This last year has been one of constant movement, and I’ve learned to trust and celebrate these changes. From babies to deaths to rebirths, I know more than ever that the circle continues. It’s become even comforting to look back at my own spirals I’ve created, recognize my agency in the matters, and choose, simply choose in the moment to create and not react.
I began the New Year with my good old LA friends on some old high rise building in downtown L.A. We were all dressed up, and it felt so ritzy.
My winter intention welcomed in my shadows (forgiving myself and moving into pain to experience greater joy). Working towards that end, I was a part of retreats on the Enneagram. I also took classes with incredible scholars in women’s spirituality, among them Sobonfu Some, Lucia Birnbaum, Mara Keller, Luisah Teish, and Afia Walking Tree. These classes – from Poetry Therapy, Rites of Passage, and Dark Madonnas – helped me continue the healing work I began so intensely a few years ago. My moon cycle even came in line with the new moon this year, and additionally, I continued therapy at The Relational Center, a non-profit therapy center in LA.
Indeed, my school work has been thriving as well as challenging, and when I’m up in the Bay area for classes, I love to cook for and share meals with my friends and classmates. I have a goodly community of folk up in SF now. With them, I’ve been able to bicycle across the Golden Gate, relax at my friend’s in the Berkeley Hills, enjoy the fun bars of the Mission, and adventure to the Muir Woods, Marin Bay, Oakland and Kensington Hills.
I also presented a paper at the American Academy of Religion conference in Whittier, my hometown. When I’m down here in the LA area, I enjoy working toward some local urban and suburban sustainability, catching depression era drink prices at the Edison or the like, and attending centering prayer at the Center for the Working Poor. In Long Beach, too, I have my women’s community I meet with regularly.
In between SF and LA, I have always my dear Abundant Table farm community. We just celebrated the most wonderful holiday weekend with a tamalada, sing-a-long, and all other sorts of merriment.
In late spring, I participated in what came to be about a two month apprenticeship at Quail Spring, a permaculture farm in the sacred Cuyama Valley. At QS, I developed additional land skills working with animals, vegetables, and fruit trees (like pomegranates!). I walked, camped in my friends’ borrowed trailer, partied in cob homes, took long hikes, played so much music, made trips to the river, meditated in my sit spot, learned how to hula hoop, and worked on the lathe. My summer intention became falling in love with my able body.
In the midst of all this Earth-love, my beloved Papa passed, and the process of grieving was intense. It really changed my life. Grateful for the close moments we shared together these last few years in southern California and for being able to be with him and sing with him during his last few hours, I still missed holding his hands and feeling his kiss on my cheek. This grieving time makes all summer feel like a blur really.
Still, at the end of the summer and for my birthday, I traveled to Spain and the Mediterranean. I blogged a travel log while visiting ancient sites in Spain as well as Malta, Greece, Italy, and France (cristyroses.blogspot.com). An epic two-month journey if I do say so myself, I returned with an ability to let go as well as a stronger appreciation for home, family, and chosen family. Coming back, I want to be around those I trust.
In fact, I’d say I’ve loved in a deeper way these Christmas parties and Solstice gatherings with old friends – so intimate and beautiful. My winter intention this year is to remind my baby girl self that “it is safe to see clearly now,” and my plan for entering the New Year is to witness the gorgeous mountains and deserts of California.
On the whole, I’m grateful for a good life. My PhD coursework just ended, and I’m moving up to SF to be more focused for my exams.
I continue to salsa, bachata, hula, and any other kind of dancing, specifically with women. I miss flying, but I’ve been able to sail a bit. And, hiking along the California coast feels great too. I rediscovered my love for the guitar, water-coloring vegetables and fruits, and crocheting. And, I still love my photography.
Really thankful that in all these things, I’m around so many creative and inspiring friends (like you)!
Joy and light this season!!