The autumnal equinox is one of my favorite seasonal transitions. Even though fall is very subtle here in north central Florida, I still excite at the early darkening of days, cooler nights on the near horizon, and one of my favorite celebrations, El Dia de los Muertos.
This year I eagerly anticipated the equinox as though somehow the tilting earth will balance an incredibly difficult summer for many people, self included. As usual, I take most of the summer off from guiding events and rituals for others and plan more "play" time for myself. This summer, though, was different.
In late June I was again gifted the great privilege to co-guide a wilderness rite of passage ceremony and course for incredibly brave people in the southern Rockies. The ceremony was the most challenging I've encountered yet. Though I cannot share the details, I returned home feeling vulnerable and inadequate. As I am one to do, I now have a list of further experiences, mentoring, and training to undertake to increase my capacity to hold space for others during the darkest of hours.
While in that space of tender-hearted reflection I learned I was pregnant! For almost two years, my beloved and I had opened our hearts to the possibility of expanding our family and OH! it's happening! :) We are elated and nervous and all the other "first time parent" things. And it changes what I offer and how I offer it through Rite in the Wild.
Changes through Rite in the Wild were on the horizon before news of the ultimate rite of passage of motherhood. In the past two years I have discovered that I deeply enjoy working with women, connecting across continents through online portals, and learning the people that I work well with people who are dedicated to their pilgrimage home to Self and Place and who need some support along the way. It's been a revelation learning whom this work best serves. For it is not for the faint of heart or the uncommitted.
Some changes have already taken place. At present, I am not offering public programs but am wholeheartedly engaged in working one-on-one and in small groups. Some changes are coming soon, especially resources for the foundations of my work. And some things are not changing much at all - the newsletter, facebook, and blog. Please contact me to work together in nature-based practices, ceremonies, and rites of passage. I look forward to continuing to support you.
Finally, this summer brought Irma to our doorstep. We are deeply thankful we did not lose our home, livelihood, or transportation. Still, Irma was scary. Many Floridians I spoke to or heard from seemed to have a conquering or stoic attitude about the hurricane. But in our home, we were scared as the trees fell in our yard, barely missing our house. Openly speaking about Irma on social media, I was met with mixed "it'll be okay" responses with "run for your lives!". Neither of which suited us.
Irma's lessons are still unfolding in our home, especially around our heavy reliance on electricity. Even though we minimize our usage, it showed us the true cost of living against nature in a place that is nearly inhospitable to modern Floridians. We yearn to live lightly on this planet and Irma showed us there is much room to improve. Now that the electricity has returned it would be easy to forget the reflections and yearning to live lightly. And so just as I suggest to people who are returning to their everyday life after a wilderness rite of passage, I have created miniature mindful thresholds to remember our week without power.
This summer has been a challenging passage for many. Charlottsville, Harvey, Irma, nuclear tensions. The personal and the collective zeitgeist is nearly beyond recognition. And it is in such great times of change that cultivating lasting inner change is essential.. May we have the courage of commitment.