This weekend was my 42nd birthday.
My birthday wish for myself was spaciousness in nature, time to explore without needing to rush back for anything. I hoped to listen to the timeless sound of the stream and to flow with the day like the water flows along the rocks. I wanted to be with the emergent energy all around me, naturally opening like flowers to the sun.
Like many things these days, there were some bizarre twists and turns I was invited to dance with. Some exhilarating. Some exhausting. All very humbling.
My theme for this birthday has been all about the Rose. If you know me, you know that my main passions in life are movement and nature offerings. In studying with the Q'ero, the depth of intentionality, ritual, and personal connection with nature is something that inspires me. An invitation they have shared is for each person to find what kind of leaves they would like to use for their offerings and develop a strong personal relationship with that plant.
For a year or so, I went to my garden and would use the sage from there, which I loved. The next year I explored mint, since there was such an abundance of it. However, my heart kept yearning towards rose leaves. The downside to this is going to the grocery store to buy them. What evolved was a birthday wish to plant rose bushes and begin to cultivate this relationship on the land where I live. I shared this with my neighbor and friend, Sarah Drew, who has gorgeous rose bushes in her garden and who generously gifted me my first rose bush.
After we planted the rose bush, I noticed these sweet white flowers nearby. They had thorns on the leaves like roses, but not the signature rose spiral. Intrigued, I investigated and found out that they were wild roses that only bloom once per year. I started to look around and see the wild roses everywhere. As I went on the same walk I have done hundreds and hundreds of times, I saw over 40 wild rose bushes in bloom. Maybe even 42 of them, my new age.
There's some magic here for me about desiring something and waking up to see how it was here all along. Rest assured, I will never need to go to a grocery store again for rose leaves, until winter at least, or maybe I can dry them?
Check out this wild rose bush that is taller than I am!
On part of my walk, I made my way to what I call the lake of longing. For some reason, I was feeling a little nervous to jump in alone and decided to just put my feet in. I had this internal dialogue around not forcing myself to get past my fear. I could just honor my discernment and enjoy the feel of the water on my feet. However, another neighbor woman I know showed up and jumped right in. I decided to join her, and as we started talking, I noticed we had gotten pretty far away from the dock. She shared she normally swims all the way across the lake. Ha! In visiting this lake for 6 years, I had never done that or even thought about it. It seemed like a big feat.
What the hell? I joined her, and as you might imagine, felt the intensity of my decision when I reached the other side. When I arrived safely back at the dock, I reflected on how so much of life can be like that for me. Maybe for you, too? What a gift to notice how the support of another person can make it possible to go farther than one had imagined before.
After that swim, I sat down to make a big prayer for my life, calling on the spirit of the Rose, asking for the things I normally ask for ~ healing, insight, optimum health, love, courage so that I may show up and bring the unique gifts I have to offer to embody my soul, support my family, and nourish my community. My heart broke open a few times with gratitude for the opportunity to love my son, to be able to dance with people all over the world in a soulful way, for music, for nature, for life. As beautiful as the place was where I was making the offering, my embodied presence was a feast to many mosquitos. I'm smiling as I type this, honoring those picture perfect moments and also the dynamic nature of life that may not always be seen, but can be felt. The subtle invitation to surrender, let go, allow, trust. The place where discomfort becomes more comfortable on the journey, an embracing of paradox.
I wasn't feeling very well on the evening of my birthday and then later tested positive for Covid. Somehow, there is a poetry with the rose as the symbol for this birthday. What is that saying... "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
My favorite thing about gathering with people in a Qoya container is the opportunity to allow space to feel how we feel and to embrace the many sensations and emotions of a human life. I love how as a community we can hold grief with reverence, joy with celebration, numbness with compassion, and challenges with kindness. I'm deeply inspired by the people who show up to love, even when heartbroken by the ways of the world.
Love is what heals.
This is something I continue to remember again and again. It's also for me the symbol of the rose. The fragile spiral of life that continues to open softly to the call of the sun, even in a world that is still learning how to appreciate a beauty like that.
Thank you for going on the journey of my birthday with me here. May your own journey today be blessed by the rose, mosquitos, unexpected friends, long swims to the other side of the lake, honest prayers, and love. May the love that led us here to this moment lead us through.
With so much love from my heart to yours,
July 1 - 5: Rhinebeck, New York with Rochelle Schieck
September 11 - 14: Kripalu Retreat Center with Rochelle Schieck
October 29 - Nov 5: Costa Rica Retreat with Rochelle Schieck - enrollment opens soon!
January 8 - 12, 2023: Costa Rica Retreat with Rochelle Schieck
April 15 - 22, 2023: Costa Rica Retreat with Rochelle Schieck - enrollment opens soon!
UPCOMING INITIATION TEACHER TRAININGS
June 20 / 22 / 25, 2022: France Initiation with Claire Garin (taught in French)
September 17 - 18, 2022: Denver Initiation with Sydney Zwicker
December 3 - 5, 2022: England Initiation with Sonja Lockyer
UPCOMING INTENSIVE TEACHER TRAININGS
July 11 - 17, 2022: Rhinebeck, New York with Rochelle Schieck (sold out)
April 22 - 28, 2023: Costa Rica with Rochelle Schieck - enrollment opens soon!