Racism in Portland & Oregon

I woke up this morning before dawn to thank the full moon for this new day. Despite not sleeping well, after a full day of trying to prepare for mediating my pending divorce, I powered through my kundalini yoga practice to head down to the Pearl for a discussion on “After Obama: Talking race in America today.” 

The early morning forum was a partnership between the Portland Pearl Rotary Clubs new Social Justice Task Force, Oregon Humanities, and Ecotrust. The conversation was facilitated by Kim Singletary, who did a fantastic job of making us laugh, listen and think. I also want to give her a shout out, because I saw that she’s hosting another forum called Black American Women and Questions of Citizenship in the U.S. Media at Albina Library.

It’s hard to convey what a powerful and thought-provoking conversation we had together, and I don’t believe that I could do it justice to recap. But what I do feel very called to do is to reflect more about how the conversation has inspired me to think about how I can take action to shift our local community culture toward one that welcomes and honors diversity, while systemically working to shift policies that have deep roots of cultural racism and socio-economic division.

As a third generation Oregon, I appreciated the ice-breaker question being an about what we love about Portland and Oregon, with the caveat that we were also encouraged to share what turns us off about the local culture’s attitude toward racism. It was easy for us all to find common ground around loving being close to nature (even it the facilitator cheerfully joked about how she likes looking at it through a cafe window or driving by…coming from a culture where nature is enjoyed in a picture frame). Yet, we quickly shifted to talking about the rural/urban, red/blue dichotomy, and how truly racist Portland’s history is.

Having grown up in rural Southern Oregon and Eugene, I moved to Portland in 2000 the same month I graduated from college. As an International Studies major, I had taken my share of classes to understand how we each have a personal culture/history that shapes our world view, especially when it comes to our perspective on racism (where I uncovered my own parents’ and grandparents’ mostly latent racist leanings). My twin sister and I had many deep conversations about our personal white privilege, and still today questioning how we influence social change as an identical pair of like-minded yoga loving white women living in inner NE Portland.

Portland has gentrified so incredibly much in this century.

Our conversation this morning brought up a lot of memories around how I was feeling three years ago. At the time, my son Kieran was a third grader at Irvington Elementary. His class was learning about Portland’s history of systemic racial injustice. As a social science and history kid, he soaked it up. Gratefully, his teachers really took on the opportunity to open up their young minds. They also invited parents to learn, and I was happy to participate in a special guest lecture where they brought the creators of the documentary Whitelandia.

I already knew much of the history, having done a summer long independent study of Portland’s history in graduate school, where I uncovered the Albina Plan and the tragedy of the Vanport Floods. Yet, even though I had learned about the history a decade before, relearning and sharing it with my ten year old son was a moving experience that left me unsure of what I could do beyond try my best as a mother to unteach racism.

The four minute trailer about Oregon’s racist history was completely thought-provoking and at the time I remember seriously thinking about writing a potentially controversial blog post about my experience of gentrification in NE Portland, but was far too wrapped up in the obligations of my life, as I am now…the quick story is that I was living in the Albina neighborhood and experiencing gentrification and questioning my own place in the problem.

Those stories will need to come later, because for today I want to circle back to how this morning’s conversation has inspired me to take my own baby steps to end cultural racism in Oregon.

  1. I plan to take my kids to visit the current exhibit on Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Year at the Oregon Historical Society. I know my son will eat it up, and at age nine and four, my daughters will likely give me sad astonished looks when they learn the history of their beloved mother state. Whatever we learn, it will be an opportunity to plant more seeds of questioning the cultural status quo and hopefully creatively thinking about what else we could do as a family to be part of the solution.
  2. After researching Whitelandia, it looks as though they never managed to get the funding to finish editing and distributing the documentary film. It is such an absolute and utter shame, and I feel compelled to contact the creators to ask about the current status, and if they respond letting me know that they could use more funding, I would like to go to the social justice task force to brainstorm how we could help with fundraising. 
  3. My last step isn’t a quick and easy “to-do,” but one that will take a commitment to many more baby steps. In our conversation today, participants questioned the root of racism. In my personal view, racism exists because of a spiritual disconnect created by perception of “other,” the false illusion of scarcity, and thinking/speaking/acting/living from a place of fear, rather than love. I believe that opening my heart and mind up to authentic conversations about racial oppression will help me continue to do my best to shift not just the dialogue, but create policies to create genuine social justice.

I’ll touch more on in another reflection about gentrification, but here today, I am at another personal crossroads of having just moved in temporarily with sister’s family, knowing that I will need to find a place to live by summer as a newly single mom. From this place, it is indeed challenging me to move past my own fear of scarcity, and instead trusting that this is the place I am spiritually called to raise my family, while doing my best to make my community a better place.

Lastly, I would love to engage personal comments from others who attended this morning’s forum, and to figure out how to have more of an ongoing dialogue about local social justice.

Peace,

Darcy Rose

Whitelandia Trailer / 2015 from Tracy MacDonald and Matt Zodrow on Vimeo.

The Age of Aquarius Starts Today: Jupiter aligns with Mars

I wasn’t surprised, but certainly delighted, to find out since the new year that today, January 7th, actually marks the “technical,” or at least pop culture, start to the Age of Aquarius.

Below is a ten minute video that explains how today is when the 1969 song from the Hair musical, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In:

“When the Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligned with Mars. Then peace will guide the planets and love with steer the stars. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”

While not many people have really looked into when this time would come, at least one astrologer has researched into how rare this moment really is.

I also watched a few videos are the time of the Great American Eclipse that talked about how the eclipse marked the very early dawning of Aquarius. The eclipse wasn’t an unequivocal start button, but a radical shift.

If you’re like most people, you may only know of the Age of Aquarius from the song lyrics, and it may not hold any significance for you. The next short video below explains just how significant this new age will be for humanity.

Here is my last top pick from a favorite astrologer, Lada Duncheva. I need to check their charts, but the first Neptune children definitely made me think of my daughters, who are VERY intuitive and compassionate souls.

I had never heard the term before watching the video below, but I believe that my twin sister and I are “plutonic souls,” as Pluto is in my first house and her second house, both in Libra (my Pluto is Trine Mercury, Sextile Saturn, Quincunx Venus and Mars). As an astrological newbie, I’m still learning what this all means, but we are exceptionally willful women and tremendous at manifesting, especially together. I truly believe that this new age of Aquarius will bring this out in us in very new ways…I think we are just starting to gain the clarity to manifest more than just beautiful children and cute beach cabins. We have both been leaders in our own ways, but I believe that this next chapter/age will bring us tremendous power to manifest our deepest desires of peace and love.

Beyond my personal destiny, I am thrilled by the hope that I feel with the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

On a practical level, I truly believe that this is a time to “let the sunshine in.” While with a history of melanoma skin cancer, I don’t think of this literally. Instead as part of a spiritual practice of kundalini yoga/meditation every dawn. In case you’re not already addicted to kundalini yourself, check out Gaia for awesome intro practices to kundalini and/or Rama TV by Guru Jagat, who has created the “Netflix of kundalini”.

Lastly, this age is really about sharing our shining light, and I am excited to start writing/blogging again, and at the right time this year, finally vlogging myself. I am also rededicating myself to a gratitude practice and intentionally getting out in nature more, especially playing in water. 🙂

After the watching the videos, and reflecting on your life, comment to share what you think about the Age of Aquarius.

Peace,

Darcy Rose

PS I thought I was done, but found one last video that really puts it all together, enjoy!

Saying Goodbye to 2017 and my marriage of 18 years

I literally just said goodbye to Kevin, my husband of 18 years. As much as I still love him, and hope to stay friends of the deepest nature, I need to love myself enough to leave him.

Last year I shared my reflection and intentions for 2017, and determined that it would be a year of “Miracles and Transformation.” I could have never ever predicted just how much that would be true.

In my post about Marriage and Mama Bliss, you didn’t need to read between the lines too much to understand just how ready I was to end my marriage. You could tell just how “done” I was with trying to fix my marriage, which I had struggled in for more years that I care to admit. The truth is that my posts barely skimmed just how much I wanted to shine my light, and how deeply I felt that that I couldn’t become my true/evolved self in my current marriage.

So, after a full year (plus!) of working to empower myself to the point of feeling enough strength and clarity to know that I needed to start 2018 by sending a message to Kevin, my husband of 15 years and life partner for a full 18 years, to let him know that I need to separate. Funny enough, I’ve had a practice that came from one of the first meditation tracks that I ever used regularly of saying “courage in action” to myself whenever I send an important email.

I’m going to keep the details brief and mostly private (I plan to write my midlife memoir this year, but I want there to be some distance before sharing anything potentially sensitive), but essentially after a week of many intense messages/discussions, we have become amicable again and have at least agreed on an initial path forward.

As much as I had tried for so long to hold on to the dream of staying in Astoria, I’ve determined that I need a new version of my dream. As ready as I was to create a new 2.0 vision for Northwest Parenting, I have given verbal notice to Clatsop County. I will be moving back to Portland by the end of the month to start the girls in the new school term. (I’ll be looking for new opportunities and will reach out to my network to help me find the best place to serve).

Naturally, I had first envisioned me leaving with all the kids, but I have agreed that it’s best for Kieran to stay with Kevin until the end of the school year, as he is absorbed in soccer, wrestling and baseball and simply thriving in middle school. It would have been much to quick of a departure for him, and given that it took him a few years to finally “fit in” to Astoria, I think we both owe it to him to let Kieran be the growing boy that he is (at not quite twelve, he’s just outgrown me). Plus, Kieran has skipped a grade level in math and has a very supportive teacher.

The girls, on the other hand, are thrilled be moving to Portland. Makenna will get to celebrate her 9th birthday with friends just before we move, and her only spoken fear is that the boys in her new school will think she’s cute and like her too much (mine too!). By miracle, Teagan is taking the last slot at Aprende Con Amigos, a Spanish immersion preschool just two blocks from our old home (and a mile from my sister’s place, where we will be living). Teagan’s cousin Clark is already learning a ton in the younger classroom, and I can hardly wait to see them bond as the near siblings they were to each other in their first year.

For myself, as surreal as this transition time is, I have felt so much more clarity and strength since pushing the “end” button on my marriage. As huge of a life change as this is for everyone, our family feels resilient and ready for growth. Yesterday we talked with the kids in the morning about our plans to separate, and last night I cooked Kevin his favorite home cooked dish of Italian stuffed shells (now it’s Kieran’s favorite too, and it felt good to put the leftovers in the freezer for a night when they miss me). Then, after ice cream sundaes, Kevin and I went out one last time to celebrate his birthday. After a week of a great deal of heavy conversations, it felt good to laugh over drinks (while talking about how we have never understood each others’ humor…and how much my first loves made me laugh). Even though we need to end our traditional marriage, it now feels possible for us to be partners in a new and more positive way.

Yet, when we fell asleep together for the last night, I couldn’t help but notice that we both had a very deep and rhythmic breath that was exactly opposite of each other. It felt like a metaphor for our relationship of extreme opposite who attracted, but who can no longer grow into ourselves together. We woke up this morning to do a Deepak/Oprah meditation together, which of all things had an intro that talked about accepting ourselves as radiant beings who are perfect, healthy and whole, just as we are. I believe that our relationship would/could have been very different if we had accepted each other for who we are, rather than trying to change each other, and far too often rejecting and controlling each other. Thankfully, as surreal as it is to end our marriage on such a positive note, I know that I am making the right decision for myself and our family, and even Kevin will flourish from no longer working overtime to try to make me happy. Instead, I believe that we will each thrive by truly loving and accepting ourselves, and supporting each other in healthy ways.

Lastly, I know that not everyone, especially Kevin’s family, may not understand or respect my choices and decision to end our marriage. I hope that time will heal any wounds, for all of us.

Peace and love,

Darcy Rose

Shining My Light

This is the second reflection as I countdown to my fortieth birthday.

As I headed into the office this morning I felt a burst of energy from the cathartic clarity of writing into the wee hours. It didn’t matter that I had been too busy getting the kids ready for school to make coffee, I still practically felt a skip in my step. I wondered what my new day would bring and what I would reflect upon at the end of the day.

Suddenly I found myself thinking about a one credit leadership class that I took my senior year of college. They gave us an exercise to help us draw an imagine of something that would represent our leadership style. I instinctively drew a simple image of a candle and flame. As I drew it, I figured that half the class would do the same, as it seemed like the most obvious symbol of a leader. Yet, it turned out that I was the only one to share my passion to shine my light in the darkness.

I recently bought some graphic artwork for my new office of Buddha with a quote saying “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened.” When I just googled it, it turns out this is actually a “fake Buddha quote.” Here’s the real one, in case you’re interested:

“It is like a lighted torch whose flame can be distributed to ever so many other torches which people may bring along; and therewith they will cook food and dispel darkness, while the original torch itself remains burning ever the same. It is even so with the bliss of the Way.”

While it’s not as poster worthy, just reading “bliss of the Way” brings a smile to my face. For the past three years creating/living my bliss has been my calling. I may not have always been as successful as I wished, but I sure did give it a good shot. And while most might think that following ones bliss would be a simple and easy occupation, I can tell you from experience that it has been a practice of diligence.

I whole-heartedly and honestly say that my new work, has me feeling so in flow with my higher purpose that I feel more blissful and free than I did when I didn’t have a traditional job. While I once disappointed in myself that I was able to become abundant as a “solopreneur,” I now know that I really am better suited to work together with partners and serve my community. I’m simply geared that way. Just as I feel so much freer writing in this free flowing reflection that when I used to blog with an intended purpose, researching, crafting, editing over several days. I would much rather just sit down and write what comes to my mind. I’m sure there will be time when I write a full book, and like writing my graduate thesis, it will be a full-blown creative process. For now I’m happy to simply be writing again.

In my Master’s program at Antioch University Seattle’s Center for Creative Change, we had what was called a Reflective Practicum, where we were required to sit down and reflect on at least a weekly basis about our learning process. In the first months I found it so challenging just “reflecting.” I found it easier to answer in depth questions about complex readings than to honestly think about my learning. Yet, after a decade away from school, I do miss it and just taking the moment to myself right now feels like a higher purpose. No offense, but it has nothing to do with you, who happens to have been intrigued enough to continue reading. Frankly, as a long time blogger, I’ve all but given up hope that people actually read any more. I’ve come to peace with that reality, but I do have to admit that the idea of someone reading this does make me smile.

And smiling is probably my most powerful tool. It’s how I shine my light, plus through my openhearted eyes. I feel as though these are my real gifts, and I simply love the feeling of sharing them. I love giving and receiving beams of inspiration. Being a social agent may require systemic strategies, but it’s still really quite simple.

I hope that each and every day, I will feel the light and find creative ways to radiate spiritual truth in the world, one person at a time. I have no doubt that there are many lightworkers emerging, in this age of Aquarian, who will celebrate our transformative work together.

Peace,

Darcy Rose

Transforming Time: 40 posts as I turn 40

My 40th birthday will be in 40 days. I’ve already felt the significance of this birthday more than any other. And yet, it feels like it has nothing really to do with either wanting to hang on to my 30s or fear growing older. It has more to do with me feeling like I’m a conscious butterfly who can feel my own transformation (which coincides with some flippin’ amazing astrological times!). I crave retreat and reflection in what is otherwise overflowing life with more experiences packed into each day that I can ever truly share. It takes all my energy just to remain as present as possible.

As much as I feel like I’m called to write and film video, getting into a regular practice of blogging daily, go figure with three kids and an historic home that would keep even a slacker busy.

Now I have a new job on top of everything, and it’s hard to express just how extraordinary my first month plus of work has been. I’ve felt this deep and peaceful self-confidence about my work that makes me certain that I am doing my life’s work. I feel in the flow and more focused than I’ve felt in ages. As a Gemini, I’m used to feeling pulled in a million directions, but it’s as though I have this trust and knowing that whatever I’m doing is exactly what I need to do. I’ve stopped questioning and criticizing myself, and instead work with a smile on my face. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, and have already created a vision board. It will surely be added to over time, but it sure feels like an inspiring first step. And while I realize that all the seeds I’m planting will need lots of care and watering, I’m eager to see my work blossom. 

Probably the most incredible and refreshing part of my work is just how much I’ve learned. When you get to nearly forty, it can be easy for even a seeker like myself to feel pleasantly surprised by all the connections I’ve been making. That feels like a whole separate post, but I’ll try to summarize.

Yesterday I went to training on trauma-informed customer service, and what it really brought home to me is that I have both the skills and the desire to not only transform others, but also my community, and that will happen by creating one relationship at a time. It also made me realize that all of my physical and spiritual self-care practices are as equally valuable professionally as they are to me personally. My personal work/play energizes and inspires me to serve. I also feel called to share how I am creating my unique mama bliss, and really begin to coach/teach.

On a completely different ending note, I feel like I would be avoiding an essential element if I didn’t mention just how much healing I’ve been experiencing. Yesterday marked six years since my father’s wake, which was really the beginning of my awakening. My heart cracked so wide open that as times I literally remember feeling as though I could hold the whole universe in my heart. I felt an unconditional love that I hadn’t felt since my childhood and every moment felt precious and serendipitous. I sensed my father’s soul watching me in the garden, where I worked almost every day. I woke up intensely feeling the miracle of the new day, and knowing that if I died that day that I would have been more karmically blessed than most.

And yet, I’ve realized since an intense counseling session, that my father’s death created a deep divide in my marriage.

Initially, I tried to not be too sensitive, knowing that I was in a heightened emotional state. But now looking back with honesty, that’s when things started to unravel internally.

Kevin and Wally were always very amicable with each other, talking about the Ducks, the budding microbrew scene, plus politely debating politics, public policy, and world affairs. They were both in the same boat of wanting to impress each other. There was still an undercurrent of jealously, and Wally was one of my closest friends before Kevin. College was the first time I ever lived with my father, and I took advantage of the time we had, talking nearly every day, going to concerts, listening to him play the guitar, making dinner together, and sharing in depth about what I was learning. In my first six months of dating Kevin, I worked to balance both relationships, and they each seemed to understand that the other person wasn’t going to go away, so they needed to play nice to keep me happy.

And, yet, I could always sense judgements, mostly unspoken from both of them. After Kevin and I moved in together and headed off to Portland and then Ashland, my visits with my father became infrequent. When it came time to propose, Kevin opted out of asking either my father or my dad for “my hand” (even though I don’t like this sexist tradition, I do remember sensing that he didn’t fully respect my hippie father figures). Wally not being one for formality shrugged it off and whole heartedly gave me his blessing and offered to pay for the eight piece swing band and the Caldera keg. Their relationship maintained a status quo quality. After our son and Wally’s first grandchild was born, he started to make more of an effort to visit. While I was thrilled, Kevin increasingly became annoyed that his visits were always spur of the moment, rather than scheduled. Wally picked up on the unwelcoming vibe, and didn’t like to see how hard Kevin was on Kieran, often expecting too much. Yet, thankfully, there was never any real bad blood.

And, yet, when I shared the news of Wally’s sudden death with Kevin, I couldn’t help but pick up on an unspoken vibe that he felt relieved that he had passed. It was as though now he could sigh relief, thinking that he would no longer need to compete for my love. Little did Kevin know how significant Wally’s death would become in my life.

After returning from Wally’s wake, Kevin seemed ready to move on. While he gave me space to grieve, it was clear that he didn’t want to be the one I talked to about my emotions. Instead I would wake up in the middle of the night and write, feeling like I was pouring out my soul. That grieving time was surprisingly inspiring and productive. I had a newfound energy and was ready to take action on any spark that lit my heart.

Blessedly, I found solace and soulful connection over pints at Secret Society with Bocky, a Irish tree planting buddy who Wally deeply admired and talked about, but who I never met while Wally was alive. Instead, we met the bar at the end of the wake, and as I stumbled back that beautiful night, I said to my sister. I think I may have lost my father, but just met my Godfather. Serendipitously, it turned out that three years later Bocky did stand up to serve as Teagan’s Godfather.

Back to reflecting on my marriage, I finally saw in this recent counseling session just how much of a rift Wally’s death has caused us. It grew unconsciously over time, neither of us realizing the source of contention. On top of waking me up to all the immense beauty in my life, I became vividly aware of the unnecessary strife that existed in our relationship and family life.

Being after midnight and almost 1300 words, I think it’s to call this story a night.

I don’t want to force myself into some artificial “challenge,” but I do want to put out the intention of writing every day for the next 39 days. The truth is that I have umpteen half-written blog drafts because of my perfectionist tendencies. But I know in my heart that I need to write for my own healing, not because it’s “publish worthy.” As a sign of faith, I’m even going to push publish without editing. I truly hope that this new creative reflection practice will get me out of my past ruts and transform my voice into the eloquent and powerful one that I know lives deep down and so eagerly wants to inspire the world, one person at a time.

Peace and love,

Darcy Rose

Right Now: An Ode to Astoria FisherPoets

I just got home from an inspiring and fun-filled evening of experiencing my first Astoria FisherPoets. I was truly blown away, especially by Steve Schoonmaker, who I was tipped off by our Airbnb guest, Michele. I’m so happy to have listened to Mary Garvey, who felt like an ancestor I’ve never known.

At this moment, I’m also feeling blessedly closer to my father than I have felt in a long time, knowing that he would have come to such a gathering and soaked up every tale. While he never published a poem, Wally was a poet at heart, which came through in his songs and storytelling.

I began this prose/poem earlier this week in anticipation of FisherPoets, and just finished (you’ll note the change where I start to rhyme 😉 Here’s my poetry/prose inspired by Astoria’s FisherPoets gathering:

 

Right now there is a thick fog outside my window.

The sun can’t penetrate, nor the river flow.

 

I can suddenly see why I haven’t been able to truly visualize the grandeur and beauty of my own life.

I’ve got it all already figured out on the inside, but can’t seem to see past my own broken picket fence.

 

I’m a poet and a preacher, and I’m just beginning to know it.

For best results, I only need to answer my own questions with my inner voice of wisdom and grace.

 

I am finally ready to make my mark, by knocking this life out of the park.

C0-designing a truly miraculous life, complete with the funnest slide you’ve ever gone down.

 

I simply need to stop putting all my energy toward worry and angst, and listening to others’ fears.

And courageously let the whole wide world see my inner light.

 

Today we welcome our third guest(s) into our home, here from Alaska to experience Astoria’s FisherPoets.

I never expected that her arrival would well up such deep wisdom and flood of emotions.

 

I am eager to welcome the whole wide world into our home, provided we each want more than a quid pro quo.

To love and accept us exactly as we are, breaking the separateness that has become status quo.

 

When it comes down to it, this is who I was meant to be.

A hostess with the mostess, who loves water more than breath.

 

An identical Gemini who needs to know her own worth before she can stop talking about herself in third person.

And hire the “help” I’ve been reluctant to manifest, because my inner child still thinks being rich is bad.

 

I’ve told myself for many many years that I need to play small, not draw attention to myself.

Yet, gracefully, there’s been a quiet inner voice growing within me since I began meditation.

 

My beautiful inner voice tells me to be true to me.

To live without fear of rejection and to let my waters flow free.

 

I’ve only ever been fishing a few times, not appreciating the cold drippy silence with my Dad.

By college eagerly learning how to crack cod necks “Rambo Style” on the Baltic Sea, not thinking it bad.

 

Marine biology and ecology was my early passion, along with collecting every shell on the beach.

Now at nearly forty, I find myself musing about how to bring that youthful spirit back in reach.

 

Denmark was my first true love,

now Astoria on good days feels like heaven from above.

 

I just wish that every day I could see the river so clearly, and explore an old ship with my girl on my hip.

And feel so inspired by kindred spirits who have found their own voice.

 

Even in these scary times, I can hardly wait to see what one more time around the sun will bring.

Until next year, FisherPoets, thanks for making my heart sing.

 

Peace,

Darcy Rose

 

PS This poem/poetry was also inspired by Sabrina Carpenter’s poppy ballad, Right Now.

Becoming Free to Be Me

I’ve had countless struggles and revelations on my path to freedom. I don’t believe that you have to struggle to have breakthroughs, but it sure does make them all the more enlightening.

I’ve felt for a while now that having freedom to express myself is an essential need/desire of mine, and yet I’ve feared rejection and sought out approval. The is especially true when it comes to my marriage. I’ve hidden parts of myself for fear of being misunderstood and dismissed. Sadly, in the unhealthy shadows of my relationship, I’ve felt continually criticized, rejected, shamed, judged and made to feel guilty.

Yet, just today on my long drive and talk with a dear Sister of mine, I finally truly realized that I am the one who has allowed that bondage to keep my soul protected, and only I can set myself free.

I went to my favorite bookstore, Renaissance Books in NW Portland, with the intention of buying a new tarot deck. I chose the Gaian Tarot, which I was drawn to for it’s natural vividness. Once I opened it up, I was struck by just how different it is than my traditional tarot decks. In my first glance of the major arcana, the two cards that struck me most were the Awakening (Judgment) and the Bindweed (The Devil). Not surprisingly, I drew them both in my first reading.

I really like the layout/format of the book that came with the Gaian Tarot. Partly because it asks some great questions (which my favorite online resource, Tarot Teachings, includes in its resources)

  • What holds me in bondage? I’ve held myself in bondage. Believing that I need Kevin’s approval to live my life. I’ve felt unworthy to earn an income on my own, and missed the validation that I used to get from my career. I’ve felt that I need an organization to serve through, and listened to the fears of Kevin.
  • What is out of balance in my life? I need to schedule time at Olivia Beach and in Portland where I can have dedicated self care time to myself and to connect with my Sisters. It feels as though I’ve sacrificed/abandoned this part of my work/life balance dream. I need to make sure to schedule this back into my life, with Kevin’s permission or not.
  • What gets too much of my time and attention? This past week especially, with sick kids, it feels like my family gets the vast majority of my attention. They often distract from my work and make it challenging to meet my own needs without feeling guilty (this guilt/bondage is what I really need to work to bring awareness/light to in order to forgive/release).
  • What are my shadow aspects the I deny or fail to acknowledge? I have definitely tried to deny my desire to spend time away from my family and with my sister. I’ve felt selfish, and worked while I’m away to compensate.
  • When have I been less than truthful with myself or others? Since moving to Astoria the majority of my trips to Portland (and sometimes to the beach cabins) have been very last minute. I identify some valid needs that draw me away, and then proceed to try to justify/convince Kevin that I need to go. The truth is that I usually have the feeling that I need to leave much earlier, but I push the thought aside until I truly need to make the call to go. It’s the same pattern that my Mom did/does with my Dad. It’s partly because, almost certainly, Kevin will be disappointed or upset that I need to be away and do whatever he can to negotiate things to meet his needs. This pattern is definitely not working for me, and I don’t how manipulative I feel, especially with suppressing my own desires/needs.
  • Who or what do I tend to give my power away to? Why? For a very long time I’ve given my power away to Kevin. The obvious why is because he’s my husband, but it’s me who has adapted into a role/relationship where I am subservient and usually put his and the kids needs before my own. I think I do this because I love to see them happy, and I know I get validation/affirmation that I’m good enough and deserve all their love.
  • How can I free myself from that which holds me in bondage? I know my family won’t appreciate it initially, but one of my deepest desires on this trip is to schedule out my visits for the next year, so that that is no hidden agenda for when/why/wherever I need to go for work, play or whatever I need to get time to myself.
  • What kind of healing does bindweed offer me? The darkest of the card and the constriction of the body simply reminds me that it’s me or how I want to live my life. I want the exact opposite, the full regal plumage of a peacock and a lotus in full bloom.
  • What kind of healing can I offer the Earth through the example of the Bindweed? I can offer my authentic self, being free to be me.

In the “future” position of the spread, which is a Celtic cross, is the Awakening (Judgment) card. The wide open arms give me such a feeling of ease and connection to the divine.

If I’m really honest, the biggest reason I wanted to go to Portland this weekend was for the full moon and lunar eclipse. I am so incredibly eager to begin this new astrological cycle/chapter, and I felt like I couldn’t risk being distracted from my inner work. I truly feel a divine calling toward spiritual awakening, and it’s an exciting time to connect with Sisters.

Now, just after the eclipse, I realize that what I most want is to plan for the full moon and new moon to be a sacred time.

The other big “aha” of the eclipse was feeling a calling to become ordained as a celebrant (on top of finally starting to read tarot to clients/guests). It’s kind of odd, given that I’m currently going through some pretty intense marriage counseling, but I still deeply feel as though the act of marrying another person such an expression of love, and that I would love to share in that moment. I don’t exactly what this will look like, but I am excited to integrate this desire to serve in this way into my life. It feels like a really beautiful way to celebrate life.

Peace and love,

Darcy Rose

Marriage & Mama Bliss

When I first started life coaching, I was taken aback that almost every client had some core struggle with their spouse. It was a pervasive issue that affected both their careers and family life, and was a definite barrier to “mama bliss.” But it felt like a hard area to coach others in, given that I was quietly struggling in my own marriage.

But after requesting counseling for over a year, I’ve finally been getting the counseling that I/we need. And while it hasn’t been all roses, it feels really good to get those pent up emotions to the surface. It’s not that I want to “air our dirty laundry,” but it’s more about need to connect with others as I find my peace, and hopefully, resolution. In turn, I hope my sharing will help you in whatever way you may be suffering in your partnership.

The irony is that our biggest struggle is in how differently we parent (which is why I have hesitated as a life coach). I’m the openhearted, listen-to-each-child, and go with the flow kind of mama, who will do anything to keep the peace. He’s the reprimanding and demanding Dad, whose booming voice makes it sound like he’s always yelling, and whose OCD tendencies can trigger deep anger and frustration.

Yesterday, as if on cue, completely unprovoked, little Teagan turned to me and scrunched up her face and said “My Daddy’s angry!” It was as though she was letting me know that, yes, she too feels our struggles in marriage and parenting. And, it’s honestly for her sake that I’ve been standing up for myself and demanding counseling.

Thankfully, since moving to Astoria, those angry episodes have been dramatically reduced, since he again enjoys his work and isn’t taking his stress out on us. And, gratefully, he’s never been physically violent, though it’s felt dangerously close as I’ve tried to defend the kids against his verbal tirades. There have been threats that have crossed the line.

Recently it feels more like a thousand paper cuts. It feels as though I’m continually questioned, judged and criticized. Instead of deep love and acceptance, I often feel as though nothing I do is good enough.

I know that I’m not perfect, and it doesn’t help that I feel as though Kevin has this uncanny ability to bring out the worst in me. And at times, like now, I’ve become emotionally exhausted from trying to defend every little choice. Maybe even worse is that the kids and I are happier without him lording over us.

I’ve come to describe it as living with a “benevolent dictator” or “unintentional tyrant.” He doesn’t see it this way, which is the problem itself. In his own mind, Kevin thinks he deserves the father of the year award, and on a material/practical level he does. His intentions are almost always very thoughtful (although often selfish), and, in his mind, he’s perfectly rational.

Sadly, watching the #FreeMelania coverage, I couldn’t help but see myself reflected in her saddened face. Blessedly, I’m not married to true dictator, but since some major awakenings this past fall, I have come to see how emotionally abusive our relationship has become. I realize how co-dependent and complicit I’ve been, and how much I’ve done to appease/please, simply trying to keep the peace. I’ve also been the one to perpetually smile through the pain.

We’ve now had five counseling sessions together in the past few months, and I’ve had about the same amount myself. Our counselor is really gifted (if you’re in Astoria, I highly recommend Michael Olson), and he’s helped bring a lot of emotions to the surface, which is a task for two people who have learned to get along by burying our feelings.

He first tasked us to each read The Five Love Languages (which deserves it’s own post), but for me it only seemed to magnify the engrained disconnects and vicious cycles of withholding our love to protect ourselves. It made me realize just how lucky/spoiled I’ve been in love, in that I want/expect to be fulfilled in all the love languages. My most primary love language is word of affirmations (and body language), which clearly doesn’t work with Kevin’s critical nature.

I also realized that my second love language is physical touch, which wasn’t at all getting fulfilled because I need the positive validation and affirmations in order to want to be physically intimate. After kissing an Australian man (which is story I’m not quite yet ready to share…), I became spiritually turned on in a way that I had never felt. That experience sparked a deep passion and self-love that has become like a well I go to when I want to feel loved (in tandem with practicing kundalini yoga every day, I am definitely finding my bliss again, regardless of my marriage struggles).

One insight for me was that I need to look at love as another form of self-care, and make sure that I’m keeping my own cup filled up. Even though I’ve attempted to “fill up his cup,” it feels like he’s always a needy child who I can never fully satisfy. In the past, I would have felt that was somehow my fault and need to try to fix.

My biggest aha from our first marriage counseling sessions was that I had/have to stop trying to fix Kevin, and I need to instead focus my energy on my own inner work and learning from our struggles. And struggle we have. Bringing up a great deal of painful emotions has been deeply healing. I feel that forgiveness is the key to us both moving forward.

Last week I sent the most heartfelt and difficult letter I’ve ever written in our almost fifteen years of marriage (via email). While it felt cathartic to put my deep frustrations in writing, it was clear that has his own interpretation (which spun around his own frustrations of feeling like he’s trying, but can’t seem to change fast enough). I honestly don’t know how things will go today or in the future, but I am glad to get this all off my chest.

While it isn’t easy to share my struggles publicly and I don’t want to “throw Kevin under the bus,” I also know that struggling silently is no longer an option. I dearly hope that however I survive this chapter of strife that it will become a place of strength, where I can confidently coach other mamas toward your own true mama bliss.

Peace and love,

Darcy Rose

2017: A year of Miracles and Transformation

I am so eager for this new year. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so ready to create miracles and transformation in my life. It reminds me of how I felt as I entered the new millennium.

1999 was my senior year of college at the University of Oregon. I had just returned from a year abroad studying in Copenhagen, and I was ready to end my “college career” by living and giving it my all. I felt as though I was really coming into adulthood and ready to take complete responsibility for the trajectory of my life. I had figured out credit-wise how I could double major in Environmental Studies and International Studies, earn a minor in Scandinavian Studies, plus take a leadership course, ballroom dance, and two terms of yoga. I also had my dream job of working for the UO Outdoor Program, where I was the Environmental Coordinator and planned outdoor trips, lectures and services projects. And if that wasn’t enough I was accepted in the Greenhouse Network program to become trained to serve on a national speakers bureau (and in the spring spoke on three college campuses). I didn’t own a car and biked every day, meditating while cycling along the river.

With my spare time, I decided to volunteer for the Sustainable Business Symposium as the volunteer coordinator. This happened to be where I would meet my husband, Kevin. Without going into that whole how-we-met story, the pending Y2k felt like a huge time in my life, especially as I started a new relationship that I quickly felt would “be the one.” Plus my Grandma passed away over winter break, which is enough to make anyone want to make the most of their life. (On break I had shared with my incredulous family who ask “What are you going to do with that degree?!” that I would work for a nonprofit doing climate change activism in Portland…it was no accident that exactly what I did weeks after graduating).

My life was happening at a breakneck pace, and yet I felt in utter control of creating my own success. My youthful energy was overflowing with confidence, pheromones, and a feeling of buoyancy. Yet, more than all the rushing endorphins, I felt a need to listen to my calling and commit myself to practices that would make it possible for me to be a leader in slowing global warming. On the eve of Y2K I made three commitments that would forever alter the direction of my life.

  1. I decided that it was time for me to quit smoking marijuana. In high school, where pot was easier to get a hold of than alcohol, I had become an almost daily smoker: wanting to escape, find/express myself, and simply laugh at my adolescent life. After a year abroad to Denmark where I felt higher on life than ever before, but hadn’t smoked a single time, I began college committed to not being a smoker. But then when I returned to Denmark for my junior year that spring I made three best friends, and after the funnest week you can imagine in Amsterdam, I was convinced that life was just more joyful when you let yourself get high. Yet, even with everything that I had going for me that fall, I started to slip into the habit of smoking by myself, and as fun as it felt to get high and not take everything in my life so seriously, I also had this very deep feeling that if I continued to smoke that I would fail to accomplish my utopic dreams. I had also started to date Kevin, who I was convinced I would marry. Even though he had tried some bad Pennsylvania pot a few times, he made it very clear that he wanted to nothing to do with marijuana.
  2. I committed myself to learning/practicing yoga and tarot. When I was choosing my courses for my last year of college, I made the fateful decision to take two terms of yoga classes. The first was an intro to hatha yoga and then an intro to a more advanced kundalini yoga. I had never taken a single class or known anyone who had. Believe it or not, in the last millennium there weren’t yoga studios scattered all over the west coast and any yoga clothes were mail ordered from Gaiam. In the spring I also jumped at the opportunity to take a community tarot class led by Connie Bender, a mystic who read tarot at the Eugene Saturday Market and the Oregon Country Fair. I had done my first reading at a coffee shop when I was twenty and with my first Empress card, I was blown away by the truth that it revealed in my life. Then my Danish host mom let me borrow her deck, and I was hooked on reading as a spiritual practice to help me manifest my highest potential.
  3. I committed to sharing my love with patience and persistence. With a five week fresh relationship, where we had just consummated relationship on an UO Outdoor Program cross country skiing for a weekend at Sun River, I was ready to commit to taking our relationship as deep and far as I could. After having fallen completely in love my first year abroad in Denmark and dating another Dane my freshman term of college, the rest of my college romances were less than a month (with the exception of a secret crush on my neighbor/masseur…who I occasionally still fantasize about). I was frankly ready for love and willing to do whatever it took to make our relationship last. Thankfully, we really were meant to be (I gotten an astrological reading two years prior that foresaw that I would meet my lifelong partner the exact week I met Kevin…plus we actually first met at Cosmic Pizza). Even though our love story felt kismet, Kevin happened to turn 30 in early January and went through a mini midlife crisis where he tried his best to push me away. We didn’t know where life/work would take me, and he was convinced that I wasn’t really ready to settle down. My patience and persistence paid off, and by June we were apartment hunting in Portland, right after we both landed jobs in our field within a week of each other.

So, with my first thousand words of the year already written, I am recommitting to taking those same actions all over again. I’ll need another post to what I think that means and a whole year to make that happen. I look forward to sharing my year of miracles and transformation. 🙂

Peace and love and light to you in 2017!

Darcy Rose

September 11th Reflection: From Mother to Daughter

September 11th, 2016

Today my seven and a half year old daughter Makenna took me by surprise when she asked me why there were so many American flags. The fall sunshine was glimmering over Young’s Bay, as we headed to their big brother’s Classic soccer match, tunes cranked.

I tried to clear the sudden grief in my throat, and, almost instantly, goosebumps turned to shivers. I choked out the most coherent explanation I could, through quickly welling eyes. I gave a simplistic response, of how it was an incredibly tragic day in the world’s history. I told her that there were men who hijacked and took control of airplanes and flew them into the tallest buildings in the United States.

When September 11th happened, I vividly remember wondering how I could ever explain such tragic history to our yet-to-be-born children.

Yet, some stories need to be retold.

It still felt incomprehensible to explain. I didn’t have the heart to tell her how it’s meant daily warfare ever since, perpetuating cultures of hate and retaliation. I couldn’t crush her innocence. I think my face said everything though. It usually tends to be an open book.

I think my raw emotions shared more than any history book could convey, exposing my genuine grief for the lives irrevocably cut short and for all the loved ones’ lifetime of sorrow.

If I could have continued to articulate my thoughts, I would have told her how I cried nearly every day for months after 9/11, just as I had when my high school friend died. I would have told her that nothing prepares you for death, especially on such scale.

I would have told Makenna, with her front teeth earnestly transforming her girlish looks, how I marched against the Iraq war, walking from Ashland to Medford in peaceful protest. Back when I read and listened to the news, went to lectures, and felt engaged with the current state of affairs.

Yet, I’m aware of the fact I’ve mostly tuned out the world since becoming a mother. It’s partly because I’ve chosen to practice Simplicity Parenting, and intentionally not listen to practically any news on the radio (listening to podcasts and Pandora in my personal time). But to be truthful, I haven’t had the capacity to do anything beyond the “care and feeding” of my family. My own calling toward personal transformation has absorbed rest of my attention.

So, it’s no wonder that this date in history took me by surprise. I’ve become blissfully oblivious of the world’s pain. It does give me sincere pause though. It makes me question my dharma and what legacy I will leave this world. It makes me wonder whether I’ll be brave enough to serve humanity by living and sharing my uniquely authentic life. I wonder what could possibly shape my daughter’s generation, as 9/11 shaped my sudden adulthood.

How can I teach my children?

What kind of leader will I become?

Peace,

Darcy