I am sitting here this morning processing an incredibly transforming weekend at SWLC and my mind is so full of pictures and emotions, I know I won’t be able to capture them all here. I knew the weekend would be challenging for me. In 2013, Justin was in the hospital, so I didn’t participate in SWLC, but I did drop by the cigar porch each evening on my way home for an energy load. Beyond that, this was my first SWLC without Justin since 2009. It was my first Dance of Souls without Justin ever. So I knew the weekend would be filled with emotional challenges, but I had set the intention to be open to whatever Spirit put in my path. I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
First, I must make this statement. I will share my story and my part in stories, but I’m not going to name names. The people I speak about will see themselves and they are more than welcome to identify themselves if they so choose. And if they choose not to identify themselves, that’s okay, too.
I arrived mid-afternoon on Thursday to be there before the rush so that I could ground myself into the weekend’s energy. I’m glad I did that, because it allowed me to just ‘be’ in the space. It is always ‘coming home’ for me to arrive at the space each year, and this year was no different in that. However, there was a feeling of melancholy that hung with me all weekend. There was also Justin. He was everywhere. I could feel him standing with me as I visited with friends. I could feel him sitting next to me in the drum circle. And the Dance was so big that it deserves its own space here.
I was prepared to talk about Justin with a lot of people. I was prepared to talk about ‘how I’m doing’ with a lot of people. I wasn’t prepared for the handful of people who didn’t know. The first time that happened, I was sitting in her lap. This person we both spent so much time getting to know last year at SWLC and then at SITC. Someone I would love to see much more often. Justin and I bonded with her while sharing vulnerabilities on the back porch at SWLC last year. Then we continued that bonding at SITC. I’m sitting in her lap with my face in her neck when she says, “Where’s your Sir?” For a moment, life froze. When I told her he had passed away, we stepped away from the group to share a moment of grief together. On Sunday, she approached me to tell me, “He’s here, you know. I feel him and he’s right here.” Sharing that space gave me so much more than I can express. Thank you.
This club isn’t one I want to be in, but I am. And sharing moments with others in this club helps so much with my processing. And so another visit with one who knows exactly where I am with loss was so very uplifting for me. And the gift was so much more than a book. It was that shared talk about where they are now, including how they continue to be with us, and how they guide us to or bring to us those things that are for our higher good. Thank you.
And that sweet, sweet girl I only get to see once or twice a year walking by while I was shopping for crystals. Who stopped and said, “that one needs to go home with you.” It did. It is home with me. Thank you.
Lunch shared. Tears shared. A friendship refreshed. I always miss you when so much time passes between us. I love you and I’m happy our friendship continues strong. (And I know you won’t see this yourself since you never come here, but maybe she will see it and tell you about it.)
I’ve had this item from the toy bag that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with. It wasn’t mine, I had never used it in any way, but it felt important. I sat with it for awhile and then realized I knew who it belonged to and I had a strong urge to return it to her. When we talked about it, she wasn’t sure it was hers, so we decided we would get together so she could see. We have a shared experience, even if it was years and many miles apart, and our time alone together to also share that grief was healing for me. And to be able to return that item to her was so very meaningful to me. To see her face, her tears, and to hear her voice, the love that was part of her experience that has stayed with her. Moments in time that will be with me always. Then to see it in her hand as she waited in line for the pre-Dance smudging and blessings. To hold her hand with it between our palms. To see it laid out on the alter next to my collar, wedding rings, and dog tag. And to watch her experience the Dance. I’m so grateful that we had the time we had this weekend. And I send her back home with a bit of myself while I hold a bit of her here with me. Yep, Justin is laughing his ass off. But he is also smiling. Thank you.
This year, I didn’t attend any workshops. I didn’t last year because of the contest, but this year, I just seemed to miss them. There were several I wanted to attend – Master Skip, Master Archer, Fakir, Leenie. Instead, I connected with souls. Beautiful souls. I laughed and cried with them. And that was exactly what I was supposed to do. Every single one of the souls I connected with this weekend were in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. And I take a piece of them with me as I go, just as I left a piece of me with them.
My fangirl moment came when I was standing at registration and Fakir and Cleo arrived. OMGosh! I enjoyed a brief moment with them, and later during the dance, another moment with Cleo. What amazing people! So thankful they were here this weekend, as their presence added so much to my DoS experience. No, I didn’t do the fangirl thing I wanted to do and bring my book in for Fakir to sign. Sort of wishing I was able to be that girl, but the memory of talking with them, hugging them, sharing space and energy with them will always be part of me.
Several meals shared with two people who have become very important to me. I love you both and am grateful to have you both in my life.
There were moments for me throughout the weekend when I learned that I have touched some souls in special ways, as they have touched mine. Being able to hold a hand, even when my circulation is cutting off, and knowing that I can’t let go because in that moment I am a lifeline is so humbling. It is also incredibly powerful to know that this person trusts me and knows that I hold a safe space for them. I hope you know I will hold that safe space for you always, not just this weekend.
Being told that I am so loved, being told that I am an amazing person. That is both humbling and intimidating to me. I am trying to reach the space where I feel worthy of that. Every time I encounter someone who tells me something like that, it truly makes the difficulty in sharing so publicly worth any emotional hardship I may endure while sharing. And it’s something I strive to live up to.
Saturday night. Women’s play space. A new experience. Serious. Opening some doors, okay maybe small windows, and knocking a few holes in the wall. Thank you both for that shared space and time. A fun time. A sexy time. I am looking forward to a repeat!
Watching this person who I’ve grown to hold in my heart smile as big as the sun was so joyful! Bouncing on toes, giddy with excitement and anticipation as you get ready to head to the airport. So very, very happy to see that. I was honored to be witness to that happiness and excitement. She is adorable, and sweet to boot. And oh so very sexy. Way to go, Sir! (To repeat myself, that seed that was planted is an open door anytime! Just sayin!)
I was transformed, but I also witnessed transformation of people I love and hold close in my heart. A head shaved in a beautiful ritual. A first for hooks became a life-changing experience for several people who are very special to me. Grief and love in the Dance together, sister of my heart. A life expanded even greater than ever imagined. Power owned and accepted with a rare grace. A cleaned plate and joy in the pull like I haven’t seen before. Tears. Release. Laughter. Joy. Bliss. Acceptance. Transformation.
The Dance. My favorite part of the weekend since my first Dance in 2011. My first ever without Justin. Some know this, but others don’t. I have lupus, and it causes some skin issues. I hooked my first two Dances. That burn that you experience when you are first hooked and first pull never goes away for me and only increases with each pull, spreading throughout my body. So last year I decided to stop trying to force a good experience and accept that hooks are not part of the Dance for me. I get pierced instead. Last year I pierced with bells and crystals. This year I used the same bells and one of the same crystals, but a hematite turtle called out to me. That was Justin. Third eye also called to me this year, and I’m so very glad it did.
Gathering items for the altar – collar, wedding rings, dog tag. Cleaning the wrist cuffs that mean so much more to me than I can express. (Thank you for helping me prepare them, even in the rush.) Lady Beth around my wrists and Justin on the altar and dancing beside me. Seeing John on the altar and feeling him dance with baby. Exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Originally, I was going to get pierced by whomever Spirit decided. Then I felt a physical shove and realized that Justin had someone in mind, and so I waited my turn for him. This man Justin had immense respect and love for. It was right. I told him the turtle was Justin and it was going over my heart. The only piercing to bleed and not stop, both going in and coming out. My dear friend rubbing my face and combing her fingers through my hair while a man I hold in great respect opens my skin. It was a perfect moment. Off to have things tied by another who knows, who sees me. Turtle tied and soaking in the blood from my body. “If Justin were here, he’d be licking it. Just don’t let anyone see it.” I know, against protocol, but I remained careful. It was right. Thank you for knowing and leaving it.
The third eye piercing sent me off immediately. I don’t know why I haven’t done it before. My Dance was one of dancing for awhile, then breaking for awhile. I always get so overwhelmed by the immense energy in that space and I must go outside, breathe and ground again. Crying. Tears were so much a part of my Sunday. I missed Justin more on Sunday than any other day. I also felt him most strongly with me on Sunday than any other day. There were dances and hugs, laughter and tears. So many people sharing space with me. Standing alone in line to be pierced and feeling the loss overwhelming me, knowing sobbing is about to occur. But then she is there ready to take that from me so that I can move on a little lighter. You did the same on Saturday, holding my hand, allowing that excess to flow from me and through you. So, so grateful for those moments, and I never got the chance to tell you that. I so hope you know. Forever grateful.
A hug for the courage of one who was scared. You did good for your first time. I hope it was as transforming as it appeared to be. I could see you change before my eyes. You are so much stronger than you think. And loved. You are loved. I hope your drive home last night was a safe one and a good one. Thank you for letting me share in this with you, letting me witness your transformation.
A new path and new experiences. An ending that brings sadness, but a new path that brings joy and bliss. First hooks and another transformation. Healing happened and will continue to happen. You are soulmates, I see you both. I love you so very much.
Third eye? “I want to thump it.” “Go ahead.” Thump. Smile. “Wow.” A connection I feel every year grown stronger this year. I see you. Thank you for seeing me.
A handful of sage from a special experience. An unexpected gift. I wanted to hold it through the Dance but knew that wasn’t possible. Now amongst other special things on my altar. Thank you. I can’t wait til I get to hear the story.
“I love you.” “Do you?” “Yes, I do.” Accept that you are special. I see you, all of who you are, because you are good and you are worthy. And I’m grateful you are part of my life. Truly.
And a dance of both joy and grief. Sorrow. Change. New Paths. Love. They were there in that dance with us, holding us. Both of them there, touching us and holding us as we danced and cried and danced some more. Celebrating them. Mourning them. They are cheering for us, sister of my heart. They are guiding us, putting things in our paths, leading us still. Always. Love. Just love.
A tear-stained face. “War paint.” I see you. Thank you for letting me see you, strong warrior woman.
Standing in front of the altar. “I am really happy you’re here.” “I am happy to be here.” A dance that was needed, a soul I needed to touch.
Almost done now. Not quite, there is still something to do. It’s not quite time. Called to the Portal. Dancing alone, eyes closed, under the Portal. One with the drums, one with Spirit. Eyes closed, hands raised, feet following along with the drum I can feel to my core. A tap. A turn. A dance of sheer joy. Holding hands. Dancing bodies and moving heads. Hair flying. Smiles. Giggles. Shared exaltation. “You are so beautiful.” An overwhelming feeling of such joy, such happiness, such amazing bliss, shared. The exact ending that I was seeking. Thank you so very much.
Waiting for piercings to be removed, thinking I should go to the same person who put them in. Then, “this chair has your name on it.” Yes, yes it does. Thank you. Exactly right and exactly perfect. Synchronicity.
So tired now. Waiting for dinner. Just floating in the calm. Food. Sustenance. Time to leave this sacred space and return home. Not quite ready to leave, but knowing it’s time. I’d like to stay here and revel in this a little more. Tired. It’s time. Hugs. Kisses. Goodbyes. So many people I have so much love for. So many moments in time that have given me more pieces of more souls I love. And Justin. Always. Everywhere. Holding me up and letting me know that I’m going to be okay. Life is going to be exactly what it is supposed to be and he will be there always.
This weekend, even in missing what has gone before, was the most transformative for me ever. It was synchronicity at work. All of it. It was validating to hear Master Skip put into words the feeling I have had for awhile now, and shared with select few. I feel a calling, something new, something big. It is right there, but I can’t quite see what it is yet. I’ve felt it for a bit now, and I know each day I am closer to knowing what it is. When Spirit is ready, it will be revealed, and I will be forever changed.
Last year I encountered the greatest sorrow in multiple losses, but also great joy in new grandbabies. I know that this year will be one of great transformation and growth. It is a rebirth. This weekend was the perfect beginning to the transformation to come. I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time with exactly the right people. Just as Spirit intended it to be.