This past month we accomplished the seemingly impossible: every member of our family was in a different state for several days. GULP. This mama's heartstrings were pulled tight and long. It was mind over matter, my friends, mind over matter. The great thing was that we were all doing what we really wanted to do: Eliza was flying off to Seattle with friends from her baby days there, Ani was embraced in her Mormor's care in Madison, Dan was busy doing his theater thang here in Ohio, and I was driving with my dear Jen, through the crazy rain, to North Carolina for our annual fill-er-up at the Southeast Wise Women's Herbal Conference.
|Bon Paul & Sharkey's Hostel in Asheville|
We landed in Asheville, with our friend Sarah, and had an evening to be adults in a city together. We walked around, ate Ethiopian food, and were in bed by nine. What can I say?
|who is photo-bombing whom?|
This is the fifth year Jen and I have attended the conference, and we've worked more hours every year, becoming more and more a part of the inner workings. This year was intense with the hurricane weather we were getting from the east coast; lots of rain and lots of wind. There was a lot of pulling up by the bootstraps and making a go of it, much improvisation and a good amount of chocolate.
We were exhausted by the time the conference started, but so was everyone else, and I saw so many smiles peering out from under umbrellas, hats, and garbage bags.
I must say that we made a name for ourselves with our MC Hammer-style rain gear: garbage bags with leg holes, tied around our waists. We wore them the entire weekend. High fashion.
|soggy, soggy Red Tent|
The ducks joined us up on the green, floating on the deep puddles and catching grubs. A crayfish made its way into one of the classroom tents; the teacher was kind enough to step around it during her lecture.
|Umbrella and tutu. That's the spirit!|
The classes, though soggy and occasionally hard to hear from the downpour on the canvas roofs, did not disappoint. I attended classes on type II diabetes and understanding bloodsugar; dreamwork and stone medicine; brain waves and the pineal gland, and 21st century gut health. I ate delicious food and clutched my warm coffee to me during morning talks. We fell into bed early, so tired that we were actualy able to sleep on the plastic matresses, through the snores of our congested room-mate. We were nourished and felt like we worked hard and accomplished something by helping the conference go on in spite of the dramatic weather.
Our last morning we helped move chairs from a tent that was collapsing from the rain and the wind, and crammed 75 or so women under a shelter to hear this firey elfin woman - her name is Whapio - talk about brain waves and altered states, and hormones that we share with all living things, even plants. It was incredibly interesting and inspiring and we were all ridiculously happy to be there, together, huddling when the huge gusts threatened to blow everything over, listening to this woman speak her passion.
I always find that there are a few key messages woven through the talks I attend that get repeated over and over. This year - some of you might be happy to hear - they emphatically reiterated what I heard last year: eat good fats!! EAT GOOD FATS!!! (Animal fats, butter, coconut oil)
The other message was about awakening the heart: finding the places in life that make your heart blossom and nurturing them. Court altered states through art, music, yoga, meditation, nature, dancing - places where you are in your zone and can access a wider understanding. Does this sound woowoo to you? Mmmhmmm, well here is my other message: change happens beyond your comfort zone. Ain't that the truth.
So, we arrived home in record time, because as we climbed out of the green valley that is Asheville, we climbed out of the storm and the path home was dry!! Hallelujah!! There waiting for me was Dan, and my mom, who had driven down with Ani. I am so grateful for all of the little pieces and big-hearted people who came together to make all of the specials happen at once. We did it!!