Heart & Hearth – The Circle

Dec 17, 2014 by

“In ancient Greece, when you left the confines of your safe, cozy community, there were signs posted that said, if you go beyond this sign then you are sacer – you are on your own, without the protection of the community. Sacred, which derives from the word sacer, subsequently came to mean autonomous journeying beyond conventional boundaries. To journey into the sacred is a solo act of defiance.” – Caroline W. Casey, Making the Gods Work for You.

 

hh2015badge250A few months ago, Sas and I were curled up in her living room talking about the sacred and inspiration and what 2015 was going to be about. We talked about magic and miracles and science and doubt and tribes. We talked about how much we wanted that conversation to continue, but with even more women being a part of it. We talked about wanting to give women a little bit of peace in a crazy time of year. Out of that conversation came the magical Heart and Hearth gathering.

It turns out we weren’t the only ones out there hungry for sacred connection and to be a part of a circle – a tribe – of women. Women joined. Women shared. Women made art and wrote stories and read to their children and spoke differently to their families. Women wrote and asked us for more.

So two weeks ago we met in a teeny tiny cottage and asked for guidance. We brought the laughing buddha and the fire goddess and asked the angels and our guides and our ancestors and yes – even God – for help and to be a part of what we were creating, and then we let go and started to play with paper and sharpies (of course). We dreamed big and let loose. We looked at what we loved to do and what gifts we could bring. We kept the women who would feel called to join us in our hearts. And there in a tiny stone cottage, we cooked up Heart & Hearth 2015.

Heart & Hearth is a year-long conversation about spirituality, faith, doubt and magic. Heart & Hearth has space for the science and the spirit and the laughter and the doubt. Heart & Hearth is a safe place to play with magic and miracles.

Heart & Hearth is a tribe of women gathering around a virtual fire; sharing their stories and their questions, and talking about what is in their hearts.

We would love for you to join us.

xo

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The Holy Yes

Nov 26, 2014 by

Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are… – Natalie Goldberg

 

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As babies, we exist in a state of Holy Yes.

When we are nourished, dry, warm and held, we exist in a space that is very simply a state of yes. We don’t know about no yet. We don’t know about what if yet. We don’t know about maybe.

As we grow up, we begin to learn about no. No is healthy. No establishes our boundaries, gives us space between us and them, and helps us learn about what we like and want; how we want to feel versus how other people want us to feel.

But no isn’t always so benevolent. No also brings with it manipulation and maybe and only if. No brings questions and boundary crossing. Our no isn’t always okay if someone else’s yes is more important. So we learn to quiet or ingest or ignore or even mistrust our no. And – since nature loves to balance things out – we also in turn learn to quiet or ingest or ignore or mistrust our yes.

Our yes, then, becomes tangled with compromise. We slowly begin to forget what our really real yes feels like. Yes becomes good enough. Yes becomes I don’t know, what do you want? Yes turns into that will do.

And we forget our true yes. Our Holy Yes.

What I have discovered (with practice) is that with practice, you can get back to your yes.

And once you are better at yes, you can find your Hell, Yes.

And once you are good at Hell Yes, you can get back to your Holy Yes.

And then things get really interesting.

When Jamie Ridler and I talked about the practice I used to get to my yes on my move to Costa Rica, I was still operating on the Hell, Yes principle. But since talking to Jamie, I’ve been thinking about why we were willing to take such a big leap of faith, and I realized, it wasn’t a Hell Yes we heard – it was that we listened to our Holy Yes.

Hell Yes is get out of my way, I’m coming through! Hell Yes is watch me fly. Hell Yes has Pink as the soundtrack and is kicking ass and taking names. Hell Yes is I’m going to take that course, write that book, dance to that tune. Hell Yes is the life force that gets us moving towards the life of our dreams.

But Holy Yes is the knowing that makes you take a deep breath whenever you think about your dream. Holy Yes is knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this decision is the right one. Holy Yes knows all of the reasons why this is crazy, but it knows like it knows like it knows that it is actually the only sane choice. Holy Yes immediately connects you with the angels, the helpers, the guides and the magic. Holy Yes is the only choice you can make.

And you can make it.

All it takes is a bit of practice.

ox

 

 

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On the Origins of Mango Season

Nov 20, 2014 by

The “hows” are the domain of the Universe. It always knows the shortest, quickest, fastest, most harmonious way between you and your dream. – Mike Dooley

 

costaricameghangengeTwo years ago, Mark and I were on holiday on the island of St. Vincent, and I was moaning about the lack of local fruit available. We could have strawberries and blueberries and apples – apples?! – but there wasn’t very much tropical fruit. Apparently the bulk of their customers wanted fruit that they knew. So rather than fill the buffet with local fruit, the company would ship fruit in from Mexico and the US.

Desperate for local fruit, I asked one of the locals where I could get some mangoes. She explained to me that while there was lots of other fruit available (which I quickly found and ate embarrassingly large amounts of) the mangoes weren’t currently in season. Thinking about mango season made her grin wickedly. She said that when mangoes are in season, they are everywhere! You can walk along the road and just pick them off of the tree.

She said that once she ate so many mangoes that she got Mango Boils.

I have never forgotten that smile and that image of unlimited, ripe, juicy, dripping, golden fruit.

It feels like abundance to me.

If I know one thing for sure it’s that we cannot dream big enough for ourselves. So when I think about what I want my life in Costa Rica to look like, I am deliberately casting my net wide. I will not be working with the hows. We are taking the leap and then following our hearts, because I know what I do want.

I want Mango Season.*

* We have invited as many people to stay as we have beds, and they have all come for rest and retreat and collaboration and community. They are all people whose art – whatever form it is – enchants or interests us, and the mixture is eclectic and delightful. The mornings begin with breakfast on the deck, Costa Rican coffee, and never-ending bowls of fruit. The days are filled with creativity and camaraderie and solitude and waterfalls and whale watching on the beach. The evenings begin around our enormous dinner table which is overflowing with delicious, local, seasonal food. The food and the wine and the laughter and the real, honest, open discussion flow through into the night. Everyone feels rich and juicy and replenished and abundant and connected. And sitting there, in the glow of lantern and candle light I know that I am exactly where I dreamed myself to be.

Mango Boils and all.

xo

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The one where I quit my job, buy a ticket, and turn 40.

Oct 27, 2014 by

“Imagine a new story for your life and start living it.” – Paulo Coehlo

 

FlightsConfirmedTwo weeks ago I quit my job. Two days ago I turned 40. Yesterday we bought two tickets to Costa Rica. We leave in March.

Two years ago we were both really struggling. We were struggling with the fact that we both feel like aliens most of the time. We were struggling with the fact that life does not give any guarantees on length, and that the happiest we feel is when we are exploring somewhere together, but we only get to do that for a few weeks a year. We were struggling with the fact that those few weeks off limits the time we can spend with the people we love. We were struggling with the fact that – on paper – we have a nearly perfect life, but we both felt like it wasn’t our life.

One day I hit maximum capacity, and for me, the only cure for that is a walk in the woods. I took my troubles to the trees and had what I have started calling a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting. I walked and talked – out loud – to God, the trees, the angels, my guides, my ancestors, anyone, really, who might be there and able to help. The land I was walking on is the land where my Grandmother was born (more on that another time) and it takes about an hour to walk its longest trail. So I walked and I talked, and eventually the conversation became calmer and more focused. I went from desperate gulping words to a kind-of feeling/breathing. It all boiled down to one thing: I needed help. Any help.

I didn’t get an answer, but I came home feeling peaceful and connected.

Ten minutes later I sat in our office, talking with my husband about what we could do. He laughingly said, “Just look up retreats for sale in the Caribbean.”

ha ha.

Turns out God uses Google.

I typed it in and got a whole website. I laughingly read out the names: “Dominican Republic, Barbados, Costa Rica.”

I stopped.

We looked at each other.

I haven’t really looked at any news reports for that day, but I am sure I would find an unidentified seismic blip.

The YES that hit both of us was quiet, calm, but powerful.  The yes that hit both of us, was the hell yes of: of course that is what we are going to do.

And then life happened. His Father died. We talked ourselves out of it. We agreed that it was crazy. We shelved it. We got on with more practical plans. But it never went away.

So last October as I was at the first Redfox retreat, he went to Costa Rica. (Because moving somewhere neither of you have ever been IS crazy… right?)

On the third night of the retreat, on the day before our wedding anniversary, we finally got to talk to each other.

I said that leading retreats and working with inspiring people felt like home.

He said that Costa Rica felt like home.

So there, in a corridor in a manor house in England and a pub in a jungle in Costa Rica, separated by thousands of miles, we both knew.

Another hell yes.

So we’re going.

Bought the tickets yesterday.

 

xo

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Heart and Hearth

Oct 24, 2014 by

Groups run by women are our psychic turf; our place to discover who we are, or who we could become, as whole  independent beings. Somewhere in our lives, each of us needs a free place. A little psychic territory. Do you have yours? – Gloria Steinem ~ Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions

 

This year has taught me about the true power of intention. Not – ‘I want a red bicycle’ from The Secret – intention, but pure ‘this is how I want to feel’ intention.

A little over a year ago, I stood beside the fire at our first Redfox retreat. I had spent the days before marvelling at how much of our intention that the retreat be nourishing and nurturing had come true. I also knew as deep in my bones as knowing goes, that I was where I was supposed to be. Retreats. Women’s circles. Gatherings. My soul was singing to me as clear as could be.

But then I got scared. Really scared. Sometimes when you see the power of an intention coming true – when you prove to yourself that magic is real – then the safest thing to do is run as fast as you can back to your smallness. My Big Dream was way too big and scary for me to believe in.

But as I stood beside the fire and watched the faces of the other women, I stepped forward and called in movement. I called in deep, real change. (More on the outcome of that next week!) And I felt a shock of energy hit me. The power of real, honest intention held by a circle of women was actually electric. I remember looking across the circle of light and catching Sas‘ eye and feeling so rooted in the magic of intention and friendship, I wished every women could know – as I knew in that moment – that they are more powerful than they can possibly imagine.

But it all started with intention and a circle of women. 

So a few weeks ago when Sas and I were talking late one night about dreams and the sacred and magic, we conjured another circle. We wanted more women to feel what we felt as we circled together. We wanted to bring together some of the most heart-full women we could be brave enough to ask, and have them join us by the fire. We wanted to bring light and peace to the time before the holidays. We wanted to give women a series of precious gifts that they could open again and again, whenever they needed to – with absolutely nothing to do in return. We wanted to bring the sacred back to a time when pulling off the perfect Christmas seems to be more important than the return of the light.

And with that intention, Heart and Hearth was born. And amazing women from all over the world said yes, they would love to participate. And incredible women all over the world are signing up to join us. I hope you will too.

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