalleled generosity and hospitality.colette quote

I will write a multi-generational story about the women of my family because they are the knots in my magic cord that spiders into my wise Goddess lineage. In this story I will walk in the shoes of the women in my womb – those who have gone before, those who walk with me and those who will come after me.