A nomad at heart (I've been traveling for almost 4 years), I recently traveled to the Bay Area to spend the month of October there to sense if it is a place I wanted to drop anchor. It is. Finding myself falling in love with a total performer, actor, extroverted, drama therapist at this time is a big HELLO that I am calling in healing around whatever this is that stops me from pursuing something that I know brings me pleasure (dancing, making playlists, discovering music) and wanting to share with others. Knowing how to DJ (& Fusion Partner Dancing) would add to the skills I desire to round out my offerings as a Rite of Passage Guide & Level Up in my devotion to being a “Dancin' Bodhisatva in Service to Humans Risin' Up & Gettin' Down”.
I am a 47 year old Queer Adult who set out 3 + years ago to save my life. A journey of self-inquiry, embodiment and deep renewal of trust, authenticity and development of life-affirming boundaries and self-love. This determination, this healing process through lived experiences, is in large part accomplished because I have witnessed the youth of our times fierce determination to be visible through language and expression, gifting me the courage to be and do the same. It is really my duty of care and loyalty to them as an Older to serve as a reflection of possibility, have their backs and be an Ancestor of their wildest dreams.
Rites of Passage, for me, serves as a map for navigating life challenges. This lens I use to shape my world view, my Guides along the way, the lives I have impacted by being guided by my heart to live authentically is due in large part because of the compass I call Youth Passageways. I am eternally grateful & devoted to this body of work and honored to have been recently elected to the Stewardship Council.
This fall, in the Yellow Bear Canyon just outside of the Black Hills, Youth Passageways brought together a small intergenerational delegation, for relationship building, truth-telling and healing, and explored an alliance to support and uplift indigenous youth throughout the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This gathering was one of the many threads that have and continue to build the tapestry of Youth Passageways over the last few years and feels like a foundational step towards actualizing YPW’s mission.
The theme of the 2018 gathering was Spirit Led. What this meant for the group was to allow the unseen to be welcomed and incorporated into our time together and to guide the journey throughout. Those gathered let go of attachment to specific ideas of schedule or form that could block the Blessings from coming through.
Being able to drop everything
Arriving home, feeling nice and sweet
Rejoicing from the bottom of my heart
With Mother Oak and Father Pine
Don’t overthink it, and it will be perfect
Shouldn’t something be wrong?
Celebrating being alive with a family of heart people
Nothing is wrong.
Is there anything else?
Is there anything else.
Will you give me a hand?
The Movement is the Rhythm in Us
And now more than ever, as I watch the youth coming forward with #NEVERAGAIN & #MarchForOurLives, I see clearly that which I desired to contemplate here in Mexico this Winter- What does devotion look like? I will serve as a Guide for our Youth, but most importantly, I have their back, I will follow their lead.
You see the dancefloor is Church to me. It has been my refuge & sanctuary. It has been where I felt like I belonged to something greater. The rhythm, the beats. the lyrics inspire me & uplift me in times of trouble & celebration.
A big memory of myself as a youth growing up was me, in my room, walkman on, listening to music. This was my time that I enjoyed and it was also a time when I escaped- a coping skill when things got messy- for better or for worse. I don’t remember dreams much, but I do remember I used to dream in musicals sometimes. Folks expressing themselves; breaking out into song and dance to solve a problem, to declare their love. I watched old musicals with my Grandma. I was raised on MTV. I came of age on the dancefloor- a space in the 80's & 90's where my community felt safe to freely express their authentic self, to love and mix sweat with tears of those we have lost. I have evolved from making a mixtape for a friend; decorating the cassette to creating journeys through spotify for a larger listening. These impressions created in a young person, impactful after all these years, provide some information that I’m listening to intently and curious how this can be incorporated into meaningful work for social justice & my devotion to uplifting marginalized & oppressed voices, as well as, provide a tether to youth through the sounds that move them- The movement is the rhythm in us. Seeking creative ways to keep the faith- sounds like a whole lot of fun & a life lived thru a Queer Calling
With all that said, I'm here, I'm totally opening up my Labor of Love to you. If you or anyone you know feel drawn to Rites of Passage as a road-map to navigating change, that something here resonates with you or you are simply curious, come engage with me and Queer Odyssey.
I decided this morning to go to Berlin. No plan, nowhere to stay-research showing hostels booked & airbnb out of my $ range.
I woke up with the the words "trust" ( & that Bill Clinton 'came out', but that's a different story...) & that if I couldn't trust that the universe will provide in the "queerest city in Europe" then I've got issues.
Before boarding the 7.90 euro fare bus from Hamburg to Berlin, a new friend from Stockholm confirmed I had a place to stay with a former flat mate!
*ask for what you need/want
Now back to my wish list of things to do in Berlin & .....my Hefeweizen. ;-)
Oh! & pictures of Stockholm & Hamburg soon.
Tschüss! (Bye for now)
My one & only time I have used a plane to travel in Europe was from Malaga, Spain to Stockholm, Sweden. The opportunity to rest, regroup & explore what direction to take next +++ with a dash of the unexpected. This, so far in my journey, was the first time some anxiety & future tripping put me in a bit of a sulk. Fears & doubts were on the edges of all my thoughts & I worked hard not to allow them to drive decision-making.
This beauty kept me found
After 4 days of beautiful and powerful work, and marked by our first ever public event "Blessings and Beauty," the Youth Passageways 2016 Gathering has come to an end. A HUGE thank you to all who made the journey from both near and far. It was a deeply pivotal moment for this network and we've definitely begun to lay the foundation towards a future of seemingly endless possibilities. Let more and more voices join our circle to feed the dreaming of a better world for ALL our young people!