new moon // solstice // december



Night Long Moon
Sunday, December 21st, Capricorn, 5:35 pm PST
Solstice - December 21st, 3:03 pm PST

With in just a few hours of each other we have a once in a lifetime alignment of the New Moon and the Winter Solstice falling on the same day. There is something about this that feels so powerful and divine that I feel words may not even be needed. Not only the challenge of processing it all through the linear mind, but more so that I feel the the magic of these colliding energies is so palatable in the air and in turn in us, that we need only to trust that it is all working through us. We need only to stay open to it, and not resist what natural energies are moving us. 

Having grown up somewhere where there is snow during the Winter has left a lasting effect on me and what this time of year is. Now living in Southern California I am grateful to bring with me the impression, lessons and energy of Winter. The stillness, slowing down and the deep wisdom in the quietness of this season. With the heavy darkness there is also the feeling of hope and rebirth, creating such a magical feeling. Winter for me also seems to take me into my deep subconscious, a sacred place, that is a mix of wisdom and innocence. Most likely you have been feeling the seasons affect in your life, a sense of slowing down, a need for quiet and more sleep. For me, December also affects my emotions. Withdrawn and solitary, I tend to feel a bit like a bear going into it's cave to hibernate. I try to remember that the bear needs this time, to go within and digest the years experiences. In it's cave the bear seeks answers while dreaming and quietly hibernating. In the silence is where the power of knowing is. If you can relate to any of this, you can take comfort in knowing that you are in rhythm with the seasons.

I love this alignment of the New Moon and Winter Solstice because both of them are about darkness, and the power and potential of darkness. If you read here often then you know that New Moons are empty of light and that's what makes them the perfect time to set intentions about things we wish to draw into our lives. Just as the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year it is also the transitioning point when each day draws in more and more light. A time a rebirth for nature and new energy. Solstice means Sun stands still, it is a moment when the Sun stops moving southward, pauses, before it begins to move northward. It is a moment of pause in the darkness before the rebirth of light (both in nature and your inner light as well). It is as much a time about rebirth as it is a time of wonder. Winter Solstice is sort of a mega New Moon for the year. 

With the new year just days away this feels like the perfect time to take stock of this past year for yourself. What have you called into your life? What are you ready to let go of to move forward? Think about the gifts you have received from both. With the celestial alignments it is a great time to examine your life, your truths and commitments, relationships and beliefs. Ask yourself if they are STILL in alignment with who you are and where you are headed. Are they limiting you? It is a time of breaking free from constraints and leaping beyond the boundaries set by ourselves or by others. It is truly a time of letting go of the old and rooting ourselves down to welcome what is coming.

With your New Moon wishing this month you get the added potency of the Solstice, which is one of the most powerful days of the year for mediation, setting intentions and goals, wishing, and ritual. Capricorn is a great energy to help us take charge, with it's Earth energy it will help us ground our dreams and make them a reality.  

Venus also emerges from the darkness in the sky, you can see her near the Moon. She is a very powerful energy in our lives and on the planet right now, activating the empowerment of the Feminine. This energy opens us to a deeper connection with our intuition and with the ancient wisdom of nature. We are at the beginning of a profound returning to this energy in the world. 

Now, on to wishing. You are allowed ten wishes, they must be hand written on paper - and made within the first 24 hours of the New Moon. Night time is such a magical time, it holds so much potential and creativity. Spend some time during this long night finding inspiration during these dark hours. Create a ritual for yourself tonight, involve nature and the elements. Take time, be thoughtful and intentional with your words. Honor what you are ready to leave behind. Celebrate what you wish to call in. Send gratitude to nature, how it supports and nurtures you. To the elements and the animals as guides. To the Sun and Moon. Tonight is about rest. To be in the darkness, quiet and wondering. Allow the magic of the darkness, with it's hope and potential for light, to find you.

* breathwork meditation tonight *
focused on the New Moon and Winter Solstice with the Sound Bath next door!
space is limited, sign up 

Vija Celmins . night sky I (reversed), 2002


self care

My dear friend Ashley Neese asked me to be a part of her Inspired Living series, which is a group of interviews on self-care. 
You can read my interview here.
As well as see more photos taken by the amazing Claire

thank you thank you Ashley and Claire
beyond grateful


2015 moon calendar

M  O  O  N      C  A  L  E  N  D  A  R

2  0  1  5

Now available in the SHOP
Before this Moon Calendar was printed, each Moon was hand drawn. 
Each one drawn with intention, each one having the potential to hold both your dark and your light.
May you go within during the darkness of the New Moon and shine with the light of the Full Moon.
letterpress // edition of 100


seven reeds

just went to see this beautiful show at Overduin & Co

Jacob Kassay 
Nevine Mahmoud

full moon // december


Night Long Moon
Saturday, December 6th, Gemini, 4:27 am PST

Raise your hand if you are someone who thinks too much? Ya, I thought so. This Full Moon in Gemini connects us to the qualities of Air and Fire. It's a time of potential, seeing the big picture, taking on new projects, learning new things, great expansion, increased activity and connection. With the Moon at it's peak we are at our most open time, all circuits firing, evoking a desire for communication, igniting our curious nature and thirst for learning. Gemini's don't like to be tied down, better to be in two places at once. Right now you might be feeling a bit scattered or notice your age old ways of distraction surfacing (having trouble committing?). Gemini's like to exercises the mind: learning, speaking, thinking, listening, writing, teaching... this might sounds exciting to some, exhausting to others. Gemini, The Twins, rules the upper body and it's paired parts: the hands, arms, shoulders, lungs, nervous system. With all the Air energy right now you can feel how this might lead to excess anxiety, worry, nervousness, or over thinking. This is the underside of the upbeat energy we are in. So, take extra care to stay relaxed and grounded. If you are someone who is stuck in your head spend some time moving your body, connect to your senses (especially powerful right now to do this in nature), find an activity that you loose yourself in, where you let go of everything you are thinking and allow yourself to feel. 

Just as New Moons are great for setting intentions and bringing things into your life, Full Moons are great times for letting things go. You can imagine you are doing this with the help of the light of the Moon. Right now it is full of light, and each moment it is letting go, emptying itself of more and more light until it is dark, New. Use this energy to help you let go of unhealthy thoughts, old beliefs, stories, and patterns that are stuck in your head. These are the thoughts that are on a loop, on repeat. Every time you catch yourself listening to one just let it go, make another choice. 

Also, since we are in the energy of Gemini, I am feeling called to say - pay attention to any mirroring happening around you right now. Are there any coincidences, repetitions of patterns, of words, folds in time, deja vu... even dreams? Think about the people in your life as mirrors: what are they reflecting back to you about yourself? Think about your experiences as mirrors: what can they tell you about where you are in your growth? Really pay attention to the subtleties of everything. You don't have to know what it all means right now, but having awareness of it is key.

A few other notes about other planetary alignments and energies. This is an especially important time to communicate your truth from your heart, and to be open to receive the truth of those you love. To be vulnerable to speak and receive with openness and love. To be sensitive as people you love are sharing themselves with you, receive their words and truth with compassion, without any need to fix things for them, or change their experience, or even take on their own experience as your own. Just hold the space for loving communication right now. This has the potential to be deeply healing. 

And December 21st is the Winter Solstice. This is a great time as the energy shifts to acknowledge things you want to let go of, bring to a close, complete. And to think about the energy and potential of the new season, and what you wish to create and call in. It is important to do some kind of ritual around this awareness.  

photo unknown


bs x fvf x lsk

invite i did for the 
Book Stand launch of FvF's new book




These past few weeks something has been bubbling to the surface for me, some unsettled feeling that has been triggered by my heart, both it's strength and it's ache. It's a call for action, a desire for change - in myself - for how I'm seen - how I live... for how we live and how we see each other. A deep need to help others and change the conversation, open it up to be more inclusive to all life's experiences, not just the easily digestible, the easily understood. Anger about this is turning into passion to do something - to create a place where this can happen. And other angers are just lingering. Angers at people for leaving, for dying, for not listening, for being afraid. I don't know what to do with these. Feel them? 

I don't know if it's a result of my age or consciousness, but I'm at a moment where when I feel into everything in my life that truly matters to me and I find opposing feelings. Both the pain that comes with heartbreaking situations, and also the wisdom that is born from these experiences, the awe and profound gratitude I have for them, for the way things are, for the who I am, for life, for something much bigger at work. These two feelings are in every meaningful experience for me right now. The light and the dark. It's creating such a particular aura. Faith. 

Caravaggio, The Incredulity of St. Thomas (detail), c. 1601-02
Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed


from around

- with integrity and charm, a Japanese woodworker hand making dolls

- lusting after everything in the Electric Feather SS15 lookbook

- totally inspired by Jen Delos Reyes - found through Ashley

- a lovely little interview on FvF with artist Katie Paterson

- love Agnes Martin

- somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known - an old post about Saturn

- great show at 365 Mission - Supports and Surfaces, and Anna Helm and Lisa Lapinski

- i first saw a show of Pierre Huyghe when I was living in Paris 9 years ago, it has stayed with me since. I went to see his retrospective at LACMA yesterday... mind blown. 

- on that note... listened to this driving up to Ojai the other day and was moved to tears by it's beauty and truth - an interview with Joanna Macy - it's echoing in my consciousness

- thinking about this old post I did on the Santa Anna winds - years ago during this same time. Funny how weather patterns and emotional patterns can be linked and repeat themselves - like clockwork

photo I took at the Pierre Huyghe show yesterday - cast concrete and a beehive


new moon // november


Saturday, November 22nd, Sagittarius, 4:32 am PST

Tired of feeling like you have been dragged through the mud? Me too. These last few weeks have been intense ones in Scorpio energy. But, that is the nature of Scorpio, and whatever you have been going through is not without purpose. Really feel into that, think about all the things that have come up for you in the last month: the heartache, sadness, letting go, deep grief, fears about being in the unknown, your wounds, your shadow... whatever it is, all of it has been preparing you, it is not without reason. Having faith and trust in your experiences won't make things less painful, it's not a way to deny how hard things can sometimes be, but it's a way to not get stuck in the mud. It's a way to understand the bigger picture of the garden, and what it needs to grow. 

With this New Moon we are moving into the more expansive energy of Sagittarius, the happy wanderer, the truth seeker, the philosopher and eternal student. You might have felt this shift in the air this past week - this energy coming to us, THIS SPACE! After being underground in the energy of Scorpio this space can feel to some of us a bit overwhelming. How to use it, how to fill it? I think if you have been going really deep into your unconscious the past few weeks the energy we are in right now could feel too free. If you are one of these people ask the energy of Sag to help you find the excitement and joy of possibility! Right now there is a feeling in the air that anything is possible. Stay grounded and connected to your heart, and look into the expanse from this place. 

Sagittarius' symbol is of the centaur aiming his arrow far out into the reaches of the sky, beyond what he can see. This is a really profound image for the time we are in. Use this as an archetype, as a guide. This is your moment to begin a new journey, one that is full of unknown adventure and discovery. What is calling to you beyond the limits you have set for yourself? What dream do you have for your life? What vision can you see about something you want to create in your life? Now is a great time to ask yourself and feel into these questions: Who are you? What is your purpose? Sit with that - whatever comes to you is perfect, even if you don't know what it means. Start your journey of discovering the answer to these questions. And dream big! RISK big! Surrender to what is calling you and guiding you. 

New Moon's are especially wonderful times for making wishes, the Moon is empty of light and ready to be filled with intention. It can hold your visions and dreams and help bring them into the world as it gains more and more light in the dark sky. This time of Sagittarius is an energy of optimism, creativity, enthusiasm and generosity. It's a great time to make wishes about travel or adventure (even if it is within the self), big projects you wish to start or see manifest, moving through life with greater ease, higher learning, deeper truth and seeing the bigger picture. You are allowed ten wishes maximum, they must be handwritten, and the best time to make them is within the first 24 hours of the exact time of the New Moon, but within the first 48 will do. 

Happy Wishing!

Also, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to extend my deep gratitude and thanks to everyone who shows up here, if it's for the first time or for many years. I am grateful for you every day. xx

John Cage, Score for Music Walk, 1958


full moon // november


Hunters Moon
Thursday, November 6th, Taurus, 2:22 am PST

We are in a time of palatable Feminine Power, with this Full Moon in Taurus and it's ruling planet of Venus, the energy of the feminine is all around is. Taurus is ruled by the Earth element, think about the qualities of Earth and it's feminine energy (Mother Nature). Think about the Earth as a body, it's sensuality and tactility, a place that holds beauty and power with grace. It's a place that harnesses the energy of all the elements and has immense POWER! How is this same energy in you? How are you holding simultaneous energies? How are your experiencing your senses - how things feel, how things taste, the vibrancy of color...? This energy is rich with wisdom and power.

It's also a time where your shadow will be triggered, the dark side of the Female. I mentioned this in the post before, but now that energy is really coming to the surface for people. And if you are not aware of what your shadow does and can not identify when it's being triggered you will project it on to other people. 

More than anything this is a time of seeing the truth and learning how to deal with it differently. 

There is this one exercise I do in my movement class where you allow your body to move and then you interrupt it and move in a different way, either in the opposite way, or incorporate a body part that's not being activated. It is so simple, but it is really challenging to keep responding differently, to break patterns and not create habitual behaviors. I thought about this this morning when I was thinking about the energy right now. It is really powerful to have the truth come up - identify it - have our wounds and our shadows triggered and then CHOOSE to respond differently; to fight the urges that come from a place of habit, or wanting to be comfortable. What would happen if you responded in the opposite way? It is uncomfortable at first, but ultimately it is incredibly empowering! Try it and let me know. 

photo - unknown


clay pool

CLAY POOL is an exhibition of seven Los Angeles ceramic artists and designers including new works by Heather Levine, Victoria Morris, Morgan Peck, Emilie Halpern, April Napier, BZIPPY & CO. and Julia Haft-Candell.  This collection of artists highlights the diversity of ceramic technique and influences - with a strong investment in materials and craft.  Whether thrown or hand built each artist works in their own pool of influences ranging from pattern, Japanese pottery, the Funk Movement, architecture, or Scandinavian design - providing a materially based conversation amongst the works. 

limited edition poster by Lauren Spencer King


from around

- so great! How to Write About Contemporary Art, by Andrew Berardini

- love these animated gifs by Matthew DiVitto - make sure to look at the multiple pages

- i am a long time fan of Silke Otto - Knapp. See her new exhibit, Seascapes and Moondresses. Be sure to watch the videos of the dance

- been listening to the new album from Bing & Ruth

- very excited to see the Ron Nagel show

- Ouli - on Sight Unseen :)

- Neil Young, my forever favorite. Musician, Writer and Painter

- staring at these beautiful photos of the Jardin des Plantes

- opalized bones - mind blown

- PEARLS! - Tears of the Gods“The pearl is the opposite of the diamond, which is completely mineral, the hardest thing known in nature. The pearl is soft, the product of a living organism. Its mystique lies in the mystery of its creation. The ancient Greeks believed pearls were formed from the tears of the gods. In Christian times the birth of the pearl was seen as a kind of immaculate conception, symbolising purity and closely associated with the Virgin Mary.”
In fact, as he goes on to explain, the pearl is just “a piece of s---”: generally a tapeworm larva that gets stuck inside the shell of a mollusc. The shellfish reacts to protect itself, building up layers of shell tissue, called nacre – or mother of pearl – around the invading particle."
- the interesting 500 year history of the infamous La Peregrina pearl, the largest pearl in the world

David Arsham - Formal Confrontations with Fauna


new moon // october // solar eclipse




Hunter's Moon
Thursday, October 23rd, Scorpio, 2:56 pm PST

So sorry this is a day late, things have come up which kept me from posting yesterday, travel / computer hiccups. But, there is still time for wishing! And I hope you saw the eclipse yesterday!

These two eclipses are like bookends, think about what has happened in the last two weeks: what events have taken place, what truths have been revealed, what have you had to let go of, what are you learning? Whatever has happened in your life since the Lunar Eclipse has not been an accident, and most likely has been intense and hard to ignore. The other day I was thinking about awareness and listening. And how when you are committed to growth and healing you are also committing to honoring the revelations you have, the lessons that show up, and the answers you hear. You can't be asking for answers or deeper awareness and then ignoring what is revealed to you because it is too hard to face or deal with. It just doesn't work like that. Ignoring it or waiting is what causes more pain, and more problems, that awareness will just come knocking on your door even louder until you listen! You have a responsibility to what shows up, to follow through with it, and make the changes, to let go, to head in the new direction. And often times this means walking into the unknown, into the darkness. You have to take that leap of faith, and say - I don't know why I have to do this, or how this will work out, but I know I must listen, and follow what is showing itself to me. Trust me, I know... this is hard... I am right there in it myself. And I want to honor you for taking that leap!

This is truly a time of deciding who you are, and what you want in your life.
You don't have to know all the answers, but perhaps it is a time to live in the question. 

We are in the energy of the Scorpio. Being a Scorpio myself I love this energy and am very at home in it, but depending on your own sign this energy can feel very intense and confrontational even. We are transitioning from the light feminine of Libra into the dark feminine of the Scorpio. This energy is all about power, transformation, intensity, truth, sexuality and the mastery of the self. It really is a time about diving into the darkness of the unknown to be reborn. Scorpios have an amazing ability to see the truth in people and situations, they are like a laser, if you are a Scorpio or know a Scorpio then you are well aware of this. Use this energy to see and hear the truth clearly, but remember, you have a responsibility to what reveals itself. With this darkness that is inherent in the feminine, the Scorpio energy, plus the darkness of the New Moon, don't be surprised if your shadow is revealing itself, now is an excellent time to recognize when it shows it self and how it runs the show. Everyone's shadow is different, and often times very tricky. The shadow is something you can learn from, it has a purpose and it should not be ignored or suppressed. We must learn to recognize it, and integrate it into our bodies in a healthy way. 

This is a time to listen deeply, and to step up and be seen, to speak your truth, to have the courage to discover who you really are, to take the leap into the unknown. Anything you have been holding back on, now is the time to go for it!

Because the Moon is empty of light, it is a great time to make wishes about anything you wish to call into your life. You can use the energy of the Scorpio to make wishes about the truth, the self, sex, transformation, letting go... You are allowed ten wishes maximum and they must be hand written on paper. The best time to wish is within the first 24 hours of the New Moon, but within the first 48 will work. 

Happy Wishing!

studio toogood


things on my mind

Isabelle Cornaro
 unknown  |   japanese straw raincoat
Alex Olson
unknown  |  lombard chair by Charles Hollis Jones
Bethan Laura Wood


full moon // lunar eclipse // october




Hunter's Moon / Blood Moon
Wednesday, October 8th, Aries, 3:18 am PST

WOW! This is an exciting time with so many things happening in the skies, there is no way to escape the energy that is all around us, so don't even try. On the 4th Mercury went into retrograde, and on the 8th there is the Full Moon with a Lunar Eclipse! Before you jump in bed and hide under the covers until this is all over let's talk about what this actually means, because despite all the powerful intensity, it's a really amazing time full of growth, healing, magic... and love!

Yes, Mercury in retrograde usually means we will encounter plenty of wrong turns, miscommunication, and computer problems... but, on a personal level retrogrades are a time of deep reflection. They are a time to reflect on whatever Mercury is activating in the self as it transitions through the sky. This retrograde is all about love and relationships! How exciting and perfect. It starts in Scorpio but at the very beginning it touches on Neptune, pulling some of it's spiritual energy with it. Because it starts in Scorpio, this first week is a perfect time to reflect deeply into who you are in relationships. This is a time to look at who you are, and how you show up as your self in relationships (these can be romantic or other - one to one relationships). The Scorpio energy will help you get to the truth, like a laser, that is the beauty of the Scorpio, they want to go deep. Because Neptune is involved think about how you might spiritualize or idealize relationships. This is not a time to look at who you want to be, wish you were, your potential, or who you think you are, it's a time to look at the truth of who you are, and how you show up as your true self in relationships. 

Because of Libra it is also a time about surrendering! Which poses a dichotomy, how do you simultaneously probe deeply and surrender? Ask yourself this, the energy of this coupling creates so much freedom, possibility and truth in what it is to experience love. The second week of Mercury in retrograde, when Mercury shifts back into Libra around the 11th, is also a time to reflect on transforming your "expectations" in love to "intentions" in love. They have very different energies. Someone recently said to me, "... expectations are premeditated resentments". It implies consequences and control (usually out of fear). Where intention implies energy which is fluid, flexible, open, free! There is possibility in intention! It is about the beauty of surrendering. How do you let go of expectations with out letting go of the person and staying connected to the love? How do you love with intention, not with expectation?

Any time you have the energy of one sign you also have the energy of it's opposite. So, while we are feeling the Libra energy of surrendering we are also met with the fire of Aries! The Lunar Eclipse with the Aries / Libra access is all about being courageous with who you are in relationships!! Eclipses are a time of breaking away, breaking down, breaking loose. This can sometimes feel like a time where we are out of control and things are crumbling all around us, if you can use this energy consciously you can use it to break down patterns that you are ready to be free of, it can be a break down with purpose. It prepares you to build something in it's place, and to create space for something new to come in. Every time we let go we create space for something new. Something we want. Or something that wants us. 

This is an eyes wide open time! We are being asked to go deeply into who we are as a soul, and really look at how we show up in the truth of who we are, for ourselves, and for others. 

Claire Nereim Moon Pots, 2014


from around

- a wonderful short film made about my friend Jeremy who is an incredible glass blower! 

- a lovely feature by my friend Leigh and beautiful photos as always by my friend Claire

- recently discovered the music of Haruomi Hosono and the art of Alex Olson thanks to my friend Scott

- flipping out over the Row's SS15 collection

- an amazing video on how the wolves changed the rivers of Yellowstone

- "a brutalist vision, with a romantic vision" - watch this beautiful film of Ricardo Bofill's stunning home. My dream home

- have recently been re-reading one of my favorite poems over and over, Apparition, by one of my favorite poets ever

- finally watched Nymphomaniac - incredible - so much to think about - and such beautiful art direction

- the spirituality of hair, thanks Nicole

- SO excited to see The Mandala of Compassion at the Hammer! I foresee multiple trips in my future

other shows I can't wait to see

Yvonne Rainer at the Getty
18th century gold boxes at LACMA
Cameron at MOCA
Lisa Anne Auerbach : Spells
Sam Falls at Hannah Hoffman
wishing I could see Allora & Calzadilla: Fault Lines
and Dave Muller's show in Tokyo 

from the archives

amazing female mountaineers in 1907
rad choreography by Busby Berkeley
this amazing Ansel Adams letter

Giacomo Balla


night blooming cactus mandala

Night Blooming Cactus Mandala

small edition of prints 
exclusively at Dream Collective



it's called gratitude


Six years ago my greatest fear was that my mum would die. Even further back than that, from the time we found out she had cancer I was afraid about what my life would be like without her and how I would go on. My worst fear happened, and I survived it. She died almost six years ago, and there isn’t a day when I don’t wish she were still here. She was the person I was closest to in my life. And my heart breaks sometimes thinking about all the things in my life she won’t be there for. I don’t say this to many people but despite all my wishing, if I had the opportunity for it to have worked out differently, for her not to have died, I don’t know if I would change it. It is strange to think that about the single hardest thing that has ever happened to me, and about the single most important person in my life. But, I really do feel that way.

I sometimes have these moments when I can pull way back and it’s as if I am looking down on my life, this master plan for my soul.  And I have this profound clarity and trust in everything that I have experienced, even in all the pain and sadness I feel about her not being here. I think about all the ways her death, and the experience of being with her when she died, has changed me, changed me for the better. I think about all the amazing things that have come from that happening. In that one moment between her being here and her not being here is when it all happened for me. Oddly enough in that moment I was not afraid. That tiny moment held so much. So many gifts have come out of it, so many feelings that have pushed me to become the person I am today, so many things all of a sudden held so much meaning, in so may ways my life changed and was set on a new course that held so much purpose.

This year I became a grief group leader for kids at Our House Grief Support Center in Los Angeles. It has been an incredible journey that has lead me to this amazing place, full of the most wonderful people doing such important work. Every day I feel honored to be a part of what is happening there. I have moments when I wish my mum were here so that I could tell her about it. But I know that if she were still alive that I wouldn’t be doing this work, work that has become so deeply personal and fills me with such purpose, work that is changing my life.

This summer was my first as a camp counselor at Camp Erin in Los Angeles. I had 12 incredible six and seven year olds. I learned so much from each camper about grief. It was amazing, and overwhelming, and inspiring, and challenging all at the same time. I was really confronted with how I show up as myself, and had so many opportunities to really look at and see what special things I bring to the table just by being me. This was such a big lesson for me. I found that during times when others would be enthusiastically getting the girls to put on their shoes, or cheering them on during the ropes course was when I felt most out of place. The introvert in me was being confronted. But after the Memory Wall on the first night a few girls were in tears, crying so hard they could hardly breathe, and that’s when I knew how to step in and be there for them. My comfort level with tears and grief make it hard for me to relate to everyone, but I am learning that there is a place where this is needed. It was in those moments at camp where I could see that I didn’t have to be like everyone else, but I could see for the first time that there was value in me being myself.

My favorite activity we did was the grief hike. On our hike each camper would look for a rock, and on the bottom of it would be painted with a different feelings word. They would all go around and use that word in a sentence about their grief. It sounds simple, but is actually quite profound.

We had already done “sadness”, “guilty” and “happiness”, when one girl had found the rock with the word “anger” written on it. Each camper, one by one, passed the rock around the circle while talking about her anger. Anger is one of my favorite things to talk about in grief group. I think it’s one of the emotions that is still so ignored when thinking about grief related feelings or about the person who died. Often time’s people don’t give themselves the room or the opportunity to feel angry at all, and especially not with the person who died. One of the many amazing things about being with the youngest campers is that they really do wear their emotions on their sleeve. When they are scared you know it, when they are sad they show it. For the most part they are unafraid to express what they feel, they haven’t yet learned how to hide it.

The rock finally got to one young camper and she held it in her little hands and said so directly, “I'm really angry that my mom died.” All the fidgeting and distractions stopped and everyone in the circle was just right there with her, listening and relating to what she was saying.

I said to her, “You are really angry that your mom died, huh?”

“Yes” she said.

“What do you do when you get really angry?”

She responded with something that has stayed with me since. She said, “I think about all things that I have in my life that other kids don’t.”

“Like what?”

“Like a big bed, a lot of my friends don’t have a big bed like I do, and my cat, and my close friends.”

My heart was so moved by what she was sharing. “There is a special word for what you are talking about,” I said, “it’s called gratitude.”

We all talked for a little bit about what that word meant, and what it means to be grateful. As we did this it’s as if the sun was shining a little brighter, the sounds of nature got quiet, everyone was so present.

I was so blown away that this little six year old understood something so profound. That she could comfort herself and understand her life in a way most people can’t. She is six, and is facing the rest of her life without a mother, and she can have gratitude while doing that. This isn’t something that someone taught her, this is just something she feels.

I think a lot about gratitude. It’s easy for us to have it when we are doing something that brings us great joy, or comfort: when we are with a friend who make us laugh, when we receive good news that alleviates worry, when we are in the presence and beauty of nature. But, what about all the other times, times that are challenging, and full of more difficult feelings like pain, anger and sadness. And even times when the unthinkable happens, like when the person we love most in our life dies.

It leaves me wondering - Do we abandon gratitude during the times when we might need it the most?
And, more than anything it confirms my belief that gratitude is truly healing.

photo I took while packing up our family home to sell: a pot my mum bought be in Santa Fe for my dollhouse


new moon // september


Harvest Moon
Tuesday, September 23rd, Libra, 11:13pm PST

On the heels of the Autumn Equinox on Monday comes this New Moon in the sign of Libra. During the last two weeks I hope you have been enjoying the abundance you have created in your lives. Seeing the circle of energy that has been created by you, from the very first seed that was planted, to how it has grown from your nurturing and attention, to the moments when you get to reap the rewards and take a step back to enjoy it! This is a perfect time to honor completion in your life, anything you have finished, or anything you are ready to let go of. If there is something that is hanging around that is unfinished now is a wonderful time to take those last steps to do so. Lots of people have resistance around completion, if you feel a little of that sit with it for a while, take a closer look at what that's about, ask questions of it, and work with it. Surely by giving it some attention you will already have shifted it and cleared some space to allow for completion or letting go. This could be a project you have been working on, or even just transitioning into the coming season, or it could even be something you have been working on that you are ready to let go of, some old story from the past. The past only follows us as long as we keep holding on to it. This is time to look ahead, and into the future, and you get to decide what you want to take with you. Honor the endings or changes in your life and celebrate the things you are completing. 

An Equinox is a time of equal day and night, earth and sun. It is harmonious with the sign of Libra, as she is all about balance, and beauty. Think about all the ways your life has balance, or perhaps there are places in your life, body, relationships... that are calling for more balance. You can imagine yourself at the center of a scale, the fulcrum, feeling strong, calm and grounded. On either side you hold the scales, carefully weigh and measure your feelings, your experiences, your relationships. Notice how your body feels as you do this. It will tell you everything you need to know about what is feeling out of balance: what is nurturing you, what is draining you. Another word I like to use is exchange. How are you living in equal exchange in all the ways you show up in your life? To accept the scales as your guide means you must accept responsibility for your experience. You, and only you, have the power to shift the energy so there is equal exchange, and more balance in your life. 

This is also a time about love! Libra is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Creative Power. If you want to cultivate more love in your life or call in new love now is a great time to do so. Our outside relationships mirror our inner relationship with our self. Attracting love starts first with self love. Spend one day doing each activity with love, and thinking only loving thoughts about yourself. This will surely show you so much about your relationship to love. How do you receive love? How do you show and give love? How do you express with love? How do you stand in love? Use your creativity with this, write letters, sing, clean your house, buy yourself flowers. Use your creativity to create a loving environment both inside and out. 

And with the Equinox, the changing of the season, as you are acknowledging the ending of things, with this new moon you have the opportunity to call in some new energy. Again the balance of Libra is all around us, an ending and a beginning. New Moons are powerful times to set intentions. You are allowed ten wishes maximum, and they must be hand-written, and made within the first 24 hours of the exact time of the New Moon (within the first 48 will do). You can use the energy of Libra to help you make wishes about harmony and balance, love, relationships, attracting new love (a marriage partner), and creativity.

Happy Wishing!

Painting by Melanie Pankau