As we journeyed through the cathedral tall trees, the path broke open the vast hilltop and opened to the glittering, clear, night sky.
It felt as if the stars danced our arrival just as much as the flames of the already prepared bonfire. Everyone was already singing with a silliness “The hills are alive” from ‘the sound of music’ movie as this was called ‘Sound of Music Hill’.
We are in Pennsylvania, Honesdale to be specific, whose original inhabitants were the Lenni Lenape people. The Pocono mountains offer a landscape that is vast and unending. Green, rolls into green, which rolls into more green, during this summer period. The sun awakens a spirit within you as it awakens the spirit of the flora and the fauna. Deer greet us, acknowledge with a look, and then gently saunter off seeking more nourishment.
And that’s what we are here to do. To nourish our spirits and souls. To nourish our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We’re here to nourish ourselves on retreat, and we had no idea just how deeply nourished we would become by those whom we shared the weekend with.
Some knew each other and some did not. Some knew each other very well and more intimately and some did not. A vast array and cornucopia of people arrived for this weekend of “Savor Simplicity” with Amy Soucy and myself.
I knew most of these beautiful souls, and now I’m honored to say I know them all. And there was one soul in particular who shook my heart, made it tremble, and who made my heart cry the tears of love! His name is Joe. And he gave me permission to write these words and share his story, which Universally is my story and your story. But THIS story could only have been made possible because of Joe. And like many of us, I am sure, the breaking of a fear barrier to shine his light is what cracked my heart wide open! Thank you Joe. Let the stories continue!
Back to the bonfire…
Anytime the flames began to dim and get smaller, one of the few fire masters from our group would put on another log or multiple logs on. Before we knew it, we had our largest fire blazing, crackling. Quite a beautiful metaphor, if you will, on how we can each light each other up!
We had brought our talismans, our papers, that we were using as symbol to release our fears into the fire. A fire ceremony. And we also brought that which was a talisman, our second piece of paper, to put into the fire so that the smoke would carry up to Source/Creator/Universe/Love and let it be known what our hearts desires were.
I saged those who wanted it, and I too was saged. The ritual had begun. Conversation was quiet and flowing. More logs were thrown on the fire. The incredible vegan s’mores with gluten-free graham crackers and the Himalayan institutes own Moka Origins chocolate was on hand. Perfect embers for those who love the brown marshmallow, and incredible flames for those who like to burn, black!
I began drumming, Amy began with singing. Her angelic and soulful voice, yet another Light entity touching us all in the darkness of the night. The rhythm of life was flowing through us all, dancing in the flames, moving with the winds that filled our lungs, and grounded our feet to the soil, to Mother Earth. We were alive and the hills were alive! 😉
And so it began. I invited each when moved, when the spirit moved them, to first create their own ritual of release. To throw the written talisman into the flames to burn, to release, to relinquish, to set a fire that which no longer served them. What needed to leave. The cord that needed to be cut. Severed so that freedom can be experienced and a depth of true knowledge of self is known and embodied.
What took place next is meant for that hill and those eyes that witnessed. Is meant for those hearts that held all the other hearts in their transformations. It’s simply those moments you cannot recreate, It just is. Don’t worry dear reader, you can create your own ceremony whenever you wish, with intention, and for whatever you need. And you can join me whenever I facilitate such gatherings, and I hope you will!
We then moved to release the heart’s desires!
A long, eight foot, slender log had been found near the fire pit that was encased inside a 6 foot wide, maybe more, metal bowl. Someone, I can’t remember who, accidentally hit the metal bowl with the log while moving it and we all were excited at the sound it made. Our own, huge, fiery singing bowl! It became an act of the ritual, if the person wanted to, that after they threw their paper/talisman into the fire they might strike the singing fire bowl to further embody the moment!
Some spoke what they had written out loud. Others kept theirs to themselves. Some danced; oh wow, did they dance. Some dances seemed transmuted through the bodies from the spirit world. Others raised their arms in exclamation, reclamation, of their power, heart, and will. I howled like the fierce mother wolf, hackles up, fangs showing, calling in the pack!
Let it out, don’t hold back! Embody this sacred moment and enhance the potency of the medicine/right of passage/energy you are evoking! Sing, dance, exclaim your place in all things, all times, beyond form! You are Spirit embodied, making real what is your right, yourn gift, your Light!
Wow! I can’t even stop the energetic momentum of the moment while typing here. It feels present. So let’s embrace it! Let’s take a deep breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Close your eyes if you wish….
Let’s journey together inward now, to your heart. Imagine you are there with us at the fire!
Place your hands upon your heart. Smell the smoke. Feel the heat. Hear the crackle of the wood burning. See the smoke swirling up to the heavens, ready to carry your wish, your hope, your desire, your vision! Take in the loving presence of those who share in the circle around you, loving and supportive. Feel the Earth and grass at your feet. Take in the pulse of the drum, like your heart beat.
Be here for a moment. Make your intention pure. Feel into your heart’s desires. What do you need? Ask. What do you wish for? Ask. Name it. All of it. What do you seek most, above all? (Thanks Grandpa Emerick, Samuel, for that question.)
Say your prayer now. Say it out loud if you want. Dance if you like! Turn on actual music. Burn your own incense or light a candle…it doesn’t have to be a real candle…remember it’s all about your intention! Take whatever amount of time you want!
Breathe deeply again. Begin to settle when you are ready. Sit, stand, lay down, or keep swaying and moving as you need. Take it in, let go. Feel and just be present. Drink some water. Nourish. Rest.
Do you know who you are?
Come what may, you know the way!
Oh Moana music, you fill my soul!
You are incredible, talented, unique, beautiful. Yes, you dear reader!
“There is a vitality,
a life force,
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.
And If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine
how good it is
nor how valuable it is
nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.” -Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille, read here.
DON’T BLOCK IT!
Why is this so hard sometimes?
I can offer you a few reasons, many of which I possess:
– fear of failure
– fear of not being enough
– fear of harming others
– fear of being seen
– fear of sharing our truth
– Are you catching a theme here? Fear
– fear of how others will perceive us
So much fear. And fear and love are emblazoned upon the same coin. In my last blog I attempted to name some things that can support us in overcoming our fears. You can find it here.
When we love ourselves, fear grows weaker, smaller. Love opens up, we open up, and we have no idea what our Light can do for others, let alone our own self! We can heal ourself, love ourselves, transform ourselves, and in doing so the ripple effect IS powerful!
After the rituals had been completed, and s’mores eaten, the energy was settling. Amy sang again, we conversed within the group, and we stared at the dancing flames in silence.
Then some magic happened.
People began uplifting each other. A close friend to Joe told us that he was also a singer-songwriter like many in our musical group! I didn’t know this! I knew Joe as deeply kind, loving, open, smart, and one incredible Shaman(he might not say it, but it’s how I see him), as well as having a successful career. Singer! We wanted to hear. His own original song! Now we REALLY wanted to hear!
“Let Love Lead the Way” By Joe Cirello. I cried. My heart opened. I knew I would ask to share this song with my husband days later on our wedding anniversary.
Joe sings with an incredible heart. He has an incredible voice. He shared his Light with us that night and I will never forget. AND THEN…
Joe shared with us that he had never sang in front of people live before. WHAT!!! “You’re amazing!” I blurted out! I couldn’t believe it, and yet I can when I reference my own list of fears that hold me back from ‘doing the thing that I most want to do’.
My whole body received the message at that very moment. I got it.
Don’t hold your own “voice” back because of fear. You have NO idea what positive effects you WILL have on others.
Maybe not all people, but there IS someone, or some group, of people out there that will listen and who will be transformed by what YOU have to shine upon this world!
Ever since that night I have heard from Source through various voices and examples and stories that you must start here: “be enough for yourself first”. I am forever grateful to my RAIN partner for these two years in my MMTCP program who has such heart and first presented me with this question and had me crying good tears. Thank you Carol. Thank you Joe. Thanks to you, dear reader. “Will you be enough for yourself?”
Ubuntu, I am because we are! And, if I am because of you, then I must remember myself! Because then, you are because of me.
Joe, I don’t know what inner voices were with you that night, but I am FOREVER grateful that you shared your True Voice with us! That you sang your song and “sang your song”! Perhaps breaking fear barriers. And look what happened! The ripple effect continues. I have shared this story verbally to at least 5 others and each felt it and was moved.
May we all become willing to meet fear. Willing to meet life. Willing to meet what is here!
How will you ‘sing your song’ dear reader?
What are you no longer going to hold you back?
How will you be enough for yourself?
When will you go for it?
I can share that I will be “going for it” very soon with a program I am terrified and completely excited to be creating these days behind closed doors! The veil will be removed soon, stay tuned. Especially if this email has resonated, email me if you want to be in the know!
I hope this blog has given you the encouragement, the proof, the story to go out and light up the sky with your Light! Dazzle like the stars! Burn bright like the fire! Rest when you need so you can keep the fire going!
THE WORLD NEEDS YOU! AND IT NEEDS YOU TO BE WHO YOU ARE!
Breathe and Believe.
P.S. “This girl is on fire” and “32 flavors” and other songs are all flying through my head. “23 Flavors” this version too! Send me your go to song! “Strength, courage, and wisdom” too! Oh, and “Authors of forever”.