Aligned with My First Breath

As the earth moves to the degree that aligns with my first breath, I am whole, having learned to tend to myself as if for the world.

I journey to a reminder of my origins. Crumbling orange bluffs, salty air, and windswept cypress trees. To the mother who knows my deepest truths and cradles them in nonjudgment.

Her winter spirit redecorated with remnants of trees carried down river, turned into benches and sculptures. An unrecognizable shore, aside from the turtle back rocks, gives me permission to see.

I am the sand, shaped and molded. Done and redone, uncovered and recovered. Swept away and built again.

I am the rock who has remained through every gale. Etched and refined into tide pool homes.

I am the wave, it’s lifetime unmarked by revolutions around the sun. Returning to the sea it never left.

✨ New Audiobook Now Available on Audible! ✨

It’s here!

After months of recording and fine-tuning the words, the Varanasi Sage audiobook is now available on Audible! Varanasi Sage is a series of vignettes that describe the deep connection we can feel with nature and celebrates the ordinary miracles of everyday life. Click here to check it out!

“Walk through nature’s bounty in lyrical, nonfiction prose. Each sensory, rich, hypnotic step illuminates time and place, navigating nature’s creation in contrast to man’s destruction. Written in a series of vignettes, Varanasi Sage honors our sacred existence and ancestral communications through the unseen power that connects all. Varanasi Sage explores life, death, and the ordinary miracles manifesting on earth. Journey the depths of self-discovery to find the truest self, connected and whole.”

Soon, it’ll also be on iTunes!

If you want a quick sample, click play on the icon below to hear one of my favorite chapters, A Call to Vision.

Glamsient at Virtual Burning Man!

I’m excited to announce that I’m guiding three meditations in this year’s Virtual Burning Man through my camp Namaste & Chill! You can participate from anywhere in the world — and the majority of the world will have access to the virtual playa for free! The environment plays like a game (check out a preview below our event calendar). RSVP at dustymultiverse.com

My Schedule in Pacific Time:

Tuesday – 8 PM – Full Moon Ceremony – Empowered by the Moon – Drum Meditation with Nikki Prizma (also live on Twitch at Shelter in Space)

Thursday – 12 PM – Writing & Meditation (also live on Instagram)

Saturday – 2 PM – Burn the Man Within – Drum Meditation with Nikki Prizma

Namaste & Chill Events (2)

 

 

 

Burning Intentions 2019

I’m on the road to Burning Man, and according to tradition I’m sharing my intentions to amplify them. This year I’m doing something I’ve never done before: I’m taking an art installation! The project, Varanasi Sage, has consumed much of my waking life over the past few months, and I’ve gladly given that time. It has been a true challenge and learning experience, but it has also given my life more meaning and purpose. Plus, it helped me finish my first booklet! It’s already been a rewarding experience to create this art, and I’m looking forward to showing it off! I’ll also be giving away a limited number of my booklets as part of the installation.

Without further ado, my Burning Intentions:

    Put my art into the hands of hearts who will love it
    Face challenges with grace and ease, trusting my experiences
    Connect with other artists in a meaningful way
    Deepen into a gratitude practice

If you’re on the playa this year, I’m teaching my workshop Meditation & Writing MWF 10-11am at my camp Namaste & Chill located at 6:15 & D. I would love to see you there!

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Burning Intentions 2018

It’s time for Burning Man! The past two years, I’ve shared my intentions for the experience because writing intentions and having a witness strengthens their power. This post makes the third. Thank you for being my witness.

This year, I’m taking a new project — a meditation and lounge space I’ve been dreaming of for several years and fundraising for with many collaborators. May the Lounge be a sacred space of healing and connection; may it bring all who enter deeper into wholeness and unity.

I’m teaching my workshop, “Meditation and Writing,” three times this year: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3-4 pm at Stellar Dusty Moon 5:30 & H (in the Lounge!). May the workshop serve us in the unique way that we need for our paths; may it provide us with insight, peace, and grounding.

My favorite part of Burning Man is the art — may I meet the artists and have profound experiences with the art.

May the workshops I attend guide me in my journey and connect me with others. May I see the heart of the earth in everyone I meet!

Burning Intentions 2017

It’s late and I’m watching the newly-waxing moon set in the west. I’m driving through the mountains, en route to Black Rock City for Burning Man. This will be my third time participating in the art and music festival. 
Last year, I set intentions that mainly focused on my interactions with other people. And although they were extremely elevated, I saw and felt my intentions manifest in some of my experiences.
I’ve been humbled and challenged this past year — especially recently — and my intentions reflect my need for deep nourishment and reflection.
To share our intentions is to empower them. Please read mine below:
I intend to reestablish my relationship with my creativity; to fully engage with the art installations at the festival and allow myself to be inspired and motivated by them. I need to reset my relationship with my creativity in order to create for creation’s sake without the desire to be seen, popular or make money. This will afford me the freedom I need in my artistic pursuits. I must reconnect with my truth that God’s gift to me is my creativity and my gift back to God is using it.
I intend to be open to receiving the keys I need to enhance my productivity and fulfillment.
I intend to continue the process of letting go of the pain and hurt I hold onto by releasing the people and events from my heart that continue to cause me suffering.
This year, I would like to feel and witness the expansive love that is my true essence, so that I will know who I am.


Photo by Juan P. Zapeda last year at Burning Man.

Sierra Hot Springs

The edge of a summer storm passed overhead breaking the monotony of blue sky. Patches of clouds cast temporary shade as they moved, releasing a misting drizzle, which fell upon us like a celestial blessing. Birds sang the glory of the day.

Stephanie and I relaxed in the large pool. She rested her head against the cement lip and closed her eyes; I faced away to look beyond the deck and view the Sierraville Valley.

People populated reclining chairs, others floated and bobbed in the pool. Stephanie and I were the only ones wearing bathing suits. 

Stephanie hadn’t spoken much since we left the silent dome and the hot pool it contained, but it didn’t bother me. I remembered my first time in the dome and the reverent silence that settled into my heart and mind as I slipped into a profoundly easy meditation facilitated by the heat of the tub, the arhythmic sound of water dripping into the two cold plunges, and the stained glass window — a woman resembling at once the Virgin Mary and Venus de Milo, pouring light into the waters through her outstretched hands. 

I looked to Stephanie; her face, perfectly serene, took on an ancient quality as if her soul had known this place years ago. 

Her visage made me want to rest my head against the cement lip, too, so I turned around. Just as I did, I saw a woman, floating on foam noodles — one under her shoulders, the other under her knees — as if she were in a chair. The woman’s eyes were closed, and like Stephanie, she hadn’t a care in the world. She could not see that her legs, spread in blissful comfort, moved towards the edge of the pool putting her naked groin on a direct trajectory for Stephanie’s face.

I poked Stephanie. She opened her eyes slowly until she realized a woman’s crotch was heading for her. 

With only a few giggles, Stephanie moved out of the way, and broke her silence: “want to check out the meadow pool you were telling me about?”

“Sure!”

We got our towels and walked onto the path. Pine trees filtered the sunlight into complex patterns on the ground.

“I love it here,” Stephanie said.

“Natural beauty and healing waters. What’s not to love?”

“Well,” she emphasized, “there is only so much hoochie coochie in my face that I can take.”

I laughed and then saw two porcelain tubs, just off the trail, nestled in the grass. They each had their own stream of hot water flowing into them from the ground. “Look at these, Steff! Here’s your solution!”

“We have to get in them,” she exclaimed. “How is this real?”

“Real magic,” I said.

We sat for a while, breathing in the novelty of relaxing in a bathtub on a mountainside, but we wanted to sit together and talk, so we continued our quest for the meadow pool. 

“I’m glad we sat in the secret tubs. The secret-not-secret tubs. They’re just right off the path, but they’re easy to miss,” I said.

“Everyone walks by, but not everyone sees,” Stephanie said. “I prefer that kind privacy, like the dome because nobody talks.”

“I was here one night and people were talking in there. I didn’t like that because it affected the depth of my meditation.”

Our feet crunched the path, adding a layer to the birds’ song.

“The big pool was a little extreme for me. I’ve never really been around that much nudity.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.” 

“It was too much at once — naked people almost running into me with their parts. It happened twice. Once was a hoochie coochie and the other was titties.”

“Every time you close your eyes they come for ya, huh?” I joked.

“Seemed like it.”

We passed the white, Victorian Lodge built in 1870. Red poppies brightened the hillside.

“That hot pool, though,” Stephanie said. “It’s hard to explain what I felt. It was like pure energy. I felt a pulse — like a vibration.” 

“Because it’s so hot and the bottom is sand, I close my eyes and lose the feeling of having a body. It’s like my body becomes the water. Must be the closest thing to being in the womb.”

“It did feel like that! And that’s exactly how I felt when we were looking at the grass earlier. I had an out-of-body experience — a supreme oneness, like I was the wind.”

“Wow. Transcendental,” I looked to my left over the wide valley and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range. “You’re so zen you don’t even need the dome.”

“A lady was crying in there.”

“I didn’t notice.”

“She was standing in one of the cold tubs with her face to the wall when we went in.”

“Oh, did she have her hand on the wall?”

“Yes. The dome felt like a place to…” 

“Open and release?”

“That’s how I felt. Completely safe. It was powerful. Every detail. The tiles, the wood, the stained glass. So natural and peaceful and somehow familiar.”

“I felt a release, too,” I said. “Before we walked in there I was angry about what was going on with work. I was thinking about it a lot.”

“I could tell you were trying not to, but you really were lost in thought.”

“But after going in the hot water and spending time in the dome, I feel like I released everything. Now I’m just kinda…dancing on the inside. Like I’m free.”

“Freedom is dancing on the inside. That could be your new motto,” she said as she looked at the trees who grew above us like guardians. “I like all the moss that’s growing.”

“I love mossy trees. And all the tall, lush grass,” I paused my step. “You know, earlier, when we were looking at the grass?”

“Yeah.”

“I was definitely lost in thought, thinking about that email. And you pointed to look out at the valley and the grass in the wind and there was a blue jay on a branch. That brought me back to the present moment and helped me let go.”

“That was it. ‘Come back. Come back,’ I was saying. I had that moment of oneness, but I knew how you were feeling, so I was like ‘hey, don’t forget to look around you and be here.’”

I breathed deeply, “next time I’m having a bad day I’m just going to come here.”

“Seriously. It’s so important to walk out. I feel the same in a lot of ways. You’re not alone.”

We approached the meadow pool and to our surprise, found we had the space to ourselves. A small tree grew behind boulders at the edge of the meadow. Purple irises bloomed in stately elegance. Flowers and leaves floated on the surface of the clear, blue water; we stepped in like queens. Our toes pressed into the soft, sandy floor.  

“I think I’m in the most beautiful place in the world,” Stephanie whispered.

“We’re in Faerlyland,” I said. “You know you’ve fully arrived in Faeryland when you come to the meadow pool and there’s mint and flowers floating in its waters.” 

“You described it like heaven when we were driving up here. And it really is.”

A wooden totem pole watched over the glistening water, speaking without words of the wildlife and civilization that lived in the valley before it was named Sierraville.  

“I love this aspen tree right here and the way the leaves flutter in the wind,” I said. “It reminds me of a wind chime my grandma had in her backyard. It was made out of thin, round, pearlescent shells. She had a lot of wind chimes, but I loved that one the most when I was a kid.”

“I know what you’re saying. Your grandma-angel is here. The Great Spirit is here.” 

I caressed the top of the water with my fingertips, creating swirling ripples. Birds sang from the trees in high tweets and whistles, forming the cadences and melodies of an unplanned symphony while clouds continued their slow and easy migration across the sky. 

 

I Come Back to Myself

Thoughts pour in; they swirl, forming a current, pulling more thoughts into the depths, growing tumultuous. They darken and become dangerous. I am caught, swept in by the undertow. 

It’s loud and I can’t escape. I try to distract myself with other people’s stories, but more words and information makes it worse. I resent the people on the other side of the screen.

I say to myself, “wherever you go, there you are,” but I start my car anyway.

Outside city limits, traffic thins until I am alone on the road. I slow my pace, enjoying the view: farmhouses, oak trees, cattails growing from wet earth. I crest over a bend to see a wide open sky and rolling hills. A lake rests between peaks. 

I arrive at the Buttermilk Bend trailhead. Signs announce Wildflower Tours at 11:00 am. It’s evening now, but I know I’m in the right place. I step onto the trail; the noise inside my head fades, replaced by the sound of the blue green river. 

The Yuba rushes below me, through a valley she’s carved between foothills. I look into her. I see myself in her water; I am made of her, but she is greater than I. She is a force of life — mother to creation. She brings me back to myself, calling to her essence within my veins. I am not the dark and stormy waters of my mind; I am the observer of a free flowing river.

The trail follows the river’s path. We turn together. Curiosity ebbs and flows with the bends. Wildflowers line the path in blues, yellows, whites, purples, reds. They are compact, expansive, delicate, broad, intricate, simple, in boxes and in circles, fragrant and without scent. 

My plugged-in lifestyle, the one that makes my head loud, is like eating plastic information out of plastic bags; I scroll through photos that have been altered; I read inane comments; I watch videos of people pretending; I question every news article, every statement; the part of my life that is lived through squares plugged into outlets makes me forget my true nature. 

Wildflowers are a simple joy. When I see them, I feel a softening in my heart, a growing tenderness, an up-swelling of pleasant emotion.

The river sounds like the river primordial. It speaks the language of my soul. It washes my mind of the chaos and clutter I’ve accepted into it.  

Nothing to plug in, no buttons to push, nothing to sell or buy.

Amongst the wildflowers, next the river, I come back to myself — the pure, unaltered state of breathing and living.


    

The Broken Pot

The night before I left town, I needed to clean my house. I hate returning to a mess because it doesn’t feel restful, and the last thing I want when I get home is to feel like I have chores to do. 

Luckily, my house is fairly-tiny, and doesn’t take long to clean. I started with bathroom and then the kitchen, finishing with the floors. Everything was complete when I vacuumed my tiny living room. Except I quickly dusted my piano, realizing it was overdue, and repositioned the plants upon it.  

Satisfied with my clean home, I took a break to eat snacks before my next chore: packing. Both of my cats were downstairs with me. Sterling, a big, fat, fluffy cat laid next to the front door, which I had opened to bring in fresh air. A thin, transparent, gold curtain in the doorway kept the bugs out. My older, dominant cat, Shadow, sauntered past me towards the door. Like an arrogant king, he paused to look down at Sterling, who did not make eye contact.

Shadow sat just beyond the gold, transparent curtain and faced himself directly at Sterling. Only the thin veil separated the two, extra-large males. I barely noticed Shadow’s confrontational posture until Sterling was growling. He carried on for a few moments before I looked up from my phone and asked “what’s going on here?” 

As soon as I spoke, Sterling moved quickly and low to the ground. He stopped at the door behind me, which led to his cozy, safe space. He pawed at the door, trying to pry it open. 

I crouched next to him, inadvertently blocking him into a corner. “It’s ok,” I said. “You don’t have to leave. I’m not angry.” I pet him, but did not open the door. 

He breathed quickly, his agitation intensifying. He cowered beneath my touch. “Hey, it’s ok,” I placed my hand on his belly and gave him a rub. His eyes widened, his pupils dilated. “What’s up with you?” 

I heard the floor creak. I turned, surprised to see Shadow right behind me. I reacted with a slight jolt. Sterling clamored to his feet, scratching at the floor with his claws. He bolted to the piano as fast as his fat body could take him. He leapt with fear, not looking where he was going, and found himself face-to-face with one of the potted plants.

I watched as his claw caught the lip of the saucer beneath the pot. “Oh Shit!” I exclaimed as Sterling fell backwards and the pot banged deep bass notes, echoing my expletive, before crashing to the ground, breaking and flinging dirt across the floor.

For a split second, looking at the broken pot and the brand-new mess, I had to make a choice. 

I chose to be OK with what just happened. I chose to accept it, even though I had just finished cleaning the house and still had to pack and get organized; even though it didn’t feel OK, I chose to accept it with an understanding that it was OK.

I looked at the broken pot and the dirt on the floor. I looked at the little pile of dirt on the piano keys, the shards of pottery on top of the mound. I looked at the rug I inherited from my Grandmother, scrunched up where Sterling launched off it. In a way, the scene was aesthetically pleasing. Everything was beautifully chaotic, organically placed; it was an artistic expression of gravity and physics that no human could possibly recreate.

I kneeled beside the plant and stroked its narrow leaves — for at least a year it needed repotting, it had grown large and looked cramped. There also hadn’t been enough soil in the pot, but the plant was healthy and so the task never made it onto my to-do list. “Now’s your time,” I said. 

I picked up the plant and the shards of pottery; I shook out the rug and cleaned off the piano. I moved with acceptance — maybe even contentment — and did not feel one twinge of irritation, resentment or anger.

With the plant repotted and the room clean again, I sat back and considered my reaction. Not too long ago, I may have cursed the sky for giving me wacko cats and grumbled as I fixed everything. Where did this deep sense of equanimity come from?

It could only be my yoga practice. I began yoga teacher training at the beginning of the year and have been learning the principles, philosophy and energetics of yoga. According to yoga, personality is a process, and we can evolve to a higher ideal. Left to itself, the mind repeats in cycles, yet with the power of our will we can retrain the mind and reshape ourselves. In this instance, I was not the woman who would curse the sky and get red in the face; I was the woman who picked up the pieces with a calm, knowing smile.

I recalled my teacher, Kelly Golden’s words at the end of every class, “the real practice of yoga begins when you step off the mat and into the world.”

Yoga teaches that discernment is the pinnacle of our spiritual practice. Everyday we make choices and the true practice of yoga helps us choose what is highest and best. In this instance, my practice allowed me to choose acceptance and peace.