Allow Freedom!

Allow Freedom

And the day came when I needed them.

When the battle was too big for me,

And the lawyer by my side.

I summoned them from the far reaches of time;

Legions of Mothers, Grandmothers, and all the Greats!

We shared this thing in common.

We knew the struggle to keep a child safe.

I called them forth for my little girl;

The baby I birthed,

The Little girl within me,

And every little girl throughout all time,

Who ever needed to be loved, protected and heard;

Every girl who ever needed the freedom to choose.

I gathered them into that courtroom,

To stand with me,

Arms linked,

Hearts connected,

Known, felt, embraced.

They came gracefully, elegantly,

Holding me with calm certainty.

I scrawled our intention in large letters and underlined, “Allow Freedom!

We didn’t come to destroy, conquer or ravage.

We came to defend and allow with love,

With Sofia Wisdom, empathy and grace.

We washed everything over with fierce

“Mama Bear” love of protection.

For one purpose, with one intention, “Allow Freedom.”

In our united front,

Madame Justice held up her scales,

The child was heard,

Her desire granted.

The judge proclaimed,

“I have never done this before,

I’m not sure why I am doing this now,

But I am going to allow the child to decide

Who she will live with and if and when

She wants to visit her father.”

{Silence}

Tears washed over the Legions.

They rejoiced in gratitude.

She was their child and this was

A victory for grace,

A victory for all they stood for.

A victory for all they ever desired;

For every girl to be heard,

Trusted and allowed the freedom to choose!

Freedom was granted on this day

For my little girl and therefore

For all little girls.

I wrote poem very quickly after sitting with such radiantly beautiful, soul-full women at the Sophia Conference in November of last year. The conference is hard to put into words but it touched, moved, shifted & changed me in so many subtle & not-so-subtle ways.

The court hearing was one of those magical, divine moments that today still seems difficult to believe. My daughter had been tormented and abused by her father for years and when I took her for the summer and stood up to him, he took me to court and this is what the court had to say about that.

Articulating this even in poetry is just one of the gifts that emerged from the Sophia experience.

If you are interested in attending next year’s conference in San Diego please get in touch with Laura Plumb at Deep Yoga!

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3 wooden crosses & a star of david

Rose

On our way out of Santa Fe, we had to stop by & pay our respects to Rose’s memorial beside Old Las Vegas Highway.  Rose was one of Alaska’s (my stepdaughter) friends. The night before she was killed she had spent the night at our house on Asequia Madre.  The accident happened in June of 2009 just after midnight, five teenagers were travelling in a car when a truck travelling in the opposite direction hit them killing four of the teens & severely injuring Avree the driver. The entire city mourned their loss for weeks & beyond.

The driver was drunk but a few months ago they finally finished his trial and found him NOT guilty because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had swerved into their lane. This sounds like legal mumbo jumbo & I know he will suffer beyond anything I can imagine, knowing that he was responsible for the death of four young teens.

What is still blazoned in my memory is the call we got from Alaska sobbing and saying, “Rose is dead.” We jumped out of bed & drove out to the fire station where all the parents & teens were gathering. Alaska was travelling in another car & came upon the accident road block. We waited with her for information & news about the teens & their condition. Julian’s mother was in a room by herself curled up on the floor sobbing uncontrollably, occasionally crying out with an unfathomable pain. Then Rose’s father, John, came through the doors looking panicked and searching the faces for Rose. He was calling out for her with a soft, fearful, boyish face asking everyone, “Where is she? Where is Rose?” One of the teens stood up & hugged him close & then turned away so as not to meet his eyes. No one could say anything until they had identified the bodies, which apparently was difficult to do.

Meanwhile, Larry & I sat in chairs, holding each other. Holding Alaska when she came over for support. We were so grateful & deeply sad simultaneously. Alaska was going to be in that car but at the last-minute she decided to go in another car. Everyone was in different states of shock.

It is a scene I hope to never participate in again. More parents arrived, more tears, screams, desperate pleadings, & more tears.

Rose’s memorial service was filled with heart, comfort & celebration of her grace-filled 15 years.  It was held outside at the Mountain Center in Tesuque, hundreds attended. Storm clouds were coming in, thunder clapping, crow was standing watch, eagle soared overhead as the brook babbled. I stood in the water to cool my pregnant swollen feet & felt & witnessed & smiled & cried.

So to Rose, Julian, Kate & Alyssa you are remembered & live on in the hearts of those who never had the honour of meeting you.

Teens killed in auto accident 2009

We drove on & enjoyed the show put on for us the entire way home through Texas & into Houston. Mother-Nature is simply amazing it was so hard not to just click a photo every mile as the sky changed from one spectacular scene of contrast to another. Raine & I sang every song on the radio & did our car dancing until she crashed into a deep sleep. We stopped in Henrietta, Texas at a Best Western with bats fluttering out front to greet us & cows outside our window moooing us to sleep. How cool is that?

I love road trips & I’m thrilled to be home back in Larry’s arms, holding my baby boy where I will stay . . . until the next adventure.

Hmmm Contrast

Texas Double Rainbow

Cadillac Ranch in a dust storm

College Station

My Bumper Sticker

last days in Santa Fe

We are leaving Santa Fe today. Raine & Dillon are outside having an ice fight as a way to say goodbye without tears. It’s been an emotional journey for both of us, for different reasons. She is leaving feeling re-connected again with her bf/bf. I’m leaving feeling full & healed a bit. I worked through & unravelled somethings, re-connected with Santa Fe by photographing the cracks & crevices.

Last night I spent a wonderful evening at the Waves with my beautiful friend, Anna.  Anna is one of those friends that makes me & my life make sense. I feel at home with her. We had a year or so to catch up on. I’m spinning today with more thoughts that I want to share with her & I can’t wait to learn more about root teas & the community of women.

I love you Anna. Thank you for taking the time to soak, share & laugh with me.  I miss you already.

It’s hard to leave, the clouds are coming up over the mountains & I want to stay & photograph the show. But its goodbye for now – I got to get home to see my babies, Larry & Finnegan.

Rainy Day in Santa Fe

Kakawa Window

McDonalds Drive In Window Graffiti

St. Francis Cathedral

Chalk Board in the Loo at Downtown Sub

bird feeder with cracked kakawa mugs

Another Kakawa Window

at the waves

sunday in Santa Fe

I spent Sunday meandering & wandering through town soaking in all the contrasting colors & textures. Most of these images were taken on Canyon Road with my iPhone Instagram, long after all the galleries were closed for the evening. I took photos until my battery ran out . . . & then it rained.
Kakawa is one of my favorite spots in Santa Fe. They serve the most amazing drinking chocolates – like the hot chocolate we used to drink before we added milk & sugar. I sipped my little cup of Rose Chocolate & savoured every sip – heavenly.

Kakawa

red chiles

Old Santa Fe Trail

remembering in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Skies

Raine & I are loving Santa Fe for different reasons. She is spending all her awake time with her best friend/boyfriend Dillon, & I’m running around taking photos with my Instagram app on my iPhone. Here are some of the cool places I visited.

cool clouds

Returning to a town I once lived in can be an emotional experience a little like returning to a scene of a crime. It’s a bit hard to digest at first. Every street, corner & intersection has a memory attached to it. I moved to Santa Fe in 2007 just after getting back from Iraq & I dove head on into the community. I became a thread in the tapestry & felt very comfortable here – as comfortable as one can feel in Santa Fe. It’s not a city that allows one to rest for very long. The natives say there is a plate of obsidian buried deeply below & because so, one is forced to look at themselves all the time. This can become an arduous & rigorous task after a while. I wanted to be healed, to feel better, to not feel the effects of PTSD anymore so again I did healing the Marine Corps way & dove head first into processes that were painful, tearful & taxing. I learned so much & just when I felt like things were flowing I would be flung back into more tangled thinking to unravel.

It was hard work but I progressed in my thinking, loving & feeling. I learned about boundaries, about opening & softening & I learned how to live in closer alignment & harmony with Mother Earth thanks to all those lovely beings who graciously took me in as a fellow wanderer.

I left Santa Fe with the love of my life, Larry, the child we created together, Finnegan & Raine, the child we are raising together. I feel so blessed to have had this experience & the time to dive deeply into my Shadowlands, walk through it & emerge on the other side for a breather.

Since being here on this visit, I have realized that there is one event that occurred here in Santa Fe just before we moved to Houston that I have not made peace with. That was the birth story of our Love Child, Finnegan.

Our desire was to have a water birth at home. We had both prepared in every way possible both physically, emotionally, spiritually & mentally. I visualized, I floated, I walked, I chanted, meditated, did yoga, talked to Finnegan, took the Birthing from Within class, took herbs, prenatal acupuncture, & somatic therapy. We prepared for the actual day by setting up the room with a tub, a hammock to hang from, a ball to labor on, music, candles, Larry had a Blessing Way party where we asked our community for their blessings & prayers, & on & on & on & on.

It started out sweetly, but when the sun came up & then descended again, I asked our midwife to break my water to see if we could get on with this but he still wouldn’t come out. He sat with his head trying to move by my pelvic bone for 7 hours while I’m pushing in the 4th stage. Then there were the hours in which I pushed while my midwife had her fingers inside me trying to help him pass through.

There are two things that I was disappointed in, the first was not listening to my body because at about 2 am I knew I wasn’t going to physically be able to do this but did not say anything. I didn’t listen, I abandoned her & I waited for someone else to throw in the towel (this was what the Marine Corps taught me). 6 hours later when the sun rose again our midwife told us we had to transport to the hospital. I was so relieved.  Everything went beautifully at the hospital. I was able to birth him vaginally with the help of an epidermal & everyone. Finnegan is a gorgeous boy who is a rock star swimmer this summer. Luckily through this process he was never in danger, his heartbeat was always strong, he was just too big to squeeze out.

Which brings me to the second disappointment, my body, I believe somewhere deep, down I failed somehow by not being able to birth him at home. I feel as if I am just am not made for birthing babies. The recovery time took forever & I still don’t feel as strong as I was prior to the birth. It’s not just the weight that won’t come off, it’s my physical strength. That brings tears to my eyes & I’m not sure why but there must be shame involved. I just stuffed all these feelings because really. . . how could I complain with all the beauty & joy surrounding me. I did what every good Marine does, I sucked it up & drove on without even realizing I was doing this. I rejected my body as weak, useless, & disappointing. I had no compassion, nor did I look at all the greatness of my body. She has been so healthy & strong & has taken me to so many incredible places in my life. I’m beginning just this summer to see how much I rejected her & am beginning to see her beauty just as she is today. (why am I referring to my body in the third person?).

Wow, I didn’t expect that story to come out, but there you have it. I know that shame cannot survive in the open, so thank you for reading, listening with your heart & hearing my human-ness. Perhaps I can move forward from here with a sense of lightness around that event & joy for the healthy, lusciously beautiful, strong, body I have.

Enjoy the photos – they are some of my favorite spots in Santa Fe.

The Plaza

Our Old Neighbor Gary

This way to ice cream

Our Lady of Guadalupe

kids painted on caboose

Railyard Water Tower @ the Farmer's Market

marigolds

Sweet Onions

a gallery on wheels

Santa Fe Brewing Company

@ Downtown Subscription Coffee House

all girl road trip. . .

Woooo hoooo!!! Raine & I drove from Houston, Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico over two days. We were in a hurry to get here as fast as we could so we couldn’t stop much but on the way back we have plans. . . I can’t wait. Santa Fe is beautiful as usual & I’m having fun photographing the coolness of it in my odd way. I will show you later. I miss my men though – they’re swimming & making mini pizzas with ingredients from the garden – basil & tomatoes while listening to Italian Opera (go figure).

WARNING!!!!

All these photos were taken while also driving (Raine was sleeping, I think). Kids don’t try this at home, it requires the engagement of the right brain, while the left side starts shutting down & the left brain is really needed to be able to drive properly.

Luckily, the road was straight (as seen on the GPS photo) & there was not a lot of traffic. Such a beautiful drive. I’m mesmerized by the clouds & the way they sit in the sky here in New Mexico. I’m trying, always trying, to figure out why it is so different here.

GPS

clines corner

 

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feed that which gives you life in every moment

Santa Fe is a pretty magical place in itself but amongst all those little adobe houses all molded together with mud there are a few enchanted spaces that exist for sacred gatherings, soft cultivation, and simple being. In these spaces time seems to stand still, perhaps they only exist in an alternative time space continuum that exists parallel to ours because when you enter with aligned energy it is as if you are stepping into another country and time period.

One such place has been cultivated by my dear friend Gregorio. The house on the corner of Alto street doesn’t seem to be anything too special until you sit for a while, soak in the energy, sip some tea and take in the array of collections from around the world. It’s not just the house or its caretaker, Gregory, but all the beings who orbit in this world.

After ten years of tending and caring for this tiny space with expansive heart Gregory is moving on and into a new space to cultivate, curate and unravel into new adventures.

” . . . from the old worn chair of my grandfather with a tear in my eye, and a smile upon my heart.”  Gregory reminds us, “to feed that which gives you life in every moment, mostly by remembering that something is constantly dying to keep you alive, every day.”

Here are some photos of his enchanted space.

The Apricot Tree

Gregorio

Django

chop wood