You missed out.

No, seriously, you missed out.

The Califia Collective Holiday Market was AMAZING!

holidaymarket

There was of course the lovely Dream Workshop by our COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARY, Kaeti Gugiu, the highly anticipated Elixir Bar + Potion Lab, lots of lovingly made and magically imbued goodies and most importantly community gathering!

Those who swung through were lovely, folks with lots of healing knowledge themselves, aromatherapy and plant medicine aficionados, those just entering wide eyed into the world of quirky holistic healers and medicine makers, serendipitous new connections  and even some unexpectedly familiar faces! We were quite busy heading up to the event (and even almost missed it by a day due to confused chaotic holiday scheduling on our end) but we’re so glad we did the hustle to get there! It was truly a testament to opening up to new connections, trusting and heading in with open hearts.

photo(10)

Because… when you’re open to new connections, trust and head in with open hearts sometimes you come out well dressed, smelling delicious, warmed up from the inside and also vaguely sparkly from a fortuitous trade with a radical midwife who’s partner makes magical goodies like Unicorn Sparkle Balm!

Yup. You missed out. In fact I hesitated too long and missed out on the Dragon Balm! Life lesson: If someone, ANYONE, offers you a magical gathering and sparkly things in jars labeled after mythical creatures there’s no room for hesitation… I REPEAT, NO ROOM.

Lucky for you, though, dear reader, the magick women nurturing the collective, Kirsten + Alexis,  are continuing to busily create revolution in our local community with lots of new healing events!

Stay posted! We know we will! Check out links after the fold for holiday healing treats, services and revolutionaries!

———-

Traci is a patron of the lost art of mythical creature balm making, queer family building, community dreaming and naturally sweet smelling arm pits. She writes and dreams for COM|PASSionate REVOLT, facilitates mind/body summits through yoga and offers herself as a humble witness of process through her therapy practice COM|PASSionate REVOLT Healing.

REVOLUTIONARIES mentioned in, alluded to or complimentary to this post.

Califia Collective

Worts + Cunning / The Lunar Apothecary

Long Beach Apothecary / The Crazy Herbalist

Dreamwork for Survivors

Holistic Living With Kristy

Spinsters R Us

Taproot Midwifery

Dream Inspired Design

 

Healing + The Holidays

Gratitude

The holidays can evoke so many things for so many of us. They can be dreaded, nurturing, devastating or just plain old complicated. For some of us these couple of months can seem like a time to reconnect, rest and get back in touch with our families and friends while many of us are doing our best to stay grounded until the storm passes.

I felt immensely grateful to spend this recent Thanksgiving in a way that felt truly honoring of where I’m at and what I believe in my heart to be consistent with the spirit of the season.

I had the good fortune of connecting with a wonderful yoga community (Deep Dog Yoga, Yorba Linda) this past year and was asked to lead a gratitude practice at the studio on Thanksgiving morning. Skye was all set to accompany with acoustic guitar, voice and ukulele and at the last moment we re-connected with Jamie Jones of Mahoroba USA who brought their healing drum knowledge to our practice! The room was filled with old students, new students, friends and families. Yogis of all different experience levels– including those, I’m sure, that didn’t identify as yogis at all. We took deep breaths together and contemplated “Gratitude” or Kritajna in Sanskrit which translates to “Cultivated Consciousness.” Poses were modified, options were taken as desired and, maybe most importantly, physical practice was de-prioritized beneath need and self-care.

We gave lots of hugs and headed off to our different spaces. I chose to cook and gather with chosen family around compassionate vegan fare. We ate and rested.

It was the first time the holiday space had been completely consistent with where my heart (which in all honesty was feeling a little bit worn down) wanted to be. I offered what I could. I prepped and rested. I didn’t put myself in spaces where I needed to educate others or defend myself. I kept my space free of anyone and anything that might inhibit safety or cue my already hyper consciousness into the reality of trauma and violence in the world. This included not compromising (or apologizing for) my personal practice of ahimsa (non-harm) in order to gather which is often a conflicted place for me. Any other expectations that popped up unrequited I breathed thankfulness for the present moment into and washed them away so I could see clearly all that I had in front of me. I cultivated consciousness around the power of honoring and acknowledging my own agency in creating a healing journey that was holding for myself.

Anyone who experiences “otherness” on any level knows that we’re often told that our experiences aren’t “real.” We are expected to engage in interactions and traditions that have different meanings for us than the world around us. I invite you to tap into the healing nature of connectedness this holiday season. Have gratitude for this.

Cultivate consciousness that brings you closer to your individual path of healing.

In Cultivated Consciousness,

Traci

—–

Traci is a queer vegan femme-inist yoga teacher and therapist striving to circle the metaphorical wagons of diverse queer community into digital and physical healing gatherings. She’s utilizing a lot of mashed potato and doggy snuggle medicine this holiday season.

 

 

Gratitude, COM|PASSion + Community Trauma

thenutritionist

Some of us are holders and keepers. We feel deeply with the entirety of our beings and take on heart work like it’s an extreme sport.

Some of us are also particularly well suited for trauma because we have been trained by the unforgiving hands of socialization, marginalization and discrimination. We see it everywhere. Sometimes it feels that it is trauma that connects us. Everything in the world tells us that this… this… THIS is our storyline. Get used to it.

There’s no space for anything but this.

Don’t believe it.

Have gratitude today, dear friends, don’t step away from compassion even

“if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other,

my god that’s plenty

my god that’s enough.”

Don’t stop talking, posting, giving hugs, sharing tears, listening with open hearts. Appease the lump in your throat, the tension at your neck and the grinding of your jaw. Speak forth through the heavy fog of silence and fear and ignorance but don’t get lost in it.

Take time to breathe and nurture and have gratitude for the spark of awareness rising up around us. Know that “the wound is an echo.” It is reverberating through our communities.

Lick your wounds. You can’t make it better, tell someone it’s better, or hope it better right this moment.

“Just say here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better but knowing as bad as it hurts our hearts may have only just skinned their knees knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming-

Let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here asking this world to dance, even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet.

You- you stay here with me, okay?

You stay here with me.

Raising your bite against the bitter dark

Your bright longing

Your brilliant fists of loss

Friend.”

Take heart. Make space. Have gratitude that these things that have made us particularly suited to be holders and keepers also forge our spirits in a way that make us particularly suited to wield compassion in the face of our oppressor. Use your strengths. Believe in your superpower. Take your cape. Hold tight to…

“The ripchord of believing.

A life can be rich like the soil.

Can make food of decay.

Can turn wound into highway.”

In solidarity and offering,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

—–

Compassion and healing can’t be separated from the source of the wounds. You can read Autostraddle’s list of articles and action tips on “How You Can Show Up for Ferguson” here. To read Andrea Gibson’s poem “The Nutritionist” in it’s entirety you can visit this dedicated blog space or learn more about  Andrea Gibson on their official website here.

 

COM|PASSionate Inspiration: The Wound

thewound

There’s a lesser known Hindu Goddess I stumbled upon as I traipsed across the interwebs…

She’s the Goddess Akhilandeshvari, The Goddess of Never Not Broken.

I don’t claim her or own her- her image has not been something I’ve grown up with and yet whenever she graces my presence I have the innate knowledge that I have always known her. We haven’t spent a lot of time together but the time we’ve spent has been intimate and awe inspiring. She’s seen me at my most challenged, even when it was so dark no human eyes could make out shapes or lessons. From a deep pit with seemingly no way out she peaked over the ledge as I crawled and clawed my way up the sides, thirsty, dirty and bleeding with desperation and hopelessnes creating a lump in my throat  and wells at the corners of my eyes.

She didn’t offer me a hand.

I fell back a few times tumbling to the bottom- more scratches, more bruises, bones broken, muscles torn. I learned in the dark where my body met the landscape. Aches and pains screamed out to me from places of myself I hadn’t talked to for a great long while- the loudest most blood curdling screams came from places so hidden, off the beaten path, and without directions that I had managed to erase their existence altogether until that moment when I felt them rip open.

I struggled and my wounds spread. As my wounds spread light poured in- illuminating images of tears, and sighs, and traumas, and stories, strength and weakness, vulnerability and power. Flickering images connected one after another creating resplendent backlit stories where I was antagonist and protagonist, observer and observed, nothingness and universe. As my light grew so did hers, reflections of reflections, lifting me out of the pit which was suddenly full of pathways made visible and easily traversed.

As my wounds sealed over she faded into the distance but there remained a phosphorescent glow emanating from the path I had taken. As I looked behind me I saw the long trail of my story, lamplights hung where I needed them most.

You might not know her as Akhilandeshvari.

You might know her as Heartbreak, Grief, Suffering, Loss, The Tower or DISASTER.

IMG_4016 copy

She remains NEVER NOT BROKEN to remind us that “The wound is the place where the light enters you {RUMI}.”

Take this darkness REVOLUTIONARIES, take these hardships, these marginalities, these struggles and most importantly these WOUNDS because (as the Collective Tarot Reminds us):

“Do not be afraid. Do not get stuck in Oppression. Coping. Trying not to change. You cannot control the disaster. The change is inevitable. It is our nature to preserve ourselves. Our dreams. Do not be afraid. The Star awaits.”

In Broken-ness,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

Bibliotherapy: Welcome to the Jungle

Hilary Smith’s book Welcome to the Jungle starts with the buy in, “Everything you ever wanted to know about bipolar but were too freaked out to ask!” and ends with a metaphor about finding your “own unique strategy, philosophy, and game wisdom” for making it through the ever rule/round changing video game of life. Final closing statement: “Live large. Think big. Go for walks.” A statement that the previous reader of the copy I just finished reading noted in the margins as “Sound advice.”

I’d agree.

Smith’s book is part rant, part reference and part how to but it is all supportive, non-judgmental and non-pathologizing. WIN. Plus, it takes you through a pretty expansive journey: from starting to notice (or having others notice) that you might be in need of a little extra support, to navigating diagnoses, disclosure to partners, figuring out what treatments are the best for you and, once finding the rhythm of life that best supports you, how to interact with aid/organizations/institutions/doctors/insurance in a way that can keep you in that positive rhythm cycle. DOUBLE PLUS, there’s a chapter entitled: “Hippie shit that actually works: Herbs, wilderness time, and other ways to help you keep your shit together.”

You had me at “Hippie shit.”

The one caveat to my overwhelming thumbs up is that it did seem a little biased to the side that medication will likely always be part of the life story of someone living with bipolar. I think in many cases this is true and also the overwhelming belief of most folks living or working with the challenge of bipolar. Even here, Smith is very clear that every journey is different. I would just echo this… loudly. Smith also offers some ways to explore how to set up safety when figuring out if medication needs to be part of your journey. This exploration (not whether or not one takes medication) is really what’s important to me. I think consciousness and honoring around our internal meter for what is right for our bodies, hearts and spirits is an invaluable part of any healing adventure. I’m also open to the explanation of the light nature of these asides being more about Smith’s casual, accessible and very humorous tone than any pro-med rhetoric.

All in all I would highly recommend this book for anyone living with bipolar, loving someone with bipolar, working with folks who are working with their bipolar or really anyone that wants to feel less crazy in this sometimes crazy world. With the holidays looming ahead I can’t help but appreciate the way that Smith sets up bipolar like the awkward, inevitable, bio-family get together. Meeting your bipolar head on (with self-care measures in place to help you stay calm in the chaos and a surefire exit strategy for when shit really hits the fan) allows you to see it for what it is, gain insight about who you are, where you came from, what you like and what serves as a reflection for things you want to look different in your unique journey.

Happy reading! You can also listen to a podcast interview with Smith here (we haven’t yet but are putting it on our roadtrip listening list) or visit Smith’s website here.

———-

Traci is a fan of useful reflections as healing tools whether they be therapy, film therapy, bibliotherapy, art therapy, the list goes on. She also appreciates a well placed expletive, especially when utilized in the accurate way that Smith uses them to describe the beautiful and ridiculous chaos of life.

Intentional Space: Setting the Framework

ISHeader

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.

safetyandhealing

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.

workspace

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.

IMG_5290

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

——

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.