Art, Burn, Evolution, Happenings, Sacred Space

Naked and Poly in the Santa Cruz Mountains

If you had told me a year ago I’d be living at a nudist community and dating multiple incredible humans, I would not have believed you. I mean it sounds PLAUSIBLE that I might wind up there someday, but I definitely didn’t think it would be…. easy.  You see, I finally gave in to loving myself, I succumbed to the flow of my life, and it quickly became more fruitful than I could have ever dreamed. Come on in, take off your shoes, and let me tell you about this sacred space before you think about paying me a visit.

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The Lupin Lodge has quickly become one of my favorite places on earth. There is a vibrancy here, a deep-seeded elemental nature of healing and nurturing, that I have been seeking for 15+ years! Tucked in the Santa Cruz mountains outside of Los Gatos (Translation: The Cats!) are a sea of redwoods and rivers and all kinds of landscapes filled with all sorts of creatures, in their natural habitat, humans and animals and plants that co-habitate in peace. It’s true, even conservatives and liberals alike can be found out here, and for the most part, the dialogue seems healthy.  Radical openness and acceptance is a lifestyle.

I first moved to the Lupin Lodge September of 2017 for a brief stint, when I was hired to produce an event called Earthdance. I was just coming off of the 2017 Burning Man event, and I felt relatively comfortable showing up at a nudist community and being naked, mostly because of my experiences at Burning Man (see Carcus wash and other stories here).  Lupin immediately felt like a home. I don’t know how or why, but I trusted it, and although I did not stay at Lupin right away, it has become a place of extreme comfort and joy in my life.

Finding comfort and joy starts with loving yourself ultimately and Lupin is an excellent place to work on loving yourself. When beginning to learn to love your own body and get comfortable in your own skin, the work starts to shift into how can you possibly AVOID loving yourself when there is nothing left to hide behind? If you’ve never been comfortable in your own skin, then you may not even know how good it can feel to stop giving any fucks about what people think. Getting over the hump of uncomfortability is kind of like jumping into cold water. You just gotta do it, get the shock over with, and then enjoy the swim! #whimhoff #worthit #workitout

Well I’ve been swimming all over, meeting all kinds of fish, and let me tell ya, the water is super fine in the Santa Cruz Redwood mountains. I do believe I have found my magic again, my edge, and once you fall in love with your own life, the real work can begin; because then can you begin to heal the world with love.  At least that’s always been the plan.

So almost three years later after my initial run in with Lupin, I found myself once again, at the Lupin Lodge this summer, this time for six weeks during a Pandemic.  I am living in a tent nonetheless, and I have been pleasantly surprised to say that it has gotten nothing but more interesting and comfortable as time goes by.   Every morning I wake up in the forrest feeling like a fairy.   I am SO blessed to be working from this property, on several projects, jobs and initiatives, all of which are near and dear to my heart.  I get to be creative and sing every day and play with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. My worlds are all aligning in a divine fashion, and all I can think to say to anybody who is unhappy with their life is: “well, then you just need to move here”.

Seriously, right now.  Drop everything.  Sell your house.  Downsize your shit.  Pack your car, come to me and let’s get to work.  There is so much great work to do, and it’s ideal to not do it alone!  We can build from here. This place that I have come to call Lupin is special, sacred; it’s safe and prime for creativity, growth and community.  It’s near enough the ocean and nature and the most incredible city in the world to accomplish ANY of your wildest dreams. What are you waiting for?  Start calling it in.  I’m inviting you.  Consider this, your invocation.

Now, I know it’s not that easy to just pick up and move your life at first. But if you start to think about detachment, I mean what really is keeping you anywhere, anyway? The world could end tomorrow. All we have is today, this month, this season, and that is what we are learning, many of us, painfully in lesson. Covid has created a hole; what did you fill it with?

Our lives have been diminished to asking basic questions: where is our next meal and paycheck coming from and do we have resources secured for food and shelter beyond that? Once those basic needs are met, a place to lay where your head can rest, then what else do you need to be happy?  Honestly, I invite you to look at your life and consider, what WOULD make you ecstatic? And then, ask for it.  Don’t wait another second before you start calling that shit in. Say it out loud, to yourself, multiple times a day. Chant it like a mantra. Let your life become YOU.  Stagnation is not a part of this journey, but you must take action in order to move mountains.

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“If you aren’t happy in your own little bubble you have created for yourself, then change your bubble”.

So let me back-track and set the scene a bit for you: The Lupin Lodge is yes, a nudist community (!) that was established in 1935, off of Highway 17 near the Lexington reservoir in the South Bay.  This sloping property is now owned and run by artist and entrepreneur Lori Kay Stout, who has since the 80’s helped to shift and shape the course of this interesting microcosm we call Lupin.  Lori and her two daughters and team of staff and volunteers steward this sacred land that it is also open to the public for visiting and camping.  The landscape is delightful… if you can imagine, little pathways and rocks and statues and pinwheels,  waterfalls all adorning the property, with just the right amount of personality. The office is welcoming and the yurts and cabins on site are charming as can be.  There is an extensive network of platforms build into the side of the hill for tenting and residing adds a unique element, but the PEOPLE here are what truly make it special.

The lodge itself consists of a family room and restaurant lodge that isn’t open right now due to Covid, however food is still being served in one of several outdoor communal spaces. There are residents that live here, along with guests and campers that come for shorter stays. There is an incredible growing community here.  There are a plethora of regular activities that happen at Lupin, which make it a world of it’s own. We have yoga classes (yes you can be naked), a restaurant on site, a hot tub (closed for Covid), hiking, bonfire pit, tennis, bocce ball, movie showings, frisbee golf, and so much comedy, all of the time. One group of friends reads Shakespeare regularly under the main tree on the lawn. There is poetry and laughter and kindness and music. With a house band, musical jams and melodies fill the air on Saturdays.  Sometimes we do a Karaoke session or maybe a DJ dance party with lasers and costumes (yes, we wear clothes too… as well as masks)!  Sundays are more relaxing. There’s an on-site garden, multiple sculptures and artistic flare all around the grounds, while the fairy lights twinkle at night. And two baby peacocks just arrived on property.  Did I mention there is a family of dear that eat from the plum trees every morning? Even the skunks are cute as fuck. I’m sorry, I’m gushing, I know… If it wasn’t for getting groceries or seeing the ocean occasionally, one need not ever leave ever, especially during a pandemic.  All you need is good WiFI and company (which we have both) and you’re set.  (The pool doesn’t hurt either.)   Just last week we did a full moon water ceremony with a pool full of giggling naked humans laughing so hard we cried, I said ” for the first time in a long time, I feel fully alive.”

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For the record, never once as I go about my day do I think “man I sure wish I had to wear clothes right now.” or “wow, I sure miss my “old life” or whatever it is I used to be doing.  Three months ago I was more unhappy than I’d ever been, and it didn’t feel natural.  I desired to make a change.  I prayed for a change, then I took steps to actively alter my situation, and this is where it led me, even during some of the darkest ages known to mankind.  If I can do it, I believe that you can do it too.

Speaking of natural, it’s fairly common to bare it all here at Lupin on a regular basis. We bare our souls regularly, in ceremony around the fire and around the dinner table. We bare our chests and bottoms at the pool (and wherever else it makes sense according to the weather and given activity). And here, many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, usually when it comes to expression. Bottom line when you live in a community of people You HAVE to keep it REAL. This means No lies. No bullshit. No drama. No deception. ETHICS are the forefront of our environment, and it is a communal, learned art.

Now since moving to California, I’ve been fortune enough to have the pleasure of being able to explore the benefits of living a polyamorous lifestyle, which means having multiple partners.   This is always something I desired, but it requires just the right ingredients to work in a healthy fashion.  Now I want to be clear, that while nudity and polyamory do not necessarily go hand in hand,  I do welcome them both in my life here in the South Bay, and I am finding much overlap in the intrinsic values of being comfortable naked and comfortable being honest and leading a polyamorous lifestyle.  At 34 years old, I am an open book, and I’d love to lay it all out for you a little more closely:

I want to start off by saying that I have so much love and respect for the people/partners that I choose to spend my time with, and I feel nothing but intense love and respect back from each of them. Having multiple partners isn’t about having sex all the time, but for me it’s about emotional intimacy and security. I get my cup filled up in a variety of ways, and without all of that pressure being put directly on one person. I recognize that I personally like a lot of attention, and spreading that out isn’t a bad thing it turns out. I also had to learn to fill up my cup MYSELF, without a partner present, in order to be able to share in such delights to begin with.

Currently I have a few partners who I see regularly and cherish intensely. Dating in the time of Covid, now, not only do you have to get an STD test, you have to get Covid test, too, coupled with a lot of conversations.  Having this kind of open dialogue has never been easier because now it’s NOT OPTIONAL … it’s almost as if everyone is “poly” now, because to even be in the same room with someone you have to know EVERYTHING. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN WHO HAVE YOU BEEN WITH AND HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?”. But this time, these questions are being asked for different reasons. Not because you should ask… but because you have to.

In my life, there are no ‘shoulds’ anymore. Nobody should get to tell me what to do or who to see.  Nobody should dominate my entire free time and attention, nor should I need anyone’s entire free time or attention either. In turn, I also allow my partners the same freedoms with a whole lot of trust and dialogue.  It feels safe and healthy, because of the emotional maturity of the partners I have chosen to send my time with. While I will admit, this is somewhat new territory for me, it feels as natural and comfortable as ever. I am fortunate to have had good teachers and examples over the years, of what healthy polyamorous relationships can (and shouldn’t) look like, which helps a lot. It is not always easy, but stepping into that uncomfortableness allows one to experience SO much more freedom in the long run.

When you learn to love yourself enough to let go of the absolute need to control anybody or anything else around you, you set yourself free. I no longer am afraid of being exposed; of anyone knowing my darkest secrets, or afraid of being alone.  So what, I am naked?  So what that I am open and a creature of sexuality and expression?  So what if I do not lead a traditional lifestyle of idleness; I am an artist, and my life is fantastic, and wild, and challenging and beautiful, and every day is a gift I cherish. My life IS art, and I am still learning to master this craft.

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“I am a God damn cheeta” – Glenon Doyle, Becoming Untamed 

I would never have felt this way if I had not stepped the unknown.  If I had not leapt from my comfort zone into a foreign safety net and prayed to Goddess that something caught me, I would never have stood a chance at being this ecstatic.  I caught myself in actually, in the act, and as I continue to move towards what looks like love, and step away from that which does not serve me, I only feel more powerful and confident that in all actuality there just might be some magic to this open lifestyleafter all.  Some sort of utopian society may or may not be possible, but I am sure going to give it my all to have a shot at my wildest dreams might actually coming true.  It’s all about the players and our mindsets, which we work on daily here at Lupin. “Love, like bread must be made everyday, made new”, and this includes self love, above all. (Eat your heart out)

Ultimately, letting go of the need to control everyone and everything around me has opened up so many avenues and opportunities. Going with the flow has major benefits, because sometimes, it allows you to actually find your own flow. When you can become comfortable being uncomfortable, you can master any situation.  I am learning how to balance navigate this foreign territory real time, by being authentic in what I say and how I treat people. Full disclosure (coupled with a lot of kindness and empathy) is key, which involves a healthy dose of tough love and an emphasis on self-love all at once.

Bottom line: If you’re going to be in ANY relationship, you have go to get yourself in such a good place, that even if that partner person walked away, you’d still be having the time of your life, because YOUR life is AWESOME.  My partners make my life more interesting and beautiful and pleasurable, and I would never want to demand anything of them that isn’t supporting their happiness and desires.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging when I hear about another love interest, but I trust that they will make good decisions, and that even if they meet someone else who is attractive or interesting, that it will be OKAY. (“Please, introduce me to them” I say, “I bet they are awesome and I want to like who you like!”.)

Learning to love without attachment is the ultimate life challenge. Why not do it in good company? I learn so much from each of my partners (who are mostly just super close friends who sometimes have benefits. ; )  And I get to teach what I have learned at the same time; which is such a blessing.

And yes, I am still looking for my senario-typical twin-flame type soulmate partner in style, and I feel closer than ever to that energy. Maybe I will discover that partner, and maybe I will continue to walk this journey as a free agent?    Either way, I am having a blast, no regrets.

“We must be as in love with the divine yes, as the divine no”. 

I am amazed everyday at how much I continue to be able open up my heart (after being so hurt in the past) and to learn about communication, about myself, and about the human spirit. Unpacking trauma and facing your fears is some deep-seeded WORK, that nobody should have to do alone.  I am so grateful for this safety net of a community who has opened their arms to each other as a united front in the interest of sharing resources and helping unpack our wounds.  Every day that I step outside of myself, bare, naked and free, I feel more and more empowered. I am surrounded by people who love and accept me, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable things get, and that is the key to happiness.

I still sometimes catch the reflection of my body in the glass window and think wow, I really can be THAT damaged AND that beautiful in my total primal state. No make-up. No clothes. No walls.  Just love.

And plenty of love to go around.

Love,
MissConnection

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www.themissconception.com

Evolution, Happenings, Health, Poetry, Sacred Space

Dear Suicide

Friends and loved ones: This is a poem I wanted to share that I wrote when I was in high school and was considering what it would be like to not grow up.  I saw back then and now how fucked up and sad this world was even from a child’s perspective, and I felt it all.  I still do.  Many of us do.  We feel every abusive relationship, every neighbor grudge, even if they are not our own. Every fear tactic, every mass shooting and every war.  Every disease.  When you feel it all, you just want to feel nothing, and that’s how I felt when I was 16 and just wanted to crash my car into a tree.  What were my problems then really?  They paled in comparison to what I and many struggle with now and what the world is enduring I imagine.  So I wrote this letter, as many of us do/did, to everyone I loved, and in reality everyone who I hated, at the same time.  This is in no way a reflection of the relationships that I have or had with these people, but more an overall arching of the opposite of the way I felt, and how much anger, even then, I felt from this cruel and yet beautiful world. Even surrounded by LOVE.   Think of what we could overcome, if we all were to listen to each other, and process, rather than black out and shame.  Here’s to reducing the stigma and talking about depression instead of hiding from it. -MissConvinced

Dear Mother, 

Thank you for letting me die before you.
I know you never wanted to see this day through
before your own
but this vehicle has crashed,
my body has been thrown.

Dear Father,
Thank you for giving me everything you’ve ever done for me.
Funneling your hard earned profit into my college funding –
For raising the sun out of your ass,
and for buying me this car so I could crash
it in front of my mother’s home
so she could see how much I hate
driving down this road alone.  

Dear Brother –
Thank you for never taking the time to hang out with me,
I know you had shit to do, we were both busy.
Maybe you never wanted to know me anyway because after this
I am just one less person for you to miss.

Dear Grandma Carol and Papa Sid,
Thank you for raising a rockstar instead of a kid –
For leading me to believe that all of life was one big,
yet very serious joke
and now I’m spoiled and broke…
I have all this SHIT and no where to go
when all I really want is to just go home.

Dear Bubbie Esther–
Thank you for giving me the opportunity
to stand in your shoes so I can see
just how great a depression can be once more…
After all, we are both products of a nasty war…
and while your strength resides in my backbone core.
I’m not sure I can carry this legacy any further anymore.

Dearest unborn child of my throne –
Thank for your patience in womb;
for allowing all of those who came before you to atone, |while I quietly bitch and groan…
Fighting so hard for a soul I didn’t even know
and I’m not even sure I can save my own
to ensure you’re happily ever after so for now
I’ll just talk to me: 

Dear Me,
The girl herself doesn’t even really know…
I’m not sure of I’ll make it out cold
or surrounded by loved ones of my bone,
but I can still stick-shift down this gratitude road,
Into the unknown, and hope… that I am not alone.

Evolution, Happenings, Holidays, Sacred Space

Women in Psychedelics 11/19/18 – Winter Musings of a Turned on Mind

I’ve noticed myself having been in a terrible mood as of lately, not shocking considering the state of affairs globally. Usually I’m an upbeat person. I don’t have too much to be upset about; considering the depths of depression I’ve been to, I’m doing alright. I am not angry with anybody (grateful for this). I don’t think any one is upset with me (fingers crossed). I’m not injured (more blessings). Though I am in a city of grey smoke and dark skies, old wounds have since turned into scars, all of this I still find encouragement enough to face some glaringly apparent realities. Your pain is still my pain. Your challenges still mine. And until we are all given the same freedoms and treatment, we must continue to stand up for what is right when there is so much wrong out there. We can do better. We must do better to honor our brothers and sisters. And to heal is going to require a whole lot of medicine. There is a reason medicine usually tastes bitter; it’s often a hard pill to seallow. The question is: how badly do we want to be healed? Are you willing to put in the work?

If you believe in evolution and the survival of the fittest notion, then it makes sense to me that before us monkies found the mushrooms, we were quite uncivilized. One species dominated others and the food chain fell accordingly. As some became more aware, others stayed ignorant and knew less about right or wrong. In today’s modern day of information it seems that ignorance is a choice. If you’re paying any attention at all today, you can’t help but see through the bullshit and hope for a better world.

Seeing the dark morale and destructive repercussions of both Mother Nature and Man Kind alike, the future of our planet and species does not look entirely promising. As a past and somewhat “safe” period of existence crumbles and dies, newer forces of power make way. Though it’s easy to tune out and look the other direction, much easier, while to look our current position in the face with conviction requires great strength and patience, as well as I’d say a healthy dose of unselfish empathy.

Unpacking all of this, I recognize that I have been angry, cruel with my thoughts, harsh with my loved ones, and down on my own self worth. Mad at the government. Annoyed at co-workers undeservingly. Introverted and quiet. I haven’t been able to be there for others, and for all of this I am sorry. This is my mission, to call it out, and change the path. I am grateful for those in my life who have been kind with me and still reminded me that I am/we are love(d). Simple phone calls and messages go so far these days. A true friend is a blessing, and often helps the medicine go down sweetly, despite being so bitter.
Speaking of medicine, I learned SO much this week at the Chacruna Women in Psychedelics conference, even though it was a reminder of how far we still have to go in the name of justice, it was inspiring to say the least. We have work to do, kids, and it starts with individuals making commitments.

The conference began with an informative conversation on how the drug war affects women initially, which moved into a specific conversation on sexual abuse predominantly in the ayahuasca community. Ethical touch and consent policies are currently becoming more and more relevant in these doctrines, as the conversation continues in such grey areas of practice.

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Women in Psychedelics Conference

Practice; everything is and can be a practice. Whatever you learn and discover can be turned into a practice depending on how often you should do it and how committed you are to the practice. Yoga you could practice daily. Brushing your teeth twice or more. Practice playing an instrument or saying prayers.

Kathleen Harrison broke down the logistics of how the practice of psychedelics began. The origin of women in psychedelics essentially began with the 1840s feminist movement. Mind you, birth control wasn’t legal until the mid 1900s, and LSD was slowly creeping onto the scene. When JFK was assassinated in 1963, that shattered the hearts of many young people in America, and the result of that anger, coupled with the Vietnam war draft, the birth of LSD, and then the resurfacing of birth control, all gave birth to the free love movement we know today.

The summer of love in 1968 brought about a release and a desire to explore. With birth control now readily available, the use of LSD in the music scene became rampant and hormones were raging.

Using LSD as a ‘party drug’, and really any medicinal molecule that is abused, can cause great cracks in the psyche. These splits can either help us or destroy us. “That which can heal you can also kill,” said Michelle Corbin”. We all know someone who has taken one two many hits and never come back. It’s only unfortunate we don’t have the resources as a society in place to deal with overt mental illness that can on set quickly when one is not careful with their sacraments. 

While many hippies were abusing said substances that were still legal at the time, others were tuning into the healing power and sustenance that the LSD molecule invokes. “We were trying to refigure how society could operate for the good of the collective,” Harrison said. “Right now the world is in a rut and that is leading to even more suffering. This reality is screaming for a deeper, collective, feministic vision” to intervene, Harrison explained.

“Psychedelics tend to bing a very feminine energy. The great grandmother of wisdom, was invited into the atmosphere, and she began speaking, loudly, if you care to listen.

“Psychedelics themselves are feminine; arising from a deep need of earth and life and to know itself. Precious tools we humans can receive. Use it to investigate yourself to find where you’re hurting and what you need to heal. Then emerge as a new person, then turn to caring for the community.” -Kathleen Harrison

LSD allows the seeker to see invisible structure, the bones, that hold everything up what we assume is reality. They bring out the patterns. And once you know the way a system works, you can change it, but only then. Small parts of society can begin to make resonant changes.

Too much power can lead to psychopathy. We must ask ourselves, where am I not using my agency? Where am I giving it away?”

Michelle Corbin gave a powerful talk on healing toxic masculinity in a woke world. She spoke of the personal being political: the feminist possibilities of psychedelic praxis. “What’s if we could reframe rape as a men’s issue instead of a women’s problem,” Corbin said.

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Top ten tips to end rape … if you’re a man.

“What would it mean to have a medicine that can cure toxic masculinity?,” Corbin said. Let them dig up their own rage and anger that keep these social and political construct machines going. Privilege can be blinding, and step one is admitting you have a problem, before the medicine can be used properly. This also begs the concept touched on at the beginning of this article; how to keep medicinal practices ethical and safe.

How can we, safely, use these visionary states to look at engrained structures and figure out how they can change? What habits and structures are within each of us that we haven’t yet looked at? How can we look at these dominating systems with different lenses? This is how you disassemble cultural programing. 

Why would anybody want to do that? Disassemble cultural programming…

So often the worth of the female voice is misinterpreted. If you’re too quiet you’re week. If you speak up too much its competition. Women must be careful what story you tell, especially concerning the mainstream. The opposite of mainstream is the underground, which one can also argue is feminine in nature: it’s horizontal like mycelium, it connects everyone and holds everything together. Nothing can take it down. The underground is a rich nourishing long term project that won’t disappear easily. It holds a different kind of information of not just goods but actual experience and information. It often transmits by oral tradition because it is illegal sometimes and not always published. For years, the understand has held and continues to hold these sorts of conversations about psychedelics and medicine, and it was suggested at this talk to continue with this sort of community intention.

Presenter Sara Reed was in the middle of her moving telling of how MDMA changed her life and the life of almost 2/3 of participants in a clinical study with MDMA and PTSD. Participants took MDMA in three controlled settings, with three meetings before and in between each session to progress with a licensed professional. At the end of the study 68% of participants no longer had PTSD.

Sara Reed also went through the study herself, so that she could better understand as a psychologist how to use this tool. She said that of the many lessons learned, what stuck out most was how powerful of a tool this could be for anybody who has gone through trauma. “It’s not about fixing yourself, instead learning to love the complexities within you. Home is where the performance stops and play begins with endless possibilities,” Reed said.

The BIG QUESTION that many researchers and presenters kept coming back to in all of their work was: “What are we learning here? That is what this project is about. “What is the awareness we can bring to this challenging future?”

So what have we learned here? 

First you must look at what your toxic assumptions are. Know what is out there to be gathered, gather it carefully. Get your roots tapped into where good information comes to you. Look at these gifts in this way, dive deep and be careful when you ascend: when the ordinary becomes non ordinary. Value community and your resources collectively within. The best way to become a master? Master yourself. And when you’re triggered, breath through it. Be relational, not reaction.

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Thinking about what there is to learn from each other, and ourselves, let alone these molecules got me fired about up about the idea of learning about these sacraments more in depth WITH my community, local and beyond.

What does that look like? 

The last speaker of the night really bated my breath when she told us that it’s time to “stop sucking on the tit of our lies”. Jodie Evans explained that it’s time to stop supporting this “war economy” that is so convenient and easy for the white man, and instead to start promoting a peace economy. Which means investing in quality, resources, community conversations, connection, pleasure, interdependence, sharing and abundance. Kathleen encouraged us saying: one of the quickest ways to make these moves is to commit to a group practice with your community: Moral Mondays. She challenged us to for nine months get together with your people to discuss one topic or another, and let the vacuum of creation take hold. Make it your practice, and see what unfolds.

This gave me my idea. Every month, let’s pick a molecule, a sacrament, a compound, and let’s go in, together. Let us study and learn from each ogher. If say one said molecule of the week isn’t your thing, then you can just observe, that’s fine, too. Pick your participation and do what you can. For example, let’s say one week we pick tobacco. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start by all means. But you may want to carry some around with you, burn it like sage, feel it’s power and see if it does anything for you. One women on the panel shared how tobacco is one of the more sacred plants in history, often used with prayers and songs while “reading” people, blowing the smoke over their heads while receiving insights.

Let us talk to the plants, and let’s let them talk to us. Once we have worked our way collectively (either in person, or online, via chat video group, etc) we will then begin attaching molecules to issues. For example, maybe one evening we will pair a micro-dose with the issue of the political system construct, or perhaps whisky and ethics. We will decide together what next week’s practice will be, and we will learn as much as we can with the comfort of our chosen community. If you wish to do this in your town, with your people, please do. We’ll call it Going A-WAWL: “And What Are We Learning”

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” -Lilla, Aboriginal Elder and Activist to set out a challenge for people working towards social justice.

At the end of the discuss evening talk on psychedelics, a ball of string was passed around, each participant instructed to take the string, wrap it around their wrist and then pass it on to the next person, over and over again until the room became a web. This string activity was to remind us that we are all held in the arms of the grandmother. Our actions affect everybody around us. Jodie Evans said “when we remember that we are all connected we act in a very different way. Each day waking up is a practice, wake up daily.”

Sitting with my own frustration and negativity, I was reminded that once we finally have the patience to sit with the darkness, what needs to happen will come. I woke up, again that day. And a little more everyday sinfe.

It rained today in California, bringing a sense of temporary relief and quiet. The air was cleaner. I felt a bit better. Deep breaths and open hearts blossomed on this season of gratitude. 

As we move into this dark season of what many consider to be “holy days”, I ask that we all be more mindful that while some people are celebrating, others are in mourning. There is space for both, to comfort and rejoice. Enjoy the moments of stillness while we can. Take a healthy dose of your own medicine. Don’t forget to spread some love where you would least expect it, please.

L’shalom


MissAwawl

http://www.themissconception.com

PS please forgive me and correct me if any information is mistaken or misquoted. 

Evolution, food, Happenings, Holidays

Halfway There – #Whole30

I’ve never been one to jump on the diet bandwagon, so when I started this whole process of ‘cleansing’, I wanted to do it MY way, as I usually do. I had heard a lot about the Whole30 elimination diet, and it just felt right to me at this time, so I jumped in.

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After spending three years being a gypsy wandering Jew nomad, I finally decided to cool off, and with that came a boat load of self-care, grounding and the development of healthy rituals.  Having a low functioning immune system, I can never take too much pre-emptive care of my body (and I can never STRESS enough to young people how important it is to not let your health get away from you.  I sound just like my mother…)  I’ll be the first to tell anyone about the immune boosting properties of elderberry syrup, methal-vitamin-B12, probiotics of course, proper essential oils usage, epsom salt baths, osha root tincture, raw garlic shots, and then these incredible powerful herb blends I’ve been toying with to fight adrenal blow out… check those out here and use my promo code for a discount: sg151 … but that’s all for other blog post.  THIS post, is simply about FOOD.

 

Basically the idea of the program is that you clean out your system, only eating whole, healthy foods for 30 days. That means no sugar, no carbs, no dairy, no additives or preservatives, no alcohol, no THC, basically no toxins. Period. Seemed reasonable enough…. mind you, I was up for a challenge.

It has been years since I decided to really clean my system out… I’d do a week or two here, no alcohol there, but never had I given up dairy and carbs and sugar all at once.

I have to say, this process has been the easiest most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Let me explain.

I’m really mostly an all or nothing kind of girl. Once I set my mind to something, few things can get in my way, except myself, of course. And believe me, I’ve tried to talk myself into quitting since day one… but something tells me this is going to be worth it.

After the ridiculously extravagant holiday season of eating and drinking freely, pared with all the negativity and general malaise that comes with winter time, I decided January 1st to embark on this cleansing journey. Showing up is the hardest part, right? And to show up, you have to prepare.

Never in my life have I been so tied to a food processor. I bought new spices I had never had in my pallet; other ingredients on my grocery list included: ghee, dairy and gluten free mayo, ridiculous amounts of coconut milk and vegetables, and a slew of other foreign ingredients that were permitted. I even bought FRUIT (gasp… I really don’t care for fruit).

One of the illustrated ‘perks’ of this ‘diet’ (and I HATE to call it a diet, because it’s really just eating HEALTHY) is not the emphasis on losing weight, but the focus on reshaping your relationship with food. So far, my shopping skills have improved dramatically, as well as my meal planning, portioning and recipe book. Turns out, cooking HEALTHY is challenging, but I’m enjoying it! And without the alcohol or other distracting activities, there’s not much else to focus on.

While you CAN eat bacon (and I have), this particular meal plan forbids beans or grains of any kind, so no hummus, no quinoa, and no rice, of course. That’s probably the hardest element to overcome… though innately hummus and beans and legumes aren’t BAD for you, the idea is that you are breaking the not-so-good habits that go along with resorting to these simple foods. Rice is an obvious filler to avoid, but with the beans and quinoa, the reason to avoid them is very different:  Quinoa is a seed and contains lectins and saponins which are gut irritants. It also can interfere with absorption of other good nutrients so essentially they get in the way of your healthy digestion. Bye bye hummus 😦 Hello Tahini (recipe below)

Overall, for me personally, the goals are three fold. 1. To break some old habits and form new ones. 2. To reset my digestive system and teach my body how to burn fat differently. 3. To see if the glutton and sugar and dairy buffet I’ve become so accustomed to is what is causing some of my fatigue issues. My doctor said to cut them out for a month, so I’m giving it a go, and long overdue.

Like I said, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done… which is why I have to keep going. If my body was THAT addicted to sugar and grains (and I eat pretty healthy generally, without giving it a lot of thought) then think of what it could be doing running at 100%.

It’s been ‘easy’ in a sense that I know in my heart I’ve got to do it. End of story. No questions asked, even when I want to give up, that’s when I have to push harder. And it’s been HARD in all the ways you can imagine… The other night I was dreaming about eating Subway (I don’t even like Subway!) and in my dream I thought “Wait, you can’t eat white bread!” Going to Chipotle (yes, with a little research, you can still eat out) was quite possible the strongest testament of will I have faced yet. If you know me, you know that looking white stuff in the face and saying NO is almost impossible. (I’m talking about Sour Cream, silly. And that blessed cheese… ah, I digress)

But I was able to DO IT. I said no, and I still ate SOMETHING, and I survived. I have to admit I’m getting pretty sick of salad, but it feels good to know what I’m making good choices and not regretting it. Even with the headaches and brain fog and hormones going WACK, it’s still worth it (sorry about that Michael. At least he still likes my cooking…)

Today marks the two week milestone. Two more to go, and I feel like the real work is just beginning. I’ll be traveling these next few weeks, making food prep and planning even harder.

I keep reminding myself that the cravings and strong desires I’m having for CARBS is really my body’s old habits and parasites taking their last breaths. The idea is that my body will start burning FAT instead of sugar/carbs, and I’ll walk away from this with a better attitude about what I put into my body. Big changes, baby steps.

Thank you Adina for inspiring me to take this journey, and for anyone who has shared recipes and ideas on how to make it to the other side. Emily with her cashew cream cheese about saved my life. I found seed crackers, with the cheese and raw salmon and on everything bagel w/ lox and capers craving was at least curbed, for now.

I don’t intend to do this forever. But I welcome some new habits and am excited about making better choices in the future.

I’ll post a few of my favorite recipes below.

If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, don’t be intimidated. It doesn’t have to be the Whole30 right now. But you should do some research, pick something that sits right for you, and make sure you’re not doing more harm that good. Crash diets don’t work if you just crash and burn right back to your old habits. Self care starts with you wanting to take care of you. Be gentle with yourself and listen to your inner voice… which is a lot easier when you cut out all the crap that was getting in the way.

Bon appetite, ma famille!

Tikka Masala
Buffalo Balls
Homemade Marinera Sauce
Cashew Cream Cheese
Tahini
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<3,
MissCompost

PS. I MISS CHEESE THE MOST

 

Art, Happenings, Poetry, social justice

Poetry as Personal Power

What helps you get through tough times in your life?

Poetry for Personal Power is a Midwest based non-profit organization designed to do the virtually unheard of.  Poetry for Personal Power, or P3 for short, provides health care messaging via community prevention info that manifest through paid gigs for sponsored artists.  Essentially, P3 has been allowing artists to use poetry and music to address mental health and wellness in the community, in order to improve the community at large… and it’s working!

Specifically focusing on  youth audiences and underprivileged communities, P3 hosts workshops, poetry readings, performances, and events of all shorts to get young people talking about mental health and wellness and what it means for them to deal with the struggles and complications of life.  Also known as peer support, P3 strives for a 70% hospital reduction rate, while intimating health care advocacy and research.

“What helps you through adversity? We are now in our seventh year with over 150 events per year, 75 sponsored artists and advocates in 7 regions, and research and peer support programs in full pilot trial modes! We are building a national replication process to share health care messaging, promote resilience in nonprofits, and increase the number of peer support programs. We are becoming an evidence based resilience messaging campaign with sponsored artists. We are also increasing Wellbeing Impact in host organizations with sponsored advocates.” -Poetry for Personal Power Website

So how can you get involved?

In 2017, the Kansas Mental Health coalition (KMHC) has a $120K grant to teach artists how to become citizen lobbyists. They are looking to pay stipends to people to learn to use arts and advocacy together to support social justice. Poetry for Personal Power and KMHC are doing a free one day training on March 14 for artists and advocates. P3 would like to invite anyone to attend, especially youth or young adult advocates. You can apply here to attend that training: http://kansasmentalhealthcoalition.onefireplace.com/event-2168073

Also, Poetry for Personal Power has a $5,000 grant to support youth and young adult artists from Kansas who want to become tobacco prevention advocates.

You can apply here: http://poetryforpersonalpower.com/artist-entrepreneur-supports/event-replication-application/

If you are interested in the Poetry for Personal Power initiative, you can always email corinna@poetryforpersonalpower.com for more info, or text 816-392-6074.

One of the best parts about Poetry for Personal Power is that the organization is actually paying artists to facilitate these actions and events.  You can check out artist profiles on the website here.  Get involved.  Get excited. And get ready, because P3 is about to revolutionize the way we look at healthcare, via ART!

Always,

MissCompassion

Happenings, Uncategorized

Upcoming Consciousness

KConsciousness.  What does that mean to you?   To ten poets in the KC area, it’s a way of life.  KConsciousness is a new SLAM poetry series featuring 10 of Kansas City’s best performance artists, taking you on a stream of consciousness evolution through the mind.  Exploring themes of race, time, revolution and rhyme, this is on experience to see over and over again.

KConsciousness at Westport Coffeehouse (4010 Pennsylvania)
Thursday, April 29th, 7:00 p.m.  $5 cover
Come early to get a cup of coffee before the show

KConscousness in Lawrence at The Jazzhaus
Thursday, May 13th 9:00 p.m  $4 cover
KC is ready to show Lawrence a thing or two about the art of the word

Performance Poets on the line-up are:

Resonance
Stella the Dreamwalker
Professor Nightlife
Tyree T
Camiel Irving

D’var
Amazyn
Mz Angela Roux
Maybe Ivory
Taylor & Robert Brown
and Miss Conception tying it all togetha

Stay tuned for upcoming summer show include the FRINGE FESTIVAL

Be sure to get your tickets in advance to reserve a spot.  Contact Miss Conception for more information: (913) 634-6572  or at sara.serendip@gmail.com

Shabbat Shalom!

Happenings

Booked Bookends

It’s official!  Miss Conception will be performing at Wakarusa!   Make sure to get your tickets early and start preparing now to make this experience as amazing as I’ve found it to be!

Wakarusa Dates: June 4-6th
www.wakarusa.com

At Wakarusa, Nightlife Jones and I will be holding down the Outpost Tent inbetween performers, so find us every night rockin’ the mic in Arkansas at WAKARUSA!  Waka changed my life when I was 18, and now I live for it.  Wakarusa is BETTER THAN CHRISTMAS and I’m freakin JEWISH!   Headliners include: Sound Tribe Sector 9, Umphrey’s Mgee, Widespread Panic, Blues Travelors, Slightly Stoopid, Mofro and SO MANY MORE.  If you’ve never heard of the group Wookiefoot, you MUST check: www.myspace.com/wookiefoot

Get your tickets early, and I promise you will have the time of your life baby!

pEacE
MissC

A tatse of Waka:

Happenings

What’s next?

There are a plethora of events coming up if you want to check out  Miss Conception, among other poets!  Or brave the stage yourself!  Let’s start with the regular happenings:

Every Wednesday night @ Gusto’s Lounge Upstairs (38th and Broadway) U:lit takes place…. spoken word open mic with host Bonafyde G and DJ Cherre.   EVERY WED 10:00 p.m. Cover: $5

The 1st Wednesday of the month in Lawrence at The Jazzhaus you can check out Miss Conception’s regular open mic poetry slurrr: Fresh Ink. Free write starts at 9:00 p.m., Open Mic starts at 10:00 p.m. with your host Miss Conception and Live Electrnics with J. Pheonix.  Cover: $3.  Next Fresh Ink is March 3rd.

Every Third Tuesday of the month at 18th and Vine, come to the Blue Room for the best open mic Jazz Poetry Jam in town.  Featured poet starts around 8:00 p.m., open mic begins at 9:00 p.m.  ALWAYS a great show and atmosphere.  Cover $5

Also, every Monday at The Jukebox, also on 18th and Vine you can check out JR and Simeon’s open mic, slam and cypher.  Show starts at 7:00 p.m. and I believe coer is $5.

SAY SOMETHIN – DO SOMETHIN – FEEL SOMETHIN – PROVE SOMETHIN

-MissC-