A Ceremonial Story of Love and Gratitude.

When someone asks you if you want to be the one to “marry” them, its definitely an unexpected surprise. Well, unless your regular job includes standing in front of pews and waxing religion on the regular. 

Mine, sure enough, does not however so I was astonished when I was asked and felt like it was the icing to my professional “portfolio” cake! I’ve been blessed to be present for transformative healing work via massage and bodywork, as a birth-doula, and even assisting as much as I could to comfort terminal illness. Yet, no wedding ceremonies…

Mind you, I’ve been a member of 7 different wedding parties and dreamed of my own wedding for as long as I can remember, yet I haven’t been gifted that opportunity.

But being asked to stand in front of 80ish people, and be the voice of a ceremony, captured in hearts forever, definitely felt a little scary. 

I’ve had a history of shutting my voice down, or e x t r e m e l y amplifying it when highly emotional. I’ve played large roles in ruining relationships because of this. Pay no mind to the abandonment issues behind the curtain as well here folks. 😉

But when Neva, a beloved client of a few years, asked ME of all people to stand before her, her fiancé and their family to serve as the officiant of their wedding I could not say no, regardless of personal fears. My heart was ecstatic with the joy of being a part of her ceremony and serving her heart and love somehow. 

Neva is a fire-cracker of a human being. She loves fearlessly and uses her life as a vessel of change for the world. In the time that I’ve known her she’s touched countless children’s and people’s lives with the non-profit work she tirelessly works towards. 

As most of my clients are encouraged to do, she picked up a yoga practice to support her sessions with me, and her needs for health and vitality in order to maintain her fervent life of servitude. I, of course, suggested she go to Sage Yoga & Wellness as it was my favorite studio in Boise– even before I started working there myself. Once I transitioned to working at Sage, one of my most favorite aspects of being there were the fleeting smiles and hugs from her as she rushed to or fro her noon-time class. 

As I stood at the front of the group, my heart was pounding yet, a heavy sensation of presence laid upon my body and calmed me. I was deeply grounded in the spirit of the beautiful landscape, Hansen Guest Ranch in Swan Valley, ID. The guests were radiant and they calmed me with their individual allure, sitting in rows amongst golden dry grass, with a gorgeous low-lying sun, kissing the glory of a father walking his daughter down the aisle. Her smile, from ear-to-ear, and head-bobbing between looking up to see it all and shying away, in her emotion and tears. 

I was surprised by the tears welling up inside of me! I thought to myself: ‘No, no… NEVA is supposed to be the gusher… not you!! Get yourself in check Heidi!’ Instantly I stuffed my tears and emotions and remembered my purpose there that day… to hold space and speak clearly. 

I was so nervous. I have a long-standing fear (and joy) of sharing my passions in front of a group, especially when it involves speaking. I have been tirelessly trying to shed this fear, signing myself up for opportunities left and right that push me outside of my comfort zone. Which I knew being the officiant would do, yet I also knew the level of my own failure at this, in my past attempts- a shaky frail voice, scattered thoughts and ramblings, and a huge ball of ‘what a loser!’ thoughts that take over my head and heart.  

That day when I practiced with the wedding party, parts of that self showed up. My voice wobbled. I messed up the  words- big time, calling Swan Valley Sun Valley and in general got confused about the ceremony’s flow. A part of me wanted to cry, but the big ball of “what a loser!” was too big to let the tears come through. 

My son was with my boyfriend and I for the weekend, he was being a super-duper-hell-fire-toddler. Which is what sitting in a car for hours on end, with no naps, and a lack of sleep will do. This played to my benefit when I took a solo-trip in the truck to try to coax him to sleep. With a few minutes alone with my thoughts, I knew it was my chance to get rid of my big ball of lame and reclaim my power. I thought.. ‘Hmmm, what could I do to strengthen my voice?’ Immediately spirit claimed: CHANT! ‘Oh yes, the chakra seed sounds. I’ll chant to strengthen my throat… plus this used to always put Lucas to sleep!’

I began Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Om’ing in style. Over and over. Feeling the ball of ick and simultaneously feeling my light, and doing my best to diffuse the ball of ick and reclaim that portion of my body. The vibration of the mantra, both in meaning and its sound took over and dusted all the little remnants of ‘ick’ out of me! I felt like myself again! It was great. 

I knew I wasn’t quite done yet. I now had my body back, but I needed to start the process of calling in my spiritual entourage for support. Ganesha showed up first, as he often likes to do, to help me create a safe and strong transition into my potential-loaded moments as the officiant. I chanted to Ganesha and felt his masculine protection and knew through my experiences and faith that his energy would show itself. 

As I fueled up the truck on the way back to our lil’ Sleepy J Cabin, I prayed. I called upon the rest of my multi-denominational crew and felt even more nourishment… yet a little too much nervous excitement, and just wanted to get it started and over with. 

When I got back to the cabin, my boyfriend helped me and reminded me that it was about Neva and Dave and just to keep that in mind when I’m speaking. Which did help me focus on my intension of why I was doing it in the first place. 

Yet as I stood up in front of the guests, watching Neva and her father walk down the aisle, next to Dave and his beautiful children serving as best man and maid of honor, I knew I had the heart to hold the space of the ceremonial words and love for the entire group. I wanted to be heard by everyone there. I wanted to represent Neva, Dave, and family and reflect the awesomeness of every person that was there, back to themselves. 

The level of pride, honor, or ungodly emotion that I was feeling just made my lil’ self-critic, doubting voice disappear. I was in the presence of Godliness and I was about to let my Goddess shine.

Still, I did not know this at the time. I felt it, but wasn’t until retrospect set in, that I could even put words to it. 

I loved standing up there, seeing the details of the clothing and expression in the bride and grooms faces. Looking around and seeing the eyes of the familiar and newly acquainted faces that offered their presence to me. I loved the message of the ceremonial vows that Neva, Dave, and I co-created. I loved seeing the love and innocence of the children looking up at the parents of this newly forming family, their gestures of love in hugs and hand holding. 

I loved that Neva and Dave really wanted to honor their guests and how I  ended up weaving it into such a large part of the ceremony. I loved that we all focused our attention and hearts towards the Metta prayer. I again, felt, the power of this group and my body turned ancient. My legs, my body, my being, solid as stone. 

After the ceremony, I enjoyed waiting and walking out with the guests. And another one of my long time beloved clients was in the audience and helped me carry the stones that acted as the altar space at the head of the ceremony. Before I could even make back to drop off the stones and join the rest of the wedding party, I was stopped and told by a guest that she was deeply moved in the ceremony and it was very special in many ways to her. I could see it in her eyes and feel it in her as well. It sounds cliché, but I truly could see my inner godliness shining back at me through her eyes. The experience of Namasté. 🙂 (Side note, this guest had traveled from Tokyo just to be there. What love!)

When I joined the wedding party, near the outdoor bar area for a toast, two magnificent bald eagles flew within 20-30 feet of us, slowly encircling us and  some trees in the grove. I was literally ecstatic and the moment I saw them, I grabbed Neva’s shoulder so she too would see them right away. 

Bald Eagles represent very high spirit energy, truly the highest in the region of Americas we call home. I took it as a sign from my spiritual entourage that it was a job well done, gratitude for us to pay homage to & empower the Metta prayer, and proof of the presences of the mother and father that have passed, between both bride and groom. 

Little did anyone, or does anyone that was present know, this event reclaimed my life in ways that I don’t even understand fully. In the past 2-3 weeks, I did a hypnotherapy session to release unconscious pain and suffering embedded within my body and through this, connected to an experience that I’d always intuited… that of me being hung for witchcraft in a former life. Once a witch always a witch… 😉 Now, and I assume then, I always use my magic to bring love, light, and healing into the world for the benefit of all of its creatures. 

In my prep for serving this ceremonial space that day, the image of the wound area and the turquoise and pink light that healed me returned yet again. But this time, to remind me that it is the newly embedded “story” within my throat and heart-space. 

Besides the birth of my son, I can easily say that serving in Neva’s ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done with this lil’ ol’ life known as Heidi J.

Thank you for reading and blessings to you and yours~*

Metta prayer:

May all beings: have fresh clean water to drink, have food to eat, have someone to share love with, have a home, find their true purpose, be well and happy, and be free of suffering. 

 

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“The Power of Woman is Love

And when a woman doesn’t receive, or is acknowledged by sharing this, woman’s biggest power is not available to us.” – Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer

These videos (attached below) came my way via a yoga teacher today and I am loving the messages in this, the second of the 3-part series. Cesar also speaks to his own femininity in the first video, which goes to show that men have this inherent power of Love and nurturing from within. It is more natural to woman, yet not hidden from men.

The concepts spoken of in these videos of “not fighting Mother Nature,” to Witness another and allow them to be in order to gain trust, respect, loyalty and eventually love speaks volumes to the nature of dog ownership, relationships, motherhood, and to me in the value of a doula, or labor and birth-support companion.

I have two births coming up in the next two months that I am very excited about doulaing. Both are planned vaginal births after cesarean, one at home and the other at a hospital. I am feeling really touched by the honor it is to hold space and give that loving witness to women and families in this process. It is such a powerful, yet vulnerable experience for every birth. Working with first-time mothers and VBACs gives even more depth to the process, as it is the unknown which is by far the most challenging avenue for us all. Whether we’re birthing of a child, or a new way of being.

I have been seeking some clarity and inspiration to gain more financial stability and health for myself and my son lately. I seem to always “get by” and am very blessed to be serving my purpose and to receive support from friends and family through their own gestures of kindness and gifts. It is so very helpful, but I want to know that I am creating stable future for us. I want vacations, comfort, and a strong sense of material peace. I know I am creating these, yet returning to work full-time will bring more opportunity.

A few synchronistic unfoldings in the last 24 hours have given me some wonderful insights and reminded me of some of my inherent gifts that I want to give to the world, in service, from my heart passionately. I think I had forgotten about the blessing and honor of the role of doula because I haven’t been able to fully explore this role, until now. The commitment to doula felt too overwhelming as a newly single mother and of a child that was still breastfeeding. I had a lot of healing to do, to truly be able to tend to others.

One year post breakup, yesterday, I was given the opportunity to set a declaration for my chosen embodiment after ecstatic dance at Grace Place. We sat in circle, with Lucas on my lap, I stated that I declared and accepted of the role and responsibilities, the ownership and ability, and the joy and love that it is to be Divine Mother to a blessed Son and with the perfection and wholeness that it is, in itself. Or something like that. ; )

It has taken me this entire year be able to say that whole-heartedly and not be afraid of what that role means. It has taken a lot of support from others that saw the love and power in me before I could see it myself.

I am still weary and lonely at times, but I am starting to feel more and more comfortable and confident in the true meaning of what it *is* to *be* divine mother. It goes far beyond what I do for my son. It is what I embody for my bodywork clients, my role as doula, and without a doubt my intention in teaching yoga as well. It is my tone that I give, and it is the tone that so many others are giving as we are all finding a deeper understanding, awareness, and appreciation of our relationships with Mother Nature.

Cesar Millan is a beautiful man that is fully embodying his divine feminine as well. I highly recommend watching these as I’m sure that whether it be for yourself, your dog, or your relationships you will find a source of inspiration to “Mother” yourself into a more balanced way of being.

Jai!

///

Where do you mother yourself and the world? How do these ideas manifest in your life? Care to share?? Please do! : )

Where it all begins

One challenge that I encounter in writing is feeling like I come across as some “know-it-all” who is force-feeding you “ME” the whole time. Ugh, trust me that is not my intention! I owe so much to those that have come before me. Yet I do appreciate having gained the wisdom to share through potentially years, or months, or maybe just a moment of hard work (or play.)

None of us can do it alone. We need each other,  every “insignificant” one of us on the face of the planet affects the other. I use the term “insignificant” to suggest those in a position other than a teacher, role-model, or coach. In my passion and excitement in connecting with life coaches on the internet and reading blogs lately, I can sometimes feel a sense of separateness as I read them. In a ‘I-was-there-once-kid-so-let-me-tell-ya-how-its-done’ sort of tone. This is not my truth. I do not wish to proclaim that I am done, for I will always be learning and my truth is also in sharing that eternal process with you.

We are all in this together and learning from each other. It is my greatest intention to be on the same level as those I am helping, and to be seeking to raise us higher. I believe I can do this best by being 100% transparent. Full disclosure. Full honesty. Living and expressing my truth and in such, sharing my pitfalls and flaws. I have witnessed others being brave enough to do the same and I always learn from them in the process.

All of this is to say, that it all begins with each and every one of us. We are each other’s teachers. When we have formed a heart-bond, we will learn even more but even the people that we encounter in the grocery store, in lines, or traffic can share a myriad of information, all in perfect design for whomever happens to be there in that moment to witness it. We are all guided, in one massive symphony to resonate or display contrast in each other’s company.

I would like to give thanks to some of my greatest teachers. My gratitude for these experiences and teachers runs deep. They are at the heart of all the wisdom that I share, and they have all taught me in their own way that my wisdom is not “mine”at all, it is a gift. Ultimately that is why I must share it. I must give it freely so life may continue to create itself, as it does, infinitely.

Thank you:

  • Suffering. Ah my prickly friend and greatest teacher. A favorite Eckhart Tolle quote of mine is: “Suffering is the light of consciousness.” Oh how it stings so beautifully sweet! My suffering truly is the only thing that has given me deep wisdom. It has been a treacherous path at times, but after a long hard climb, I am so grateful for the higher perspective and outlook on life. Yet I know there is more ahead so I am so very humble in this gratitude. Thank you.
  • My mother and grandmother. My mother has induced a lot of my suffering, but her ultimate gift to me has been through her unconditional love. My mother was mentally ill, a codependent wife to an alcoholic (my step-dad), and ended up in a nursing home by the age of 55 in what I feel was a slow and unsuccessful attempt at killing herself after losing her husband in a tragic accident. Needless to say, I have learned a lot from this. Yet my point in bring it up is that she has suffered a great deal. She essentially lost all the freedoms in her life at a very young age. She could have reacted by being very angry and bitter. Instead, she shares more love and joy for every thing and every one in her life than anyone I know and that is NO exaggeration in the least. Thank you.
  • My son. Loving him unconditionally has taught me what the human heart is capable of. I never knew how rich love could be before my dear boy. I also never felt a palpable range of what forgiveness and self-forgiveness, or the lack-thereof, could do to prevent or encourage energetic growth in the human-body until he was in my life. Thank you.
  • Lori Tindall. I am a very blessed person and somehow I must have got something right in a lifetime somewhere down the line for the grace that brought her into my life. After being hit the hardest- my mother’s strokes and in the deepest pits of healing that my life has seen, I was blessed by her presence and lucky enough to explore Universal energy, reiki, and yoga with her. It seems as though we were both brought together by prayers; hers for a reliable massage therapist to lease a room and mine: something to save my life. Words will never express the gratitude in my heart. Thank you.
  • Plant medicine. I am discovering the depths of consciousness and intelligence on our Earth and Universe and I have to thank the wondrous world of plants for their quiet and fragile place in that. If we listen to our selves long enough, we will discover we have so much to learn from them through our food, herbal remedies, supplements, beauty, environments, and in sacred practice. I have just begun to learn from you, but it is a life-long journey and one that I am sure that I have embarked upon life-times ago. Thank you.
  • Yoga. I love you! You are the shit! My goodness the wisdom and energy that the ancient sages put forth thousands of years ago, that we are just now starting to “validate” with science… amazing! Yoga is Union, and it brings it all hOMe for me. Everything: spirituality, health, the mind, the body, our Universe. Oh…. Yoga, I love you, L O V E you. I laugh in writing this because I heard the words in my head: How silly… none of this would even *be* to thank, without yoga. 🙂 Ahh, I believe it to be true. Thank you.

In closing, who and what are your teachers? How have they played a role in giving you what you now give back to the world or wish to? Has someone unlikely helped you recently? Please share… 

This post inevitably made me think of this beautiful song:

Jai!

New Moon Inspiration. Gemini. 2011.

Moon dusting off the old.

The ghosts of DNA,

deep deep darkness

unconsciousness made conscious.

Blackness illuminated.

This experience is wrapped with a bow.

…a bow, of gratitude.

Wait, wrapped in a bow?

I meant a moat.

A moat that IS the castle-

the destination; immersion.

G’head get dirty, feel it, touch it and wear it within.

Within all that you meet. Let the darkness define

the white, glossy smile of your teeth.

***
My ghost is the shield of security my heart space has created… long ago, a few years back, and of course again recently. My soul has partially escaped each time. Its been seeking to return to the Cosmos, yet also committed in sacred contract to this lovely form I call home, aka my body. Divided and protected, I can never win. So its time to undo and redo.

Family is redefining itself in every avenue. My blessings- my teachers- reiki, bodywork; my healers, yogins, and Angels. They’re helping me hear the whisper:  ‘It is safe. It is safe. It is safe to Love… and be Loved!!’

Moats don’t have to be muddy, they surely represent the unknown depth of our emotion. Yet doesn’t that mean that once cleared, it is Love deeper than I’ve known? That it is joy expressed and felt more richly than I have known since youth? And Peace that has shown its face to me in mountaintops, yet that I know is as accessible to me as the dishes stacked in my sink.

The whispers I’ve been gifted through all of this, are my saving Grace. I have never been so vulnerable, malleable, and powerful… capable of intense, radical transformation.

…so Dark, yet sure of the presence of Light.

This Light is the seed of God and wisdom, found  sitting in my belly and guided by my body and heart’s symphony. My third eye is able to see God’s vision, my vision, and my royal Crown chakra- realizing that none of this is mine. I am merely a vessel to do Gods work. I give in, I surrender. I release… I feel the sadness from my heart’s attachments but all I know is that I am a child wrapped in a Divine embrace. Just as my son cries from the lack of awareness or understanding… I trust that I am a child, an infant of God and what I need abounds me.

I pray:

to not forget myself for I know SHe never has.

to continue to hear my heart and Angels wisdom; synchronistic, symbolic, and dreamed.

to have the heart- the courage, to let my mind go. let the critic go. let the fear go.

to remember: I am safe; to love, to be loved, to laugh. …and play. I have done nothing wrong, I do not need permission or approval.

to forgive myself for wanting to judge- myself and others. And to release and remember: it is safe… to love and be loved. I have done nothing wrong, I do not need permission or approval. G’head… laugh at the old way. Why not? It is silly, now that I can see.

Lastly yet foremost, I pray to be guided to live my life in such a way that I am harmoniously serving myself, my family, Mother Earth, and all Life in purity for the highest good of all involved.

Om Shanti Namaste.

Jai!