Intentional Space: Setting the Framework

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Dear COM|PASSionate Community,

The yoga studio that I teach at is an amazing collaboration of owner intention and community investment. It holds the sweat, tears, laughter, music, insight, movement and light of years worth of practice. It is also situated in between a boot camp, a crossfit and some train tracks- all of which seem to have impeccable timing. I’ll encourage folks to let their bodies tell them when to release a pose and a nearby instructor will command “20 MORE SECONDS EVERYBODY!” We’ll be dimming lights, settling into savasana and as our body scan reaches our toes and we take our final breaths into “stillness” a train will rumble by.

Such is life. And, while a bit tongue in cheek, I’ll reference this conflict as it happens because I think it is a really powerful practice cultivate. It’s a lot easier (although can still be a challenge for folks) to find peace, stillness, mindfulness, enter wellness buzz word here, etc when you’re on a retreat at spa in some tropical location with raw food prepped by a chef and yoga at your retreat center twice a day (BTW: Any revolutionaries out there that just won the lotto and want to take us on a com|passionate think tank retreat.. we’re open to that) than it is to find those same buzz words in the rush, struggle and micro/macro aggressions (Yes, Microaggressions Project, YES!) of every day life.

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So how do we find, create, manifest space that supports our safety and healing?

INTENTIONAL SPACE.

All of our needs and resources are different. Some of us need quiet and some of us might need noise. Some of us may want to find ways for the world to traipse through our space so that we can practice healing through interaction while some of us may need to make sure the world doesn’t bother us before 10am. Some of us may need our spaces simplified and cleared out to model clarity for the way our thoughts stack up and rush by and some of us may want to fill our spaces with reminders and symbols. While environment isn’t everything (or completely controllable) it’s important and powerful. There’s a reason why those retreat centers are located in beautiful natural settings a long drive from the main road and a reason why yoga studios have sprouted up like wild fire in urban settings. Our brains, hearts and spirits could use a little structure for slowing down.

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Even if we don’t have a tropical retreat center, or even a yoga studio we can afford to frequent, we can put intention into making the spaces that we have SAFE for OUR most effective modality of healing. For me this means spaces that hold the physical medicine I use most (teas, tinctures, oils) out where they are easily accessible. It also means carving out some clean and clear space for quiet whether it be for sitting, reading, writing, music or movement (little altars easily available for aroma and intention therapy in every room.) I’ve also found that I’m the happiest and healthiest when I have intentional and mood lifting reminders visible as well as space that invites me to process externally what makes me feel crowded, discombobulated and frenetic internally. This means that along with photos, clippings and love notes framed on walls or pinned to cork board, colored pencils and paint are left out so spurts of creativity aren’t slowed by the need for preparation and chalkboard painted walls and cement are always designated canvases for visual and tactile exploration.

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With a little intention we can all carve out a little safe space for healing. Do you have intentional space ideas, sacred spots that you’ve manifested or favorite often visited public space recommendations? We would love to hear from you!

With intention,

Traci

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Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher and an aspiring intentional space architect in the Orange County area. She uses a lot of her conscious space identifying and deconstructing gender inequity, intersectional marginality and daily micro/macro aggressions/oppressions and seeks to engage her subconscious in rest, renewal and healing.

Ancestral Dreaming

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Coming through Halloween or Samhain time, ancestral dreaming has been in my thoughts quite a bit. Now, I know that’s a big phrase: ancestral dreaming. It could mean a million billion things – and does mean many things to me. For here and now, I want to hold it lightly and curiously, with a heart full of possibility.

I created my first ancestor altar this Halloween. It was (and continues to be) a powerful experience. I have had many experiences of what might be called ancestral dreaming, but one of my goals with this new practice was to reach a little bit further back…back into dreaming as a way to connect with older generations whose physical presence I may know little or nothing about, but whose spirits feel sometimes present and about whom I am very curious.

 

Ancestor Altar Corner
Ancestor Altar Corner

Dreaming becomes twofold: waking, I dream of making contact with heritage, with inherent parts of me that don’t belong only to me. I remember wisps of dreams from recent years: the ancestral male council, the indigenous grandmothers; grandparents who physically knew and cared for me. I feel a need to relate to them. Sleeping, I receive visitors who bring clear and simple messages.

One is my great-grandmother, who I knew and loved until she died in 2001. She showed up in dreams last week. She felt solid and present. Not like in other dreams, where various feelings and characters have worn her form, but as if really her, as if I could get a good look at her for the first time in many years. Look her in the eyes. She let me know about one of her favorite herbs for upset stomachs, which a quick google search validated, and which happens to grow abundantly in my garden. Thanks Grammie!

Cheers!
Cheers!

Sometimes dreaming is like this: getting in touch with guidance that is both you and not-you, beyond-you. You put yourself out there, you ask. You are visited and you receive. Sometimes these gift-bearing visitors are folks you know and love. Sometimes they are like energy-forms, a message wearing a mask. Sometimes they are, plainly put, just themselves. I don’t pretend to know where they are when they’re not visiting, but they do visit. From a place of doing so many other kinds of dreamwork, and having prepared to do a lot of writing about those other kinds of dreams here, it feels good to begin by remembering this fact, and honoring that dreams are sometimes bridges to the beloved dead. They are very real.

Mystery Ancesstress
Mystery Ancesstress

No matter what kind of guidance or connection you are seeking, play with this dance of asking and receiving. Think of asking and receiving as stances, postures to be practiced and held. The practice of putting your intent out there – what can you do in waking life to physically symbolize that intent? The practice of listening to whatever comes as a response – even if it “makes no sense” or is not borne by the expected messenger. Explore writing about any and all of this in your trusty dream journal. Share your stories and thoughts with us here!

Til Next Time,

Kaeti

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Kaeti is a therapist, teacher, and dreamer based in Long Beach, California. All of her work (and play!) is interested in dismantling intersections of oppression and breathing magic and radical healing into all the daily corners of her life, into all the spaces of community she helps weave.

Healing Journals

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Ahoy dreamers!

Today I found myself going through old dream journals, making another dent in my ongoing project of typing up years’ worth of dreams into my own intricate (and searchable) catalogue. I found myself full of gratitude and wonder at what this practice has yielded now — not just the fruits of the day-to-day practice, nor even the season-to-season, but the long arc of adventure and transformation available for me to lovingly leaf through, from here, offering new lessons and perspectives still.

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From here, I envision this blog as an experiment in and companion to my deep love and respect for dreams, the development of local dream circles, the growth of COM|PASSionate REVOLT, this ongoing personal catalogue project, and the interweaving of my therapeutic and community projects. So, getting ready for this first blog, I thought: what better place to begin than with the container itself, the dream journal!

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Act, practice, ritual, scrawling ground — psychic dump and minefield, laboratory and garden, switchboard and library, a dream journal is many things. A dedicated place to record one’s dreams, it need not be even be a journal. A dream journal can be a notebook, a ream of loose papers, a file of voice recordings, a series of canvasses, a shelf of figures and sculptures, a collection of music, a choreography of movement — anything physical and creative that houses both your dedication to engaging consciously with your dreams and your regular practice of that art. It can be as fancy and decorative or as simple and easy as you wish. Likewise, it need not engage only night dreams — daydreams, fantasies, waking visions, synchronicities, meditations, musings, all are welcome. The dream realms are vast and various. Your journal is your personal dreamboat, the craft you ride along in as you explore whatever psychic territory you find yourself in today.

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And as all kinds of sailors know, it can certainly help to keep track of the rhythms at play in each territory — there are ways to navigate and orient, to chart one’s course. Practicing mindfulness of these rhythms is complementary to the dream journal, and can be a powerful addition to the journal itself. Rhythms to note might include cycles of the moon, menstruation, work, sleep, mood, eating, drinking, medicines, drugs, relationships, travels, anniversaries, times of transitional life changes, themes of the day, synchronicities, omens, or divinations, to name a few. Tracking any of these rhythms along with our dreams evokes a powerful awareness of how our psychic rhythms intersect with those of our bodies, of our neighborhoods, of the earth and the cosmos, the present and the past and even the future.

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Using your journal can be as quick and disciplined as switching on the light in the middle of the night to scribble something down while it’s fresh — or as languid and elaborate as a comforting ritual with a special place, a special brew, a special pen. Or any other million ways to do it. Reading and rereading your entries, you may begin to recognize a particular voice, a particular way of reporting your dream adventures. You may notice a kaleidoscopic strangeness, with gleaming flashes of voices and images you know you wrote and yet don’t quite recognize. We’ll have time to explore a lot of these scenarios, but first it’s time to start journaling

Do you have a dream journal already? We’d love to hear about it — how do you use yours? Do you like color? Pen? Pencil? Do you record by voice? Do you use words, pictures, or both? What is your favorite part of dream journaling? If you’ve never recorded your dreams before, what’s drawing you to start now?

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Til next time,

Kaeti

Kaeti Gugiu is a Revolutionary Friend, Dreamworker, Magick Woman and Healer. Visit Kaeti’s practice website: here and find journal creations: here.

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