Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you — Rumi
I attended a 3-day workshop with Sally Kempton recently. We were learning about kundalini and the goddess and the joys of spiritual awakening. There was chanting, meditation and a LOT of women in attendance. At one point Sally shared a few book and website recommendations with us, describing one site as “not too woo woo”. And I thought to myself what could possibly be more woo woo than kundalini, chanting and the goddess?! But I knew what she meant because I often use that term myself.
It usually pops up when I’m with a group of people who hold a mix of beliefs — when teaching a course, for example, I never take it for granted that everyone has the same references as me and I try to be as inclusive as possible. To me that’s just being polite and respectful. But lately I’ve become more aware of how I use the term in my everyday life, too. It’s the “this might sound a bit woo woo but…”s that have got to stop.
I know where this has come from. Looking back over my relationships I see I chose partners who didn’t share my beliefs. I still remember the withering looks I received and how I always felt the need to play down that side of myself. The not-an-atheist side, completely at odds with how they viewed the world.
All this has been swirling in my head since I finished reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. While Sue Monk Kidd’s background is vastly different from mine — I had a very secular upbringing — I devoured every word of that book. As ever, reading another woman’s story has emboldened me to own my own. It suddenly hit me that when I diminish what’s important to me I diminish myself, and while I may have been quick to do that in the past I don’t want to do it anymore.
I don’t follow a particular religion or a single set of beliefs, and while much of what rings true for me lives in the New Age camp for sure, these days I’m most interested in my own first-hand experience of spirituality. The best way I can explain it is this: It’s the connection I feel when I turn inwards, my sense of being connected to something much larger than me yet also unquestionably a part of me, too. And there ain’t nothing woo woo about that.
I enjoy learning about new ways to connect to the sacred within — hence the kundalini workshop — and ever since I bought my first tarot deck as a teenager I have always been interested in the metaphysical. As I get older my understanding of my place in the world is deepening, which in turn makes me more confident about embodying that with others. I love my spiritual accessories — my home is filled with crystals and singing bowls and more oracle cards than is probably necessary — but really all I need do is close my eyes and I’m there. I’m home.
We’ve come up with so many names and rules for what could be ‘out there’ — god, angels, spirit, universe, source, shakti, the mystery, the all-that-is — and while I don’t think any of us will ever really know the truth until we shove off our mortal coil, enough bonkers things have happened in the last nine years to let me know that there’s more to all this than just what we see with our eyes. I can’t prove it scientifically but I know what feels true for me. And that’s the bit that feels important — that we each find what feels true for us.
I guess you could call me a healthily sceptical believer :)
[Video] To R.P. Salazar, with love
The fart that almost altered my destiny
Friends doing good things: Leonie’s weekends | Elizabeth’s city retreat | Bella’s July
The most important list I’ve ever made — thank you, Kyla, for this sentence in particular: “It’s a neurotransmitter problem, not a character flaw.”
Inside Lousie Bourgeois’s New York home
Three courses: zesty cucumber salad with pine nuts | braised chicken with white wine | chocolate pots de creme with lavender and sea salt
[Video] And now I love Jim Carrey even more (I’m 100% convinced that humour will ultimately save the world)
These sand castles!
Living with intention — loveliness from Mara
[video] This video will get your creativity moving
And finally, the August Break will be back this year with a new twist! More on that soon. In the meantime, spend July with me either meditating or creating your beautiful blog
Happy weekend, loves xo
In 2012 Meghan, Sas and I hatched a plan to lead a retreat in the UK. We were in Italy at the time, painting on a hillside with Flora and Elizabeth, taking time out to be together and have an Actual Break From Life — not something any of us do that often. We were sharing a room, and inbetween midnight chats and letting it all hang out after our showers (we’re really comfortable with each other :) we got to talking about how lovely it would be to “do a retreat” in the UK. And just like that, a seed was planted.
Fast forward to October last year. Our first RedFox Retreat surpassed all our hopes and dreams, bringing together a group of women who left our beloved manor house with new magic coursing through their veins. Even though the three of us were leading the retreat we unravelled (in the best way!) right alongside our vixens — for us it’s less about teaching from the front of the classroom and more about rolling up our sleeves and working together. We formed a circle and the effects of this sisterhood are still being felt today — that’s what happens when you mix soul sharing, time to rest and gorgeous gluten-free cake.
We’re running our Unravel Your Story retreat again in November and would LOVE to have you with us if you feel called to gather with a group of soulful birds in the Somerset countryside. You can read all about RedFox over here and just for fun, the three of us got together on the phone last week to talk about where Redfox came from, what we do and why we love it — it gets a bit silly at the end, which gives you an idea of how we roll (hint: our superpowers are humour and hugs):
This is the only in-person teaching I’m doing this year so if you’ve got any questions do drop me a line. Let’s do this! xx
“Going to the Redfox retreat is one of the most self-loving things that I’ve ever done. I went with expectations for clarity and I got that and so much more. Because, although I was away, I was home. I felt comfortable in my skin, being myself, being the authentic me. No need to apologize, no need to strive, no need to doing anything but, be. I came away physically and emotionally restored, feeling healed and a part of a circle of Vixen sisters.” – Gerri Smalley
Reading… The Divine Feminine Fire by Teri Degler and Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman
Feeling… the pain in my teeth. I’m half way through my Invisalign treatment and so far so good — but there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not deeply aware of the braces, and for some reason, this new set are really doing a number on my molars. Ouch.
Smelling… fried eggs. This incense.
Tasting… coffee, always with the coffee.
Listening… to the silence of Sunday and the gentle rumble of cars passing. Birdsong.
Creating… two guided meditations to give to my Love Letter peeps soon.
Wanting… to be kissed. I can’t deny it. It’s the lazy Sunday morning effect.
Pondering… that today is father’s day and I have no one to send a card to. And how I am completely at peace with that. I was less so last year.