Monday, April 28, 2014

Our Word Spring Session, Week 2 Day 1, Tell me, What is your Name?

After years of having people butcher the pronunciation of my name, of shortening it and mangling that too, I decided I was finished with that name, and I asked one of my magical women collectives to help me find my new name. Really I was asking my alchemist golden wordsmith, she of the silver-tongue, ladylove MaryBeth, whom I had recently fallen deeply in love with, but I didn’t realize it yet. She did though. And So I became Nika, short for Dominique, an incarnation of Nike, the messenger of the gods. 

The renaming came at a time of deep shedding and shifting within my personal axis, I was re-patterning, and using my voice, and setting boundaries, and reclaiming my personal power. I was walking face first into the fire and saying, yes, you are mine, and I am yours, take me, let me take you, devour me with your scalding kisses, immolate me with your all consuming love, fuck me until I am screaming and shaking and no longer remember my name or who I am or anything but us. I love this shit. It’s what I am designed for- the intensity of full body Yes, of connecting so deeply that we cannot define where I begin and you end, boundless. I am the fire and I am always hungry for more, feed me, fill me, empty yourself into my vessel, and I will always ask for more please. Sometimes I will demand it, because you need it, I require it, and if that terrifies you, it excites me, because that is exactly where you need to be, and if you are willing to dance in the heat of the flame, and say yes through the fear then I know that it’s a Yes, truly. Often you will find me in the heart of the bonfire, dancing, naked, screaming, bring it, waking next morning with the hair on my skin singed and curled, the wild nest on my head feral and full of woodsmoke. There’s video. This is true. I am full of this fire again right now, but in a different way, now it’s the fire of what is true for me, burning bright, and less of the raging inferno of burning away everything that is no longer serving. 

I am also earth, the grounding presence, fertile, full, a place to rest your body when you are exhausted and simply need to sleep and recharge, when you need to be held, loved, fed, nurtured, and kept safe. Bare feet in warm dark soil, hands in the dirt, composting, renewing, a web of interconnectivity overflowing with life and nourishment. Places for shelter, for rest, and places for you to undress and lay in the sunshine, baring all, knowing all will be received in love, your darkness and your light. Indeed, I am likely to love you more fiercely if you know your darkness and can share with me, as this is somewhere I am so incredibly comfortable. If it’s hard, and complicated, ugly or terrifying, I am likely to be all up in that, mining, and coming up with gold. My life was once a horror show, and I learned the art of composting, of transmutation, of using the negative to shine the light on the dark places, of questioning, of forgiveness. Forgiving others is never the hardest part-It’s forgiving myself, learning that my imperfections and perceived failures are such fertile compost for the soul work I do here. My job now is to forgive myself the way I am so quick to do for others, to take it in as nourishment and see how, mushrooms, in particular, are fed by toxicity, and remediate an area until it is clean, using it to feed the flowers it pushes through the surface of the earth. That work spreads through the invisible net of mycelium underground, which speaks to the trees, to the plants, to the soil web, and all it’s inhabitants, and that when I do this work, it’s not just for me, it is for all of us. When I forgive myself and love myself, and allow myself to do this work, I send off permission ships to every part of my interconnected web. And we, as women, are so tied in to Service, to community, to that mycelium web, that somehow it makes it an imperative when I realize that this, this is the highest Service we can perform. To forgive ourselves our imperfections, our “failures” our “faults” and to love and nourish ourselves, so we can stand in our highest light, shine our truths like a light house beacon for every one of us who is seeking our Truth. I am here to change the world, and I know you are too, and it starts with this Love of Self, as deeply as I love the Earth, the realization that my skin is the Earth, and in caring for myself truly, I am caring for the Earth in the most exquisite way possible.This is my current Work, perhaps my most important, to date. 

I am air and water too, in different ways, but that’s not what wants to come out right now. What wants to come is this: I have been a writer, a model, a muse, a singer, and a dancer since the moment I discovered these things. And somehow I have spent my life playing duck duck goose with these things. Until now. I’ve forever been both fascinated and drawn to those exotic multitalented powerhouse women who dance, and write, sing, or create art, whatever medium, and perform, who bravely put their hearts out on a platter for the world to see, who show up with the full wattage of their beauty and courage, so much so that it brings tears of joy and longing to my eyes, wanting to join their ranks, to be part of this sacred community, this communion with the Divine. In many ways I am acutely aware of my own sensual magic, in the last few years I finally owned the inner Snake Priestess and allowed her to share herself with the world. In some ways I have continued to hide, behind being all things to all my people, being busy, not having time, giving too much of myself away to have the energy to pour into my own needs, my own soul whisperings, my own burning desires. This year I finally started to change all that, and I put down many of the distractions, and I just started to say Yes. I know this is a theme in much of my writing, but it is so prevalent right now, this is the work I am actively doing, it’s all encompassing. 

A year or so ago a friend shared a video of this belly dancer dancing with fire to a song that lit me up inside. I watched it with thrills of recognition and desire coursing through my veins, and announced that I wanted to be doing that, that I should be belly dancing with my snakes. So, this year I started belly dancing classes, which, let’s face it, my personal dancing style is already half belly dancing, just without the structure. And I found the perfect snake partners for dancing with, and I started dancing at home with them several times a week as a form of, oh, everything I love that fills me up. See, music for me is life blood, is love, is all of my memories, is as necessary for my life as breath and water. Music is where I go when I need to ground, to recalibrate, to shift something, to find my bliss. Same with dancing. And same with being with my snakes. Yep. Connecting the dots. A little over a month ago, I was friended by a man on facebook with many mutual friends, and I accepted, and then received a message from him that he and his partner were having a cd release party performance, and one of my Scorpio sistar friends had told him that I love snakes, and might have a snake or two to lend for the performance, and asked if I was a temple dancer too, and would I want to perform. As usual, I balk at labels, and said I hadn’t used the term temple dancer before, but I danced as sacrament, as prayer, as connection to the Divine, and I would be thrilled (read, totally terrified) to dance with my snake for this performance. And life happened, and we did not manage to get together for rehearsal, and I literally got the confirmation that they wanted me to come, and the song to dance to at 11 pm the night before the performance. HAH!! I was completely sick to my stomach, the entire day with nervousness. And my beloved who is overseas, was mysteriously unable to sleep and messaged me just as I was starting to come unglued, and reassured me, told me to have a drink and synch up with my snake, and I did so, and calmed down, somewhat. He was able to go to sleep, and I went off to my performance, and hung around in a beautiful space full of gorgeous amazing women and men, dressed in all their festie best, feeling incredibly awkward, and out of place. And my girl Jamie stuck by my side and boosted me with her happy dances, her confidence, plied me with chocolate chile elixers that were supposed to be an herbal boost for dancing similar to E, a glass of wine, water, water, water, and love. I ran into some women that I know and adore, which helped tremendously, and I met some of the other dancers, whom I fell deeply in love with. And, Oh!! My snake, my snake, my snake. Aslan was a total rockstar. There is a reason I call him my boyfriend snake. He was the perfect ambassador, friendly, curious, calm, full of love, and deeply grounding. When it came time to dance, he embodied the Shakti Kundalini energy that was being called forth, coming up my front, and over my face and head as Eden was chanting Shakti Kundalini, and then moving down my midline. I could not have asked for a better partner. So yeah. I got on stage, blind, no rehearsal, I’d heard the song all of five times by then, danced to it once in my living room with Aslan while drinking a beer, my nerves shot, and also uber excited, and I did it anyway. Why? Because my soul jumped up and down and screamed YES we CAN like a deranged Shamanic cheerleader overly drunk on light and love and chocolate chile elixer. Heh. And I brought it as best I could under the circumstances, and even so was comparing to the other performers, that I could have brought it bigger, better, more. Of Course. Although the truth is that the Kundalini energy was moving through the two of us, me and Aslan, linked, so hard that my legs were a quivering mess of jelly, the same way they get when I get fucked so good the sex magic kicks in, and i think I can’t go on, but I do, and I danced with legs like that the whole time, the fire so hot in my face I was sure everyone could see I was bright red, and I smiled, I smiled and I brought it the way Aslan and I were supposed to bring it in that moment, because I was dancing in partnership with him, not just dancing with a snake on my body. And when it was all over, I met my Jamie’s eyes, and I grinned and did a little happy wiggle, and I breathed, and I walked off of that stage and into the air, and found something to lean on before my legs completely gave out, and I drank water. So much water, and talked to the girl who had made the connection for me, who danced next to me and felt the same energy and quivering shaking in her legs. 

Here’s the thing though. I watched these other amazing artists and performers, each with their partners there in quiet, steady loving support, with water, cool, steadying hands, and calm collected energy, to help these gorgeous creatures on and off the stage, in to and out of costumes, and provide them whatever they needed to continue, and I kind of melted in love for these gorgeous partnerships. Each and every one of the most dynamic bright shining women came with their “handler” of sorts- their own behind the scenes support system. That each of these women were equally nervous, equally human, and we each stepped up and brought it anyway. And that’s what it takes. And something shifted inside me and I suddenly realized, I was no longer just wanting to be one of these glorious, light filled women of bravery, bringing their best to the stage, that I was indeed, one of them. And that this is just the beginning. I was born to do this, to dance with the fire within me blazing, to wear my snakes as a medal of honor, to bring my light full wattage, wherever it is called. And I am no longer afraid of sharing my magic out loud. In fact, I’m already seeking out the next performance. 

I am Nika, Writer, Snake Priestess, Sacred Dancer, Model, Muse, Earth Witch, and so much more. And Finally, I am stepping into my proper Names. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

On Being Enough.

Dearest one, 

First, let me just say, I love you. And then, to the issue at hand. Wait, no, I’m still just loving you. Can you feel that? 

I could tell you that it hurts me to hear that you gave your heart to a man-child who treated this precious gift with disrespect. I could tell you I have been there, time and time again, in my younger years, the man who wants to have a closed relationship, who slowly but surely clips my wings and removes my freedoms and happinesses leaving me in a field of gray, while he subtly, at first, removes his affection and energy, and then, begins to give to to others. I could tell you that it is not about you, it has no reflection on your worth, your value, no bearing on the amazing light being you are, that this is his wounding, his inability to connect in intimacy, but, would you really hear me? Are we able to hear through the pain, the hurt, the feeling of not enough in order to truly grok that it’s not our story, it’s theirs? Doubtful. So, my love. I am going to tell you the story of me, instead, because this is all I have to work with, it’s what I have to offer, and I offer it to you completely, vulnerably, and full of love. 

Once I believed the story of Not Enough. I somehow incorporated this story from childhood, from not being allowed to have boundaries, and having them repeatedly violated, my feelings ignored or pushed aside, the feeling of being loved, sometimes, when it was a convenience. After some time, and many relationships based on a feeling of Not Enough, and of wanting to Be Enough, so badly, of feeling like I loved so deeply, and yet, was choosing the walking wounded, who were unable to love me in the way I needed, in fact, I was choosing those who were reinforcing the pattern, putting salt in my wounds with chronic neglect, withdrawal, cheating. Indeed, it’s entirely possible that no one else would ever have been able to fill this hole i had inside me, the terrible yearning, that aching desperate loneliness. 

Then I had a child. And my love for her became the most important thing. More important than holding on to patterns that do not serve, even ones that are generational in nature, passed down mother to daughter for generations. I will not model Lack, for her. I will not model Not Enough. She is, without question, the most exquisite being I have ever had the pleasure of being near, and she fills me with a sense of awe and amazement, daily.... I birthed this light, this incredible soul, she came from my body, my struggle, my lineage, she is mine as much as I am hers. So I decided to rewrite the Story, MyStory, HerStory, to break the patterns and rewire the motherboard. 

It was hard at first. I was lonely, I was devastated from what I saw at the time as a failed marriage, I was struggling to survive, with a three year old with me full time, while farming full time, waitress/ bar-tending, working at a second farm, AND at the farm I lived on  before and after work,  in all my time off, as a work exchange for a place to live. So, don’t let me gloss it over as though this is some sort of new age glamor story. It’s not. It’s blood and sweat and tears, and dirt, and pig shit, and nights of screaming at the heavens while I burned everything I could drag to the bonfire, and smashing empty wine bottles against trees, the contents of which did nothing to quiet the dragon of rage coiling out of me for sweet release, the Kali Ma of destruction working her magic, taking the knife to the old ways in which I lived my life, and hanging the hapless heads on my belt as a reminder, “Never Again.” This was raze everything in my path in a monumental and ancient feminine rage, Lilith at her blackest and most terrible, exploding the constraints of being caged, being not loved, being cheated, neglected and left behind... And in the morning, the outline of a phoenix, burned black all around the fire pit, where the fire escaped her man imposed boundaries and kissed the earth, devouring everything in her path. I highly recommend this, by the way, if you haven’t raged at the unbearable fucked up unfairness and the hurt, the pain, please, do yourself a favor, and do, as soon as possible. Bring your closest mad girl friends to hold space for you, and hand you more wine, who will get naked with you and dance around the fire tears streaming when it is all over and you have let the broken storyline go. 

See, my love is fire, it’s mad, dangerous, engulfing everything in her path, demanding utter surrender, conflagration, immolation, Sacrificial offerings. Bring it, all of it, and then some. My love is water, cooling, sweet relief to a parched throat, working in the dry heat in the desert, she will hold you when you are feeling heavy, and encourage you to feel it, and then let it pass through you, for release, she is soft and receptive, and will also carve new ways through the landscape. My love is earth, grounding and deep, a safe space in the clearing in the trees, the ancient vibration of the stones, the quiet cool of deep caves and crevices, and the warmth held long after the sun has set, she will always be here to listen, to accept, to receive, hold space, and whatever you bury within her will compost, creating fertile soil for new life, or come back out transmuted, rebirthed into some new precious form. My love is air, the cool breeze that reaches you no matter how far away you are, ruffling your hair, caressing your neck and cheek, nuzzling behind your ears, drying your perspiration, and, giggling mischievously, snatches whatever you are distracted with, and runs off, reminding you to be here now. She is the power of the windstorm, and the eddy of fresh air on a still hot day. 

And you see all that powerful, dynamic, amazing sweetness in that list right there? I give it all to myself. Every day. I allow myself to bring the noise, the laughter, the too big, the too much, and sometimes the small, the sadness, the tears, and the not enough. Not every day is a great day. But I love myself through all of them. I love myself to do the work, to teach myself about setting boundaries, to say the Sacred No, when I need to, even if I feel guilty, because saying No, when needed, makes space for the Sacred Yes. And we want more of the Sacred Yes. 

... to be continued