Making Friends With My New City

I’ve startwhiteroseed feeling restless as I live life in Portland without work to keep me busy. Helping with the baby and job hunting/applying certainly gives me purpose every day, but I have too much free time and not enough motivation to leave the house. So I’m resuming The Conspiracy of Blessings after a 6 year hiatus in order to make friends with my city in a way that suits me. For now I am planning visits to art galleries and parks, places I can explore the city without cost. I’ll leave behind love notes everywhere I go. The project will naturally evolve and I’ll use the Facebook page to document how my relationship to the City of Roses blossoms.

Sidenote – Roses have been one of my talismans since I was a teenager. I feel magic in the serendipity of moving to a city known for it’s roses.

I’m part of a Facebook group that talks about superpowers and owning our Bigness and I’m feeling that the more I practice my own Bigness and use my superpower (creative generosity), the more I will draw resonant opportunities to myself in work, friendships and community engagement. I’ve been hiding in my bedroom because I am both scared and excited at leaping into new relationships and responsibilities. I feel as though this new life is calling me to grow into deeper intention and consciousness. I’m being called to up my game in every way, which feels amazing and makes me want to hide under my pink fuzzy blanket.

I know it’s time to stretch, feel out my new environment and discover where I belong. This is my new home, my new community. We need to get to know each other.

Learning to be an Amma

Umother-holding-baby-drawing-246x300ntil we arrived in Portland on April 17th, I had only seen my son three times for a few days each since leaving him with the Mamas last May. He was 5 weeks old when I let him go.

We just celebrated his first birthday.

Between May and September I went through an intense grieving process, letting go of being my son’s Mommy so that my heart-sister could be. I needed the distance and separation for my process. The Mamas did, too, so that they could establish and feel secure in their relationship with him.

The last time I saw my son was when the adoption was finalized in February. I went to court with the Mamas and happily witnessed as they were granted the legal and cultural recognition of being his parents. There were some little pangs of heartache, but I mostly felt joy and peace.

As of our arrival two weeks ago, I live with our son and the Mamas in a smallish two bedroom apartment. I am a part of his daily life. Adapting to being one of his caretakers is easy, both because he is my child and because I know babies. Co-parenting with the Mamas is easy because they make it so. Everyone is flexible and communicative. Everyone is happy to be involved and yet not be the only one responsible to meet his needs. On the outside, this is much easier than what our culture would have you believe is possible.

It’s navigating this new and strange sort of motherhood within my heart that is complicated. Especially when he cries and cries with pain or frustration.

I am not Mommy or Baba. I am Amma.

My heart doesn’t always know the difference.

I cannot always be, should not always be, the first to respond to his cry. Sometimes it’s appropriate. Sometimes I can pick him up and soothe him. Hold him close to my chest. Sing him songs or whisper my love to him as he calms and falls asleep in my arms. But more often that is the Mamas’ place. They chose to be his primary caretakers.

Most of the time it’s easy to let them do most of the care-giving. I am sharing him with the Mamas because I don’t want to be a full-time parent anymore. The past year’s separation allowed me to relinquish much of my sense of responsibility.

Occasionally I feel possessive because wordless parts of me, biological and emotional, still sense that it’s my place to take care of him and comfort him. Sometimes I feel a tug in my heart that I can’t act on because his Mommy is already doing so. And I know that there is a good chance that tug will always exist.

This is the price of my freedom. Some days I’m still angry at the Universe that my freedom from full time mothering comes with any price at all when most women get to know at least a few years of freedom before or after children without having to give something up.

But most days I know that the gift of our magical baby is the most powerful manifestation of my superpower, my life’s purpose, which is creative generosity. I birth beauty into the world to share with others – whether children or writing or random acts of arty kindness or transformational events. This is simply who I am.

It is my years of practicing polyamory that allow me to navigate the difficult feelings with grace. I know how to look jealousy and possessiveness in the eye. I know that I can bear any feelings that arise and that they are always temporary. I know that love is limitless and that Lake will love all of us deeply yet differently. I know what compersion is and how to nurture it in my heart.

Sometimes I hold him and feel to the depths of my bones that he is mine. Sometimes I think he instinctively knows he is mine. He and I have something deep and special because he lived inside of me. But it is not the same as being his Mommy.

Being an Amma is a new sort of motherhood. It’s a new sort of loving another human in the most profound way possible, and for the first time sharing that life-altering love with others.

Radical Changes

Rebirth By Humza Mehbub
Rebirth By Humza Mehbub

“Art involves a blood sacrifice.

You need to create out of what scares you, what hurts, what makes you ache with longing, what makes you cry; I don’t know why it has to be this way, but if you can’t move yourself, if you can’t shake your own soul to pieces, how can you expect to connect with the inner lives of others?” Justine Musk

This has been a long time coming, this surrender to the overwhelming need, the ravenous hunger to write and share that I was given by the gods of personality. This is a surrender to immense vulnerability. The vulnerability of facing difficult emotions and thoughts as I unravel my story. The vulnerability of allowing others to see me when I am raw: whether I am raw with bliss in the amazing Universe we live in, or raw with gratitude for the generosity and creativity that humans are capable of, or raw in the waves of grief over the losses (heart openings) in my life, or raw with rage about what humans are doing to each other and the world we live in.

This surrender is tentative as I write this. I am finding every reason to avoid writing. I wrote the first paragraph a couple days ago. I’ve been inside this shell for nearly three years. I’ve hidden deep inside myself, barely allowing glimpses to those around me, other than my fiance, who bears the brunt of my emotional expression, and my daughter, because she lives with us. But even they have only seen the tip of the iceberg. I myself have consciously perceived little of the molten emotion swirling and exploding in the volcano of my heart. So much of my process has been non-verbal, even inside my own mind. I have no idea what is going to come through when I start shaping my story through words.

I went into hibernation after several challenging emotional situations and when Fibromyalsia started wreaking havoc in my body with pain, insomnia and brain fogs (which are the worst symptom for a smart and creative person!). Once medications relieved most of the pain and sleep issues, I remained in a conscious hibernation, though it looked a lot like depression and isolation to those around me. The pregnancy, birth and adoption of our son took all of my physical and emotional resources to live through. I had little to give anyone else.

Since last September I have slowly been emerging from my cocoon, still feeling like a messy chrysalis in some places while my wings unfurl in others.

I moved to a new city and a new life a week ago. I am in shock. I am excited. I am scared. I am having multitudes of Big Feels as I nurture a daily relationship with the Mamas and our son, establish myself in a new environment, and look for work that will challenge me with healthy leadership opportunities.

I have written many blogs over the past 14 years. Usually when I write for public consumption I take hours to edit my posts, because I consider myself a “serious writer.” However, I recognize an opportunity with this new blog in allowing myself the space to just write what comes without worrying about perfect word choices for now. I need to find my voice as I make sense of who I have become in this new place with my new family. I need to allow the words to flow as my process and emotions unfurl into letters, words and sentences. Perhaps even poetry.

Whatever this becomes, it begins here, today, with the courage to press “publish.”

Why Radical Mystic?

Child Mysticrad·i·cal

1. of or going to the root or origin;
fundamental.

2. thorough going or extreme, especially
as regards to change from accepted or
traditional forms.

mys·ti·cism

2. a doctrine of an immediate spiritual
intuition of truths believed to transcend
ordinary understanding, or of a direct,
intimate union of the soul with God
through contemplation or ecstasy.

What does it mean to be a radical mystic?

I am radical because I am a cultural edge dweller. I am not interested in tradition or the status quo. My rebellious spirit is fierce. I am a non-violent revolutionary; a community builder; a feminist and sex-positive activist; a former erotic party hostess; and an off-again, on-again public practitioner of mysticism, polyamory and BDSM. I am committed to being a transformation agent – using intimate relationship and creative generosity to make myself and the world more loving and healthy.

I create from radical vulnerability. I am willing to be raw with my personal process and emotional experiences in hopes of inspiring others to share their story and deepen intimacy with myself and community. It is our stories that connect us.

I am radical because I lead from love. The professional world needs to honor the emotional world of the people who work in it. I advocate for love-based, transparent and inclusive leadership practices in the organizations I work with.

I am radical because I co-create radical family through radical love.* I raise my children with radical ideas and I build radical relationships with those closest to me through radical vulnerability and transparency.

A mystic is essentially a lover of God. I am a lover of God in every way you could imagine that phrase to mean and have been for as long as I can remember. The picture up above is me when I was a little girl, praying my heart out. I can remember being deeply in love with Jesus and the story he lived when I was a child and teenager.

I have radical faith. Somehow I have always felt an intimate relationship to the Origin of Life. Although my perceptions of what the Divine is have evolved over time, I’ve never doubted the existence of a God, or that I am held by God, for one single moment of my life. I know that makes me an unusual human and likely explains my capacity for emotional bravery. I know I can’t be broken.

I grew up Baptist and Pentecostal Christian. I experienced my first ecstatic states in the church as a teenager, “slain in the Spirit” the holy-rollers call it. Those experiences awoke a deep hunger in me for unitive experience. In college I recognized that there was more to the Divine than Christianity’s particular point of view. I studied comparative religions, consciousness and quantum physics. I actively explored Paganism and New Age spiritualities. I experienced ecstatic and highly erotic states in solitary ritual, through mind altering substances, and through my initial explorations into sex, body modification, power exchange and physical masochism.

I am a Radical Mystic because I explore my love for the Origin of Life through extreme, non-traditional experiences in ritual, altered states, sex, kink and relationship (both individual and collective).

I am turned on by God and by the process of conscious evolution in myself and others. My relationship to the Divine and to the evolutionary process is deeply erotic.

There is an underlying force, a sort of all-consuming hunger that compels me toward continual transformation as I deepen into intimate relationship with the Divine as Everything. I now believe everything in existence is infused with the God of Life, including you and me; thus I seek to connect with this Divinity in everyone I encounter and love. I believe approaching life and relationship this way will help me be the most loving and compassionate person I’m capable of being.

I believe we all have a Divine Spark – a piece of God that shines from within us and manifests in our quirky combination of light and shadow, gifts and neuroses.

I live my life as a mystical and therapeutic process, using direct experience, psychology, and spiritual teachings and practice to transform myself from within – to shine the light into my shadows, heal my past wounding and discover still deeper capacities for love and compassion. I strive to express my Divinity as clearly as possible through a loving expression of my unique combination of gifts (creative generosity, empathy, emotional bravery and creative generosity) and neuroses (emotional intensity and masochism).

*

At this stage of my life, radical mysticism looks like reuniting with my chosen family in Portland, OR – a family comprised of myself, my fiance and father of our magical 1 year old baby, the two Mamas who legally adopted our magical baby, my 18 year old daughter, and a dear friend/ platonic-heart-partner to us all. We are a radical family experiencing a radical kind of love.

Our little tribe and the changes/challenges facing humanity now and in the near future inspire me towards deeper community building in my new city. I am worried about what is happening with our food, our governments, and our planet. I believe intentional community is the only chance at survival. I hope to work with others to build local, intentionally interdependent communities where neighbors within walking/biking distance can support one another with shared food and resources, shared parenting, and shared responsibility for those who cannot function alone. Communities can then network with one another to broaden the reach of shared resources within a city/county type area. The benefits of this kind of living are too numerous to name, but I’ll be exploring them in this blog in addition to our story as a family.

People keep saying that I should share my/our story. This blog, started one week after our son’s first birthday, will document my perspective of our experiences as a family, and as a growing community, both past and present.