Dear Community,

Hello loved ones…

You beautiful majestic creatures! Some of us are heading out of town and off to Oahu, HI. It’s less of a vacation and more of a pilgrimage back home. Still, we certainly can’t complain.

We plan to breathe in as deeply as the humidity will allow us, send gratitude to every mosquito that makes it known we’re impeding upon their turf, and generally slow the fuck down… at least for a few days.

We’ve been rushing around getting ready for our trip and trying to ready this space for some upcoming changes when we realized what we really needed was to slow down and clear space… that all this was enough.

{Image Credit: https://twitter.com/DharmaUnicorn}
{Image Credit: https://twitter.com/DharmaUnicorn}

After we stumbled upon this little twitter truth bomb we took some deep inhales and exhales. We heated up a yoga room and used this as mantra while we sweated, stretched, strengthened, and played with our local yoga community. We opened our hearts and let our skin weep. We twisted and collapsed into heaps of flesh, grounded to earth. We marinated in the healing sacred scent of Palo Santo and rhythmic resonation of each other’s breath.

So, that was our long winded way of saying, we’re taking a short break and will return to regularly scheduled programming soon. In the mean time, if you’re local, here’s a list of who’s holding down the fort…

Janet Riley Subbing Event Link: HERE

Janet Riley Subbing, This Wednesday, 10/14/15 @ 9am, Deep Dog Yoga
Event Link: HERE

Becca Subbing, This Saturday, 10/17/15 @ 8:30am, Deep Dog Yoga Event Link: HERE
Amee Subbing, This Thursday, 10/15/15 @5:45am, Deep Dog Yoga
Event Link: HERE
Becca Subbing, This Saturday, 10/17/15 @ 8:30am, Deep Dog Yoga Event Link: HERE
Patrick, This Thursday, 10/15/15 @ 6:00pm, Deep Dog Yoga
Event Link: HERE
Janet Riley Subbing, This Wednesday, 10/14/15 @ 9am, Deep Dog Yoga Event Link: HERE
Becca Subbing, This Saturday, 10/17/15 @ 8:30am, Deep Dog Yoga
Event Link: HERE
Becca Subbing, This Saturday, 10/17/15 @ 8:30am, Deep Dog Yoga Event Link: HERE
Amee Subbing, This Monday, 10/19/15 @ 8:30am, Deep Dog Yoga
Event Link: HERE 

Not local? Feeling low on unicorn community?

Go visit You Are Fucking Majestic Tumblr for a little pep talk and we’ll see you on the flipside.

Much Aloha,

The COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community

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*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

****Have your own story about healing or thoughts on healing? Are you a queer vegan healer? Want to talk to your community about ways you’re living consciously and connected? Do you want your blog, org, or event to be featured on one of our running series or want to do an interview introducing yourself to the COM|PASSionate REVOLT Community? Are you a unicorn in a pony world disguising your magickal star dust sprinkling mane to live amongst the commoners?

Pitch us a blog series or interview idea!! Contact us at compassionaterevolt@gmail.com!

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Isn’t It Queer?: Finding Our People

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Have you ever run headfirst into your people? After unconsciously shielding and censoring your speech for people who you didn’t feel safe around, after dressing yourself down or “less loud” to avoid being asked ignorant questions, or for some of us, wondering if we “pass” with anxious tension, there they are, like a big fucking rainbow cake. Like a gay fairy tale, you walk into a family of incredible humans that accept you in all your queerness and polyness and with all of your kinks AND they are so fucking queer (and poly! and kinky!) you can barely handle it AND these magical bastards think that every word of passionate discussion on gender politics you utter is the sexiest thing they’ve ever heard. WTF. You people exist? You mean you’ve been here the whole time?! Oh Los Angeles how you spurn me! Theatrics aside, the experience reminded me of a conversation I’d had recently with a dear friend.

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My incredible, life changing, ally, Lyneonme, once described the bittersweet experience of having visited Brooklyn for the first time. She grew up as one of the only black women in her neighborhood and at the schools she attended. She said that it was the first time she felt like she didn’t stand out for just walking down the street, almost baffled that she wasn’t being tokenized, and also one of the first times that she lacked the constant haunting isolation of being the sole black face in a community, as she went about her daily business. This is when she introduced me to the concept of “finding your people” and how important it was for her personal growth, to surround herself with a healthy community of people who identified with experiences she’d had. Her words stayed with me as I visited Oakland on my recent road trip.

Everyday I was introduced to a series of incredible individuals who could discuss gender politics, trans politics, and sex workers rights, and each conversation left me feeling more and more affirmed and confident in my identity and in my life choices. I saw personal style that reflected mine. I met a variety of polyamorous folks and was absolutely enamored with their ability to give each other real constructive feed back and validation during challenging life events. The experience was powerful and transcendent and to be honest, it initially left me bittersweet, like Lyneonme described.

It made me resent Los Angeles for it’s materialism and vanity, and especially for it’s fragmented queer communities. If Oakland has families of poly, kinky, and queer folks, Los Angeles has a series of estranged cousins, who are missing the shit out of one another. Jealous and bitter, check…but once I set aside my catholic (possibly genetic) martyr complex, the experience left me overjoyed that such supportive, inclusive communities existed. It also left me pondering a few questions regarding community building.

If I were to move north in hopes of building a chosen family in the Bay Area, would I be abandoning the growth I am making in Los Angeles by facing adversity? Would I be robbing myself and Los Angeles of the possibility of building community and creating my own chosen family here. Fighting to build a kinky, poly, queer friend circle in L.A. would then provide a space for others who are feeling isolated, to feel affirmed. We all deserve a chance to be held in the arms of a community that provides nurturing and safety, that is obvious. Not to mention, through the process of searching for affirming alternative lifestyle comrades in So-cal, I have built a small family of incredible allies of different backgrounds, who have educated me on the struggles of other marginalized communities. I also know that these allies have supported me and loved me for who I am, in every phase of my growth and when they didn’t have the information they needed to affirm my life choices or gender identity, they had genuine curiosity and open arms to learning that information. I’ve heard great activists say, “You can’t build a movement if you move” and I’ve also heard great activists say, “Surround yourself with your people,” The question remains then, what is the importance of settling into a city and building community and alternately what is the impact of moving? You tell me bold spirit.

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lord

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**ATTENTION QUEER,  KINKY, POLY FAMILY** COM|PASSionate REVOLT will be at the Contemporary Relationships Conference in Austin, TX on May 15 + 16, 2015 doing a workshop on Queering Consent: Navigating Consent Outside of the Hetero AND Homo Normative.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

COM|PASSionate Events

Happy Friday REVOLUTIONARIES!

Life has been busy. Master plans have been made, re-made and tossed aside. We’ve been meditating on the importance of staying grounded and the magic healing power of getting swept away.

Temperance and deep breaths, friends. Temperance and deep breaths seems to be the ticket.

We hope you take time to get lost in dreamland and scrawl some love notes to yourself. Whether your love notes are a yoga class when your to do list is growing, a pause to switch on a lamp and journal when your day is dark or childlike chalk doodles where there could be neat clean sidewalk we encourage you to write with abandon! Place your love notes out in front of you, breathe them in, scatter them carelessly around your heart space and check in with which ones make you soar the highest… when you find them… write those love notes three more times…. scatter again…. repeat.

{http://iammorley.squarespace.com/}
{http://iammorley.squarespace.com/}

EVENTS

Get out, take care of yourself and heal in community!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Don’t forget there’s lots of upcoming ways to get involved!

RECOMMENDATIONS

Feeling like some quiet time at home is what you need? 

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In solidarity,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

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*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

New Queer Tarot!

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Happy Tarot Tuesday, friends! I’m on the road today, but I want to draw your attention to what promises to be an awesome column over at Little Red Tarot:

Queering the Tarot! by Cassandra Snow

I love how she digs into The Fool’s more traditional meanings, opens space for what else this card might offer queer-identified folks in a reading, and moves playfully into more generally queering it, offering alternatives for interpreting a message from The Fool that speaks to navigating oppressions, community activism, and more. If you’re looking for more in the world of queering tarot (are really, who among us isn’t looking for that?), check her out.

And then, DO YOURSELF A GIANT FAVOR and check out Slow Holler’s kickstarter for their tarot deck collaboratively illustrated and imagined by 29 artists and 3 writers who have Southern ties, identify as queer or both.

It looks astoundingly beautiful, and a lot of folks are whispering about it carrying the legacy of our beloved Collective Tarot. I ordered my copy – I think you’re gonna want one too.

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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.

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. Photos in this post are attributed to Kaeti unless otherwise specified. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Dreamwork for Survivors

92b72-bannerpicI’m so pleased to announce that my very first dream class, Dreamwork for Survivors, is launching!

I’ve been away from this column for a little longer than I’d planned, but I’ve been hard at work getting this class together and it’s looking SO GOOD, I have to say. Dreaming and healing happen together – they are natural parts of the same deeply human process, primary ways we make sense of our old stories, weave new stories, share our visions and encounter our own power. I have long wanted to host a dream circle, but I am deeply proud and grateful that I get to bring this work particularly to folks who are in this process of their own healing and self-discovery. DfSFlyerWhen I talk about this project lately, I get a lot of curious eyebrow faces and questions like, “Survivors of what? Why?” Dreams have always been a big part of my life, and especially my path through the territory of healing and recovery, and so I forget sometimes that what makes total sense to me isn’t necessarily crystal clear to others. I could talk ALL DAY about intersections between dreamwork and the work of being a survivor (obvs, so much to say that I’m making a whole class and workbook!), but I think some of the crux of it breaks down like this:

For my purposes here, a survivor is anyone coming through a powerful experience of loss, illness, or violation, and who carries awareness of this wound in understanding themself. Survivorship is a relationship with your wounds, an orientation toward healing, mapmaking in the dark. A survivor is a shapeshifter, learning her magic on the fly, dreaming up new ways to be in the world. Survivorship often entails having a troubled relationship with one’s own body, feelings, dreams, and memory.

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The Beginning by Christian Schloe

Dreamwork teaches us to spend time with the modality of memory: to bring careful and loving attention to whatever fragments, images, sensory experiences, and internal knowings rise up into conscious awareness, and then to value them on their own terms, without forcing the pieces together or interpreting them to death. To instead turn the pieces over and over and see what starts to emerge, what the pieces want us to know, what patterns may develop. Dreamwork asks us to sit with the discomfort of what these pieces bring and let our deep feelings guide us toward our truths, rather than imposing truth from the top down, so to speak. This process inherently reconnects our thinking minds with our experiences of body, emotion, intuition and imagination. It leads us to a healthier place where all these parts of ourselves get to participate in deciding what’s true and what’s meaningful for us. At the base of survivorship are experiences of having one’s rightful power and control taken away. We all react in myriad different ways to such experiences, but we share the root experience of feeling out of control, disempowered. Claiming a practice that makes new roots in your power and your imagination – a practice that roots you in your ability to control how you come to your truth and what you do about it, is a revolutionary healing act. We may not be in charge of what happens in dreams, or what happened to us in our pasts, but we are in charge of how we relate to those experiences now.

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Erin Kelso’s gorgeous work

Dreamwork builds a sense of empowerment that feels collective and responsive, open and communicative, and diminishes the kind of power that gets stuck trying to control everything from on high – and that then feels angry or hopeless when that doesn’t (and can’t) work. I believe survivors, just going about the business of our own healing, have unique access to building the kind of open and constructive empowerment I’m talking about. Survivorship is ultimately about co-creating the space to remember, grieve, hold ourselves lovingly, and come into new kinds of relationships. Dreamwork naturally encourages, strengthens and supports all of these skills, and helps us experiences them in ways that show us we are not alone in this work.

I know you want to know more. There are a few ways to do that:

1) Join the first-ever Dreamwork for Survivors circle!

2) Pick up the workbook – available super soon – and each copy sold will support someone’s access to the circle at a sliding scale, so you’re directly supporting a local survivor as you learn more about working with your own dreams! Amazing! I’ll announce it here so keep an eye out!

3) Stay tuned to Dreamboat here at Compassionate Revolt – there will be more dreaming adventure, future classes and circles to come. ❤

Sweet dreams,

Kaeti

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. ———- There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

COM|PASSionate Events

Happy Friday REVOLUTIONARIES!

We know that posts have been a bit off kilter (and off schedule) here in our tiny little loving space on the inter webs. There’s has been travel, conferences, exams and general life that has been taking up a lot of our brain, body and heart spaces recently. We’re ready for some slow cooked, cell phones turned off, shoes left at the door, sleeping bags thrown on the couch for unexpected sleepovers, alarms snoozed, 2pm brunches, super low pressure hangout/chill time this way. We hope that along with all the wonderful revolution everyone is stirring that you’re also making a little space for the all important deep slow breath this weekend. If you’re looking for a little COM|PASSionate trouble, as always, here is our event round-up and announcements for upcoming fun community loving!!! 🙂

Image Credit {http://bit.ly/1KrQPlF}
Image Credit {http://bit.ly/1KrQPlF}

EVENTS

Get out, take care of yourself and heal in community!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Don’t forget there’s lots of upcoming ways to get involved!

  • A friend of COM|PASSionate REVOLT, Maryam Rasouli, is offering counseling services for anyone that needs extra support during this difficult time that Muslims are going through via phone/in person/Skype. You can contact Maryam at 657-201-7508 or email her at mrasouli@gmail.com. Read more about Maryam on our Mental Health Resources page here and read her full bio in the post notes at the bottom of the page.
  • Lewis and Clark’s Gender Symposium is coming up 3/11-3/15 and we’ll be dreaming of Portland. The theme of this 34th annual conference is, Material Conditions: Gender, Sexuality and Capitalism. All lectures, sessions and art shows are FREE and open to the public! Get your deconstruction on REVOLUTIONARIES!**

RECOMMENDATIONS

Feeling like some quiet time at home is what you need? 

  • DARK MATTERCourtney Klink, the Butch Goddess and our contributor of Isn’t it Queer, reminded of us of some of our favorite poets/activists/all around amazing humans in her last post: Poetry Soup for Achy Souls. Dark Matter is a South Asian  performance art duo comprised of Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian. They will make you laugh, cry, think, get inspired and get accountable– a tall order for any artist. Need a pick me up? Need some fire for movement? Need to simultaneously laugh/cry about the intersectional journey? Fall down a glorious Dark Matter bunny hole…

Dark Matter Website

Dark Matter YouTUBE

Return the Gayze (Alok Vaid-Menon)

Queer Dark Energy (Janani Balasubramanian)

In solidarity,

COM|PASSionate REVOLT

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*Events are put on by the CR Community/CR Community members. Other events are by friends of the CR Community or of interest to the CR Community. Feeling a little nervous about getting out and involved? Email us and if we can we’ll make some introductions so you have a friendly face to say “Hi” to when you get there!

**Most of these events will be local to Southern CA (unless we notice an event that sets us off into road trip dreamland.) If you want to do a COM|PASSionate event round-up for your local area let us know!

***Are you an individual, meet-up or community group that has some COM|PASSionate events of your own? Email us for details on how to submit your event to our calendar!

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

****More about Maryam****

Maryam is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT#84366.) She received her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, Maryam has worked in various organizations dealing with issues such as trauma, abuse, domestic violence, depression, anxiety, premarital and marital matters in Orange County for the past six years. She has also provided school counseling services for the past three years. Maryam has provided counseling and case management services to diverse communities including immigrants and newly arrived refugees. She has provided counseling services for youth, adults, couples, families, and groups. Maryam also speaks on various topics dealing with psychology and counseling at colleges, high schools, elementary schools, and community events. Maryam is fluent in Farsi and Dari and is conversational in Urdu. Orange County. She received her bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Additionally, Maryam is a certified Prepare and Enrich Facilitator for premarital counseling, and a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. You can reach Maryam at 657-201-7508 or email her at mrasouli05@gmail.com

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

Quick Healing Tips w/Ashley: Winter Blues

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s time for Quick Healing Tips with Ashley!

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This week on Quick Healing Tips Ashley discusses some tips for healing the Winter Blues.

Watch here or visit us on our YouTube Channel

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Ashley is a healing seeker, adventurer, provider and sharer. She offers healing services through her practice http://www.holistichealinghelpers.com and is working towards creating a mind body healing site in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

Picnic Lunch

Good Morning Everyone!

We know it’s Tuesday~ “Where is our Tarot Tuesday scream the people?!” Well our resident COM|PASSionate Tarot-ist (Read it out loud… it’s my new favorite way to describe the magic that Kaeti brings to the REVOLUTION) is off doing some healing inspiration finding and field research for a couple of weeks so we thought it would be a great time to introduce a couple of new blog series! Up for today:

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Good Morning COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARIES!

Traci here. For those that may be visiting from past vegan blogging lands, you might know me as Guava or one half of Vegangelical. I’m a queer vegan femme-inist of color who practices in the healing modalities of talk therapy and yoga. I grew up on the Japanese American (family from Hawaii) version of meat and potatoes… aka meat and rice. I’ve been vegan for around six and half years. Here are some things you should know about me:

  1. I like LOVE food. Food is a way that we nurture and fuel ourselves. Food is a literal interaction with our environment and engages all of our senses. Food can link us into our past, situate us in our present and help us invest in our future. Food can often transcend generational divides and create a center point for celebration and community building.
  2. I’m not a nutritionist. Nor am I a vegan just for health reasons. However, I appreciate folks that enter veganism from this entry point and believe that I am MUCH healthier in mind, BODY and spirit since honoring my person with this compassionate lifestyle. I’ve also picked up a lot of physical health information since instituting consciousness into my food consumption. Most notably, I’m just more tapped into my body’s wants/needs. I’ve started to listen- so my body’s started to have dialogue with me- knowing it doesn’t have to be screaming before I check in.
  3. I’m not an immaculate environmentalist. I believe in the power of a plant based diet to help with a lot of our current environmental challenges but it hasn’t been the center point of my practice- a place where I’m still learning. I believe in food not lawns but am also guilty of having vegan take out boxes in my trashcan.
  4. I don’t believe that veganism is universally or equally accessible to all humans. I wish it was because I believe so deeply in it’s healing power- especially in relationship to my own marginalized identity pieces. However, I am also passionately invested in us finding systems that can look directly at flaws, even if those flaws are within our own communities/movements, break cycles of violence against all animals, human or otherwise, and institute sustainable patterns where folks have agency to prioritize self-nurturing and healing.
  5. Hey, crazy vegan, each of those statements sound like a contradiction wrapped in an enigma. What does this “smorgasbord” that you speak of include anyway? You’re right! It is! This world, who we are as we navigate it, the way we choose to traverse it and what we need to heal ourselves, our local/cultural communities and our global community is full of complications and intersections. I want to hold those complications and intersections so that we can be in an honest conversation about integrated healing.

That’s the complicated way of saying–  I’m really excited to share tips, tricks and recipes with you all. You’ll see some recipes that are good for the mind, some that are good for body, some that are good for your spirit and, when serendipity allows, recipes that are good for all three! We’ll also talk about how to find safety and growth in living consciously and connected, the ways we come to understand what we each individually need to nurture ourselves and parse out what our responsibility is to create nurturing space for everyone.

Okay, let’s end there as to not spoil our appetites.

Forks up! Napkins tucked into shirts? Roll up your sleeves. All in?

Good me too! I’ll start prepping for our next gathering and we’ll re-convene over some delicious COM|PASSionate fare!

In COM|PASSionate and RAVENOUS appetite,

Traci

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Traci is a COM|PASSionate vegan foodie and diligent student of interconnections.  COM|PASSion (Intention towards passionate compassion) drives their own healing journey as well as informs their healing practices. They offer themselves here to this space to feed, nourish and create dialogue over shared conversational meals and celebrations.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Hippocrates 

 

Isn’t it Queer?

Good Morning Rioters, Rebelles, Ruckus Makers and REVOLUTIONARIES!

Happy Wednesday! We’re SO excited to welcome a new COM|PASSionate REVOLUTIONARY to our team and bi-weekly blog to our community! Proudly presenting….

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Greetings! Welcome to Isn’t it Queer?

My name is Cory, aka the Butch Goddess of Metropolis Takedown,  and I will be your tour guide through the intersectional in-betweens that shape the lives of many people living alternative lifestyles. From polyamorous living, to queer kink, I will be introducing the voices of artists, poets and other writers, including myself, in a bi-weekly smorgasbord of brain food and art. I aim to shine light on the philosophical ponderings of queer people of color, trans and transitioning individuals and other marginalized artists, and to demonstrate the incredible connective and healing power of expressive creativity.

As a poet and writer with a serious case of wanderlust, I value the existentially bold and the fearlessly odd. If you care to join me on this journey, I will be showcasing the terrible, brilliant beauty of human nature and all of our folly. Your feedback, contributions and concerns are all valued, so please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and they aim to lead by example by bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.”

Audre Lorde

 

 

 

Love Song to the 9 of Pentacles: The Secret Garden

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The 9 of Pentacles is one of my favorite cards. Every time it comes up, the sweetest blend of ease and delight and groundedness nestles into my heart. Just look at her here:

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Rider Waite Smith’s 9 of Pentacles

Sweetly golden light. A secret garden of plenty. The walls themselves alive with growth, not entrapping but enriching – I imagine, providing safety and respite, a little queendom with everything I need. Solitude without isolation – the little bird of the soul flies freely within and without, bringing and sending news. The little snail slides over the earth, at its own pace, doing its thing, welcome too in its way. Sunset or sunrise, a time of taking stock and resting in one’s own intention, settling into one’s place, remembering connection with self and with world.

But a little bird says: how do we square this with the fact that 9s represent thresholds? A dear friend of mine likes to refer to the “crisis of the 9” – 9 as a gate, a challenge, a test…indeed, a crisis. There is no gate, no challenge here – is there?

Some answer to that question lies in the fact that this is card I drew on the day of my first big MFT exam last week – and immediately I felt the power of knowing I had everything I need to pass, but also the whispering challenge of this card and the secret of its test.

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The Wild Unknown’s 9 of Disks. Really, this is the card I drew on exam day – the wealth I have accrued and earned in my labors, nestled safely in soft feathers and here for me as I need it.

Another answer to that question lies in the song I played on repeat on my way to the exam, and which now seems to hold a special resonance with this card and its strange confluence of safety and crisis: My Brightest Diamond’s Dreaming Awake. Take a moment to take in this wonder:

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its voice against challenge?

What is the slowing-down place that keeps its heart amidst panic?

What is the slowing-down place that dreams while awake?

Now that I  sit with it, I feel like these questions have been in my life and my practice all week.

How do we keep to our principles and integrity and still participate in the awful world?

How do we hold on to ourselves in the face of unrelenting panic attacks and terror?

How do I stay in my power and the sacredness of my healing work while taking a grueling 4 hour exam that dissects and belittles me, my community, my work?

I keep thinking of the image of the cops invading the sacred space of that secret garden in the video. Suddenly, this card appears to me as a meditation, visual mantra, or energetic ally for those times when an intrusive and punishing force invades and threatens to sever connection to ourselves or our world. This could be the oppressive dynamics that hit us hard when we step out of the safety of our queer households and into the dominant overculture. This could be you, being in a dreamy and open and soft space and suddenly having to interact with someone angry and punishing, or overwhelmed with sensory input in a loud and busy place. This could be taking a walk on the beach to connect with nature and seeing all the trash, the oil wells, the giant ships packed with slave-labor goods, the polluted waters. This could be you minding your own business and suddenly having a flashback or panic attack, your mind spinning out of control.

Any of these scenarios offer the opportunity to learn to find your core…to breathe…to practice the delicate art of staying present in the face of pain…to slow down and draw strength from your secret garden, to remember the way back to yourself, to remember that you have a grounded and connected self to come back to at all.

All this is the crisis of the 9 of Pentacles, which teaches about the place where sacred and profane overlap.

I always used to think of this card as a garden, but now I see it more as an economy – a sacred or gift economy, oeconomy in the old sense of “the management of a household.” Indeed, some of the traditional meanings for this card include good luck, good management, inheritance, attention to detail, loving criticism, integrity and skill producing wealth, the flow of gain – all of which you might also glean from its astrological correspondence of Venus in Virgo.

Sacred or Gift Economy to me holds a connotation of flow, of giving with the understanding that the gift is always moving, that giving and receiving are parts of the same act and hold reciprocal value. This card is wealth without hoarding, sharing without shame. There is an understanding that while we may sometimes need to retreat and build fortresses to make it through the short-term, there is ultimately no extra safety in cutting off or hoarding or silencing: we must find our flow, and participate in the flow of which we are only a part – the tidal flow of community, of life force, of love and loss, in and out.

Last night, in the novel I’m reading, a girl assassin whispers these magic words in the language of her lost homeland and, in doing so, slays an immortal tyrant whose domination has oppressed everyone it touched for centuries:

The life that is shared goes on forever. The life that is hoarded never lives at all.

CT9ofBones
The Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones

I see this in the Collective Tarot’s 9 of Bones too: the strong spine that connects heaven and earth. The fruits which fall between the worlds and which a clever forager collects in baskets and ride off to share with their community. How rootedness and connectedness and circulation are all part of the same phenomenon.

One of the first times these kinds of lessons started to occur to me was in 9th grade biology class, when I first heard the term semi-permeable membrane. I know, I’ve always been a nerd at heart. But the image and the idea collided in me with tremendous power, because deep inside I knew that this was a teaching image for me: there exists a thing whose function is to both protect its innards and allow flow between inner and outer. A boundary which protects but is also porous – which intrinsically knows what to let in and what to keep out, keeping fluid all the while. Like in a cell, or in an egg. I can breathe in and out, but you can’t invade and poison me.

semipermeable
Ladies and germs: I give you, Science!

I see the walls in the 9 of Pentacles like this. For me, it’s a powerful metaphor for how to stay safe and connected to my heart without retreating, charging, melting down or dissociating. Sometimes those things have to happen, too – and when they do, the image of the safe and secret garden gives gentle guidance back to my abundant self, helps me reground and get ready for the next round.

One last image of this card that I love:

motherpeace9disks
Motherpeace Tarot’s 9 of Disks

Here, I see an image of this lesson after many revolutions and evolutions of practice. A vision of gardens within gardens, wisdom and strength to find one’s place – in any place – and be in dialogue with the many worlds, the endless overlaps of body and mind, spirit and soul, wishes and fears, inner and outer, different parts of ourselves, different languages, different  communities. Out of this wisdom, a system of communication and reflection. A time-tested reliance on boundaries –  knowing that while boundaries are built and are relative, they nonetheless provide the safety and containment to open up and experience and learn and commune.

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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.

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