Thank you for visiting my blog. Here you will find stories, poetry, and musings that are surfacing from my journey with breast cancer and from the work that I do involving wilderness rites of passage. I am a wilderness guide, and work with the School of Lost Borders located in Big Pine, CA. The image of the cactus above was taken in the Inyo Mountains during one of the school’s vision fasts. For me, it evokes the unequivocally painful encounter with cancer while also speaking to the perplexing promise of blossoming and beauty, even in the midst of this ‘spiny’ terrain.
Nature is an ongoing inspiration for me. It is where I have always found what is truly true for me, and it was where I turned to in my journey with cancer. I found my voice and my way here, to guide me through the confusing maze of treatment options and recurrence statistics, allowing the wisdom of my heart to emerge every step of the way into a healing that I am committed to grow into for the rest of my life – no matter how long or short this may be.
I believe that the journey with cancer, while exposing the raw truth of our mortality, is also offering a birth, a rite of passage, and, should we choose to accept it, an invitation to live into the new territory an initiated life.
As with any other rite of passage, once we emerge from the threshold, we can no longer return to life as it once was, no matter how much our families and friends might yearn for just that, for us to return to ‘normal’ (as in before we’ve encountered cancer). But deep down we know we can never be the same. Instead, we each need to find our individual way to live in the new territory of our cracked open life.
There is no end to this journey. Today, and every day, it continues to ask of me to live a healing life, to turn into the wholeness of becoming who I have always made to be and have yet to become. Cancer keeps me on my toes. It helps me remember what really matters, and what does not. And it asks me to surrender into the love and blessedness that is my birth right. No guarantees, no safety and no control but the infinite blessedness of giving away all that stands in the way of my true being.
Admittedly, it is an advanced, and fast paced course 🙂 and nobody would enroll in it by choice. And yet, confronted with cancer, what becomes revealed is the story that was trying to surface all along, the story of our lives. And along with it comes the invitation to make it a story of healing, of wholeness, turning what we may have initially seen as a curse into the blessing of our lives.
Besides guiding a few rite of passage or vision fast programs every year, I am blessed to work part-time in an administrative capacity for our small wilderness school. I am also the current netkeeper for the Wilderness Guides Council, an association of wilderness guides supporting the re-emergence of rites of passage ceremonies around the world.
My dream is to create specific programs for people in treatment and beyond in a nature setting, using the ancient tools of time alone in nature and the support of the community in the circle, to let go of what ‘the old story’, of anything that stands in the way of our healing and to step into what is truly asked now. As a first step in this direction I co-created a program called “Grief, Loss and Illness: A Journey into Healing” which is offered once a year through the School of Lost Borders. I am also hoping to soon offer shorter half day programs in the Bay Area for people that are currently in treatment.
For current events on my schedule see the blog side bar. For private inquiries or event scheduling please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy these offerings. Please feel free to leave comments.