Happy Juneteenth! (+ Summer Schedule and More)

Happy Juneteenth! (+ Summer Schedule and More)

Happy Juneteenth! I celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people and the ending of slavery in the United States. I hope each person who reads these words feels free, safe, and loved. I also acknowledge that everyone feels free, safe, or loved. May we never assume that everyone experiences freedom and may we all work toward the day when everyone does.

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Muddy angels

Muddy angels

One of my go-to sources for inspiration and enlightenment is Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in particular her audiobook, Mother Night. During a recent listen, I heard Dr. Estes speak about “muddy angels.” Muddy angels are messy and can be somewhat disorganized. They are not pristine or perfect, and yet, they are deeply connected to the unseen world. Muddy angels are of the earth, and consequently, are not afraid to get dirty as they bring the messages from the unseen world into the mundane world.

I suspect each one of us has witnessed a muddy angel in action…

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Pushing past signals to slow down or stop.

Pushing past signals to slow down or stop.

I am putting the final touches on the Shakti Summer Schedule and am looking forward to sharing about the opportunities to play, connect, and create in community with you. The finalized schedule will be released the week of the Summer Solstice with the exception of our first workshop on June 29. In the spotlight section below, you may read about our first summer offering “Oven Dyeing Wool Skeins.” I am super excited about this workshop because:

1. I love working with yarn and each participant receives two, high-quality wool skeins.

2. It means that I get to spend time with my sister-in-law, Joanne, the class instructor.

Oven Dyeing Wool Skeins hints about the quality and type of workshops and classes being offered this summer at Shakti in the Mountains. Just wait until you see the rest of the schedule!

Another hint about Shakti’s summer offerings is reflected in the following story…

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Roadmap to transformation.

Roadmap to transformation.

I love to read. One of my favorite genres is fantasy. I greatly admire authors who build well-crafted worlds filled with fantastical creatures and complex characters. Despite the predictability of the hero story arc, I enjoy watching the protagonist navigate each step of her journey, and even stay up late to read the exhilarating conclusion.

Why do I not get bored with the predictable plot line? I have several theories which might explain my ongoing love affair with the hero’s story arc…

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The invisible tensions between opposites.

The invisible tensions between opposites.

I had a wonderful vacation with my family and I am happy to be back home. Interesting how both extremes are true. Going away and coming back have equal value: I no longer feel that I have to choose one or the other. Instead I choose to be curious about how I want to flow between these two poles.

I credit this way of thinking to my study of polarity mapping: a technique developed by Barry Johnson. Polarity mapping is used to navigate paradoxes or dilemmas by making “the invisible tensions visible.” Considered a wisdom organizer, a polarity map acknowledges that there are both upsides and downsides to either pole and provides strategies for moving between the upsides of both poles – the ideal situation…

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So much gratitude + a New Moon Practice

So much gratitude + a New Moon Practice

For the next two weeks, I am on vacation with my family exploring a new-to-us part of the world: Sweden, Estonia, and Finland. While I am traveling, I have the good fortune of capable and kind people who volunteered to host the Shakti community gatherings in my absence. Because of these volunteers, you have the opportunity to…

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Ways to jumpstart a creative exploration.

Ways to jumpstart a creative exploration.

Happy May Day! May Day, or Beltane, marks the halfway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice and was originally celebrated in Ireland and Scotland as a fertility festival. Common Beltane customs include jumping over a big bonfire (for good fortune), circle dances, maypoles, and of course, making love. This cultural holiday is a celebration of the growth stage of the life cycle, and as such, there is a felt-sense of vitality and exuberance.

I invite you to…

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A Nature Allies Practice

A Nature Allies Practice

As I write these words, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the temperature is steadily rising: another beautiful spring day in the Appalachians. This time of year is perfect for walking in the woods where the wildflowers bloom with abandon. On a recent hike, I was delighted to see a childhood favorite, the Mayapple, whose leaf canopy, I imagine, shelters small fairies and tiny Beatrix Potter critters.

The ease with which I was transported back to my childhood, where I played with Mayapples, swung on grape vines, and sucked honeysuckle nectar, prompted me to create a nature connection practice for our community. I encourage you to give it a try, and if you are feeling adventurous, to commit to this practice once a day for two weeks in a row.

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My encounter with a snake.

My encounter with a snake.

Last Saturday, during a wander in the woods, I came across a drift of rocks strewn along the bank of a small creek. The rocks, boulders really, were covered in plush, green moss and made an excellent perch for woolgathering.

While I basked in the sun, so welcomed after the previous cold, blustery day, I heard a staccato noise coming from the pile of leaves in front of the boulder upon which I sat. I immediately looked down and saw the tail of a snake before it disappeared among the leaf litter. I swear my heart stopped for half a second before quickly moving into a rapid beat.

“Oh goodness gracious!” I exclaimed. (Where did that expression come from?) The urge to flee was great; however, I made myself…

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Scheduling a Nature Date with yourself.

Scheduling a Nature Date with yourself.

It is hard to believe that there are only three more classes left of the Intro to Nature Connection course. I have really enjoyed my time with the students and have appreciated expanding my comfort level by engaging with the topic. I am very aware that I have only scratched the surface of wilderness therapy and ecopsychology, and subsequently, am looking at additional training to gain more skills.

One of the gifts received from teaching a class about nature connection is witnessing the therapeutic benefits of nature connection in real time – both for myself and for the students. At the beginning…

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