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Revealing Pilgrimage

Part 1 in Ongoing Journey I marvel at those moments of Divine intervention on my journey of discovery. Just when I’ve gone down the trail that best suits me, another revealing layer gets stripped away.

I am deeply connected to the Earth wherever I happen to be living. My garden is the wild surroundings where I gather my food and medicine. Whether it is Maui, San Francisco Bay or North Carolina, I spent much of my time learning about what was growing wild around me. Garden? Far too domesticated for me! That takes a committed relationship. You can’t have one foot out the door and be a gardener. I wanted the option of being free to flee on a moment’s notice.

Unfortunately like any other plant in nature, if the roots have not taken hold, there is no blossom or harvest, no fruit from the labor. As a student of nature, I couldn’t help notice the deep interconnection and symbiotic relationship the plants had with one another. Once I started to focus on this, it became painfully obvious that I am a drop-in.

In my nomadic existence I drop into one friend’s life after another all over the world. I’ve traveled as a private chef for families on their vacations. I traveled across country to do cooking gigs for a month at a time. My life was a series of vignettes. Fun, but nevertheless vignettes. It was starting to wear on me. But I continued with an ache in my belly–knowing I wasn’t manifesting Mary in her gloriousness.

That is when I got a little nudge, otherwise known as Divine intervention, to support Mary to root and manifest herself. Some would call it hysterical, some a nightmare. I called it a life-changing adventure that had a clear message for me.

It was the second winter I was asked to come to the French Alps to cook for a client from Moscow on their ski vacation. I showed up in Paris after 24 hours of travel on Christmas Day with great confidence. As a veteran, I knew I could navigate this train trip across country speaking no French.

It was a bit of a tricky trip. I left Asheville at 11:30 AM and didn’t get out of Philadelphia until 9:00 PM that night. I finally arrived in Paris around 10:30 AM the following day, and found my way to the train station to do my day-long journey across France to the Alps.

At the ticket counter, I asked for a ticket to Moutier but was given a ticket to Les Moutier, which is a full-day’s trip in wrong direction. I was going to stay the night in a hotel and take a cab to Courchevel the next morning so I could meet my clients by noon at the villa.

I arrived just after dark. I got off the train and didn’t have a clue where I was! It was a tiny village, dark, no hotel, and no one anywhere. I stood in the middle of the road with my far too large suitcase wondering where the heck I was. A woman walked by and I asked if she spoke English. Thank God she did! I asked her where I was, and told her where I was going. All she could say was “OOOOHHHH LLLAAAA LLLAAA!”

We walked to her home where her family was. A couple of them spoke broken English. They were amazing help. After quite awhile we came up with a plan. I took a cab to Nantes. I could catch an all night train to the other Moutier on the other side of the country. I got to the train station and that train was sold out. It was now about 10PM and freezing out. You have to stand outside on a platform to catch it. I waited for the train anyway. When it showed up I begged the conductor to sell me a seat. No seats available. But he sold me the last bed on the train! I crawled into bed in a compartment with a French family and another French woman traveling alone. They have 6 bunks to a very small compartment. I thought, Thank God, I can sleep and get warm. I’ll be fine, just a little detour.

Just about then the kid above me vomited all over the freakin place! I stood out in the narrow hall of the moving train for a couple hours waiting for the father to clean it up and get the smell out. There was no where else to even sit or stand.

I finally arrived in Moutier, got to Courchevel and made my way to the market to shop before my clients showed up.

The people at the market remembered me from last year. I hate to think why I was so memorable. They don’t speak a word of English and I know about three words in French. Somehow I managed to shop and provide outrageous meals for my clients.

I spent three weeks surrounded by people celebrating the holidays all speaking either French or Russian. English was rarely spoken.

I stepped so far out of my world that I wondered if it was just a dream. I found cooking to be my sanctuary. The rest of the time when I was shopping, driving, or navigating my way through the French world I was stretched not speaking the language. I was on the outside looking in.

The job finally came to an end and I was paid in Euros. I took a side trip to visit old friends on Mallorca. I was excited to be with someone who spoke English. However, I found that we were far from speaking the same language anymore and I cut my time with them short. I spent the rest of my time in Spain trying to get the Euros I was paid converted into dollars without losing half of my pay.

I finally arrived at the Paris airport to return home. Unfortunately my plane from Spain was late and I missed my flight home. Next flight, next day, same time, 24 hours later, Uuugh!

I didn’t have it in me at this point to navigate my way into Paris and find a hotel for the night. So I decided to get three espressos and a thick novel and wait for my flight in only 24 hours. I had a large sum of cash on me from my pay so I camped out in the middle of a Muslim family for the night and read my novel. I figured that was the safest place to wait out the night and not be in danger of getting mugged.

This experience was a strong catalyst for the recognition that it was time for a nourishing home base where I could root myself. I was saturated with the nomadic life.

Stay tuned for more.

Part 2 of ongoing journey I tortured myself for months deciding where I would call my home base. When I was on Maui doing a job all I could think of was coming home. Unfortunately, Maui has a way of letting you know when it is time to move on. After fifteen years she made it clear that I needed to let go, leave the womb and move out into the world. I would have to settle for visits and long phone conversations with my close friends. While doing a job on the west coast I stopped in the San Francisco Bay area to see old friends. Oh, how it made me want to move back. But I knew I was not interested in moving fast enough to survive in that environment.

I was already renting a minimal space in Asheville, NC. I was beginning to widen and deepen my community of friends, I loved the mountains and the diverse bounty—and I couldn’t deny they were calling me. The sustainable consciousness movement is leading edge in this area with a deep commitment to honoring the Earth. I decided Asheville will be a good nourishing home base. Nourishing was very important for someone in need of grounding their life. I could embody who I am in this environment and move out into the world from that authentically. OK, Asheville it is.

Within twenty four hours of committing to the Asheville area I saw a place on Craigslist for rent that tugged wildly at my heart. Could this be home? It was the only place I looked at. It was mine before I my old patterns had a chance to kick in. Sign a year’s lease? Is this the actions of a nomad? If you insist.

The house is about thirty five minutes from downtown Asheville. The drive winds through beautiful country roads, finally ending on a dirt road that feels like it is taking you so deep into the wilderness that you must be lost. It’s the best of both worlds. There are wonderful caring neighbors who look out for one another, I can easily get a town fix—and it is wild. What an ideal place to see your self reflected through the eyes of nature! It’s home! It’s my classroom, it’s my school, it’s my playground.  The wild food and healing herbs surround my home in abundance. The bear, fox, raccoons, coyote, possum, hawks, songbirds, snakes cautiously make themselves known. It is a delicious home that supports me to deepen my relationship with my own authenticity and live a life that nourishes me on many levels. It allows me to be a full time student of nature. Dare I allow myself to receive this gift? I swallowed hard, said yes, and practice saying yes daily. Allowing myself to live who I am is nothing short of admitting that I like who I am. I didn’t realize how much courage that took. I was about to step through a door that supported me to embody and manifest Mary designed just for Mary. I fastened my seat and went for the ride. Let’s see what life looks like when I am actually living in accordance with my soul’s desire. I immediately got to work and started harvesting the nettles that line my driveway. No time to waste, she was ready for harvesting now. She is one of the best plant allies I could imagine to support my health and journey. I was home.

Part 3 in Ongoing Journey I am a classic example of a woman I am referring to in my book. I guess I couldn’t have written it if I wasn’t. This book has been brewing within me since I came into this world. The crossroads on my journey that demand I confront my reasoning, justification, beliefs, you name it, that keeps me from honoring my gifts and living a life that reflects Mary’s expression of Self has arrived. The process of writing this book and facing my deepest fears around putting it out into the world has been the journey of healing the exact issues I refer to in my book. It has been exhilarating and devastating. It has become the venue in which I transform my own wounding on a deeper level. Taking the steps each day to keep moving forward, mustering the courage to face possible rejection has strengthened and balanced the dance between the masculine and feminine aspects within myself. I need to keep calling upon my masculine to keep putting my gifts out there no matter what response I receive. And the journey with the bumps and fears along the way continues. The knowing at my core that this is what I was designed to do has finally risen out of the inaccessible shadows of my soul and become stronger than my fears. If I am to affect the collective healing it can only happen as a result of my own. No getting around that.

My home allows me to live my passions. I am surrounded by the plants that offer their medicine. I have the space to tend the native wild edible perennials that I know will support me to ground myself and embody the wave I refer to in my book. I have been given the gift of support to deepen my journey and live fully according to the principles of nature’s law. All I have to do is face my lack of acceptance that I am worthy of it—and share it. OK, I guess I have my next homework assignment.

In the meantime I harvested my beloved nettles to help make me strong and vital. When I moved into my home they were young and tender. Perfect for eating fresh. It was early spring and still a little cold, so I prepared nettle, local sweet potato soup with ginger and lemon. This was the perfect dish to ground myself in my new home. As the plants got a little older it was time to hang and dry them so I could continue nourishing myself with tea. I combined it with red clover blossoms and cleavers, all growing right outside my door to support my immune and lymphatic system. My spring cleanse had a good foundation. I was on my way. Now the nettles are going to seed. I just found out the seeds support the thyroid from reading Susan Weed’s “Healing Wise” book. I have been eating lots of seaweed through the winter to support the thyroid and kidneys. I am excited to learn that my nettle plants are not done offering me support. My relationship with this plant continues to deepen.

Many years ago I came across a big patch of stinging nettles. I had become quite adept at communicating with plant spirits. So I sat down among the nettles and introduced myself. After a moment of introductions from us both my enthusiasm for nettles’ medicine was bursting forth. I asked her if it would be OK to tell the world about her gifts. My fear that she would be exploited was creeping in. Her reply was, “Would you want to go through your entire life without your gifts being known?” Is it any accident that nettles was here to greet and support me in my home—the place I was to offer gifts from?

Part 4 of Ongoing Journey It is no coincidence that nettle has such a pronounced presence at my new home. The words of her question to me has been wringing in my ears for twelve years. As I shared earlier, I am a classic case of my book. I have felt the shame of who I am and what my gifts are because I believed the reflection of our modern culture that has a hard time with the flavor of these gifts, and my scorpionic expression of the healing journey. I believed something must be very wrong with me—so I hid in the shadows—not honoring myself. I kept offering my gifts, but because of the unconscious energy of shame and inability to honor myself was present, my gifts could not be received. Well, here I am in my new home, set up for offering my gifts, nettles standing outside my door with her ever present question, “Do you want to go through your entire life without your gifts and virtues known?” What’s a girl to do?

As soon as I put my book out after the long focused journey of readying it for the public I was flooded with all the old beliefs, shame, emotions that accompanied my fear of stepping out of the shadows as a woman who held an ancient feminine way of seeing things. I realized I have been sitting on these gifts, and the fear for lifetimes. I had to face it, deal with the vulnerability of it, and transform it into honoring who I inherently am, my journey, and my gifts.

As a woman who has devoted her journey to healing this collective wound, focused on shifting the self rejection through my focus on nourishment, writing a book that represents this journey, it was finally my day of judgment, so to speak. The time had come for me to no longer play lip service to myself, face my pain, anger and grief for not being valued, just because I was a woman and stand behind my gift with honor. Whew, this may be a short paragraph, or brief entry, but every woman who has sat back, not able to feel received in the world can feel in their gut what I am talking about, and the courage it takes to take the witnessed step to transform the deep seated shame into honor for oneself. This is the journey my book, and this blog is in hopes of supporting—not from a place of victimhood or mastery, but from a place of traveling the path myself and taking responsibility for how I will walk this path.

The freedom that is seeping through the cracks of the protection I created that kept me from taking this step is delicious and well worth the risk. I no longer need to hide from myself, the part that has carried this pain. I have embraced her, held her, and honored her. She has waited a long time for that.

If you are a woman who is facing this in your own life I welcome you to join our sharing corner. Together we have the courage to step forward. Together we can support one another to face the fears, honor ourselves, and step out.

Ongoing Journey Part 5 I don’t know anyone who is not afraid of feeling the pain of rejection. I think I can safely say it is rather universal. Unfortunately the fear of facing the pain that you no longer have value to someone, or even worse, never did, is excruciating. First of all, if you have no value, how will you survive? Our survival is based on our value within our community, friends, family, etc. Facing rejection can feel like life or death—literally, to some part of us.

Is it possible that some are frozen in fear of this and as a result are unable to offer their gifts to the world/? I know I was for many years.

The journey I have taken thus far with transforming the shame of my life to honoring it, and offering up the gifts I have as a result of it, continues to reveal itself and unfold.

I had to face this deep fear that what I have offered in this book nobody wants to hear, and nobody has the time to apply, and so therefore my life has had no value. The book shines a light on many aspects of our human journey that touch a deep place within the heart– the place where healing can start.

All I can say is that I have discovered the importance of a cheerleading section of support by friends, and the deep faith it takes to own and offer our gifts no matter what. It put another spin on nourishment for me. I have discovered the nourishment of honoring and offering gifts and how it feeds the soul. It is the food my soul has been in need of.

This nourishment has not come without facing the fear and pain of rejection. However, the freedom that comes from no longer having to avoid it is tremendous. It opens a door that offers an inner strength that comes from the deep nourishment of the soul. It is like super greens! And it is worth the passage. Know that there is someone out there that will be deeply touched by your gifts. Nourish them and yourself. The world will be a better place for it.

Bringing the sense of value back to our self by honoring our gifts instead of relying on others to reflect our value is a transformative adventure that takes courage, and is worth taking.

If you have any comments or insights about this as a woman who is finding her flow with this, I welcome them.

Late Summer/Earth Element

We are entering late summer/ the Earth Element in Chinese 5 Element System. This season is ruled by the Divine Mother. It is when our relationship with the Mother energy, whether it is the Earth, your physical Mother, the Mother within is magnified. When we have a healthy relationship with this aspect of ourselves we walk through life with great gratitude. We can nourish others without compromising ourselves. We make it a priority to nourish our self on all levels starting with the basic foundation of foods we choose to put into our bodies. We honor the Mother within and without.

Pay attention to your relationship with this aspect of yourself over the next couple months. Ask yourself if you are grounded and balanced with this in your life. What can you do to find the balance? We can not create balance and harmony on our Mother Earth without this balance within.

Tomato Abundance

This summer recipe reflects the summer food section of the book Divine Nourishment. “One meal transforms into another,” to save time and energy.

With the abundance of tomatoes this time of year in our gardens or farmer’s market it’s nice to have a recipe you can prepare that will nourish you now and in the winter months when you are in a hurry for a nourishing bowl of homemade soup.

With a slight variation you can create a cold summer soup that is cooling to the body and helps to remove toxic heat- and have a warming winter soup that you can freeze or can for cold weather.  You can have both while utilizing the energetic principles of food in the book for optimum health benefits.

Prepare a large batch of blended tomato base for both soups. Divide and finish according to the seasonal version.

For the summer version cook the tomato base for a short amount of time, blend and add summer herbs such as fresh parsley, basil and cilantro. Chill and serve slightly cooled with a dollop of crème fraise, yogurt or sour cream.

For the winter version simmer the same tomato base for an hour with warming spices such as dried ground ginger, cumin and cinnamon. The longer cooking time and warming spices nourishes and warms your body closer to the core.

Increase amounts according to how many tomatoes you have.

Summer Version

Ingredients

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 medium sized tomatoes

1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (14 fl oz)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt & white pepper to taste

Garnish: lemon slices, choice of crème fraise, sour cream or plain yogurt

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a brisk boil. Cut out stem core and make a slight crisscross slit on opposite end of tomato.

Prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and water.

Submerge whole tomatoes in boiling water for about 3-4 minutes, just until the skin begins to peel away. Drain and immediately cool in ice bath. Removes skins and discard.

Chop tomatoes with the edge of a spatula in a colander over a bowl. Save liquid and strain out seeds.

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil.

Add tomatoes and broth, tomato liquid, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Cool enough to blend.

Divide blended soup, chill summer soup version and season with salt pepper, parsley, basil and cilantro. Serve with a dollop of crème fraise, yogurt or sour cream.

Winter Version

Simmer blended soup on low heat for one hour with

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add more broth if needed

When done add:

2 teaspoons honey

Dash of fresh lemon juice

Freeze or can

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