contessacreate

Most often when a group of strangers come together for a weekend, no one has any idea what to expect.  Luminous Wild was such a weekend.  If you look around corners that you don’t normally see, your going to experience things unknown before you. This video is one of those unknowns that was floating ahead of me waiting for the future moment to align with the present

I knew I wanted movement and dance to be apart of the Luminous Wild experience.  You move your body and undoubtedly you shake things loose. We all have this insancenly vibrant creativity deep within us, and bringing it out into the world means pushing it past our own body universe and sharing with others outside of us. We possess these shells in which all of our creativity must seep through in order to effect the world outside of ourselves.  Often on that journey through material mass, sinew and…

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Grieving

How funny to think that it has only been 5 days since my last post. This time last week I was in New York, with my Luminous Wild tribe, radiating in their love, wisdom, and support.

Five days later I find that everything is changing on me again. Change is scary, it’s intimidating, it’s beautiful, it’s an adventure. It can be so many things.

But right now for me, change is everything. I wanted a change, and I was given one, but it wasn’t the one I was counting on. Coming home from New York I had so many plans, I was going to buy Fire Fans and start fire dancing, I was going to sink back into my old life with a new perspective and start making changes in my life for the better. I was going to do so much.

And one phone call changed that, completely.

My phone call told me that January 1st of next year, I would be leaving for the Air Force. I had 75 days to mentally and physically prepare, go through my belongings and get rid of them, and get ready to be ripped from my old life.

The moment I hung up the phone I felt an incredible sinking feeling that I can’t even begin to express. I found myself burying my face in my hands and crying. Crying for myself. Crying for what I felt I’d just lost.

It’s not that I didn’t want to go to the Air Force, obviously I made that decision and I knew it was coming. But I was caught off guard. It was so soon, I didn’t get the chance to do anything I’d wanted. I didn’t get the chance to explore my new found passion. To explore a new part of me. And I was also given the job that I didn’t want, the one that I wish I’d never put down on the list.

I found that I couldn’t stop crying. I felt like I’d just been hit in the chest. It was hard to breathe, hard to think, hard to believe I’d just hung up the phone a minute before. In my mind I wondered, is this what going into shock feels like?

When I stopped crying I just felt a heavy numbness inside. Mutely accepting what was thrown my way as I always have in life. I told myself it had been my choice, and I shouldn’t be upset. I pushed away my feelings, I pushed away my shock.

But as I should have learned so many times before, pushing away how I feel – when I have a right to my own emotions- only makes things I worse. I found myself crying at work. My usual pep, cheery smile, and fun attitude that lasted through the day was so hard to keep up that it wore off within a few hours. Smiling made me want to cry. But I had to smile anyway, thanking the customers, telling them to have a great day…when I, myself, was having a terrible one. Just being at work- knowing that within 2 months I would no longer be around these people that I now consider my friends, and that make me laugh and smile every single day – made me want to curl up in a hole.

Those days were terrible. Every time I felt happy and laughed, my cruel mind would remind me that I wouldn’t be there for long, and would no longer be laughing and joking around with them. Then I’d have to force out the laugh. Pretend I was okay with leaving, with what was happening. I just had to make a joke out of it.

But today, as I neared breaking point at work and could only stand there and barely do my job and crack out a tiny smile, I realized I had to stop making a joke of it. This was real. This wasn’t going to go away no matter how much I pretended it would, or tried to forget, or tried to pretend I was okay. And if I didn’t face how I felt, it was going to hit me in the face.

I came home from work to an empty house- my parents having left for a birthday party for one of their friends children. I went straight to my room, trying to figure out how I would deal with this. How I would just get through the day.

After a hot shower and loading up my laptop, I went to the Luminous Wild group. I knew I’d find some sort of wisdom or support, there. And I was right. I watched Contessa’s beautiful video of the movements we did when we were together in the magic barn, and I followed along with them. Halfway through I found myself smiling, breathing deeply, and feeling relaxed. My head was clearing. The heavy sadness I’d all afternoon was lifting. I felt like myself.

Then I saw the blog my darling Goddess of Free Spirit wrote, and read the letter to me. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, and couldn’t have said anything I needed to hear more than that. She was right, and I just needed to believe that.

So as I’m sitting here, breathing in my incense and let my wild mane of curls dry, I realize that it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay for me to cry and be sad. My life is changing, and my old life is about to end.

I need to grieve it.

And only once I’ve grieved the loss of my old life, and old self- can I really truly move on to embrace my new one.

I know that I can do this, I know that I -need- to do this. Because after this I can really follow my dreams and be true to myself. I just have to be strong and remember to take life as it is. I can’t worry about the past, or the future. I just need to live, because if I spend my time worrying and pushing everything and everyone away- my life is going to pass me by. and I wont have really lived it.

After writing this and crying out all my sadness, I feel that numbness replaced with a sense of peace. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay.

I find that once again, my Luminous Wild goddesses have helped me, changed me, guided me, and helped me. Without even realizing. But most importantly I find that I had the strength to do something I’d never let myself do before.

Grieve for myself.

Part of Luminous Wild was to make an Altar to yourself, honoring yourself and having tangible and visible portrayals of your dreams that you could take time every day to look at and focus on.

Part of the altar had to be my “Board of Directors” or my Six to Success- Who would I choose to go to for advice, inspiration, and creativity? Who do I want on my team?

So, all weekend, and all day today I visualized my altar. How would I make it? What would be on it? What would motivate, inspire, and help me…every day?

It all formed together in my mind and as soon as I got home I set to work, building my altar.

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So who are my six to success and why these people?

  • Veronica Varlow: Because of her strength and beauty, and her unfaltering love. Every day she inspires and motivates me, and so many other people. And without her this Altar would not exist, this new person I am would not exist. My new dreams would not exist.
  • Contessa: As with Veronica, her strength and beauty. Her knowledge, her energy, her ability to inspire and teach with whatever she says. She is just as responsible for my growth into a new person as Veronica.
  • AnneMarie Lucas: She was my first role model and was he first strong and independant women to really inspire me and affect me. Her strength, compassion, and dedication has touched me since I was a little girl.
  • Crystal River: Because of it’s undeniable power, energy, strength, and magic. It’s simple but breathtaking beauty. It’s timeless wisdom. It’s influence in my life
  • Florence Welch: Her music has changed my life, and inspired me endlessly. She’s not afraid to be different, to be in her own world. She’s succesful, powerful, unique, and beautiful.
  • Jane Rizzoli: Strong women always inspire me and leave me striving to be better, to be stronger, to be more than I am. While she may not be a “real” person, she is real to me. She’s inspired me, she affected me, she’s influenced me.

While I’m surrounded by my six to success, I also draw inspiration from the rest of my altar:

  • My candle that I made at Luminous Wild
  • My skeleton key necklace, given to me during my first trip to New York by Veronica
  • The crystals I found in crystal river
  • A post card from New York
  • A key I got from New York, on my long journey
  • Lavendar, given to me by my Wifey
  • The picture Debra gave me of herself holding fire for the first time on the last day at Luminous Wild
  • A seashell I brought back from California, the last time I saw my Grandfather alive
  • Lavendar candles I made when I was a little girl
  • A card from the Air Force about Security Forces- the job that I want
  • A figurine of a cat, that looks similar to one of my cats and one of the most important tigns in my life
  • A Hawk feather I found
  • A group picture of my Tribe
  • The altar itself is a ceramic stand, given to me by my Great Grandmother, whom I have a special bond with
  • A match from lighting my candle in the circle
  • My vial of essential oils, from Contessa

Altar to a Goddess

Here I am, 3 days later, on the bus headed home.

My first thought as I opened up my app to begin this journal: wow….it’s only been 3 days?

I feel like I’ve grown an entire lifetime. I’ve gained the knowledge and passion of 7 other women, and strengthened my own in ways i’d never known possible. How am I the same person I was 3 days ago? How did I spend my life not feeling like this?

As I thought about blogging this, I had intended to blog about the adventures of Luminous Wild. But then as I wrote them all out in my workbook and diary I realized that the actual experiences and magic that happened….they were sacred. They were kept to our tribe, the first Luminous Wild tribe, and that’s where they’ll stay. In the land, in our minds, our hearts, our memories.

This retreat wasn’t so much a retreat as it was a rebirth. Every single person changed. Grew. Transformed. We did it together, we did it as a tribe.

So while I won’t relay my weekend word for word here, I’m going to mention the most meaningful and changing parts of it. The rest will remain in my heart and in my journal.

*****

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As Jen and I puled up, past 8:30 at night after a terrifying drive around curves at the edge of cliffs, we were greeted with this sign, and received into the coziest place I could ever have imagined. There were hugs, cookies, and hot cider.

As I sat there, looking around, I asked myself: what did I get myself into? Why am I here?
I was weary from 26 hours of travel, yet as I sat there I was wide awake and ready to begin. I felt renewed, invigorated, alive.

The first night was just a taste of what was to come. There was already that small seed planted in us, ready for us to take notice and let it grow. Let ourselves grow. We laughed, we talked, we began to knock down the walls we had built around ourselves.

4 1/2 hours of on/off sleep later, I was awake again. I was the first to rise, and as I crept around the art barn as to not disturb my sleeping partner, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I slipped on my boots and scarf and crept out into the crisp morning air as the sun began to rise.

I’m awake. I’m alive.

I walked to the bridge nearby and looked out into my surroundings and was greeted with the most beautiful sight.

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It took my breath away, and as I leaned against the rail I felt a little bit of my anxiety and stress begin to slip away. I made it, I was there, I was ready to be open and just let things happen. I felt like an open book, a blank page, ready to be imprinted on.

Even as I type this out now in the dimming light, I cannot believe this was just yesterday morning. How had so much changed in the course of one day?

Now, the magic that happened cannot be explained with words and blogs. It was something that had to be felt, experienced, and seen.

But magic was made. It was made in our minds and souls, it was made, literally, in the middle of a river.

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It was made with the wind. With food. With love. With glitter. With music. With hugs. With sharing. With all of us there, together, being true to who we were and just letting go.

We all began to realize, this was real. We are special. We are powerful. We are goddesses.

As the sun went down we embarked on a secret walk, which turned in to a wild version of the girlscouts. On magic. Huffing glitter.

Ok that was an exaggeration. BUT there was a walk, and singing, and dancing in the middle of the road for oncoming and unsuspecting cars. (Car car….C-A-R…. you girls know the rest.) We laughed so much I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk. As I type this I’m laughing to myself, remembering what we did. I’m also getting funny looks but that’s besides the point.

Our walk ended with a surprise beyond surprises. And all I have to say for this part is that we met one of -the- coolest and sweetest most loving people. And we were fed like goddesses.

****
It’s dark now, as I’m typing this, which is the perfect time to write the next part. To me, the best part of the whole experience.

The fire.

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This fire changed my life. Right there. Right then. My whole word shifted directions, so many questions were answered….questions I didn’t even know I had. But the way it felt. It felt so right.

Around this very fire, 6 of us sat. We took turns drumming out beats within us

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But then the real magic happened. I danced with fire. The very amazing woman in that photo with me brought her fire dancing poi’s, fans, and fingers. She asked if I wanted to try it.

My first mental response was: but you don’t know how. Don’t do it, you’ll look stupid and mess up.

But then my wild self took over my mouth. “Hell yeah! Light me up!”

Wait what?!

But i’d said it. I was on my feet like an excited kid, grinning ear to ear as she went over the safety with me and fastened 4 fingers on to me. Then I lit up.

It was then, right then and there. I felt it. I felt empowered and alive, I felt the fire heating my skin warming me despite being in a tanktop at night. I felt the energy rushing through me. And then I felt myself moving.

What the fuck was I doing? I don’t even know. But there were drums, and I found myself dancing with fire. Dancing with my desire. Dancing with power.

I was on fire, both literally and metaphorically. I wanted more, I wanted to keep going. So we brought out the fire fans. When I lit up it was like a blast of pure power. The fire took over, whooshing around my body, dancing over my skin, spinning into the darkness. And when it was gone, when i’d spun and danced my fire out…..I was reborn. I was changed. I felt passion that i’d never felt before. THIS was what I needed to do. I needed this in my life. I swear that fire was calling me.

The night wore on, and we danced, drummed, and surrounded ourselves with fire. We were rained on, but we kept dancing, lifting our faces to the moon and howling. Drumming. We were wild, we were on fire, we were alive.

That night lasted an eternity, and it will forever be in my heart. I found myself open to more than I thought I could be. I was letting myself be wild and being okay with it.

I realized the world wasn’t going to fall apart if I just threw my head back and howled, and let myself be wild. I don’t always have to be held together, I don’t always have to be mature and structured. It was okay to just….be.

2am rolled around and I was passed out on the couch with a smile on my face. Hell, yes. That had happened. This was real.

******
Morning came to me bright and early, with sun shining through the window onto my face. it was the last day, but in a way, it was the first. The first day of our new starts. I wrote in my journal until i’d recollected everything from the previous night, and the day began with some delicious food, fit for a goddess.

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Prepared by some.

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****
The magic that happened was too perfect for words, and too private to share with the world. But it was real, and it was wonderful, and it was intense.

Then we gathered up our wild selves for a group picture – in the hot tub.

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And to finish off the perfect retreat, there had to be a little sillyness

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And after a ride home with Jen as we let the weekend sink in and shared our thoughts and feelings of it, I’m here. I’m going back home.

So to work towards an end to this massive post, this changed my life. This retreat, that was once just an idea, just a possibility….happened. And it was wild. It was luminous. It was packed full of everything we needed for our new starts.

It was a privilege and an honor to watch as we all transformed into creatures we only dreamed we could be. To watch as each light of our candle was filled with a little more strength, a little more certainty. To go from whispering our names in shyness and uncertainty to declaring we were goddesses and howling.

So thank you, to Contessa and Veronica. You did this. You brought us together. And we all rocked it. Thank you for sharing, for teaching, for inspiring, for guiding, for listening, and for loving. Thank you for the food, the hugs, the laughter, the singing, and the magic. Thank you.

And thank you to each wonderful woman I shared the circle with. We’re a tribe and a family. And you all have helped change me. You are always in my hearts, and I will always be there to answer your calls.

In conclusion…The lessons I learned can’t be written out, the inspiration I gained can’t be explained. The strength I feel can’t be described. But I can say, without a doubt, that I’m a goddess of fire. And I’m fucking Luminous Wild.

xxxxx

                When we are here, when we are wild, we are our true selves – Veronica Varlow

After the Wild

Journey To Luminous Wild

Here I am, sitting in the bus station of Harrisburg PA. How did I get here?

Well 3 delays and a route change later, that’s how.

This trip has been long, and tiring. But i just accept this as part of my journey. There’s a reason I turned up in Harrisburg, rather than Buffalo. There’s a reason i’m 4 hours delayed. Somehow, there’s a reason.

I’ve spent most of the trip in a state of dreamless sleep, the rocking of the bus as it rolled down the highway lulled me into a place that was neither sleeping completely, nor awake. I just existed. One of the many on the way to their final destination. One of the many on their journeys.

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While delayed in Pittsburgh, i spoke with a woman in her 40’s as we desperatley charged our phones before they died on us completely. She was headed to New York City, alone, for the first time. She told me it was her first time traveling alone and she was a little scared. I smiled at her and told her she was in for a treat, because NYC was amazing, and that she’d be just fine alone. She smiled back and that stranger-you-can-trust relationship was established. We watched each others phones as we got information on our buses, then bid each other safe trips.

And such has been the flow of my trip. I awake this morning to lush rolling hills with fall colored trees. The sky was the bluest i’d ever seen it. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and just the sight I needed to see.

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So when we pulled in to Harrisburg I got some coffee and put on some music until I was sufficiently awake, then slipped into the bathroom to change and wash my face.

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There’s another hour left to my layover, then I’m on to Binghamton to meet my Wifey before we head to the retreat together.

Change, Journey, Restart

I haven’t blogged in awhile. I think mainly because I felt that I had nothing to blog about. I told myself people probably wouldn’t even see it or read it, and then I talked myself out of getting my thoughts out onto a literary plane.

I had to remind myself that I’m blogging for me, blogging for my own life, and that if people happen to read it along the way- then that’s just a bonus.

So I’m starting over, and taking a journey with my new start.

My life is changing, and sometimes when I stop and think about it, it gets scary. Only a couple weeks ago I went down to St. Louis for “MEPS”, or as it’s officially known- Military Entrance Processing Station. I went through my medical and passed, and officially began my journey into the Air Force. I signed all the papers and took the Oath of Enlistment with three other guys. It was a woman who was giving us our oath, and I couldn’t stop watching her. She was in charge, she was respected, she had authority and power- and yet she was funny. She was funny, sweet, and tried to make us all welcome. She was inspiring.

I want to be like that. I want to walk into a room and have respect, I want to be looked up at, I want to be intimidating. But then I want to surprise people when they find out I can be funny, sweet, and something they never would have imagined.

I think back to my life a year ago, and I laugh a little. I’ve come a long way. I’ve grown into someone I never thought I’d be. I have a lot more growing to do, but I’m not ashamed of where I am now. I’m strong and I believe in myself more than anything else. I know I can succeed at whatever I try. I know I can make it through. I know I don’t need the approval of others to be who I am. I love myself.

But I also hate myself.

I hate that the scars of my past have left me incapable of the innocence I once had. I hate that I’ve made myself so strong that I’ve forgotten how to be fragile, because I’m too afraid that I might shatter and be unable to pick the pieces back up. I hate that I can never be satisfied with my body. I hate that sometimes I talk too much, when maybe I should just be quiet. I hate that I can’t tell someone what’s wrong, even when they’re genuinely asking.

So I guess, I love my strengths, I love what I’ve built up of myself, and I love how far I’ve come. But it’s all the little things that I push away- that I hate.

So I want to restart, I want to learn to balance and be at peace with the inner war that goes on inside of my body. And in one week, I will have that fresh start.

I’ll be going to Luminous Wild. (Here: http://dangerdame.com/classes-the-school-of-deadly-charms/ )

I’m going to begin with a 20 hour bus journey across the U.S, from IL to upstate NY. I’m going to spend 20 hours getting to know myself again, thinking, contemplating, or just watching the scenery fly past.

Then I’m going to spend 3 magical days with Veronica Varlow, Contessa Montebello, and other women coming from all walks of life. All stages of their journeys. All with reasons similar, and different than my own. And we’re going to build magic from the ground up.

Then I’m going to have a 20 hour journey back to reflect and absorb everything I’ve learned, discovered, felt, and thought. So that when I get home and back to the flow of my life, I can change the current of it. I can find a balance and a strength. I can greet my life, knowing that I’ll be ready for it. And I can carry this magic inside of me.

I’m ready to restart.

I’m ready.

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Iiae

xxx