A Wild She-Tribe Project: Issue One

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I ’m

Hello loves!



ounde r&D irecto t h e Sher of Tribe Proje ct

Last summer I photographed a women’s yoga and art retreat in Oregon. Roughly one-­‐hundred women gathered for a magical weekend of connecting, building friendships and stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone in the sacred space of a “she-­‐tribe.” I believe that “She-­‐Tribes” happen when women risk being vulnerable, sharing our stories and connecting across experiences, borders, boundaries and lifestyles. A She-­‐Tribe Project was born following that retreat as I wanted to find a way to unite women around our shared experiences, to build friendships with women we might never meet face to face, and create a common space to share our wisdom and stories. I believe that women are indeed the world’s greatest resource. We are powerful, strong, freaking amazing and powerful beyond our imagination. Our lives matter; trusting our worth matters, celebrating our stories matters, connecting with she-­‐ tribes matters. Over twenty women responded to my vision of creating this e-­‐book, the first of quarterly e-­‐books that will happen around various themes, the first being: what do women need to know? I believe that as women honor and celebrate our stories, lives and bodies, and engage the community of the she-­‐tribe, we will change the world by supporting one another and liberating each other to share our gifts, authenticity, creativity and joy. So here is the first collection of she-­‐tribe wisdom, stories, love and inspiration from incredible women who shared their lives with us. I’m so thankful for this project…and this is only the beginning! Join the movement – a she-­‐tribe is building! This quarterly themed publication is open for submissions (see the submission guidelines at the end of this e-­‐book). Sarah McMurray Founder of A Wild She-­‐Tribe Project http://www.sarahmcmurray.weebly.com

This e-­‐book is meant to be distributed as a free gift to the global she-­‐tribe and may be emailed, downloaded and enjoyed as a whole, however please do not use any content without appropriately linking back to the project and author. © Sarah A. McMurray 2013. All images a nd photos are property of Sarah A. McMurray (unless the page specifies a nother photographer or artist). Cover Model: Kate Kennedy

Renee Owens is a self taught Artist, Author, and Mother living in Sunriver, Oregon. Renee' specializes in vibrant Pop Art on found or recycled canvas. Inspired by The Central Oregon Landscape, Rock & Roll, and the inner workings of the Human Psyche, her art fills the eye with technicolor dream juice. When not painting, Renee can be found deep in the desert submerged in an artesian hot spring.

Kristin Kovalik was born in Pennsylvania, lives in Bend Oregon with her husband and four dogs and loves to travel the world experiencing people, cultures and historic places. She’s devoted a significant portion of her life to protecting the environment and believes the key to unlocking her creativity, imagination and passion starts by stepping in the river.

Nissa Howard is a Shamanic Practitioner, Soul Crafter, and intuitive Wild Woman. She is the owner of Inquire Within, where she uses Shamanic energy medicine in healing sessions, product creating, and in soul crafting play shops. Nissa's passion is to be a guide and a technician for the awakening, and crafting of the inner world soul for all who crave it. Check out her website at http://www.inquirewithin.me.

Erika imagines herself to be the queen of her universe, quietly listening for the words of GOD and the buzz of the bees. She lives in the beautiful high desert mountains of Central Oregon with two hives - her amazing children and a man who loves her deeply. Her writings are meant to be read a loud and shared with others.


Jenni Peskin is a mama, music maker, activist and teacher, working to heal the world one breath at a time. She has studied yoga for the past 20 years and has taught for over 10. Her current passion is helping people- especially women- find their voices through singing, yoga, and laughter. For more writings and musings on life or information on workshops, singing lessons, and yoga please visit http://www.jennipeskin.com or

Veronica Funk studied Art & Design at Red Deer College in Alberta, apprenticed with potters, stone sculptors and painters in Manitoba and spent a year painting on a farm in Saskatchewan. She resides near the Rocky Mountains Alberta. Her goal is to create a sanctuary of contemplation, and offer an inviting place to be still. Her images capture the spiritual light that is found in the forests of Emily Carr or the flowers of Georgia O’Keeffe. http://www.veronicafunk.com/

Deborah Fay D’Onofrio is a practitioner of the timeless arts of natural magic, ritual, spirit work and sacred craftwork. She is a green hedge witch, shamanic healer, Reiki Master teacher, intuitive, space holder for women’s circles and retreats and published mixed media artist. She is the proud mother of Niko the Great, wife of her beloved, Dino, and caretaker of Tabitha, the mercurial feline. Meet her here: http://www.circlemagia.com

s. e. doiel is a poet at heart, though she enjoys writing essays, articles, prose, journals, and short stories. A long time resident of Illinois recently happened upon Bend, Oregon, she draws upon her life experiences in the corporate world, law offices, coffee shops, foreign countries, past relationships, and observations from an introspective thoughtfulness to bring her readers an experience of emotion and empathy through her poems.

SAIDA DÉSILETS, Ph.D. is an international advocate for inspiring women to ignite their deep, passionate, sensual self. She is the author of the Emergence of the Sensual Woman and creator of an online course Enhancing Sexual Vitality. Saida has spoken and led seminars in over 13 countries world-wide, has guested on an array of radio shows where she has talked passionately about her ‘Art of Succulent Living’ philosophy and is a cocontributor to the best-selling books of Dr. Christiane Northrup and Dr. Rachel Abrams.

My name is Christina I. Niccum, and I am a gentile, old-fashioned soul, who would be a crazy cat lady if I could. I enjoy knitting, baking, and BBC movies, and I'm a true Oregonian who loves nature and good coffee. I live and love in Bend, OR. I blog at: http://inquisitivekitten.blogspot.com/

Padma is an astrologer, personal growth coach and business strategist. She works with women who are seeking to unleash their wild, innovative, and compassionate nature by helping them embrace their sexuality and creativity. She is constantly traveling and likes to think of herself as Miss Indiana Jones. You can check her out at http://www.padmamaxwell.com and http://www.projectshethrives.com


Amanda Stuermer is the founder of Shine Global, a non-profit that offers programs to inspire women and girls to be catalysts for change. Amanda also serves as the Global Ambassador to Uganda and the Senior Leader for Off The Mat Into The World. She is a mother, wife, small-town southern girl, global activist, writer, and past editor and contributor for Outside Magazine. She loves to dream big dreams, travel around the world, run in the woods, and hug her three amazing children. http://www.shine-global.org

My name is Patricia Colli - I'm 26 and I live in Philadelphia, PA. More importantly, I'm the creator of Beutiful (http://www.beutifulmagazine.com), which is an empowermentcentered website focused on raising and creating awareness and acceptance of all people (themselves included) regardless of size, age, race, gender, sexuality, ability, religion and social class. It starts with you, so Be U.

Tatyana Roop shares her story of identity, a love of farm life, her fiancé Jeff and her passion for community. She lives in Central Oregon. Learn more in her story.

Jennette Nielsen is a artist, a maker, a do-er, a mender. She is the creatrix/proprietress of Smashing Rubbish, a brick-nmortar vintage and handmade shop in WA, a Community Centered Herbalist (CCH), a mama to 2 brilliant boys, a partner to her beloved, and a sister-keeper. Boho-Naturalist styling, decoration & design is her gig and being a Creative Alchemy Advocate is her prayer. Hang out with me at: http://www.smashingrubbish.blogspot.

Melissa Muirhead is an artist, coach, consultant and facilitator, teaching women how to feed their soul through creativity, to running leadership programs in large corporates. She is passionate about living one's truth and creating the vocational path that our soul longs for and often works with people that are in transition, especially those moving from a corporate career. Ultimately she is a believer that anything is possible. http://www.possibility.co.nz

Jackie Janiec is a new mother, a daughter, wife, sister, aunt and friend. She is also creative, a social organizer and a personal development junkie. However, her true passion is her start up biz in Relationship Coaching where she empowers sassy, smart, motivated women. http://www.jackiejaniec.com

Alara Castell is a motivational speaker, facilitator, coach and host of The Irresistible Heartpreneur. She shares herself authentically as a spiritual, sassy, and silly Possiblitarian. You can learn more about Alara here http://www.alaracastell.com

Sarah McMurray is creative, a shetribe builder and women’s empowerment vixen with a wild case of wanderlust living in Central Oregon. She is the founder and revolutionary behind “A Wild SheTribe Project.” She loves feather boas, the color orange, skinnydipping and lumberjacks. Learn more at http://sarahmcmurray.weebly.com

Calling all writers, or dreamers-about writing! A She-Tribe Project needs YOU! Issue 2: Body & Self Love She-­‐Tribe publications come out quarterly throughout the (submissions due April 1) year and upcoming issues are seeking writers, sponsors and dreamers to catch the vision! To be considered for future publications submit an article, essay or letter around a publication’s theme in a total of 500-­‐ 600 words, plus your picture and 2-­‐3 sentences for your bio, along with a link to your blog, website or social sites to: sassylittleartist@gmail.com

Issue 3: Creativity (submissions due July 1) Issue 4: Power of SheTribe/Community (submissions due Sept. 1)

I Am (A Slam Style Poem) by Renee Owens

I am the sky on a powder blue day. The sun is my heart and the bird song my voice. I am The Wind and the solid Earth. Molten water, deep in the soil, you are my blood. I am a Hot Spring. I am a Tempest. My Thunder echoes against the hills and I am heard. I am a woman. I am a Mother, a Lover, A Friend. I am The Breeze and The Ocean Spray. I am The Hunter. I am The Prey. I am a bubbling sound, growing louder each day. The Silence, The Light, The Moonshine is my might. This Golden Now. In the glimmer of this moment, I Am. For this existence, this persistence, is the rhythm of the seasons. My breath is The Tide. My heartbeat is night. I am Ice (but I dream in fire). I am Reality. I am Desire.

Mountains incline for me. Floods subside for me. I am the Catalyst. My feet are flowers, my path a garden. My curve is the round of The Earth and I am Beauty. I am beauty, organic like winter frost. I am the Morning Dew. I am the Eagle's view. The Sun sets so that I might have a show with dinner. I am the Universe and The Universe is me. All I see is Energy. Wild. Free. I am The River, the current my spirit. Rocks tumble to me. Walls crumble at me For I am The Truth.

Creating Your Belief System by Kristin Kovalik I crested the halfway point of my fortieth year. A milestone, an accomplishment in it’s own right given cancer rates, climate change, terrorist attacks, catastrophic wildfires, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods that occur on a regular basis. I consider myself lucky and grateful for not being a victim of one, or the other. But I’m really not one to dwell on what could have been. I tend to dwell more on what could be. Like that burning question, ‘what is my purpose’? What am I supposed to do that will create a lasting, meaningful impression on my life, my family, friends, my community and quite possibly something bigger? I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have faith and believe that the universe will keep nudging me along in the direction I’m supposed to be traveling. And then it’s up to me to keep my eyes open, my head clear, my instincts sharp and my whole being fully aware of the opportunities. Photo by Kristin Kovalik

The last time I trusted in the universe it helped me realize the relationship I was in was not meant to be. I learned a lot, we created a wonderful friendship, but I was meant to be with someone else. I trusted in that and now I’m married to a man who inspires me to think big, reach beyond the lines I draw for myself, believe that I can do anything and stand firmly on my own two feet while remaining fully open to love and possibilities. Being inspired by others and their ideas has never been hard for me. Trusting in my ideas, talents, abilities and myself has been harder. Why? Why do I have doubts? Because I know full well these doubts create obstacles that stand in the way of me becoming the fullest, most talented, creative, purposeful woman I can be. What would

happen if I believe in my words, thoughts, ideas and myself as much as I believe in others? I work for a conservation organization. I volunteer for two amazing non-profits; one that brings writing opportunities to adults and children and the other links adult mentors with students to foster a love of reading. As a child I remember working in the garden with my dad. Pulling weeds, picking green beans, watering the peppers and on summer nights eating fresh picked corn on the cob. We lived in a rural part of Pennsylvania where the front doors were never locked, neighbors took care of each other, children would stay outside past dark chasing fire-flies and playing hide and seek. This fostered an immense love of the outdoors, nature, a place in my heart for wild places and a strong desire to make sure wild places continue to exist despite mankind’s persistence to destroy it. My childhood was also enriched by Mrs. Sybinsky and for that I am so grateful. Even now the smell of fresh bread reminds me of her and the hours I spent reading at her house. While she baked I would practice my reading, losing myself in the stories and the places I dreamt of visiting. She was a retired schoolteacher with a library in her house and she encouraged the neighborhood children to develop a passion for reading. She knew through education we could go anywhere, be and do anything. We all have memories, experiences that shape us, influence our behaviors and beliefs. Some experiences burn in our hearts and influence us to take a particular course of action. Other experiences formulate doubts and uncertainty. But ultimately the experiences that encourage us to believe, to open our hearts, trust in the universe and embrace all possibilities is what enables us to answer that question ‘what is my purpose?’ and to claim it with our entire being and develop it fully and majestically. Thank you Mrs. Sybinsky for fostering my love of reading and encouraging the belief that I can be and do anything.

The Many Faces of Me by Nissa Howard When I look into the mirror of my soul, what is it I see? The many faces of me. I’m raw, refined, wild, and kind. I’m dark and deep... hate it when I weep. Giving birth to my inner pain contorts a face, yet another glows with love and grace. One is unappreciated, tired. Another, glamorous and wired. The “me” inside is all of these and more. I own them, love them, let them be. If you could, see beyond the face you see; into the many faces of me. You might find a familiar face. Reflecting a unity of human race.

I struggle with being vulnerable. I get angry when I cry over a commercial. I feel sexy when I am hunting elk and deer. I am awkward in dresses and cannot stand straight in heels. I love getting dirty and working hard. I am a solid anchor when holding sacred space. I live in many worlds at the same time. I am proud of my hillbilly roots, and enjoy my expanding consciousness with my deep soul craft. I don't fully fit in anywhere. I have and wear many faces, and they are all me. I've learned that the most important feeling in life is to just be who you are, every step of the way. I am constantly letting things die, and birthing new possibilities of my Self; so who I am is not some sculpture that will some day be complete and on display. Who I am is a garden that I tend to as I craft who I am with each season. This soul garden produces, dies, rests, and replants all the soul food I require. And every year, the garden changes shape, size, layout, and productivity. Who I am is determined by the intention and attention I put into crafting my soul by tending my inner soil. Who I am is an evolutionary flow of my own creation; the seeds of my own free thinking, my own expanding truth. What seeds of truth are you planting or tending? Do they need fertilizer, water, and sun? I've learned that it takes both a feminine and a masculine energy to be whole. It takes intuition, emotion, blood, heightened senses, and wild curves to conceive ideas and inspiration. It takes action, protection, service and focus to birth those ideas into the physical realm. My hubby gave me the best compliment this summer, saying, “you are a good balance of sensitive and bad ass�. I knew I had hit a powerful stride with crafting a whole me when I heard this. I need my masculine as much as I need my feminine and I need them to be in good relationship in all layers of my life. What is the relationship like for your divine feminine and masculine? Similarly, the shadow aspect of my soul and the light aspect of my soul must be in good working relationship. They both need to be utilized, honored, and free to roam the wilderness of my inner world. Once, in a journey meditation, I was working with my shadow and saw that it is my soul's healer for the ego; and that the light is my soul's healer for the heart. Wow, to think I have a built in ego-healer! This brought me to the understanding that all thoughts, emotions, and experiences that are not of true self are simply wounded and need healing. What is your shadow trying to heal? When all these opposing aspects are nourished, thriving, and living full lives amongst my inner world, I am whole, capable, and experience self-compassion for the emotion I'm in or the path I'm stumbling on. And when all these opposing aspects are free to roam within me, all my faces are beautiful. All my faces are wise and free and given purpose. I am free to be me; wild, wise, and wonderful.

Stories by Erika Onaya Kightlinger You are the image of the GODdess. You are perfect just as you are. Full, ripe, juicy, alive, present, beautiful, graceful, strong. Powered by emotions. Givers of life with choice in the matter. Mothers and daughters of GODs Hearts capable of holding pain and love in a single moment. Forgiveness and wisdom alive and aflame. You are the way in and the way through. Blessings in form.

In a time before time, the women of the circles knew all that is, was and ever shall be.

When one is aligned in the Center~of~She, she speaks clearly. There will be no fear in an action taken from the center.

She~of~the~Center, tall and mighty, spoke the wisdom of the Creator’s heart.

Deep knowing allows one to speak truth from love.

She~of~the~Center, stood in the fire and sang the medicine of the people.

Reactions can happen to the truth. Remembering that when one is aligned with truth that action, speech, movement, will support the whole, the highest good of all.

She~of~the~Center, tall and proud, spent her hearts time and energy, listening to the wind, to the animals, to the trees. And She~of~the~Center, humbled by what she heard in her listening, spoke quietly. Offering a truth that is all and is none. When the waters came, the people knew where to walk. For She~at~the~Center guided them into the trees, high on the hills. It was time, She~at~the~Center knew and they moved. We all have a center with She. She is the center of we. Listening is where our truth emerges from Movement originates.

When truth comes, it can often feel overwhelming. Sit, sit still, listen. Movement at first is not necessary. Sit, sit still at first, listen, pray, ask. Truth is clear, truth does not change, it comes as a knowing. Actions, when allowed to originate from a place of truth, are honest, helpful, full of peace, clarity, kindness, love. They are in the highest and greatest good of all involved. Done from the heart, for the whole. Â

That is being centered. Â

Love Yourself by Jenni Peskin When my daughter Morgaine was 7, I was dusting and a letter dropped off the shelf and fell to the floor. I picked it up and found some of her early writing. I'm guessing she was five when she wrote these words, "i HOP THEET YOU LOVE YOURSELF" I'm a fast translator of Kindergarten spelling and gushed at its meaning: "I hope that you love yourself." Of course I gushed because seeing her sweet, early writing always fills me to the brim, but I also remember when she wrote that and why. In 2007 I got divorced. During this terribly painful transition, I had a difficult time believing I was worthy of love. Backtrack, for most of my life, especially throughout my teenage years and my twenties, I struggled with my "lovability". When this little demon of a thought pattern showed up again as I went through my divorce, I was given some very beautiful advice. I was told to light a tea light candle every night in honor of the love that I have for myself and let it burn throughout the night. So I bought a bag of 100 tea lights and the ritual began. I did this for several months and then would stop and start again when I needed the reminder. When Morgaine was old enough to understand, we would light the candle together. I told her that although I loved her very much, the most important love she could have was loving herself. At some point, in the midst of these rituals, she wrote me that note. Large, loping and uneven letters reminding me that I am lovable, and that the most important person to love me, is ME. Morgaine is now 8. We have added new rituals to our lives. At every meal, everyone at the table holds hands and then one at a time, we all look each other in the eye and tell each other, "I love you." These meals have included my new partner and also my ex-husband. They've included friends we've just met and friends we've known for a very long time. The more people at the table, the more laughter that abounds. After several months of this ritual, Morgaine has added to it by pointing to herself at the very end and saying, "I love YOU." Sometimes she will ask me if I love myself more or if I love her more. She knows there is a "right" answer here because we are supposed to love ourselves more than anyone. This is a tricky one because I have never known a love deeper than the one I have for her, but I have found the way to navigate the answer. I look her in the eye and say, "You are me and I am you, so I can love us both the same." For now, it appeases her. The older I get, I see how hard I am on myself. And how often I forget to love myself. I see this in the women around me. How easy it is to see the mistakes and wrong turns and to not feel that we are doing enough. I'm over the moon grateful to have a daughter to mirror the things I teach her back to me. I am grateful for having a daughter, who is learning young, to love herself. If you are reading this, may your path to self-love be a smooth one and lit well with the fire within you. If you forget, light a candle and remember that the most important person to love you, is YOU.

Different by Veronica Funk My journey as an artist began as a young girl in the boreal forest of northern Canada. In elementary school I began to draw, being taught the basics of cartooning by ‘For Better or Worse’ creator Lynn Johnston and learning the aboriginal arts of carving, weaving and beading. I was painfully shy and battled a family history of clinical depression, alcoholism and suicide. I felt different, with no sense of belonging except in the woods and lakes of my northern home. Then, a move across the country in senior high school, challenged that small thread of belonging while at the same time offering me the chance to formally study visual art, fashion design and drafting as well as the opportunity to design the logos for the 1986 Winter Games. After being accepted into Art & Design with a portfolio full of realist graphite portraits, I was introduced to large simplified and slightly abstract work in the form of the paintings of Lawren Harris’ arctic, Georgia O’Keeffe’s bones and Emily Carr’s forests. The first time I saw Harris’ large works at the Winnipeg Art Gallery they touched me so deeply that I wept. In my paintings I am attempting to capture the sense of spirituality that fills each of these artists’ work. I cannot remember a time that I haven’t been drawn to create and though my school did not have an organized art program, our teachers incorporated art in as many ways as possible. Once I was introduced to bright, vibrant acrylic paint at sixteen years of age, and though I was initially intimidated by colour, I became fascinated by it. After I grasped the basics of art…of form, line, light and colour…I began to work intuitively. Formally studying abstractionist and modernist paintings, I quickly realized that forms of expression were endless and that I could trust my instincts to create a space of tranquility…of sanctuary. In a world that can feel overwhelming and frantic, I want to create a place of quiet. After leaving college, I moved across the country again when I met my husband, and being born of immigrant parents, I struggled to find the place that was home to me. My physical space became home…the place where I could retreat in quiet stillness. I began to draw the chair I sat in daily, my place of comfort, and a symbol of ‘Simple Pleasures’. A few years later, that drawing became a 4 square foot painting which only lived with me a little while before finding its own home. Each painting is still as sacred to me as the one before it. And now, my ‘Sacred Vessel’ series of canoes reflect my past and have filled me with a sense of grounding, of connectedness.

I believe this work saved me. I also believe that we all need that place to be still. Each time I pick up a paintbrush to paint again, I feel that same sense of guidance and wonder – every image being perfectly imperfect. Different. Just like me.

Stay Wild by Deborah D’Onofrio For My Little One, Stay Wild. More than anything I could share with you now, looking back on half a century of a lifefull of learning and growing, running away from and flying headlong into, hiding in the shadows and through years of feeling the chaos and sorrow of forgetting, the emptiness of searching outside and never finding, the long days of wandering- it would be to stay true, and to stay you. What that means, I know each thought before you think it, I feel each sweet breath before you take it, the beat of your heart is my own - if there was a soul map I could offer you, a North Star to follow, it would be to Stay Wild. The world you will live in is one that has put aside many things that are important, priceless, and sacred. This world places little value on wholeness, on being who you really are, not just a replica of what is fashionable, the current trend of cool, or what looks good in the mirror. It seeks safety in sameness and smallness, fears, messy truths, complicated emotions, enforces the illusion of perfection. It will say you must fit in or else. You must dim your soul glow, play dumb, silence your strong words, and still your fierceness. You will not find comfort in being like the others, not dressing or thinking, speaking or acting like they do.

You will only find happiness in the full embrace and love of your differentness, your specialness, and thus your sacredness. We are like wildflowers in a meadow; the heather is no more beautiful than the daisy. Each adds to the beauty, each complements the other and each is necessary. It wouldn’t be a meadow without all the blossom faces, a riot of texture, shape and color, swaying in the wind, shining in the sunlight. Stay Wild. Never stop cloud watching, sky dreaming, rain dancing, earth digging, moon howling, forest dwelling. Never forget the way the sea soothes your hurts, the way the stars whisper of worlds yet to be. Never stop listening to the river’s rushing song, to the crow’s morning revels. Never believe you are apart from this natural world. Never think you are not its child. The wilds are your home, your essence, your sanctuary, and family. The wild is your soul, your roots and branches. The animals teach right living and how without pretense, without reservation to be totally and fully yourself. From their example you will learn how to rest when you are tired, play often, eat when hungry, stop when full. To be both a loving and strong woman, capable of satisfying your needs and wants, trusting and accepting life’s seasons with its cycles of birth, creative fire, completion, death and rebirth. There is no question that cannot be answered, no worry that cannot be calmed, and no heartache that will not be held gently in the arms of nature. Remembering this you will live well. Grace will flow through you. This does not mean your life will be free of sadness or loss. It does not mean you will live unchallenged. But you will thrive; you will wake each day full of purpose and willingness for the adventure offered. You will let feelings be felt, expressed and released. You will make mistakes and learn and laugh along the way. You will feel free to risk, to experiment, to be inspired to create with the forces of magic in the world. Confidence, integrity, kindness, compassion, strength, intelligence, humor will guide your days. And you will not be alone. (cont. on next page) Art on this page by the author.

You will find your tribe, sisters, like you who are following their own inner compass and who feel joy in being their own version of whole, true and sacred. On your own, and with your sisters, you will be the ones who sparkle with life, shimmer with a self -fulfilled radiance and who will sing a new song, one that will awaken hearts that yet slumber.

Poetry by S.E. Doiel Storm I told you to keep the lights turned down low and I pulled the curtains to a close.


We swam to meet each other in a sea of dark and we tread together across waves of the night, shooting the covers of your bed like stars shooting across the western sky.

I. As we get older our love triangles turn into hexagons.

The silence between cracks of thunder in a night time storm could not out do the anticipation building between our breaths, lips apart and close.

II. Or perhaps we are growing from a rowboat to a yacht-to a cruise ship if we play our cards right.

We had to be quick to absorb what the dark could offer us, because the sun's work of morning is to destroy the enchantment of the moon, and make light of our summer's joys.

Introduction to Temptation

It's easy to make decisions

before encountering the choice.

The hard part is not changing your mind once you get there.

Th.10.2.2005 and you come first-you and your work love is last if you have time because I learned to make time out of nothing while you learned that it was something you were given and have only once vanishing before long with or without use

Cursed Daughter of Aphrodite, akin to Aros’ ways but pleased with a touch of Athena’s scheming. I set out to break the heart of any who cross my path. For centuries I have wooed only to slay their rubber emotions and pallor wills, a success at every tear watering my heartless garden. But such a practice cannot be stopped with I habit consumes, and by the power of the Gods I cannot cease love-murder. I stumble over the hearts, I wish to keep whole, remorse at the very meeting of them for I know they too will be added to my garden of horrors; I know no such other act than to break. I go into hiding for as long as our paths do not intersect, they can be spared. But even a misguided wanderer finds my lonely place, searching for solace only to find the destructive Daughter of Aphrodite drunk on regret and mead, stumbling about with a ballad lost on her life’s, men’s love dripping from her hips and her chest inky with the oil of love’s embargo. Still, this is not warning enough, and I cry out.

the bed is an island A Series of Tokens inspired by my years in bed I The bed is an island my ship set sail in search of the breaking dawn. II The bed is an island only the stars know how to find. III The bed is an island of radiance when the ocean of daytime threatened to drown me. IV The bed is an island upon whose rocky shores crash the dreams waking to day. V The bed is an island-- A tourist attraction, really, for vacationers not staying long. VI The bed is an island built on a volcano of passion threatening to explode. VII The bed is an island inhabited by creatures of unrest. VIII The bed is an island I am always trying to find. Â

Pleasure Isn’t Optional: 5 Secrets to Increasing Your Pleasure Now by Saida Désilets, PhD “I can’t remember the last time I actually felt delicious, seems like I am always tired these days.” “Pleasure is for the younger generation, at my age, I’m happy just making it through the day.” “After birthing my children, I never quite felt the same and now I have no idea what it means to feel sensually alive.” “I’m too busy to think about pleasure and find it rather irritating to be bombarded with messages of sex and orgasm on a daily basis.” “My partner has left me for what he calls a more orgasmically expressed woman. It hurts, but to be honest, I have never really known my own orgasmic potential.” These are comments I hear every day from women around the world and they point to something important: As much as we have ‘advanced’ our civilization, it seems to me that we have digressed in the realm of being deeply alive, expressed human beings. Pleasure isn’t a commodity, something we can buy by the ‘bunch’ or ‘jar-full’ despite a multi-billion dollar industry doing its best to convince us that our pleasure is a result of having something ‘external’. Rather, pleasure is what we are. Pleasure is like breathing, digesting, and our heart beating. It delivers essential messages to our brain, triggering the centers, which enable us to express our true selves with courage, self-esteem, and creativity. In fact, pleasure is the very ingredient that nurtures life itself, for without it we literally fall ill. Studies of nitric oxide (a substance naturally produced by our body when we experience something pleasurable) show that high levels of nitric oxide keep the body vibrant and functioning efficiently, whereas low the levels of nitric oxide make it more disease prone. How do we raise our nitric oxide levels? Pure and simple: On-going infusions of pleasure. This includes all things that induce the sensation of pleasure within us as well as sexual pleasure, but not just any kind of sexual pleasure. n the state I like to call “relaxed arousal”, we access deep arousal while experiencing profound levels of relaxation, surrender, and softening. This type of pleasure actually resets our entire being to function at its true potential and allows us to access transcendent states of consciousness!

5 Secrets to Relaxed Arousal: 1) Choosing Pleasure: Discover new ways to delight yourself regularly. Be creative, explore all of your senses regularly and drop into a profound connection with them. 2) Eliminating Stress: Do your best to eliminate stressors such as: bad relationships, work you hate, living in a toxic space, eating food that makes you acidic, etc. Stress actually numbs our capacity to feel pleasure and yet we need pleasure to counter-act the damaging effects of stress.

3) Enjoy Softening: Define for yourself ways in which you could soften and relax, such as taking a bath with flower petals and candle light or deepening your breath when receiving a compliment or touch from someone. 4) Self-Pleasuring: You must become your own best lover and give yourself the touch you yearn for. Let go of any goals towards orgasm, instead indulge in exploring yourself slowly. Pause, soften, and breathe as you start to get aroused. The more you take the time to explore your pleasure potential, the more you ignite it! 5) Jade Egg Practice: The practice of using a small Jade Egg inter-vaginally. It’s excellent for pelvic health and awakening your pleasure potential. It also helps to send much needed signals via your pelvic nerve to your brain so that you can live from a deeply integrated, creative, place of self-love. Whatever you choose make pleasure a priority, you will find yourself feeling more fulfilled, juicy, confident, and expressed and the world will be a better place for it. Â

Body Listening by a brave woman who wishes to remain anonymous We got the call at about 3 am. It was the garbled voice of our son. He was out in the BLM land somewhere. He had used his cell phone as a light to find a way to get away from the party and fight. My husband drove out, found him and brought him home. He was bleeding and drunk. Stubborn drunk. There was blood coming from a nasty cut near his mouth. It could have been worse: missing teeth or broken jaw. I silently rejoiced, at the same time as I was horror struck. This son who had been a straight A student just several years before. We washed him up and he found his bed. The plan was to bring him to urgent care as soon as it opened which would be in several hours. It was a workday. My husband went to work and I attempted to get my son up to take him in. He refused. He slammed the door. He locked the door. He swore. I yelled, I pleaded, I begged. Then, when it all failed, I left. My fierce mother-spirit would not let it go. I knew deep inside my body I could not rest until I brought him in. My body was writhing in pain. At noon I called him and presented my reasons and all the mother love I could muster after the earlier verbal abuse from him. He listened. I came home and brought him in for stiches. It was the critical 12-hour mark that ends the doctor’s willingness to stitch and I pleaded with the doctor. He stitched and told my 17-year-old son to listen to his mom. I saved his future face. This was an incident during which it was easy to hear what my body was saying. It was SHOUTING to me. My body is oh so more elusive when the issue is not one of those fierce mother issues, when the issue is mine. Then I have to deliberately find my way to the sea and listen. I did this about a year ago when I needed to make a career decision. I could not tell what my body was saying and maybe I did not want to hear. It is at those times I ask for a little help from the universe. I posed the question and looked down to find a whole sand dollar. It was the only one I found that long weekend that was whole and it was my answer. It is framed in my office. My pearl of wisdom to offer to women is to “body listen” wherever you are in life. And then act. It sounds simple. It isn’t. So be kind to yourself. It seems to become more difficult as we get “busy” with children, careers, community giving and relationships. As we get older and are not so flexible in thoughts and action. It seems there is more at stake. More lives intertwined. Further out on a branch of the tree of a career.

Pose the question; then listen to your body. I gravitate towards moving water, rivers and

oceans, to do my more intense listening. Doing some form of creation also works as a medium for listening. Just walking can work. Do not delay. Start early in life, if you have that opportunity, and make it a habit. If you do not have that opportunity, don’t beat yourself up for not listening or acting sooner. It is enough to start. And then it is important to follow through. Promises made to you at the base of the seacarved, black rock wall are sacred. We always keep our promises to our children. Be strong and keep those promises to yourself.

A Few Weeks of Motherhood:

A Story of Pain, Loss & Community by Christina Niccum

Beautiful tribe of women, loss should never be dealt with alone. All too often, I see women trying to bury their hurts and pain so the world cannot see. All too often, I've known a woman quietly going through a terrible event in her life: the loss of a loved one, the final day of an enjoyed career, the end of a significant relationship, or her family being torn apart. All too often, this secret comes out with a, "please don't tell anyone." Know that if you are dealing with loss, as most all of us are in one way or another, you are not the only one that this has happened to. Know also that in things we've lost are the potential biding connections to grow our relationships stronger and deeper, and bring meaning to a difficult, beautifully messy life. I know I have said this same quiet phrase initially with my own loss. It's perfectly fine that we want people to respect our decision to tell whom and when we wish. It's part of coming to terms with the loss. For me, later on, as I processed my emotions, I started slowly telling people that I trusted, and it felt so good to not be carrying around this hidden weight with those closest to me. I could then be authentic with these people I care about the most. Truly, freedom and connection comes with sharing the most difficult things with people you trust. Now, as I reflect on my own story, I realize more people need to hear about my loss. This is part of my own processing, for my own acknowledgement, of 'yes, this did happen to me. It is part of my story, and part of who I am,' I also choose to write about this because it

is a loss that most women do not speak about, it is almost considered taboo, and the silence needs to end. I lost a baby. To some people it was an embryo, but to me, it was our baby. Our baby we had been open to having for two years. And for those several few weeks, I was a mother. I took better care of myself those weeks than I have in my life, (which was another personal life lesson in and of itself.) My story is not that of a stillbirth, or even a tragic miscarriage. No, mine was just in the wrong place. It was in one of my fallopian tubes. For those that don't know, a tubal, or ectopic pregnancy is where the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube, or in some rare cases, the ovary, cervix, or belly. Sadly, an ectopic pregnancy is not viable, and there's no way to move it to the uterus. If the sac grows large enough, it can rupture the tube permanently, cause heavy bleeding, and be life threatening. I had a feeling all along that things were not right, with the intense pressure on my right side. I could feel it there. And when I first saw blood, I knew. I scrambled to find a doctor that could see me right away, (as my previous doctor had closed its doors.) The next several weeks were a flood of emotions. I've never cried more in my life, even when my older relatives died. From the time I was little, I had wanted to be a mom. And here it was, the possibility of being a mother, there for a few weeks, then just to be ripped away again. The only thing that made this time bearable were the people around me to hold me and cry with me. I have never been more convinced that we must have people to share life with (cont.).

To those that keep things inside, when you do share your hurt, it frees your soul from bearing this weight alone, and others will be more free to share with you. This is true authentic community. And isn't that what we want out of life, finally something that is real? We were never meant to live life alone, because life is hard! Life is also beautiful and precious, because of the difficulty and mess, and we need to share and celebrate that too. I hope that you have a community of people to turn to, because sharing in the joy and difficulty of life is what makes living worth the effort.

The Art of Passion by Padma Maxwell

I read an article recently that said Passion is overrated in today’s culture. That she’s a culprit in misleading us to a sense of fulfillment. It seemed to suggest that you couldn’t get very far without Prag Matic being your ally. Now, I have nothing against Mr. Prag Matic because I was married to him for many years. He paid our bills on time, always had a checklist for the grocery store, and maintained a very stable job that allowed us to buy our first house. Then, Passion moved into the vacant house next door. Everything in the neighborhood began to change. She planted roses in the herb garden, which nobody thought would last through the snowy winter here, she painted the brown house yellow and everyday she’d watch the sunset from her rooftop. She held dance parties in her backyard and was even caught swimming naked in the community pool after hours. As Prag Matic and I would have our evening dinners, we could hear the music and laughter that exuded from Passion’s house. At first I was annoyed because she seemed inconsiderate of the neighbors to be making so much noise at night. Then I began to feel jealous because I wanted to know what she was doing over there that would make her laugh and dance with such youthful exuberance. One day, I got the courage to introduce myself. That day changed my life.

Not only did Passion cheerfully invite me into her home but she already had tea sandwiches made for my arrival. Passion is a fragile, elegant and vulnerable woman but strong in heart. I have learned many things about her including that she once lived with a tribe in New Guinea and taught second grade for twenty years. She wears saltwater pearls with every outfit and prefers walking barefoot along the swampy river.

Passion has taught me how to listen to my heart and engage in the world from a place of creative declaration. She once held a dinner party and introduced me to Joy, who I later found out was her ballroom dancing partner. We quickly became close friends. Joy and I now have a daily appointment for morning tea and Passion and I began writing a blog together. I saw that my life was not built upon love for myself. I was so worried about what people thought of me that as I fruitlessly tried pleasing others, my euphoric and imaginative nature was wilting and slowly decaying. I had married Prag Matic so young that I never allowed myself to see how creative, wild and free I could really be. With Passion and Joy as my closest allies, I’ve learned how to express my true creative force. They support me in everything I do, especially the really far fetching and impractical ideas I come up with. They can see the genius behind my big dreams. I’ve since divorced Prag Matic and I’ve started painting again. Prag Matic treated me well, and got me far in my life, but he kept me from shining my brilliance in the world. Not because he didn’t believe in me, but because he didn’t allow me to take risks. The heart yearns to take risks. Passion had an extra room in her house that she let’s me rent out, and honestly, I feel right at home here. What I’ve learned living with her is that our creative unfolding’s are meant to be multicolored, multi-purposed and multi-dimensional. Passion is constantly evolving and tends not to take a singular form. Knock on her door and I can assure you, she has been awaiting your arrival and she’ll be your most loyal friend. Passion, Joy and I regularly write for projects we believe in, like this one.

For Caroline by Amanda Stuermer A wise woman asked me, “what do you wish more women knew.” I have pondered that question for quite some time and come up with numerous answers. Yet each time I start to write them down, I realize that they are lacking something. I have, therefore, changed the question just a bit in hopes of getting to the real heart of the answer. I asked this question of myself, “what do I want my daughter to know?” I want my daughter to know that she is enough. I tell her daily that she is beautiful, smart, funny, gifted, and the best daughter a mother could have, but what I really want her to know is that she is enough. I want her to hold that truth deep inside of her for the times when she will feel unworthy and “less than,” because she will have those times. She will fall and she will fail. These are the times when I want her to hold fast to the inner knowing that it is enough that she tried, that she showed up. In fact, that is another thing I want my daughter to know ~ that failure, sadness, pain, longing, and even suffering are part of the human experience. We can’t pretend they don’t exist or whitewash them away. We have to explore the shadows for they hold our greatest lessons in this life. I want my daughter to know that it takes great faith to stop running away from the darkness and walk into it instead. The gift is that we get to see just how brightly we can shine when we are willing to step into the dark. We can also see how brightly others shine when we allow them to explore the darkness with us. I want my daughter to know that faith is not something we can acquire from others; it is something that we must self-cultivate. We can look to teachers, mentors, texts, and spiritual teachings for guidance and inspiration, but ultimately, we have to look within to find what it is we believe in, what we stand for. Once we have cultivated our personal faith, we must also cultivate the strength to live it. Faith is not something we practice one day a week on bended knee; it is something we must live out in our daily lives. Strength, too, comes from within. I see so many women trying to develop strength by being hard and tough. I want my daughter to know that true strength comes from being vulnerable, from softening and opening our heart to others, from allowing our selves to be seen fully regardless of the consequences. That’s right, letting ourselves be seen for who we truly are ~ the whole messy, beautiful, perfectly imperfect work-in-progress work-of-art that we are. The strongest women I know are

the ones who are not afraid to be vulnerable; the ones who take off the masks and lay down the shields that so many of us hide behind. They share their truth; they live their faith.

I want my daughter to know that not everyone in this world will agree with her or accept her for who she is; some will question her faith, some will criticize her truth. Others will see her vulnerability as weakness. They, too, are her teachers. I want my daughter to see past their judgment, jealousy, and insecurity and learn resiliency, compassion, and empathy. Lastly, I want my daughter to know love. I want her to know that she is loved for who she is, not what she looks like, where she comes from, who she knows, or what she achieves. I want her to know that being who she is is enough, and that it is also everything.

Be You by Patricia Colli I have so many things I wish I could tell women, and with the risk of leaving out something important, I write this: I believe the most important piece of wisdom I can offer to women (and humanity in general) is encompassed in two words: Be you. That's it. Be yourself. To me, this means freedom. It means to follow your heart and act naturally. By doing this, you will be more satisfied with your life and will attract more positive people, events and circumstances. Appreciate who you are and make an investment in it. In the words of English poet Elliot Edwin, “By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.” You have to understand the strength in your own originality. You have to love the individual and unique beauty that you possess. It’s not always going to be easy, or automatic. You’re probably going to have to work at it. We live in a culture where everyday, we are exposed to images and messages about how we “should” be, look, dress and act. I want you to know that none of that is real – it’s all an illusion - manipulation used for profit. Don’t give in to the insecurity. Tell yourself this. Tell your mom this. Tell your sisters, your friends, your daughters this. Be defiant against these messages and your mental, emotional and physical self will thank you. You’ll also be opening yourself to tons of creative possibilities, because you won’t be living life in a box. Being true to yourself comes with a responsibility. It’s the realization that this is who you are, this is what you want and you alone are the person in charge of making it happen. You've got to look to yourself to be the creator of your happiness. This takes a lot of bravery and strength, but you will eventually become used to and even comfortable with having yourself in the driver’s seat of your life’s journey. But this doesn’t come without a struggle. Something that I see most women, including myself, grapple with so much is the feeling of guilt when we do something for ourselves or pursue our desires. Women are used to taking care of others and putting their needs last. It's time to change this. You can't be your best if you are ignoring your desires, needs or health. We must realize that realistically, over-serving others damages everyone - the people that we feel committed to and ourselves. We become tired, stressed, unhealthy…and everyone who depends on us looses the motivation and ability to be self-reliant. So we must teach ourselves and loved ones to be independent and capable of fulfilling our needs. To accomplish your desires, dreams, goals, you have to have faith in yourself. It really comes down to living by your standards and appreciating what you alone have to offer. We each have our own light and will do best by honoring our individuality and nurturing our personal growth. Don't compare yourself to another person, or society's standards. We need to stop judging each other. We need to change the language in which we speak to ourselves, our mothers, daughters, friends - everyone - into a much more compassionate conversation. The economic world would love for you to believe that life is a competition. We don’t need to buy into that lie. If women worked together to support each other instead of being controlled by our insecurity, jealousy and fear of not “measuring up,” we could accomplish so much more and live happier, healthier lives. We must learn to live for ourselves and to embrace the diversity that we create together. It’s what makes the world turn. I’m sure I’ve left something out. But that’s alright, because that’s me. The very last piece of info I wish to pass on is this: It is a quote from Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson – "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

Identity by Tatyana Roop

I am a sensitive soul, a child of our blessed mother Earth, a human being, a Virgo woman, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, an embracer of my inner child, a German, a 35 year old, who has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. My personality may or may not be defined by my illness and I may or may not care. I love who I am, yet I also wish parts of me were different. My name is Tatyana Marie Roop, I was born on September 9th in Corvallis, Oregon, and am told that when I came into this world, I opened one eye and looked around and then started screaming. I think this feeling of not knowing exactly how to live in this world or whether I actually belong has continued throughout my life thus far. This life in general is not at all an easy task, yet at the same time is one of the most amazing and beautiful gifts, I believe a soul can be given. In order to learn things there must be failures, which can be quite difficult for the perfectionist mind to handle by the way, but the lessons learned and the successes achieved hopefully balance out. I feel that most of us carry things in this life, whether it be past life trials and tribulations that are yet to be worked out, or memories of joyous occasions, or events that have left what seem to be permanent scars. Through the fire of my own hell, I have stepped out a changed woman with more personal insight and what is actually important. The limits of me as a person, my heart, my soul, my mind have been tested to the highest degree that I feel I can handle. Imagine that uncomfortable dreaded feeling of anxiety, anxiety over life including: school, finding the “real job”, picturing a life alone after leaving a long relationship, all the dreams you envisioned as a small girl, suddenly not coming true (cont. on next page).

Then these ideas lead to mostly irrational, constantly racing thoughts, where you feel trapped and have an overwhelming feeling of being out of control. This for me unfortunately led to a whole month of not sleeping. Through trials of trying to figure out the right medications to get me to sleep, as well as pull me out of the deep depression that came along with the whole experience, I was hospitalized three different times before finally the right combination was found. The relentless feeling of hopelessness and desperation led my mind to such a dark place, that I remember telling my family that what had been Tatyana was gone and I didn’t know how to get her back. I actually felt that I was living my own worst nightmare and that it would continue forever. Luckily through the strength, love and help from my family, friends, guardian angels, doctors and so many therapists I survived my closest brush with death. I feel that my beloved acupuncturist Dawn-Starr said it best, “Tatyana, we are all holding a place for you.”

Out of this time of intense fear and darkness, I feel that I have received so many blessings. The relationships I have with my family are so much stronger and our love deeper, as well as learning so many coping mechanisms that are very beneficial for everyday life. I was able to spend time and work with my very dear and extremely special friends, Sean and Jerre at Dancing Cow Farm. This opportunity allowed me to connect again with people, as well as the amazing animals at the farm, and just the Earth in general. The love that is given especially from animals is so pure and unconditional. Also, the stability as well as strength, I gained from actually realizing what an enduring, stable connection I can and do have with this beautiful planet. One of my greatest blessings I was given during my time at the farm, was the opportunity to meet and fall madly in love with my fiancé, Jeff. I was able from the very beginning, to be brutally open and honest about my experience, and he not only fully accepted all that encompasses Tatyana, but also could personally relate. My life and my mood seem to be more in balance than they have ever been, and I finally have that feeling that I had always been searching for, that I am in the right place at the right time. Living here in Bend, one of the many very beautiful places in this state, I have found such a wonderful community of kindred spirits and like-minded individuals that it gives me such hope. So, love your family, friends, animals, and our planet as much as you possibly can and give thanks to all the blessings we receive.

Wild & Free by Jennette Nielsen

by the time i was 4 years old my mom had married a monster. we didn’t know he was a monster at first, because he didn't look like one. he didn’t appear scary, mean, nasty or vicious. he didn’t present hideous skin, oversized appendages or snarling teeth. this beast passed off like a gentle human, smelled clean and fresh, faithfully attended church and lived a moderate middleclass life in the suburbs. no, visually your eyeballs would have never registered monster, or even crazed lunatic. but those amazing globe-shaped orbs inside their sockets cannot always ascertain a sly, sneaky, cunning demon by observing an outward appearance. this person was a deviant, conniving, covert horror on the inside. A putrid, sick, less than human, life-sucking leach, of the lowest form. yes, he most certainly was. he was a child molester and i was his darling, tricked, sweet, confused target for 7 long years. i am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. don’t feel sorry for me. just behold me. i tell you this in an effort to reclaim my power: to evolve toward empowerment, to shed the prickly cloak of secret keeper and rebirth myself anew. i tell you this to lean into and live up to my calligraphied arm tattoo: "i

choose authenticity. i am brave, vulnerable and imperfect. i am enough."

i tell you this to be seen: honest, bare, revealing. i tell you this to cultivate my own shame resilience: ordinary courage, dream weaver, creative wild wise woman . i tell you this because i have survived, sometimes barely intact, more often than not hanging on by a thread, yet alive, and living with the battle scars, bruises and bewilderment of being knocked the fuck down, so to speak. i tell you this to do something big for both of us. yes, this is my truth. and yet. still i journey. still i dream. still i seek healing. a wanderer, always and ever spiraling inward and outward, grasping elusive bits of stardust and slippery magical moonbeams. me, burning bright, shining, electric, pulsing, reaching, soaring, stretching. but always, in the past, furling back again, folding inward, dark solitude, a hot mess of fear, questioning, angry, rageful, blaming and untrusting. temporarily defeated, the wall went up, old wounds festered and seeped, vulnerability sprouted wings and vanished while i chose smallness and jealousy, in a wicked shame spiral of despair and humiliation. this one beautiful life: seemingly stolen, subverted, mangled, ruined, corrupted.

and yet, i refuse to let it have me, to own me, to work me like a puppet. i am giving myself permission to fly because i have been told there is life outside the cage. don’t feel sorry for me. my life is far from horrid. i have had many years worth of smiles, belly laughs and high times. I am college educated in the arts; i am a trained community-centered herbalist. i have two beautiful sons, and a partner who continues to allow me to grow, die and be reborn again. i have submerged myself in a community of women, friends that I can trust, feel safe with, let see me and be real real with. i am an artist, a maker, a studio and vintage shop owner. Boho-Naturalist styling, decoration and design are my gifts and prayer. i am a honeybee keeper, a mother-ocean loving surfer, and a want to be world traveler. and here i write. i am a writer, a weaver of words and a teller of truths. I will grow, nourished and fed, ever reaching, thickening, becoming succulent and juicy in my new skin, tendrils finding their hold. i will live and love with my whole heart and i am hot-damn determined to reclaim what is rightfully mine and be fully selfish in my loving myself, tending my inner fire, stoking a life that is abundantly full of star dust and moon beams. there shall be no end to me, just wide-open space and affluence, glowing and radiant. beauty, love and passion. i am me and here i am. so blame it on my wild heart. it has been broken and busted flat yet it won’t give up. it just keeps asking questions, searching for answers, growing stronger with each veil lifted, with each step toward the signs that reveal answers, to a hoped for understanding, a making sense, a wanted deep knowing of direction, path, meaning. what to do with this one beautiful life and this incessant mocking awareness? what is my convergence? where will my skills join a valued need in the world so i know how, where and in what form to give. Catherine Deane Moore says, "Your calling is at the intersection of your joy and the earth's deepest need." where is my joy? what is Her deepest need? i'm investing in me because being the best me is the gift i can give the world today. my preferred self, me breaking inherited patterns, me taking flight. this is my gift to me. And this is my gift to you. A promise. Truth. Â

Enough by Melissa Muirhead Oh dear one (dear you, dear me) This is for us all us all who have believed, felt, cowered beneath, settled for the not enough. Haunted by those times when we felt lesser, unworthy, powerless, kept there by shame, the insidious shame of not enough But what if You are, I am, We are, Enough? What if The stardust we are made of Still runs through our veins Just waiting for the darkness to lift For our light to shine What if Our bodies still hold deep wisdom The wisdom of grandmothers The wisdom of deep knowing Of connection and power What if The earth that is our mother Is waiting for us to come home To ourselves, to embrace Her So we can heal What if? We are Enough

My story may be your story or it may not be, there may be parts we share and parts that are mine alone. But our stories have power and telling them gives us the power to change, to move deeper to our truth, to who we are, to know we are enough.

My story is one of playing nice, keeping small, staying safe, being acceptable, keeping my mouth shut, settling, being someone other than myself. Of an early marriage to the wrong man because the deposits for the wedding had already been paid. Of a rape at 16 that I was silent about; maybe I led him on, I was drinking, he was a friend of a friend, it must have been my fault. Of studying economics instead of art because that was sensible. Of a professional career in the corporate world where I got used to being the sole woman in meetings, my voice speaking low and firm so that I could be heard. Of wearing grey pinstriped suits as armor, showing that yes I truly am respectable, worthy, acceptable, that I am enough. But inside the colors swirled, longing to break out. The words continued to flow through my mind (even when I refused to commit them to paper). The images longing to appear on canvas shone bright nightly as I drifted into dreamscape (even when I didn’t own a single tube of paint). Sicknesses came, nothing serious, just lots of small illnesses to keep me away from toxic work environments. Headaches and migraines were weekly visitors and popping pain relief became a daily norm. Anxiety appeared like an unwelcome guest without a leaving date, cracking open the armor. Deep shame arose, how could I welcome something like that, I was meant to be invulnerable, I was the rising corporate star, I was the one climbing that ladder to CEO-hood. Having panic attacks while walking down the street was not acceptable, starting to faint at work because my breathing was twice the normal rate affecting my oxygen levels, absolutely not okay. The reality I had built to protect me was breaking down like poorly constructed scaffolding. Proof was everywhere that I was not enough. So who was I if I wasn’t the pinstriped suit wearer? If I didn’t want to be a CEO anymore? Who did I want to be? How would I know? If I wasn’t enough playing that game, if my soul refused to let me play that game anymore? How could the me without the armor, without the job title, ever be enough? Like a spring dawn after a hard winter, I slowly opened up to another way, another life, one of being true to my soul, being true to me. Books appeared, an iPod opened the door to podcasts and audio lessons from teachers. A world of blogs, artists and creative and entrepreneurial women appeared to me. Joining the local art guild and becoming deeply involved with a community of artists started to replenish me. Picking up that brush again, creating as a practice, as my spiritual practice, fed my soul. When I was lost in a canvas, when time had no meaning, I was enough. Slowly I extracted myself from work that severed me from my soul; taking on assignments where I could be of service, coaching people at transition states in their career, holding the space for others to give themselves permission to be enough without the corporate title. Teaching women how to play through creativity. Being present with my children. Sharing that we are enough. Giving gratitude for the gift of anxiety, which was my soul’s break for freedom from the tomb I had shoved her in at a very early age. Giving gratitude for the teachers that appeared in many guises at exactly the right times. Giving gratitude for my journey with all its detours and dark nights and all that is to come. Giving gratitude that I am slowly learning to accept my worthiness, that I hope to share this with my children, with my clients, with my students, that I am enough, you are enough, we are Original artwork by Melissa Muirhead enough.

Upper Limit Problem by Jackie Janiec So, let me start with a story, one that I haven’t told a soul yet… It was October 29, 2010, a day I wasn’t sure I would ever experience. I woke up at the wee hour of 4 am. After several runs to the bathroom, fear official kicked into high gear. Will everyone have fun, will my family and friends even show up, will the music be entertaining, will the food taste great, will my dress fit, how will my hair and makeup look, will I look fat in the pictures, will I be tired, will I stay awake all day since I didn’t sleep, or will my wedding just suck-ass? I jumped on the crazy train, destination insanity. Thank goodness for my six amazing bridesmaids and shout out specifically to Kristin for this particular situation. In her Long Island accent and tone as if she was speaking to an insane women, she said two things, one, “no bride has ever fallen asleep at her own wedding. You will be running on pure excitement, sleep or no sleep, you will stay awake” and two, “stop and take it all in, would ya.” Kudos to Kristin, for her no holds bars talk. The day was simply AMAZING. From the dress to the food to the non-stop dancing, I soaked it all up and it felt great. So off we went on our honeymoon to Riviera Maya, Mexico, our first official trip as husband and wife. It was a challenging road to book this trip and I was stoked to be with him alone, on the beach, at an allinclusive resort. Per my sister, the resort didn’t know what they were getting into having us two at an allinclusive. Lets just say we got our moneys worth (we LOVE food and can eat and I mean ridiculously eat, oh and sip many cocktails too). Ten amazing, adventurous, romantic, spontaneous, laugh till you cry days down till our departure and low and behold a full-blown, knock down dirty fight erupted. It was filled with all your typical ingredients for disaster; yelling, screaming, throwing some shit across the room, taking off of the rings and the new hubby sleeping on the floor. Don’t ask me exactly what we were fighting about because I have no idea. What the hell happened? Ten days of bliss to one night of horror… Holy shit, I thought, did I just reach my threshold of happiness; did I use it all up and hat’s it? I simple couldn’t handle anymore-joyful bliss so I just screwed it up? Did I automatically retreat to more familiar grounds of not feeling so great, especially around my romantic relationships? What the freak was going on here? Well, thanks to the Gay Hendricks, author of “The Big Leap,” I now realize I had an Upper Limit Problem going on strong on my wedding day and packed it up for the honeymoon. Here’s the deal.

Each of us has an internal thermometer for how much joyful bliss, wealth, happiness, love, and fabulousness we’ll let ourselves experience. That’s our upper limit setting and has been programmed from past experiences. When we exceed our internal thermostat setting, and life gets amazing (like we have an overload of money coming in, a big weight loss, a job promotion, a kick ass relationship with really great sex) — we unconsciously do things to self-sabotage, we create a series of crazy thoughts and behaviors that will most definitely deflate our happiness and quickly retreat us back to the old and familiar place of not feeling so good. Can you see the pattern here….total outrageous happiness and love for a period of time followed by majorly screwing it up? So what a girl to do…

Step 1: BE AWARE: Just knowing the upper limit problem and recognizing the patterns already puts you ahead of the game. You are not alone on this one. As you can see from my story it happens and not just one time but over and over again. Awesome news though….this is super-easy to squash when you bring forgiveness, compassion and selfawareness to the table. Step 2: EXPAND YOUR TOLERANCE OF FABULOUNESS you’re willing to have in your life, starting now. This means being grateful for the present. Honor, respect and love the moment you are in and bask in the bliss. This most definitely includes acting upon it as well. Tell your man you love and appreciate him; be grateful for the money you have piling up in the bank; the roof over your head; the awesome new pair of spring wedges on your feet; plus, take care of and nourish your body and soul anyway you can image. Step 3: CODE RED: Go on high alert with Upper Limit Problem when tons of fabulousness is hitting you dead on. Double up on your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and actions when things in your life start getting so freakin outrageously delicious. Here is a useful question to ask yourself, “how much outrageous love, money and happiness am I willing to receive?” If your answer is anything like “a shit load,” then make sure you show up that way and align your thoughts, feeling and behaviors appropriately to feeling the shit load of fabulousness in your life.

A Letter to the Tribe by Alara Castell Hi Beauty, Throughout the years I have been on this planet thus far, I have learned five important lessons. These lessons I have learned, continue to educate, amaze, provide and hold me. I did not learn all five at the same time. Each has been shown to me at the right moment in my life and now I want to share them with you. 1. LOVE It is important to love all of yourself. You are a beautiful, talented, and smart woman. You have all that you need to have the life that you desire. You are unique and your differences are what make you so amazing. You are not meant to be like everyone else and that is why you are the way that you are. Every part of you is so wonderful. Whoever comes in contact with you is very lucky. The small impacts to the large impacts count. Each moment, each breath, each action you take in this world is worth it. You are enough just as you are. It all comes down to love. See all with love. Act with love. Serve with love. Be love. 2. RELEASE There will be moments in life that will cause you anger, heartache, and pain, but know that these emotions do not have to consume you. Whether this pain was caused by another or by you, know that it is important to release and forgive. Holding onto these emotions can cause you harm. It can cause harm to your body, to your well being, to your life and more. Acknowledge these emotions you feel of anger, heartache and pain. Do not ignore them, as they will only cause further harm. Find someone or something to help release these emotions, allowing you to forgive and let The Universe mend what was broken. 3. SURRENDER The Universe always provides. Sometimes life may not be going as you imagined, but know that The Universe always has your back. Each challenge that may come upon your doorstep is put there for a reason. Open your heart to what that reason can be. See the message that is behind the challenge. Trust and surrender to your journey. Your journey is your own. It is the way it is because there are things you must see and experience. Surrender, take action, but do not hold onto the outcome and allow what needs to be to be revealed. 4. GRATITUDE Life is a blessing and there are miracles happening to you every day. In the moments of darkness you may not see these blessings or experience these miracles because it is putting you further away from the light. When you can appreciate each moment for what it is and receive what you need to receive, then The Universe will provide. Gratitude allows you to be one with The Universe and allows you experience the many miracles that are waiting to happen to you. Give gratitude daily for the things and experiences in your life. The small, the big, and the unexpected all count. 5. PATIENT Be patient with your journey. I know there are people around you who are having these great lives and you are wondering when will your time be? I want you to know that your time will come. As I mentioned you have a journey of your own and its okay the pace that is it taking. Continue to love yourself, release, forgive, surrender and give gratitude. Continue to take action towards your hearts desire and have your eyes side open to the messages that are being provided to you. Remember each turn or challenge that may come, is there for a reason. Each opportunity that may present itself is there for a reason.

Allow yourself to have fun and live your life. Meet yourself where you are. There is no need to rush. Be patient and watch the magic happen before your eyes. Oh beauty, thank you for allowing me to share these words with you. I know that you will take from it what you need to take. You are forever in my heart and I love you.

Create What You Need & Change the World by Sarah McMurray

I wish I had learned much earlier that I have the power to create any situation. We are powerful beyond measure and with that comes responsibility – for our actions, our response and our choices. Regardless of what life hands you, you can choose how you respond. Coming off the tail end of a rough one and a half year patch in my life, led me the moment I was unemployed, figuring out how to be the woman I wanted to be and how to own and launch my dreams and I found myself at Camp Catalyst (ironically named) and being there birthed this vision to create a wild she-tribe of women supporting women, finding community and using creativity for healing, self-expression and connection across diverse lives. Awakening happens often when shit hits the fan and you find yourself in rock bottom – it’s beautiful really, because light becomes most visible when surround by complete and utter darkness. Often it is in that place, we learn that have the power to shape our future and to let our own light illuminate the world around us.

As we begin to recognize our power to shape our life, we change how we perceive our self, love our self and in turn, how we engage the world.

Here are 5 truths I discovered about creating what you need: 1. Love yourself deeply – who you are is not defined by what you have done, your relationships, or your career. You are lovable and worthy simply because you are. Treat yourself as a radiant goddess and honor who you are with love, grace, kindness and romance! When you celebrate who you are in this way, watch out, because how you treat yourself usually guides the world to treat you the same way. 2. Let go & Move Forward – You can’t change the past so let go of things that no longer serve you, of negativity, anger, shame, guilt, old beliefs and move forward. Change is the only constant thing in our lives, so celebrate how you have grown, laugh at how you once lived and then make a plan to move on. 3. Make time for play and creativity – life is not meant to be so serious all the time. Stop and play. Rest. Breathe. Find pleasurable things and create space for them in your life. Create – art (finger painting, anyone??), music, stories, friendships, possibilities - but create something that makes your heart come alive and your spirit sing daily. 4. Connect with a She-Tribe – having a tribe of people who inspire you and are living the kind of life you want to live will inspire you to make the necessary changes in your own life to thrive and bring all you beauty to the world! Seek out mentors, coaches and friends who can cheer you on and help you launch your dreams (believe me, we’re happy to do it)! 5. Change your life, change the world – when you show up to life with a fun, playful, pleasured spirit, you are a beacon of light and a force to be reckoned with! As you change your own life to be something that you love, feel empowered by and that celebrates and honors who you are, the world will notice. There is nothing as sexy and inspiring as a woman honoring her self because she brings her best, most loving, kind and fun self to the world and ends up starting a revolution! Go get ‘em, tiger! You’ve got this, darling! Go change the world!

She-Tribe sponsors: Do you have a business or service that empowers, and supports women? Join the She-Tribe! Sponsors for each quarterly e-book may purchase a Âź page ad for $10, or a half page ad for $18. For more information email Sarah at: sassylittleartist@gmail.com.

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