Friends! We are GO for tomorrow!! Screening starts shortly after sunset at 8pm, but event starts at 7pm - come early to learn about the film and the initiative, snack on nibbles and quaff potent potables, and participate in awesome activities! Please park on Arthur Stiles Rd (I live on a cul-de-sac and parking is limited), look for the red and yellow balloons, and come to the backyard. Let's watch an uplifting movie and raise money for the Let Girls Learn Fund!
Hello friends, what an amazing week and a half! Between April 1st and now, I tabled at WECON2016, did some serious unpacking at my new home, and then my love Randall and I took a week long trip to New York and Brooklyn. It was a whirlwind of smiling and talking, occasionally stressful but ultimately triumphant Ikea assembly, and SO MUCH walking, seeing of cool stuff, and eating of delicious food (Momofuku and the best shawarma I've ever had). So good. ALSO! During the Resource Fair, I ran a social media contest! Please give a huge congratulations to Alex P!! She won a FREE MONTH of A Box of Your Own! And what, you may ask, in the name of bell hooks, is A Box of Your Own?? Why, only the newest coolest thing that I will be going public with June 1st! But, you can Join Circle Time to find out early!
I'm home now, refreshed, energized and ready. Cannot wait for the Girl's Rising movie screening happening this Saturday. We will be watching a stunning documentary film as we donate money for the Let Girls Learn Fund by the Peace Corp. CLICK HERE to RSVP.
So, enjoy some photos from the WECON tabling, and get out there and tackle the world!
As you can tell from the title, this post is full of exclamations. And why? Because WeCON2016 is tomorrow! I'm excited and a little bit anxious as I prep the flyers, sign up sheets, and goody bags. "Goody bags?!" you ask? "Oh yes," I answer, "Really good goody bags.". Each one will have info about A Road of Your Own, print outs of my Self Care Worksheet, coloring book pages, crayon packets and SNACKS! Also exciting?
See you tomorrow lovelies!
SO HAPPY to share that I will be tabling at the Resource Fair during the Women's Empowerment Conference or: WE CON 2016 on April 1st & 2nd! Hosted by the Women's Community Center of Central Texas, this is the third annual conference, and is focusing on "Claiming Space, Making Space".
WE Con 2016 will be a two-day event featuring workshops, panel discussions, a Women of Color Maker Fair, and an Opening Night showcase featuring various performers and speakers. Historically, patterns of marginalization have greatly affected feminist spaces, even as they strive for equality and justice. Certain voices and experiences are heard and valued while other voices and experiences are ignored or silenced. This year’s theme encourages us to not only claim the space that we have been denied, but to also do the work of moving back and making space for others. about
Amazing sounding, riight????! I'm so thrilled!!! More punctuation!!!! I have to get a banner made!
I will have more details about when and where I'll be during the conference by Thursday, but until then know that REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN! It is only $15 dollars (sliding scale for people who cannot afford that is available), located on the east side at the ACC Webberville campus, and runs from 6pm on Friday to 5pm on Saturday! Can't wait to see you there!
I subscribe to Lena Dunham and her friend Jenni Konner's newsletter: The Lenny Letter. Each week is a new email with compelling interviews with and profiles of super rad feminist ladies, and personal essays/call to arms. Today's Lenny Letter was written by one of my number 1 lady crushes, FLOTUS Michelle Obama, and I've got to say, it got me all kinds of fired up. This essay is an emotional clarion call to support girls education. She introduces the new #62MillionGirls social media campaign, and shares why she supports the #LetGirlsLearn initiative.
Just imagine for a moment what it’s like to be in their shoes. Imagine being a bright, curious young girl with all kinds of ideas about what you want to be when you grow up. And then one day, someone taps you on the shoulder and says, “Sorry, not you. You’re a girl. Your dreams stop here. You have to drop out of school, marry a man 20 years older than you whom you’ve never met, and start having babies of your own.”
Think about who — and what — you would be today if your formal education had ended after middle school and you knew only what you’d learned through eighth grade.
It’s inconceivable, right? We wouldn’t dream of accepting this fate for ourselves — or for our friends, sisters, or daughters. So why would we accept it for any girl on this planet — especially when we’ve got piles of research telling us that girls who go to school marry later, have healthier families, and earn higher salaries?
I'm infinitely grateful for my education. For Ms. Cavazos, who saw me hiding my tears during free read in 7th grade, and gave me the bathroom pass so I could ugly cry when Walter Blythe died in WWI. She taught me that tears from books are always okay. For Ms. McDonald, who encouraged us to forgo 'being nice' in our writing and instead be compelling and funny and truthful, allowing me to follow suit in my own conversations. For Mr. Risinger, who modeled respect and civil dialogues, even if you had a vastly different political opinion.
For Bryn Mawr. Oh my goodness, for Bryn Mawr. A home of take no shit, love one another, bad ass, formidable women. An intellectual home where my assumptions were challenged, my privilege called out, and my instincts were honed. A home where self government was encouraged and fostered. They treated us like adults. Adults who had the power to decide what their daily lives would look like, but who also had the responsibility to ensure that their choices didn't infringe on others. Take care of yourself, take care of each other. We trust you. You can do it. You can own your life and make a difference in the world.
I cried hot fast tears as I read Michelle's letter in the company bathroom (still my favorite spot for that ugly cry), thinking of all the girls (62 million) who don't have the opportunities to learn what I've learned. And my heart said no more. I will not stand by and let this happen. I will take these gut-wrenching tears and galvanize.
So, please join me on Saturday April 16th at 6pm for a fundraising screening of the film 'Girl Rising' followed by a discussion. This screening will be at my home, and nibbles and drinks will be provided. All I ask is that you give. All money raised will be donated to the Peace Corp Let Girls Learn Fund, the recipient that Michelle Obama is specifically asking us to support.
From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising journeys around the globe to witness the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. Viewers get to know nine unforgettable girls living in the developing world: ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams. Prize-winning authors put the girls’ remarkable stories into words, and renowned actors give them voice.
Stand up to this injustice and help me work to keep girls in schools. I'll finish with the First Lady's own final words:
I want to end this letter with the story of just one of these girls — a young woman I met in Cambodia. She wakes up at four every morning to cook for her family, water their crops, and tend to their cows. Then she gets on her bicycle and pedals for an hour to get to school, where she studies as hard as she can to fulfill her dream of becoming a math teacher.
She told me, “I have been through a lot of hardships. I know that I need to overcome them. I’ve never thought that they are the barrier to stop me. I’ve never thought of giving up … I never lose hope in myself.”
Against the most heartbreaking odds, these girls never lose hope in themselves. The least we can do is give them a chance to go to school, fulfill that hope, and become who and what they are meant to be.
Beauties! As always, yesterday's Moon Church left me full of wonder at my sheer luck. Lucky that I know such amazing women, and lucky that you were all ready and willing to join in with your open hearts.
We started off by getting to know one another, and how our month or week has gone. There were triumphs, pain, new dedications, and conflicts.
Then, we learned about the significance of this Virgo Moon through a Chani Nicholas reading. Here's my favorite part:
We can know all of the things we must work on, all the ways in which we can do better, all of the things we must grow into and still feel appreciation for the day, for the skin that we are in and for ourselves. We can hold one another accountable while still holding one another with a compassionate heart. We can look at the world, in all its pain, sorrow and injustice and still know it’s worth fighting for, still know that there is love here, still believe that justice will, in the end, win. We can know that even in the most intense struggles to become ourselves and to find our way, we are still, and will always be, a perfect fit for our own lives.
Next were grounding exercises! We stomped and stamped our feet, shaking out the old anxious energy and sending it like lightning bolts into the earth. We took turns guiding one another through the Tree of Life meditation (roots down, branches up), feeling the Earth absorb and accept our stress and worries.
Then we released! Folks had either brought old clothes to donate, or were visualizing which ones they wanted to give away when they returned home. Each woman selected a particular item of clothing that represented a worry or stress, and shared why she was letting it go. We had a pair of shoes that someone was pressured into buying, a skirt that no longer fit, a dress that represented a stressful relationship. There was a skirt that did fit again, a sweater representing complacency, and a whole bunch of very uncomfortable bras. It was wonderful to see everyone release what was holding them back.
Also helpful for letting go? This amazing Marie Kondo book. Have you drank the KonMari kool aid? Let me know in the comments!
After a quick and lovely break, we used that freed up space to welcome in new goals and plans, and planted zinnia seeds to stand for those goals. There were plans for boundary setting, ultra-marathons, de-cluttering and packing. Making new friends, self care, and acing the GREs.
I sat there, listening to these fierce bold women plan their lives, and was in awe that I have them in my life. These new friends and old, ready to take care of themselves and each other. Striving the best they can to better themselves. Thank you all for being such beautiful examples. I always love the sharing and vulnerability that each of you brings - thank you so much!
DEAR ONES! I am thrilled to share the registration for our next event - MOON CHURCH 3! A Full Moon Celebration in Virgo!
The Full Moon in Virgo is a reminder for grounding, releasing past worries, and joyfully planning your future year, so join me for February's Full Moon on Sunday, February 21st at 7:00pm for a night of letting the negative go, letting the positive in, and enjoying our connection to the Earth!
We'll be outside in the night air (weather permitting), enjoying grounding meditation, donating old clothes, getting our hands dirty as we plant the seeds of our future plans, and talking till our hearts are full.
Looking forward to some great sisterhood sharing!
SO, do you want to sign up for this?
I turned 30 years old on Saturday, and I feel different. You folks already in your 30's (or 40's or 50's) will probably chuckle, but I do. Fall has always brought me a sense of a new year - new school season, colder air harboring changes, and the strongest of our modern American rituals: the birthday. It all comes together to bring this feeling of newness. And 30. A whole new decade. So at a family birthday gathering on Friday night, I asked everyone over 30 to talk about about what their entry into my new decade was like. I'd hoped for a tidy little theme (big surprise), but they were all over the board. For some, turning 30 was a year of struggles, and for others it was ease. Clarity and confusion. Stability and changes. Each person had their own path through that year. So I've decided to figure out how I feel on my own.
Because this fall feeling has a different quality than normal. As well as the newness (new opportunities, new commitments, new plans), I feel release. That this year's word theme of 'enrich' is coming to an end. That these last two months, the microbes broke down the matter, and the compost pile got HOT. Activity and friction and changes. I have a sense that the 'breaking down' has ended and I'm left with lovely dark crumbly soil ready for planting. And there is so much comfort and confidence in that.
When we let go of everything that is ready to decompose, we make space inside of ourselves for newness to be born. Dying has never been a finale, it is only a brilliant bridge to a new section of life. Like compost turned to rich and seed-ready soil, dying prepares us for a new phase of living itself. Though our smaller selves might dissolve, dying has never been an ending at all. It is, instead, an ecstatic transformation into a wider self. ...
Now is the time. In the knobbed hands of the wind, the antique scent of dried leaves and the warm cinnamon feeling of fire in the trees. Now is the time to let the dying enter you as clean and beautiful as the stone that was forgotten and then exposed in the wheat gold of fading weeds. Allow in the beautiful melancholia and heart-throbbing abundance of life itself. Let every day end like a cello on its last note. And relish. Relish, relish this season of profundity and release. Because, despite what we have grown to fear, dying is a beautiful thing. For then, we can rest. For then, we can embrace the unbelievable joy of what comes next.
I feel like a big chunk of my self guilt and insecurities have fallen away. I know that I still have my worries - I will always be a serious person. But, this morning, I feel so much more ... solidly me. I spent my twenties figuring out what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be, and now I feel like I know what I want to do and who I want to be. To bring folks into community, to let them realize "it's not just me", to hear their laughter and witness their care for each other. To be a carer.
On that, I'd like to announce our next event for A Road of Your Own: a journaling workshop! Join A Road of Your Own and your peers on November 21st, 2015, at 11:00am to develop a journaling practice that works for you! We'll discuss daily or weekly journal strategies, practicalities of when and where you can write, prepare our own journals, get compelling and interesting prompts, and get writing! A journal is included in registration if you don't have your own. Lunch will also be provided. Click the banner below to register! Look forward to seeing you all there!
Ladies! Thank you so much for joining me this past Tuesday for our second Moon Church! I have so much gratitude for all of you. As with our last celebration, your presence, willingness to share, and beautiful listening had me in awe. This month's Moon Church was all about body image, and I applaud each of you for being brave and sharing your vulnerabilities.
After our introductions, we asked an opening question: which of the 5 senses is your favorite? Simple on the surface, but we dove in and discovered a much deeper truth. Because for most people, the sense they most treasured was the one they associated with memories: be it smell, sound, or touch. We heard stories of dirt biking, fabric stores, songs that took us back to a certain time in our lives. Reminded me that our physical experience of the world is always replete with emotion.
Next, we listened to excerpts from Mystic Mamma and Chani Nicholas and discussed how the full moon, particularly in Taurus, resonated with us. Sturdiness. Slowing down. Being our own anchor. Digesting and enjoying that which we take in. Being a rock steady source of calm for ourselves.
I wanted us to get conscious of our bodies, so we got out our yoga mats, and did a soothing moon salutation. Stretching, bending, and twisting, we felt our bodies move and loosen. I had found this image a while ago, and really enjoyed it's non linear presentation of a position sequence. It's my favorite! Please feel free to do this yourself in the evenings, or whenever you feel stressed.
Next, it was time to go deeper, and dive into how we perceived our bodies. We started by contemplating a painful self criticism of our bodies (I know we all have our go to). We wrote it down on a scrap of paper, and held that pain in our hands. Here in our palms was what we most often berate ourselves for. We needed to stand up to that criticism. It was time to start letting it go. So we passed a burn bowl, and one by one set that scrap of paper on fire, letting the pain burn up into ash. Some flamed high, and some smoldered, but each of us started down the path of releasing the worry and the self berating. If we felt comfortable, we shared our difficulty with the circle, and realized that we weren't alone in our worries. What we were all feeling was heard and understood. It will take time to not use that 'go to' critique again. I've already had mine come up about 10 times in the past 48 hours! But each time the criticism surfaces, I'm able to catch myself, and say "I let that go", and not obsess over it as I have in the past. With time, that 'catch myself' will happen sooner and sooner, and eventually the criticism itself will fade away.
We had opened up a space in our hearts by letting go of the pain, so then we invited in gratitude. Paired up, we considered our favorite body memory, and mixed up clay face masks. As our gal pal masked up our faces, we shared our memory, how it felt and how it made us feel. We felt cared for by our buddy, as she tenderly spread the clay on our face, and strong and powerful as we remembered the great things our body is capable of.
With our faces still moon-y from the clay, we shared our memories with the group at large, and made our own bespoke tea blend! This tea will be a tangible reminder to be grateful for our bodies: organs that do their work, legs that carry us around, hands that complete delicate actions, and backs that hold us up all without us really thinking about it. I invite all attendees to say "thank you body" with each cup brewed of their tea.
To end the night, we joined hands, and thanked each other for the presence and spirit. It was another lovely event, so thank you so much ladies I cannot WAIT for the next one!!
So happy to announce that the 2nd Moon Church is scheduled. And this time, it's a Full Moon Celebration! The Full Moon is a reminder for creation, self care, and reveling in your body, so join me and 15 other mad formidable, rad, bad ass babes for October's Full Moon on Tuesday, October 27th for a night of nourishment, creativity, and body positivity! We'll be outside in the night air, enjoying simple yoga, drawing tarot cards, exchanging massages, working through body image exercises, and talking till our hearts are full.
This event is free, but is capped at 15 people. I've already had 10 women sign up (!!!), so please click the banner image below to register for the last 5 places! We will have a wait list once the 15 spots are taken.
If you can't go to this event, but don't want to miss out on future ones, please join my fun weekly letter: Circle Time.
Looking forward to some great women power spirit sharing!
UPDATE! We have reached the 15 person limit! You can still sign up for the wait list by following the banner image above! LOVE YOU GUYS!
Hello, hello! This past Friday, I was grateful to host a very wonderful event: a New Moon Celebration.
I had been inspired by a post on Mystic Mamma, where she writes the following:
A New Moon marks the beginning of a new cycle, a fresh start in it’s cycle of waxing and waning. During this time the Moon is empty and receptive and full of potential. This is an optimum time to plant seeds of intentions for what you wish to manifest in your life ...
There is something so powerful when women come together to support each other on their journey, in the hopes and dreams. We are healed, we are nurtured, we feel comforted and understood. Moreover, when you share sacred space together you magnify the power of your intentions and you energetically create a web of support for not only your circle of women friends but with women everywhere.
First time I read that, I thought, Healed, nurtured, comforted, and understood. A web of support. YES! How wonderful! I want to get me some of that! So, as the event planning junkie that I am, I decided to have A Road of Your Own put it on asap.
As I've said before in my horoscope post, I don't really believe that the location of the planets or the state of the moon affects my life. But I wholeheartedly believe in the values of stories and symbols. The emptiness, and thus receptiveness of the New Moon is a beautiful metaphor for emptying your own life of something undesirable and welcoming something new in. Then, as the days go on, and the moon grows, you tell the story of your new intention flourishing and growing as well.
So, surrounded by candles and perfumed by incense, a group of Austin women gathered on my porch and felt community. We most assuredly "created a web of support". We talked about the women we admired, how we felt about the Leo moon's implications in our lives, carving gems out of our stone hearts, and the pain and stress we'd each been going through recently. We each chose one thing to let go of. One thing that had sapped our energy, and used up too much valuable real estate in our hearts. It was time to say goodbye to letting it live in our lives. I'd provided a tear away portion in the program, and in that space, we wrote down what we were letting go of. One by one, to the extent that we were comfortable, we shared what we were surrendering, rolled up the scrap of paper, and burned that pain right up. They flew away as ash, no longer using our energy.
Then, we were ready to devote that freed up energy to what our hearts really wanted to focus on. We set new intentions for ourselves. Everyone had been asked to bring an herb or an essential oil that they most loved, and I had provided extra oils, and a whole basket of lavender, mint leaves, and flower petals. We passed around a big bowl of bath salt crystals, and when the bowl got to each woman, she shared her intention, and added her flowers and herbs and oils. The smells wafting from the bowl and the determined smiles from around the circle were heavenly.
Next, we focused on how to make that intention a reality. I had decided to demystify tarot readings a bit further, so I split the group into trios and had them draw one card from the major arcana one at a time thinking about this question "What do I need to focus on to help my intention flourish?", and the other two women in the trio would interpret it for the seeker. To help them out, I had created a quick reference guide, primarily depending on (and at times directly quoting) Little Red Tarot's meanings. Click the image below for a printable PDF version of the guide!
But I wanted everyone to work on their own intuition and symbolic thinking, so I encouraged the 'readers' to go with their gut: what did they see on the card, and how did they think it applied to the seeker's intention beyond what was printed in the guides. Sounds of laughter and insight swelled through the groups. After returning to our large circle, we talked about what we'd found out about ourselves, and the symbols that would remind us to hold true to our intentions. Suns, swords, balances, and wild strong women. We had actions to work on: jumping in to new adventures, stepping into a changed life, and diving into studies.
Finally, sadly, we reached the end of the night. We stood around the table where the unmixed bath salt crystals festooned with flowers, herbs, and oils waited for us. We plunged our hands into the salts and stirred and stirred, feeling our neighbors hands and their dear hopes mix with our own. The intoxicating spicy floral aroma billowed around us. Joining our gritty crystalled hands together, we stood in a circle and I expressed my gratitude.
I'd like to do that again.
So thank you so much to everyone who attended, and to those who sent intentions and well wishes from afar. It was exactly what I needed, and perfect for the group. As one attendee said afterwards
You all are helping me in my journey of strengthening, self awareness and happiness. I felt it was a safe environment filled with love and respect. I hope that each of your find the strength and patience to continue to let it go so much so that it never comes back.
And she is so right. Your presence, your depth of sharing, and your support, filled my heart up.
I'd like to do this again.