Standing O

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Emma with Director Wally Hurst and Musical Director Brian Miller.

 

Hello Dearhearts,

Past few weeks have been a whirlwind whoosh of blessings and challenges. It’s a real life: a miraculously blessed, magical and sometimes painful one. So here I am, pinching myself in front of y’all, to make sure I savor this JOY, sharing one of my greatest memories from the past week and perhaps 2018: My daughter, Emma, finding and making her heART flow in the musical Annie.

I was sitting in the dark surrounded by many beautiful strangers. At the end of the play, Me, I wanted to leap out of my seat for JOY and GRATITUDE for the hardwork and dedication my daughter embodied, but I held back… trying to let humility lead my heart and actions.

Then came my dumbfounding. Such a glorious surprise gift from so many strangers, who–leaping out of their seats applauded my daughter and the entire cast of Annie, for their heartFULL dedication to creation of such a special and touching production.

Like Auggie in film/book Wonder says, every child deserves a standing ovation in their life! Every one goes through often unknowable adversity and challenges. Every human deserves an ovation. So I say, let’s cheer each other on much much more in 2018… let’s support each other through our very real and sometimes painful life of joys, risks, losses, vulnerabilities and challenges.

So here I am cheering on our beautiful daughter, and the wonderful cast of Annie, pinching myself grateful for all the LIGHT illuminating my heart tonight, and for all the memories we shall treasure.

Cheers! Cheers! Cheers! Cheering you all on up and through whatever you are going through and whatever is coming your way. The Sun’ll come out, tomorrow!

i love you. xoxo
becky

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ps here are some photos and audio from an early dress rehearsal.

my driving questions

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dear ones,

Last week at a glance… in case you are interested to know… I spent a week at the Appalachian State Expressive Art Institute in the Blue Ridge Mountains, learning about creativity and play from some great teachers. Thoughts are bubbling up, so I wanted to share…..

My mind was overflowing with one-hundred-and-one stories: those of my easy-to-love loved ones, and stories of those I want and need to learn to love.

I drove myself up the mountain–a labyrinth-like-road–giggling to myself about the nervy, curvy road bends, and frightening myself with a few what-ifs.

I arrived at the top alone and unknown to join a group of 40+–each human offering a new-to-me-story that somehow now entwines with my own.

I stepped out of my life–up into the stratosphere–to focus on my own story, deepening my experience with and for the sacred work I feel a responsibility to.

Creativity and joy activism–what on Earth do these mean? What is possible for me to create and support and be connected to? What feels impossible, yet necessary? How can I serve with greater urgency, tenderness and love?

After four days carrying these focused questions in my heart and awareness, my body and spirit blown upon by the four directions… the answer?

Mmmm…. I still do not fully know. But whatever I am part of, I intend to remember to PLAY through to finding the answers and solutions our world so deservedly needs.

GROWN-UP PLAY is one of the most important things us grown ups can do for ourselves, for our children and for Mama Earth. Play is made of different energies than the problems we are facing right now… so let’s play, shall we?! When was the last time you played, dear one? If it’s been too long, be gentle with yourself. Perhaps start with a bottle of bubbles–a gateway joy device–an essential tool in the JOYFUeL playkit.

Wishing you love and a LOT of play, too!

bjs

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power of forgiveness

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pow wow 2013 becky jaine 2

In 1992, I met a special teacher, a leader who–even after all these years–I marvel at the way he made me feel and how he inspired me to think.

His name was Chief Billy Diamond of the Waskaganish Cree First Nation of Quebec, Canada. He was far from his homeland when he visited the university I attended in Pennsylvania. I spent two days listening and absorbing his passionate representation and guardianship of his land and his people. On a press tour, Chief Billy was on a mission to build momentum and support opposing the desecration of his People’s land by an electricity company who wished to flood their sacred burial grounds with water that would generate electricity (and thereby a lot of money) for people well beyond the land there.

As I listened to Chief Billy, I deeply connected with his passion, his longing and the pain for those beloved to him and of his people who were yet to be born. He loved human beings. He believed in the possibility for change. He exemplified action in motion to his commitments and beliefs. I will never forget his congruency or his love for life.

In 2013–some 20 years later–I had what many native people would regard as a medicine dream. Medicine dreams happen when we are asleep, but as we awaken, we feel like the dream is our awake reality. If we let them, medicine dreams can serve as great tools to inform our lives and offer protection, or direction and guidance when faced with challenging situations or decisions.

In my medicine dream, Chief Billy Diamond came to me. He told me to take my children to a Pow Wow. I woke up with this idea in my heart and mind and didn’t feel like I had any choice but to honor him.

pow wow 2013 becky jaine 3I had never been to a Pow Wow. I had always had great curiosity and reverence for American Indian traditions and customs but I honestly felt cautious about Pow Wows, for fear and concern as I didn’t want to do anything unintentionally offensive or irreverent.

With Chief Billy and Google guiding me, I researched and discovered a local University was hosting a day-long Pow Wow that brought Native American tribes from across the state of North Carolina together to celebrate the cultures.

I took my children and together we experienced the JOY and radiating splendor of our first Pow Wow together with our North Carolina American Indians. I resisted my reluctance and hesitancy to show up and support people of different cultures, and to allow myself to feel however I would feel surrounded by many people who may have been silenced, abused and oppressed.  It was a powerful experience for me, and hopefully a memory my children will hold. (The photos included were taken with dancers’ permission.)

pow wow 2013 becky jaineAfter the Pow Wow, I was curious about Chief Billy and sadly discovered he had died in 2010 at the age of 61. I wept for the world’s loss, and cried as I discovered what happened shortly before his death. The ripple effects of his extraordinary and controversial life touched his people, for freedom and the country he loved so much, Canada.

Just months before Chief Billy passed, the Canadian Prime Minister issued a formal apology to the First Nation People on behalf of the Canadian governments role in re-education camps, and their repeated attempts at devaluation of the Native People’s culture, heritage and values. In response to this unprecedented apology, the First Nation People orchestrated an event called the Ottawa Forgiven Summit.

I researched the event and discovered that a Canadian broadcaster was with Chief Billy during the Grand Entry of the Summit. Grand Entry is a magnificent ceremonial processional when all people come into the space where a Pow Wow will be held. Dancing, drumming, calling, cheering, expressing, moving, as all people come in to take their place in the circle. While I do not remember the name of the journalist, I do remember that he said it was his great honor to be with Chief Billy and that as they walked in, he would never forget Chief Billy’s calling out loud… exclaiming “Freedom, Freedom… Freedom!” as tears of joy streamed down Chief Billy’s face.

It is with great reverence, joy and love that I share a video capturing the Grand Entry that day in 2010, a historical record of the transformative healing powers of formal apology and forgiveness.

Knowing that Chief Billy was able to experience this moment of forgiveness, this moment of governmental and human evolution honoring the tragic history and exploitation of Canada’s First Nation People, towards honesty and “Freedom” comforts and inspires me, and gives me great optimism for our future in the United States.

It is my prayer that one day in my own country–that our United States Government–will formally apologize to our original American Indian Brothers and Sisters, for everything that intended harmed, murder, silencing and relocation in the name of American progress and colonization. May it be so in my lifetime.

With gratitude to Canada, we can learn that formal apologies by major governments are possible. And gratitude to Canada’s First People, we can see that forgiveness can come.

Change is possible.

p.s. if, in my sharing I was somehow disrespectful of Native American culture, please know that my intentions are pure of heart. It’s taken a long time to share this story– but I the time has come.

earthly human day

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jacob needleman earthday 2015

Dear Humans,

I went for a walk with my great shamanic teacher this week, Jackson Joyful, the sacred Labradoofus and supreme state inducer!

We walked a little and then found our favorite spot in our forest, our meditation rock at the stream.

jj 2015 joyfuel

Inspired by my recent reading of philosopher Jacob Needleman, being here reminded of the great lesson I have yet still to learn: to stay in one place a little longer. Be present and open to the moment, to slow down and not rush out of presence, not to force my way back into the seeming importance of the “requirements” of my life.

We lingered … a little longer.

soul sunshine 2015 becky jaine

As we got up to leave our spot, I suddenly became still–painfully so–and allowed the moment to be. Perhaps two human minutes of standing… dropping human expectation and allowing, a group of songbirds flew down and landed in the trees in front of us. Cardinals, bluebirds, bluejays; all traveling in pairs, and surprisingly mixed breeds flying together. And then–as my breath and attention slowed even further–a pair of Cowbirds touched down.

Be still…. Cowbird is yet another one of my great teachers.

My dear friend the Cowbird–who I endearingly named MeMe– reminded me that my life is not only about or for me. When he came last summer, my human interpretation was that he seemed to fall in love with his own reflection such that he wasted the spring and never found a mate.

Well, at last, I witness a pair of Cowbirds, tweetly meet meeting each other, seeming to laugh and cajole as they courted and played together in the tree tops above us.

As we stood there, tears streamed down my face. In awe of the birds, I was relieved that my bird-dog was as captivated as I was. So enthralled, he didn’t chase them and …  I didn’t feel the need to photograph them. We simply stood there, not waiting for anything specific, and let the magic of nature and the moment reveal.

Come to the woods with us…

wildflowers 2015 becky jaine

woods 2015 joyfuel

I wish you nature and beauty. I pray for your deep earthly human love this 45th Earth Day, and always. Mother Earth needs you. She needs us. What can we do to respectfully celebrate our love for Earth today? For me, I hope to linger a little longer… to be conscious and be grateful.

jacob needleman earthday 2015

the rainbow catcher (insights from a kindergartener)

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rainbow catcher_beckyjaine 2014

My Sonshine is a rainbow catcher. He finds a lot of rainbows. He is 5 years old and a very wise old soul: yes, my teacher. His quest, discovery and sharing of rainbows reminds me to always be on the look out for them too.

Last night, Sonshine and I were having a cuddle in what was once our breastfeeding chair. He started kindergarten last week and has been extra cuddly at night, like when he was a toddler, perhaps because he feels the daily physical separation. He’s doing so well adjusting to school and seems to love most things about it, while I –on the other hand– am staying insanely busy to fill the void of the missing daily sillies, giggles, and jaunts the past 5 years of him have gifted.

Our cuddle talk started, rocking gently safe within the chair we had spent so much of our life together in. We were giggling and smiling and looking deeply into each others eyes.

sonshine says, “I don’t want to die. Why does everything have to die?”

i say, “I know Sweetie, sometimes I feel scared about dying.”

sonshine: “I miss GiGi.” (GiGi is his great grandmother who passed three summers ago when he was 2.)

me: “I miss her too.”

pause

sonshine: “What does God feel like?”

me: (pausing and trying not to offer my own projections) “What do you think God feels like?”

sonshine: “All of us. He feels like all of us.”

me: pause pause pause

sonshine: “We are all God.”

me: “I love that. Yes! That feels so good to me.” (giggle cuddle squeeze.)

sonshine: “How do babies get in Mommies tummies?”

me: pause … thinking, forgetting to ask him how he thinks … scrambling a little — is this the time for full disclosure? …  umm, NO… ummmm, get creative but be honest… “Mommies and Daddies put them there.”

sonshine: quickly “How?”

me: “They have a very special love cuddle and that puts the baby in the Mommy’s tummy.”

sonshine: “I don’t want to get married when I grow up because I never want to leave you and Daddy. I miss you.”

me: pause

sonshine: thinking…. “Do sometimes people get married and live with their Mommies and Daddies?”

me: pause … hoping …. letting go … holding onto this precious moment … simultaneously “Um, well, I suppose that is possible.”

me: cuddling and holding onto my boychild with all my might …  knowing that these moments are going far more quickly than I can ever prepare for…

❤ mama becky ❤