Refill The Well: A Red Tent Event

“Refill the Well” was the focus of the 2nd Red Tent Event that I held in York Pennsylvania this past June.  Women, across several generations, came together to experience techniques & share their wisdom regarding ways to take care of ourselves so we have more to give– refilling our wells.  I believe that nourishing & nurturing ourselves isn’t selfish or self-centered; it’s self-preservation.

An inviting place to gather with women & share our stories.

An inviting place to gather with women & share our stories.

 

Each Red Tent Event that I host strives to be a balance between quiet time to reconnect with one’s highest self through meditation, journaling, or art as well as social time to connect with other women in a safe, sacred space.

Spaces for women to gather in community or take time to be alone with their thoughts and feelings.

Spaces for women to gather in community or take time to be alone with their thoughts and feelings.

 

Part of the social piece is a Sacred Wisdom Council.  We gathered together in a circle to share our experiences on the topic of self-care, each of us walking away with at least one new idea.  Among the suggestions were…

1)  Visualize a sacred space within yourself.  Here you can dance, connect with ancestors or other spirit guides, and tap into your own intuition.

2)  Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal.  For some, this daily practice is enlightening and often points the way to solutions.  It also lightens the heart & spirit by putting concerns on paper rather than dwelling on them.

3)  Take time to be in nature.  I shared that I occasionally set “intentional” walks with my dogs.  One morning, I may decide to focus on the sounds around me; another morning, I might focus on the sights in the neighborhood.  This practice keeps me grounded & present.  It feeds my soul.

4)  Try yoga.  It connects body, mind, & spirit through a variety of postures.  Some find this calming while others find it energizing.  All that tried it expressed it’s benefits in their lives.

5)  Schedule an appointment with a Reiki practitioner.  Reiki is the exchange of universal life force energy through light touch or a hands-above-the-body approach.  As you can see from the picture below, I set up my Reiki table behind some red curtains so that each person could experience it for herself.

A secluded area in the tent for Reiki sessions.

A secluded area in the tent for Reiki sessions.

Magic happens when we stay present in the moment.  

Without any prompting, women seemed moved by the moment & offered their gifts to one another.  One woman gave bodywork consultations, another gave individualized yoga training, and another gave Tarot readings!  The beauty of the Red Tent lies in the beauty of each woman who enters with her own unique blend of experience, wisdom, & talent.  By sharing these gifts with one another, we lift each other up in loving arms of support & encouragement.  Throughout the day, we were each teacher & student, safe to be our authentic selves.  The cornucopia of positive energy & acceptance overflowed.

I’m looking forward to our next event in September, when the focus will be “In Celebration”, celebrating what is unique to each of us & honoring our beauty inside and out.  Details can be found on this website under “Events” or on my Facebook page.  Also, we are now registered on http://www.redtentmovie.com/red_tents_near_you.html .

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Portrait of an Artist

This piece is dedicated to artists, songwriters, poets, & all others who create from a deep place within their soul.  

For, I believe, creation is a sacred act performed in collaboration with the Divine force that inspires & co-creates with us.  

I hope you see yourself in this portrait.

 

I enter the passageway, regal yet humble, confident yet scared- bare feet purposefully connecting to the cool rock beneath them.  Moss cushions one footstep while jagged rocks poke savagely at the next.  No right or wrong… just being.

There is drumming but no drummer.  The heartbeat of the earth itself.  The heartbeat of this cavernous temple.

Long skirt, bare arms- warm there, cool here.  I continue to be pulled in deeper & deeper.  The drumbeat-heartbeat echoes in my ears, pounding in my brain until thoughts are blessedly mute.  There’s just the pounding rhythm.

Small torches give life to shadows that dance on the walls.  Spirits are here.  I am the priestess, the High Priestess, of this temple, standing in the power of connecting and belonging.  A larger light beckons from deeper within.  I walk up to the shallow copper bowl on its pedestal, coals glowing inside.  Such heat blows the hair back from my face, drying my lips & eyes.  I shut them both & raise my hands to either side of the bowl, moving them first closer to the heat then into the coolness before settling comfortably in the warm middle space.

I peer down into the embers, where more spirits dance.  Such power- an energy that dances in me, too.  What is the message?  “This cannot be rushed.  Demands & impatience have no place here.  Look & listen.”

I genuflect, hands before my face, palms pressed together in prayer position.  I touch them to my core- a place of right action, my heart- right emotion, my throat- right communication, between my eyes- right thought, and the crown of my head- right connection.  This sets the intention for sacred work to take place.

Drumbeat-heartbeat no longer a sound, now a feeling.

One knee senses the small pebbles beneath, grounding me to this place and time.  When ready, I rise and bow to the fire- giver of life, destroyer, and transformer.  I proceed to the dark recess where torch and ember cannot reach.

Wetness… bare feet slip on rocks and hands slide along slick walls.  I smell the dampness that blankets my skin and fills my nostrils.  I drink with every breath.

I notice the small pots on the stony ledge and pick one up.  It’s half full of russet paint, the color of dried blood.  I push my finger into the warm thickness then streak the bridge of my nose and under each eye.  I hold space for a still moment before I take that pot to the place where dark meets light and magic takes place.  I dip a crude brush into the paint then hover above the place on the wall where I want to put the image.  Wait.  Keep waiting as long as I’m thinking “I want.  I want.”  When “I want” becomes “thy will”, place the brush on the rock and let it move.  It will be what it will be.

Back- long and strong, around the haunches- muscular and determined, shoulders- curved and coiled for action, neck- supporting the regal head, and face- alive and knowing.  What else?  I wait for it to come.  If nothing comes, I stop for stopping is all I can do.  This is a collaborative piece that I can never own or dare to take credit for.  My body, like my brush, is a channel.

I stand in the silence… feeling the blood course through my veins and pound in my ears.  All the pounding- my heartbeat, the drumbeat, and the animal spirits stampeding on the wall.  I know this is all for now and I am at peace.  I return the bowl to its place on the dark shelf and I return to the light beyond the embers and the torchlight to the fiery radiance of the sun.

Sensory overload as macaws scream, monkeys screech, insects rub legs and wings, birds chirp, and the waterfall roars.  I cover my ears with my hands.  Too much to take in.  Too many objects… too many sounds… too many scents vying for attention, rushing me all at once.  I long to return to the cave, that place far removed yet more deeply connected to all that is.

This, too, is my world.  Men feeding elephants.  Women feeding babies.  I take from the cave and bring to the village as a gift.  I take from the village and bring to the cave as a gift.  All of life committed to being an offering.  An expression of gratitude for the light and the darkness, the noise and the silence… gratitude for all that is.

Wisdom from My Garden: Meditation on a Blueberry Bush

Picking blueberries in my back garden in the coolness of the morning is both a meditation & a prayer of gratitude for me.  I planted the 8 bushes that line one side of my yard, nurturing them over the years so they can produce flavorful berries that nourish me, my loved ones, & the local wildlife (which I also consider my loved ones).  The act of gardening is a spiritual experience, connecting me to all that is.  It also allows me to quickly disconnect my overactive mind & fall into a gentle easiness that a familiar task can bring.

There is no need to analyze or worry for I know from a lifetime of experience that all I must do is pluck the plump berries that fall easily from the branch.  If I have to tug at the berry to get it to fall into my pail, it’s not ready& all I gain from forcing the situation is a hard, sour berry that is unpleasant to eat.  I’m finding life works in exactly the same way… if I have to force it, whatever “it” is, it’s most likely not going to work out the way I’d like it to.  Yes, I must show up & invest wholeheartedly in the moment, but it’s equally important that I willingly surrender to the natural flow of things.  We’ve all been there & we all know the difference between when something feels right & when something feels forced.

Blueberry Bounty

Blueberry Bounty

I have also learned that if I look at the bush from one perspective, I may think I’ve seen all there is to see, missing out on the bounty that may be tucked under some leaves or hidden around the back of the bush.  Shifting my perspective allows me to see  a treasure that wasn’t visible from my own narrow viewpoint.  I can carry this lesson into my daily life & relationships… acknowledging that my point of view is just that– one point of view– and that there are other perspectives I can consider, opening my soul to understanding, compassion, & empathy.

There is wisdom in books, gurus, & retreat centers but there is a simple yet profound wisdom gained by being still, being present, & being authentic.  This I can do in my own back garden, among the blueberry bushes.