About Katariina Agnes Fagering

Artist, writer, photographer living between Bend, Oregon and Houston, Texas. I served 17 years in the Marine Corps and deployed to two conflicts. I'm a midwife of possibilities believing everything is sacred. My religion is kindness.

Birthing a New Lifestyle

chula vista marina

This morning, as the sun rose I practiced my yoga asanas out on the lawn next to Chula Vista Marina in southern California. The cool breeze carried the taste of salt as the sun warmed my face. I felt cradled in the beauty of Mother Earth. My heart filled with gratitude for the freedom to make new life choices and know that Mother Earth will always catch and embrace me when I fall.

crow

Crow (keeper of the Sacred Law) keeps showing up to remind me to step deeper into my own integrity and live in congruence with the woman I know I am. Crow wants me to stay present in this timeless moment where past, present and future exist as one. Where I am standing in my full expression of self, creating audaciously connecting to the deep wisdom held by my ancestors. I’ve missed crow’s gentle reminder because in Houston there are very few crows, seldom heard or seen. Can you imagine going a day without conversing with a crow? I can’t and yet I did for 3 years.

In February our lives took a left turn and suddenly we were packing up our house to be sold, buying a travel trailer (I like to call it our Caravan) and making plans to head west to study yogic living for a few months. It felt like such a quick birthing of a new lifestyle but as I thought further I realized this idea was first conceived nine months ago at our wedding.

Larry at wedding

The weekend of Big Luscious Matrimony in Dripping Springs, Texas was really more of a coming out party for Larry and I. It was the first time we had experienced our imperfectly, authentic dream of cultivating our creativity, connecting with our community and exploring sustainability. We planned the minute details of the wedding for over a year so that it would be a direct reflection of ourselves. We had local ice cream, local beer, local pies, local dinner. We collected mason jars for the year to use as reusable water glasses for the guests. We got he flowers from a flower farm down the street.

wedding flowers

Then we allowed for mystery to show up and help us complete our dream. The ceremony was planned that morning before the wedding and it was perfect. We had a circle gathering of all our guests just before the rehearsal dinner and I wasn’t sure what would happen but we wanted to create an opportunity to share our intention for the weekend and for people to meet each other. What happened actually blew me away. Deep sharing, tears, laughter, and bonding. We only planned to hold the space for coming together. kat and larry wedding day

On our last morning at the venue, sipping our coffee on the front porch, Larry and I decided that we needed to live this way. So we figured naturally that meant to buy a ranch and create our structures and call in our tribe. We dreamed of swimming in our natural pond pool, hosting gatherings of all sorts while we raised our feral children to run wild and free.

the land that heals

Nine moths later when we are getting ready to put some money down on 50 acres in Hill Country, Texas, Larry asks if we might want to postpone the buying of land and instead travel a bit in that “caravan” we were buying to live in while we built our first structure. With only a few seconds of thought I shouted, “YES” and we were off to pack up, haul out, donate, toss out and give away our collection of stuff so we could easily live in our tiny caravan.

As it turns out the baby we birthed didn’t look anything like we expected. Instead of us living stationary calling in our tribe, it looks like we will be riding with the wind at our backs with our hearts full of honey gathering new members of the tribe and visiting and “talking story” with our antiquated tribal peeps.

Goodbye Happy Home!

Goodbye Happy Home!

This labor was arduous, both physically and mentally taxing as all of my labors are. Then there was the painful limbo period between contractions where I wasn’t able to express my creativity and our dream didn’t quite look like we had planned. Yet the further we traveled across the Sonoran Desert away from Houston the clearer the path became. It’s as if the fog of living in the humid urban hub of concrete and strip malls had lifted and I could breath again and the scent of the pacific ocean was calling us home.

Sonoran Desert

Our passage to California is just the first stop in our new mobile life. We are attending an intensive yoga course called, Mastery of Life Course by Laura and Bhava. I will write more about this experience now that the wild, salty winds from the sea are cleaning out all the sluggishness and waking up my feral, creative soul.  The sea and crow will bring me back to my balanced stasis of audacious-ness.

Where will we go next? We’re not quite sure yet, perhaps north, perhaps east, we’ll have to see what plan we conceive and hatch during the next few months in glorious San Diego.

I bow to you . . .

larry wedding4

The Subject of a My Devotion

 Larry (Laz) Ogden – my betrothed, beloved in life, love & the great mystery; grower of greens, sunflowers & wild beings. Lover of life, adventure & oceans;

I bow to you.

Larry wedding web

Your dedication to protecting & providing for all who live within your heart is miraculous.

Your unconditional love for me in every which way I show up inspires my heart to soften & open more.

my boys swirling in love

my boys swirling in love

The Divine Mother surely has anointed you for her love for you is tangible. In return your devotion to her is the gift I receive.

Larry Ogden photo by Katariina Fagering Your spontaneity & boyish playfulness keeps us both young, alive & crackling with the creative life force.

I feel so honored & blessed to be the Priestess who walks along side you in this lifetime.

we three black and white

Our love is a meditation, a ritual passed down from the ancient times. When the Goddess had a place in the people’s hearts. The Heiros Gamos (Sacred Marriage). Together we become as God, fusing the Divine Feminine and Masculine.

As in heaven, so on earth.

Ours is a sacred journey, an ancient dance, moving to the music, the sound of Mother Earth.

Protected by the wisdom of time there is nothing to learn but merely remember how the ancestors created a harmonious alchemy of extremes between fear & bliss as we reenact our own timeless mythology of sacred love between the beloveds.

larry wedding web 2

My devotion to you is endless.

On this Valentines Day & everyday, I bow to you.

The Legacy We Leave

Paul Anderson 2012My dad died last week on Wednesday January 16th, 2013. Today I woke up thinking about how much I wanted the watch I gave him when I was 18 right after arriving in California for my first duty station in the Marine Corps. I inscribed on the back “to my precious daddy.” I want to hold the watch in my hands, feel the weight of it and remember his sweet side, his tender loving side that inspired me give him such a personal and expensive gift.

2013-01-18 20.44.01

My dad is the little one on the right

Fathers hold so much weight in a daughter’s life. I remember many times sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out what my father would say about any decision in life. I remember he would take us shopping at the beginning of the school year but he would buy the clothes he wanted me to buy and I would let him just to make happy.  I joined the Marine Corps because he was really happy about it and signed me up at 17 years old. That was the same year his mother sent him off to the Army, only she was dying and didn’t want him around to watch. He didn’t know until he was called home on emergency leave to be with her just before she passed.

Lila Young Anderson

Lila Young Anderson

This was a defining moment in his life that colored the rest of his life’s decisions. He was devastated, heartbroken and alone after the loss of his mother, Lila. Perhaps this is why he struggled so much with his anger, his alcohol abuse and abusive nature towards us. He provided a wonderful home and food to eat but he was absent from a lot of our activities even when he was physically present. What none of us realized is that he suffered greatly from depression most of his life. His struggle with his mental health became ever apparent when I was a Junior in High School and he crashed deeply into a mental break down. He was unresponsive for days at a time just staying in bed, didn’t eat or drink for days and my mother cried for fear that he was going to die. He eventually recovered but he was never the same. It’s hard to put a finger on how he was different but he became even less involved in our lives and would get very emotional at times. It was as if he couldn’t handle a lot after that and needed to keep his world even smaller.

Daddy and me

I believe my upbringing with my dad’s temper and trying to keep him from exploding helped me be the successful Marine that I was. The only problem was that pleasing my dad and the Marine Corps didn’t nourish the essence of me nor my desire to create, heal and be connected to nature. It really was an adapted behavior that I developed as a very young child and the funny thing is, I still struggle with what to wear and what is MY style.Armstrong Forest, Guerneville by Katariina Fagering

I wrote in my book, The Art & Soul of Dancing Barefoot about growing up in two worlds:

"I grew up in two worlds. One was a wildly magical world in the woods of the 
Pacific Northwest, where I enjoyed a strong connection to the enchanted, rich 
elements of the region. There I felt comfortable and alive. . .
My other world existed in the strict household ruled by my volatile father who 
could explode at any moment."

Armstrong Forest, Guerneville

The magical world we grew up in was made possible because of my dad’s absence. He allowed us so much freedom to run in the woods, chase deer, and build forts with his tools even. Most kids I knew in my neighborhood were not afforded such freedom. For his permissive parenting, I am very grateful.

Dad in Banff, Canada

Last week when I got the call that he wasn’t doing very well I knew immediately that I needed to go to him to say goodbye. Kristeen felt the same urgency and so did my brother. My brother and sister were in Sacramento so they began their journey across the bay as I drove to the airport to fly to San Francisco. We were all en route when he passed.  My only thought was, “No! He was supposed to wait, why couldn’t he just hold on a few more hours?” I crumbled into a heap in the airport terminal with tears flowing down my face.

daddy and Finn

After arriving in San Francisco it became clear to all of us kids that perhaps he did this intentionally knowing we would all be together and have to work somethings out. I pictured my dad with that mischievous grin on his face pretending like he didn’t know what we were talking about. You see my brother, Pony, hadn’t spoken to me in about three years because of something I did or did not do and then here we were and there was only one thing to do. Go to the pub! Share a drink or two and let the water flow under the bridge.

Amy, Kristeen and Pony

So we did. We hugged, laughed, cried, danced, toasted dad and cursed him. Kristeen toasted, “To a man who danced to his own rhythm, may he never step on our toes again.”

We tried to remember something good about him but all that would come were the sad stories of neglect, abuse and abandonment. Slowly though after a a day and a few hours or so we started remembering and we began to fill our hearts with light and love for this man that struggled so much in his life and ended finally feeling peace.

Paul Anderson's Memorial altar 2

on his altar were tools, vintage cars, and a paint can and brush. His ashes will go in the paint can.

Kristeen and I worked on a Memorial Booklet for two days. We were telling the story of his life and that process walked us through so many memories, thoughts and possibilities for him – it’s always the journey in art that is the most profound to me. We didn’t even get the booklet finished (still working on it), but it didn’t even matter because my father’s death allowed us to end a legacy, release the pain, his pain, our pain and create a life that we can step into that is supportive, loving and nurturing. This is our responsibility for our children and their children to come.

Everyone present shared an attribute that they appreciated in Paul

Everyone present shared an attribute that they appreciated in Paul

After the memorial service Kristeen and I drove out to Jenner beach and held a little ceremony of our own with the 20 foot waves and harbor seals bobbing up and down in the waters where the river meats the sea. We found two rocks each and then meditated on what our dad passed on to us that we wanted to release and what we wanted to keep close to us. I let go of the pattern of not being able to realize our dreams in their fullness I shouted this to the waves and then ran down to the waters edge and threw the rock into the sea. I chose to hold onto way of creating that was fearless and childlike with no desire to make it perfect but to simply create. We sat holding our touch stones and watched as the sun dipped into the ocean and then disappeared.

Jenner Beach by Katariina Fagering

The Russian River flowing into the ocean

This is the legacy I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren and so on.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”

                                                                                        ~Kahlil Gibran

the ancient radiance of others . . .

ariana's guardian angel by Katariina Fagering

It is such a rare occasion to stand in the presence of another and be truly seen; it is what we all so deeply long for and when it happens, healing takes place. The illusion of separation dissolves and we begin to experience true connection. Perhaps this is the experience we could move towards in this world. Instead of arming our schools with guards carrying weapons to keep violence in check, can we begin to truly see one another and live from a place of embracing compassion so that no one slips into a space of feeling unseen?

I’m discovering that this is an ancient truth that bridges across cultures and time.

 

The South Africans use the word ubuntu which means: I am because you are. I love this notion that until I know the fullness of you, I can never completely know myself. It’s a way of showing up in the world celebrating everyone, where ever they may be.  Rather than judging others, ubuntu is about embracing them for just existing; for showing you a new aspect of yourself.

ubuntu front postcard by Katariina Fagering

The Celts have an old Gaelic term that means “soul friend.”I learned about this in the book Anam Cara by John  O’Donahue. In the presence of an anam cara you could share your innermost self, your thoughts and your heart’s longings. Since you can never be fully visually present to your self; your anam cara is the truest mirror to reflect your soul. When you gaze at someone with soft eyes and an open heart, and the gaze is returned, there is a merging and deepening of both souls.

shells in Anam Cara by Katariina Fagering

The Buddhist tradition has a term called Kalyana-mitra or “noble friend.” One must depend on the Kalyana-mitra to see what you cannot see for yourself.  So once again, I can’t know myself without another to show me. The Kalyana-mitra compliments the scope of your own vision of self – like a mirror.

Violette reflection by Katariina Fagering

These terms point to the same notion that we are not whole without the vision and expression of everyone. Often I hear people say, “Yes, we are all one!”, but this feels like a cliché despite its truth.  Maybe this is because its’ deeper significance resides in a world most of us don’t experience, especially not with strangers. Can you imagine what it must feel like to look so deeply at someone who they become part of you?

peony by Katariina FAgering

This past fall I had two occasions to speak publicly about truly seeing one another as ourself. One was Call of the Wild Soul Art Workshop in England and the other at the Sophia Circle in Coronado, California. During each presentation I shared an exercise I learned from two of my teachers, Claire Zammit and Katherine Woodward Thomas of Evolving Wisdom.

sophia altar Katariina Fagering

I call it my Ubuntu Exercise because it allows one’s eyes to soften and heart to open enough to experience the woman they are listening to, sitting across from them, not separate but an actual part of them. Taking attention off of self and letting go of concerns of being seen in a particular way is a powerful exercise. I invite them to see their partner (the speaker) subjectively instead of objectively.  I offer visual snippets from experiences in the speaker’s life, universal to us all. For example, “there was a time when she went to school for the first time and was scared. Her parents cried because their little girl was growing up. Then there was the time she bought her first bra, and a time she had her first kiss. She has a story about the time she betrayed a friend and felt horrible about it and another time when she was betrayed.” These are just a few examples of the experiences I bring to their attention as they are looking in the eyes of their partner.

After this, I ask the speaker to speak from the edge of her own knowing about what her soul is calling her to create next. The listener is asked to listen as if what she is about to say is the most important message ever spoken and that the future of the world depended upon it. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be listened to with that level of attention? What would you say?

sophia conference

Not everyone is able to fully engage into this exercise but if they do what happens is magical! Women begin to swell with pride for the woman across from them as if she is their own child, tears then slowly fall down their cheeks as they fall in love with this stranger sitting across from them. An energy swells between the two and there is no more separation because each one is seen deeper than their own sense of vision. Their souls are embracing outside of their bodies and they are enshrined in a circle of belonging.

The Gathering by Katariina Fagering

The true contour of their spirit is illuminated in this soulful space and each woman is able to witness the ancient radiance of the other as themselves. No longer on the outside of their skin this sacred blending begins to heal the wounded self.

contoured over time by Katariina Fagering

This is the world I want to continue to dance in through art workshops or wherever I am called. I am urgently interested in revealing the infinite, ancient connectedness of one another that melts the hardened shell protecting our hearts and allows us to be free of our fear of judgement, vulnerability and being truly seen.

Perhaps because it is what I need the most!

With Deep Love,

Katariina

surrender by Katariina Fagering

nudes by candlelight . . .

 

FROM ODE TO A NAKED BEAUTY BY PABLO NERUDA

IT IS NOT SO MUCH LIGHT THAT FALLS

OVER THE WORLD
EXTENDED BY YOUR BODY
ITS SUFFOCATING SNOW,
AS BRIGHTNESS, POURING ITSELF OUT OF YOU,
AS IF YOU WERE
BURNING INSIDE.

UNDER YOUR SKIN THE MOON IS ALIVE.

 

Many years ago, I took these soft images of women by candlelight. I wanted to recreate those old 1910 photographs that I adored so much. I just love the soft subtle lines of these women’s beautiful bodies.

I dug these prints up out of one of the many boxes in my studio closet filled with prints that I made back in the day of film and dark rooms. I dusted them off and scanned them to breathe life into them once again.

Pablo’s poem and these images inspire me to explore more alternative image making.

 

 

 

my perfectly imperfect assemblages . . .

one side of our mantel

I’m a collector of many little imperfect objects that bring happiness. Some of them are found objects (like this carved wood piece from the beach in Nicaragua, the snake-skin from my backyard, & the piece of vertebrate from an unknown source) while others I discover in thrift stores, on etsy or at the market. Then there are those extra special pieces that were gifted to me.

I have one rule when hunting for my wares to assemble, they must scream at me, “TAKE ME HOME!” (those are my shouty caps) That is when I know the object is a definite yes & it’s coming home with me. Rocks & shells have always called out to me as I walk along the beach & in thrift stores I use similar stalking techniques; I go into a zone & I focus on the objects in front of me as I scan shelf after shelf looking for that color, texture, or shape to pop up & shout at me.

Once home I either place it with an already existing grouping or I start another one. At times, I think the faeries & elf folk move some objects around in the night to help me along (or maybe it’s just Finnegan). Either way they eventually end up grouped in an inspiring assemblage that feels personal, inspiring, & alive.

Full Mantel with Kelly Allison Painting above.

Color, texture, & shape are all very important in creating an arrangement, but for me there is nothing serious going on here. It’s just for play & fun. I’m learning what works, what doesn’t by throwing it together.  I guess that is true for any of my art forms.

In fact most of my assemblages of haberdashery are put together by accident while others are worked & reworked until I feel satisfied. I try to change them up often by putting objects away into boxes & pulling out older objects I haven’t tangled with in a while.

I think what is most fun for me about this form of creativity is that these groupings are so impermanent & can be shifted, disassembled, mixed up & changed around at anytime. Not all art modalities are that flexible.

bottles on our pie cabinet

I love living in a house filled with objects that have a history & a story; this brings richness & depth to our entire home. I feel alive stepping into a house that is filled with original art, antiques, objects found on travels all simmering together creating an eclectic concoction of rich, full-bodied luscious-ness.

impromptu assembly – teapot from my collection of teapots, painted frog and dish from BHLDN

This dictionary below is from 1940 & came into my possession while walking down a New York City street with my sister on trash day. We walked by a pile of trash bags with this giant old dictionary just sitting there on top. I stopped and looked at my sister quizzically asking, "is that trash?" She said it must be, so I skulked back and picked up the ginormous book and kept walking. It's beautiful with old maps & pictures. Finn likes to open it up to see where he is going - or so he tells me.

simple pumpkin on an old dictionary

a collection of old frames for a Finnegan arrangement

What do a strand of chili peppers to ward off bad spirits, a 
vintage camera, a string of marigolds, 
an Iraqi Army compass, a mirrored tray, 
three decorative china desert plates, umbrellas, 
an owl & a straw hat have in common? 
They are all on display in my entryway.

our front entryway

These quail below were in my childhood house on an end table. 
They were given to us by my sister as a wedding gift so now they 
are perched over a collection of river & ocean rocks in front of a charcoal drawing I drew a few years back.

dining table assemblage

rock, brick & moss

We carry this assemblage theme into our backyard but in a much more permanent way. Someday I hope to live in an entire house that is built with salvaged wood, doors, hardware & objects with deep, old stories to be shared. We collected a lot of old bricks just lying around the city & bought another bunch at a salvage yard. This Thurber is one on the oldest bricks in Texas. I love how it’s squeezed between the moss bed & a river rock. Some of this magic just happens over time, like the patina on an old rusted sign. It’s like setting the scene & letting nature do the rest.

Outdoor Shower Floor

We built an outdoor shower by placing the river rocks in a swirl. Finnegan’s plant (a plant that showed up in a pot in our sun room on the day he was born. We brought it with us to Houston and threw it under the house)  is encroaching over the floor.

rocks placed perfectly imperfect

our front porch with a painting I painted

I make no claim of being a stylist or a designer, but this brings me happiness & joy in the creating & decorating of my home. I love creating little vignettes of perfect imperfection.

Sibella Court & Sara Cooney are my biggest inspirations in this style of fashioning a home. I will share more about Sara soon.

I’m interested to know if anyone else does this in their house. I’d love to see some photos of your creations.

Big Love,

Katariina

wedged between birth & death . . .

sweet baby aria

When Larry and I were getting ready for our Big Bohemian Wedding in Austin last May, our neighbors on one side were preparing for the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Aria. The big brown UPS truck with squeaky brakes would pull up outside our house and drop two to three large boxes on their front porch nearly everyday. They were playfully battling over what name was appropriate for their little Texan on her way. She is a Francophil and wanted the name Amalie; he wasn’t having anything to do with that. Aria is a great compromise.

All the while, our neighbors on the other side were struggling with news of a lymphoma diagnosis. Her parents arrived to take care of their 2-year-old while she succumbed to a brutal bout of chemotherapy treatments that latest months. We only saw her occasionally after arriving home from the treatments and being carefully escorted from the car to the house a tiny shell of the woman she used to be, scarf over her head, and sallow face. I prayed for her recovery and painted her a painting that came through me intuitively. There was a bleak, exhaustion emanating from that side of our house and my heart held them quietly, unobtrusively in love.

We are not close to either of our neighbors although they are only six feet away on both sides. They will not be reading my blog (I chose not to use their names). However we are friendly with both of them and truly like them but I think they are not so sure about us when we dug up our front rose bushes and planted an urban garden that quickly took over the entire yard. Or when we moved the air conditioners up to the second floor balcony and put a pool in the tiny space that is our backyard. Or maybe it was painting our house in colorful colors that definitely stand out. Who knows?

Despite this I couldn’t help but feel the strange juxtaposition of our life events sitting side by side. I felt wedged between beginnings vs endings, birth vs death, growth vs depletion and abundance vs scarcity. All the while we were planning for our big luscious matrimony with the intention of deepening our roots in ourselves, each other, our family and our community of friends. Reading our houses from right to left (like the Chinese) it’s the cycle of life; birth, the richness of life and then death (death to the cancer, not to her).

our house in the middle

Today we sit between the proud parents of sweet baby Aria and a family with a cancer free mom on her road back to full recovery and Larry and I are deeply rooted in ourselves, each other and our ever-expanding community.

Life just happens doesn’t it? And then we make a stew, take our kids to school and walk the dog; someone dies and then a baby is born.

My Wildly Audacious Soul

polaroid from Persisting Stars by Madelyn Mulvaney

I heard a call and my wild soul responded with action. Late in September I gathered with a group of amazing Soul-full artists from around the globe in Somerset, England at the Majestic Croydon Hall. It took a plane ride, a train ride, a few taxi’s, more trains, a city bus and another taxi ride all with a toddler in tow, and oh it was worth every second of the sometimes-not-so-pleasant  travel!

Croydon Hall

I’m not sure words can ever explain the magic that was created that weekend with over fifty women, a few token men and a flock of babies all interacting, connecting, creating, and collaborating together.

View from our Room

We all showed up to answer Erin Faith Allen’s (Creator of Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat) call for her tribe. She put a call out for Wild Souls to come and play at her artist retreat that she named, Call of the Wild Soul (COTWS).

The location couldn’t have been more sublime. Croydon Hall is laced with gorgeous, ancient trees that buzz when you walk near them. The lush gardens meandered deeper and deeper into the corners where roses whispered soft messages to my soul while stoic trees stood guard so we could let go and dance with our creativity and watch what magic would unfold.  The mushrooms that sprouted in abundance let us know that the faery folk were active on the sacred grounds and I heard of more than a few mystical encounters and visits (Maddie & Larry).

what is this mythical unfolding fungus?

Erin asked me to speak on the opening evening to all the wild souls. Feeling so honored, I jumped at the chance to share my ideas about art, healing and Audacious Ubuntu. The concept is to boldly, bravely even brazenly step into connecting deeply with others with soft eyes and an open heart because we can never fully know our depth until we see it in others. Ubuntu means, I am because you are! (I will blog more about the talk later).

I followed up the talk with a deep listening exercise that I hence forth will call “The Ubuntu Exercise” because those who participated with their heart and soul, despite the intense vulnerability, truly fell in love with their partners or at the very least they made a new connection to carry them through the weekend. My desired outcome for this exercise was for everyone to feel connected and not an outsider. I had seen the power of this exercise before in a large group of women so I was pleased to see how transforming it truly was for everyone at this retreat. After the exercise I invited everyone to go deep in every conversation they had this weekend. Skip over the trite questions and ask, “So what is your wild soul calling you towards?”

 

As a result of Erin’s intention, Croydon Hall’s energy and this invitation  I experienced a deepening that occurred amongst all of us present that I had never seen or experienced in other art workshops.

Marie, Maddie & Beccy in Persisting Stars class

I believe the best gift of all this weekend was what I learned about myself through the eyes of all those beautiful women present. We can all be such beautiful mirrors for one another.

Karina who lives in Switzerland but hails from Chicago has a husband that is working to eradicate polio in India (no small task – a true hero) asked me, “So besides being a public speaker, what else do you do?” I let out a guffaw and told her that I am not a public speaker, but her view of me opened a crack in my armor. She said that I seemed so natural up in front of everyone exclaiming we were about to have wild sex. I responded, “Did I say that?” I had forgotten my opening line. In this brief conversation with her after the retreat was over and most had left on their journey’s home, she mirrored for me an image of myself that I had definitely desired to see but hadn’t truly embraced. Thank you for that Karina.

Just one of the majestic trees gracing Croydon Hall

Another armor cracking event happened when I walked into the lounge on Wednesday before everyone arrived and saw Maddie Mulvaney sitting at the computer. Maddie is a woman I have admired through her blog and taken her course, Persisting Souls, but had never met in person. My heart started racing a bit as I approached her and when she looked up she shot out of her seat with a squeal, “Katariina!” She exclaimed, “Its me Maddie!” Then she threw her arms around me. I was in shock. How was it possible that she even remembered me? Me, little ol’ me? We quickly fell madly in love with each other over the weekend and I can’t wait to spend time with her again.

The Magical Madelyn Mulvaney

The depth of her soul and her ability to authentically live in alignment with her soul unadulteratedly without compromise brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions. While in her class Persisting Stars, I wrote in my journal, “Madelyn’s sharing is so deep and powerful. I’m cracking open, I’m going to cry but I’m not sure I want to right now.”

If you are not familiar with her blog or her e-courses, I highly recommend them for EVERYone. Her blog transports me to a time when life was simpler, more poetic and curious. I love checking in on her ever so often to see what journey’s she has travelled, what new discoveries tickled her interest, and what poetic image or experience moved her. She is truly a magical being.

So speaking of magical beings, Erin Faith Allen is a SUPER WOMAN! She puts out an invite for an art retreat (her first retreat) and fills it to capacity, births a gorgeous baby ten days prior to the workshop, shows up elegantly lounging with a baby on her breast, sells her artwork at the art show, is continually making plans for her next workshops, looking relaxed, gorgeous and emanating so much big love to everyone. I don’t know how she does it but she is a powerful woman that I feel honored to be orbiting around.

This is one of Erin Faith Allen’s mixed media images

She read my blog after I signed up for the art retreat last spring and she invited me to speak before she ever met me. She saw in me what I couldn’t pull together and by inviting me to speak she gave me the opportunity to step up and step out in front of an audience. I’m telling you, the putting together of the talk was incredibly healing and I learned that I do love being in front of people speaking about what I am passionate about and sharing my stories.

There were so many more women that touched me deeply by sharing what my talk stirred up or inspired in them.  Such immense soulful sharing.

What I took from this weekend was summed up in the words of Graca Machel (a Politician and Humanitarian now married to Nelson Mandela) in her Keynote speech to the graduating class of Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls. She said,

“Here I am!

I claim my humanity

with no fear and no limits

and no one,

not no one, can take that away.”

She was speaking to South African Girls who didn’t have half the opportunities we have just by being born in a township and with dark skin. But I find this message universal for all women. I shared this in the closing prayer of my talk, but it is our time to get off the therapy couch, turn off the television, stand up and exclaim to the world, “Here I am! I claim my humanity with no fear and no limits and no one can take that away.”

This is my coming out year! Wooo Hoooo! Howling at that star filled, full moon sky!

I felt pretty lucky to be roomed up with two of the most handsome and soulful men I know; Larry and Finnegan. It was fun to watch their transformation from being present  around all that luscious creative feminine energy.  It was juicy for both of them which added more juice to my life. As a result, I came home pregnant . . . with possibilities for creative collaborations with some of the conscious creatives we met that weekend (tee hee).

So the message to me and all of you who have ears to hear, “The time is now, wake up and don’t go back to sleep!”

 

The End!!! :o)

 

in my mind . . .

Today is World Suicide Prevention day, so not to be a Debbie Downer but I think more awareness is crucial to being able to help stop this madness. Back when I was fully pregnant with Raine almost bursting at the seems I trained as a Crisis Center Suicide Hotline in Gainesville, Florida and then manned the phones regularly. When I say “the phones” I do mean plural. I was the only person on duty with probably five phones to manage. A big part of our training was to learn how to maneuver between the calls without having anyone hang up. Imagine for a moment having to put a suicidal caller on hold!

A husband, of a good friend of mine had this happen to him when he called the national VA Suicide Hotline he was put on hold for 45 minutes and he is no longer here.  What is that about?

Anyways, I found this Amanda Palmer video called, In my mind on “the blogess” blog (which is super BTW) Depression does lie. I know a lot of you can relate to this, it brought a smile to my face and made life a little lighter today.