I have missed writing in this blog. Honestly, I've been having so many great experiences, I keep thinking of all the things I want to share about them but them but haven't taken the time to sit down and do that. So here's a quick synopsis of my escapades and contemplations from the last month or so.
Women's Herbal Symposium- Memorial Day weekend.
This was a fabulous event! I started going in 1992 and used to go almost annually, especially in my 20's. I hadn't been in about 7 years. It was wonderful to be back on this beautiful land (Hog Farm in Laytonville, CA) with about 400 women of all ages from new borns to infants and toddlers, kids of all ages, teenagers and women from 20's to 70's. WOW! I love seeing all the variations on beauty as expressed through a woman's body, especially when she's comfortable in her own skin and not trying to be anyone but herself. And the symposium helps women to find this place if they're not already there, by example and by support. They are supported in sharing their stories around the campfire the first night, and we practice listening and offering support. At the end, we have a ceremony for the maidens who've come into their "first moon," like of rights of passage. It's so beautiful to honor the beginning of womanhood in this way when so often in our culture it's such a private or shameful secret. And there's the elders (crones) who form a clan over the weekend and come together to give the blessings to the maidens. So powerful! So we are supported at all ages, all levels of our being. I have never seen anything like it before on this scale. Women often come here feeling broken or isolated and leave feeling connected, held and empowered. Many feel more relaxed and comfortable in their bodies, even though they may have come initially to learn about the plants and self-healing and being a healer. There is something magical that happens when women come together without any men in sight in an environment structured around healing and support. There is sweet ease and freedom, peace and joy.
So besides all the inner healing that happens, there is the great schedule of classes offered on herbs or food medicine in topics like first aid, herb walks, wild crafting, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, cancer, diabetes, breast health, making lotions, making medicine, diagnostics, kitchen spices, salves, baskets, kids classes, seaweed harvesting and usage, and much more. This year, my favorite classes were on breast health and Ayurvedic kitchen spices. I learned a ton. I taught yoga there several times over the years and this year they also had some fun classes like Zumba, aerial silks, hand mudras and Indian Orissa dancing! I appreciated that they'd expanded their offerings of physical classes.
I went with my old friends and now many of them have kids. It was wild to be there in my 40's and especially to observe the ways I've changed over the years. I used to be uptight about taking as many educational classes as I could (as I was a trained herbalist), and this time I was more interested in having fun and chilling out, as well as enjoying some fantastic learning. I used to have some social stuff come up around being included in the group. It was so poignant for me to recognize that I'm way more relaxed with myself in this kind of environment now and not so concerned about what others think and how popular I am. I was able to trust in my friendships and in my ability to socialize with strangers and aquaintences without any charge about who I "should" be with at any given time. What a big difference from my 20's and what a relief! I'm pleased to report that aging does wonders for maturation! Of course, I think all my spiritual work has probably also paid off in this arena.
Well, that's probably a long enough blog for now. I'll write soon on some of the other recent adventures.
Happy Full Moon Guru Purnima- the day to honor your guru and make prayers and offerings which will be multiplied by 1,000 times at least!