Follow me on instagram: @magpiegirlrachelle. Find actions in your neighborhood #blacklivesmatter + your city.

I don’t know what I thought I’d accomplish, as I strode the long blocks from my office to the main shopping district in downtown Seattle. I hadn’t marched in a long time, and police engagement had changed significantly since then. Our peaceful protests of the Persian Gulf War or efforts to end Aparthied never held the threat of riot gear. But since the Battle in Seattle during the WTO meetings, Seattle lives under the gaze of men in riot gear, with bats in their hands and tear gas clipped to their belts.

But the real reason I’d stopped demonstrating wasn’t fear of the police. It was discouragement.

After so many years of the call and response of what-do-we-want and when-do-we-want-it, I began to question the efficacy of trying to change the system by holding a sign. The terrible slowness of systemic change wore me down and burned me out. And the collapse of my own health required me to be strategic with every joule of energy. Something that didn’t get solid results was something that had to be laid down.

Then yesterday, when Eric Gardner’s story broke on the eve of Michael Brown’s, which came on the heels of Trayvon Martin, which followed any number of unsung and unnoticed histories of Death by Cop — my body called me to step back into the march. I had a massage scheduled that day — a key part of my selfcare. But I couldn’t imagine– Could. Not. Imagine. –lying on a massage table while a protest roared in outrage. So I called, swallowed the cancelation fee, and without hope of change or solution, joined the throng.

In the company of others I walked city blocks, hands held high, as we converted a symbol of surrender to one of power.

In the company of others I shouted, “I can’t breathe” eleven long times.

In the company of others I lay on  the wet streets, staging a die-in, disrupting business as usual.

In the company of others I responded to the charge to “rise up” and recite the names of dozens of unarmed black men and women killed by law enforcement. 

And what I discovered was this:

You cannot take even the symbolic reality of violence into your body and not be changed.

Go ahead, try it.
Raise your arms until you ache.
Lie down, silent, in the cold.
But most of all fill your lungs, engage your voice, and plead for your life eleven times over.

If you do this, I promise, it won’t be a news story any longer. It won’t be someone who looks different than you, lives different that you. It won’t be statistics.

I don’t march to change the system. Not yet. We are too few. The crowds have not yet swelled.

I march to change myself. To cement reality into my sinews. To create a place in my body that will not let me forget, will not let me engage in shadow comforts, will not let me stay cocooned.

Listen friends, what I want to tell you is this.

For so long we have been deconstructing faith and reconstructing soulcare together. We’ve been acknowledging our intrinsic value. We’ve been learning to stand in our own power in the face of patriarchy. We’ve been insisting on respect. This has strengthened us, and shored us up, and restored our voices.

Now is the time to turn that care outward towards our siblings.

This is what our little rituals strengthen us to do.
This is what our sacred rites are meant to support.
This is why we light candles, and drink beet juice, and try to get enough sleep.

Because we are called.
Because we are empowered.
Because we must, above all things, be the change we wish to see in the world.

This is where soulcare and worldcare meet.

What about you, my magpie?

Are you ready to take your well-cared for self and expend some energy for your less-cared for sbilings?
Can you take your well-cared for body and lay it down on the wet streets?
Will you find a right-fit way to act?

I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.

Amen? Amen.

Resources for becoming an ally:

Dear White Allies, Stop Unfriending People Over Ferguson by @spectraspeaks

5 Tips for Being an Ally (video) by Franchesca Ramsey

Dear White People: What we can do about Ferguson by Jen Lemen

#blacklivesmatter #soulcareforworldcare #religish

Pinterest

{ 0 comments }

Have you every wondered why self-portraits and the ever-present selfie are ringing such a resonate gong these days? Surely there’s something we are hungry for that’s getting fed by this cell-phone enhanced habit.

I’m curious about the phenomenon, and I thought you might be too. That’s why I’ve invited soulsister and self-portrait specialist Vivienne McMaster to do a 3Q Interview with us today about self portraiture as Little Ritual.

If you like what you read, be sure to join Viv’s Be Your Own Beloved class, starting Saturday, November 1st. (Go register! I ‘ve taken it and it’s so, so good.)

Vivienne, step right up!

 

Q: I’m super curious about Little Rituals and how they enrich our daily life. How did self-portraiture become your little ritual?

A: Taking self-portraits came into my life about 8 years back when I was just emerging from a bit of a depression and at the time I was also doing night shift work.  It was definitely a low point and at the same time I had this really strong pull to try to do something each that felt like it filled up my own well in some way and had me feeling alive, awake & engaged with the world around me (even if I still felt exhausted). 

Going on little daily photo walks around the neighbourhood became that for me and putting even just a little bit of myself into the photo helped me feel like I was saying ‘I’m here’. 

It really did become a ritual for me, one that I do almost daily because it does keep filling me up, keep allowing me ways to dig deeper into seeing myself with kidnness. It has become a little ritual that helps me feel like I’m deeply engaging in being the narrator of the visual story of my life and truly only takes a few minutes each day. Plus, since that time selfies have become the norm, so it’s not so unusual for someone to pull out their camera or phone and aim it at themsleves!

Q: We don’t keep doing rituals just because “it’s tradition.” They have to have some purpose if they’re going to stick with us. What has your self-portrait ritual brought to you over the years?

A: My ritual of taking daily self-portraits has brought me so much, especially in terms of healing my relationship to body image and how I saw myself.  When I started taking them, I was still so entrenched in the self-hate and low self-esteem that had been with me since my teen years.  I was in my late 20′s at this point and was so tired of it.  This daily ritual of just trying to see myself with kindness through my camera, photo by photo has helped me slowly shift from a place of self-hate towards self-compassion and finding confidence too.

Plus, it’s been a really playful process for me.  So these little moments feel like self-care & they help me fill up my own well too.

Q: What is it about the Be Your Own Beloved course that makes snapping a selfie about so much more than just showing off a new haircut?

I think selfies are often perceived as being about our physicality, and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, it has the potential to be so much more.  That’s where we go with it in Be Your Own Beloved, beyond just our physicality and towards storytelling, deciding how we want to see ourselves, telling brave stories through our photos and allowing ourselves to be seen both by ourselves and by the supportive community.  We challenge ourselves to look at the images we take the way we would look at someone we deeply love, with kind eyes. 

So you could say we go far beyond the surface in Be Your Own Beloved but at the same time we still only take a few minutes a day to take each photo, like a typical selfie, and have a whole lot of fun doing it. It’s my hope that it becomes a little ritual for the participants to see themselves with love each day!

***

Need a new ritual for your Fall/Winter season? I give two thumbs way up to Vivienne’s lovely class and the community she creates there. Be Your Own Beloved  starts November 1st.

Much Warmth,
Rachelle Mee-Chapman
(yep, it’s a selfie!)

Pinterest

{ 1 comment }

The icon of my Grandma for our Dia de los Muertos ofrenda —  from a photo taken while she was dancing at my cousin’s wedding. 

In case you want to listen:

The Believer

Last night my roots called to me, and my grandmother came in a dream. She was at her “mountain house” –the place she so loved, the house that became her home in the retirement years. We were upstairs in a big, expansive room, lined not with wall to wall carpet, but wall to wall grass. “Come dance with me,” she offered, stretching out her hands. I didn’t dance, but I watched her move, slow and lovely in her own age-ed way.

The dream changed then and she was sitting on the window ledge, her legs hanging over the side of the house, languidly smoking a cigarette.

“Grandma, come inside!” I said, in fright.
“No dear, I’m watching the grandchildren play.”

And there we were, the five us, as we when we were in grade school — all braids, and bellbottoms, and knees skinned from rollerskating in the drive way.

“I’m happy here.” My grandmother shrugged. “If I fall, I fall.” She blew smoke away from me, up and away from the side of her mouth. “Besides,” she said, reaching over and tapping her opposite shoulder with the hand that held the cigarette. I have my wings.”

My Grandmother did indeed have her wings, inked on her shoulder by a tattoo artist when she was past 80.  ”It’s an angel,” she told me. “Because I have my own beliefs you know.”

Grandma did have her own beliefs.

She believed when war is at hand, you should marry the man you love before he ships away. So she ran off and eloped, in spite of her parent’s disapproval. (And they were together ’til death did part.)

She believed that a woman could go back to work — because she wanted to, not because the family needed money– and that everyone would be the better for it. (My father and auntie agree.)

She believed she didn’t need to stop chain smoking, because something else would get her long  before lung cancer did. And also, that she would be safer if she didn’t wear her seat belt. (Right in both cases.)

She believed it was good luck to “rub Buddha’s tummy,” and never passed the statue in the living room without giving it’s belly a shine. (See the aforementioned lack of auto accident injuries and absentee lung cancer.)

She believed that it was better to make gin and tonics for everyone waiting to pass through the Canadian border, than to give up the alcohol in the back of the camper. (The border guard agreed.)

She believed there should always be cookies in the jar, new jeans for back-to-school, and $25 on your birthday. (I received my last birthday check only when she could no longer remembered how to spell my name.)

She believed her grandchildren were “perfect, just perfect.” And indeed, through her eyes we felt like maybe we were–or at least, we were a better version of ourselves than we otherwise understood ourselves to be.

My grandmother was not a perfect woman. She smoked to much and worried too often. She hid her sparkle behind my more gregarious grandfather. She made far too many jello-and-mayonnaise salads.

No, Grandma was not a perfect woman. But she was a great believer. She believed  in indulgence, and magic, and the power of family gatherings. She believed it always snowed on the dogwoods before the spring would come; and that if you played a roll of pennies, then nickels, then dimes before you started in on quarters you would have better luck at the slot machines. She believed you should always have a doll in your stocking; and when in doubt you should make a turkey and a ham for Christmas dinner.

Most of all she was a believer in us, her “just perfect”grandchildren. And that belief, that unconditional love, has given all of us wings.

May you have someone who believes in you. And may you pass your beliefs onto the ones you love.

Amen? Amen.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

***

Who in your history believed in you? What beliefs (erroneous and otherwise) have been passed on through your ancestors? Come remember with us as we celebrate the Day of the Dead in Flock, our online soulcare community. Click here to join us. Video lessons go out Monday, October 6th. 

 

Pinterest

{ 0 comments }

 

During October in the Flock, we are learning to celebrate our ancestors in simple, meaningful ways. We’ll be learning the history of Dia de los Muertos via video, and getting tips and supplies together to make heritage icons. Won’t you click here to join us?

 

Wondering why roots matter?
Here’s a vintage post to help you connect the dots of your story….

Why Roots Matter

Photo by Vern C. Gorst, circa 1923. The Commons.

In case you’d rather listen:

Listen friends, what I want to tell you is this.

Where you came from matters.

You may be the daughter of a governor, surrounded by private schools, and horseback lessons, and security guards.

Or you may be classically middle class, with a sibling and two parents climbing into a mini van.

Or, you may be the under-parented waif, sitting at a Formica table, sharing a bag of potato chips for dinner with your brother.

Regardless or your history, the story of your source matters. The good and the bad of it. The hot and the cold of it. The magic and the mayhem. 

The stories you were taught in your childhood,
and those you wrote for yourself  in your teens.

The beliefs you held when you came of age,
and the hard lessons you learned in the decades that followed.

The family photographs in albums and shoe boxes,
and the instagrams on your phone.

It’s all part of an essential narrative.  Every twist is a part of the root system unseen below the surface of your present.

The tangled stories of your family tree carries life to the heartwood of your being.
Full of pleasure or rife with pain, they are the building blocks of you.

How do you take care of these stories? Where can you tell them, breathing them into life?

True, inside the therapist office you can shed tears over the father who missed every single birthday, or the family that melted away. But what if you could be witnessed in your own living room?

Once in blue moon at a family reunion you can make grandma’s apple cake and laugh at all your in-common quirks. But what if you could remember with honesty and warmth in a more regular way?

How can you notice your roots on a regular basis? How can you build story telling into the rhythm of your year? How can you make sure to pass on accounts of victory, and cautionary tales to your children?

You can start by celebrating the dead.

It’s true that I am as anglo as they come. I don’t have a fascinating story of immigration. I only speak one language. My family has been here for so long, we no longer know where our deep roots are planted.

To make matters even more challenging, my culture  is charmed by the new, and obsessed with the young. I have no cultural habits of remembrance.

And so I borrow from my neighbors to the south, learning their good lessons. I become the silly gringa practicing something she only half understands. I celebrate Dia de los Muertos –The Day of the Dead.

I don’t  do it properly — taking the day off with my neighbors to have picnics in the cemetery, leaning against the gravestones while we eat our ancestors favorite foods. I don’t build an ofrenda as big as a dinning room table, festooned with golden marigolds, bright mirrors, paper flowers. The damp climate of my home town insures that I can’t make sugar skulls. But I have my own right-fit version. One my family has come to love. One that helps my children remember.

Because of my bastardized take on All Saints…All Soul’s…The Day of the Dead, my children know our family stories.

They know about their great-grandmother and why she got a tattoo when she was 80.

They value their well-clad feet as they hear how only the oldest of my grandfather’s siblings had the privilege of shoes.

They are connected to the brother they never knew, dead before they were ever born. Gone but not forgotten.

And we know other stories too, because of the Dead.

Catherine can tell you all about her name sake, who stood up against the powers-that-be when the church ignored the poor.

Both girls listen as their dad, not usually one for traditions and art projects, shows them the icon he made of Rosa Parks and explains how her act of defiance inspired him to take his own stand.

Ancestors of blood and of choice shape the next generation, and answer the question for us all, “how shall we then live?”

It is a wide, opinonated world we live in. We are buffered about by the pro’s and the con’s. Shaped by the urgent instead of the important. You need your roots, as I need mine. To anchor us in true things. To help us stand.

Are you connected to your ancestry?
Can you makes space for the sad and the joyful bits of your history?
Are you passing your stories down?

I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.

Amen? Amen.

***

I hope you’ll join us this month in the Flock as we learn the history of Dia de los Muertos, and gather supplies and traditions for our own right-fit versions of this ritual of remembrance. Click here to join us. We’d love to say, “welcome home.”

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

 

Pinterest

{ 0 comments }

In case you’d rather listen:

Our lives our made up of repeating parts. Habits. Traditions. Routines.
You might see these things as merely a list of duties or must-does.
You might be trying to get a more fun, fulfilling mix into your routines.
Probably it’s a bit of both.

When you bring your attention to these repeating parts. When you suss out the meaning and identify the symbols – your habits and routines become more than just to-do’s. They become the rituals of your life.

Patterns that preserve your practices.
Traditions that pass on your values.
Habits that move you from “getting through the day” to actually nurturing your life.

Last time in our Little Rituals series we looked at how to create a ritual of movement in How to Move Your Body. I shared my ritual of body movement—running—and we identified the action and object that acted as the first part of any ritual—the Opening Salvo—the symbolic action that tell my mind/body/spirit that the ritual of movement has begun. My opening salvo is the pulling on of my running tights. That’s my singing bowl. That’s my starting bell.

But what comes next in the process?

After the Opening Salvo comes the meatiest, most meaningful part of any ritual – The Practice. You put on your running tights, then push off into the actual run.

When I first began running serendipity greeted me. Just when I was in the aches-and-pains stage of things, I heard a story on the NPR. It was about a group of war widows and widowers who ran together. The leader of the group described her heart wrenching story of loss, and then she said – “I was so lost in my grief, and I knew my children, my life needed me. I didn’t know what to do. But I knew that every day, come what may, I could push off into a run.”

That’s what the practice portion of any ritual does for you. It’s your push off into the run. It’s the doing the gets you beyond the theory. This is the difference between orthodoxy (right thinking) and orthopraxis (right doing.) It’s the practice that gets you to the purpose. Rituals only function if they have meaning and purpose. Tradition is not enough.

My movement practice reminds me that pain is not an ending. It’s not death. It’s not a full stop. It can be endured. It can be healed. It will go away. I can overcome it.

My movement practice connects me to presence. The flowers bud, bloom, wilt. The street art appears, fades, gets painted over. The houseboat gets moved down the channel, the bridge gets a new coat of blue and orange. Repeatedly passing familiar ground on a run helps me stay present to my life in an embodied way – which in turns brings me more clarity, and connects me to abundance and gratitude.

My movement practice helps me stay inside my body. My feet strike the ground, my muscles slowly warm, and my breath finds its rhythm. As a survivor of chronic pain, sexual assault and the shitty, shaming messages handed down through my culture of origin—I have spent a lifetime learning to live outside my body. Add to this a highly tuned spirit, and creative generator on overdrive—and most of my time is spent in my head, in my heart, in the clouds. My ritual of movement brings me back to my flesh. It says, “You are here. Your needs are not imaginary. Your desires are not fluff. You are flesh and bone. You, your body, matters.”

My movement practice connects me to compassion. In my mind I’m a marathoner. I spring off each step like a gazelle. I fly through space. The reflection in the shop windows tells another story. The reality is I’m almost 45, with a history of chronic illness, a wonky hip, and a 14 minute mile. I can run three miles on strong days, but it’s a slow plod to two miles on weary ones; or a split deal when my knee cries – running one way, walking back; or even a return to day one of run/walk intervals after an injury or a head cold. Running, for me has been two steps forward, one step back. This reality makes me face myself and asks me to respond—not with a barking inner coach—but with truth and kindness.

So my question for you friend, is this. What is the meat of your movement ritual? What is the actual practice teaching you. Because when it comes to rituals, “it’s tradition” isn’t enough. It has to have meaning it’s going to last.

I invite you to take a moment today and stop by the Facebook page. Let us know: What is your ritual of movement? What is its meaning or purpose? I’d love to know. We’d love to bear witness. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s no place to go, but together.”

With Warmth (and rain-soaked runnin’ glory),

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

Pinterest

{ 1 comment }

In case you want to listen:

I have not always been a runner. In fact, for many years I was so ill I couldn’t walk up the stairs in my own home. But last spring I decided to try. To do a little experiment and see how far my health had improved. To look midlife in the eye and say, “Oh yeah? Well, it’s hardly over, is it?”

So every morning, I step out of Morning Cuddle and into my running tights. Here’s the kicker. It’s a full 90 minutes before I get to run.

First I have to make breakfast
and pack lunches.
Shoot the dog with his insulin.
Find missing water bottles.
Sign last minute permission slips.
Carpool.

But after all that, there’s me, and Ira, and 3 miles along the shipping canal.
How do I keep my determination during for those busy 90 minutes of potential distraction? Why don’t I end in defeat?

Because the ritual doesn’t start when I push off into a run.
The ritual starts when I put on my running tights.

Rituals create sacred space for sacred work. The work of your life. The work of your every day. (Or the sacred play of your life, or the practice, or whatever word is right-fit for y.o.u.)  Every ritual has an opening salvo – an action that rings the bell, and says, “You’ve stepped into sacred space. We’re starting. It’s begun.”

When it comes to my #littleritual around daily movement, the opening salvo is not pushing off into the run. Rather, it’s making the decision to put on my running tights. I learned this from choreographer Twyla Tharp in her book The Creative Habit. Twyla is getting on in years now, and she is still a FORCE! Last year when she premiered a new work at the Pacific Northwest Ballet her pre-show talk included rolling on the floor, barking at the interviewer, and keeping up with a dozen dancers who had to be at least 40 years younger than she was. She can do this because she has a ritual of movement.

Every day Twyla wakes up, hails a cab, and goes to the gym to train. What does she say begins her daily ritual? Not the first leg on the barre, or the first barbell in her hand. No, her ritual of movement begins when she raises her hand to hail the cab. That’s her opening slavo. The symbol that says, “Something sacred this way comes. Pay attention. Don’t back out.”

Over the next few days, I want to talk  with you more about the ritual of movement and the pieces of a ritual in general — the components. But for today, I want to ask you this: What is your opening salvo?

Maybe it’s the opening salvo for your ritual of movement. Or maybe it’s the opening salvo to how you demarcate creative space, or invite the children to transition back home after school, or signal your body that it’s time to sleep at the end of the day.

You have one, my magpie friend. You surely do.  Somewhere in your daily habits there are already sacred rites. And I’m inviting you to notice them, the name them — and in doing so, to make them even more powerful.

Because spirituality doesn’t have to be onerous. It doesn’t have to be another layer to add to your already impossibly complicated life. No, a soulful life is yours for the taking. You’ve already laid the ground work – and where you haven’t you can do so with simplicity and grace.

So let’s start looking for those little rituals, shall we? Let’s start naming the parts.

Scan your day, find an opening salvo, and then come share it with us on the Facebook page. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s nowhere to go, but together.”

With Warmth (and rain soaked, runnin’ glory),

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

P.s. Seeing posts about other middle aged gal pals who have recently started running? Feeling wistful? Beth Baker at Running Evolution is empowering, encouraging, and totally understands the beginner’s mind. You can run with her in person in Seattle, or use her Couch to 5K audio program on your phone. (Tell her Rachelle sent ya!) #curatedccare #twothumbsup #buttslap

Pinterest

{ 1 comment }

In case you’d rather listen:

I  am not one to meditate upon waking. Let’s just be honest, meditating first thing in the morning, I should just call it “continued sleeping.”

I do, however, need a ritual to tell my mind/body/spirit that it’s time.
Time to transition from dream to waking.
Time to stir.
Time to move.
Time to awake.

When I was younger I was taught this ritual should involve prayer, or “devotions.” These had the same fate as my present-day attempt at morning meditation–a brief moment of lucidity and good intention, followed by snoring. In my adulthood I’ve tried any number of waking rites–morning pages, first-thing yoga, ten breaths, body scans. Nothing stuck.

Then, my daughter, my wee Cate, came up with the solution.

As a preschooler Cate sat at the table in her pink Pooh Bear nightgown and said, “Mommy, I am not a morning birwd.” Truer words were never spoken. Cate is not a morning bird. Not at all. And so, this wise little soul just naturally came up with her own solution – the ritual that would set her day off right – the Morning Cuddle. Here’s how it goes:

Every morning my alarm goes off ten minutes before I need to wake Cate. I stumble around the room , opening curtains and finding my glasses. Then I walk into Cate’s room and say, “Good morning Cate. It’s Monday morning. Time to get up for school.” I open her curtains, and then go back to my room and wait for her to crawl into what she calls “the fluffy bed.” 

The bed is our sacred space.
Opening the curtains is our rite.
The morning catchphrase, our litany.
(Much of life is church you see, in the best sense, when you notice it.)

Cate joins me under the duvet and we continue our ritual.

First, the weather app – temparture, chance of rain, and how windy is it going to be? Then, we read a poem. Right now we’re working through Courage: Poems for Gutsy Girls, but we also like Poetry 180  and  The Writer’s Almanac. After out poem, she’s starting to come to life, so I ask her if she’s had any dreams, and I in turn share mine. Then we crack open a tiny board book from her toddlerhood and read a rhyming prayer. Five prayers for the weekdays, over and over again for years and years. Finally I snap the book shut with its satisfying board-book slap. The dog leaps up at the sound of it and scampers to the edge of the bed, eager to be helped down. (It’s his ritual too and he knows that sound means breakfast!) I proceed downstairs to make Cate her tea and toast, and our day has begun.

Now, what is the importance of this ritual? Where is the meaning it in? Why does it work?

The ritual is right fit. Cate is slow to rise. She needs a gentle entry. Unlike the blare of an alarm clock and a rush to be ready, this pattern of waking is not prescriptive. It doesn’t demand that she shape herself into some kind of mandatesd behavior–“up and at ‘em!” Rather, it is descriptive – the right set of practices for her distinct personhood. It is what Cate’s mind/body/spirit needs. It’s not something forced upon her. It’s intuitively hers – born out of self-respect, truth telling, and compassion.

The ritual meets a felt physical need. The slowness of the process let’s Cate’s brain wake up at its own pace. The landing on the fluffy bed tells her body it’s safe to re-enter the waking world. The weather app answers her question; “How shall I dress today so I’m not too hot or too cold?” Cate’s morning ritual doesn’t create another layer of something to tick off her to-do list. It works because it’s pragmatic — it actually meets her body’s needs.

The ritual meets a felt spiritual need. Cate is an artist. She draws, she writes, she makes things out of nothing but tape, and toilet paper tubes, and discarded boxes. That kind of creative output requires creative input. Our daily poem is as important to her spirit as breakfast is to her belly. (It doesn’t hurt mom none either!)

The ritual makes a transition. The book slams shut, the dog scampers, mom goes downstairs to make tea. Each of these sounds, motions, and actions tell Cate what’s coming next. It shuts down resistance (I don’t want to get up!) by communicating a consistent truth – the clock is moving, the sun is brightening, the tea is brewing. It’s time.

What about you my magpie friend?
What do you need in the morning?
How does your body work when waking?
What are your physical needs? What are your spiritual ones?
Do you have a ritual that serves you well? What’s your version of the morning cuddle? 

Click over to the facebook page and let us know. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s no place to go, but together.”

With Much Warmth (and bedhead!),

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

 

 

Pinterest

{ 0 comments }

In case you’d rather listen:

I know summer is supposed to be wonderful, right? Waterslides, and s’mores, and songs around the campfire.

But this summer friends, this summer was HARD.

Yes there were picturesque sunsets, and long-dreamed-of road trips to take the children to my hometown, and my sweet teenage nephew whispering, “I’ve never seen the stars sparkle like that before, Auntie Chelle.”

That magic was there.
It was real.
I claim it with both hands.

And…

And there was illness. Not your common cold variety, but scary-as-shit is-my-kid-gonna-survive stuff. Yes, there was illness, and fridges that broke down with $200 worth of food inside, and 30 hours in the car together, and some of the scariest interpersonal conflict I’ve ever stepped in.

The mayhem was there.
It was real.
I stood in the middle of it with both feet planted, alternating between “just breathe” and “fuck it, just bring it!”

Magic and Mayhem –they live in the selfsame place, friends.
One breath, stars. The next, meltdown.
One moment bliss. The next, terror.

It gives me whiplash sometimes, the way life turns on a dime. The way it tricks you into thinking there is no such thing as Solid.  The very bullying, bossy, pushed-around nature of it all send me flailing some times — flapping about with arms and ankles, trying to find a foothold, a place to grab and hang on.

It may be that I’m just not sufficiently enlightened, but I don’t think there’s a way to live without the Mayhem. It comes without bidding. It comes unannounced. If we insist that the only successful, happy life is one without mayhem, we lose it all, don’t we? We lose the joy of sinking really deeply into the Magic – because Magic requires honesty, requires vulnerability, requires truth—and we can’t get that when we are denying the reality of being upset. We can’t access it when we are on the defense all the time, trying to keep the crazy at bay.

And we miss the lesson of the Mayhem as well. The iron-sharpens-iron of challenge. The opportunity to say, “Okay, you have something to teach me? Show me, Mayhem.” The chance to acknlowedge that yes, trial by fire is part of our becoming.

So what’s the solution? What’s the response to this whiplash? How do we live in the hot and the cold of it, the ebb and the flow of it? How do we thrive in the magic and the mayhem?

Ritual, friends. It has so much to do with ritual.

Rituals are truth telling devices.
In the middle of Magic they say, “Look! Notice. That’s real, that beauty. You made space for that. That gift came to you.  Say, ahhhhh……”
In the midst of Mayhem they say, “You’re here. You’re safe. There is ground beneath your feet.”

We have rituals all over the place, you and I. Or at least we have baby rituals, embryotic rituals, waiting to get born. We can find them. We can name them. We can help them grow.

And it won’t be hard either. It won’t be complicated. It will take some practice. Repetition. Intention. But it can be done. And oh, friends, it so worth it.

So let’s keep talking about rituals for awhile shall we? I’ll write about mine, you tell me about yours.

I’m not sure how long this will go on. But I know it’s going to be good.

Thanks for being here with me, my magpie friend. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s nowhere to go, but together.”

See you tomorrow and Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

Pinterest

{ 2 comments }

You know that thing, where you don’t feel like you got enough done? Or maybe you yourself, at your core don’t feel like you are enough.

You are not alone in that, my magpie friend. Not at all. In fact, it comes up all the time in my soulcare community, Flock. So much so, that we are dedicating the next month to getting some traction around this whole enoughness thing. Not just mental shifts, but practical tips, tricks, and behavior hacks that will really help you stop that broken record of “not enough.”

I hope you’ll click here to join us in Flock as we do this important work together. In the meantime, here’s Vintage Magpie post and podcast with a little bit of inspiration for you.

You really are enough, and more over, you can get to a place where you feel that truth in your every, every day.

Enjoy!

Good. Enough.

Last week in the car my 14 year old daughter, Eden, turned to me and said:

“Mom, you used to raise money for a food bank. Then you ran a shelter for homeless teens. Then you were a pastor. After that you raised us, and took in the boy down the street when he needed fostering. When G was in the NICU for so long, you took care of his family. And you look out for your people on-line when they are having a hard time. You are always being a caregiver. It’s just not in Africa. So why do you always think you should be doing more?”

Eden is right. I am a compassionate caregiver. Paid and unpaid. Job title or not. My life is compassion. My life is service.

Yet I constantly under value the way I live.

I refer to my work as “my expensive hobby.”
I call my life “cushy.”
I self-identify as a privileged middle-aged upper-middle-class white lady.
(And I am. But I’m aware of my privilege, and I use it as well as I know how in service to others.)

So why do I so often fall into the trap of thinking it’s not enough?

Because I believe the lie.

The lie that if it’s not intense it doesn’t count.
The lie that a caregiver doesn’t also deserve (and need!) care and comfort herself.
The lie that if I’m not changing the world, I’m not doing anything worthwhile.

I suspect it’s not just me. I suspect that you also get stuck in the same erroneous thought whirlpool. And those lies spin you round and round, moving you from reflection to rumination, sapping your strength, and making you wonder if you are actually making progress swimming up, or if you are slowly sinking down?

You deserve to know the truth. In fact, it’s the only way to really live. So here it goes, my magpie. Here’s the gods’ honest truth

You are living intentionally.
You are attentive to the world around you.
You are compassionate.

You are not “good enough.” You are good.
(And that is enough.)

Click to spread the good word.

This isn’t going to be true someday.
It’s not waiting for when you are finally done running on the endless self-help hamster wheel.
It’s not a merit badge you will get when you finally feel grown up.

These are truths about your personhood right now.

Does that mean we aren’t ever supposed to change, you and I? Does it mean that we don’t have lessons to learn? Am I implying we never make mistake, snap at our partners, eat too many donuts?

No, not at all.

You are not broken. Neither are you are stagnant. Nor are you done.

You are simply, growing.
Evolving.
Becoming.

Are you enough right now? Can you be enough tomorrow? Will you grow in your enough-ness for as long as you surely shall live?

I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.

(And I’ll be doing it there with you.)

Amen? Amen.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

Want help connecting with enoughness?

Join us this September in Flock as we share tips, tricks, and behavior-hacks for Finding Enoughness. Flock memberships can start/stop at any time, just click here to join us.

 

Pinterest

{ 1 comment }

This is my hammock.

I try to get a little #hammocktime everyday. It’s one of the #littlerituals that keep me grounded in these sunny summer months of houseguests, maddeningly inconsistent schedules, and delicious garden-beckons days.

Picturesque, isn’t it? Lush and indulgent and a little bit of a princess-thing, you might say. When you look at these pictures from the outside my life might look magical. And it is. It often is.

But there are other, tougher truths behind the need for this little ritual.

When you look at this photo you do not see the child struggling with a chronic illness so severe she’s had to quit cross-country, and babysitting, and quite nearly, school.

You don’t see my own fragile body and the way migraines are kept at bay only because my mornings take three hours to start, and my days end early, and my work is part time.

You don’t know the story behind a pregnancy ending in still birth, and they way ten years of chronic pain impacts a marriage, or how hard it is to rebuild tribe. You can’t see the inner turmoil that comes from having a call so strong it aches, and all the ways that lives in your body and comes out through your pores if you don’t tend to it ever so carefully, every every day.

My life is magic. It is filled with children who play ukulele, and fold a thousand paper cranes, and draw costumes all day on electronic sketch pads. It’s graced by a partner who still wants to make me laugh, dear ones who call me “darling,” and parents who shelter me on the ocean’s shores. It’s kissed by work I love, and clients I like, and the time and income to pursue them (at least a little). It even has two very silly dogs.

Yes my life is magic, and so is yours. But magic has it’s darkness, just as does any light. The hot has it’s cold. The ebb has it’s flow.

And so, I go to the hammock. where it can all gather. Where I can see what swirls around me, and within me, and between the people I love. Where I can still my breath and catch my thoughts, feel the ache in my heart, and the gratitude in my bones.

The hammock catches it all, distills it to an elixir, brews a balm for my soul.

What about you, friend? How do you pay attention to your magic?

Are you ready to catch the ebb and the flow of it, the hot and the cold of it?
Can you create the little ritual that lets you say “hello, there!” to your life?
Will you join me hammock?

I think you are.
I know you can.
I hope you will.

Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

What’s are your little rituals? Share them with us this summer on Facebook and Instagram and spread the idea that small is powerful. #littlerituals

Pinterest

{ 1 comment }